Monday, December 26, 2005

And Now For Something Completely the Same . . .

Casey Dorrell

For someone who claims to dislike Christmas, I've been posting a lot of seasonal songs. This will be the last. But, it's also the best. I think there's some sort of saying that applies here . . .

My Christmas non-specific, religiously neutral, holiday present to you: five unreleased songs that, to the best of my knowledge (and I've had the entire Mocking Music research team in the office all Christmas verifying this), exist nowhere else on the net. These Mocking Music exclusives were recorded and encoded yesterday from the CBC Radio program, Definately Not the Opera. The songs are all live, all christmas-related, and all Canadian.

Where's P:ano

P:ano - Favourite Things
This is an instrumentally sparse cover that's heavy on the vocal harmonizing. It probably won't ever make it into heavy-rotation on your playlist, but it's definately worth a listen for any fans of P:ano, twee, or indie cover songs.

Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas (live)
Is Ron Sexsmith cool? He doesn't strike me as being something the hip kids would get into. I mean, the guy sounds old. In fact, he is old - he was born in 1964. Then again, the original version of this song was on the O.C. Mix #3. Wait, that's not cool anymore, is it? Maybe he can do a duet with Devendra Barnhart or get the Jack White production team. Cool or otherwise, this song doesn't do a lot for me, but then we've had the studio version in heavy rotation at work for well over a month . . .

Jill Barber - Snow Falls Lightly on the Ground
Previously of the band Bent Ivy, she's become much better known as a solo artist as which she's toured with Joel Plaskett and Julie Doiron, among others. This song is a Jill Barber original which she premiered yesterday - expect a jazz-infused traditional sound with lo-fi aesthetics. (Note: I took the liberty of naming the untitled track based on the lyrics).

Matthew Barber
- Christmas Must be Tonight (The Band Cover)
Matthew is, surprise, the younger brother of Jill. In the last two years, he's established himself as a staple of the Canadian independent scene, touring with artists like Buck 65, Joel Plaskett, Matt Mays, and Mocking Music favourite, Emm Gryner. Still, unlike many of his Toronto contemporaries, he has yet to break through in the U.S. This may be, in part, because his studio music tends toward glossier production values than say, Matt Mays. Regardless, this is a catchy song that recalls a sterilized Elliot Smith in a spiffy new suit for the holidays.

Jason Collett - Beguiled Christmas in Wales
And this is the Mocking Music exclusive that will probably interest the most people. Jason Collett is one of those previously mentioned Barber contemporaries who has seen American exposure. It doesn't hurt being a member of the incestuous love-in-cum-record-label, Arts and Crafts. Collett, a member of Broken Social Scene, released his second solo album to positive critical reviews earlier this year. The album is a lot less varied than Broken Social Scene but is great low-key headphone music and it features an excellent song with Emily Haines (of Broken Social Scene and Metric). Collett is easily my favourite of the five artists in this post,though I can't say the same for this song. Still, "Beguiled Christmas in Wales" has become a regular part of Collett's setlist of late, and maybe it'll find the same frequency in your playlist.

P:ano - Favourite Things
Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas (live with intro)
Matthew Barber - Must Be Christmas Tonight (The Band Cover)
Jill Barber - Snow Falls Lightly on the Ground
Jason Collett - Beguiled Christmas in Wales

P:ano - Brigadoon
Ron Sexsmith - Retriever
Matthew Barber - Sweet Nothing
Jill Barber - Oh Heart
Jason Collett - Idols in Exile