‘Tis the season for Christmas music which means ‘tis the season for rehashed and outworn classic Christmas standards. Every year, however, there are a handful of artists who offer renditions of not-so-well-known and/or original Christmas music. Last year, I particularly enjoyed My Favorite Gifts, from Ramseur Records, featuring Christmas music done by contemporary alt-country favorites—such as The Avett Brothers, Jessica Lea and David Mayfield, and Paleface,to name a few.
This year, it seems Hey Rosetta!, the up-and-coming Canadian indie sextet, are the ones to give us an intriguing taste of Christmas music, with new EP: A Cup of Kindness Yet. The indie-jammers perform four Christmas tunes: “Carry Me Home,” “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” “The First Snow,” and “New Year Song.” Right from the beginning, the album demands attention. Never have I heard a decent attempt at Christmas music by an indie band using very indie textures and timbre. It’s really well done and can stand on its own as a solid EP, let alone a decent Christmas album.
“First Snow,” track three, is a contemptuous ode to the darkness of winter’s darkness and dismality. Beautiful and slow, it stirs visions of faint drifting snowflakes paired with deep and dour cognizance. A piano, strings, and noise complete this track behind sentimental vocals. The first track is notable for its well-done indie-fication of stereotypical Christmas elements like sleigh bells and a female choir. Indeed the music is happy and bubbly but you’d be intrigued with the lyrical content it’s paired with. “O Come O Come Emmanuel” is the most non-traditional sounding Christmas song of the four. This spacey version of a traditional Judeo-Christian Christmas includes distorted guitar breakdowns and an alternative feel. It’s pretty awesome. Last song, “New Year Song,” has perhaps the most positive lyrics and sentiment than the other three tracks on A Cup of Kindness Yet. An indie rehash of “Auld Lang Syne,” “New Year Song” pays tribute to the rebirth of a new year. It’s a more refreshingly applicable version of an old favorite we have otherwise heard one too many times.
Cheers, Hey Rosetta!, and thanks for some new Christmas music. No offense to the wonderful tunes of drunk crooners, Dean Martin and ole Blue Eyes were getting a touch stale.