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Alice Baxley

gal-dem selects: our playlist picks, new and old, for the festive season

A seasonal spin on our monthly new music column, featuring holiday tunes by The Linda Lindas, Kadhja Bonet and Alicia Keys.

16 Dec 2022

The year has been challenging – and holidays can be too. That’s why we’ve put together a special edition of gal-dem selects to accompany all the moods of the season; for those seeking good music with a wintery spin.

If you’re already fed up of hearing the same Christmas songs on repeat, but still fancy a touch of something festive, then look no further than our extended December playlist. Whether you’re basting a turkey, stirring the Glögg or simply enduring the cold weather, we’ve selected an hour of alternative seasonal songs: from punk, rap, R&B, pop, swing and salsa, featuring new hits alongside some old classics.

While it’s always the season to listen to good music, the new releases this December have put us into an especially festive mood. Here’s a rundown of the new music highlights:

The Linda Lindas – ‘Groovy Christmas’

After releasing their heartwarming critical smash debut album Growing Up earlier this year, adolescent Los Angeles punk outfit The Linda Lindas are back with an original ode to holidays, ‘Groovy Christmas’. Mentioning their favourite seasonal hits by punk veterans Alice Bag and Redd Kross, The Linda Linda’s said: “We were inspired by them to write our own carol that you can add to your jolly playlist and enjoy at holiday gatherings… We hope you have a very Groovy Xmas and an awesome new year!”

Alicia Keys – ‘December Back 2 June

A soulful R&B hit to be revisited regardless of the time of year, Alicia Keys’ ‘December Back 2 June’ is an uplifting, sweet take on a Christmas love song off her freshly-released holiday album, Santa Baby. “Every season you give reason to love you, from December back to June,” she sings lovingly in the chorus, while a Jackson-5 styled vocal chimes in with the line “It’s just Christmastime”. With laid back beats and her heartfelt words, the track combines all the standout elements of a Keys song, timeless yet somehow nostalgic.

Kadhja Bonet – ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’

LA-based multi-instrumentalist Kadhja Bonet releases this year’s most dreamy holiday record with California Holiday. Her soft, octave-spanning vocal entwines serendipitously with jazzy rhythm, evoking the sunshine on a temperate West Coast day in December. What she describes as a “modern take on the typical magical Christmas story”, Bonet’s cover of ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ particularly stands out for its lush mellowness, as does the poignant ‘Little Christmas Tree’, an experimental number that nods to Kate Bush.

Tkay Maidza – ‘Nights in December’

“I had a trip where I spent a winter in New York, and it was really beautiful,” shares Tkay. “So I almost wanted to recreate that feeling in a song.” Read the full blurb by Kayleigh Watson in gal-dem selects: November here.