Rockin around the indie Christmas tree

Brigid Harrison-Draper /
Dec 14, 2017 / Music

If you like your John Lennon in a festive edition, Slade are the only band to make you put your stockings on your wall and you can create a perfect rendition of Do They Know It’s Christmas? (yes I’m thinking of you Smithy), then it’s best to maybe not read this article.

Or maybe you will read it and discover the indie Christmas a 15 year old you would love.

It’s 2017, Father Christmas is wearing Doc Martens and a stripy turtle neck, he doesn’t drink your mum’s old brandy anymore, he is on the craft beers from an unknown boozer in the Yorkshire Dales, mince pies? Who is she, FC is all about a Pizza and Spring roll concoction of some kind. And with this new indie Father Christmas comes a discovery of indie Christmas boppers (and classic christmas covers) that will leave Paul McCartney and the lot quaking in their boots.

Christmas pre the arrival of noughties indie wasn’t all just a broken record of Slade, Wizard, The Pogues and Band Aid, the 70s saw the arrival of glittery glam rock Christmas, mod rocker Christmas and a whimsical Kate Bush Christmas. Yeah, I bet you’re really gutted you didn’t notice this before. ‘Christmas Bop’ by T Rex brought together glam rock and Christmas in a cool, I’m not ashamed to dance in the club to this, track that will leave you throwing glitter at everyone and anyone. For all the mods outside come on in, ‘Father Christmas’ by The Kinks is playing so you can stop revving the Vespa to block out the overplayed classics. And let’s not forget the mesmerising December ‘Will Be Magic Again’ by Kate Bush that will make you wave your arms about, hopefully not knocking over your Nan’s annual glass of snowball.

We can’t really neglect christmas classics but if you are en route for a Christmas without the echoing of Shakin Stevens or East 17 running through your home, a classic Christmas classic cover is, well, a classic playlist route to go down. ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus ‘covered by the transfixing Amy Winehouse in 2008 really shows (as if you already needed showing) what a talented performer she was. If you are into your deep and doleful indie sounds then ‘Last Christmas’ covered by The XX will leave you with a tear in your eye and not feeling the need to shout ‘Merry Christmas’ but maybe shout ‘Merry Christmas?’

Nevertheless it’s still a cover that projects the notion that Christmas songs don’t need to be all jingle bells and flooded with the harmonic singing of children. ‘Santa Baby’ covered by Wolf Alice is one for fans of the band who want to hear Ellie Rowsell’s sultry voice without the raging guitar rhytms behind it. And for all those who were their Fred Perry and Adidas trainers with pride, ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ covered by Oasis is up your street blending together Manc legends with Brummy legends, legendary.

With the rise of the noughties indie band saw the (late) rise of indie Christmas tunes which we are forever grateful for, maybe if your mum isn’t a fan of them. Post Strokes saw Julian Casablancas experiment with the jingle jangle of Christmas sounds in ‘I Wish It Was Christmas Today’, getting us all blinging up our Strokes T-Shirt with baubles and tree lights. ‘Christmas Lights’ by Coldplay has become a mainstream hit, playing on most of the Christmas music channels, a success for indie Christmas music and it still brings a tear to your eye, just like several of their songs (whether it’s crying because they’re so emotional or because you can’t believe you are being subjected to listening to Coldplay).

‘Christmas Was Better in the 80’s’ by The Futureheads did what it said on the tin, channelling The Buzzcocks in song about how good Christmas was in the 80’s. Although their hits flood dirty dancefloors, The Killers Christmas songs that are released annually aren’t as mainstream as the tracks that gather sweaty teens to mosh about to. ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa” ‘A Great Big Sled,’ ‘Joseph Better You Than Me,’ and ‘Boots’ are certainly tracks for the anti-festive and anti-Mr Brightside Killers fans.

As Christmas is only round the corner, it’s time to dig through the classics and discover a new indie classic. I’m not saying donate your mum’s vinyl of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ because I’m sure Oxfam already have enough editions of that. Keep the classics flowing, remind everyone that Santa Claus is coming to town, tell people all you want for christmas is them, don’t give someone your heart though, they might give it away the next day. Welcome the indie Christmas, it isn’t Christmas everyday (sorry Wizard).

Words by Brigid Harrison-Draper

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