Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Artist: The Piercing Obsidian, Album: Never Had My Kind Before, Song: Fire Burns

"I'm a part of the forest, a stump of a tree that's been cut too many times.  I've been cut too many times."  The Piercing Obsidian is singer songwriter, Andrea Hatala.  She derived her stage name from the name of a gemstone made of volcanic glass.  The shards of glass from this gemstone are known to cause mortal wounds.  Hence the adjective "piercing".  The name might actually suggest a more violent form of music but actually, Andrea purveys more of a folk influenced sound.  She is an excellent songwriter and is joined by a number of local musicians like bassoon player Jeff Burke.  She released her self titled debut EP in 1999 and followed that up in 2004 with this release entitled, Never Had My Kind Before.  The album was actually produced by former Strato-Chief and Absolute Whore's member, Vaughn Passmore (see blogs 8/9/10, 1/21/11).  A great tune from this album is the song, Fire Burns.  You can check it out on You Tube ( You can read about Andrea's band at  You can purchase the sophomore release from The Piercing Obsidian at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Artist: Mahogany Rush, Album: Maxoom, Song: Boardwalk Lady

"With plastic gnomes with wooden combs dressed in white patent leather lace, who showed us a shortcut to the boardwalk lady's place."  Mahogany Rush were a power trio from Montreal, Quebec.  They were Frank Marino, Paul Harwood and Jim Ayoub.  They formed as young teenagers in 1969 and got their name from a really bad acid trip that guitarist Frank Marino suffered which landed him in the hospital.  It is actually where he learned to play the guitar.  In 1972, the band cut their debut album, Maxoom.  Frank was a huge Hendrix fan and you can find numerous cover versions in their catalogue of music.  His playing was also very similar to Hendrix and due to the circumstances around Hendrix's death and Frank's own near fatal experience with drugs, there were sensational stories abound at the time suggesting that perhaps Hendrix took over his body!  Crazy stuff but the resemblance in musical style is astounding.  It's amazing actually that he was only 16 when the band released this album.  They would change their name during the eighties to Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush once Frank became the last original member in the band.   The band has shared stages with some of rock's greatest performers such as Aerosmith and Ted Nugent and to date, have 20 releases.  You can read about their legacy at  One of my favourite tracks from their debut disc is this soulful number called, Boardwalk Lady.  It certainly wouldn't sound out of place in Hendrix's catalogue of music and you can check it out on You Tube (  You can purchase Mahogany Rush's debut album on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Artist: Jason Mitchell, Album: The World Is Flat, Song: Shadowed

Jason Mitchell is a singer songwriter from White Rock, British Columbia.  He began writing poems and stories at first until he discovered the guitar and taught himself how to play it.  He soon transformed his written words to song and began testing his chops on the local coffeehouse circuit.  He was discovered by Warner Music and in 2000, released his debut album, The World Is Flat.  He is a very strong vocalist and he has composed some wonderful tracks on his debut disc.  Most notably, the album opener entitled, Shadowed.  You can check the tune out on You Tube (  This particular release enabled Jason to tour the country in support of bands like Blue Rodeo, The Cowboy Junkies and 54-40.  He would follow up his debut with his sophomore release in 2004, entitled, Little Coma.  This particular album was released independently.  In 2009, he released a single for the Winter Holidays, entitled, Christmas Lights.  All of these releases are available for download on Itunes.  You can follow Jason at  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Artist: Lava Hay, Album: With A Picture In Mind, Song: Don't Tell Me

Lava Hay were a female duo from Toronto that formed in 1986.  They were Michele Gould and Suzanne Little.  They originally recorded the tracks for their self titled debut in 1989 but were then signed by Nettwerk Records.  The label remixed and re-recorded the tracks with the help of label mates, The Grapes Of Wrath and The Water Walk for an official release in 1990.  The band developed a strong following in Canada and were boosted by video and radio support of their music.  Both Michele and Suzanne would each marry a member of The Grapes Of Wrath.  Suzanne Little and Tom Hooper are still married to this day.  The song, Don't Tell Me, was one of the band's more commercially successful singles and it came from their sophomore release in 1994 entitled, With A Picture In Mind.  Sadly, it would be the last album from the duo as they decided to break up that same year.  Gould went on to form a new band called Taste Of Joy while Suzanne Little released material as a solo artist.  Suzanne and Tom released a Christmas album with their two children in 2009 entitled, Hooper Family Christmas.  You can check out the song, Don't Tell Me, on You Tube (  You can purchase Lava Hay's album, With A Picture In Mind, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Artist: The Problem Children, Album: The Future Of The World Is Up To Us, Song: Red Dyed Hair?

"Well I'm walking down the street looking so sweet.  Everyone standing around staring at me.  Red dyed hair.  I said what the fucks a matter ain't you never seen red dyed hair."  The Problem Children were a punk band from Dunnville, Ontario.  They formed as teenage friends back in 1982 under the name, The Tits.  They were Jamie Problem, Barney Rebel and Gary Indiana.  Unfortunately, they had a difficult time getting promoters to book them gigs so they decided on a name change.  The band released their debut independent release in 1984 entitled, The Future Of The World Is Up To Us, on Irate Faction Records out of Toronto.  They were an extremely hard working band that toured the country numerous times and even played shows in the U.S. and Europe.  All on their own dime.  Their popularity was built in a true grassroots manner through constant touring, fan support and by handling every aspect of their music themselves.  The band did have a tumultuous career with member upheaval.  Jamie was the leader and the only constant member throughout those years.  He promoted and booked the band shows while also handling principle songwriting and recording duties.  And if that wasn't a big enough responsibility, he started his own label, Problem Children Wrekords, and began promoting shows as well as signing other bands from the Hamilton area like The Wet Spots (see blog 5/13/11).  His band is no longer playing today but Jamie is still very much involved in the promotion of punk music within the city of Hamilton.  He has an ongoing series of all ages shows called Sunday Slamfest which feature a number of local bands and they are run in conjunction with Hammer City Records (  You can read about Jamie and the band as well as follow his latest musings and work at  Red Dyed Hair? is the album opener from their debut release.  You can check it out on You Tube (  The album, The Future Of The World Is Up To Us, is a very rare find today.  At the time of this blog, there were no copies available for sale online.  Jamie has mentioned that he does have copies available for sale upon request from his website of other releases from The Problem Children.  You also might have luck scouring the vinyl shops of Hamilton if you happen to live nearby.  That's how I was able to nab a copy.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Artist: Joshua Hyslop, Album: Cold Wind, Song: We Have Seen

"No I'm not in a rush to meet my maker and if I was would he be kind?"  Joshua Hyslop is a singer songwriter from Abbotsford, British Columbia.  He has played the local scene for almost a decade and was recently signed to Nettwerk Records.  He is a self taught guitarist who started playing during his mid teens and has recently added banjo and mandolin to his repertoire.  He began recording his debut EP, Cold Wind, in early 2010.  It has a number of beautiful laid back songs including this track, We Have Seen.  I don't think I can top former Much Music veejay, Terry David Mulligan's description of this track as being very similar to something CSNY would have recorded on their eponymous album, Deja Vu.  It has some great harmonies that conjure up memories of a long lost period in music.  Interestingly enough, Joshua travelled abroad for almost half a year during the recording of this album and completed it upon his return.  Not bad for a first experience in the studio.  You can follow Joshua at  You can hear the song, We Have Seen, on You Tube (  Joshua has also just released a timely version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.  Both this track and his debut EP, Cold Wind, are available for download from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Artist: Laura Repo, Album: Mountain Of Me, Song: Mountain Of Me

"There's a mountain behind my back made by the stones I kept throwing back.  Turn around to take stock, there she is standing tall.  Oh mountain, mountain of me."  Laura Repo is a singer songwriter from Ontario.  She recorded her debut, Mountain Of Me, on her own Repo Girl Records label, in 1998.  She enlisted the production talents of John Switzer (Jane Siberry, Andrew Cash, Rebecca Campbell) for this album and he brought along a couple of his friends.  Both Andrew Cash (see blog 2/12/11) and Rebecca Campbell (see blog 6/4/11) contributed their vocals to this album.  Laura is a wonderful lyricist with a voice that could fill a room.  Her style is country though as you'll witness on the title track, her music can rock in the same vein as say, Kathleen Edwards.  You can check out the song, Mountain Of Me, on You Tube (  Laura has released three albums to date and her most recent was released earlier this month entitled, Get Yourself Home.  You can follow her at  You can purchase the album, Mountain Of Me, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Artist: Hooded Fang, Album: EP, Song: Land Of Giants

"In the land of giants there's a saying.  Sometimes it's better to fold than to keep on playing."  Hooded Fang are a seven piece Toronto band that formed in 2007.  The band began as a fun project among friends and the members at one time, totalled 12!  They had a very carefree live presence back in those days and would often exchange instruments on stage.  The band released their debut EP in 2008 to much critical acclaim and their popularity has continued to gain momentum.  They immediately began work on their first full length release and two years later, emerged with an album aptly titled, Album.  It made the long list for the prestigious Polaris Prize in 2011.  The band then embarked on their first cross Canada tour and a mere 9 months later released, their sophomore album, Tosta Mista.  This latest release is a real departure in sound from their two earlier releases.  The album has a real retro 60's garage rock sound that the band conveys remarkably well.  It is a very cool release.  Hooded Fang seem to tour relentlessly and they are returning from a west coast swing with the band, Cuff The Duke.  You can check them out at  In addition to producing and promoting their own work, the band also has their own label entitled, Daps Records (  They have a number of very interesting artists set to release albums in the coming year that are worth a listen.  Land of Giants is likely the song that started the big ball rolling for this band.  You can check it out on You Tube (  There is also some footage of the band playing this song live at CBC's Q studios (  You can purchase the band's entire discography on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Artist: The Wackers, Album: Wackering Heights, Song: Don't Be Cruel

The Wackers were a rock band originally from California but who eventually called Montreal home.  They were Bob Segarini (see blogs 1/8/11, 7/3/11), Randy Bishop, Kootch Trochim, Michael Stull and Spencer Earnshaw.  Many of the members were in previous bands together like Family Tree and Roxy.  The band signed with Elektra Records and released their debut, Wackering Heights, in 1971.  The band toured parts of Canada and the U.S..  The response to their music was likely the greatest in Montreal, where the band had some strong radio presence and made appearances on television.  They befriended many local artists including producer, Andre Perry, who was responsible for recording John Lennon's Give Peace A Chance.  The band would begin recording tracks for their sophomore release in Montreal before Segarini, Bishop and Trochim moved there permanently.  The band would release a total of 3 albums between 1971 and 1973 and actually laid down tracks for a fourth that remains unreleased today.  Segarini and Trochim would migrate to a new band with some future members of April Wine called, The Dudes (see blog 7/3/11), for one album before Segarini began his own solo career.  Segarini would also garner a Juno nomination for Producer Of The Year in 1979 as a result of his solo debut, Gotta Have Pop.  You can check the man out at  He has a very cool cover of the Springsteen classic, 10th Avenue Freeze Out, posted there for a listen.  On the topic of cover songs, one of the many outstanding tunes on The Wacker's debut is their cover of the Elvis classic, Don't Be Cruel.  You can check it out on Vimeo (  You can purchase Wackering Heights on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Artist: David Myles, Album: Turn Time Off, Song: Out Of Love

"Drinking don't taste good and dancing doesn't sound like fun.  The last thing I need is to find someone. So I put away my shirt and I put away my shoes.  I'd rather have nothing than have something to lose."  David Myles is a singer songwriter from New Brunswick.  David grew up with music but actually didn't begin composing as a solo artist until he was in his twenties.  His first release was in 2005 and to date, he has 6 releases.  He is well known in the Maritimes and over the last couple of years, has won numerous regional awards.  He has also won international awards for his songwriting.  I'm actually shocked that such a profound artist hasn't been nominated for a Juno yet.  Time Turn Off was his album from 2010.  Out Of Love is a beautiful song that shows how adept he is at songwriting let alone composing.  You can check out the video for the song on You Tube (  David just released his new album, Into The Sun, last month and it is very good.  He even collaborates with hip hop artist, Classified, on one track.  David is also playing shows this month in Ontario with stops in St. Catharines, Toronto and Orillia.  He is also part of the Vinyl Cafe tour of the Maritimes with Stuart McLean.  You can keep tabs on him at  You can purchase the album, Time Turn Off, from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Artist: Bob Bissonnette, Album: Recrue De L'Annee, Song: Chris Chelios

Bob Bissonnette is a francophone singer songwriter from Quebec.  He released his debut album, Recrue De L'Annee (Rookie Of The Year) in 2010.  His songs are usually sports themed and most typically hockey related.  Bob was actually a professional hockey player before he decided to pursue a career in music.  He was captain of the Hull Olympiques and to date is one of the most penalized players in Quebec major junior history.  He also attended a training camp with the Ottawa Senators in 2002.  Many of his videos feature current and former NHL players.  The song, Chris Chelios, is a humorous lament about the trade that sent Chris from the Montreal Canadians to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Denis Savard.  You can hear the song on You Tube (  You can check out Bob's music complete with his own entertaining videos at  Bob is currently playing shows in Europe at the moment.  You can purchase his debut album from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!    

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Artist: Rock Ranger, Album: Rock Ranger, Song: Doghouse

Rock Ranger were a three piece rock band from Sydney, Nova Scotia.  The band formed in 1999 and by 2001, released their self titled debut.  They were Jay Smith, Mike Morrison and Dan Bauldwin.  Their sound was throwback rock akin to fellow Atlantic rockers, Sloan and Thrush Hermit (see blog 9/5/10).  They played on the east coast primarily and were nominated for an East Coast music award in 2002 for this album.  That is actually how I discovered this track, Doghouse.  They had strong support from college radio and some video rotation with Much Music.  By 2003, the band had shared stages with fellow retro rockers Tricky Woo (see blog 2/4/11), By Divine Right (see blog 2/19/11),  Danko Jones and Bionic.  Coincidentally, their sophomore release was produced in Toronto by Ian Blurton from Bionic (see blogs 11/22/10, 6/30/11).  Sadly though, that album would be their swan song.  Lead singer, Jay Smith, went on to play with Matt Mays & El Torpedo before embarking on his own solo career.  He has also co-written songs with Gordie Sampson (see blog 4/27/11).  You can follow Jay at  You can check out the song, Doghouse, on You Tube (  The self titled debut is a very rare find today.  At the time of this blog, I couldn't find any copies available for sale online.  The song, Doghouse, was also included on Much Music's 2002 ECMA compilation entitled, The Dog & Pony Show.  Amazon has one copy of this compilation for sale on their Canadian site for $10.  You can also check out a fan site for the band at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Artist: 40 watt monkey, Album: The Oshawa Tree, Song: Larks

40 watt monkey were a rock band from Ottawa, Ontario that formed in 2008.  The core members were J.Todd, R.W. Haller, Jeff Tanguay and Rob Porter.  All of the members have deep histories within the Ottawa music scene.  Jeff Tanguay was a member of two influential indie bands dating back to the early eighties called Gonks Go Beat ( and The Town Cryers (  Todd and Porter were in another popular Celtic rock band called Jimmy George (  Lastly, R.W. Haller has worked with bands such as Ken Workman & The Union and Myrle.  The guys played a number of shows in the Ottawa area and released one album in 2009 entitled, The Oshawa Tree.  The album was produced by Dave Dudley of Furnaceface (see blog 11/14/10).  They would record tracks for a second album but it would remain unreleased as the members moved on to other projects.  The band recently reformed to play a show for Haller's birthday.  Today, Haller and Tanguay are members of a very cool rock band called The Cutmen (, who are due to release new material some time this year.  As well, Haller composes music as a solo artist and is also planning to release new material sometime in 2012.  You can follow him at (  You can purchase the album, The Oshawa Tree, on Itunes.  One of my favourite tracks from The Oshawa Tree is a song called, Larks.  You can check out the song on You Tube (  You can also see some live footage of the band playing at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Artist: Rasta Survivor, Album: Bustin Out, Song: Plea Fi De Guns Dem

Rasta Survivor were a three piece reggae band that formed during the early nineties.  They were a socially conscious band and the lead single off this release received some notable attention as a result of it's promotion of Gun Amnesty.  The album was jointly released by the band's label, 40 & A Blunt Records along with popular Toronto dance music station, Energy 108.  The song was titled, Plea Fi Dem Guns, and it received major play on video shows like Rap City as well as on the radio.  I believe the video also won some regional awards.  The band would break up shortly thereafter and I'm only aware of founding member, Wayne Reid's (aka Wayne Passion) other projects.  Wayne continues to perform as a reggae artist and has shared the stage with performers like Snow and Bounty Killer.  He originally began his recording career in Jamaica before moving to Canada.  He has a cooking show called, Reggae Kitchen, that you can check out at which also has a link that will allow you to listen to this particular release.  You can also follow Wayne at  You can check out the track, Plea Fi Dem Guns, on You Tube (  The Rasta Survivor album is a very rare find today and at the time of this blog there was one copy for sale at for $20.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Artist: Images In Vogue, Album: Best Of Collection, Song: Lust For Love

Images In Vogue were an alternative rock band from Vancouver originally.  They started recording in 1981 and released two EP's independently which garnered some significant college radio airplay.  Significant enough that the unsigned band landed opening gigs for Bryan Adams, Roxy Music, Depeche Mode and Duran Duran.  This attracted the attention of WEA and the band was signed in 1983.  They immediately released two more EP's before their major label debut in 1985 entitled, In The House.  Lust For Love was actually the band's very first single with WEA back in 1983 and it benefited from some strong airplay throughout Canada.  It was re-released on their debut album in 1985 which was produced by Gary Wright.  Gary was a legendary American musician most notable for his 70's hit song, Dream Weaver.  The band was also managed by a man named Kim Clarke Champniss who would become known to many Canadians as a popular VJ on Much Music in later years.  As well, one of the band's earlier members, Kevin Crompton, would leave to form the band Skinny Puppy.  Images In Vogue's debut album would garner the band a Juno nomination for Most Promising Group in 1985 but they lost out to another Vancouver based band, Idle Eyes (see blog 4/14/11).  They would re-locate to Toronto following their debut release and eventually sever their ties with WEA.  The band would sign on with Anthem Records for their final record yet would decide to change their name to The Spell for this release in 1988.  The band would eventually break up shortly thereafter.  In recent years, there have been a number of retrospective releases that have captured the band's body of work and have also included this track, Lust For Love.  Their debut album, In The House, along with the Best of Collection, Collection Version 2.0 and Prototypes all include this track and are available from Itunes.  You can check out the original video for the song, Lust For Love, on You Tube (  You can read about the band's legacy at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Artist: Bravebelt, Album: Bravebelt II, Song: Another Way Out

When Randy Bachman left the Guess Who in 1970 for personal reasons, he received a lot of negative publicity.  Especially in the Prairies where the group had originated.  Next to Neil Young, The Guess Who were likely the next most musically recognizable rock band in Canada.  Randy retreated to Winnipeg to spend time with his young family and soon found the desire to begin playing again.  He had an interest in country flavoured rock and wanted to do something a bit different than his experience with The Guess Who.  He hooked up with Chad Allen; an original member of the Guess Who initially, and along with Randy's younger brother Rob, began recording their self titled debut.  With the help of Neil Young, they landed a recording contract with Reprise Records.  The album wasn't commercially successful and as a result, Randy recruited a fourth member by the name of Fred Turner.  Turner would help usher in more of a rock sound which also initiated the departure of Chad Allen.  Randy's brother Tim joined to replace the departed Chad Allen around this time as well.  The band then left the hostile club circuit of Winnipeg for Vancouver and with the help of legendary manager, Bruce Allen, they were able to book some steady paying gigs.  During this time, the band would also begin to record tracks for a third Bravebelt album.  That album would eventually become the debut for Bachman Turner Overdrive when the band's deal with Reprise ended and they decided to change their name before signing with Mercury Records.  And the rest as they say is history.  Randy remodelled his reputation and began his second career with one of Canada's most popular rock and roll bands, BTO.  The two Bravebelt albums were combined and re-released by Bullseye Records in later years.  Another Way Out was originally from the second album and was penned by Bachman and Chad Allen.  Coincidentally, it sounds a lot like the Guess Who.  You can check the track out on You Tube (  You can purchase the Bravebelt album from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Artist: Kidstreet, Album: Fuh Yeah, Song: Never Coming Back

"I took the keys to your Cadillac cause you started this, you started that."  Kidstreet are an electronic band from Waterloo, Ontario.  They are siblings, Karl, Edna and Cliff Snyder.  They formed in 2008 and played shows regionally before being recruited by Nettwerk Records.  They just recently released their debut album in 2011.  One of the tracks, entitled, Song, was picked up by Ford and used in one of their recent commercials.  The band also remixed a track for fellow Canadian, Caribou (see blog 10/13/10).  They have played some very big festivals in Canada like Hillside, NXNE as well as The Halifax Pop Explosion and appear to be leaving audiences in awe of their energy.  They've also played some shows in New York and shared the stage with fellow Canadians, Mother Mother and Dragonette.  The band is building their critical acclaim and judging by the breadth of musical styles within their current work, I would suspect that they will continue to evolve and surprise many in the process.  Kidstreet performs live with bass, drums, keyboards and guitars.  They have a sound that combines the youthful exuberance of The Go! Team with recognizable and nostalgic dance beats.  And that description might only apply to a few of their songs.  Their debut is an eclectic listen as is their EP, X, which pre-dated the debut full length release earlier this year.  Most of the tracks have been included on the debut except for one strong tune called, Spin Twirl, which sounds vocally like Imogen Heap.  The track featured here is called, Never Coming Back, and it is one of three singles released by the band from their debut.  It has a cool stutter vocal effect reminiscent of the 80's dance genre.  You can check out the video of Edna driving around in an old Cadillac through the streets of K-W on You Tube (  You can purchase the band's new album from Itunes.  You can follow them at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Artist: Kings Of Lowertown, Album: South Mountain-Single, Song: South Mountain

Kings Of Lowertown are a band from Pembroke, Ontario.  The band leader and principle songwriter is Mike Mackey.  The band was formed in 2006 and has included a changing cast of supporting musicians.  A regular collaborator and producer of the band's work has been Jordon Zadorozny of Blinker The Star (see blog 4/23/11).  Jordon has a studio in Pembroke called, French Kiss, which has been the home to many Kings Of Lowertown recordings dating back to their debut single in 2007.  The band also had legendary bassist, Mike Watt, play on their 2008 indie EP entitled, Laughing Fox.  Any alternative rock purist would recognize his work with Porno For Pyros, Sonic Youth and Stan Ridgway (Wall Of Voodoo) along with music from his own seminal punk bands called Minutemen and fIREHOSE.  Watt has also featured The Kings Of Lowertown on his music program entitled, The Watt From Pedro Show (  The band has released a number of songs over the past year and some are posted on Soundcloud for free download (  They have a very unique lo-fi sound that is derived from a Portastudio 4 track to cassette device that was popularized during the early eighties, well before digital recording.  Bruce Springsteen actually recorded his album, Nebraska, with one of them.  Mackey also uses some very vintage instruments during the recordings as well.  You'll find their singles on Soundcloud to range in style from 60's garage rock, to early eighties melodic post punk akin to Husker Du.  They even cover a R.E.M. track in tribute to that band's recent retirement.  However, the track featured here entitled, South Mountain, is a departure from the aforementioned descriptions.  It has more of a Drive By Truckers, gritty appeal to it.  It's a great tune by a very dynamic new band worth keeping an eye on.  You can keep track of The Kings Of Lowertown at  Mackey appears to be content with not selling his music at the moment but rather circulating it.  The band does play the odd show when they aren't recording but you may have more luck catching them live if you live in or near Ottawa.  As mentioned earlier, you can access the band's music from the Soundcloud link above.  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Artist: Thor, Album: Keep The Dogs Away, Song: Keep The Dogs Away

Thor was a bodybuilder named Jon Mikl from Vancouver.  He was the only Canadian man at the time to win Mr. Canada and Mr. USA honours in bodybuilding and eventually became Mr. Universe.  He competed against Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk).  His other love was rock music and he fronted a few bands before inviting Frank Soda and The Imps (see blog 4/3/11) to join him as his backing band.  They relocated to Toronto and had quite an impact with their onstage antics.  Super human feats of strength like exploding water bottles and breaking cement blocks with a sledgehammer while on Thor's chest, were just some of the entertainment provided at a typical show.  By 1973, the band was invited to play on Merv Griffin's show which eventually led to some Las Vegas dates for Thor as a soloist.  By this time, discontent with becoming a lounge act, Frank Soda and The Imps broke off to do their own thing.  Thor would eventually land a deal with RCA in 1977 for his debut album, Keep The Dogs Away.  It was a stripped down, glam and punk rock delight, led by the title track and lead single, Keep The Dogs Away.  You can check out the song on You Tube (  This would be Thor's only release with RCA yet he would go on to release over 20 albums with various independent labels over the years and still records today.  He also ventured into acting and has appeared in a number of horror type films.  In 2009, he formed his own label, Vulcan Sky Records and re-released his debut album.  You can purchase the album on Itunes.  You can follow him at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Artist: NEO a4, Album: NEO a4, Song: Rescue Me

NEO a4 were a new wave rock band from Edmonton, Alberta.  The principle members were Ric Johnston, John Tidswell and Joel Anderson.  They formed in 1981 after years of playing in cover bands both in Calgary and Edmonton.  They were heavily influenced by the new technology emerging in music as well as alternative methods of approaching the craft of songwriting.  Robert Fripp, former guitarist from King Crimson, was a major influence for them at the time.  They would gain some early success, landing opening spots for The Cure, Thompson Twins and Thomas Dolby when they toured through the West.  The band would release their debut independently in 1984 as well as a follow up in 1985 before attracting the attention of Duke Street Records.  Duke Street then remixed and re-released some tunes from their sophomore release and re-titled it, Desire.  The title track was the band's first single.  It led them to their major label self titled debut in 1988 which was produced by Colin Thurston.  Colin had just made a name for himself with the production credits on some very popular Duran Duran albums.  The album would spawn a couple of singles, namely the song, Say This To Me.  Rescue Me is a deep album track that I don't believe was ever released as a single but it certainly could have been.  You can check out the song on You Tube (  The guys would add a fourth member for their final release in 1989.  This release would be produced by Chris Wardman of the band Blue Peter (see blog 10/4/11).  They would break up in 1990.  All of the members have remained in music in some capacity over the years and they've posted a Facebook page on the band (  You can purchase the self titled debut from Duke Street Records on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Artist: Parachute Club, Album: At The Feet Of The Moon, Song: At The Feet Of The Moon

The Parachute Club were a band from Toronto that formed during the early eighties.  Core members, Laurie Conger, Lorraine Segato and Billy Bryans were actually fixtures on the Toronto club circuit as far back as the early seventies in world rhythm based bands like Mama Quilla and V.  They were connected to the same roots reggae scene that spawned artists like Lillian Allen (see blog 11/20/10) as well as Truth and Rights.  They released their self titled debut in 1983 which included the Juno award winning single, Rise Up.  The album was produced by Daniel Lanois and received some heavy radio and video rotation in Canada.  It would lead to their sophomore release in 1984, entitled, At The Feet Of The Moon.  The title track and lead single was another great song from the band which helped them achieve gold status sales in Canada and win their second Juno for Group Of The Year in 1985.  You can check out a 12" version of the title track on You Tube (  By 1986, R&B heavyweight, John Oates (Hall & Oates), was co-producing their third album and dueting with Lorraine on the lead single.  The band now had an international presence and toured the globe in support of the album.  Unfortunately, personnel changes and lack of support from their label, Current Records, led to the band folding in 1989.  They would release a greatest hits compilation in 1992 entitled, Wild Zone, which also includes this track.  The band has also reformed in recent years to play the odd festival or show.  Lorraine has continued as a solo artist and you can follow her at  Bryans went on to produce and play with a number of Canadian artists including Lillian Allen, The Phantoms (see blog 1/28/11) and Dutch Mason.  Thankfully and rather recently, the Parachute Club discography was added to Itunes.  You can now find this song on the original release as well as the Wild Zone compilation on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Artist: Jimmy Byron, Album: Gentrify You, Song: Grabba Gun

Jimmy Byron is an artist from Chicago originally but now based in Toronto.  He started his career during the late nineties playing shows around the Mid West.  He has a sound that draws influence from early rock and roll, the blues and country.  His vocals, especially evident on this track, have a raw punk quality to them.  Grabba Gun is a very cool track from his 2009 release, Gentrify You.  You can check it out on You Tube (  Jimmy put together a band in Toronto that features former Taxi Chain (see blog 12/25/10) members, Dennis Mohammed, Josh Hicks and Chris Staig (see blog 3/28/11).  Along with his music career, Jimmy has also acted in a number of movies, t.v. shows as well as commercials and you can follow him at  You can also check out his You Tube channel that has some great live footage of him and his band at  You can purchase the album, Gentrify You, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!