OurStage's 2013 Gift Guide

Are you one of those foolish people who thinks the holidays are about getting together with loved ones to share some laughs, eat a delicious meal, and make memories that you’ll cherish for the rest of your lives? HA. Sucker. The holidays exist for one reason: proving to your friends and family that you love them more than they love you with over the top spending on extravagant gifts. And with less than three weeks until Christmas day, time is running out to empty your bank account in the hopes of impressing the people in your life.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Welcome to OurStage’s 2013 gift-giving guide. If you have a music lover on your list this year, any of these items will be sure to impress, proving once and for all that you are the better friend/family member/lover. Merry merry, y’all.

1. Tickets

When it comes to buying presents for the music fan in your life, nothing is better than a pair of tickets to see their favorite band live. They get an unforgettable night of music with an artist they love, you get the joy of giving them a gift that’s also kind of for yourself. (“Oh my god, you want me to take the other ticket to the Neutral Milk Hotel show? It’s totally fine if you want to take someone else. Well, if you’re sure…”)

2. A record player

Sure, this whole vinyl revival has been going on for a few years now, but I’m pretty sure we all have that friend who has yet to give up their mp3 player because they think it’s just a fad. For as little as $50.oo you can get that uninformed goon a record player so that they, too, can become a pretentious pseudo-audiophile who gushes over how much warmer everything sounds on vinyl. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
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Never Shout Never Announce 'Christmas' EP, Stream New Song

OS Members Never Shout Never have joined a long-running industry tradition and announced plans to release their own collection of holiday music just in time for reindeer to land on your roof.

Never Shout Never shared with fans their plans to release new EP, titled Christmas, on November 25 of this year. The album will be a collection of holiday songs, including at least one original song. That track, titled “Everything Is Cool,” can be streamed starting today, exclusively on Alternative Press.

So what do NSN bring to the holiday table? For starters, “Everything Is Cool” harkens back to the group’s early days of creating mainly acoustic songs built on easy-to-memorize lyricism. The “cool” in the title refers to the climate, and as the track plays on, frontman Christofer Drew recounts the many things that come to mind when thinking of the holiday season. It’s not likely to be a modern classic, but it’s certainly a refreshing new take on the spirit of the season.

Preorders for the Christmas EP have yet to be announced, but we expect at least a handful of purchase options will be unveiled in the weeks ahead. Follow OurStage on Twitter to ensure you never miss an update.

Bad Religion Announce Holiday Album, Stream "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"

Punk icons Bad Religion have helped spawn more basement-dwelling bands than perhaps any other group of the last 30 years. They could easily take time off or retire, but every two-three years the members come together and create albums that remind us why they’ve been genre staples for so long. 2013 is different. Instead of hitting the studio and delivering a dozen new anthems for aging punks, the members of Bad Religion have crafted their first holiday release, and today we’re excited to present you with the first single.

According to a new press release, Bad Religion will release an album titled Christmas Songs this November through Epitaph Records, the label owned by their guitarist Brett Gurewitz. The album will feature a few original tracks alongside a slew of holiday staples, including a number of songs most will associate with Christian holiday traditions. One of those, the classic “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” has been released to help promote the album’s arrival. You can stream the single at the end of this post.

Christianity and Bad Religion are two things that probably shouldn’t go together, but it’s hard to deny the punk fury on this cover. The band has definitely made it their own, which makes us excited for the rest of the release. Do you agree? Comment below and let us know your thoughts on this cover. (more…)

Kelly Clarkson Debuts "Underneath The Tree"

First Mary J. Blige, now America’s first reality show idol? I guess the holiday season is officially underway.

There comes a point in the career of most pop stars when they eventually cash in on tradition and release a collection of reworked holiday classics. This is the year Kelly Clarkson makes that move, and, in addition to delivering new versions of some of your favorite holiday sing-a-longs, she’s also offering a potential new classic with her single “Underneath The Tree.” The track addresses that key aspect of Christmas in an upbeat fashion that falls somewhere between “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” and *NSYNC˜s Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. You can stream the single below.

It takes a lot to make me love original holiday songs, but there is something so insanely catchy about “Underneath The Tree” that you know from your first listen it will soon be a staple at every Chrismas party, office holiday celebration, and drunken get-together in between. Comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Wrapped In Red, the holiday themed release from Kelly Clarkson, hits stores October 29. (more…)

Mary J. Blige Wins Christmas Music Race, Streams Holiday Song

Every year, the Christmas season starts earlier. It seems like more and more marketers view the beginning of October as the starting line to the holiday shopping season. Stores begin to include holiday merchandise on shelves, talk of the infamous ‘black Friday specials’ begins, and at least one major record label rushes to get their big seasonal releases on shelves ahead of the competition. In 2013, the winner for the first big seasonal release is Mary J. Blige, and starting today you can stream her version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” via our friends at VIBE.

If you’ve heard one over-orchestrated version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” you’ve heard them all, and though Blige’s signature voice is as pristine as ever, there is simply not much unique about her take on the classic song. Still, Mary blesses us so rarely with new material these days it’s comforting to know she can still deliver when she wants to, and surely fans of Blige and fans of, well, Christmastime, will fall for this reinterpretation.

If you would like to hear more holiday classic reworked by Mary J. Blige, you’re in luck! The pop icon will release her seasonal album, A Mary Christmas, on October 15.

Frank Turner Releases "Four Simple Words"

Frank Turner

Yesterday may have been Christmas, but that doesn’t mean today doesn’t hold a little musical present for the Frank Turner lovers out there. Turner has released a new track called “Four Simple Words” off his forthcoming untitled album. The track, which is available for free download via Xtra Mile Recordings, is quirky, upbeat, and classically Turner, leaving expectations high for the album’s spring 2013 release.

You can listen for yourself after the jump and let us know your thoughts in the comments! (more…)