Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Artist: Rhythm Mission, Album: Wild Mood Swings, Song: Dinosaur Rock

Rhythm Mission were an art rock band from Vancouver.  A lot has been written about the vibrant punk scene that originated on the west coast of Canada in the late seventies and early eighties.  The scene spawned some great bands and within that genre, there were musical offshoots like art rock.  In the case of Rhythm Mission, the music was experimental and combined elements of rock, jazz and punk.  Some of the founding members were in earlier bands within that scene called Exxotone and AKA.  The remaining lineup, plus some additional members, of the latter band, would form the band Rhythm Mission in 1981.  Wild Mood Swings was their full length release in 1986 on the Mo-Da-Mu label.  They were Dennis Mills, Warren Ash, Warren Hunter, Andy Graffiti, Lee Kelsey and Scott Harding.  This is the only release I've ever stumbled upon so I can't say how many albums or singles the band released in their 8 year history.  I have seen some other songs not included on this particular release, on other various compilations like Last Call and Shindig.  What I do know is that a couple of the members started another band called the Jazzmanian Devils while still with Rhythm Mission in 1984.  The Jazzmanian Devils still perform today and you can follow them at http://www.myspace.com/jazzmaniandevils.  At the time of this blog, I couldn't find any copies available of Wild Mood Swings.  You can hear the song, Dinosaur Rock, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoIhDejf4Do&feature=relmfu).  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Artist: Fox Jaws, Album: Goodbye Doris, Song: Warm Winter Coats

Fox Jaws are a rock band from Barrie, Ontario.  They formed in 2003 and released a couple of EP's.  They released their debut full length in 2007 with Chaulk Records, entitled, Goodbye Doris.  For this particular release, the band included founders Dan Allen and Brandyn Aikins along with Carleigh Aikens, Brock Swanek, Derek McColeman and Andrew Shropshire.  The band has a really unique sound and the track, Warm Winter Coats, seems to incorporate everything from hand claps to foot stomps in it's pulsating rhythm.  It's a wonderful tune and Carleigh's vocals are outstanding.  The band would sign on with indie label, Nevado Records, for their next release in 2009.  They would go through some line up changes as well.  The band has taken a break from music recently, as the members have gone off to pursue different things.  Of note, founders, Dan and Brandyn have started a really cool rock band called Indian Handcrafts (http://www.myspace.com/indianhandcrafts).  You can keep tabs on Fox Jaws at http://www.myspace.com/foxjaws.  You can hear the song, Warm Winter Coats, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G20Usv9kr88&feature=channel_video_title).  The album, Goodbye Doris, is available on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Artist: Aerial, Album: In The Middle Of The Night, Song: In The Middle Of The Night

Aerial were a progressive rock band that started out in the mid to late seventies as a Beatles' cover band.  They were called Liverpool and from the sounds of it, were one of the first to actually develop a live show dedicated to the Beatles' music and would even wear Sgt. Pepper costumes.  They toured the U.S. and Canada and before long, became interested in recording their own music.  Thus, the name changed to Aerial and a little known label started up by Rush, called Anthem Records, signed them.  They released their debut album in 1978, entitled, In The Middle Of The Night.  They were Laurie Currie, Malcolm Buchanan, Brian Miessner and Gary O'Connor.  O'Connor would leave the band after this release and go on to a successful career as a songwriter as well as a solo artist under the name Gary O' (see blog 1/7/11).  The band would find a replacement for O'Connor and release one more album in 1980 before calling it quits.  While not a single at the time of release, the title track, In The Middle Of The Night, shows off the two sides of the band.  One being their ability to craft perfect pop melodies as well as their progressive rock side.  You can hear the track on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NefDsaeMJQ&feature=channel_video_title).  The Aerial discography is a difficult find today.  Long out of print and likely only available on vinyl.  There were copies trading on Ebay and Amazon between $5 and $30 at the time of this blog.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Artist: Spirit Of The West, Album: Labour Day, Song: Political

Spirit Of The West are a Celtic rock band from Vancouver that started out in the early eighties.  They originated from the Vancouver pub scene when they were only a three piece band back then. They released their first independent self titled album in 1984.  Labour Day was actually their second album in 1988 and was nominated for the Juno, Best Roots & Traditional Album of the year.  It was recorded in Vancouver and the band toured Europe and North America in support of the album.  While in England, they played some big shows supporting a similar sounding band, The Wonder Stuff.  They realized at that point, that they needed to beef up their sound and promptly expanded to a five piece, adding a drummer and electric guitarist.  One more release and two years later, they would sign a major label deal with Warner Music and release their album, Save This House.  Strangely enough, the major label debut was the first album I had ever heard from Spirit Of The West and for the longest time, thought Labour Day came after it.  A year later, the band released my favourite track from Labour Day, entitled, Political, on their album, Go Figure.  They re-worked it, expanding the song's sound from it's original acoustic version.  The band would release another version of the song with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on their 1999 greatest hits package, entitled, Hit Parade.  Personally, I love the original the best and you can find it now in two places.  The first would be on the original Labour Day release and the second, on a new compilation entitled, Spirituality: Consummate Compendium.  Both are available on Itunes and you can hear the original version on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ugz6IjpEWk).  The band is still touring today.  They have 13 releases to their credit and have been nominated for a Juno five times.  You can follow them at http://www.sotw.ca/.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Artist: Keith Whittaker, Album: Drink To Me, Song: Honestly Ed

"Is the glass half full or time for another drink.  Who cares what other people think?"  Keith Whittaker is probably best known for his days as the lead vocalist in one of Canada's great punk bands, The Demics.  They had a very popular and recognizable song called, New York City, that even today, is often ranked in the top ten Canadian songs of all time.  Keith was actually from England originally and moved to London, Ontario as a teen.  He was drawn to the punk movement occurring in England during the mid to late seventies and assembled a band of like minded musicians in Canada.  The Demics recorded their debut EP in 1979 and followed it up in 1980 with their self titled full length.  Then they broke up.  Keith never really got back into the limelight but did begin writing and recording with a musical friend by the name of Steven Davey during the early nineties.  Sadly, Keith passed away in 1996.  Bullseye Records, in collaboration with Davey, released the demo recordings along with some live material in 2007, entitled, Drink To Me.  It's a stripped down affair and includes a cover of Joe South's, Walk A Mile In My Shoes.  One of the standout tracks on this album is a tune called, Honestly Ed.  You can hear the song on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5h1GL4f6tA).  The album is available for purchase on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Artist: Madison Violet (aka Mad Violet), Album: Caravan, Song: Worry The Jury

Madison Violet (aka Mad Violet) is an alt country band from Toronto.  They are Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac.  Brenley and Lisa began playing together during the late nineties in another band called, Zoebliss.  Following that band, the two began composing more roots based music together and Mad Violet was born.  They released their indie EP in 2002 and followed it up with their debut full length, Worry The Jury, two years later.  Today, they have four releases to their credit and have toured the world.  They have been nominated for numerous awards including a Juno and are signed to True North Records.  Caravan was released in 2006 and includes this great track, Worry The Jury, that shares the same name as their debut album but is not included on that release.  I'm a big Pretenders fan and I think the ladies sound a bit like Chrissie Hynde during the chorus of this song.  Madison Violet are a wonderfully entertaining band to catch live if you ever get the chance.  I've seen them a couple of times now and their album release show for Caravan at Hugh's Room remains one of my favourites.  The band tours constantly and will be embarking on a European tour in a couple of weeks.  They will return to Canada though to play some festivals and shows before heading back to Europe in the fall.  They also appear to be working on some new material.  You can keep track of them at http://www.madisonviolet.com/.  You can purchase all of their releases including this one on Itunes.  You can hear the track, Worry The Jury, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGBdJFrY758&feature=channel_video_title).  I also urge you to check out this other promotional video created by the band for their most recent release (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voaZkuX-Ogc).  It's very well done.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Artist: Chris Field, Album: Chris Field, Song: Where You Gonna Run To Now

Chris Field is a multi-instrumentalist and genre bending musician who started out in Canada but now calls England home.  There isn't a lot written about him but from what I can piece together, he spent the better part of the mid to late nineties playing rock and roll in Vancouver.  That is where he recorded this gem of an album in 1998.  It has a sixty's pop feel to it and the song, Where You Gonna Run To Now, is absolutely stunning and vocally reminiscent of another Vancouver band named, 54-40.  As the story goes, he then relocated to Toronto and from there, London, England.  He was discovered by a producer in Julian Lennon's circle of influence and landed a record deal.  He is recording for the label, Warmgun Records, at the moment and has released a number of albums of electronic music.  He has also worked with Ian Brown of the Stones Roses and tours Europe frequently.  Beyond music, he has published a book of short stories and has been cast in an upcoming movie about the life of Syd Barrett.  You can follow Chris at http://www.chris-field.com/.  All of his most recent work is available through Itunes.  However, this particular album is a difficult find today.  At the time of this blog, there were copies trading on Amazon for $25.  You can hear the song, Where You Gonna Run To Now, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqN-CAKFRXs&feature=channel_video_title).  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Artist: Pride Tiger, Album: The Lucky Ones, Song: Fill Me In

Pride Tiger were a rock band from Vancouver with a wicked throwback sound.  If you love bands like Thin Lizzy, you have to check this album out.  They were Matt Wood, Sunny Dhak, Bob Froese and Mike Payette.  They all had roots in some earlier metal and thrash bands like 3 Inches Of Blood before dialing it down a notch.  With a focus on seventies rock and roll, they released an independent EP in 2006.  They were scooped up by EMI and in 2007, they released their one and only album, The Lucky Ones.  Singer and drummer, Matt Wood, absolutely channels the lost soul of Phil Lynott on this song, Fill Me In.  The band enlisted the services of one Matt Hyde for production of this album.  Matt has a long list of albums he's worked on from bands like Slayer, Porno For Pyros, No Doubt, Monster Magnet and one of my favourites of all time, stoner rock band, Fu Manchu.  Sadly though, bands that tip their hat to the music of a past decade never seem to get the support they deserve.  They are shunned by both alternative and classic rock radio and I would imagine that is what happened here.  As posted on their My Space page, Pride Tiger is no more.  This album will be viewed as one of those rare Canadian gems one day and hopefully with the dawn of digital media, we won't have to search around for out of print copies.  If you don't know of them, check them out at http://www.myspace.com/pridetiger.  You can purchase the album, The Lucky Ones, on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Fill Me In, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GveTlTN7PaI).  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Artist: The Front, Album: Gina's At A Party, Song: The Haunting (Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne)

"Gina has a problem, she thinks she's gonna change the world.  Puts it down on paper, sends it to no one."  The Front were a rock band from Toronto that formed in the early eighties.  The three main members were Paul Henderson, Joel Feeney and Tim Thorney.  They signed with Duke Street Records and in 1983, released their debut album, Gina's At A Party.  Tim and Paul had worked with Canadian singer, Dalbello (see blog 2/24/11) before forming The Front.  Dalbello would also contribute lyrically and vocally to this album.  The first single and likely their best known, was the song, The Haunting (Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne).  The band would release one more album in 1984 before calling it quits.  Joel Feeney would embark on a country music solo career shortly thereafter and has been nominated for a Juno a few times.  He has also found great success in writing for other artists, like LeAnn Rimes, and has a publishing company called NovemberSongs.  Tim Thorney has also gone on to great things in both film and television, producing successful jingles and scores.  He has produced work for Alanis Morissette and Jimmy Rankin.  The entire Front discography which includes, Gina's At A Party and 1984's followup, Underworld, have been recently re-released for sale on Itunes.  It is likely the only place you will find their music these days as original copies are out of print and very hard to find.  You can hear the song, The Haunting (Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne) on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI_mUirKmT0).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Artist: Corbeau, Album: Illegal, Song: Illegal

Corbeau were a rock band from Quebec that formed in 1977.  They were  formed originally by two former Offenbach members, Michel Lamothe and Roger "Wezo" Belval.  Offenbach was a very successful francophone blues rock band that started in 1969 and released a string of albums before culminating their career in 1986.  Michel and Wezo left midstream and started Corbeau who released their debut album in 1979.  They added Donald Hince, Jean Millaire as well as blond bombshell, Marjolene Morin on vocals.  They did very well within the borders of their home province and released five albums before they broke up in 1984.  Illegal, was their third release in 1982.  Marjolene actually re-recorded the title track on her own retrospective release entitled, Marjo Et Ses Hommes, in 2009.  It is available on Itunes.  A compilation was also released in 1992, entitled, L'integrale, which includes the song, Illegal.  Corbeau's discography remains very rare today.  At the time of this blog, there were copies of the album, Illegal, trading on Ebay for $10.  The compilation, L'integrale, is available from Amazon for $40.  You can hear the song, Illegal, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0zf-ruZTGw&feature=channel_video_title).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Artist: The Gandharvas, Album: Sold For A Smile, Song: Gonna Be So Loose

"When the cock crows gonna be so.  Gonna get set be so loose.  Just as soon as the daylight comes.  Gonna slip right through the noose."  The Gandharvas were a band from London, Ontario that formed in 1989.  Their first name was The Droogs and by 1993, they decided on a name change.  They released their debut in 1994 and produced three albums before breaking up in 2000.  The band's music was a staple on alternative rock radio and it even garnered them a Juno nomination for their debut album as Best New Group.  They were nominated with bands like Big Sugar and the Wild Strawberries (see blog 9/20/10) that year but lost out to Moist.  The members were Paul Jago, Jud Ruhl, Brian Ward, Tim McDonald and Beau Cook.  Sold For A Smile was their last album in 1997 with Universal.  It was recorded in Halifax with producer, Laurence Currie, who has worked with bands like Sloan, Wintersleep and Amelia Curran.  There were a couple of strong singles off this album but for myself at least, I always gravitate back to this rocker, Gonna Be So Loose.  Unfortunately, the band's discography isn't widely available.  At the time of this blog, there were new copies at Amazon.com for $8.  You can hear the song, Gonna Be So Loose, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5FUTASaIBE&feature=channel_video_title).  Paul Jago headed West and then South following the break up of the band and now resides in Arizona.  He has a new band called Said Dog.  You can follow him at http://www.saiddog.com/.  I also found this very cool acoustic rendition of the song in question by Paul at a house concert that was posted on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0xpkcY3_cM).  He should definitely re-record this track.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Artist: Orphan, Album: Lonely At Night, Song: Miracle

Orphan were a rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  The formed in the early eighties and were a culmination of two previous bands.  They were Steve McGovern and Ron Boisvenue of The Orphans and Chris Burke-Gaffney and Brent Diamond of The Pumps.  The Pumps had already achieved a very strong regional following.  They were signed to Polygram and released one album before breaking up.  They also opened for some high profile artists like AC/DC, Triumph and Prism.  The buzz definitely carried forward to Orphan and in 1983, they cut their debut album, Lonely At Night.  The album did well in Canada and they had a couple of singles released that received strong radio support.  One of them was the ballad, Miracle.  The band would follow up with one more album in 1985 before disbanding.  Burke-Gaffney would resurface a few years later in another band called The Deadbeat Honeymooners.  However, today, the original members of both Orphan and The Pumps have reformed and have been playing live.  They also released a retrospective called, It's A Miracle : The Very Best Of The Pumps And Orphan.  The album has all their hits including the song, Miracle.  It is available on Itunes.  You can read about the band at http://www.thepumpsandorphan.com/.  You can hear the song, Miracle, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n2OrKCk4b0).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Artist: Lightning Dust, Album: Infinite Light, Song: Never Seen

Lightning Dust are another great band from the Vancouver, rock n' roll family that brought you Black Mountain, Blood Meridian and the Pink Mountaintops.  They are Amber Webber and Joshua Wells.  Both of them are also members of Black Mountain.  Joshua is also in the band, Blood Meridian (see blog 10/4/10).  I'm not sure you can call this band or any of the other bands, side projects.  This group of talented musicians seem to operate in a musical commune of sorts with no artistic boundaries and a completely free spirit.  Lightning Dust released their self titled debut in 2007.  Infinite Light is their sophomore release from 2009.  Amber's vocals are similar to Cat Power and no more evident than on this wonderful track entitled, Never Seen.  The band is signed to the Jagjaguwar label and you can follow them at http://www.myspace.com/lightningdust.  They will be touring Canada, the U.S. and England over the summer/fall months.  You can purchase the album, Infinite Light, on Itunes.  You can watch the video for the song, Never Seen, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtwe5KfsN8Q).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Artist: Blue Shadows, Album: On The Floor Of Heaven, Song: Raised On Robbery

"A little money riding on the Maple Leafs...."  The Blue Shadows were a country rock band from Vancouver.  They were led by Billy Cowsill of the legendary sixties pop band, The Cowsills.  The Cowsills were actually the inspiration behind the Partridge Family.  When Billy started touring on his own and took up residence in Canada, he partnered with Jeffrey Hatcher (see blog 12/8/10), J.B. Johnson, Elmar Spanier and Barry Muir to form The Blue Shadows.  They signed with Bumstead Records and got a distribution deal with Sony for their debut album, On The Floor Of Heaven, in 1993.  The album was critically acclaimed but failed to generate a lot of commercial interest at the time.  The album has had a slick makeover in recent years and a wonderful collection of covers and unreleased material has been added to the album.  One of those tracks was the Joni Mitchell song, Raised On Robbery.  I found out about it by reading John Sakamoto's excellent weekly music review entitled, The Anti-Hit List, in the Toronto Star (http://www.thestar.com/antihitlist).  The new remastered release with extra tracks is available on Itunes.  The band would release one more album in 1995 before going their own separate ways.  Sadly, Billy Cowsill passed on in 2006.  Hopefully the re-issue will ignite some new interest in the wonderfully underrated music of this long lost band.  You can hear the song, Raised On Robbery, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WELukF_ad9Q&feature=channel_video_title).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Artist: Pobi, Album: Send Me An Angel, Song: Send Me An Angel

Pobi was a dance artist from Quebec who started making a name for herself in the mid to late eighties.  There isn't a lot of information on her career but she seemed to have some 12" singles in 1988 with indie dance label, Hitt Records.  However, she then teamed up with ex-Matra producer Joe LaGreca, who was the mastermind behind numerous disco releases in the seventies including those done by Carol Jiani (see blog 3/29/11).  In 1993, she released her first full length entitled, Send Me Angel.  It was produced at Studio Harmony in Montreal and the title track was a dance cover of an obscure 80's hit by an Australian band named, Real Life.  Real Life's version was already a great song and had appeared in popular movies like Teen Wolf with Michael J. Fox.  Nonetheless, Pobi and LaGreca did a masterful job at accentuating it's pop qualities and transforming it into a club anthem without straying too far from the original song.  The song has since been included on a number of dance compilations and the album is also available for download on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Send Me An Angel, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOL-3gBzxBg).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Artist: The Odds, Album: Bedbugs, Song: Heterosexual Man

"I'm a heterosexual man.  It's just a problem with my glands."  The Odds were a power pop band from Vancouver that formed in the late eighties.  They were Paul Brennan, Steven Drake, Doug Elliot and Craig Northey.  In 1991, they released their self produced debut and were suddenly attracting interest nationally.  The late singer songwriter, Warren Zevon, was so impressed with them that he hired them as his backing band.  They landed a major label deal as a result and the band's popularity gained momentum with strong radio and video support in Canada.  It paved the way for their sophomore release in 1993, entitled, Bedbugs.  It was another really strong album led by this tongue in cheek rocker, Heterosexual Man.  Mr. Zevon even shows up on a couple of tracks playing guitar and piano.  The album garnered them a Juno nomination for Best New Group in 1994, along with Junkhouse, Sloan and The Tea Party.  They all lost to The Waltons that year though.  Despite not winning the hardware, The Odds became one of a small group of new artists that were commanding national attention for their music.  It's actually quite shocking that they were only nominated once considering the number of singles that charted during their career.  The band would suffer through some line up changes in later years but would still produce two more commercially successful albums between 1995 and 1996 before going their own separate ways in 1999.  Many of the members have kept busy with other musical projects over the years.  Northey has released an album with former Gin Blossom member, Jesse Valenzuela, as well as a solo release of his own.  He and current Odds' members, Doug Elliot and Pat Steward are also in a band called Stripper's Union with Rob Baker from the Tragically Hip.  Most of the original line up reformed in 2008 and have released new material and continue to tour.  You can follow them at http://www.oddsmusic.com/.  You can purchase this album along with their entire discography on Itunes.  You can watch the hilarious video for Heterosexual Man, featuring Kids In The Hall, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiI0ydrw_QU).  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Artist: Nathan Wiley, Album: Bottom Dollar, Song: Comeback

Nathan Wiley is a singer songwriter from Prince Edward Island.  After kicking around in a few different bands, he released his debut solo album, Bottom Dollar, in 2002.  It won him an East Coast Music Award as well as some opening live gigs for artists like Steve Earle, Blue Rodeo and Sarah Harmer.  He produced the album and played almost all of the instruments.  Comeback is a song from that album that conjures up comparisons with Josh Rouse.  He would follow it up with his sophomore album in 2004 on Warner Records.  It was another strong effort that had him touring with Ron Sexsmith (see blog 9/9/10) and Sarah Slean.  He's toured the country and played parts of the U.S., including South By Southwest.  His third release was in 2007 and was produced by former Los Lobos' and Blasters' member, Steve Berlin.  He is currently on the Sonic Records label.  You can follow him at http://www.nathanwiley.com/.  You can purchase this album on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Comeback, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bLaKTRd4qk).  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Artist: R. Dean Taylor, Album: Made In Canada Volume 2, Song: Indiana Wants Me

"Indiana wants me, Lord I can't go back there."  R. Dean Taylor was a singer songwriter from Toronto who released his first single in 1960.  He achieved some early success which garnered him radio play along with some television spots in Canada.  He would then relocate to New York and continue recording before auditioning for the writing team of Holland, Dozier, Holland at Motown Records in Detroit.  He got the job and started an amazing apprenticeship writing and playing on tracks with some of Motown's biggest acts like The Supremes, The Four Tops and The Temptations.  He also released some of his own material during that time with the label.  However, promotional support wasn't always forthcoming.  A couple of his songs did catch on in Britain during the late sixties.  With much of Motown's focus on their strong roster of black recording artists, R. Dean Taylor, was moved to their subsidiary, Rare Earth Records, which managed the white artists.  However, in 1970, he hit pay dirt with the song, Indiana Wants Me.  It was a controversial song that told the story of a man on the run from the law in Indiana for murder.  Apparently, different versions of the song had to be recorded with and without the sirens in order for it to be played on the radio in some states.  R. Dean Taylor wasn't the first white artist on the Motown label but he would become the first with a number 1 hit in the U.S..  Taylor would follow up the single with more releases but none were able to capture the commercial success of the song, Indiana Wants Me.  The song itself has been included on many seventies rock compilations over the years and is very accessible.  You can also find it on Itunes.  You can read about R. Dean Taylor at http://www.rdeantaylor.com/.  You can hear the song, Indiana Wants Me, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZL_tZxyBDo).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!     

Friday, May 13, 2011

Artist: The Wet Spots, Album: Wake Up With The Wet Spots, Song: Fightin' A War

"I'm fightin' a war and I'm fightin' a war in my head."  The Wet Spots were a punk rock band from Hamilton, Ontario.  They formed back in the eighties and had an indie, cassette only release, entitled, Urinal Diaries, before this album in 1988.  They were Pat Havoc, Danger Dave, Mo De Lon and Dug Illegal.  Wake Up... was produced by Mickey DeSadist, lead singer of the Forgotten Rebels.  The band released the album with Problem Children Wrekords label.  The Problem Children were another punk band from the "Hammer".  Unfortunately, there isn't a lot written about the band in order to piece together a timeline for their discography.  They had another release that followed this album called, From Beer To Paternity, which included a few songs from the Wake Up... release.  Unfortunately, it doesn't include this cool track, Fightin' A War.  The album, Wake Up... is not widely available today.  At the time of this blog, I couldn't find any copies available online.  However, From Beer To Paternity, is available from Itunes.  Some of the original members of both the Wet Spots and the Problem Children are in a new band called the LeT dOwNs and they played in Hamilton last month at the annual Joe Strummer Tribute show.  You can follow them on their facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wet-Spots-original/.  You can hear the song, Fightin' A War, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJSOEZCsi84).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Artist: The Villains, Album: Life Of Crime EP, Song: Urban Skins

The Villains were a ska band that formed in England originally.  They moved to Canada and during their first live performance in Vancouver, they were promptly arrested and sent to a local prison for working without a visa.  They were released on the condition that they voluntarily leave the country or be deported.  Rather than doing either, they found a management company that foresaw profit in the band's recent publicity and helped them fill out the appropriate paperwork to remain in the country.  From there, the band tore up stages coast to coast with their energy and humour.   They formed their own label and in 1980, released their debut EP, Life Of Crime.  It only had 4 tracks and one of them was a cover of Sam The Sham's Wooly Bully.  Urban Skins is a standout from that release that can be purchased on Itunes.  The band would release a followup album with Attic Records in 1983 and changed their sound slightly to appeal to a larger, more pop oriented audience.  The experiment failed and by 1986, the members stopped touring and recording together.  However, there appears to be some life emerging from the Villains camp recently and you can follow them at http://www.myspace.com/thelegendaryvillains.  You can hear the song, Urban Skins, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug2_Kdhtosg&feature=related).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Artist: SenseAmelia Project, Album: Trip Down Little Road, Song: The Cause

The SenseAmelia Project was a band from the east coast of Canada.  Nova Scotia by way of Newfoundland perhaps.  They were a 7pc band consisting of singer songwriter, Amelia Curran as well as band members, Willy King, Caleb Hamilton, Jude Pelley, Johnathan Edwards, Chris Cookson and Kevan Corbett.  Trip Down Little Road was their one and only album which was released in 2001.  It did well regionally and garnered them some nominations, accolades and awards in the Maritimes.  They would also tour Eastern Canada in support of the album.  Amelia had released her first solo album the year before and was making a name for herself musically already.  Following this release, she has continued her solo career and has released three more albums to date.  Her latest release in 2009, won the Juno for Best Roots & Traditional Album Of The Year, beating out artists such as Bahamas (see blog 1/22/11) and Corb Lund.  She is currently signed to indie label, Six Shooter Records.  You can follow her at http://www.ameliacurran.com/.  You can hear the song, The Cause, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohHdUROMoS0&feature=channel_video_title).  The debut album isn't widely accessible today.  You can purchase a copy from Fred's Records online store which is based in Newfoundland (http://www.freds.nf.ca/artists/SenseAmeliaProject.html).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Artist: Matt Epp, Album: Safe Or Free, Song: Crying In Mexico

Matt Epp is a singer songwriter from Manitoba.  He released his debut album in 2005 and to date, has released 5 full length albums.  He has collaborated with other Canadian artists like Amelia Curran, Matt Mays, Rose Cousins and Bahamas (see blog 1/22/11).  What is really remarkable about Matt, is that he decided to pick up music in his early twenties.  He had no musical training on any instrument prior to that.  Safe Or Free was his fourth album released in 2009.  Crying In Mexico is a wonderful piano ballad from that album.  Matt actually sings in Spanish towards the end of this track.  He's maintained that Spanish connection to his music with his latest offering in 2010.  His new band features a couple of Spanish musicians as well.  Matt is currently touring across Canada in support of his new album and will be doing some European dates in the fall.  You can follow him at http://mattepp.com/.  You can purchase the album, Safe Or Free, on Itunes.  You can hear the track, Crying In Mexico, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rus4Ex1HHR4&feature=channel_video_title).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Artist: Moxy, Album: Moxy, Song: Sail On Sail Away

Moxy were a rock band that formed in Toronto during the early seventies.  Original vocalist, Buzz Shearman, had played in a few other bands with guys like Greg Godovitz from Fludd (see blog 12/21/10) as well as Gil Moore from Triumph before forming Moxy with Earl Johnson, Bill Wade, Terry Juric and Buddy Caine.  In 1974, they released their first indie single with Yorkville Records and by the following year, they were signed to Polydor and were sent to NYC to record their self titled debut.  American guitarist Tommy Bolin (James Gang, Deep Purple) happened to be in the same studio and laid down some additional guitar tracks for the band.  Sail On Sail Away is a wonderful tune from that album.  It has an acoustic opener that is reminiscent of Led Zeppelin before bursting into a wall of electric guitars.  If you like southern or blues rock this should appeal to you.  The band toured the U.S. in the seventies and were very big in Texas.  Moxy would record three albums before 1978.  Then Buzz Shearman left the band and was replaced with a little known singer by the name of Mike Reno.  The album didn't do as well as their previous releases and the band broke up.  Mike Reno would go on to much larger success as vocalist for Loverboy.  Buzz Shearman died tragically in a motorcycle accident in the early eighties.  The remaining original members have since released a tribute album along with some new material with a few new vocalists.  Pacemaker Entertainment also released a best of compilation entitled, Self-Destruction, in 1995.  Both the self-titled debut as well as the Self-Destruction compilation feature the song, Sail On Sail Away, and are available on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Sail On Sail Away, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oHquY-y4Es).  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Artist: Diamondback, Album: 1974, Song: One Track Open

Diamondback were a short lived seventies rock band that never actually released an album....until 2008! They were Mike McKenna, Scott Cushnie, Peter McGraw and Richard Love.  Mike McKenna was a respected and well known guitarist on the Toronto music scene before forming Diamondback in 1974.  He was in an early sixties band called Luke & The Apostles.  They opened for the likes of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.  McKenna would form another influential band in the late sixties called McKenna Mendelson Mainline.  Later, abbreviated to Mainline.  This band recorded their debut album in London, England and received a ton of critical acclaim.  The band Diamondback falls into the period following Mainline's breakup.  McKenna had a few different things going on but decided to hook up with piano man, Scott Cushnie, who's own musical resume included stints with Ronnie Hawkins, Robbie Robertson and eventually, as a musician with Aerosmith's Toys In The Attic tour.  They recorded and pressed the Diamondback debut in 1974 but it was never released.  In 2008, working in conjunction with Pacemaker Entertainment, the album was finally made available.  This album is a gem and the song, One Track Open, is a funky track that is reminiscent of the Staple Singers.  You can purchase the album on Itunes.  You can follow Mike McKenna at http://www.mikemckenna.ca/.  You can hear the song, One Track Open, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I--O_7MBtHE).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Artist: Rail T.E.C., Album: Never Coming Down, Song: Guilt

"Hello teenage America."  Rail T.E.C. were an alternative band from Toronto.  They were one of a few exciting bands to emerge in the early nineties and were discovered through a Homegrown Talent Contest at CFNY 102.1.  I believe they even won it.  The notoriety from the contest landed them a deal with Intrepid/EMI records and they released their debut, Never Coming Down, in 1993.  The band did some opening gigs with 13 Engines (see blog 2/5/11) as well.  I first heard the song, Guilt, on CFNY back in 1992 and it reminded me of the band Shriekback.  The station included the song on their Homegrown Contest CD release that year.  I've actually blogged about another band called, Texas Audio (see blog 2/1/11), who were on this same release.  The album was recorded in Toronto at the legendary Metalworks studio.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of information on the band or it's members and from what I understand, this was their only release.  The initials T.E.C. stand for Technology Exploitation Communications.  Today, the album, Never Coming Down, is a difficult find but there were copies trading on Amazon, Ebay and Discogs between $5 and $25.  You can hear the song, Guilt, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NNm0XbAhT8&feature=channel_video_title).  This particular mix was taken from the CFNY new music search sampler in 1992.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Artist: Pointed Sticks, Album: Waiting For The Real Thing, Song: What Do You Want Me To Do?

The Pointed Sticks were a punk rock band from Vancouver.  They were Nick Jones, Bill Hemy, Tony Bardach, Ian Tiles and Gordon Nicholl.  The band was part of an exciting emerging punk scene that included D.O.A. (see blog 8/15/10) and Art Bergmann.  They would form in 1978 and attract the interest of Stiff Records from Britain who represented such acts as Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Madness.  The band would record an album with the label but due to financial constraints, it would not be released.  They returned to Vancouver and in 1980, released their one and only debut, Perfect Youth.  It was put out on indie label, Quintessence, with little known producer and musician, Rob Rock.  Following this release the band broke up.  Joey Shithead from D.O.A. would re-release the album along with a compilation of singles and rarities called, Waiting For The Real Thing, on his Sudden Death label in 2005.  The song, What Do You Want Me To Do? is included on the latter compilation and was one of the band's first singles ever released in 1978.  The band would reform in 2006 and play some shows in Japan as well as in Vancouver.  They would also re-enter the studio and record an album in 2009.  You can follow them at http://www.thepointedsticks.com/.  Strangely enough, their discography was at one time, available through Itunes.  However, now it appears only their latest release is available.  Nonetheless, you can purchase new copies of Waiting For The Real Thing, at Amazon.  The song, What Do You Want Me To Do? is also included on a Stiff Records compilation that is available on Itunes.  You can hear the song, What Do You Want Me To Do?, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQyj64fjAHw).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Artist: Scratching Post, Album: Destruction Of The Universe, Song: Bloodflame

Scratching Post were an alt metal band from London, Ontario.  They formed in 1992 and released their first self titled debut EP in 1995.  This led to a record deal with indie label, Squirtgun Records, as well as their first full length release in 1996.  The members were Nicole Hughes, Mark Holman, Jeff Depew and Phil Zeller.  The band utilized the video medium to their advantage along with strong radio support from college and alternative rock stations across the country.  The song, Bloodflame, from their sophomore release, Destruction Of The Universe, was their biggest hit in 1998.  Nicole sings more like Liz Phair or Juliana Hatfield over the band's sonic, pulsating rhythms.  It's a great tune.  Rob Sanzo was the mastermind behind the knobs for this release.  He produced Sianspheric's Somnium release as well (see blog 1/17/11).  The band would tour Canada and release one more album in 2000 with Beastmaster Recordings before calling it quits.  Nicole would front another band called Minx shortly after and now writes songs for other artists.  The album, Destruction Of The Universe, is a difficult find today.  At the time of this blog, there were copies trading on Ebay and Amazon between $5 and $25.  You can hear the song, Bloodflame, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew9Suyijs44).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Artist: Eugene Smith And The Warm Up Band, Album: Warmin' Up, Song: Hoot'nany

"Well a little girl from Montreal said come on Eugene let's have a ball.  Hoot Hoot Hoot'nany tonight."  Eugene Smith is a rhythm and blues artist who's roots can be traced back to Toronto's R&B scene during the mid to late sixties.  Eugene's father played bass with Duke Ellington and James Brown.  Eugene has shared the stage with artists as diverse as Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, Gordon Lightfoot and K.D. Lang.  He played with Ronnie Hawkins as well as in a  band called the Majestics with Shawne Jackson (see blog 10/28/10).  In the seventies, he would front an R&B band called Lucifer.  They had at least one album with the Invictus record label.  Following that stint, he developed into a solo performer.  In 1981, he released the album, Warmin' Up, on Warm Up Records with Ted Grimes, John Judge and Carl Rabinowitz.  It included this crazy track called Hoot'nany.  Some of Eugene's material has been restored by Pacemaker Entertainment (http://www.pacemaker.cd/) and can be purchased on Itunes.  Unfortunately though, there isn't enough written about him to get a chronological sense of his recording output.  Like many of his albums, this release remains a lost treasure.  At the time of this blog, there were copies at Musicstack.com trading for over $60.  One thing is for certain though.  Eugene is probably one of the few Canadians that can boast recording in five consecutive decades.  Apparently Eugene resides today in Duncan, B.C. and you can keep tabs on him at http://www.reverbnation.com/eugenesmith.  You can hear the song, Hoot'nany, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLG06iJil0E).  Thanks for reading and enjoy. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Artist: Skaface, Album: Ask Cafe, Song: Bed Of Nails

"I'm feeling greasy."  Skaface were a ska/punk band from Toronto that rose to prominence in the late eighties and early nineties.  They were another element within a thriving alternative music scene that was taking shape at the time.  Music was making an unprecedented shift globally with the emergence of grunge but even beyond that one genre, new artists were emerging with diverse tastes and influences.  Skaface had that Jamaican element to their music for sure, but they were also prone to punk out on a few tracks.  The band released their debut indie album, Mamooska, in 1991.  It received some great college and alternative radio support which helped the band become one of the more recognizable indie acts within the city at the time.  They would play in front of thousands at Molson Park Canada Day Festivities as well as take part in North By Northeast.  The band also played some shows in the U.S. and got to share the stage with artists like Bad Manners, Selecter and Toots & The Maytals.  The band released their second and final album in 1995, entitled, Ask Cafe.  Bed Of Nails is a standout, ska classic from that album which was also made available on the Stomp Records, All Skanadian Club Series.  The band did reform in 2002 and you can follow them at http://www.skaface.ca/.  Unfortunately, their discography is very difficult to find today.  At the time of this blog, I couldn't find any copies of the album, Ask Cafe, for sale online.  Amazon does have copies of the All Skanadian Club Vol.1 which features the track, Bed Of Nails, selling between $5 and $40.  You can hear the song, Bed Of Nails, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3ROaXvcfoo).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Artist: 10 Ft. Henry, Album: Oh Oh, Song: Fish

"Hey you, hey you have you seen my fish?"  10 Ft. Henry were a rock band from Vancouver that had one independent release in 1997, entitled, Oh Oh.  The founders of the band were Janet Panic and a bassist named Dragon.  They played regionally for the most part.  However, they did travel across Canada in support of this release, to play North By Northeast, in Toronto.  They had some major label interest apparently but broke up soon after this release.  The song, Fish, is a great seductive pop tune from their debut release.  Janet Panic has continued on as a solo artist and you can follow her at http://www.janetpanic.com/.  The name of the band was taken from a well known live venue in Calgary.    The name of the bar was 10 Ft. Henry and it was derived from a huge wooden cut out of a well known cartoon character named Henry that was in the bar.  Unfortunately, the 10 Ft. Henry debut is hard to come by but there were copies on Amazon trading between $8 and $20.  You can hear the song, Fish, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0vVtRmOU3M&feature=channel_video_title).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!      

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Artist: Twitch, Album: Twitch And Shout, Song: Ring True

Twitch were a three piece rock band from London, Ontario.  They were Garwood Wallace, Bryan Pratt and Steve Feldman.  Garwood had kicked around the folk, as well as rock scenes, since the mid seventies and relocated to Toronto to form this band.  Their name was derived from a nickname bestowed upon Garwood by a friend describing his nervous, hyperactive disposition.  Their sound might be described as power pop.  It was a mix of old time rock n' roll as well as country with the punk swagger of the eighties.  He kinda had that Elvis Costello/Stiff Records thing going on.  He was a big fan of Bob Segarini (see blog 1/8/11), who was doing very well at the time and invited Bob to check his band out.  Bob was so impressed that he had them open that night for him at the El Mocombo.  The press from that one gig landed them a permanent spot as the house band at the El Mo.  Soon they found themselves opening for other international acts being booked there like The Ramones, Link Wray, The Tourists (pre-Eurythmics) and John Lee Hooker.  They decided to release an album with indie label, Bomb Records, in 1981, entitled, Twitch And Shout.  The band had a couple of singles and also had some decent radio support.  They toured Eastern Canada and Segarini would actually record one of the songs from this album on his Goodbye L.A. release.  Ring True, is an upbeat blues rock tune from the A side.  This would be the band's only release unfortunately.  Garwood would discover an interest in digitalizing older recordings in later years. The now defunct label, Bullseye Canada, used his expertise for a number of releases including his own.  Unfortunately, copies are only available on the second hand market.  At the time of this blog, there were copies trading on Ebay and Amazon between $5 and $25.  You can hear the song, Ring True, on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htMJ862hRZ0).  Thanks for reading and enjoy!