Christmas music can be annoying, cloying and soul-destroying.

If you’ve dialled in your easy-listening radio station only to find Elton John replaced by endless renditions of the same twenty ‘classics’ on a sadistic loop, I have a gift for you this season.

Christmas is a season of depth. Light and life, yes, but also waiting, wandering and wondering. Stars set against a sea of darkness.

I want my Christmas music to dig beneath kitsch and nostalgia towards the depths of the season. I’ve discovered diamonds glistening in the tinsel-tune trash-heap and wrapped them here for your enjoyment.

You’ll find heart-haunting originals from Over the Rhine, a gorgeous cover by Bahamas, the unmistakable croon of Elvis and some beautiful bleak brooding from LCD Soundsystem. This year’s edition brings newly discovered tracks from The Fruit Bats and Aimee Mann, and a new release from yours truly. Yep, I’ve sprinkled my own Christmas covers and originals in here for you, too.

I update this list every year, so let me know what I’ve missed. As it is, I think it’s a magical two hours of holiday shimmer, but nothing’s perfect.

If there’s still a song or two on here that you just cannot stomach, feel free to skip it and let me know. Unless it’s Paul McCartney’s weird echo-experiment, Wonderful Christmastime. I cannot justify my choice, but that one stays!

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