Monday, December 26, 2011

Free Streaming Christmas & Holiday Music - Still Tasty the Next Day!

Like leftover turkey and cookies, holiday music is still with us after Christmas or Hanukkah have ended... and sometimes these tunes are just as tasty after the fact. Since there are no new albums available for free online streaming this week (a usual Podcast Party feature on Monday or Tuesday), I thought I'd offer some streaming and/or downloadable holiday music to listen to if, like me, you enjoy hearing it after the actual holidays.

Spinner has an all-holiday group of album previews this week (as of Dec. 26th, at least).
Over at, a variety of holiday albums are still up for streaming, including some I've mentioned before like "A Brushfire Holiday, Volume 2" by This Warm December (featuring G. Love, Zee Avi, Matt Costa, and more). There's also "The Beach Boys' Christmas Album," "Christmas in California" by Ash Reiter, the four-song EP "Tennessee Christmas" by Lindi Ortega, Shonen Knife's three-track EP "Sweet Christmas," and one that sounded odd to me: "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," a collection of traditional Christmas songs by Scott Weiland, the troubled singer for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.

TV viewers may want to check out AOL Music's streaming offerings, including "Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2" and "The Sing Off: Songs of the Season" (with performances by Pentatonix, the Dartmouth Aires, season two winners Committed, and many more). Also on AOL Music is "Now That's What I Call Christmas 4," featuring seasonal songs by contemporary artists such as Sheryl Crow, Carrie Underwood, and Maroon 5 and by old-timers like Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, and Burl Ives.

Note: there's no telling how long the Spinner and AOL Music holiday albums will be streaming, so you might want to check them out sooner rather than later.

The cover of the 2011 edition of Bill Adler's eclectic "Christmas Jollies" mix.

The homemade mix tape "Christmas Jollies" by Bill Adler was the subject of an NPR story yesterday, and it has gotten a lot of holiday love via re-tweeting and other forms of online sharing. Adler does a "Jollies" mix each year and distributes it to friends; this year's edition includes songs from Peggy Seeger, Solomon Burke, The Beach Boys, and more. You can read the transcript of the NPR story here, hear excerpts from each of the songs here (with notes from Adler), and see the complete track listing here.

(Oh, and to answer the question everyone's asking, "Where can I buy the 'Christmas Jollies' CD?!," the answer is: you can't. Apparently Adler burns CDs for his friends, but otherwise doesn't distribute the mix on physical media [due to copyright issues, I'd guess]). 

Also from NPR Music is the collection "Jingle Jams:  A Holiday Mix For The Rest Of Us," what it calls off-the-beaten-path holiday songs for folks having hard times during the season (the mix is co-curated by Adler). It's billed as a set for those who "get dumped or lose their jobs, or spend the night in jail." The artists include everyone from the Andrews Sisters to Paul Simon, Lady Gaga, and The Pogues, and includes one of my favorite modern holiday tunes, "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses.

If you're interested in listening to Christmas music year round, check out the 400 or so streaming stations at You'll find genres from traditional to rock, R&B, classical, Christian, Latin, jazz, and more

And since family is a major theme of the holiday season, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention "Aloha, Merry Christmas From Hawaii," a catchy Christmas song which, in the interest of full disclosure, was written and performed by my nephew Ian Stearns. Yes, I know what you're thinking, but he is an accomplished musician who has been honing his chops in various bands over the last two decades, including the bluegrass group Brooklyn Playboys.

Take a listen to it below. It's got a nice, warm island vibe, and who couldn't use a little warmth (or the musically induced reasonable facsimile thereof) this time of year?

  Aloha, Merry Christmas From Hawaii by IanStearns

Look for a batch of new albums for free streaming early next week, as the holiday season wraps up and labels start pushing out their new releases.

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