Serenity Now: 2013’s Most Soothing Records to Get You Through the Holidays

Just before Christmas last year, we published a list of 2012’s most soothing and relaxing records to get you through the most “wonderful” time of the year. We’re revisiting the idea this year and extending it to the holiday season as a whole, because really, apart from the consolations of eating hideous amounts of turkey and having an excuse to watch Bad Santa again, the “festive” season brings only angst and potential penury. And the potential of your drunk uncle making an ass of himself again. If this all sounds familiar, slip away and put one or more of these records on your headphones, curl into a ball, and it’ll be January before you know it.

Various Artists — SMM: Opiate

This is far and away my favorite compilation of the year, a carefully curated selection of songs that proceeds downward through layers of sound into almost complete stillness, then gently returns you to the world. It’s the second in Ghostly Records’ semi-regular SMM series — the first, released in 2011, is worth hearing too.