Happy Holidays! Check out these overlooked Canadian holiday gems

December 21, 2015

It’s been a slow news week in Canadian music, so besides a few updates at the bottom of this post with the newsiest of the news stories, Music News Monday, for its last week of 2015, is today Merry Christmas Monday. I’ve compiled some rarely heard Canadian holiday rarities you might want to add to the playlist while sipping egg nog by the fireplace this week.

See you next year!


Bob & Doug McKenzie – “12 Days of (Canadian) Christmas”

National heroes Bob & Doug McKenzie (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) have long been a part of Canada’s national comedic identity, but they hit the tinsel-covered nail on the head here with their “Canadian” version of “12 Days of Christmas”. It’d be unfair to give away the list of things, but suffice to say, if you’ve ever had a particularly hoser holiday, you’ll get it.


David Myles – “Santa Never Brings Me a Banjo”

New Brunswick-born singer/songwriter/crooner David Myles crafted this little ditty last year about a kid wondering out loud why there’s never a twangy 5-string under the tree. It’s upbeat and bouncy, but if you’ve ever pined for an annoying instrument, it might be a little sad, too. Although, parents will certainly understand why Santa seems to always forget.
Grimes feat. Jay Worthy – “Christmas Song”

How this is a Christmas song is beyond me (it might be in the tough-to-make-out lyrics), but it’s certainly the most fascinating Christmas song on this list. It’s appropriately dark and spooky, keeping with Grimes’ pre-Art Angels output (it was a Visions bonus), and features her stepbrother Jay Worthy, who also joined her last year for a more festive sounding follow-up.


Joel Plaskett – “Jesus Christ, It’s Christmas Again”

It’s almost impossible to avoid the mall during Christmas time. Some people are masochists, sure, but the majority of us tend to hate dealing with the dizzying amount of people, shopping madness, and the boozy dudes playing mall Santa. That’s only one part of the Duke of Dartmouth’s ode to the bummers that can come with the holidays, and in usual form, it’s full of wicked wordplay and catchy as all get out.


The Band – “Christmas Must Be Tonight”

This little-known gem (from 1977’s Islands) was unknown even to me (a huge fan of The Band) until a half hour before writing this. It tells the story of the baby Jesus with deep undercurrents of folky grooves, sparkling organ, and uplifting melodies. The cherry on top is that the group’s best singer, Rick Danko (from Green’s Corners, Ontario!), takes the lead vocal.


Arcade Fire – “Little Drummer Boy”

This clip is only 90 seconds (and the version of the song is even shorter), but it packs a lot of hilarity into its short runtime. Besides the goofy, absurdist nuances of Zach Galifianakis’s show Between Two Ferns, the band puts in an exceedingly hammy performance, especially when it gets to singer Régine Chassagne, who puts her screechy voice to its utmost unbearability, channeling some sort of demented, squealing Björk.


In Other News:


— Matt Williams


About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.



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