Jeepster – 2000 – 72 minutes

Fed up with Nat’s dulcet tones on 'The Christmas Song' and sick of Bing’s unctuous crooning of 'White Christmas'? Found that even The Pogues bitter-sweet 'Fairytale of New York' has lost its sting from hearing it once too many times during the Christmas shopping? In the market for something completely different to play on your new stereo this Christmas? Well then get your hands on this Cool Cool Christmas compilation from London radio station Xfm. Together with Jeepster Recordings (home of indie bands such as Belle and Sebastian, Looper and Snow Patrol), Xfm has gathered together many of the bands that you've been listening to during the year – Grandaddy, Giant Sand, Teenage Fanclub, Calexico, The Dandy Warhols – to give their own stab at a Christmas song.

Some of the songs are downright silly (Grandaddy's 'Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland' for example) but most of the bands on this album took things a little more seriously. Wayne Coyle of The Flaming Lips quavers his way through the classic 'White Christmas' like Marley’s singing ghost and Drugstore’s languid dreamy lullaby 'Maybe At Christmas Time' leads gently into a beautiful ethereal version of 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel' by the members of Belle and Sebastian. But it's far from being all sweetness and light – several bands focus on the darker side of the festive season; Giant Sand warn of the dangers of winter driving in the Howe Gelb-penned 'Thank You Dreaded Black Ice, Thank You', while both Departure Lounge and Snow Patrol capture aspects of the heartbreak and loneliness which gets forgotten about at Christmas time ('Christmas Downer', 'When I Get Home For Christmas'). All this - and the profits even go to The Big Issues Charities.

For some other alternative Christmas listening choices get your hands on a copy of the Low 'Christmas' ep (Tugboat Records); Jane Siberry’s wonderful mixture of traditional carols and her own songs on 'Child (Music For the Festive Season)' (Sheba Records) or even 'We Love Yule' from the We Love You label, just to watch your mother hum along to Shawn Lee's 'I'll Be F*****G You This Christmas'.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland (Grandaddy) - Little Drummer Boy (The Dandy Warhols) - Every Day Is Christmas (The Webb Brothers) - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas (Eels) - Feliz Navidad (El Vez) - Christmas In Waikiki (Morgan) - Maybe At Christmas Time (Drugstore) - O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Belle & Sebastian) - Thank You Dreaded Black Ice, Thank You (Giant Sand) - White Christmas (The Flaming Lips (Demo for Tom Waits)) - My Christmas Prayer (Saint Etienne) - Christmas Downer (Departure Lounge) - I Believe In Father Christmas (Six By Seven) - When I Get Home For Christmas (Snow Patrol) - Spiritual Guidance (Titan) - Christmas Boogaloo (Big Boss Man) - Christmas Eve (Teenage Fanclub) - Gift X-Change (Calexico) - Hwiangerdd Mair (Gorky's Zygotic Mynci) - Just Like Christmas (Low) - In The Bleak Midwinter (Lauren Laverne).