Anyone following the work of musician Aaron Strumpel will know that he is increasingly dangerous and defiant of musical convention. And so he wishes to offer you a Christmas gift in the form of a three track EP, at no charge to your good or bad selves.

Yes, it features three well known Christmas tracks, and is available for free from his website ( It will also, most likely, neatly divide people into two camps – those who relish his wild, crazy, bombastic approach to writing, and those who just don’t get it, whatever the heck “it” is anyway.

I’m in camp one. I absolutely love this dude, the music he makes and the beating heart that pours out so much into his songwriting, recording and production. This very statement may cause you to distrust my musical recommendations from this day forward, but so be it – I’m a Strumpel fan, period.

The musical canvas is a fitting blend of modern and traditional, as trumpets, jingling bells, and vocal choruses are filtered through Aaron’s cacophony pedal (at least, that’s what I suspect he uses). It’s a joyful noise and it requires some adjustment to your expectations about music. Think John Coltrane and Miles Davis in some of their more free form moods and you’re on the right track. But rest assured that this “noise” is actually the fruit of much musical study and a profound growth in both knowledge and freedom of expression.

Whilst the rest of the industry tirelessly churns out rehashes of familiar arrangements of traditional tunes, or tries to convince us that more songs about Santa are helpful to our enjoyment of this most festive of seasons, Strumpel’s Christmas EP is going in my playlist next to Sufjan, Bob Dylan, Jars of Clay and some more traditional old favorites.

Thanks for the gift, Aaron – keep being wild and Merry Christmas to you.