Thursday, March 31, 2011

Artist: Ernie Smith, Album: Don't Down Me Now 12", Song: Don't Down Me Now

Ernie Smith was originally from Kingston, Jamaica but he moved to Canada in the late seventies.  He was already a recognized artist in his homeland having cut his first single in 1967.  His music has been covered by Johnny Nash, Rita Marley as well as Chaka Demus and Pliers.  He has shared the stage with everyone from Bob Marley to the Police.  In 1973, he was honoured by the Jamaican government for his contribution to the field of music.  However, by 1976, the political unrest in the country threatened his safety and he decided to emigrate to Toronto, Canada.  Ernie wasn't the only artist targeted because of his occasional political lyrics.  There was an attempt on Bob Marley's life at the time as well.  Ernie would eventually return to his homeland and resides there today.  He spent 3 years in Canada and recorded two albums.  The first of which was in 1979, entitled, To Behold Jah.  It was an album of all original material and it included this great track, Don't Down Me Now.  The song has an underlying country feel to it.  The song was also released as an extended single (see pic).  A very good retrospective of Ernie's career was released in 1997, entitled, After 30 Years: Life Is Just For Living.  This album is available on Itunes and includes this track as well.  You can hear the remixed version of the song, Don't Down Me Now, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Artist: Paul Dean, Album: Hard Core, Song: Sword And Stone

"I feel the power running through my bones.  I am the sword, you are the stone."  Most people know Paul Dean as the guitar player for the Canadian rock band, Loverboy.  He was also the principle songwriter for many of those great tunes they released in the eighties.  In 1989, he decided to release his first solo record with Columbia Records called, Hard Core.  The album featured his band mates, Matt Frenette and Mike Reno, along with musicians like Bryan Adams and even Jon Bon Jovi.  This was a great album from a guy that never really had the limelight on him as a solo artist before.  The two songs that I do remember hearing on the radio back then were Draw The Line and this tune, Sword And Stone.  Sword And Stone was actually a tune penned by Kiss singer, Paul Stanley.  Paul Dean also covers the Streetheart classic, Action, on this album.  A song that Streetheart recorded on their debut album back in the late seventies when Paul was in that band.  He of course left to join Loverboy and the rest is multi platinum history.  Paul toured Canada and the U.S. in support of the album and I believe he did some shows with Bad Company.  He would return to the Loverboy fold and continues to record and perform with that band today.  You can follow them at  This wasn't the last solo recording for Paul however.  He would record again in 1995 and then in 1997, he released an album under the name Blackstone.  Today these albums are very hard to find.  At the time of this blog, there were copies of Hard Core on Ebay and Amazon trading between $10 and $75.  You can watch the original video for the song, Sword And Stone, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Artist: Carol Jiani, Album: Hit 'n' Run Lover, Song: Mercy

Carol Jiani was a Nigerian born artist that moved to Montreal in the late seventies.  She attended Concordia University and in her spare time was lending her vocals to the music of the local disco scene that was emerging.  Her first recording was for an up and coming producer named Joe LaGreca at Matra Records.  This connection would lead to her own solo career and by 1980, she cut her first single, Hit 'n' Run Lover.  The song rocketed to the top of the Disco charts internationally.  Matra Records quickly urged the completion of a full album and a year later , her debut was released.  The song, Mercy, was also on the Hit 'n' Run Lover release but was an accidental single.  It was actually the more popular b-side to the second single, The Woman In Me.  Carol would tour the clubs across North America in support of this release and as it was in the Disco era, numerous remixes were released of her tracks.  Jiani would follow this release up with one more album before moving to England and releasing more material abroad for various labels.  She would return to Montreal in 1996 to record another album with producer Joe LaGreca.  However,  she is still currently based in the U.K. and is releasing new material as well as managing her own label, Jiani Records.  You can follow her at  Hit 'n' Run Lover was featured in the Kiss Me Guido movie as well.  I'm sure her music is still played loudly in the Church Street clubs here in Toronto.  One thing about this recording and many like it from that era.  The production has held it's quality for more than 3 decades and still sounds brilliant today.  They built disco to last back then.  Unfortunately, not everyone shared their passion!  Carol's discography has been restored today in digital format and you can find copies of the track, Mercy, along with Remixes available on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Mercy, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!    

Monday, March 28, 2011

Artist: Chris Staig, Album: Deeper We'll Dream, Song: Frankie And Rita

"Heaven help the ones who can't find love."  Chris Staig is a singer songwriter from Toronto, Ontario.  He started his career with the band Taxi Chain (see blog 12/25/10) in the nineties, before releasing his solo debut entitled, Deeper We'll Dream, in 2000.  It included this edgy pop tune called, Frankie And Rita.  The song caught the attention of regional radio in the province and received some airplay.  He has since released 3 more albums, his most recent in 2008.  His more recent material exposes a sound that is equal parts roots rock and power pop.  He, at times, can be reminiscent of the Jayhawks, Josh Rouse and then elicit comparisons to someone like Matthew Sweet.  However you want to describe his music though.  The one thing that is certain, is that he is a wonderful songwriter and pop craftsman.  He is also criminally overlooked.  He's played gigs on the festival circuit here in Ontario, as a soloist but as well, he has collaborated with everyone from Jason Collett to Greg Hobbs.  He is currently playing guitar with Jimmy Byron, a very cool artist from Toronto.  I will eventually cover Jimmy in a blog as well, but man, if you want to hear some dirty rock and roll, you need check out Chris' work with him.  Chris seems to release albums every 2-3 years so we may be close to hearing some new material!  You can follow him at  All of his albums with the exception of this debut, are available on Itunes.  At the time of this blog, there were copies of Deeper We'll Dream being sold on Amazon and Ebay between $10 and $15.  You can hear the song, Frankie And Rita, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Artist: Northern Pikes, Album: Big Blue Sky, Song: Things I Do For Money

"The things I do for money, I'll never understand.  The world is just a marble in the palm of my hand."  The Northern Pikes are a rock band from Saskatoon.  They kicked around the prairie circuit in the early eighties and released their first indie EP in 1984.  They eventually cut a deal with Virgin Records and in 1987, dropped this album, Big Blue Sky, on the unsuspecting Canadian masses.  Over the next 4 years they would become one of the biggest acts in Canada.  For myself, their ascendancy in Canadian music ran parallel with my teenage years and I have fond memories of this band.  While this album might obviously be described as their breakthrough release, I don't think it was their most popular.  Their third full length in 1991 called, Snow In June, enabled the band to crack the Top Ten in Canada and they even charted in the U.S. as well.  They've been nominated for a Juno 5 times and have never won.  In 1991, they lost out to Blue Rodeo for Group of the Year.  Back to this album though, Teenland was the lead single and it was quickly followed by the masterpiece, Things I Do For Money.  This is such a powerful song that you just want to crank it every time you hear it.   I remember a friend who was a real audiophile back in the day comment on how he always tested a new system he was going to purchase by playing the first album by Dire Straits.  No disrespect to Mark Knopfler but this tune would be my choice.  The band is actually still together today and continues to release new material.  You can follow them at  Their entire discography is available on Itunes.  This particular track has also been included on a couple of retrospective releases as well.  Someone has actually preserved the original video for the song as well and you can watch it on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Artist: Jenson Interceptor, Album: Jenson Interceptor, Song: Freedom Fighting

"I'm goin' down to the battle with you.  I'm gonna smash up the human race and when this childish war is over.  I'm goin' to leave that silly place."  Jenson Interceptor were a rock band from Edmonton, Alberta.  They were siblings, Doug and Kennedy Jenson, Charlotte Wiebe, Albert Blaine and John Fynn.  The album also featured the work of drummer, Whitey Glan (Bush, Mandala, Alice Cooper, Steppenwolf, Lou Reed).  They released their self titled debut in 1980 with local label, House Of Lords Records.  The band got some decent radio response to a number of tracks on the album albeit regional.  They toured with Toronto (see blog 9/22/10) at one point and eventually signed with RCA for their sophomore release in 1983.  Unfortunately, at that point, the interest in the band's music had waned and they lost their record deal.  Since, Doug has gone on to front the band, Doug Jenson & The Feel Kings.  They have two albums available on Itunes and at  If you enjoy blues rock, these guys are worth checking out.  His sister Kennedy took the jazz route since her time in the band and has recorded with Tommy Banks.  I don't believe Freedom Fighting was a single off this release but it is definitely one of the more upbeat rockers on the album.  The album is a difficult find today.  At the time of this blog, there were copies on Ebay and Discogs trading between $10 and $20.  You can hear the song, Freedom Fighting, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Artist: The Rockin' Highliners, Album: Sputnik Cafe, Song: Shake It

"Well I know you practice that walk and I know you like that dirty talk."  The Rockin' Highliners were a blues band from Edmonton.  A lot of the members were transplanted Manitobans.  They released their first independent release in 1996 and their sophomore release garnered them a Juno nomination for Best Blues Album Of The Year in 1998.  They lost out to Colin James however.  They then signed with Canadian label, Stoney Plain Records, for their next release.  Sputnik Cafe was their last of their four releases and it was released on a Maryland based label called, Severn Records.  The band recorded the album in Maryland and the name of the album is from a restaurant in the same town as the recording studio they were using.  The band toured Canada and the U.S. during their career and opened for the likes of George Thorogood, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Blue Rodeo.  Coincidentally, Shake It, is a song that is very reminiscent of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.  The band would eventually relocate to Toronto before the members parted ways.  You can follow them at  You can purchase the album, Sputnik Cafe, on Itunes as well as their Stoney Plain release, Oh My!  Their earlier independent releases can be ordered from  You can hear the song, Shake It, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Artist: The Hardship Post, Album: Somebody Spoke, Song: Garbage Truck

"Don't talk dirty now, give me a kiss.  I'm already lost and I don't need a new twist."  The Hardship Post were a band from Newfoundland that re-located to Halifax in the nineties.  They signed with Sloan's label, Murder Records, and released a couple indie EP's and singles.  They were Sebastian Lippa, Matt Clarke and Mike Pick.  The band would sign with Sub Pop Records out of Seattle and release their one and only fully length, Somebody Spoke, in 1995.  Their sound was punchy, guitar driven rock.  Similar to the sound that was originating from Halifax at the time, by bands like Sloan and Thrush Hermit (see blog 9/5/10).  Garbage Truck is a two minute ditty that surprisingly wasn't one of the band's singles.  The album garnered the band a Juno nomination in 1996.  They were nominated along with fellow East Coast rockers, Super Friendz (see blog 2/25/11) as well as The Inbreds, Rusty and Art Bergmann.  Art ended up winning the award.  Matt Clarke would eventually leave the band ushering in some line up changes that included the addition of Alyson Macleod from the band Jale.  You can purchase the album, Somebody Spoke, on Itunes.  You can hear the track, Garbage Truck, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Artist: Anyzette, Album: Ebo-Ebo Remix, Song: Njinguele Mbassy

Anyzette was a singer songwriter, born in Cameroon, raised in France and who immigrated to Canada in 1987.  She had already developed a musical persona in France before leaving the country.  She had toured and released her debut album in 1984.  She signed with RCA records after settling in Montreal and released her second album or more appropriately, set of singles.  The first single was Ebo-Ebo which had the song Njinguele Mbassy as the B-side.  The B-side was then released as a single as well.  If you like world beat music, this tune should appeal to you.  Anyzette toured Canada and the U.S. while here and shared the stage with blues guitarist, Albert Collins.  She was the subject of a Radio-Canada documentary as well.  She returned to Europe in the early nineties and resides in Geneva, Switzerland today.  She is still involved in music.  You can follow her at  Canada has a deep and fruitful history of world beat and reggae artists who made this country their home and recorded material while in the country.  Some have stayed permanently and others haven't but all have left their mark on the Canadian musical landscape.  Anyzette's discography is a difficult find today.  At the time of this blog, there was a copy of the Ebo-Ebo remix release with the Njinguele Mbassy b-side on Ebay for $10.  A production duo from France entitled, The Twin Brothers, recently remixed Ebo-Ebo and you can purchase that on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Njinguele Mbassy, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Artist: The Shmorgs, Album: The Shmorgs, Song: Ain't It So Easy

The Shmorgs were a rock band from B.C. that included Canadian, punk icon, Art Bergmann.  They released one indie album in 1978.  As the story goes, Art was becoming more interested in the punk sounds originating abroad from bands like Iggy Pop and the Stooges, The New York Dolls and of course, The Sex Pistols.  He started checking out local bands like D.O.A. (see blog 8/15/10) and the Subhumans before relocating himself to Vancouver and starting his own punk band.  Years later, he would become one of the most recognizable figures of the Vancouver punk scene.  Interestingly enough, another musician that moved in the same circle as Art was, Gord Nicholl, who would join the band, The Pointed Sticks, in later years.  It seemed to be a very interesting and creative scene back then.  A lot of musicians were collaborating and experimenting with new styles of music.  Some of the other members of the Shmorgs would continue recording rock and blues music in the burbs and form The Mud Bay Blues Band.  As for Art, he would front a number of punk bands like the Young Canadians before embarking on a solo career.  Ain't It So Easy was the lead off track to their self titled debut.  This tune is similar to the sound of the Flamin' Groovies.  It has a garage rock feel to it but is certainly more along the lines of classic rock rather than punk.  You can hear the song, Ain't It So Easy, on You Tube (  At the time of this blog, I could find no copies of the self titled debut available.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Artist: Sherry Kean, Album: People Talk, Song: Universe Of Two

"Living in a universe of two, baby me and you.  And I say darlin' that is all I need to see me through."  Sherry Kean was a singer songwriter from Toronto who rose from the Queen Street circuit as lead singer of a band called, The Sharks, in the early eighties.  The band included future Blue Rodeo member, Basil Donovan, at one time.  She went solo in 1983 and recorded her debut EP entitled, Mixed Emotions, with Capitol Records in New York.  The single, I Want You Back, scored her a hit which led to a full length release in 1984, entitled, People Talk.  The album included some of the songs off the EP including her hit, I Want You Back, and the B-side to that single, Universe Of Two.  Both songs received radio play and Sherry won a Juno that same year as well.  The album was completed in Toronto and those sessions included future Breit Bros. (see blog 11/1/10) bassist, Ian DeSouza, as well as American Sax player, Lou Marini (Blues Brothers, J.Geils Band).  The entire Breit Bros. band would contribute to her follow up release with A&M records in 1987.  I just recently noticed in the liner notes to this album, that she thanked Gerard McMahon.  Gerard had an eighties hit a couple of years later under the pseudonym, Gerard Mcmann, on the Lost Boys soundtrack, called Cry Little Sister.  An interesting connection if it is the same person although he doesn't appear to be credited as a songwriter or musician on this release.  Getting back to Sherry though, she recorded two albums in her career and it appears she didn't record again following her sophomore release.  This particular track, Universe Of Two, is a great pop song but it also exposes her versatility as both a rock and country singer.  It is a shame this album hasn't been re-released because it is definitely one of the finest records from that decade.  At the time of this blog, there were copies trading on Ebay and Amazon between $5 and $25.  You can hear the song, Universe Of Two, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Artist: Solitair (feat. Saukrates & Michie Mee) Album: Drop The Beat Soundtrack, Song: Drop The Beat

Solitair is a producer and MC based in Toronto that started releasing material in the nineties.  He had a few singles out on 12 inch with Beat Factory Records and he was also part of a collective called, The Circle, that included artists like Frankie Ano (aka Frankenstein), Thrust (see blog 2/15/11) and Jully Black.  In later years, he would hook up Kardinal Offishall to form the Black Jays production team that achieved some notoriety when they released a remixed version of Jay Z's, The Black Album.  Drop The Beat was a short lived CBC drama about some kids producing their own college radio show.  The show emerged in 2000 and it's intention was to shine a spotlight on Toronto's growing hip hop scene.  Phenomenal idea but the show didn't last.  It did produce a soundtrack though that is very hard to find today and it featured a number of homegrown artists like Solitair.  Solitair wrote and produced the title track and he is joined by fellow rappers, Saukrates and Michie Mee.  Michie Mee actually starred as a character in the show.  The soundtrack is likely out of print but there were copies trading on Ebay and Amazon between $10 and $50.  Solitair recently released a R&B album under the name Silver and is nominated for a Juno this year.  You can hear the song, Drop The Beat, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Artist: Jean Leloup, Album: L'Amour Est Sans Pitie, Song: Isabelle

"L'Amour est une sale affaire."  Love is a dirty business.  The translated last words of artist Jean Leloup from his hit song, Isabelle.  Jean Leloup (aka Jean Leclerc) is a francophone artist from Quebec who spent most of his formative child and teenage years abroad in places like Togo and Algeria.  He is a tremendously creative artist that seems to be always pushing the barriers in music.  While his popularity within Canada is mainly within the province of Quebec, many of his albums have achieved gold and platinum status.  He has also been nominated for a Juno twice.  Jean has always had an uncompromising approach to his music.  In 1989, he was so unhappy with his label's artistic control over his debut album that he entitled it, Menteur (Liar).  He retreated to Europe shortly thereafter and formed a new band that led to the recording of this album, L'Amour Est Sans Pitie, in 1991.  The song, Isabelle, was a big hit and the video was a major contributing factor.  It was directed by a man named James DiSalvio who was also a DJ.  James would later form the band, Bran Van 3000, whom Jean would collaborate with in later years.  Jean has released albums under both his stage name, Leloup, as well as his given name, Leclerc.  His last album was released in 2009.  He is a dynamic artist that deserves more recognition within this country.  You can follow him at as well as  You can watch the original video for Isabelle on You Tube (  You can purchase this album along with all of Jean's other releases on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Artist: Rymes With Orange, Album: Trapped In The Machine, Song: Toy Train

"I've got 24hrs of living left and I don't know what to do.  I've lived my life in misery so close to you.  Life is like a carousel and were spinning in infinity.  And we go round and round and round, on a toy train."  Rymes With Orange were a B.C. based band that released their debut disc entitled, Peel, in 1992.  They were Lyndon Johnson, Rob Lulic, Bob D'Eith, Steve Hennessy, Nelson Sinclair and Niko Quintal.  The band benefited from the exposure they received through video from Much Music.  As well, their music seemed to gain some support on alternative radio in Canada.  The band was signed to A&M records and toured parts of Canada, the U.S. and even Europe.  Trapped In The Machine was their second release with A&M in 1994.  Toy Train was a very recognizable song for the band in retrospect.  Catchy lyrics and a great riff.  They would go on to release two more albums independently in 1999 and 2003.  I don't believe the band is still recording, however, reunions are always a possibility.  You can keep tabs on the band at  You can hear the song, Toy Train, on You Tube (  The band recently re-released this particular song as a single on Itunes. Alternatively, the entire album, Trapped In The Machine, is trading on the second hand market.  At the time of this blog, there were used copies on Ebay and Amazon between $10 and $200.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Artist: Refugee, Album: Burning From The Inside Out, Song: Survival In The Western World

"You wonder how in a world like this can we keep ourselves alive.  But you don't surrender, you hold on tight and you fight for survival in the western world."  Refugee were a rock band from Ontario that released their debut album in 1985.  The members were Myles Hunter, Rob Kennedy, Martin Jones, Howard Helm along with former Helix drummer, Brian Doerner.  Helm had been in a band called Zon during the seventies which did quite well and opened for bands like The Tubes, Styx and Foreigner.  Myles, Rob and Martin had started a previous band called Michael Fury and were signed to Passport Records in 1979.  They released an album but audiences assumed that Michael Fury was a solo act (aka Myles Hunter) and that didn't sit well with the band.  So they bought the rights back for their album, signed with Chrysalis Records and re-released it as Refugee.  They would change labels again (but not names) in 1987, to record their sophomore release, Burning From The Inside Out, with Polydor.  The band had a number of singles off this album and toured the U.S. and Canada in support of the album.  Unfortunately, the support wasn't enough and they disbanded.  I don't recall hearing their music much on Toronto radio stations at the time but I do remember hearing them for the first time while on vacation in Nova Scotia.  Survival In The Western World was all over the radio there as was the album title track.  I honestly assumed they were an East coast act back then.  It's unfortunate they didn't get more exposure even within their own country because this was a great album.  Some of the members would reform again to support Myles Hunter's solo album entitled, Northern Union, on Island Records, in 1990.  The release also included the talents of Tom Cochrane and the Partland Brothers (see blog 11/6/10).  Today, Myles has traded in his guitar for a bible.  He is a Reverend with the Anglican Church of Canada.  I believe this release was re-mastered recently and can be purchased at  I remember paying an extraordinary amount for a copy of this disc a number of years ago.  You can hear the song, Survival In The Western World, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Artist: Madlocks, Album: Rap Essentials 2000, Song: Check Out The Bazaar

Madlocks was a Toronto hip hop artist and producer that began releasing material in the late nineties.  He worked as a producer for such acts as Michie Mee and Ghetto Concept (see blog 11/12/10) before releasing his own album in 1999 entitled, Nothing To Lose Much To Gain, with Beat Factory Records.  As far as I am aware, this was his only full length release, though he did release a number of singles through various Beat Factory compilations like this one, Rap Essentials.  In 2000, the Rap Essentials compilation included one of his tracks called, Check Out The Bazaar, which reminds me a lot of an old Roots' track called, Distortion to Static.  Beat Factory was a pivotal label for black music in Canada.  There weren't many urban radio stations and the only outlets for hip hop and r&b were college radio as well as video stations like Much Music.  Artists like K-OS, Ghetto Concept, Kardinal Offishall and the Rascalz all released singles through this label.  They were also responsible for getting major label distribution for artists like Michie Mee and the Dream Warriors.  Unfortunately, a lot of the work of artists like Madlocks are lost treasures today because of the out of print status on all of these compilations.  For many of these artists, this was the only output they had. So if you enjoy rap music and can find copies, they are definitely worth hanging on to.  At the time of this blog, there were numerous copies at Amazon trading between $1 and $100.  You can hear the song, Check Out The Bazaar, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Artist: Jack DeKeyzer, Album: Wild At Heart, Song: In My Wildest Dreams

Jack DeKeyzer was born in England but has established his musical reputation in Canada for the past 30 years.  He is a multiple Juno and Maple Blues award winner.  He has recorded with the likes of Etta James and Otis Rush.  He started out in a rockabilly act called the Bopcats in the early eighties.  He then graduated to a soloist, releasing his debut album in 1990.  Wild At Heart was his follow up to that album in 1994.  In My Wildest Dreams is the album opener.  This particular track would appeal to both blues and rock fans which gave him some early rock chart success in Canada.  This track wasn't the single on the album which is surprising.  Jack has released 7 albums to date and just may be the busiest man in the business.  He is currently on an Armed Forces Arctic Tour.  The touring schedule on his website has him booked out front as far as September!  I honestly can't recall another independent artist whose name I heard more frequently over the years.  His reputation definitely precedes him.  You can follow Jack at  Jack also often plays with Jerome Godboo (see blog 1/28/11) at the Delta Chelsea Hotel on Thursday nights.  I think their next show is coming up in late April.  Most of Jack's latest releases are available on Itunes.  His earlier stuff isn't though.  At the time of this blog, there were no copies of Wild At Heart available online.  You can hear the song, In My Wildest Dreams, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Artist: Irish Descendants, Album: Look To The Sea, Song: Peter Street

"I would sir if I could sir if I only got the chance.  But I met a girl on Peter Street and she asked me to a dance.  She danced my heart's deception, I got robbed from head to feet.  And I'll take my oath no more I'll go to a dance on Peter Street."  The Irish Descendants are a Celtic folk band from Newfoundland that released their first indie album in 1991.  The band caught the ear of Warner music and these former fishermen went from playing pubs to stages around the world.  They've even played for the Queen.  They've released 12 albums and won a Juno.  Only one of the original members remains in the band to this day and his name is Con O'Brien.  He celebrated 20 years with the Irish Descendants this past year.  Look To The Sea, was their first major label release in 1993.  This album was pivotal in attracting more ears to the Celtic folk sounds that were popularized in Eastern Canada.  The song, Peter Street, is an old traditional, MacEdward Leach, song from Newfoundland that chronicles the plight of a sailor who meets a woman on Peter Street.  It's strictly A capella.  The Irish Descendants still perform today and you can follow them at  You can find the song, Peter Street, on a "best of" compilation entitled, So Far So Good, as well.  Both Look To The Sea and So Far So Good are available on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Peter Street, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Artist: Eric Eggleston & The Flavour Vendors, Album: Passin' Through, Song: Licking My Fingers

"What's the point in being proud when you can be naked and loud."  Eric Eggleston is a singer songwriter from Ottawa.  He released his debut disc with back up band, The Flavour Vendors, in 2002, entitled, Passin' Through.  Licking My Fingers is a catchy pop tune that reminds me a bit of OAR and Brendan Benson.  He's toured the province inside out as a soloist, duo as well as with a full band.  Following this release, he has re-incarnated himself as the Eric Eggleston Band, Harpoon and most recently, The Draculas.  His latest band, The Draculas, just released their first EP last year and it is available on Itunes.  They've toured parts of the U.S. and Europe and even played for Elton John at one of his after parties.  You can follow them at  As for Eric's material before the Draculas.  Some of it is available on Itunes, but this particular album, Passin' Through, isn't.  At the time of this blog, there were copies trading on Ebay, Discogs and Amazon between $20 and $30.  You can hear the song, Licking My Fingers, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Artist: Cranium, Album: Caveman, Song: World Turns

"You and I adore the same things most of them ignore."  Not to be confused with the Swedish death metal band sharing the same name.  Cranium was a man by the name of Fraser Armstrong from Kimberly, B.C..  In 1998, he hooked up with Les Bolen at Lizard Mountain Music in B.C. as well as fellow collaborator and musician, Scott Auto Mattix.  They released this album entitled, Caveman.  I stumbled upon it without really knowing anything about it and was pleasantly surprised.  The lead off track, World Turns, is a Hoodoo Gurus' sounding tune that has a great rhythm to it.  Unfortunately, there isn't much on the band.  I believe Fraser "Cranium" Armstrong runs a recording studio in Kimberly, B.C..  Les Bolen is still running Lizard Mountain Music as well. At the time of this blog, there were no copies available online of this album.  You can hear the song, World Turns, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Artist: Sean Panting, Album: Lotus Land, Song: Mack Truck Grill

Sean Panting is a singer songwriter from Newfoundland.  He's a musician and actor , starring recently in the CBC show, Republic of Doyle.  He released his debut, Lotus Land, in 2000 and it included this song, Mack Truck Grill.  I heard the song initially on an East Coast Music Awards compilation.  To date he has released 4 albums, his most recent in 2005.  He's a prolific songwriter who can churn out a pop song with ease.  Yet, true to his roots, he loves his rock and roll and recently released an album with a full band.  Whether he's stripped down to an acoustic guitar or turning it to eleven, he does it well.  He has won a few regional awards for his music in recent years and hopefully that translates into national attention.  He has also shared stages with Ron Sexsmith (see 9/9/10 blog), Daniel Lanois (see 9/16/10 blog) and Billy Bragg.  Unfortunately though, his discography is not easy to find.  However, a local record shop in St.John's called Fred's Records has an online shop and his discography is available there.  You can check out the pride of Newfoundland at as well as on his MySpace page at  You can hear the song, Mack Truck Grill, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Artist: Martha Wainwright, Album: Martha Wainwright, Song: Factory

"These are not my people, I should never have come here.  The chick with the dick and the gift for the gab.  I know a place, I've seen the face.  I'll take the coast from factory to factory."  Martha Wainwright is the daughter of musical parents, Kate McGarrigle (see blog 9/3/10) and Loudon Wainwright III.  She was raised in Montreal, Quebec but she sold her soul to rock 'n' roll in New York.  She released some of her first recordings in the nineties before her self-titled debut was released in 2005 with Maple Music.  She self produced it along with her husband, Brad Albetta.  It is one of my favourite albums of all time.  Martha's vocals are hypnotizing and very reminiscent of her mother.  The track, Factory, is my favourite on the album.  Her late mother Kate plays banjo on this track.  The album also features her brother Rufus and Garth Hudson from The Band.  She was nominated for a Juno for New Artist of the Year but lost out to Daniel Powter.  Martha has released two more albums since her debut.  Her most recent is a collection of Edith Piaf covers that was released in 2010.  She has also become an international sensation, touring the world and sharing stages or collaborating with artists like Annie Lennox, Snow Patrol and Hole.  You can follow Martha at  You can purchase Martha's entire discography on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Factory, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Artist: Zuul's Evil Disco, Album: Homemade Prozak, Song: Superfantabulous

"It's a superfantabulous chicken surprise!"  Zuul's Evil Disco (aka ZED) were a funk rock band from London, Ontario that formed in the nineties.  The members were Western University students who were inspired after attending a Rainbow Butt Monkeys' concert at Call The Office in London.  They enrolled in a Battle of the Bands contest and released some demos and the rest is history.  Their first full length, entitled, Funkalupatropolis, was released in 1997.  They would follow it up with one more album in 1999, entitled, Homemade Prozak.  That album included this catchy funk fuelled ditty, Superfantabulous.  The band broke up shortly after this release but have reformed in recent years to play live shows and festivals.  They have begun to chronicle their story at  A supremely talented band that deserved more than regional recognition.  Although it's easy to make comparisons with bands like the Red Hot Chilipeppers, they found a way to do it in their own style and remain unique.  Unfortunately, their music is very hard to find today.  At the time of this blog, there were copies of Homemade Prozak trading between $40 and $180 on Amazon.  You can hear the song, Superfantabulous, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Artist: The Vapids, Album: Drink Beer!, Song: Mikey Was A Punk

"He never understood my choice of tunes, that three chord junk.  So I lent him "Leave Home" for the weekend.  Monday, he came back a punk.  Mikey was a punk."  The Vapids are a punk band from Burlington, Ontario originally.  They started jamming out as a four piece in the early nineties and by 1994 were recording their first demo releases.  Mikey was the original fourth member on guitar who left for college and dropped out of the band.  The song, Mikey Was A Punk, is about him.  Drink Beer! was their second full length release in 1996 with Cracked Records out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.  The band doesn't appear to be playing or recording at the moment.  The two main members throughout the years have been Jimmy and Scott Vapid.  The band toured parts of Canada and the U.S. the hard way by booking their own shows and sleeping in vans.  Their sound is Ramones' style punk and this song is a perfect example of that.  Their music has been featured on a number of punk compilations and they've released albums and EP's with various labels.  The most recent is Surfin' Ki Records based in Italy (  They have covered and released entire album versions from the Ramones and Teenage Head.  Their most recent release was in 2008.  You can follow the band at  At the time of this blog, I couldn't find any copies of Drink Beer! available.  You can find some of their most recent releases at Surfin' Ki's website (above).  The alternative is paying $170 for one at Amazon!  You can hear the song, Mikey Was A Punk, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Artist: The Premiums, Album: Recognizer!, Song: White Lightning

"This is a shakedown.  I'm wearing out my halo.  Another nervous breakdown.  You gotta let go.  White lightning!"  The Premiums were a rock band from Toronto that released their debut, Recognizer!, in 2004.  The two main founders of the band were Chris Public and Steve Vibrolux.  The band was a side project of sorts for the two guys who enlisted Justin Heming from the band, Basshornets, as well as Tony Rabalao from Joydrop ("Sometimes I Wanna Die").  Chris Public had already made a name for himself as a member of BTK (hip hop rock band similar to Sugar Ray) and Steve Vibrolux had his own thing going on with Vibrolux.  Recognizer! was a dose of garage ready rock and roll and that was start to finish, an outstanding album.  I first heard the album opener, White Lightning, on an Internet Radio station and bought the album the next day.  I'm sure glad I did because today, it isn't an easy find.  I found some rare copies available online between $15 and $50 on sites like and  Nothing on Ebay or Amazon.  Tragic.  The band would go on to release one more album before focusing on other musical endeavors.  You can check out the Premiums' legacy at  You can check out new material from both Chris Public and Vibrolux respectively at and  You can hear the track, White Lightning, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Artist: Grand Analog, Album: Metropolis Is Burning, Song: Electric City (feat. Shad)

"Music make the world go round, world go round, we ain't going nowhere."  Grand Analog are a hip hop collective from Winnipeg.  They are a self proclaimed group of record store junkies and musicians.  They play instruments and jam out live like a rock band.  A good comparison might be The Roots.  If you enjoy K-OS as well, you will love these guys.  Their albums are tough to describe in that they move through so many different styles.  They sample rock, jazz, blues, reggae and lay on some thick crisp beats.  Band leader Odario Williams released a number of albums as Mood Ruff before starting the Grand Analog project.  To date they have 2 full length releases, the latest in 2009, entitled, Metropolis Is Burning.  It is an awesome album and the song, Electric City, features Ontario rapper, Shad.  They are signed to the label, Urbnet Recordings and you can purchase this album there at or on Itunes.  You can follow the band at  The band has toured Canada and the U.S. and shared stages with the likes of Kardinal Offishall and Herbaliser.  Martin Perna, a multi-instrumentalist who has worked with bands like TV On The Radio, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Beck, also appears on this album.  You can hear the song, Electric City, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Artist: Florida Razors, Album: Beat Music, Song: New York Screamin'

"Made me want to dance and it made me want to shout, New York screamin' when the lights go out!"  The Florida Razors were a rock band from Hamilton that started recording in the early to mid eighties.  They were Tom Wilson, Jason Avery, Greg Cannon and Carl Keesee.  They erupted out of a very cool scene that included bands like Teenage Head and The Shakers (featuring Dave Rave - see blog 10/19/10).  They recorded an EP in 1985 entitled, Half A Rock 'n' Roll Record, which included this track, New York Screamin'.  They later re-released it as part of their first full length, Beat Music, in 1986.  Their material was almost solely produced at the Lanois brothers' (Daniel and Bob) studio on Grant Avenue in Hamilton.  The band was very popular regionally and did tour but failed to attract enough attention.  They eventually broke up in 1987.  Tom would go on to greater fame with his new band, Junkhouse.  Later, he would re-invent himself as a folk rock troubadour with the band, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings as well as most recently, LeE HARVeY OsMOND.  New York Screamin' is a dirty little rock tune that blends golden era rock and roll with punk attitude.  Bullseye Records re-released the album with some extras in 2000 but they have since gone out of business.  Thus, the album is trading on the second hand market at the moment.  Ebay and Amazon had copies trading between $5 and $50 at the time of this blog.  You can hear the song, New York Screamin', on You Tube (  You can follow Tom Wilson at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Artist: Bruno Gerussi's Medallion, Album: In Search Of The Fourth Chord, Song: Ginger's Alright

Named after a Canadian actor who played the part of Nick Adonidas, on the sitcom, The Beachcombers.  This band issued their one and only studio album in 1989 with Warner Records, entitled, In Search Of The Fourth Chord.  The album was produced by Trooper member, Ra McGuire.  The band included Jim Elliot, Bruce Faulkner, Tom Harrison, Ron Hyslop and Jimmy Walker.  Tom Harrison was a music columnist who was playing drums on the side.  He penned all the songs on this album and sang them as well.  Interesting fun fact about Tom is that he wrote for the Georgia Straight publication in Vancouver and took over for a little known writer named, Bob Geldolf, who was returning to Ireland to start the Boomtown Rats.  Bruno Gerussi's Medallion would later change their name to Little Games for one more release.  They reformed in 1998 which prompted the release of a limited live pressing.  Unfortunately, there isn't much more on the band.  Tom Harrison has a website where you can read about his time in and out of the band.  You can follow him at  You can purchase this album at  You can hear the song, Ginger's Alright, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Artist: Rob Lamothe, Album: Wishing Well Motel, Song: Raymond

"I know you know I saw you like I know you saw me."  Rob Lamothe is a singer songwriter from California originally, but has resided in Hamilton, Ontario, since the mid nineties.  Rob was in a California band called the Riverdogs with Def Leppard guitarist, Vivian Campbell.  They were signed to Epic Records in the U.S and released three albums between 1990 and 1993.  Rob then moved to Canada and became immersed in our music scene, releasing albums, producing other artists and touring internationally.  He's remained indie on the surface but his credentials, connections and worldwide notoriety is remarkable.  He frequently tours Europe going as far back to his days with the Riverdogs.  Most recently, his 15 year old son joined him as his touring drummer.  He's written songs for Kalan Porter and toured as a guitarist with Liam Titcomb as well as David Usher recently.  To date he has released 9 solo albums, his most recent in 2006.  Wishing Well Motel was released in 2001.  Raymond is a haunting track with soulful background vocals that was written by a Hamilton artist named, Michael J. Birthelmer.  He plays guitar on this track as well.  It's a beauty and you can hear the song on You Tube (  Rob currently has a publishing deal with Nettwerk Records and you can follow him at  Wishing Well Motel is a difficult disc to track down nowadays.  At the time of this blog, there was one available at Amazon for $25.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Artist: Earthquake Pills, Album: Autodidactaphone, Song: Frankenstino

Earthquake Pills were a rock band from Calgary, Alberta.  They released the album, Autodidactaphone, in 1997.  They were Chris Temple, Steve Elaschuk, Kara Keith and Mark Igglesden.  I first stumbled across the song, Frankenstino, on a North By Northwest sampler.  It kind of reminded me a bit of the Hold Steady.  My search for more information took me back to the Calgary punk scene in the early nineties, where all of the members in this band cut their teeth.  Chris and Steve were in a very popular band called Wagbeard before they formed Earthquake Pills.  Mark was a member of the Primrods.  It doesn't appear that Earthquake Pills lasted beyond their next album in 1999, before the members left to focus on other projects.  Steve Elaschuk is in a garage rock band called the Neckers that is still active and playing shows currently in the Calgary area.  You can purchase the album, Autodidactaphone, on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Frankenstino, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Artist: Scott Merritt, Album: Violet And Black, Song: Are You Sending

Scott Merritt is a singer songwriter from Brantford, Ontario.  He started his career in the mid to late seventies and released his first independent release in 1979.  A little known producer named Daniel Lanois helped engineer that recording.  His next release in 1982, caught the ear of Duke Street Records, who re-released his sophomore album as well as his next release in 1986.  The album, Violet And Black was released with American label, I.R.S., in 1990 and included this track, Are You Sending.  Scott has such a thick, layered sound.  This song has some wonderful Byrds - like guitars.  It's a great tune.  Scott took advantage of the video medium during his early career and had some strong support for his singles.  Some of them have been preserved on You Tube and worth a search.  He was also nominated for a Juno in 1986.  Most recently, Scott has focused on the production side of the business but did release a follow up to Violet And Black in 2002, entitled, The Detour Home.  That album is available at  You can purchase, Violet And Black, at  You can follow Scott at  You can hear the song, Are You Sending, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!