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Locally crafted Christmas tunes

Yule listen



A strong batch of locally crafted Christmas tunes closes a busy year in music: At the top of the heap sits a five-song collaborative split between BIRDS & ARROWS and BUTTERFLIES. Though the former is texture-rich, intimacy-driven chamber country, and the latter is an indie rock band familiar with orchestral flourishes, Songs to Trim Your Tree By somehow coheres. Seasonal gruff yields to romantic happiness on the Birds and Arrows original "Our Christmas," while Butterflies' take on "Up on the Housetop" winds the standard through smart rhythm shifts and chiming guitars. Hear it for free at butterflies.bandcamp.com.

Meanwhile, BRANTLEY FAMILY BAND—led by Heidi Brantley and former Ashley Stove guitarist and Bull City leader Jim Brantley, with occasional contributions from friends like Clay Merritt and drummer Matt McCaughan—added four tunes to its expanding annual Christmas playlist at www.thebrantleyfamilyband.com. There's an electronic "Jingle Bell Rock" and a layered acoustic guitar take on "Linus and Lucy." This year's standout, though, is a beautiful take on "Here Comes Santa Claus," which is halfway to a Jim O'Rourke threeway ...

Jubal Creech's "Twas the Jazz Before Christmas," the closing track on HAVE A HOLLY RALEIGH KIDSMAS, remains worthy of the 12-song LP's price tag itself. The hilarious tune, where Santa becomes a cool jazz cat blowing a mean sax solo from a red Cadillac, gets support from tracks by The Rosebuds, The Proclivities (who have a Christmas album of their own), The Beast and more ...

I WAS TOTALLY DESTROYING IT's Rachel Anne Hirsh and John Booker build a Kate Bush-sized dream world of synths and drum pads on their rendition of "The Coventry Carol," a tune dating to the 16th century that laments Herod's decree for the Massacre of the Innocents. Visit www.iwtdi.blogspot.com ...

MEGAFAUN contributed to the online holiday mixtape curated by its label, Hometapes of Portland, Ore. Their take on "I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing" keeps it relatively simple for Megafaun, putting the washing tide of a drone beneath unison singing, banjo, acoustic guitar and too-brief harmonica lines. Visit www.hometapes.tumblr.com ...

LONNIE WALKER joins Tom Tom Club and Sharon Van Etten on a holiday comp for charity curated by New York music blog Ear Farm. See www.earfarm.com for their "Christmastime in Hell" ...

And the always irreverent TERRY ANDERSON just dropped a new seasonal 7", Have a Horny Christmas. Put the kids to bed and head to his Christmas Day show at The Pour House to land a copy.

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