Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holiday Music Sampler 2015

Can't locate your holiday spirit? Here's a gaggle of holiday tunes. Maybe one will get you there.

Home Free. Performing since the early 2000s, this Minneapolis-based a cappella quintet won NBC's The Sing-Off in 2013. In 2014 they released a holiday album, the nostalgic-but-refreshing Full of Cheer. 

Home Free
"Angels We Have Heard on High." Impeccable arrangement; superb showcase for their range of voices.

For more about these guys -- Austin Brown, Rob Lundquist, Chris Rupp, Tim Foust and Adam Rupp -- check out their website, Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.  These funk/soul revivalists have been around since 1996. There have been personnel changes among the Dap-Kings, but Sharon Jones has remained out front fiercely singing an eclectic range of material. Their 2015 holiday release -- It's a Holiday Soul Party -- is not your ordinary Christmas album. Jones and the Dap-Kings just might make you get up and dance.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
"White Christmas." This is how you breathe new life into a familiar old carol.

Tracey Thorn. She's one half of the (currently inactive) '80 duo Everything But the Girl. In 2012 she brought her wistful, subdued style to a holiday album -- Tinsel and Lights -- an emotionally resonant mix of mostly new tunes.

Tracey Thorn (photo: Edward Bishop)
"Joy." Forthright sentiment and a lovely arrangement.

De Staat. I only discovered these Dutch alternative rockers earlier this year. There's a compelling mix of madness and mischief about them that I like.

De Staat (photo: Isabelle Renate la Poutre)
"Let It Snow." It's an enthusiastically unconventional take on a holiday classic. And the video features the kind of Santa that no parent ever wants to encounter at the mall.

Well-Strung. They're the talented and sexy string quartet of gay men who've carved out a niche for themselves by mixing pop and classical music.

Left to right: Christopher Marchant (second violin), Edmund Bagnell (first violin),
Daniel Shevlin (cello) & Trevor Wadleigh (viola)
"Silent Night." Traditional with a twist. 

1 comment:

  1. I liked Tracey Thorn, but my favorite was Well-strung. Thanks for a diverse holiday music round up.