Like pretty much all types of music, a very high percentage* of Christmas music that comes out each year is crap. Most of it is bland, overproduced, extremely saccharine, and cheesy. Or, if some indie band wants to put their stamp on Yuletide songs, it may be underproduced, discordant, and drenched in feedback. This year is no exception. Only two full length albums honked my bobo this year.
Pink Martini - Joy to the World: These multicultural folks put on a heck of a live show and, based on their back catalog, I was expecting all sorts of sublime merriment. I was only a *tad* disappointed, but it's still better than pretty much the rest of the stuff out this season. It's twinkly, twirly, and very international. It's no wonder that Starbucks commissioned this album. But don't hold that against the band.
Christabel and the Jons - The Christmas Album: This band is completely new to me, but another blog recommended it and, wow, I'm impressed. The Squirrel Nut Zippers' Christmas Caravan is one of my favorite seasonal albums and this one sounds like its spiritual successor. It's jazzy, swinging, and brassy. I love it.
These two new albums will surely join my other favorites at the forefront of my hifi's festive rotation.
*I'd say a good 70% or so, but then again, I have a very high threshold for Christmas music. Your results may vary. For reference, I maintain that a good 90% of all music releases range from "blah" to "sucks".