Brave New Christmas

Alternative holiday jams

Christmastime is here. It's the most wonderful time of the year. Here comes Santa Claus. We've all heard it before, and we don't need to hear it again. Before you plan a holiday bash or go on a three-hour road trip, burn a mix of these fresh holiday tunes. Winter relief is just a click away, whether you want something funky, punky, jazzy or funny. Give Frosty a rest this year.

A Very Alt-Xmas

"The Christians and the Pagans," Dar Williams: This perky folk tune relates an awkward meal shared between a Christian family and their pagan niece, who's a witch (a Solstice witch, not a Dark Lord witch). Toes will tap as hilarity ensues and life lessons are learned.

Xtreme Xmas"Christmas With the Devil," Spinal Tap: The metal fauxtet comically defiles the season, rhyming silent night and violent night over a bluesy riff.

Blues, Booze and Junk"King's Crossing," Elliott Smith: On this dark Christmas, the former Heatmiser guitarist's Santa was skinny, and the bag he bore wasn't filled with toys. With a hypodermic needle on his Christmas tree, the late singer-songwriter made a chilling holiday wish that didn't come true.

Holiday Hip-Hop

"Christmas Rappin'," Kurtis Blow: If producer Russell Simmons hadn't waited until the holiday season to release "Christmas Rappin'," it would have been the first rap record. With a bumping bass line, the early artifact is rooted in old-school funk.

Funny Stuff, Rated PG

"Son of Santa," Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper: Rockabilly eccentric Mojo Nixon begins this offbeat story with Santa's prodigal offspring being released from San Quentin. Will he find redemption—or a one-way ticket back to the pen?

Funny Stuff, Rated R

"Merry F#%$in' Christmas," Denis Leary: Actor Leary slips back into the cynical comedic mode that made him famous, leading a chorus through this catchy old-time sing-along: "Old Saint Nick's got bourbon breath/It's so cold you could catch your death/A cop sold me some crystal meth/It's a merry [bleep]in' Christmas."

 
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