The 12 Discs of Christmas 2008 #10



Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet-Faster, Santa Claus, Ho! Ho! Ho!
(It Came From Canada 4, Og Records 17; 1988)


Today's pick is by the late, lamented Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Canadian purveyors of twangy guitar instrumentals with consummate skill and a tongue-in-cheek joie de vivre. They're probably best known for supplying the theme song (Having an Average Weekend) and incidental music for the sketch comedy series Kids In The Hall, but they also made a handful of albums well worth seeking out, as well as a number of rarities for hardcore nerds like yours truly.

One such nugget is this track, a tribute to the Christmas album by surf guitar pioneers the Ventures, on which they mixed familiar holiday songs with hooks from pop hits, so you'd get a bit of Tequila before Frosty the Snowman, or the guitar riff from the Beatles' I Feel Fine kicking off Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. In their case, the Shadowy Men combine a medley of Christmas songs with riffs from a certain '60s rock opera you may have heard of, for a compilation on Montreal-based Og Records, the home of legendary sludgeabilly duo Deja Voodoo.

10 comments:

andrew said...

Thanks for the amazing reference! As a teen-age garage sale haunter and Canadian, I luckily happened on one of the It Came from Canada records and totally fell in love. Looking back, I realize it was a major cause of my still ongoing garage rock addiction.

Of course, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet remain a fave.

Thanks for the great post!

- Andrew

swac said...

No problem Andrew! There's also a Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet Christmas single (called "It's a Wonderful Record"), which also happens to be the last thing the band put out before the untimely death of bassist Reid Diamond, but this track is a bit more obscure, so I thought I'd pick it for this year. Of course, there's always next year...

I was a big fan of the Og Records output; poorly recorded, much of it sloppily played and fun as all get out, before someone coined the term "indie rock" and ruined things for everybody.

shahn said...

I noticed the inclusion of the Cowboy Junkies.
Ah the old days, when anything a little bit different was welcomed equally with open arms....

swac said...

That first CJ album, Whites Off Earth Now!, is still a pretty chilling and sparse record, back before they morphed into a yuppie "roots" act.

R.H. said...

Don't beat me up, I've never heard of them.

swac said...

We wouldn't beat you up, that's not the holiday spirit!

Might toss a snowball or two...but I promise, there won't be any rocks in them!

R.H. said...

What? A rock in a snowball? What a dirty trick!

I'll give it a try.

swac said...

Now where are you going to get snow in your neck of the woods?

Unless you happen to live in Snowy River...

R.H. said...

We have a mountain range right down the east coast. It's not very high but a few southern peaks get snow in winter, the little business people there pray for it each season and when it's still not enough they supplement it with snow-making machines. Mt Kosciusko in New South Wales can get some good falls and Mt Buller in Victoria (my state) likewise, but it's never reliable.
So why go to all this trouble? Well we yearn for sophistication, wanting to do everything grown-ups do, which means (in a land known for wide open spaces) cramming cafes into tiny city alleys that were once used for sewage collection. But there you are. One trip to Paris and there you are, terribly ashamed.

swac said...

Hmm....this would explain why there are so many Australians in Whistler, BC. Once you get a taste of the white stuff, you crave more and more intense experiences.