Holidaze

5 New Holiday Albums For Your Halloween Horror

Right now, as soon as you can either get to year nearest music retailer or click over to iTunes or Amazon, you can buy the first holiday-themed 2012 album we have heard of, Jason Gray's Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy. If that sounds early to you, well, yeah, but we actually got the email announcing the album back in early August, when we were still leaving the refrigerator open at night to give our beleagured window-unit AC a break.

Gray (no relation) is a Minneapolis-based Christian singer-songwriter whose previous album, 2011's A Way to See In the Dark, reached No. 15 on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart and even grazed the magazine's Heatseekers chart as well. So for him, a Christmas album -- one with actual hymns, too -- is both a perfectly logical career move and something he no doubt put a lot of time and care in creating.

That would make Gray the exception. Releasing holiday albums while CVS is still selling Halloween candy is an old tradition within the music business, almost as old as squeezing out totally superfluous product any rational-minded consumer could scarcely believe anyone would actually buy, let alone manufacture. We don't know what else might lie in store, but based on the holiday-record PR we've gotten here so far at Rocks Off HQ, 2012 is already such an appalling year we couldn't help but call on Willie Soke from Bad Santa for a few words of comfort and joy.

5. Celtic Woman, Home for Christmas

Terrifying Email Headline: "CELTIC WOMAN TO RELEASE SECOND HOLIDAY ALBUM, ENTITLED HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, ON OCTOBER 9TH"

Boilerplate PR Copy: "This is the all-female Irish music ensemble's second Christmas album and features such holiday favorites as 'Winter Wonderland, 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' and the Christmas classic 'Silent Night.'"

Oddest Guest Appearance: Celtic Woman's touring company, with a full symphony orchestra, will be guesting at College Station's Rudder Arena December 18 on their "2012 Christmas Celebration Symphony Tour."

Bad Santa Says: "Somebody drop you on your fucking head?"

4. Chicago, Ultimate Christmas Collection

Terrifying Email Headline: "Chicago's New 'Ultimate Christmas Collection' Concocts 2-Hour, 34-Song Holiday Party"

Boilerplate PR Copy: "Hailed as one of the 'most important bands in music since the dawn of the rock and roll era' by former President Bill Clinton, Chicago is the first American band to chart Top 40 albums in five consecutive decades and Billboard's highest charting American band of all time."

Oddest Guest Appearance: Steve Cropper of Booker T & the MGs and the Blues Brothers Band on "Rockin' and Rollin' on Christmas Day," narrowly beating out '70s folk-rockers America ("I Saw Three Ships") and Dolly Parton ("Wonderful Christmas Time")

Bad Santa Says: "Wanna see some magic? OK, let's watch you disappear!"

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray