I spent this weekend doing some last-minute shopping at a Toronto mall and so if I never hear another rendition of "Winter Wonderland" (especially this Pentatonix mashup monstrosity) it will be too soon. But Canadians are great at putting strange spins on Christmas clichés, especially when The Line Of Best Fit comes calling.
The UK music site once again gathered their favourite Canadian acts for their annual Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada Christmas compilation, putting out 11 brand new songs and another seven they couldn't leave off (like The Hidden Cameras' version of "Log Driver's Waltz"). This is about as far from Buble as you can get, with contributions from Chart-favourite bands like POM and Heaven For Real, plus side projects like Blatant Blob (a.k.a. The Submissives' Deb Edison).
If you, like me, need Christmas music to sound very far from Christmas music, you'll probably like this compilation. And even if you're not a cynical jerk like I am, you can appreciate the diversity of seasonal sounds. What other holiday album features a closing 30-minute improv drone from Doomsquad?
If that doesn't do it for you, here's a pair of songs from Sloan, a band that knows a thing or two about putting smart spins on well-worn territory. Here, they sing a dad-rock anthem about why some people go through the whole Christmas thing in the first place — not crass commercialism or holiday time or Jesus, but the un-self-conscious happiness of children. The other tackles another less-covered aspect of the holidays: the seasonal nostalgia of unrequited love.
UPDATE: Then you have a guy like, Kristian Noel Pedersen, a lovable Toronto songwriter whose "dorky holiday project" has been recording a new original Christmas album in his apartment every year. A Kristian Kinda Chrismas VIII, which just dropped on Bandcamp, leans into the full-hearted sentimentalism of the holiday, falling somewhere between lo-fi emotronica via Postal Service, Sufjan and Stars' orchestrated heartsleeves, and a bit of Charlie Brown-as-Toronto-millennial good grief.
There's a real early-to-mid-'00s vibe, which is now an era you can feel nostalgic for, didn't you hear? Just look at that Garden State inspired album cover.