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The holiday season is upon us yet again, and nothing helps get you through those elbow-throwing, peppermint mocha-guzzling, hitting-the-mall-before-the-sun's-up days of gift shopping like a great holiday playlist featuring all your indie favs. From Los Bitchos' groovy instrumentals to the youthful angsty goodness of The Linda Lindas, we've got just what you need to survive and thrive your way through Christmas. Here's a list of BUST-approved best new holiday music of 2022, including a Spotify playlist at the end of the article. 

Los Bitchos

Los Chrismos” is an instrumental mariachi-esque invitation to groove and jive, served up hot and ready by Los Bitchos. This four-piece girl band from London is known for their 70s-influenced sound and 80s-tastic clothing. The expanded edition of Let the Festivities Begin!, their recent holiday album, is set to release on November 18th so get your eggnog and leg warmers ready.

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The Linda Lindas

Groovy Xmas” is a fun, young sound that gives major Scott Pilgrim and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist vibes, perfect for easing into the Christmas music season. Even if you’re not huge on holiday tunes, this indie rock bop will get your toes tapping. The Linda Lindas is made up of four women from Asian and Latina backgrounds, so they’ve tossed some cultural shoutouts to their audience with the lyrics, “Free tamales every day for weeks, "making this Christmas tune a great inclusive addition to your holiday party playlist.

Laufey

Laufey’s new holiday single “The Christmas Waltz” is inspired by Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker and it shows through her melodic, timeless vocals reminiscent of young Judy Garland. It’s impossible to not be enchanted by Laufey’s exquisite voice and the dreamlike orchestral backdrop. This rendition of the classic holiday song is backed by a kid’s choir to drive home that magical and hopeful warmth that will wrap you like a blanket on Christmas Eve. Plus, don’t forget your dancing shoes, because the name holds true as the song is set to three-quarters time, perfect for a New Year's Eve waltz.

Mayyadda

Minneapolis-based R&B artists Mayyadda’s holiday EP Holiday Joint drop includes five groovy AF tracks that you’re going to want at the top of your winter playlist. Her covers of classic Christmas tunes bring a modern flair to the overplayed winter anthems, giving new life to songs like “Jingle Bells”, “Silent Night”, and “Winter Wonderland”. Mayyadda’s intention with her music is to provide comfort for herself and her audience and it shows through warm guitar riffs, stacked vocal layers, and gentle beats - perfect for snowy nights and brisk holiday mornings.

Leanna Firestone

Think Mean Girls' “Jingle Bell Rock” routine with all the early 2000s attitude and flirty flair and you have Leanna Firestone’s “Santa Baby” rendition. She recounts all the boys she hasn’t kissed, all the fun she’s missed, and the convertible she wants (light blue, duh) backed by stupidly catchy beats to jazz up this holiday classic. With the giggly, girly vocals and cell phone ringtone overlays, you’ll be writing your crush’s name on your wishlist to Santa and popping bubble gum all Christmas Eve night long. 

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Dolly Parton

Queen of country Dolly Parton is treating her listeners to a deluxe release of her 2020 holiday album A Holly Dolly Christmas with some new songs scattered throughout such as “A Smoky Mountain Christmas” and a cover of the Christmas classic “Silent Night”. For half of the album, she’s joined by friends like Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus, Rod Stewart, Michael Buble, Jimmy Fallon, and Randy Parton, and Willie Nelson. The Tenessee-born music icon’s sweet personality and ability to make friends with all who meet her come through loud and clear in this album, amplifying that giving holiday spirit.

Rosie Thomas & Sufjan Stevens

Rosie Thomas and Sufjan Stevens, both originally from Michigan, hit us with another lovely melody to carry us into the holiday season, "We Should Be Together". This Christmas number, though soft and sweet, is a more melancholic look at this wintry time of year. Thomas and Stevens deliver bittersweet lyrics like, “The pieces wouldn’t fit, not a tight enough knit for us to make it through the winter”, hitting the tone of loneliness that comes with being in a messy relationship or a recent breakup during a time that should be comforting and celebrated. 

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When Christmas Comes Again

Grentperez

Youtube star Grentperez’s holiday track “When Christmas Comes Again” is a light, bossa nova-influenced bop that will make you want to lay on the beach as well as star in a Hallmark-esque holiday montage, and I love it. The Sydney-born artist has won the title of Youtube Music’s “Artist on the Rise” in New Zealand and Australia and plans to head to North America for his Spring 2023 tour.

Titus Andronicus

For a different type of holiday song that’s less “cozy up by the fire with cocoa,” and more outdoor bonfires and drinks with friends, “The Drummer Boy” by Titus Andronicus is the one for you. Set to the music of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” with lyrics that tell the nativity story from the Little Drummer Boy’s perspective, this parody song will have you dancing on tables and hugging everyone you see. The gruff vocals matched with a widely loved tune make this holiday single one that would make “Weird Al” Yankovic proud.

 

Emma lives in Appleton, WI where she is pursuing a degree in creative writing and publishing. She fills her time by writing poetry, watching Gilmore Girls, and playing board games with her husband.