The local shops have been piping in holiday cheer over their loudspeakers since the last trick-or-treater went home. As such, we suffer from Bing burnout earlier in the season each year. If you are hosting a festive fête or need some tree-trimming tunes to set a merry mood but want to avoid the worn out Wham and the immutable Mariah, Boris has selected several season-appropriate alternatives for your hi-fi. Keep your holiday merry and bright with these five out-of-this-world records where the holiday standards are anything but standard!
1. The Ventures’ Christmas Album
It’s beach blanket jingle bells when The Ventures bring their rockin’ surf vibe to the old holiday classics. Blast this record while you’re untangling those maddening strings of lights. Mid-century nostalgists may get a kick out of the mash-ups of “Tequila” with “Frosty the Snowman” and “I Feel Fine” with “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
2. Merry Xmas From the Space-Age Bachelor Pad – Esquivel!
This record is everything you expect from an Esquivel production—whimsical arrangements, space age sounds, and just the right amount of zu-zu-pows. Some holiday tunes get a bit maudlin, but Juan Garcia keeps it all lighthearted and brisk. Perfect for rockin’ around that aluminum Christmas tree.
3. Christmas Favorites – Hollyridge Strings
Set a more traditional musical mood with the Hollyridge Strings, a studio orchestra for Capitol Records best-known for orchestral versions of pop music artists of the 1960s and 1970s. Christmas Favorites is purely easy-listening and presents those familiar favorites in recognizable arrangements but has enough ’60s mod style to keep this instrumental album interesting.
4. Ultra-Lounge: The Best of Christmas Cocktails
If you can’t get through the season without Dean and Bing and Nat “King,” you can pick up this album and still retain your hepcat cred. Ultra-Lounge’s The Best of Christmas Cocktails offers a collection of holiday standards by the usual suspects in a jazzy, lounge lizard environment. Put on your best smoking jacket and Santa hat and spin this record at your next shindig.
5. The Swingin’ Nutcracker – Shorty Rogers
Keep the jazz vibe going with another seasonal tradition presented in a non-traditional fashion. Shorty Rogers’ rendition of The Nutcracker gets you toe-tappin’ and finger-snappin’ in ways Tchaikovsky only dreamed.