It’s that time of the year again, and we’ve been hard at work scouring the net for new Christmas tunes by Canadian artists. See what we’ve found below, and feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (or comment) if we’ve missed something.
Of course we couldn’t go without mentioning this beautiful new tune, which we premiered last month. This melodic piano tune is best served with a fresh sprinkling of snow. It’s also available for free download until the end of December, so get it while it’s hot (or cold, given the season).
It’s been a busy year for Toronto’s Skydiggers, who are this year celebrating their 25th anniversary of being a band. Their final of four releases this year is Angels, a five-song EP with a mix of traditional songs and covers of more modern seasonal tunes from the likes of The Pretenders and Andrew Cash. A particular highlight is the closer, a rousing rendition of “Good King Wenceslas.” The EP is available from MapleMusic.
Zunior’s annual holiday tradition is back, this time featuring a candy-focused set of tunes from some blog favourites like Baby Eagle, The Burning Hell and Dog is Blue. Better yet, 100 per cent of the proceeds of the album go toward the Daily Bread food bank. The collection runs the gamut from folk to electronic to rock effortlessly while also managing to be very original.
Memoryhouse – “Christmas Island (The Andrew Sisters Cover)”
Indie-pop due Memoryhouse are making things a little more tropical this season (move over “Mele Kalikimaka”) with a cover of The Andrew Sisters’ “Christmas Island.” With more pop, zing, and little more dreamin’ than the original version, to make it even more sweet, all proceeds of “Christmas Island” are going to local animal shelters.
Factories & Alleyways – A Factories & Alleyways Christmas
After releasing their LP Canadiana in June, the Vancouver folk/blues-y band Factories & Alleyways are back with a festive single that is an excellent addition to your sad-sack Christmas playlist. (You don’t have a sad Christmas playlist?! You should!) In a gentler folk sound like that of Canadiana, “It’s Christmas Time Again,” despite its more melancholic sound, actually has some fun lyrics including, “Look what Santa brought me/Watching junior hockey/Yeah it’s Christmas Time Again.”
In a big injection of cheer, the b-side of their single has Factories & Alleyways giving their all to channel Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band for a very, very fun cover of “Merry Christmas Baby.”
This is your ideal EP to play at a Christmas party in which heavy drinking is involved. The dudes of Gnarwalz and Sheepman got together last year and recorded in what sounds like a very fun environment—there’s lots of laughter and raucous singing as they go through traditional songs like “Good King Wenceslas” and “Silent Night,” while cranking out a couple of originals “Christmastime in 311” (featuring the as-yet-unknown 311 Crew, apparently making their debut guest appearance).
Holy hell, this was unexpected. The warm country tones that masked the sadness of the John Prine original are replaced with the band’s idiosyncratic “cinematic” feel, making this a very eerie take. Lisa Conway kills the vocals on this song, and there’s also a wicked sax section two-thirds through the song. We can dig it.
Jean-Paul de Roover (feat. Nick Sherman) – “Go Tell It On the Mountain”
This old religious classic gets an upbeat make-over thanks to Jean-Paul de Roover and Nick Sherman as part of de Roover’s ongoing Songs For The Holidays collection. In a fast-paced, folk-pop setting, a certain somebody’s birthday is announced. Listen close for some clever revised lyrics – is that “Oh, Susanna”?!
A Kinsella Christmas
If seems like only yesterday when we were talking about the Edmonton record label, Kinsella…actually, I think it was yesterday. Well, Kinsella is back and offering up an EP full of original Christmas tunes by their label lineup: Duplekita, Cantoo, and Brock Tyler. Along with the cute album art, the various moveable pop jams make this a great add to your collection.
Abbotsford’s vast music knowledge base Birds of Canada have collected a very diverse compilation that according to them is, “for sledding, unwrapping gifts, stringing up lights, mulling apple cider, getting stuck in traffic jams on the way to the mall, 3 ferry sailing waits, and all things wintery.” Getting into the festive spirit while discovering new bands is also a guarantee.
Another west coast enterprise, Light Organ Records are back with a new seasonally festive release. Featuring Mounties, The Fugitives, and Fake Shark Real Zombie, besides adding even MORE groovy Christmas tunes to your jamming playlist, you will also learn that Winona Ryder hates Christmas…
Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada 5
And last but certainly not least, when the snow starts to fall around these owl-y parts we all get very, VERY excited for the latest edition of the Ho! Ho! Ho! collection to come out. All of our excitement was certainly not lost with this year’s batch of holiday songs featuring a BEAUTIFUL cover of an unreleased song by The Weather Station from Paper Beat Scissors & Mike Feuerstack, a gritty number from Les Breastfeeders, a downright funky cover of “Winter Wonderland” from the mysterious Christmastheim, and a quiet folk love song from our pal, The Mountains and The Trees.