The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 936: The annual Xmas show!

I can pinpoint the exact moment I started thinking about this year’s Ongoing History Christmas show. It was just after 3 pm on Thursday, August 26. I walked into Starbucks and there before me was the year’s first offerings of pumpkin spice lattes. They also had pumpkin muffins. Talk about pumpkin spice creep. We hadn’t even hit Labour Day. Insanity, I mumbled.

The next thought that came into my head was “It won’t be long before a bunch of radio stations start flipping to their annual all-Christmas music programming.” (The first in North America seems to have been an Ohio station that moved to that format on October 1.) And that led to “I wonder what I’m going to play on my annual Christmas show this year?”

An interesting thing has happened as the result of this explosion in all-Christmas music radio stations. A new market for holiday music was created. Unlike, say, 30 years ago, when there was a set and finite number of annual Christmas songs, that universe has exploded. Everybody is issuing holiday tunes now.

I blame people like Michael Buble and Josh Grobin and (of course!) Mariah Carey. When they started having big evergreen Christmas hits, everyone else jumped in with their own holiday records. Now there’s too much mainstream Christmas music.

But this is where I come in. I have once collected some decidedly non-mainstream holiday fare as something of an antidote to what all those other radio stations are doing. I’m fighting back.

Fair warning, though. This program is not for everyone, so don’t be calling or emailing me to complain.

Songs on this program:

  • New Found Glory, Holiday Records
  • Petrol Girls, I’ll Give You MFs Christmas
  • MxPx, Hold Your Tongue and Say Apple
  • Hawksley Workman, Indie Rock Christmas
  • Frostbite Fiction, Pacific Christmas
  • Too Much Joy, Ruby Left Something Underneath the Christmas Tree
  • Sir Noah Shark, Green Christmas
  • Fake Shark, Foreign Christmas
  • Arkells, The Last Christmas (aWe Ever Spend Apart)
  • Eagles of Death Metal, Put a Little Love in Your Heart
  • Henry Rollins, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

And here’s your playlist courtesy of Eric Wilhite.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s, and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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