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3 makes a trend: More Christmas love from Scott Lucas, Kanye West, Boy Least Likely To

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We've already listed our holiday CD picks and some great Christmas-themed shows, but here's some more for the last days before the big day:

Whatever happened to holiday variety shows? Remember the Johnny Cash specials in the late '70s? They retreated to the cool bars. Scott Lucas & the Married Men, the rootsy side project from the Local H singer-guitarist, will present "The Hideout Holiday Music Hour" at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabanasia ($8). It's Lucas' own homage to "A Prairie Home Companion."


"At first we were only going to do a couple of Christmas songs, but we got carried away," Lucas said in an announcement. "We wanted to fashion a show after old-time Christmas radio specials -- like "A Prairie Home Companion," but also with an almost Opry-type of vibe. And the Hideout is perfect for that."

Can't make it. Tune into the Married Men site while opening gifts on Dec. 25 for a broadcast of the show.

KANYE WEST.jpgWe rounded up a tepid bunch of new Christmas albums earlier, but the real action seems to be giveaway downloads of Christmas songs, from Beach House (Pitchfork has a new holiday song!) and Coldplay to DJ Jazzy Jeff's contribution (wha?!) and none other than a special Christmas gift from Kanye West. His new track, "Christmas in Harlem," can be downloaded here. Have a listen ...

Xmas xtra: XO, a PR group for indie rock bands, puts together a great free Christmas comp each year. Dig the sweet cheer of the Piney Gir tracks, the irresistibly catchy track from the Winter Sounds, plus a cameo from Billy Bob Thornton.

The best new Christmas album of 2010 crept up on me. The Boy Least Likely To is a British indie-pop duo, surely named after the Morrissey song; they've been together about 10 years making the kind of breezy soft-voiced pop that's landed them a couple of Apple commercials. After last year's "Law of the Playground," only their second album, they turned to the holidays and this year delivered "Christmas Special," a spot-on set of nearly all original holiday songs.

One of them is "George and Andrew," a dreamy tale about a holiday reunion between the founders of Wham! -- authors of what's become a Christmas classic in recent years, the song "Last Christmas." Here's the video ...

The album's on iTunes and here. Free downloads of other songs: the great Christmas breakup tune "Blue Spruce Needles" and "Christmas Isn't Christmas."

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That Beach House song was worth listening to, though not as great as anything from the Teenage Dream album. Those of us who are secret or public Christmas music fans really appreciate you posting links to all this material.

The one caution is that the site that housed the Kanye track was a little sketchy. Clicking on a download link lead to a site called "Hulkshare", which had buttons that lead to more download buttons. This is a constant problem with trying to listen to hip hop tracks early from anyone. You get a link and it leads to another link which leads to a third link. One is never sure if one is getting the real track, something fake, or a computer virus.

Also, I really do like The Boy Least Likely To songs. It's hard to beat the George/Andrew reunion song, nevertheless the rest of the songs are clever and fun to listen to.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on December 16, 2010 6:00 PM.

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