Sounds for the Season: Music for Advent and Christmas 2012

December 2, 2012 is the start of the Christian New Year and the beginning of Advent (the season before the twelve days of Christmas.) Are you overwhelmed by the thought of having to listen to the same four Christmas albums you have had in your holiday playlist for the last ten years?

Fear not. Here are some new tunes, a collection of some of the music that I will be listening to over the course of the next few weeks. You can stream most of these albums right from this page, but consider investing in a few of these to add to your own collection. The majority of these releases were produced by independent artist who count on folks to buy their music so they can continue to make new sounds. Enjoy!

Sufjan Stevens – Silver and Gold
Musical and artistic genius. Utter sincerity juxtaposed against the profanity of Christmas kitch, “Ah holy Jesus, why hast thou offended?”

Timbre – Silent Night
“Indie” Harp sensation from Nashville, TN. Stark, beautiful, refreshing, yet classic. Thanks to Bruce Benedict of Cardiphonia for this link.


Over the Rhine – Snow Angels
Americana Christmas pop. Gutsy and original.

Stream and download the entire album for free



Castle Island Hymns – Christmas
Well produced and creative. New takes on several standards, with two of the best new Christmas originals I have ever heard (“Gloria” and “Alleluia”). Straddles the line between indie and commercial pop…very accesible, to be enjoyed by all.

Bill Mallonee – Yonder Shines the Infant Light

Folksy authenticity that exudes the beauty and ugliness of Incarnation.

Cardiphonia – The Mystery of Godliness
A brand new EP from our friend Bruce Benedict. Yet another excellent example of church music done organically and well. My wife Sarah wrote the strings for track seven “Simeon’s Song (Consolation).” Check it out.

Sojourn Music – Advent Songs
Sweeping modern arrangements of old and new. Another good example of an accesible independent release with commercial production value.

Liturgy Fellowship – The Break of Day
An EP from 2003 recorded by a local church in Seattle, WA. I love the fact that they recorded this to tape…”old school” style.

Christ Church – Come Lord Jesus: Songs of Advent
A collaborative EP from the 2011 Advent season. I contributed two original songs to this project and my wife Sarah sings and plays piano. Our friend, Eric Gilbert, produced the album and is the music director at Christ Church East Bay.

And finally…

My favorite commercial Christmas album is Sting’s If on a Winter’s Night…

This is my favorite song off of the album:

One of my favorite indie rock Christmas albums continues to be from a band named Low. The album is called Christmas. Blessed are the humble.