Back in 2009, an Edinburgh-based record shop persuaded many of Scotland’s finest underground/indie acts to record and donate songs for a charity CD with the proceeds going to good causes at home (Sick Kids Hospital, Edinburgh) and overseas (Street Invest – Helping Street Children in Africa).
It really is an excellent compilation, and I really can’t argue with this review from The Skinny back in the day:-
Compilations like Avalanche Records Alternative Christmas are vitally important. Their necessity will be emphasised repeatedly over the next few days: they will provide solstice-solace when even mordant irony can’t get you through looped Wizard and their dreams of eternal festivities; they’ll help salve the post-colonial guilt bruises caused by constant celeb-slapping; and they’ll sooth those caught idly humming Another Rock n’ Roll Christmas then anxiously fretting about the Glitterism.
Alternatives are essential. Nothing from this collection will supplant Noddy and co from next year’s Christmas adverts, of course; fewer still will wind up sound-tracking office parties (though X-Lion Tamer’s Little Drum Machine Boy might sneak in at the end of a more liberal shindig). But they’re sure to find a place in many a heart, even post-yule when the tree stands naked and detinseled and the Quality Streets are reduced to wrappers.
In fact, the only real disappointment is that so many have ignored Half Man Half Biscuit’s sage advice (It’s Clichéd to Be Cynical At Christmas), choosing gloom over joy. But they sure do blue well: Frightened Rabbit donate 2007’s (and 2008’s) It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop, a majestic plea for goodwill that ends defeated with the cry “next day life goes back to its past self”; The Savings & Loan’s Christmastime In the Mountains’ maudlin moroseness is presumably not a tale of skiing in Aspen; Withered Hand’s It’s A Wonderful Lie (as in, “this used to be a holy day but now…”) turns its glum pun into a typically witty but self-deprecating waltz; while Meursault’s playful retitling of Phil Ochs’ No Christmas in Kentucky (rechristened Christmas in Kirkcaldy) is no less serious for its east coast relocation. Ballboy, Eagleowl and Broken Records, meanwhile, recycle existing material (some with a fairly tenuous tie to the holidays, truth be told), but when the tracks are as good as Shallow Footprints In The Snow, Sleep The Winter and All So Tired, frugal redistribution is nothing to fret over.
And it’s not all coal-in-stocking/turkey-dinner-for-one depression either: There Will Be Fireworks open with a characteristically panoramic swell which just manages to stay dry skating over the thin ice of Snow Patrol, while Zoey Van Goey’s spoken word In Scotland It Never Snowed, In Canada It Did engrosses with its simple tale of childhood rebellion. And at £5 with proceeds going to charity, it sure beats block-buying Rage Against the Machine.
All I want to add (simply because the reviewer didn’t mention it) that the track by Money Can’t Buy Music is another which is well worth three minutes of your time.
Alternative Christmas is a seasonal release like no other. And nowadays it is damn near impossible to get a hold of. So I thought I’d make it available in its full form….with a request that if you download some or all of the songs that you make some sort of donation to the charity or good cause of your choice.
mp3 : There Will Be Fireworks – In Excelsis Deo
mp3 : The Savings & Loan – Christmastime in the Mountains
mp3 : Rob St John – December & Whisky
mp3 : Frightened Rabbit – It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop
mp3 : Pictish Trail – But Once a Year
mp3 : Eagleowl – Sleep the Winter
mp3 : Withered Hand – It’s a Wonderful Lie
mp3 : Meursault – Christmas in Kirkcaldy
mp3 : Emily Scott – Holy
mp3 : Money Can’t Buy Music – Atoms
mp3 : Saint Jude’s Infirmary – Xmas in New York
mp3 : Broken Records – All So Tired
mp3 : Ballboy -Shallow Footprints in the Snow
mp3 : X-Lion Tamer – Little Drum Machine Boy
mp3 : Zoey Van Goey -In Scotland it Never Snowed, In Canada it Did