Peter Richard Adams may well be the busiest man on the indie rock circuit. This year alone he’s released a solo mini-album, a string of singles with Hey You Guys!, a live album from And What Will Be Left Of Them?, a Christmas EP with his wife Rosie and reformed his old band Slimfit as well as writing a sitcom podcast, Pod To Pluto, which bizarrely but deservedly topped the South Korean sci-fi podcast charts earlier this year. Somehow amongst all of that he’s managed to find the time to write this hand guide to some of the finest Christmas albums to add some fizz to your festivities. If you missed part one, you can find it here.
Welcome back to my grotto for part two of my Christmas album countdown! For most people this year, Christmas began in November. I can’t blame you. When I was little we didn’t decorate the house until Christmas Eve – and that’s a LONG time to wait. If I could I really would have Christmas every day.
I really do hope you enjoy this Christmas album listening list. There’s good. There’s bad. There’s goddamn ugly. But it’s Christmas, and if you can’t enjoy complete crap at the same time as sublime beauty then get the hell out of my grotto.
Merry Christmas and God save us every one.
PS. I know what you’re thinking… You want to know where ‘A Christmas Present’ by Robbie Williams is? You disgust me.
Friday 11 December
Kacey Musgraves – ‘A Very Kacey Christmas’ (2016)
Ok, ok… It may not be cool. It may not be hip. It may not rock or roll. But this is joyous. Plus, the 11th December will mark the day my youngest comes out of self-isolation so let’s do it for the little uns eh?
STANDOUT TRACK: I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Saturday 12 December
Glasvegas – ‘A Snowflake Fell (And it Felt Like a Kiss)’ (2008)
Ok, ok… This is cool. This is hip. But actually this may still not rock or roll. However, when Glasvegas decided to celebrate the festive season, they really did it with some style. Perhaps this doesn’t really count as a full album, but I won’t tell if you won’t.
STANDOUT TRACK: A Snowflake Fell (And it Felt Like a Kiss)
Sunday 13 December
Rob Halford – ‘Halford III – Winter Songs’ (2009)
And now for something a bit different. It’s time to rock out with our stockings out. Somehow this record manages to mix both full on rock with a sense of beauty – and it’ll really clear the cobwebs out for the week.
STANDOUT TRACK: O Come O Come Emanuel
Monday 14 December
Johnny Mathis – ‘When A Child Is Born’ (1989)
I sense I may be losing you, but it’s impossible for me to do this list without giving a nod to Johnny. This record was a seasonal favourite of my Dad’s until I swiped the vinyl and he forgot all about it. Now it’s a seasonal favourite of mine. I can’t find it anywhere on Spotify, so you’ve only got the song link… but if you do ever find the full record in a charity shop I strongly urge you to grab it.
STANDOUT TRACK: When a Child is Born.
Tuesday 15 December
Bright Eyes – ‘A Christmas Album’ (2002)
There’s something pretty perfect about ‘A Christmas Album’, and yet it also seems at an odd angle to the universe. There’s little else here but family favourites and songs you’ve heard a thousand times, yet it all feels exceptionally fresh and new, like the morning snow.
STANDOUT TRACK: Little Drummer Boy
Wednesday 16 December
Darren Hayman – ‘Christmas in Haworth’ (2011)
Again, technically an EP… but Darren is one of Britain’s greatest songwriters and deserves a place on pretty much any list of anything ever, so let’s get lost in his ghosts of Christmas past and watch the fire.
STANDOUT TRACK: Lost in the Snow
Thursday 17 December
Jethro Tull – The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003)
Are you a fan of Christmas songs? Are you a fan of the sound of the flute? If so then this album is for you. If you are not then I strongly suggest you skip forward a day.
STANDOUT TRACK: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Friday 18 December
The Monkees – ‘Christmas Party’ (2018)
It’s the last normal Friday before Christmas, so let’s have a party with those hip young funsters The Monkees! Sure it may have only really involved a couple of them, but a world without The Monkees is no world at all and this late edition to their catalogue was a very welcome gift.
STANDOUT TRACK: Unwrap You at Christmas
Saturday 19 December
Vince Guaraldi Trio – ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ (1965)
Good grief! I DO love Peanuts. So let’s go right back to 1965, when a simple newspaper strip took the leap into mega franchise with the most wonderful of soundtracks.
STANDOUT TRACK: Christmas Time is Here (vocal)
Sunday 20 December
Tchaikovsky – The Nutcracker (1892)
Sunday Sunday here again… and time to break out the only ballet on the list. If this doesn’t set you up ready for the week ahead then your Grinch heart need to grow three sizes. And fast.
STANDOUT TRACK: Listen to it all, or not at all.