Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Artist: The Box, Album: The Best Of, Song: L'Affaire Dumoutier (Say To Me)

"On the 14th of October, very early in the morning.  The results of a crime were found in the stables of "le pere Choupon".  The old man had discovered to his absolute dismay.  The dislocated body of Elizabeth Dumoutier."  The opening verses of one of the most original new wave hits of the eighties.  Sung in both languages and with spoken word dialogue of the characters involved in this murder case.  The Box create a short film out of song.  The band was formed in Montreal in the early eighties and released their debut in 1984.  This track was on their followup in 1985 entitled, All The Time, All The Time, All The Time.  The band would go on to release a couple more albums before briefly disbanding in 1992.  They reformed but with a few line up changes and are still touring and recording today.  You can catch up with the band at www.theboxband.com.  This particular song is available on the original release as well as on two different compilations.  All of the albums are available on Itunes and Amazon.  You can watch the exceptional video for the song on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwAWHOnrKjo).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Artist: Jet Set Satellite, Album: Blueprint, Song: Best Way To Die

"The best way to die.  We're starting tonight.  They've all lost control but their feeling alright."  Formed in the late nineties by Trevor Tuminski and Dave Swiecicki from Manitoba.  Jet Set Satellite released their debut album, Blueprint, to the unsuspecting masses in 2000.  The song, Best Way To Die, was the lead off single and did very well in Canada.  Not only is this song like a shot of adrenalin but even after 10 years, it still sounds so fresh.  The release was recorded and mixed in both Montreal and Vancouver.  The band was signed to Nettwerk for this release but decided to break from the label and go the independent route for their next two releases.  The band was still active until earlier this year.  Comments on their Facebook and Myspace pages in February indicate that the band may have gone their own separate ways for the time being.  One thing is for certain though.  They will be forever immortalized in Canadian Music History with this one unbelievable song.  The album is available on Itunes and Amazon.  You can read about the band at http://www.jetsetsatellite.com/ and link to their other networking sites from there.  You can watch the video for the song on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hinrCauPhVI).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Artist: Thundermug, Album: Who's Running My World?, Song: Africa

"Live off the land, smoke mashmacan.  Forest so deep, jungle so green, sublime.  Up the great Zambezie.  Sail the Congo to the sea.  You're my father, you're my mother.  You're my sister, you're my brother.  You're my friend."  Originally released in 1972 on the band's debut album entitled, Thundermug Strikes.  This band from London, Ontario absolutely blew the doors off with this track, Africa.  I don't know much about drumming and figure like most, Neil Peart is probably the best I'll ever hear.  However, this guy sounds like he has six feet!  The song was actually re-released with a different drummer in 1994 on the album, Who's Running My World.  Now I'm sure some die hard classic rock purists will stone me for saying that I prefer the newer version.  The original has a kazoo solo.  Let's face it, the thrill of the song isn't the bloody kazoo, it's the drumming.  So there, it's out there, start slinging them rocks!  You can catch up with the lead singer Bill Durst at www.billdurstband.com.  Bill is still touring all over Canada and continues to release new music.  Both releases are very difficult to find.  At the time of this blog there were some vinyl copies of Thundermug Strikes on Ebay trading between $1 and $25.  Cdandlp.com had one copy of Who's Running My World for $30.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Artist: Glen Stace, Album: Buddha Hotel, Song: Runaround

"It's a runaround world that you're livin' in little girl.  Ya, you know.  In a runaround world ain't no givin' in little girl.  There you go."  This is a true lost Canadian classic.  Glen Stace was from the West and released the album, Buddha Hotel, in 1991.  His label at the time was Bumstead Records and he self produced the album.  I grew up in the Toronto area and remember hearing it on the radio from time to time but never knew who the artist was.  I hummed this chorus for a great many years.  It was my ear worm (a song that sticks in your head).  A friend I met while living in Calgary many years later informed me that the artist was indeed, Glen Stace.  This is Americana before they coined the term or created the genre.  Country, roots rock at it's best by a musician who seems to have gone underground.  There isn't much I know about him.  There are some sites that mention his name as a credit to his musicianship or production skills yet he has no official web page that I am aware of.  Bumstead Records is still in business.  One of the guest vocalists on this album was Billy Cowsill of the Blue Shadows which is another cool Canadian band that is still affiliated with the label.  Glen Stace appears to have at least one other album that was released after this called Road to Damascus.  Copies of that album are trading for $140!  At the time of this blog, there were copies of Buddha Hotel on Ebay and Amazon trading between $9 and $100.  You can watch the video for the song on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bunFHCHMXlc).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Artist: More Or Les and Fresh Kils, Album: The Les Kils EP, Song: Pop N Chips

"I'm doing the running man in the T.V room near the couch."  Just one of the many classic rhymes in this great old school rap tune by More or Les.  He is a Toronto hip hop artist who started his recording career in 2003.  For this particular release, he teamed up with Fresh Kils and released the EP in 2008.  The song Pop N Chips features Canadian rappers, Ghettosocks, Timbuktu and DJ Uncle Fester.  This track rolls like a Digital Underground song.  Canadian hip hop just seems so under-rated and off the radar to most.  More or Les is not only a talented Emcee but a DJ as well.  He has quite a performance tenure on the Toronto scene.  You can catch up with More Or Les at www.moreorles.ca.  The EP, The Les Kils, is available on Itunes, Amazon and CDBaby.  You can watch the hilarious video for Pop N Chips on You Tube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8zIr_Dn4EA).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Artist: Leslie Spit Treeo, Album: Don't Cry Too Hard, Song: Angel From Montgomery

"I am an old woman, named after my father.  My old man is another child that's grown old.  If dreams were lightning.  Thunder were desire.  This old house would have burnt down a long time ago."  This John Prine classic was the band's first single off their debut, Don't Cry Too Hard, in 1990.    Named after an extension of land on Toronto's eastern lakefront, the trio that started out busking was a prominent fixture on the local music scene.  This single got quite a bit of airplay at the time of it's release and they ended up winning a Juno award in the process.  However, in 1996, they released their final album and called it quits.  I happened to catch the lead singer, Laura Hubert, perform recently and you can catch up with her career at www.laurahubert.com.  Interesting facts about the Leslie Spit Treeo include the following.  After their second release in 1992, the band felt that they were losing control over their work and decided to break from their 7 album recording contract with Capitol.  Their last album, Chocolate Chip Cookies, was released in a mock up of a cookie bag that resembled the product, Chips Ahoy!  Nabisco threatened the band with a lawsuit so they held a bonfire in High Park and burned all the packaging.  They re-released the album in a new cookie bag and eventually in a Cd jewel case as well.  Don't Cry Too Hard is a difficult album to find and likely out of print.  Ebay and Amazon had used copies ranging in price from $1 to $75.  You can watch the video for the song on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGbFD5dZbWY).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Artist: Harem Scarem, Album: Harem Scarem, Song: Slowly Slipping Away

Having listened to the radio most frequently during the eighties, I was, by default, drawn to hard rock music.  At some point in my teens, I was welcoming the sound of any new band playing this genre of music.  Thankfully, Canada produced many a band during these years and thanks to the CRTC, they got quite a bit of radio play.  Harem Scarem was a band from Toronto that released their debut in 1991.  The song, Slowly Slipping Away is just one of those great melodic rock songs that you could sing your lungs out to when you got your parent's car for an hour and decided to test the limits of their car audio system.  It's AOR/FM Gold all the way but their releases following the debut had a bit more of an edge.  They were definitely a band that tried to adapt to the changing times.  Let's face it, when Nirvana arrived, hard rock/metal was no longer mainstream.  Heck, you could argue that it happened when Guns n' Roses broke.  Harem Scarem would change their name to Rubber in the late nineties to better reflect their changing style.  They would retain the original name for releases in Japan only.  They eventually switched back to Harem Scarem altogether and released their last studio album in 2008.  The band continues to be active on various projects.  You can follow them at   www.haremscarem.net.  This particular album is available on Itunes and Amazon.  You can watch the video on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elw51BGsOX0).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Artist: Big Rude Jake, Album: Big Rude Jake, Song: Let's Kill All The Rockstars

"Let's kill all the rockstars!  Let's line the fuckers up and shoot the fuckers down.  I'm pissed off and I'm bored with all these corporate whores.  Let's kill all the rockstars, put 'em six feet in the ground."  Normally, Big Rude Jake is more of a cool walking swing daddy.  However, he does his best Mike Ness (Social Distortion) impersonation on this particular track, spitting venom at the sell outs in the music industry.  Big Rude Jake is a Toronto artist that started his recording career in the early nineties.  This particular release was not his debut.  He was already quite established independently in Toronto but decided to relocate to New York where he landed a record deal with Roadrunner.  This was his first release on that label in 1999.  Known more often for his jazz or blues style, Let's Kill All The Rockstars, was more of a punk song.  Jake continues to experiment with his sound and continues to record and tour.  You can catch up with him at http://www.bigrudejake.ca/.  The album is no longer widely available like his other releases.  At the time of this blog, there were new and used copies on Ebay and Amazon trading between $2 and $50.  You can listen to the track on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCMAiZjH8is).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Artist: Barstool Prophets, Album: Crank, Song: Little Death

"That night for me just isn't very clear.  I was out tying one on with the guys.  They'll vouch for me. They'll be my alibis.  When I got home I heard the silence crack, voices in my head talking behind my back.  They laughed and laughed as I struck her to the ground but when her head hit the floor they didn't make a sound."  This is some pretty dark stuff.  I remember really hanging on to the words in this song when I first heard it.  Trying to anticipate where the story was going to go.  The singer adds a darker element to the song, using his vocals to mimic the demented anxiety of the subject he is portraying.  Bands that are able to convey such strong imagery and emotion through their music are few and far between.  Sadly, many go unnoticed and never record enough material.  The Barstool Prophets might just be an example of that.  Crank was their first major label release in 1995.  However, some of the songs, like this one, were independently released earlier by this Ottawa based band.  Unfortunately, they followed Crank up with one more album in '97 and then stopped recording.  I don't believe they ever broke up.  There is a website, www.barstoolprophets.com, but there doesn't appear to be any action going on after 2007.  The lead singer, Graham Greer, appears to be a bit more active on the solo front and his website is www.moonlightgraham.ca.  The album is available on Itunes and Amazon.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Artist: Ladyhawk, Album: Shots, Song: Fear

"But I just wanna feel something other than fear.  I don't wanna go back but I can't stay here.  And I just wanna taste something other than tears.  I don't wanna go home but I can't stay here.  Anymore now."  Ladyhawk are a 4 piece from Kelowna, BC.  Shots was their third release on the Jagjaguwar label in 2008.  The song, Fear, has a dark and gritty feel to it.  However, the guitar driven melody might be reminiscent of Neil Young and Crazyhorse.  It's a great rock song with a catchy chorus.  There isn't much on the band since '08.  Their Myspace page shows them playing a few gigs in the Vancouver area in October.  They have a blog entitled theeyeofladyhawk.blogspot.com where they seem to post videos and movie trailers.  Lead singer, Duffy Driediger, released a side project this year called, Duffy & the Doubters.  The album Shots is available on Itunes and Amazon.  You can hear the track on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9BpVVHY_78).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Artist: Surrender, Album: No Surrender, Song: Start Again

"My brother, he was doing okay.  He worked in plastics, made a good wage.  Too much pressure to be faced everyday.  And so his problems got carried away.  And he gets to the booze once to often.  Don't know why he wants to get so high.  Can't seem to stop him.  He just starts again." Surrender were a Toronto band born from the disco/r&b scene of the late seventies and transformed into a rock band.  This cool track that reminds me a lot of Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill, was a single on their second album entitled, No Surrender, released in 1982.  The core band for this recording was Alfie Zappacosta, Steve Jensen and Paul Delaney.  The band would break up following this release and Alfie would go on to greater success as Zappacosta.  The track that is usually associated with the band's career is the song, It's All Been Done Before which is the lead off song on this 4 song EP.  I believe Start Again was the second single selected on the record.  I am only aware of vinyl copies for this particular release and they are hard to find.  Ebay had three trading between $4.99 and $16.99 at the time of this blog.  You can hear the track on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tV7xNOts4w).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Artist: Tenants, Album: Tenants, Song: Sheriff

"Sheriff came around today.  Said I'd have to go away.  It's not you or your type.  I wonder where I'll sleep tonight."  The Tenants were a band from Scarborough who cut their self-titled debut album in 1983.  They had an instant hit on their hands with, Sheriff, a song about foreclosure and tenant rights or lack thereof.  As most have commented in the past, this song bears a strong resemblance to the sound of the Police.  Mainly because of it's reggae style.  The band was signed to CBS records and would release another album the following year.  However, their management company which was based in Australia, took CBS's cash from the recording budget and left the band high and dry.  Coincidentally, they were managing another band back home in Australia called, Men At Work.  Accountable for the funds, the band eventually broke up.  This isn't the easiest record to find.  Amazon.com was selling a vinyl copy for $8 and a 45 of the song Sheriff for $6.  There were also vinyl copies on Ebay selling between $4 and $8 at the time of this blog.  You can watch the video for the song on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ1QmAvDtkE).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Artist: Crowbar, Album: Bad Manors, Song: Too True Mama

"I've got a private eye on your trail.  In fact, I got a private eye on the private eye."  From the band that created one of our most played rock songs, Oh What A Feeling, comes a song about a man being suspicious of his woman's behaviour.  As the chorus goes, you're either too true mama or you're cheating on me.  Crowbar started out as a backing band for Ronnie Hawkins in the late sixties.  They released their debut as a band in 1971, called Bad Manors which included this song and the hit Oh What A Feeling.  They are extremely entertaining.  The music is rooted in blues and early rock n' roll.  On this particular track they pull the funk out of the trunk as they tell the very comical story of an untrue mama and a suspicious papa.  Interesting fact about Crowbar is that they accompanied Pierre Trudeau on his re-election campaign in the early seventies to try and help the former prime minister gain the youth vote.  The band would re-release Bad Manors in the early nineties.  This particular release is widely available on Itunes and Amazon.com.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Artist: Paul Hyde, Album: Big Book Of Sad Songs Vol.1, Song: I Miss My Mind The Most

"Of all the things I lost this year.  I miss my mind the most."  Paul Hyde needs no introduction to Canadian listeners.  He was lead singer of a very successful band called the Payolas in the 80's.  His musical partner in that band as well as later projects was Bob Rock.  Paul was actually born in England but came over to Canada as a teen.  His work with the Payolas began in the late seventies on the West Coast.  Since the breakup of the band, he has recorded five solo albums.  His most recent was released in 2009.  Big Book Of Sad Songs Vol.1 was released on an indie label called Bongo Beat in 2002.  According to the liner notes which are quite funny on this album, the song, I Miss My Mind The Most, was inspired by a bumper sticker.  It's a beautiful sad song that makes you want to cry in your beer.  Russell Crowe must have thought so too because he recently recorded it!  The album is available on Itunes, Amazon and CDBaby.  You can watch the video for the song on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELWGkPBWPc4).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Artist: Clothes Make The Man, Album: Clothes Make The Man, Song: Chile

"Maybe I should take a trip to Chile.  Just get away a while.  It's all that I can do, not to breakdown and cry over you."  This song clocks in under 3 minutes but it packs a dirty little punch.  If these dudes keep releasing songs like this, Canadian Rock n' Roll is going to be alright.  Clothes Make The Man are a four piece from Kingsville.  This was their first full length album which was released in 2007.  What is so unique about the song Chile is how loose and powerful it is despite maintaining a very catchy melody.  Perhaps you could tag it power pop.  The vocals though, bring me back to the sound of earlier bands like the Pixies and the Del Fuegos.  Rough and edgy.  There is so much excitement you'd expect it to come to a crashing halt with smashed guitars and feedback but it never does.  It's just a great rock song.  It appears as though the band is working on new material.  They just released a new single and hopefully that means a new album soon.  They also appear to be playing shows throughout Canada in the summer and fall.  You can keep track of the band at www.clothesmaketheman.org.  You can purchase their self titled debut on Itunes.  You can watch the video for Chile on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn5KzD8FHrY).  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Artist: Roxanne Potvin, Album: No Love For The Poisonous, Song: The Real Truth

"I thought I was careful.  You made it look so safe.  I covered my bases.  Wouldn't give it all away."  Roxanne is a songstress from Gatineau and I think she is our soul diva in waiting.  Move over Amy Winehouse, Adele, Duffy, Sharleen Spiteri.  The song, The Real Truth, from her 2008 release, No Love For The Poisonous, really showcases her soul chops.  I first heard Roxanne play at a Stuart Maclean Christmas concert a few years back.  I didn't realize that her music was so rooted in blues and r&b from that one show and I was obviously a little behind the times in discovering who she was.  She has travelled the world with the Blues Caravan Festival that features other international blues artists and John Hiatt contributed to the music on her last album.  I guess it's not surprising for a lot of artists to develop a stronger fan base abroad than in their home country but I'm sure Roxanne's work to date will soon change that.  Roxanne just completed a European tour and you can keep track of her at www.roxannepotvin.com.  You can purchase the latest album on Itunes and Amazon.com.  You can also hear a live version of The Real Truth on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq0LW7XcLVo).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Artist: D.O.A, Album: War on 45, Song: War

"War, huh, yeah.  What is it good for?  Absolutely nothing, say it again, y'all."  This Motown classic was originally recorded by the Temptations but was never released.  Instead, Edwin Starr was chosen and in 1970 he turned this anti-Vietnam War anthem in to a number 1 hit.  In 1982, the Canadian punk band, D.O.A recorded a version of the song on their War on 45 EP.  If you think Springsteen did this song justice, you haven't heard anything yet.  The band is from Vancouver and recently released their 14th album.  D.O.A has gone through a number of personnel changes over the years but the one constant member in the band is guitarist/vocalist, Joey Shithead. These guys are a Canadian institution and are still rocking over 30 years later.  They will be making their way across Canada from now until October.  You can keep up with the band at www.suddendeath.com.  You can purchase this album on Itunes and Amazon.  You can also hear the track on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqR9SQGrlBE).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Artist: Jeremy Fisher, Album: Goodbye Blue Monday, Song: Scar That Never Heals

"She runs guns, everyone wants guns.  She runs guns, everyone wants...there she goes."  Canadian folk-rock troubadour, Jeremy Fisher, originally from Hamilton and now residing anywhere and everywhere but it seems.  Jeremy started his solo career in 2001 with his indie debut.  Goodbye Blue Monday is his third release but first with the label Aquarius.  It was released in 2007.  He is superb at crafting the perfect pop melody much like the artist, Ben Lee.  I find his singing reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel at times.  Oddly enough, he recently accompanied Jesse Cook on a cover version of Cecilia.  Interesting facts about Jeremy Fisher include the following.  In support of his 2001 debut, he toured by bicycle from Seattle to Halifax.  7500 kms, 30 shows and all the proceeds went to charity.  His You Tube videos are really good.  His video for the song, Cigarette, has been seen by over 2.3 million viewers.  You can see the excellent video for a Scar That Never Heals on You Tube as well (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8hOPs0g2nk).  According to his website www.jeremyfishermusic.com , the song will be featured in the ABC show, Rookie Blue.  The album is available on Itunes and Amazon.com.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Artist: Pluto, Album: Shake Hands With The Future, Song: The Goodbye Girl (Pop Goes The Girl Mix)

"Don't say goodbye to the Goodbye Girl.  Just say see you soon.  I say hello to the Goodbye Girl and it's our nineteenth honeymoon.  Pay telephone from a twilight zone and I'm hanging on the line.  I fell in love with the Goodbye Girl.  Now I'll never say goodbye."  This 4 piece from Vancouver blasted on to the scene in 1993 and were gone without a goodbye in 1999.  This is one of the few bands that I had a real difficult time choosing just one song from.  They started their careers with Mint Records, an indie label in Vancouver, and then got their deal with Virgin.  They released two albums with Virgin.  Their self-titled debut that had some great tracks like When She Was Happy and Paste.  Shake Hands With The Future was their second and final album.  Aptly titled when you consider how far ahead these guys were from their peers in the alternative/power pop genre.  They had such a clean sound and they rocked better than anybody in the 90's.  I am a Men Without Hats fanatic so I decided to go with the Pop Goes The Girl remix of The Goodbye Girl.  It is one of two bonus tracks on the album.  Some reports have suggested that their music is no longer widely available and as a result the band was allowing free downloads from their My Space profile (www.myspace.com/plutotheband).  However, that doesn't appear to be the case now.  Both releases are available from Itunes in the Canadian store at least.  There were new and used copies on Ebay and Amazon.com selling between $2 and $60 as well.  You can hear the remix on You Tube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeDs-jZBh5s).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Artist: Zeus, Album: Sounds Like Zeus, Song: That's All

Sounds Like Zeus
"I could say day, you'd say night.  Tell me it's black when I know that it's white.  It's always the same, it's just a shame, that's all."  Written and recorded by Phil Collins and Genesis in the early eighties and turned into a dirty little rock song by these boys from Toronto.  Zeus are Mike O'Brien, Carlin Nicholson, Neil Quin and Rob Drake.  They started out as a backing band for singer/songwriter, Jason Collett.  They released this debut in 2009 and recently released their second album, Say Us, early this year.  The most recent release is with the Arts and Crafts label that handles Broken Social Scene, Jason Collett and a number of other great artists.  They also played SXSW this year and will be supporting British artist, Jamie Lidell, this fall on tour.  You can keep tabs on the band at http://www.themusicofzeus.com.  The album is available for sale at Amazon.com and you can download it from Itunes.  You can hear the track on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a96UbWnEQLI).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Artist: Prototype, Album: Prototype, Song: Video Kids

Dan Lowe may just be the most unheralded musician in Canadian history.  Considering the number of bands/releases he has been a part of since the mid 60's and more recently, what he has brought to the technology of recording worldwide.  It absolutely stuns me that you don't hear his name more frequently.  I can assure you his name will be mentioned more than once in this blog.  Prototype was his band in the early 80's which for myself, was right at the peak of my formidable radio listening years.  Songs that I never forget from that period are Electric Avenue, Drugs in My Pocket, Wasn't That A Party, Africa and this one, Video Kids.  Let's face it, any kid at that time was going crazy over Atari and Colecovision.  So hearing a song on the radio that spoke to what we were doing was great.  I won't dress up the review of this song.  It's AOR rock from the 80's with lots of synths!  Great then but you don't hear it so much now.  But there are some that live and die with this stuff.  This six piece from Alberta released their debut in 1983.  The album was re-released by Pacemaker Entertainment in 2001.  They are a difficult search and you shouldn't confuse them with a progressive metal act from the U.S that shares their name.  At the time of this blog, there was one copy on Discogs for $12 and Amazon.ca had new copies for $10.99.  Amazon.com is temporarily out of stock.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Artist: Adam Chaki. Album: No One Knows Where The Hell We Are, Song: Sonofabitch

"Watch your step, you don't know me yet.  I would see you gone with no regret.  Go on and pick my skin if it's trouble that you're needing.  Because the beast within is in need of a feeding.  But be forewarned and make no mistake.  Where there's trouble in my path, there will be blood in my wake.  To get me mad is to dig yourself a ditch.  My mother raised a sonofabitch."  An anthem for all those tougher than nails, fearless and explosive types.  The beauty of this song is in it's ability to deliver an aggressive message without being aggressive at all.  Adam's sound is ever-changing and tough to describe.  From his bio, one would gather that he is a true student of the music having spent years abroad playing with African and Reggae bands.  I first discovered Adam on CBC radio.  They were playing the track Something Between You and Me from this same album.  I was living in Calgary at the time and found a copy at Recordland.  That's when I discovered the track Sonofabitch which apparently got some heavy play in Montreal at the time of it's release in 2001.  Adam went on to release another album independently in 2007 entitled, Snowcite.  You can catch up with Adam at http://www.adamchaki.com/.  At the time of this blog there were new and used copies of the album selling on Amazon.ca between $13 and $24.  The album is also available for download on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Artist: Strato-Chief, Album: Turbines For Speed, Song: Freight Train

"Wish I was a freight train baby.  Wish I was a diesel locomotive.  I'd come whistlin' down your track.  Crashin' through your door."  Fred Eaglesmith penned it and Strato-Chief turned into a dark and gritty country song.  This track should be in a Quentin Tarantino movie.  This six piece was somewhat of an indie supergroup in Toronto.  Toronto has always had a strong country/rockabilly scene that has produced a number of great bands over the years.  Greg McConnell, Vaughn Passmore and Johnny Trash were all previous members of a band called the Absolute Whores in the 80's.  Vaughn was known as Blind Pig Neuton and Greg was Ugly Dick.  Throw in Scott B. Sympathy, a well known soloist, Hurtin' Al Piggins and Derek Downham and you had Strato-Chief.  The album is solid featuring songs of other local musician's like Eaglesmith, Bob Snider and Scott B.Sympathy as well as a cover of the Moody Blues' classic, Nights in White Satin.  The band's founder and bassist, Greg McConnell passed away a year after it's release.  The band continued playing and released one more album dedicated to his memory.  Unfortunately, this release isn't available for download on Itunes or Amazon.com.  You can buy new copies of the Cd at Amazon.ca for $11.99.  There was also one vendor on ebay selling a copy for $17.99.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Artist: 20th Century Rebels, Album: Rebelution, Song: F.B.I.

"Running From The F.B.I."  I enjoy reggae on a Sunday night.  20th Century Rebels were a reggae band from Toronto.  They had some regional success with their release, Rebelution, in 1983.  F.B.I is a standout track on the record.  It has such a tight groove and great horns...if you like horns.  The band consisted of 10 members, most notably Devon "Peanut" Martin who played keys and wrote a lot of the lyrics.  Devon would have a hit years later called "Mr.Metro".  Anyone who remembers watching Rap City in Canada during the 90's would likely know this song (Hey hey, Na, Na, Na-Na, Na, Ease up tha pressure!).  I actually had the pleasure of working with one of the band members well after the band had split.  It was he who gave me my first history lesson on Reggae and the band 20th Century Rebels.  This is another very difficult album to find and likely only available on vinyl.  At the time of this blog there was nothing available online.  F.B.I is truly a lost Canadian classic so find a crate to dig in and invest in a good turntable.  Thanks for reading and enjoy.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Artist: Look People, Album: Stop Making Cheese, Song: Cookie Man

"Oww, Oww, Looky Here Looky, Never Should Have Ate That Oreo Cookie."  This half Canadian, half Swiss ensemble began their career as a band in 1985.  The album in question is their debut EP which was recorded in Zurich, Switzerland.  The leader and the only constant member through the years was Jaymz Bee.  If you remember Ralph Benmurgui's late night talk show, you might also remember his bandleader which was Jaymz.  The Look People may have been comedic in their songwriting but their muscianship was strong.  If you do happen to get your hands on a vinyl copy of this record you'll be surprised at it's quality.  Probably one of the best sounding records I own.  The song Cookie Man is a funky tune that I first heard on CFNY.  I think it was a call in show called the Nooner.  The band released 4 more albums and called it quits in 1993.  Jaymz would resurrect himself as a lounge act in Jaymz Bee and his Royal Jelly Orchestra.  At the time of this blog, there was one copy for sale that I could find on Ebay for $17.49.  A steal if you consider how rare this is.  Saying that, there aren't many copies of any of the Look People's releases for sale.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Artist: The Smalls, Album: The Smalls, Song: Middle Of The Road

The Smalls were Mike Caldwell, Corb Lund, Dug Bevans and Terry Johnson.  They were formed in Edmonton but the guys were from small towns throughout Northern Alberta.  They formed in 1990 releasing their self-titled debut which included a cover of the Pretender's hit, Middle of the Road.  It's a simple, straight up punk rendition of the song that is reminiscent of the style of punk played by the Ramones.  What I like about the Smalls is that they did everything their way and weren't afraid of what people thought.  Their country and rock influences came right through in their music yet it sounded so original.  The band even covered Natural Woman (worth checking out on their last album, My Dear Little Angle).  By 1999, they had four releases and two years later they played their last show.  Corb Lund has since gone on as a country-roots solo artist.  This album is available for download on Itunes.  It is also available for purchase on Amazon.ca but not Amazon.com.  You can hear the cover on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFBA_Vn309I).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Artist: Mudmen, Album: Defending The Kingdom, Song: Money Me

Hard rock with bagpipes.  The first time I heard the Mudmen, I was stuck in traffic on the QEW heading to work and searching the radio dial for something decent to listen to.  I stumbled upon a college station that was playing Money Me.  I wanted to toss my work sack out the window and head for the bar.  This six piece (including not one but two bagpipers!) is from Toronto, Ontario.  The Mudmen line up has changed over the course of their 5 studio releases.  Only the bagpiping brothers, Robby and Sandy Campbell have remained constant.  I guess at the end of the day, the bagpipes are what sells!  Money Me is from their 2005 release, Defending the Kingdom.  The album is available for download on Itunes and Amazon.  The band has just released their 5th album entitled, Another Day, and will be playing throughout Ontario in the month of August.  Check out www.mudmen.ca for more details.  Whether they are covering AC/DC, Spirit of the West, Pogues or themselves.  These guys are a blast to watch.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Artist: Matthew Barber, Album: Sweet Nothing, Song: The Plea

Matthew Barber is one of our shining bright lights in my opinion.  With a little radio support, this guy would be huge.  I first discovered Matthew and his music at a Mariposa festival in Orillia.  The year I met my wife actually.  I saw him as part of a songwriter's in the round acoustic set with his sister Jill Barber and Justin Rutledge.  A year later, I saw Sweet Nothing in a local HMV and bought it.  His music with a full band startled me to say the least.  I had no idea he was this good.  The album is very strong as are his other releases.  The Plea just reminds me of a Rolling Stones song in the way that it grooves along.  I've had this track on heavy rotation over the last 5 years.  The album, Sweet Nothing, is available for download on Itunes and Amazon.  Matthew is playing festivals throughout Ontario in the month of August in support of his new album, True Believer.  You can get more details at www.matthewbarber.com.  You can watch the video for the track on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8uVBFj5Hnk). 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Artist: Fred Eaglesmith, Album: Lipstick, Lies And Gasoline, Song: Time To Get A Gun

"My neighbor’s car got stole last night, right out of his driveway.  We heard the dog ‘a barking, we never paid them any mind.  And Mary says she’s gonna lock the door from now on when we go away.  I’ve been walking around this farm wondering if it’s time.  Time to get a gun, that’s what I been thinkin’.  I could afford one if I did just a little less drinkin’.  Time to put something between me and the sun.  When the talking is over it’s time to get a gun."  Fred Eaglesmith was born and raised in Southern Ontario but listening to this track you'd think he was straight out of the Dirty South.  It's a ruthless, all or nothing, down and out song that could sit beside any Drive By Truckers' or Lucero song.  It's an absolute beauty.  This guy is a Canadian treasure that doesn't get enough recognition for what he does.  Although that may be changing, as country music artist, Miranda Lambert, covered the song.  Fred was also a guest on Letterman in June of this year.  Fred seems to tour constantly and it looks as though he is making his way east across the prairies to Nova Scotia by the end of September.  I think there may be a US date in Massachusetts as well.  You could join the legion of "Fredheads" as his fans are often referred to as.  Check out his website for details (www.fredeaglesmith.com).  The cd, Lipstick, Lies and Gasoline is available for download on Itunes and Amazon.  You can watch a live version of the song on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xhbIu6XICE).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Band: Indio, Album: Big Harvest, Song: Hard Sun

"When I walk beside her, I am the better man.  When I look to leave her, I always stagger back again.  Once I built an ivory tower so I could worship from above.  And when I climbed down to be set free, she took me in again.  There's a big, a big hard sun, beaten on the big people, in the big hard world."  Indio is a singer-songwriter named Gordon Peterson from Dundas, Ontario.  Big Harvest was his only release and it occurred in 1989.  There must have been quite a bit of hype for this Canadian's debut because the album was produced in California and included some A-list musicians like Joni Mitchell and Van Dyke Parks.  The producer was Joni's ex-husband, Larry Klein.  Hard Sun was the standout single from the record which was recently covered by Eddie Vedder for the Into The Wild movie.  Sadly, the album wasn't received well and he was dropped from his label.  Indio is actually the name of a Mexican town that Gordon drove through on his way back to California.  The album is not available for download on Itunes however it was re-issued by Pacemaker and can be bought in CD form from Amazon.com.  Used copies were trading on Ebay and Amazon between $8-$133.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Band: Reggae Cowboys, Album: Let's Ride, Song: Mr.Hubble

You can probably guess what this band is going to sound like from their name but I assure you it will exceed your expectations.  This isn't another Dreadlock Holiday or Get In To Reggae Cowboy song.  While the band was formed in Toronto in the early nineties, they are actually from the Island of Dominica in the British West Indies.  The two original members that founded the group were Stone Ranger and Click Masta Sync.  This particular release is almost a duplicate of another one of the band's releases entitled, Stone Ranger.  The song Mr.Hubble is available on both releases.  Let's Ride is an enhanced cd with a video for one of their tracks included.  It also includes a cover of the Eric Clapton song, Lay Down Sally, that isn't on Stone Ranger.  The album was released in 2002.  The song Mr.Hubble has a wicked groove although the lyrics are ridiculous.  "Mr.Hubble, king of the bubble.  Like a solidier pon de double."  Stone Ranger is available for download on Itunes.  At the time of this blog there were copies of either release available on Amazon, CD Baby and Ebay ranging from $2-$40.  There doesn't appear to be any video footage of the song Mr.Hubble available but You Tube does have some other videos of the band performing live at various Roots festivals in Canada.  I'm not sure if the band is still touring.  Their website shows tour dates up until 2009 only.  You can read more about the band at http://www.reggaecowboys.com/.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!