'Tis the season, and while I've been sorting through this year's Christmas CDs (particularly impressed by Ledisi's It's Christmas, and I'm always impressed by the intelligence of Harry Connick, Jr.'s arrangements, this year on What a Night).
Still, I keep returning to soul and doo wop Christmas music, and I'm listening regularly to Daptone Records' "Soul Santa" free podcast. Alison Fensterstock at Gambit Weekly turned me on to Sir Shambling's Soulful Christmas Web site, where I downloaded a bunch of songs including Marvin Gaye's brilliant "I Want to Come Home for Christmas." I'm not always sure HipChristmas.com is all that hip - or "hip" is defined as "anything that's not Andy Williams". Still, you can hear a lot of Christmas music there, and they post a bunch of downloadable mp3s, the highlight of this year's batch is the Phil Moore Trio's "Blink Before Christmas," a hipster version of "The Night Before Christmas".
Although the song's aren't downloadable, the dean of Christmas music sites is Christmas Music Everyday. As the title implies, the site has a new Christmas song every day with only the occasional relatively known track (today's, for example - Dean Martin's brilliantly lecherous "Baby, It's Cold Outside").