Thursday, July 12, 2012

Artist: McEnroe And Birdapres, Album: Nothing Is Cool, Song: Nothing Is Cool

"Retro nouveau, west coast electro, ain't a damn thing changed but the tempo."  McEnroe and Birdapres are hip hop artists on the Peanuts & Corn Record label based out of Brandon, Manitoba.  McEnroe actually started the label after he became more involved with the production of other hip hop acts, in 1994. He, along with Pip Skid (see blog 9/23/10) and DJ Hunnicutt, formed the rap collective, Farm Fresh, during the early nineties and had some cross over success with the alternative music crowd.  They actually shared the stage with bands like The Rheostatics, Bob Wiseman (see blog 1/6/11), Red Fisher (see blog 11/29/10) as well as The Pharcyde.  By the late nineties though, the members began recording individually or collaborating with other artists.  Peanuts & Corn Records have a lot of talented hip hop artists that don't get enough recognition and McEnroe has had his hands all over their production output.  Birdapres is one such artist except he is actually from Vancouver, British Columbia.  He and McEnroe teamed up in 2004 for this one and only release entitled, Nothing Is Cool.  You can check out the title track which I absolutely love (  Both artists have since released solo albums.  McEnroe has a new EP coming out this year and you can follow them both at  You can purchase the album, Nothing Is Cool, from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Artist: The Beatdown, Album: The Beatdown, Song: Beatdown

The Beatdown are a ska band from Montreal, Quebec.  They are Alex Giguere, Pascal Lesieur, Jovanny Savoie and Nicholas Fizzano.  Both Alex and Pascal were part of another band called, The One Night Band, and went on to form, The Beatdown, sometime around 2009.  Both bands purvey an authentic 60's ska, reggae sound with gritty soulful vocals.  They are Toots & The Maytals ("Time Tough", "Pressure Drop", "54-46 That's My Number", "Monkey Man", "Broadway Jungle") meets The Young Rascals ("Mickey's Monkey").  Alex Giguere not only provides the vocals and guitar work but as well, produced their debut, self titled album in 2010.  The album is strong and lead single was a rendition of the Rare Earth ("(I Know) I'm Losing You", "Born To Wander", "I Just Want To Celebrate") classic, Get Ready.  However, for myself, I completely dig the album closer entitled, Beatdown.  This song leans a little closer to rock and roll than ska but it certainly has elements of both.  You can hear a song sample and purchase the album from Itunes.  The band has toured the country and has supported former King Apparatus front man, Chris Murray (see blog 7/19/11), on tour.  They are signed to Stomp Records out of Montreal ( and are expecting to release a new album next month.  You can follow them at  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Artist: The Jeremiahs, Album: You and I, Song: Walk Of Shame

The Jeremiahs were an alt-country band from Toronto, Ontario.  More specifically, the community of Ward's Island.  They were multi-instrumentalist brothers, Chris and Jeff Wilson, along with their spouses, Cath Campbell and Carey West as well as John Gallo Mazzei.  They released their first independent album under the name, The Hokey Jeremiahs, in 2001, entitled, Holy Cow!, which perked a few ears.  This eventually led to a recording grant and their subsequent 2003 release entitled, You And I.  The album featured local musicians, Rebecca Campbell (see blog 6/4/11, 4/3/12), Kevin Fox (8/3/11, 3/23/12), Tim Bovaconti and Steve Briggs.  Both Bovaconti and Briggs are very respected guitar players that need no introduction and have been around the scene for a great many years.  Bovaconti is currently touring with Randy Bachman (see blog 11/13/10, 11/9/11) and Burton Cummings.  Briggs actually lent his talents to some of my wife's recordings and is one of the nicest people I've ever met.  This particular track entitled, Walk Of Shame, is an instrumental that conjures up memories of Johnny Cash.  I happened to catch the band playing at Harbourfront in Toronto by chance and picked up their disc.  Carey West and the Wilson brothers were also in a reggae/funk band called, The Liquidaires, around the same time for a couple of releases.  Today, Carey West is a solo artist and you can follow her at  Her husband, Jeff Wilson, is very involved in world music and is a member of the Juno nominated bands, Jaffa Road ( and Maza Meze (  Unfortunately, The Jeremiahs' discography is a very hard find these days.  I couldn't find any copies of the album, You And I, for sale at the time of this blog.  Carey has posted some MP3's on her website for download but this particular track isn't included.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Artist: Witchkiller, Album: Day Of The Saxons EP, Song: Day Of The Saxons

Witchkiller were a rock band from Ottawa, Ontario.  They were Douglas Lang Adams, Todd Pilon, Steve Batky and Kurt Phillips.  They only had one release which was an EP entitled, Day Of The Saxons.  It was recorded at Phase One Studios in Toronto and released in 1984.  The band broke up shortly thereafter and the members went on to other bands.  Most notably, Adams and Pilon joined the band, Reckless, for a release that same year.  This EP has aged well and has become a highly sought after rarity for metal enthusiasts.  Thankfully though, it can be enjoyed by all since it's re-release on Metal Blade Records.  It is available on Itunes.  There have been many comparisons to bands like Iron Maiden ("Murders In The Rue Morgue", "Infinite Dreams", "2 Minutes To Midnight") and Judas Priest ("Love Bites", "Turbo Lover", "Living After Midnight") as a result of their style and medieval themes within the music.  The title track and album opener is pretty darn good as well and you can check it out at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Artist: Jimmy Hunt, Album: Jimmy Hunt, Song: Everything Crash

Jimmy Hunt is a francophone artist from Montreal, Quebec.  He started recording and performing around the year 2000.  Hunt fronted a rock band called, Chocolat, between 2006 and 2010.  They released a couple of EP's and one full length album in 2008.  This was a very cool band that had a real throwback garage rock sound.  You can check out their stuff at  The band received their fair share of critical acclaim and played shows across the country as well as notable music festivals like NXNE and Pop Montreal.  In 2010, Jimmy decided to re-visit his solo roots as an artist and released his self titled debut on Grosse Boite Records (  The same label that Chocolat was signed to and home to Juno nominated artists like Coeur de Pirate and Jean Leloup (see blog 3/19/11).  He is more of a troubadour these days as opposed to his former rocker persona.  He has also collaborated frequently with french chanteuse, Coeur de Pirate, as well as being the supporting act for many of her live shows.  You can follow Jimmy at  One very cool tune from Jimmy's self titled debut is the song, Everything Crash.  You can check out the video at  Jimmy has just released a new EP and will be playing shows in Canada and Belgium over the next couple of months.  You can purchase his album from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Artist: Dillinger, Album: Don't Lie To The Band, Song: Bumpadidilly

Dillinger was a prog rock band from Toronto, Ontario, although their two founding members; brothers Jacques and Robert Harrison, were Quebecois.  The band was formed in 1973 along with members, Paul Cockburn and Terry Bramhall.  They were signed to Daffodil Records which was home to Klaatu (see blog 11/27/10) and Fludd (see blog 12/21/10).  The band released their self titled debut album a year later and although it included only 4 songs, the last song on the album was 17 minutes in length.  Thus, having their music exist on the fringes of popular rock with very little radio support, the album struggled to gain acceptance.  However, with constant live gigging the band returned to the studio and released their sophomore  album, entitled, Don't Lie To The Band, in 1976.  The songs were tapered somewhat although there were still some tracks between 8 and 9 minutes in length.  They even covered Taxman by The Beatles.  One really cool tune that caught my ear was the album closer, entitled, Bumpadidilly.  You can hear a song sample or download it from Itunes.  A couple of the members would leave the band following this release and through the recruitment of new members, they became known as The Hunt.  The Hunt would go on to release three albums before breaking up in 1984.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Artist: Paper Lions, Album: Paper Lions, Song: Travelling

"Travelling the road less known is where I want to be."  The Paper Lions are a rock band from Prince Edward Island.  They are brothers, John and Rob MacPhee, Colin Buchanan as well as David Cyrus MacDonald.  The guys met in high school and originally formed under the name, The Chucky Danger Band.  They released their first album in 2003 and followed that up with two more releases in 2004 and 2006.  The band toured the country a number of times and this album in 2007 was supposed to be the next Chucky Danger album.  The band then decided a name change was in order and it became the self titled debut for The Paper Lions.  The band has a cool power pop vibe and they market their songs better than most bands I've come across.  This song, Travelling, is a perfect example of that.  The band posted a video for the song on You Tube back in 2006 and it has just recently eclipsed the million views plateau.  It has an Andy Partridge/XTC vibe.  You can check it out at  They also like to offer free pre-release material on their website.  The EP that followed this album was so popular that the amount of traffic it generated crashed the band's website.  They are at it one more time though with an acoustic EP that is a precursor to their next full length release sometime in the fall of 2012.  You can follow them at  Their new album is being produced by Howard Redekopp, formerly of the band, Veal (see blog 4/24/11).  The Paper Lions have shared stages with everyone from Cake ("No Phone", "Short Skirt/Long Jacket", "Shadow Stabbing", "Never There") to Hot Hot Heat.  They are currently playing shows in Toronto as part of the NXNE festival.  You can purchase their self titled debut album on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Artist: Kardinal Offishall, Album: Eye & I, Song: On Wid Da Show

Kardinal Offishall is a hip hop artist from Toronto, Ontario.  Kardinal started rapping at a very young age and got the chance to perform for Nelson Mandela on one of his Toronto visits at the age of 12.  Today he is one of our country's most recognized artists in the hip hop genre as both a performer and producer.  He is a 3 time Juno Award winner and has been nominated an astounding 15 times over the course of his 15 year recording career and 4 albums.  It all started though, back in 1996 with his first single, Naughty Dread.  The underground hit spawned a Juno nomination and led to this album, Eye & I.  It was his debut album in 1997 with Capitol Hill Music, run by fellow rapper, Saukrates (see blog 8/13/11).  There was a lot of exciting hip hop coming out of Canada during the nineties and Kardinal was at the front of the pack along with K-os (see blog 2/3/12), The Rascalz, The Dream Warriors (see blog 7/27/10) and Ghetto Concept (see blog 11/12/10).  He has a reggae influenced style to his delivery and his lyrical content can be both witty as well as socially conscious.  The song, On Wid Da Show, was the single off this release and the video received some major play on Much Music.  It has a Snoop Doggy Dogg, "Gin & Juice", feel to it.  You can check out the original video at  I loved this track when I heard it back in the day and unfortunately it has become a real rarity.  At the time of this blog there were copies trading on Ebay and Amazon between $40 and $50.  Kardinal has gone on to collaborate with some big names in the music industry like Rihanna, Akon and Sean Paul.  He is currently set to release two albums this year.  One is a collaboration with producer, Nottz Raw called, A.M.T.R.I.M., as well as his own upcoming solo release.  You can follow him at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!   

Monday, June 18, 2012

Artist: Rachel Kane, Album: All In A Dream, Song: Chasing Rainbows

"I remember the dancing boy, stars up and down his legs."  Rachel Kane is a singer songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  She was actually born and raised in New York.  By the young age of seventeen, she was living in Spanish Harlem and playing guitar in a Latin band.  She toured along the east coast until she decided to take off to Russia and finally Paris where she earned a degree in French.  From Paris she moved to Winnipeg to earn her teaching degree in languages and began teaching French folk music at the University of Saint Boniface.  She decided to record her debut album, Groundwire, with some well known Toronto based musicians, David Woodhead, and Al Cross (Big Sugar) in 1997.  I actually stumbled upon her music at a new artist night at Hugh's Room in Toronto sometime around 2006.  She performed on stage with one conga player.  I was completely blown away by her music and made sure I bought a CD from the merchandise table.  In hindsight, I should have bought all of her albums.  She keeps a very low profile and there is hardly anything written about her anywhere.  The album that I happened to buy that night was entitled, All In A Dream, released in 2001.  It featured local artists, Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo), Mia Sheard, Mitchell Lewis, Gary Craig and Richard Bell (Janis Joplin, Crowbar (see blog 8/19/10)).  The song, Chasing Rainbows, is a beautiful tune from this album.  Kane has such a relaxed vocal delivery and the arrangement is wonderful.  Definitely worth trying to find if you can.  Unfortunately, I can't really say what she might be up to these days.  I believe she released an album in 2006 following this release but she doesn't appear to have a website.  There were a couple of copies of the album, All In A Dream, trading on Amazon between $5 and $10 at the time of this blog.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!      

Friday, June 15, 2012

Artist: Beast, Album: Beast, Song: Satan

"Satan your kingdom must come down."  Beast were an electronic duo from Quebec.  They were Jean-Phi Goncalves and Betty Bonifassi.  Both artists were actually born in France but have made their names musically, in Canada.  Bonifassi has an arresting vocal style similar to Shirley Bassey.  She has sung on numerous recordings by DJ Champion (see blog 8/18/11).  Jean-Phi Goncalves was the electronics whiz and had another successful independent band called, Plaster, prior to forming Beast that is worth checking out.  Sometime in 2006, the artists began collaborating with one another and following two years of recording, their self titled debut was finally complete.  Their sound could best be described as electronic with an edge.  There are elements of hip hop, blues, rock and r&b within their songs.  If you are a fan of bands like The Low Fidelity All Stars ("Battle Flag", "Feel What I Feel") or The Propellerheads ("Take California", "History Repeating"), this should appeal to you.  Considering Bonifassi wasn't bilingual at the time, she co-wrote many of the songs on the album which were all in English.  She had some help from singer songwriter, Simon Wilcox (see blog 1/17/12), who helped her translate her thoughts and set them to music.  Satan is the song that closes out the album and it was written by Bonifassi, Wilcox and Goncalves.  You can check out the video at  The album was well received and actually achieved gold status sales in Canada.  The band was nominated for two Junos as a result.  New Group Of The Year which they lost to The Stills (see blog 3/1/12) as well as Video Of The Year for their song, Mr. Hurricane, which they lost to Serena Ryder's Little Bit Of Red.  Sadly though, this album seems to be a one shot deal for the band as the two artists have yet to confirm whether or not they will record again.  Jean-Phi Goncalves and his band, Plaster, released a new album last month and you can follow them at  You can follow Bonifassi at  Lastly, you can read about Beast at  You can purchase the self titled debut on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Artist: The Music Box, Album: Vampire Songs, Song: Immaculate Conception

The Music Box were a band from Kitchener, Ontario.  They were Tyler Stoddart, Dylan Bravener, Kyle Taylor and Steve Sloane.  They were university students who formed the band in 2006 and released a series of EP's leading up to their debut full length, entitled, Vampire Songs, in 2010.  They released the album on two independent labels, Trepid Records and Flip Out!.  The album was recorded in Cambridge, Ontario at GO30!.  Vampire Songs is a very solid album which received some radio play on the CBC along with college radio.  Their sound is genre bending at times but very pop oriented.  I absolutely love the tune, Immaculate Conception.  It blends 60's style beats with organs reminiscent of The Cure ("Lovesong", "Boys Don't Cry", "Killing An Arab", "Why Can't I Be Like You").  You can hear and download the song from the band's Bandcamp website (  The Music Box were due to release their sophomore album sometime this year but ended up splitting.  Both Tyler and Kyle are in a new band called, Love Banshee.  You can hear some of their music at  You can follow them at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Artist: The Jimmy Swift Band, Album: Onward Through The Fog, Song: Astronauts Attempting To Take Off Their Space Suits So That They May Copulate

The Jimmy Swift Band (aka JSB) were a rock band from Halifax, Nova Scotia.  They were Craig Mercer, Mike MacDougall, Aaron Collier and Doug Cameron.  They formed around the year 1999 under the name, PF Station.  They later changed their name to The Jimmy Swift Band and in 2002, released their debut album.  The band was truly unique in that they combined rock and electronic music almost effortlessly.  The band produced music with no boundaries it seemed.  They could just as easily compose a radio friendly rock tune and then completely blow you away with a 12 minute jam session.  Much like this tune from their sophomore release in 2003, entitled, Onward Through The Fog.  The song, Astronauts Attempting To Take Off Their Space Suits So That They May Copulate, clocks in at 11 minutes and 46 seconds and you don't want to miss a single second of it.  I've always been more of a pop oriented listener and generally have a hard time keeping my focus after 4 minutes but this tune is unbelievable.  It also doesn't sound as contemporary as some of their other electronic rock jams but rather psychedelic at times.  It's a great tune that changes tempo at the three minute mark when it turns from space age keyboards and sounds to a guitar solo that could rival "Layla" by Derek & The Dominos.  I'm just getting too excited now.  Nuff said but do yourself a favour and download a copy from Itunes.  The album was partly recorded in a historic house called the Webster Mansion, in New Brunswick.  The album was also produced by Laurence Currie who has worked with bands like Sloan, The Gandharvas (see blog 5/21/11) and Mardeen (see blog 2/9/12).  The band actually broke up late last year but released 6 albums and won a number of regional awards over the last decade.  They toured all over North America and were well known among their fans for having an absolutely amazing live show.  You can follow them at  Mercer and Collier have formed a new band called, The Scientists Of Sound (  You can purchase the album, Onward Through The Fog, from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Artist: The Forgotten Rebels, Album: Nobodys Hero's, Song: Dickwart

"Well I'm a dickwart mama, I'm here to stay."  The Forgotten Rebels are a punk band from Hamilton, Ontario.  They were formed by front man, Mickey DeSadist, in 1977.  While Mickey was obviously drawn to the growing punk movement in Britain that featured bands like The Sex Pistols.  He was also a fan of glam rock and specifically, the theatrics employed by such artists as David Bowie, T.Rex and Gary Glitter.  The Rebels released a couple of independent EP's in 1977 and 1978 before their debut full length album in 1979 on local label/record store, Star Records.  They would follow it up with their cult classic album, This Ain't Hollywood, in 1981 which featured their hit, Surfin' On Heroin (  The band also tipped their hats to some music of the past by covering Barry McGuire's hit, Eve Of Destruction ( as well as The Drifters classic, Save The Last Dance For Me (  Much like punk itself, the band's career was hardly predictable or stable.  The band signed with Capital Records during the late eighties but have gone through numerous line up and label changes over the last 35 years.  To their credit (or perhaps to Mickey's), they have continued to release some great music.  Nobodys Hero's was their last studio album of new material which was released in 2000.  This is a really good album with some strong tunes like Hockeynite and this beauty, Dickwart.  The band played shows in Europe as well as the U.S. in support of this release.  The Forgotten Rebels are arguably one of the finest punk outfits to ever record in Canada and they are responsible for building the foundation of the genre here at home.  Mickey's production work with bands like The Wet Spots (see blog 5/13/11) as well as his overall support for younger bands such as The Problem Children (see blog 11/24/11), helped build a scene that still exists today.  Their music is timeless as well and hopefully we'll see some more re-issued material that will keep their legacy alive for a great many more years.  The band today includes Mickey along with Jeffrey Campbell, Dan Cassale and former Sven Gali (see blog 10/31/10) bassist, Shawn Maher.  They have 13 releases to date and have shared stages with bands like The Clash, Iggy Pop as well as The Ramones.  You can keep tabs on them at  You can hear a sample of the song, Dickwart, as well as purchase the album, Nobodys Hero's, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Artist: Maestro Fresh-Wes, Album: Naaah, Dis Kid Can't Be From Canada?!!, Song: Certs Wid Out Da Retsyn

"Fresh Wes without a rhyme is like Certs wid out da retsyn."  Maestro Fresh-Wes is a hip hop artist from Toronto, Ontario.  He is the most celebrated artist within the hip hop genre that our country has ever produced.  His debut album in 1989 entitled, Symphony In Effect, has probably achieved double platinum sales status by now.  The lead single off this release, Let Your Backbone Slide, was the first Canadian hip hop song to ever crack the Top 40.  He won 2 Junos in 1991 as a result of this landmark release.  He has released 7 albums over his more than two decades of recording and is set to release a new album this year.  He has been nominated for a Juno on 12 different occasions.  Maestro has managed to do what few artists are able to accomplish which is remain current within an ever changing industry.  He is now more than just a music icon but an actor and author. However, with all this success within his homeland, being heard beyond the borders of Canada remained a difficult task.  He certainly wasn't the first or last artist to experience this.  His album from 1993, entitled, Naaah, Dis Kid Can't Be From Canada?!!, was a deliberate attempt to crack the elusive US market.  He teamed up with well known hip hop artist, Showbiz, from New York who produced a few tracks on the album and guested on his single, Fine Tune Da Mic.  Showbiz was one half of the well known duo, Showbiz and A.G. and had worked with artists like Black Sheep ("Without A Doubt"), Fat Joe, Big L ("Deadly Combination") and KRS-One ("Outta Here").  His recording engineer for this album was also an interesting fellow by the name of Anton Pukshansky.  Anton was a classically trained Russian musician who emigrated to New York as a boy.  Anton has worked with everyone from Mick Jagger to Queen Latifah ("Come Into My House") and won a Grammy for his work on Santana's Supernatural album.  He happened to be working at Power Play Studios in New York when Maestro was recording this album.  This particular Maestro release isn't one that people talk a lot about but it had some great songs on it and this particular track, Certs Wid Out Da Retsyn, is wonderful.  You can check it out at  The album was nominated for the Juno for Best Rap Recording in 1995 along with The Freaks Of Reality (see blog 1/11/11), The Rascalz as well as The Dream Warriors (see blog 7/27/10) but lost out to The Ghetto Concept (see blog 11/12/10).  You can catch Maestro on the CBC show, Mr.D, every week and you can follow him at  You can purchase the album, Naaah, Dis Kid Can't Be From Canada?!!, from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Artist: Basic English, Album: Sweet Panic!, Song: Lost In The Shadows

Basic English were a band from the Maritimes who caught some brief success when they migrated west to Toronto.  They were formed in 1986 in Halifax, Nova Scotia by childhood friends, Tim Armour and John Davis.  They added Roger Leblanc on drums and settled in Toronto before recruiting bassist, Sean Ryan.  In 1987, the band entered one of their songs in FM station, Q107's Homegrown Contest and won.  They also picked up an independent award sponsored by local alternative station, CFNY 102.1, for best non-recording act that same year.  They signed with indie label, Risque Disque, which was home to Blue Rodeo.  The band then used their winnings from the radio contest to release their first single in 1988 which was produced by former Blue Rodeo member, Bob Wiseman (see blog 1/6/11).  The band opened for Blue Rodeo a number of times and toured across Canada.  They finally released their debut album, Sweet Panic!, in 1990.  If you like roots rock you will appreciate this album.  Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo lends his vocals to a track on this album as well.  There are some really good songs and one of my personal favourites is the song, Lost In The Shadows.  There is some footage from a show in 1990 where they opened up for National Velvet (see blog 12/16/10) at the Concert Hall in Toronto, posted on You Tube.  You can hear the song, Lost In The Shadows, around the 7 minute mark  during this live footage (  Unfortunately, the band had a really difficult time getting these same radio stations that had showered them with awards a few years earlier, to play their music.  Once their label, Risque Disque, folded in 1991, the band followed shortly thereafter.  Armour and Davis have continued to record with a number of other bands.  Messiah Inc., Gran Torino and Train Wreck are all bands that they have formed and recorded material with over the last 20 years.  They've actually reunited as Basic English and are currently signed to Sugar Moon Music (  You can follow them at  Sweet Panic! is a difficult album to find these days.  At the time of this blog there were copies trading on Amazon and Ebay between $5 and $10 .  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Artist: The Lowest Of The Low, Album: Shakespeare My Butt, Song: Bleed A Little While Tonight

"Damn, damn the circumstance.  Well my heart is achin' and my room is spinnin'.  It's grey without you in it.  My bad luck's just beginning, don't let me bleed again tonight."  The Lowest Of The Low were a rock band from Toronto, Ontario.  They were Stephen Stanley, Ron Hawkins, John Arnott and David Alexander.  They formed out of the ashes of a previous band called, Popular Front, in 1991.  Later that same year, they released their debut album, Shakespeare My Butt.  The band toured relentlessly and they were beloved by their hometown audience.  Their song lyrics often included familiar names of places and things within the city of Toronto which seemed to further their connection with their fans.  The album had a number of songs that received airplay during the early nineties.  Salesmen, Cheats and Liars, Eternal Fatalist, Henry Needs A New Pair Of Shoes as well as this great tune, Bleed A Little While Tonight.  The album apparently came close to achieving gold sales status which is very rare for an independently released album.  You can check out the song, Bleed A Little While Tonight, on You Tube (  The band toured the country and were eventually signed to A&M Records for their sophomore release in 1994.  The constant touring and differences with their label would slow the band's recording output in later years.  Vocalist and primary lyricist, Ron Hawkins, would begin to release albums as a solo artist during this time as well.  The band has released 4 albums to date and recently had their debut album re-released in advance of it's 20th anniversary.  The band also reformed last year to play some shows to commemorate the occasion.  You can check out some footage of the band playing one of those shows at Lee's Palace (  You need only to listen to the crowd singing every word of this song along with the band, to understand how special they are and how great a song this was.  You can purchase, Shakespeare My Butt, on Itunes.  You can also follow the band as well as it's members at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Artist: Grievous Angels, Album: One Job Town, Song: Gordie And My Old Man

"Gordie and my old man on a Saturday night watching the Blackhawks and getting tight.  Nothing ever changes in this world of mine.  It's Gordie and my old man on a Saturday night."  The Grievous Angels were a folk rock band from Toronto, Ontario.  They were Chuck Angus, Peter Jellard, Tim Hadley, Michelle Rumball and Peter Duffin.  Angus was previously in a band with Andrew Cash (see blog 2/12/11, 3/23/12) called, L'Etranger.  Angus then formed the Grievous Angels in 1986 and Andrew Cash went on to develop his career as a solo artist.  Both Chuck and Andrew's music has always had strong social and political themes and perhaps it's not surprising today that they are both members of Parliament.  The Grievous Angels released their debut album in 1989 and followed it up with this Juno nominated album, One Job Town, in 1990.  The album was produced by John Switzer (Jane Siberry, Fat Man Waving, Andrew Cash, Laura Repo, Andrea Florian) and released with Stony Plain Records.  The band's songs often drew upon the theme of every day life in Canadian, rural communities.  Chuck Angus would actually relocate to northern Ontario during the band's tenure.  One tune from this album that received a significant amount of airplay was, Gordie And My Old Man.  You can check out the video at  The band has released 6 albums but this was the last with Michelle Rumball as a vocalist.  They don't play much anymore as a result of Chuck's new political career but they have released some great music worth seeking out.  Another spectacular release from the band is their album, Waiting For The Cage, which was about life in a mining town.  You can purchase most of their albums including, One Job Town, from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Artist: Groove Daddys, Album: Bottom Feeder, Song: Meside Myself

The Groove Daddys were a Kitchener, Ontario band that formed during the early nineties.  They were part of a thriving independent music scene that included Danny Michel's first band, The Rhinos (see blog 7/24/11, 9/26/10), as well as Strange Days which featured singer songwriter, Shannon Lyon.  Michel is actually a guest musician on this particular album entitled, Bottom Feeder, which was released in 1994.  The Groove Daddys were Rob Szabo, Paddy Flynn and Jeff Cowell.  They were signed to Alert Records which was also the home to Kim Mitchell.  They toured all over Canada and released two albums between 1993 and 1996.  The album, Bottom Feeder, was their debut album and included the great track, Meside Myself.  The song was the single off this recording and it appeared on some indie compilations from that time period as well.  It is definitely worth seeking out if you can track down a copy of the song.  Following the break up of the Groove Daddys, Szabo went on to form a couple of other bands; namely, Marigold and Plasticine.  By 2002, he started performing and recording as a solo artist and to date, has 5 albums.  His most recent self titled album was released in 2011.  You can follow him at  Rob has just returned from playing some shows in British Columbia and appears to be playing in the Ontario region this month.  The Groove Daddys' discography is a difficult find today.  At the time of this blog, there were no copies that I could find available on-line.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Artist: Zon, Album: Astral Projector, Song: Put On The Show

Zon were a rock band from Toronto, Ontario.  They were formed in 1975 by front man, Denton Young.  Denton was in a previous band with Rik Emmett called, Act Three.  When Rik accepted an invitation to join Triumph, Denton assembled the band, Zon, with musicians, Howard Helm, Brian Miller, Kim Hunt and Jim Samson.  Zon had a progressive rock sound with swirling organs and hard rock guitars.  They toured relentlessly and their reputation of being such a great live act eventually attracted the attention of CBS/Epic Records.  In 1978, the band released their major label debut entitled, Astral Projector.  One great tune from this release is the album opener, Put On The Show.  You can check it out at  1978 turned out to be a very good year for the band.  They got tons of FM radio support, toured the country in support of bands like Styx and The Tubes.  They were even nominated for the Juno for Most Promising Group in 1979 along with Max Webster, Teaze (see blog 12/9/11) and Streetheart but lost out to Doucette in the end.  The popularity of the band led to the release of their sophomore album in 1979 and the chance to headline live shows across the country.  Sadly though, their label, CBS, went through some changes and the band lost their contract.  They would release one more album in 1981 with A&M Records before calling it quits.  Many of the members of this band have gone on to play with other Canadian acts like Moxy (see blog 5/9/11).  Keyboardist, Howard Helm, joined the band Refugee (see blog 3/17/11) for a brief time during the 80's but had toured with Ian Hunter ("Once Bitten Twice Shy") prior to that.  They certainly don't get the press today that some other bands from that era do and their discography is somewhat rare.  You can purchase a 2003 re-release that includes both Astral Projector as well as their second album, Back Down To Earth, for $20 from  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Artist: The Smugglers, Album: Mutiny In Stereo, Song: Shock The Shanker!

"What's the state, what's the state I'm in, I need a rock n' roll fix.  I'm headed east to the capital city to hear familiar licks.  Oh there's dancin' and kissin' and fuckin' around."  The Smugglers were a punk band from Vancouver, British Columbia.  They were Grant Lawrence, David Carswell, Beez, Nicholas Thomas and Graham Watson.  They met in high school and released their first independent album in 1991.  They released 8 albums over their 15 year career as a band and played shows all over the world.  They were signed to a number of independent labels to help their distribution which included Vancouver based, Mint Records as well as U.S. label, Lookout Records.  The band was known for their wildly energetic stage presence and often had audience participation activities like dance contests.  Mutiny In Stereo, was their final album in 2004 and a very good one.  Shock The Shanker! is perhaps one of the coolest three minute rock tunes ever made.  I absolutely love this song and could listen to it over and over again.  I would also recommend this tune to any fan of AC/DC.  Front man, Grant Lawrence, is likely more well known today for his work as a radio personality for the CBC as well as a published author.  He is also married to Canadian songstress, Jill Barber.  You can follow him at  Guitarist, David Carswell, produced the album and runs his own studio called, JC/DC (, in Vancouver.  He has worked on some very successful releases by The New Pornographers as well as Tegan and Sara (see blog 9/15/10).  He also played guitar with another popular Vancouver punk band called, The Evaporators, which included Nardwuar The Human Serviette.  You can purchase the album, Mutiny In Stereo, from Itunes and you can hear a song sample of Shock The Shanker! there as well.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Artist: The Poppy Family, Album: A Good Thing Lost 1968-1973, Song: Where Evil Grows

The Poppy Family were a band from Vancouver, British Columbia, that formed in 1968.  They were the husband and wife team of Terry and Susan Jacks along with Craig McCaw and Satwant Singh.  Many of the band's television performances and promotional spots focused only on the couple and by their second album, only the two of them remained.  Susan actually played in a band with future Chilliwack member, Claire Lawrence, before joining Terry.  The Poppy Family was actually called The Powerline and later, Winkin', Blinkin' And Nob, before they settled on their famous name.  The band had a flowery folk pop appeal and seemed to do quite well in North America despite the popularity of British Invasion rock and roll.  The band's first major label single entitled, Which Way You Goin', Billy?, charted as high as #2 on the US Billboard charts.  Only The Beatles kept them out of the number one spot.  The song also won a Juno award in 1970.  In 1971, the band released their sophomore album, Poppy Seeds, which featured this classic, Where Evil Grows.  Terry did all of the writing and producing and this particular track was written about the abuse of the environment in B.C. by the pulp and paper mills along with the governments that endorsed their actions.  The song was another international hit for the band but apparently, the b-side of the single was played more in some markets rather than the single itself which prevented it from achieving gold status sales.  You can check out the band performing the song live in 1971 on Kenny Rogers' hit TV show (  Touring would eventually take it's toll on the couple.  They turned down an opportunity to play on the Ed Sullivan Show and in 1973, divorced and dissolved the band.  They did continue to record as solo artists on their jointly owned label, Goldfish Records.  Terry would have a monster hit in 1973 with the song, Seasons In The Sun, and in 1974, recorded under the name, The Hood (see blog 6/25/11).  In 1996, their discography was given the re-mastered treatment and a nice compilation of their work entitled, A Good Thing Lost, was released.  You can find the song, Where Evil Grows, on this compilation and it is available for download from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Artist: Amelia Curran, Album: Lullabies For Barflies, Song: Fool's Gold

"Only fools surround me but I do what I am told.  I follow the right side rules, follow the left wing principles."  Amelia Curran is a singer songwriter who is originally from Newfoundland but is now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She released her debut album in 2000 and then formed the band, The SenseAmelia Project (see blog 5/13/11) for one release a year later.  She followed that album up with her solo sophomore release (and third album in three years) entitled, Lullabies For Barflies, in 2002.  She plays folk based music with a nod to the past.  I find her vocally, to be as captivating as Ferron (see blog 2/2/12) or Ellen McIlwaine (see blog 5/9/12) without the slide guitar.  Fool's Gold is an absolutely stunning song from her 2002 release.  You can check it out at  Amelia would follow up this album with two more releases in 2006 and 2009.  Her 2009 release, Hunter Hunter, won the Juno award for Roots And Traditional Album Of The Year: Solo Artist, in 2010.  She beat out the likes of Corb Lund (see blog 7/31/11) and Bahamas (see blog 1/22/11) to win the award that year.  You can check out a promotional video of her talking about the making of her Juno award winning album as well as her home province of Newfoundland (  Amelia is going to be embarking on a European tour within the coming month and has just posted some new material on You Tube (  Perhaps a new release isn't far off.  You can follow her at  You can purchase the album, Lullabies For Barflies, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Artist: Zen Bungalow, Album: Milky, Song: This Could Very Well Be True

"Fatalist, Chauvinist, Egotistical Bastard, it doesn't matter what you think anymore."  Zen Bungalow were a 4pc rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  They were Greg Lev, Rod Slaughter, Grant Page and Al Wolanin.  They were part of the independent alternative rock wave that took place during the early 90's in Canada.  The one album that I am familiar with was their 1993 release, Milky.  I'm not sure if there were any others.  I remember hearing a tune called, This Could Very Well Be True, quite often on Toronto's local alternative station, CFNY 102.1, back in the day.  They also received some strong support from college radio.  The band was featured on a number of Indie Can Rock compilations as well.  This particular track is reminiscent of The Smiths ("This Charming Man", "Panic", "How Soon Is Now?").  Their music certainly had a pop sensibility about it but managed to remain relevant within the larger grunge or hard rock alternative genre that was slowly taking over the music industry at the time.  The band used three different producers for this particular release.  Chris Wardman of Blue Peter fame (see blog 10/4/11) was one of them although he didn't produce this track.  Both Lev and Slaughter were the lyricists for the band.  Slaughter would form the bands, Duotang (see blog 11/30/10) and Novillero in later years.  He is currently playing in a band called, The Shallow End, with some of his former band mates from Novillero (  Milky is a very difficult release to find these days. At the time of this blog, there was one copy trading on Ebay for $30.  You can listen to this track along with some of the other songs from the album, Milky, on their MySpace page (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Artist: The Clumsy Lovers, Album: Under The Covers With The Clumsy Lovers, Song: Single Girl

"My husband chews tobacco and he snores in his sleep.  Lord I wish I was a single girl again."  The Clumsy Lovers are a band (of many styles) from Vancouver, British Columbia.  You could call their music folk, bluegrass, Celtic or even rock.  They formed during the mid to late nineties playing local bars before deciding to record.  They released their first album in 1998 and to date, have 8 releases.  Their most recent release was in 2010.  They have won a number of regional awards for their music and have toured across North America.  In 2004, they signed with Nettwerk Records and released a couple of albums with the label.  Under The Covers, was recorded in 2001 and features band members, Jason Homey, Chris Jonat, Andrea Lewis, Devin Rice and Trevor Rogers.  The album is a collection of cover songs.  Some are famous rock tunes that we all know and love while others are more traditional tunes.  They do renditions of songs like I'm On Fire (Bruce Springsteen), Where The Streets Have No Name (U2), Norwegian Wood (Beatles) and my personal favourite, Centerfold (J. Geils Band).  During their rendition of Centerfold, the band breaks into the music from Salt 'n' Pepa's hit, Push It.  One song that deserves an extra spin is their cover of the traditional song, Single Girl.  Fiddler, Andrea Lewis, takes over the mike for this tune.  You can watch the band perform an extended version of the song from a show in 2011 (  The band is still playing today and is currently playing shows in the U.S..  You can follow them at  You can purchase, Under The Covers, from their website.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Artist: Ginger, Album: Suddenly I Came To My Senses, Song: Evaporate

Ginger were a rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia.  They rose from the ashes of another very popular 80's band called, The Grapes Of Wrath (see blog 12/30/11).  Following the 1991 release of The Grapes Of Wrath album, These Days, founding member, Kevin Kane decided to quit the band citing creative and personal differences.  The three remaining members; brothers Chris and Tom Hooper along with keyboardist, Vincent Jones, forged ahead under the name, Ginger.  Their former band name wasn't available as a result of legal differences with their former band mate, Kane.  Ginger remained with Nettwerk Records though and released their self titled debut EP in 1993 before their full length debut entitled, Far Out, was released a year later.  The band went on tour to support Sarah McLachlan as well.  Their sound was similar to the sound of their former band and one of their earliest singles, Solid Ground, did well with alternative rock and college radio.  They followed up, Far Out, with one more album in 1996 entitled, Suddenly I Came To My Senses, which saw the band exploring new territory with their sound.  I'm not sure that the album was as commercially successful as their first but we all know that doesn't necessarily speak to how strong an album is.  One track that really caught my ear from this release was the song, Evaporate.  You can listen to a song sample and purchase the album on Itunes.  The band would break up following this release.  Tom Hooper has since reformed The Grapes Of Wrath as well as established himself as a solo artist.  You can follow Tom at and The Grapes Of Wrath at  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Artist: Black Dub, Album: Black Dub, Song: Ring The Alarm

Black Dub are a New York band that is led by the famous Canadian producer, Daniel Lanois (see blog 9/16/10).  Lanois needs no introduction to most.  He produced one of the biggest rock albums in musical history by a band named, U2.  Long before that though, he and his brother operated a studio in Hamilton which laid their imprint on tons of local recordings by up and coming Canadian bands.  In 2009, Lanois, along with jazz drummer, Brian Blade, Daryl Johnson and Trixie Whitley, formed the band, Black Dub, and released their self titled debut on Jive Records in 2010.  The album is a melting pot of styles ranging from roots to r&b and even reggae.  With regards to the latter, they perform a very inventive cover of the Winston Riley song, Ring The Alarm, that was popularized by Tenor Saw during the 80's and then given the hip hop treatment by The Fu-Shnickens during the early 90's.  You can check them out playing the tune live in studio at  This is a really cool disc and it has everything you should expect from a Daniel Lanois recording.  The production is wonderful and keyboardist/singer, Trixie Whitley, has a gritty soulful voice.  She is actually the daughter of the late, American blues guitarist, Chris Whitley.  Black Dub embarked on an international tour in support of this album and the album was nominated in 2011 for Adult Alternative Album Of The Year at the Junos.  Interestingly enough, they lost out to the Daniel Lanois produced album, Le Noise, by Neil Young.  Lanois has currently set up shop in Toronto with his new recording studio and you can follow his band at  You can purchase Black Dub's album on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Artist: The Satanatras, Album: Eight Ate Hate, Song: Out Of The Blue

The Satanatras were a punk band from Toronto, Ontario.  Front man, Jeff Beardall, was originally from New Brunswick.  He started a band called, Guilt Parade, in 1985 and released a few albums.  The band relocated to Toronto and signed with Fringe Records.  They toured Canada as well as the U.S. before breaking up during the early 90's.  Beardall would then hook up with Dallas Good of The Sadies and form, The Satanatras.  The band didn't have a long run and Dallas Good left the band before their full length album, Eight Ate Hate, was released in 1994 with Raw Energy Records.  I believe there was another indie EP entitled, 777, which preceded this release in 1992.  They were a popular act within the city at that time and were part of a vibrant scene that included bands like hHead ("Collide"), Groovy Religion ("Suki") as well as Change Of Heart (see blog 6/30/11).  This is a really rare disc and it has some great tunes on it especially the album opener, Out Of The Blue.  The other two members of the band for this release in 1994, were Ruston Baldwin and Christian Wagner.  Ruston would go on to play drums for a number of punk bands like Dogs With Jobs.  At the time of this blog, there were copies of Eight Ate Hate trading on Amazon between $10 and $20.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Artist: Lois Fletcher, Album: K-tel Canadian Mint 22 Original Artists, Song: I Am What I Am

"I am what I am, I'm just one of the people.  I'm happy to live till I die."  Lois Fletcher was a Canadian singer who got her big break following an appearance on Canadian television.  She began touring with a folk troupe during the early sixties and after a New York gig, landed a job with the band, The Back Porch Majority.  Folk groups were huge during the mid sixties and it wasn't uncommon for the bands to have 10 members.  The scene also spawned some performers who would go on to have greater success like Barry McGuire ("Eve Of Destruction') and Gene Clark of The Byrds ("So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star", "Mr. Spaceman", "My Back Pages").  Lois would also release a number of singles as a solo artist during the sixties and seventies but none bigger than this tune, I Am What I Am, in 1974 with Playboy Records.  You can check out the tune at  The song was written and composed by Richard Kerr and Scott English who would go on to greater fame penning some major hits for Barry Manilow.  The song was also recorded by a reggae band from the U.K. called, Greyhound, in 1972.  You can hear their version at  Unfortunately, there isn't much written about Lois Fletcher so a proper chronology of her career before and after this hit is hard to piece together.  The song is also very difficult to come by these days.  I found a copy on a worn out version of the K-tel compilation entitled, Canadian Mint.  At the time of this blog, there were vinyl copies of the 45 single trading on Ebay for $20.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Artist: Black Pool, Album: We The Living, Song: Days and Days

"Look out, here she comes with loopy curls and skirts that swirl.  She don't shave her legs but she gives me looks that last me for days and days."  Black Pool were a rock band from Halifax, Nova Scotia.  They formed in 1989 and released their first album a year later.  In 1991, Chris Murphy of Sloan fame, joined the band on bass for their 1991 release, We The Living.  It was recorded with the Justin Entertainment label and distributed by MCA Records.  Along with Chris, there was band leader, John Wesley Chisholm, Chip Sutherland and Phil Sedore.  This is a very good album and it's an absolute shame it is now out of print.  They had a single off it called, A Man On Pier 21, which is a great tune but I just love this album opener entitled, Days And Days.  It is straight up Americana similar to The BoDeans ("Fadeaway", "She's A Runaway").  You can check it out at  Chris Murphy would depart following the recording of this album and start Sloan later that same year.  The rest of Black Pool would soldier on for a third release in 1992 with Super Friendz (see blog 2/25/11) lead man, Matt Murphy, on guitar before breaking up.  John Wesley Chisholm would go on to perform with the band, The Johnny Favourite Swing Orchestra, before entering the world of film production.  He is currently the president of Arcadia Entertainment ( which has produced a number of documentary pieces.  He is also still performing as a musician.  He has a band called, The Jubilee Swing Orchestra ( but has also recorded some roots flavoured material which you can listen to on his Myspace page (  The Black Pool discography isn't widely available today.  At the time of this blog, there were no copies of the album, We The Living, available for sale on-line.  There is a release entitled, Black Pool - Scraps From The Table, that is for sale on Arcadia Entertainment's website under the "Shop" link.  It includes the song, Days And Days.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Artist: Gentleman Reg, Album: Jet Black, Song: You Can't Get It Back

Gentleman Reg is a singer songwriter from Toronto, Ontario.  He recorded his indie debut in 2000 entitled, Theoretical Girl, and proceeded to churn out two more releases over the next four years.  He has played with The Hidden Cameras as well as with members of The Broken Social Scene, Islands (see blog 11/28/10),  The Great Lake Swimmers, Sloan, The Constantines (see blog 8/15/11) and Ohbijou to name a few.  In 2008, he signed with Arts & Crafts; home to Feist and The Broken Social Scene.  He re-released some songs from his previous albums on a compilation entitled, Little Buildings, and then primed the world for his fifth album, Jet Black, by releasing the single, You Can't Get It Back.  This is an absolute glam rock classic.  I hear a lot of Marc Bolan (aka T.Rex, "I Love To Boogie") and David Bowie in this tune.  It is also similar to David Garza's This Euphoria album.  It is a wonderful song that deserved more recognition than it received and you can check it out at  I came upon his music quite late.  I happened to turn on the TV one day and saw this program called, Transit, which featured the band performing in an old streetcar (  He is definitely an artist deserving of much more recognition than he receives.  You can follow Gentleman Reg at  You can purchase the album, Jet Black, from Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Artist: Vilain Pingouin, Album: Vilain Pingouin, Song: Le Train

Vilain Pingouin are a francophone rock band from Quebec.  They are Rudy Caya, Michel Vaillancourt, Rudolf Fortier, Claude Samson and Frederik Bonicard.  They formed in 1986, although Caya and Vaillancourt had been playing together since the early eighties.  The band won some regional talent contests which led to the release of their first couple of singles in 1989.  The popularity of those songs attracted the attention of local indie label, Audiogram, who signed the band and released their self titled debut album in 1990.  Audiogram has represented a number of great French artists over the years, such as Adam Chaki (see blog 8/10/10), Bran Van 3000 ("Astounded", "Everywhere"), Damien Robitaille (see blog 2/16/12), Jean Leloup (see blog 3/19/11) and Ocean.  The band toured Quebec relentlessly, playing hundreds of shows.  They also realized the benefit of video and their singles received strong rotation on Much Music's French affiliate, Musique Plus.  As a result, their debut album achieved gold status sales within the province.  The band went on to win a number of regional awards and were also nominated for the Juno for Best Selling Francophone album in 1992.  Le Train, was a major hit for the band off their self titled debut.  You can check it out at  Vilain Pingouin would go on to release four albums between 1990 and 2003.  You can check them out at  You can purchase their self titled debut on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Artist: Slowburn, Album, Slowburn, Song: Whatever

Slowburn were a rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia.  They formed during the early nineties and released one independent album in 1994 before signing with the Handsome Boy record label.  They released their major label self titled debut in 1996.  Handsome Boy was run by a man named, Jeff Rogers, who found earlier success while managing The Crash Test Dummies.  He then started up this label which included some talented young bands like Rusty and Groovy Religion.  Slowburn were Robert Watkins, Harvey Windsor, Cliff Boyd and Charles Boname.  Their self titled debut was produced at the legendary Mushroom Studios by Chris Wardman (see blog 10/4/11) of Blue Peter fame.  When you look back at Canada's alternative rock scene during the 90's and some of the bands that encompassed it.  You'd be hard pressed to find an album that wasn't produced by Wardman.  He had his hands all over this album along with some pretty big releases from Rusty, Sons Of Freedom as well as The Watchmen.  Slowburn's album received some strong radio and video rotation upon it's release.  The lead track, Whatever, is one of those long lost alternative gems.  Everyone can remember how the song goes but often forget the band's name.  You can check out the video at  The album also featured the talents of 54-40's Dave Genn and included an XTC cover entitled, Complicated Game.  Unfortunately though, the band broke up after this release.  You can purchase the album on Itunes though.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Artist: Ellen McIlwaine, Album: The Real Ellen McIlwaine, Song: Higher Ground

Ellen McIlwaine is a singer songwriter who was born in Nashville but spent most of her childhood growing up in Japan.  Her adopted parents were missionaries and she actually attended a Canadian school while in Japan.  She returned to the U.S. and by the mid sixties, was performing as a solo artist in Greenwich Village with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters.  Her slide guitar playing is legendary and her first two solo albums in 1972 and '73 with Polydor Records, are key recordings for any music enthusiast.  She moved to Montreal in 1975, to record her third album, The Real Ellen McIlwaine.  This album featured a blazing cover of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground, from his Innervisions release in 1973.  You can check it out on You Tube (  Ellen would relocate to Canada permanently in 1987 and today, still lives in Calgary, Alberta and is still touring.  She was nominated by the Toronto Blues Society in 2011 for a Lifetime Achievement Award but lost out to Paul James (see blog 12/2/11).  You can follow her at  I discovered her music very late and was obviously blown away by what I heard.  You can check out some blazing tunes from her first couple of releases on a compilation entitled, Up From The Skies, which is available on Itunes.  Tunes like "We The People", "Sliding", "Can't Find My Way Home" and "Farther Along", will blow your mind.  She has a number of covers in her song list but I can assure you that they are all very inventive.  The album, The Real Ellen McIlwaine, was re-released as a combo with her 1982 album, Everybody Needs It, on Stony Plain Records.  That album is available on Itunes as well and it includes the song, Higher Ground.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!    

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Artist: Emma-Lee, Album: Backseat Heroine, Song: Figure It Out

Emma-Lee is a singer songwriter from Toronto, Ontario.  She released her debut album in 2008 with Bumstead Records.  Her voice is second to none which she has been belting out for a few years now but she appears to be really hitting her stride with this new release.   And deservedly so.  Her debut album was a well crafted genre bending mix of music that included pop, roots, blues and jazz.  The latter (jazz) became more of a label to categorize her music which she quickly contradicts with her sophomore release, Backseat Heroine.  This album is one of the finest Canadian releases for 2012.  She co-wrote songs with American songstress, Nicole Atkins ("War Torn", "Under The Milky Way") as well as Luke Doucet (see blog 8/22/11), Jill Barber ("Hard Line") and band mate, Karen Kosowski.  She also self produced the album at The Chalet in Uxbridge, Ontario with band mates, Marc Rogers and Karen Kosowski.  Figure It Out, is her new single and perhaps the masterpiece on the album.  I don't think you can write a more perfect tune than this.  Soulful and melodic.  This tune was meant for radio.  It has a real throwback feel to it as though it was recorded during the 70's.  I also find her vocals reminiscent of singer songwriter, Tift Merritt ("Stray Paper").  Emma is actually inviting her fans to record their own version of the song in a contest on her website. You can check out the excellent video for, Figure It Out, on You Tube (  Emma has just returned from a western tour supporting Luke Doucet's band, Whitehorse, and is currently playing shows in Eastern Canada.  You can follow her at  You can purchase the album, Backseat Heroine, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Artist: Rude City Riot, Album: Nothin' But Time, Song: Imposter Man

"Hit 'em with the pan, the imposter man.  Ain't no excuse.  Dump 'em in the van, the imposter man.  Before it get loose."  Rude City Riot are a ska band from Vancouver, British Columbia.  They are Dustin Lionheart III, Scott Atkins, Luis Garzon, Jonny McCormack, Kevin Tang, Sean Kight, Steffen Peter and Peter Bowles.  The band released their debut EP in 2008 with local label, SkaSpot Records.  SkaSpot is run by a man named Dan Cowan, who has been around the Canadian music scene for decades with bands like Toronto (see blog 9/22/10), Chilliwack, Doucette, The Irish Rovers (see blog 12/1/11) as well as The Villains (see blog 5/13/11).  The EP garnered some regional acclaim and a couple of the tunes were re-recorded and included on their debut full length in 2011 entitled, Nothin' But Time.  This time, the album was released on the Stomp label out of Montreal (  Rude City Riot's sound is a mix of punk and ska.  Imposter Man, is a polished ska tune from their 2011 release.  You can check out the video at  The band has toured North America in support of their music and has recently completed a Canadian tour with The Planet Smashers and The Real McKenzies (see blog 4/21/11).  You can follow them at  You can purchase the album, Nothin' But Time, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Artist: Plex, Album: Brain Storm, Song: The Way It Should Be

"I've had about as much as I can take.  Don't try and push your religion on me.  There's men deciding everybody's fate.  We all know that's not the way it should be."  Plex is an aboriginal hip hop artist originally from Edmonton but now based in Toronto, Ontario.  He started rapping with a collective known as Won 18 during the late nineties.  They released one album before Plex ventured out on his own.  He played shows and toured for the better part of 4 years before his debut release in 2009 entitled, Brain Storm.  The album received a lot of critical acclaim internationally due to the strength of the single, The Way It Should Be.  The song features fellow aboriginal rapper and CBC personality, Wab Kinew.  The video has been shown in numerous film festivals around the world and has won awards.  Plex has toured all over North America in support of this album.  He runs his own label called, New Leaf Entertainment, and is due to release his sophomore album, Demons, this summer.  The Way It Should Be, is a fantastic tune with a message and a cool reggae beat.  You can check out the exceptional video at!the-way-it-should-be.  You can follow Plex at  You can purchase the album, Brain Storm, on Itunes.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Artist: Steel River, Album: Weighin' Heavy, Song: Ten Pound Note

Steel River were a rock band from Toronto, Ontario.  They were John Dudgeon, Bob Forrester, Rob Cockell, Tony Dunning and Ray Angrove.  They started out as a R'n'B band before changing their name in 1969 to Steel River.  They enlisted the support of renown producer, Greg Hambleton.  Hambleton ran the Axe Records label and produced works for Charity Brown and Thundermug (see blog 8/29/10).  His brother is Fergus Hambleton of The Sattalites (see blog 9/10/10) as well as A Passing Fancy fame.  Steel River released their debut album, Weighin' Heavy, in 1970.  The album did very well here in Canada and was also released internationally, helping the band tour abroad.  The success of the album was largely due to their first single which was a Jay Telfer (A Passing Fancy) song entitled, Ten Pound Note.  This tune still receives some heavy airplay on classic rock radio in Toronto.  You can check it out at  The band would go on to release one more album in 1971 which again, contained a successful single entitled, Southbound Train.  The band would perform together until 1974 before breaking up.  Today, their discography remains a rarity.  At the time of this blog, there were vinyl copies trading on Ebay and Discogs between $20 and $50.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Artist: Jay Sparrow, Album: The Running, Song: Lily

"Chaka Kahn filled the hallways of the casino.  I made my way from the room to the camino.  I'm a stranger in a strange world.  This Las Vegas is a circus as I'm sure you've heard so goodbye, to that girl in room eleven twenty five.  Goodbye, oooh Lily don't cry."  Jay Sparrow is a singer songwriter from Thunder Bay, Ontario but now based in Edmonton, Alberta.  He started out in a punk band called, The Murder City Sparrows.  They were really talented and if you get a chance you should check out their album, Dead Horse Disco, on Itunes.  The album was produced by Big Sugar's Gordie Johnson.  Somewhere along the line though, Sparrow became disenchanted with the punk genre and decided to embark on a more roots based solo career.  The Running, was his debut album released in 2008 and it may have overlapped with his time in the band, The Murder City Sparrows.  Jay has since released 2 full length albums as well as 2 EP's of original material.  3 of the 4 albums were all released in 2010.  He runs his own label called, Break Pattern Records ( and has toured nationally in support of his music.  He also won a national song contest put on by the CBC in 2009.  I just love this guy's music and this particular release has some great tunes on it.  Lily, is a lyrical masterpiece that sounds a lot like the work of Conor Oberst ("Sausalito") and frankly, should garner the same sort of critical acclaim as him.  But the world just doesn't work that way.  Here's hoping more people discover his great music.  You can hear a song sample on Itunes and purchase it there as well.  You can follow Sparrow at Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Artist: Susan Aglukark, Album: Big Feeling, Song: Into The Ocean

"Down, down into the ocean."  Susan Aglukark is a singer songwriter from Nunavut.  She was discovered by CBC and released her debut in 1993.  She ended up walking away with two Juno awards for Best New Solo Artist and Best Music Of Aboriginal Canada Recording in 1995 as a result.  Her sophomore album entitled, This Child, in 1995, was massive and catapulted her to national fame.  The album achieved triple platinum sales.  She has recorded six albums to date and has been nominated for a Juno 10 times and has won 3.  She has been awarded the Order Of Canada and has played for Prime Ministers and Presidents as well as such dignitaries as Nelson Mandela and The Queen.  Big Feeling was her fourth release in 2004.  It won the Juno for Aboriginal Recording Of The Year.  It was produced by a man named Ben Mink.  Mink is notorious for his work with K.D. Lang and many other artists ranging from Heart to Feist.  He plays on the album as well and co-wrote many of the songs.  The album is very strong and there are a number of great tracks.  I just love this song called, Into The Ocean.  You can listen to a sound sample on Itunes and purchase the song there as well.  You can follow Susan at  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

Monday, April 30, 2012

Artist: The Viletones, Album: A Taste Of Honey, Song: Never Feel Sad

The Viletones were a punk band from Toronto, Ontario.  They were Steven "Nazi Dog" Leckie, Freddy Pompeii, Chris Haight and Motor X.  The Viletones didn't have a very long run; a couple of years at best, but they are probably the most notorious of all the Canadian punk bands to come out during the late seventies.  They were formed by front man, Steven Leckie, in 1976.  He was 17 years old.  In 1977, they played CBGB's in New York with fellow Canadian punk bands, Teenage Head (see blog 10/3/10) and The Diodes (see blog 12/8/11).  You can watch a segment of a Canadian Punk Documentary featuring Leckie called, Crash 'n' Burn, on You Tube (  Their shows were violent and chaotic, often leaving Leckie wounded.  There isn't a band in Canadian history that could be as closely compared to the Sex Pistols as these guys.  The band released their first single, Screaming Fist, in 1977 and in 1978, their one and only release entitled, Look Back In Anger.  Look Back In Anger was produced by legendary Toronto musician, Roger Mayne, of the Ugly Ducklings (see blog 6/26/11).  That same year, Pompeii, Haight and Motor X all left the band and started The Secrets with former Diode, John Hamilton.  In 1983, a live full length album was released before this retrospective of the band's work entitled, A Taste Of Honey, in 1994.  According to the liner notes, all the tunes were recorded on a 2 track in 2 hours during the spring of 1977.  Never Feel Sad, is one of many cool tracks on this disc and you can check it out on You Tube (  Leckie has released some solo material and has also resurrected the band on occasion over the past decade.  You can read about The Viletones at  A Taste Of Honey, is a rare find today.  At the time of this blog, there was one copy trading on Discogs for $10.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Artist: Slik Toxik, Album: Doin' The Nasty, Song: Helluvatime

"Hold on tight, we're headed for a helluvatime."  Slik Toxik were a rock band from Toronto, Ontario.  They were formed by members Nick Walsh and Dave Mercel in 1988.  These two individuals were in a couple of bands together during the mid eighties before morphing into Slik Toxik.  Mercel would end up relinquishing his role as bassist and contribute lyrics for the band.  Slik Toxik was immediately snapped up by EMI Records in 1991.  Their full length debut entitled, Doin' The Nasty, was released in 1992 and it went gold on the strength of 4 successful singles.  One of them was this rocker entitled, Helluvatime.  You can check out the video on You Tube (  This album was massive for a genre of music in decline.  Metal was on the outs and it would prove to be the band's fatal blow in the end.  However, they still were nominated for two Junos in 1993 for this release.  They won Hard Rock Album Of The Year but lost the award for Most Promising Group that year to The Skydiggers (see blog 9/13/11).  The band would sever ties with their label and release their sophomore album independently in 1994 before breaking up shortly thereafter.  This band's career would have been longer if the timing were better.  They were Nick Walsh, Kevin Gale, Patric Howarth, Rob Bruce and Neal Busby.  Walsh and Bruce would go on to form the band, Raised On Mars, for one release.  You can check out some of their work at  Following that, Walsh would form the band, Revolver, and more currently, Famous Underground.  The latter released their debut album last year and you can follow them at  As for Slik Toxik, their albums are very rare today.  At the time of this blog, there were copies trading on Ebay between $10 and $40.  Thanks for reading and enjoy! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Artist: Fountain Of Vermouth, Album: Tragedy Of Birth, Song: Lotus Eater

"Who said I wanted to be saved.  I've got every single thing I need.  A day old sticky danish and a cigarette and a cup of piss warm coffee."  Fountain Of Vermouth were a rock band from Toronto.  They were Donovan Gopaul, Evangeline Mangune, Tony Saarenvirta and Kevin Taylor.  They recorded an EP entitled, Tragedy Of Birth, in 1996 at Studio 92.  I stumbled across a copy of the CD at a pawn shop in the Junction.  I honestly don't know much about this band so I can't say how long they were around for or how many recordings they had.  I do know that they had a very cool track on this release entitled, Lotus Eater, that is worth seeking out if you can find it.  Lead singer, Donovan Gopaul, is still actively involved in music and you can follow him at  He is into a lot of different stuff now including a really cool band called, The Thuggees (  If you like early glam rock like T.Rex, you will really dig their sound and you can link to their Reverbnation page and download some tracks for free.  As well, you can check out some of Donovan's electronic music at  As for his earlier work with Fountain Of Vermouth; these tunes are very rare and likely out of print.  At the time of this blog, there were no copies available on-line for sale.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!