Even though Christmas season should begin the day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas albums begin rolling in as early as September, with more and more coming each week. If you want to stay up to date on the latest Christmas albums, here are five that were released this past week (the week of Nov. 9).
1. Christmas At Downton Abbey
If you ever saw one of the Downton Abbey Christmas specials and found yourself wishing that the entire show were like that, then you're in luck: the BBC series released a massive, 45-song collection of Christmas songs this week. The double-album features performances of classic Christmas carols from Downton Abbey stars Elizabeth McGovern (who is also the singer of folk band Sadie and the Hotheads), Julian Ovenden, and Jim Carter. As can be expected of something coming from Downton Abbey, the music is all very classy and old-fashioned.
2. Johnnyswim - A Johnnyswim Christmas
Nashville folk pop duo Johnnyswim released a new seven-track EP titled A Johnnyswim Christmas, which features some original compositions alongside classic tracks such as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "O Come All Ye Faithful." Though Johnnyswim is far folkier than their Nashville contemporaries, there's still an unmistakable country twang to these songs, particularly in the vocal harmonies.
3. Jon McLaughlin - The Christmas EP
Singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin (not to be confused with the legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra guitarist John McLaughlin) self-released an EP of Christmas tunes this week, which appears to be a compilation of Christmas tracks that he's released over the years. These include standards such as "The Christmas Song" and "Jingle Bells," but also original songs such as his soulful 2010 single "Merry, Merry Christmas Everyone."
4. Mark Kozelek - Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols
Yes, that Mark Kozelek, as in the Sun Kil Moon frontman whose 2014 songs include "Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes" and "War On Drugs: Suck My C**k." If you like your Christmas songs to come with a bit more folk melancholy and actually sound like a dead winter landscape, Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols is right up your alley. It's not all grim, though; his rendition of "Christmas Time is Here" comes complete with some charming spoken-word dialogue from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
5. Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever Soundtrack
Welcome to the United States of America in 2014, where a weird-looking cat can get its own TV Christmas special. Though Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever premieres on Nov. 29, the movie' soundtrack was released this week, which includes the 2013 Christmas single "Hard To Be A Cat At Christmas."