XO For the Holidays Vol. II, various artists (XO)
Free, fresh original Christmas rock 'n roll, anybody? You've come to the right post. Just click the album cover. of Portland, Ore., is back for 2009 with their second such collection of free holiday rock music. Their previous collection was a few years ago, so there are some different faces on this collection, but also a few repeat performers with new tunes. Most of these tunes appear to be originals, though Piney Gir offers "You Make Me Feel So Young," an old Frank Sinatra staple that doesn't have much to do with Christmas. Caravan of Theves does a string-band version of "The Grinch," and Jessie Torrisi's version of "Christmas Don't Be Late" gets a less commercialized rewrite in which she asks us to forego the toys and gifts in favor of someone to hold. Blue Skies For Black Hearts kicks things off with the poppy "Wishin' You a Merry Christmas, in which Hanukkah and Kwanzaa get shout-outs; The Backsliders aver that "Christmas (Doesn't Have To Be So Bad)" in a 70s pop-rock vein; and The Very Foundation offer "All Lit Up (For Christmas)," which starts off sounding like a travel advisory and ends up marveling at the holiday lighting displays. "Snowed In" by Sleepwalk Kid is a rock-boogie shuffle about letting the snow pile up; The Winter Sounds give us "The Anthem Is a Gift," a mid-tempo ballad about being separated for the holidays; Drew Grow gives us a David Lynch-ish meditation on a "Tennessee Christmas," in a slow tempo with portentious slide guitars setting the mood; and "New Year's Eve" by Team Five is a mostly guitar-based instrumental, not particularly festive considering the title. I'd recommend you pay money for this, so grab it while it's free. Vol. 1 is also at this link.
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