The holidays are upon us, with their frantic wrapping, decorating, shopping, backing, and general pine-scented commotion. But, of course, you need some music to listen to while you’re yuling those logs and decking those halls. Luckily, this year we’ve got a handful of new holiday gems from artists like Beach House, Best Coast, and — of course — Kanye West. Crank these nouveau carols, and don’t forget to right click + save as to download them, or scroll to the bottom for the whole mix.
An internet present from usually sunny indie poppers Beach House, “I Do Not Care For the Winter Sun” is a melancholy-soaked ballad. Which is, we suppose, what happens if you stick around that vacation home after Labor Day.
This is a song with a vaguely Bossanova feel to it, a kind of “Christmas in the tropics” theme. It’ll warm your bones on even the chilliest white Christmas.
A lush and resonant track from Swedish synth-pop duo Pallers, who are currently working on their first full-length album. For now, savor this beautiful, echoey track, which sounds like what you might expect a trance club at the North Pole to play.
The collaboration between two of the year’s biggest acts — and indie-rock lovebirds — comes courtesy of Target, who have a free EP chock full of holiday songs available on their website. It’s a sweet little jingle bell romp, and one you’ve probably heard dozens of snippets from on your television. (But you should still listen to the whole thing anyway.)
Holiday songs in rap are just as tricky as in any other genre — there’s a fine line between hit and total weird disaster –but Kanye’s pulling it off. We can’t say that this will be the next “Here Comes Santa Claus,” but it sure is better than Afroman.
The Puppini Sisters released an album of 1940s harmonized takes on Christmas standards, and this track classes up the Wham! original by several notches. It’s the kind of new rock track that even your (old) relatives will like.
We’re not really sure how much “Holiday Road” has to do with Christmas, but this cover by The Walkmen sure does make it sound festive. Lest you forget, a few years ago the Walkmen had another Christmas song called “Christmas Party.” Keep ‘em comin’, guys!
A wintry song with a slightly creepy, narcotized edge, “Snow Bridge” sounds like an offering from Sparklehorse mixed with heavy synths and organ music.
UK indie poppers Summer Camp do a fairly faithful cover of this New Wave Christmas classic. Perfect to give to your ’80s-loving friend, along with a scale replica of a Devo ziggurat hat.
British producer and all-around synth wizard Nathan Fake released this track on a split single with DJ Koze. It’s a haunting jam that moves into a pulsing beat, the perfect Christmas song for your favorite club kid.
Bonus: “Santa Claus” by The Sonics