Sunday, December 4, 2011

Xmax 2011: Holiday Tunes - and a GIVEAWAY!!

I am SO super excited to share my 2011 Holiday Xmax playlist with you guys.  I found some REALLY great NEW music this year that I have been rocking out to the past week while I test-drove the playlist.  I've listened to it at home, in the car, at work and even in my sleep! (HAHA, just kidding on that last one).

This year, I am going to include links to some songs where you can download them for FREE.  YES, FREE!!!!  Through this wonderful new service I discovered called NoiseTrade.  Please check them out -- and for more than just holiday music!  It's a really great way to discover new music (and the free part REALLY doesn't hurt either!

And now, without further adieu, I give you........

Xmax 2011 - songs to put you in the holiday spirit

1.   No Stars Can Outshine - Epic Songwriters (this song is one of my most favorites this year on the playlist -- I could seriously listen to this one on repeat). Want their whole album for free?? Get it HERE

    Self described as Acoustic : Indie

2.  Angels We Have Heard on High - Folk Angel (I really love the beat on this one -- toe tapping good!)   Another great find from Noise Trade -- you can download their whole album for FREE HERE

From their NoiseTrade page: "Folk Angel was formed on a cold night in October of 2009. Our desire is to make known the greatness of Jesus Christ and to exalt Him through the music that we create. We write and rearrange traditional Christmas songs, and through that creative process we retell the Gospel story that illuminates all things."

3.  Please Come Home for Christmas - Grace Potter and the Nocturnals 

Rock Genre, has been compared to Janis Joplin.  Great music and I think I'll be checking out some of their non-holiday stuff.  If you like this song, you can download it HERE.

4.  There's Still My Joy - Indigo Girls (I was SO stoked when someone told me that IG had a holiday CD out -- I rushed out to get it immediately -- Amazon had it the cheapest, FYI).

5.  In the Morning - Jack Johnson (Jack Johnson's label, BrushFire Records released Vol 2 of holiday tunes this year -- the whole CD is great in my opinion, but this one is one of my favorites)

6.  FaLaLa - Jim Brickman (a seriously lucky iTunes find, this one has a great jumpy beat to it!)  I think I might be downloading the rest of his album now too!

The album is titled 'All is Calm' and it definitely has a calm and peaceful vibe to it.  In his non-holiday life, Jim Brickman is a talented pianist who sticks to the jazz genre.  He also released a holiday album in 2009.

7.  Hope for Me - Joshua Pearson (I really like his voice) 

Self-described as Folk/Pop -- For fans of:  Ryan Adams, The Swell Season, Feist, Bright Eyes, Coldplay.  This guy is a serious crooner -- you can get two of his songs HERE.

8.  Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel - Laura Cooke (I really wanted to throw a few traditional songs on this collection since I have so many non-traditional songs this year). 

Self-described as Indie/Folk, you can get three of her songs HERE.  She sticks to the Christian & Gospel scene outside of the holidays...

9.  Winter Night - Little & Ashley (this one was a free download on Amazon when I first got it, but it is a great song!)  Apparently they were featured in a Kindle commercial and they have a great positive and joyful feel to their music.

10.  All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey (Ok I lied -- not all of my songs are new this year -- this one is an oldy but goody...and I just couldn't resist.)

11.  Snow Globe - Matt Wertz 

I originally downloaded this song on iTunes (don't know if I paid for it or not, but it is also a bonus track on a full album of his on NoiseTrade, so you can score it for FREE right now.  He's got a great catchy folksy voice, so check him out!  Warning -- he does say the word "Candy Cane" in his song, so if you have a 4 year old in your house who is obsessed with Candy Canes, you may want to limit his exposure to this song otherwise he will be asking you for candy canes repeatedly (not like I speak from experience or anything...)

12.  The Heart of Christmas - Matthew West - another great iTunes find that might have me buying the rest of his album because I really like the sound of his voice...

13.  It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Michael Buble (um, all I have to say is....Michael Buble) - and that is why he gets TWO entries in my 2011 playlist.  :)

14.  White Christmas - Michael Buble and Shania Twain

15.  Winter Moon - Mindy Gledhill
16.  Little Soldier - Mindy Gledhill

I only bought two of the songs off this album originally and then had to go back and get the rest of it because I am so in love with her voice.  Her non-holiday music is also outstanding.  She is going to be one of my new favorites, I think...

17.  Christmas Wish - She & Him - HERE
18.  Silver Bells - She & Him

Because I already knew how much I adore She & Him I purchased this entire album -- and that is also why my playlist features two entries from this talented duo.  If you haven't listened to them before, you NEED to.  I mean seriously -- it's actress Zooey Deschanel and M Ward -- need I say more??!!??

19.  Snow, Snow and Mistletoe - Shelley Adams - from another great NoiseTrade find -- a full compilation CD that you need to check out this album called a RareBird in a Pear Tree Vol 2.  Rarebird records is an independent record company whose style ranges from Americana blue-grass to indie folk rock, and singer-songwriter pop to soul infused art-rock.  There is also a Volume 1 available on Noise Trade.  :)     

20.  Snow - Sleeping at Last -  A group out of Illinois that describes themselves as Alternative/Indie -- you can download their entire album HERE.

21.  Hear the Bells - Vanessa Carlton

The bonus to this holiday album is the awesome acoustic version of A Thousand Miles -- but you won't regret listening to the three holiday songs on this album, either.  And, it's only $3.99 on iTunes, so I totally recommend just getting the whole thing -- she has such a great, relaxing voice!

So, there you have it!  21 songs of holiday cheer and joy brought to you by yours truly!  I am super stoked that most of my selections this year are FREE TO YOU -- but since some of them are not, I am going to stick with tradition and give out a CD to 5 lucky readers.  Just leave a comment on this post with YOUR favorite holiday song for 2011 -- it can be an 'oldie but goodie' like my Mariah Carey addition -- or a brand new one that you just discovered this year! 

I hope you like the songs I picked this year -- I had the playlist set late last week and I have been 'test driving' it all week like I mentioned before.  I really like to do that because sometimes certain songs that speak to me at first quickly get annoying (or vice versa, other songs grow on me).  I could've made a two disc set this year again with all the great music to choose from thanks to NoiseTrade...but I had to cut back because burning all those discs last year was killer.

Looking forward to hearing YOUR favorites this year!


Emily said...

One of my favorite songs is Kenny Loggins-Celebrate me Home. LOVE it! Two albums that I love are James Taylor Christmas and Chris Tomlin's Christmas album! Both so good :)

The Cohen's said...

I can't choose a favorite, because I like so many. But, "Breathe of Heaven" by Amy Grant is one of my favorites for sure. :)

Misty said...

Stef, I ALWAYS love your selection of Holiday music!! My favorite this year is...yes, Drummer Boy by Justin Bieber. I's the Biebs, but I LOVE it!!

I hope I win! I need a volume III of Stef music!

Thanks for sharing!

2Bugaboos said...

It would be really hard for me to pick just one favorite Christmas song because there are so many great ones - both old and new. But I love "Same Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg. It's one of those songs that's never played enough so when I do hear it on the radio, it's a treat!

Sarah Roemer Mrozinski said...

The things I learn about my friends on Facebook! Stef, I'll have to check out your playlist, what a great idea! My favorite...hmmm...that's a hard one I love Christmas music, either O Holy Night by Josh Groban or Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant.

Itty_Bitty_Wittes said...

I bought the She & Him Album. LOVE it!

I need last years! I won and missed the email. :P

I love the Jack Johnson one you picked! Fab!

Hip Hippo Designs said...

Well, I love most Christmas music but I one of my favorites is Wizards in Winter by Trans-Siberian orchestra!

Tiffany | Peanut Blossom said...

Jack Johnson?? Indigo Girls?? Oh my goodness, so glad I saw this!! I have to go check them out stat! Awesome list this year. Love the new blog design and photos. So fun to see the outcome from the wardrobe picks over on Pinterest!