Monday, January 31, 2011

Artist: Helen R, Album: Through The Darkest Days And Endless Nights, Song: Just Tell Me Who You Are Again

"It's getting late.  I thought my children would have come because they live near.  The nurses tell me that they visit but I've never seen them here.  But it was really good to talk to you, did you tell me your name?  While your face sure is familiar, just tell me who you are again?"  Helen R was a singer songwriter from Calgary, Alberta.  She was born in England and seemed to spend a lot of time in Australia as well.  I believe she resides there now.  I discovered her on a North By Northeast music sampler from 2001.  I guess you could describe the festival as Toronto's version of South By Southwest which occurs in Austin, Texas every year.  I'm not sure if they actually release these compilations anymore but they have become quite a rarity and offer a unique historical glimpse of the local Canadian indie scene that existed at the time.  My wife played the festival for a few years and had a few of these discs lying around.  Getting back to Helen R though, she had released two albums, her first in 1996 and her second in 1999, entitled, Through The Darkest Days And Endless Nights.  The latter featured this track called, Just Tell Me Who You Are Again, which was written about Alzheimer's Disease.  It's a real folky track with outstanding lyrics.  Her albums are very difficult to find and I don't own one myself.  You can hear the song, Just Tell Me Who You Are Again, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Artist: King Konqueror, Album: Smash Hits!!! EP, Song: Monkey Business

"Don't try to justify your racism.  Don't try to justify your class ism.  Don't try to hide behind your money, man.  Because you're just another species of monkey man." King Konqueror were a ska band from Halifax, Nova Scotia.  They started out in 1999 and produced an amazing 19 indie releases and built a reputation within the city, as one of the most entertaining live acts around.  They played festivals all across Canada and even opened for David Wakeling (English Beat).  In 2001, they released their EP, Smash Hits!!! which included this great floor stomper, Monkey Business.  One of the finest ska tunes to come out of this country.  It was also included on a ECMA music sampler released by Much Music in 2002 called, The Dog & Pony Show.  Unfortunately, there isn't much information on the band that can be accessed and their discography is likely long out of print.  At the time of this blog, I couldn't find any copies of their EP, Smash Hits!!! or the ECMA compilation available for sale.  You can hear the song, Monkey Business, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Artist: Willie P. Bennett, Album: Heartstrings, Song: Last Word

"There's fights over property and wars over borders.  All started by world leaders with mental disorders.  Some say it's collusion, some say it's a sin but it's all about who's gonna get the last word in."  Willie P. Bennet was a folk singer from Toronto, Ontario.  He cut his teeth in the late sixties and seventies within the clubs and coffeehouses of Toronto.  The same circuit that spawned artists like Bruce Cockburn.  Willie released his first single in 1969 and his first full length in 1975.  He never seemed to attract the commercial success of his colleague, Bruce Cockburn, but among musicians, the man was regarded as a legend.  He  played solo and as a sideman within various bands throughout his career.  His last stint was with Fred Eaglesmith (see blog 8/3/10) as his harmonica and mandolin player.  Heartstrings was his last album released in 1998 and garnered him a Juno award for best Roots and Traditional album in 1999.  The album has a number of guest musicians such as David Wilcox, Melanie Doane, Stephen Fearing, Prairie Oyster and on the track, Last Word, his old friend Bruce Cockburn.  Sadly, Willie passed away in 2008 but his legacy seems to be attracting more and more attention.  He was inducted in to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame last year.  Musicians, Colin Linden, Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing started a band in the nineties called, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, as a tribute to Willie and his music.  The name comes from Willie's 1979 release.  Nonetheless, his music continues to be a very rare commodity.  Itunes only carries his 1985 release, The Lucky Ones.  There were copies of some of his early seventies material on trading close to $200.  There was one copy of Heartstrings trading on for $135.  Hopefully, someone gets around to remastering his back catalogue so that more people can discover his music.  There is one site currently that chronicles his life and you can read about him at  You can hear the song, Last Word, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Artist: The Phantoms, Album: Pleasure Puppets, Song: Home

"Home, son you've got to come back home.  You've been gone away so long.  It's time to lay your burden down."  The Phantoms were a blues rock band originally from Ottawa but made a name for themselves in the bars of Toronto during the mid to late eighties.  Pleasure Puppets was their first studio release in 1990.  The band had developed quite a following in the city and were known for their great live performances.  They were led by their charismatic front man, Jerome Godboo, who as you can see from the album cover above, was a dead ringer for the late Jim Morrison of the Doors.  The band landed a distribution deal with A&M for this record and the single, Home, got some decent radio play on both rock and alternative stations within the city.  They would release one more album as a band in 1992 before Jerome pursued his solo interests.  He continues to perform and produce music today and if you are ever visiting Toronto, make sure you stay at the Delta Chelsea Hotel.  Jerome and his band of Canadian music all stars have taken up residency at the Monarch Pub there for the last two years and you can usually catch him on Thursday nights.  He's a highly respected musician and he's shared the stage with everyone from blues legends like Dutch Mason, Ronnie Hawkins and Jeff Healey to artists like Jimmy Bowskill, Alannah Myles and the Tragically Hip.  He's also jammed with Prince!  His latest release is entitled, Rooting Out My Devils.  You can purchase this album along with the Phantoms' Pleasure Puppets from his website,  His new solo album is also on Itunes.  You Tube has quite a bit of live footage of Jerome and I believe he is the harmonica player in the Dutch Mason, "Who Do You Love" video that is posted there (  It is something worth checking out.  You can hear the song, Home, on You Tube as well (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Artist: Captain Tractor, Album: Hoserista, Song: City Of Champions

"The last time I saw her was from the backseat of a car.  I traded in Whyte Avenue for a harder set of bars."  Captain Tractor are a country rock band from Edmonton, Alberta.  They started out in the early nineties touring constantly through Canada and the U.S..  They released their debut in 1994 and established a loyal audience which they continued to build upon year after year.  They've won numerous awards within their home province, toured parts of Europe and have released 7 albums to date.  The most recent in 2005.  Their sound can at times be very traditional as some of their biggest hits have been renditions of Celtic folk classics.  Hoserista was released in 2000 and has more of a gritty country appeal to it.  It was produced by Luke Doucet and was sold as a companion disc to a 5 CD box set sharing the same name.  Each CD was a combination of live recordings, demos, new songs etc. that were hand picked by each member.  One of the stand-out tracks on this release is the song, City Of Champions, which chronicles a story told to the band one night about love and the loss of love in the city of Edmonton.  It's a sad but great song.  The band is still gigging, mainly in Alberta these days.  They have a very entertaining biography on their website which is full of great stories from their years on the road.  You can follow them at  Most of their releases are available for download on Itunes except this one.  You can purchase it at Maple  You can hear the song, City Of Champions, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Artist: Dottie Cormier, Album: Oh Happy Day, Song: Run Willie Run

"Red sirens blaring, dogs running up the hill, they couldn't find Willie, nothing left of that still.  Lots of broken barrels lying out on the grass.  When the sheriff catches Willie, he's gonna kick his ass.  Run Willie run."  Dottie Cormier is a country bluegrass artist from Toronto.  She made a name for herself as part of a bluegrass band called, Heartbreak Hill, during the nineties.  The band also included singer songwriter, Jenny Whiteley.  The band's full length debut was actually nominated for a Juno in 1999 but lost out to Kate & Anna McGarrigle.  Dottie ventured out on her own and in 2001, released this album, Oh Happy Day.  The song, Run Willie Run, closes out the album and it is a fierce, banjo/mandolin number about making moonshine and running foul with the law.  It would fit well in a music score for the Dukes Of Hazzard.  Dottie is joined by Chris Quinn, her old Heartbreak Hill band mate, on banjo.  Dottie still appears to be involved in music though finding recent information on her was a bit challenging.  She's collaborated with artists such Carolyn Mark (see blog 11/16/10) over the years.  As far as I know, this is her only release and finding a copy is very difficult.  At the time of this blog, I couldn't find any for sale.  You can hear the song, Run Willie Run, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Artist: Martha And The Muffins (M+M), Album: Then Again - A Retrospective, Song: Song In My Head

"There's a song in my head going round and round.  Cus there's something in my heart that I never found."  Martha and the Muffins are a new wave band from Toronto that formed in the late seventies.  The two principle members are Martha Johnson and Mark Gane.  They were Ontario College Of Art Students who thought it would be cool to start a band.  They were so good though, that they attracted the attention of Virgin Records and in 1979, released the huge international single, Echo Beach, from their debut album, Metro Music.  Through band member changes, they added bassist, Jocelyne Lanois (Crash Vegas) who just happened to be the sister of Daniel Lanois which began a productive and collaborative relationship. By 1980, they were touring with Roxy Music to give you a sense of their rapid rise to stardom.  They would switch their name to M+M in the mid-eighties after breaking out as a duo in order to work with different session musicians.  The song, Song In My Head, was from an album entitled, The World Is A Ball, that was produced during this period and was released in 1985.  The band would return to their original name and release a retrospective in 1998.  This track also appears on that album.  To date they have released 9 albums and are still actively writing and creating music.  You can follow them at  Both the Retrospective release and the original, The World Is A Ball, are only available on the second hand market today.  At the time of this blog, there were copies of the Retrospective trading on Ebay and Amazon between $10 and $60.  You can hear the song, Song In My Head, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Artist: Eugene Ripper, Album: The Peking Hop Single, Song: The Peking Hop

"They are twisting all night on the old Great Wall."  Eugene Ripper is a singer songwriter from Toronto originally.  He started out in a punk band known as Stark Naked and the Fleshtones in the early eighties and then broke off into his solo career.  He got his name back in high school when he accidentally stepped on a dangling piece of denim from his friend's blue jeans.  It caused his buddy's pants to rip up the side of his leg causing him to exclaim, "Y-y-y-y-ou Jean Ripper!"  Hence, the name Eugene Ripper. He blasted on to the scene in 1986 with this single, The Peking Hop.  It was a rockabilly type tune which got a lot of support on local radio like CFNY and Q107 in Toronto.  He played a number of festivals and shows in Ontario before relocating to Vancouver.  He is a man of diverse styles, having played solo as well as in bands specializing in various genres of music like ska, punk reggae and folk.  He's lived in Halifax and New York as well.  When he's not making music, he also has a successful career as a writer, editor, producer and content strategist for various entities such as the Polaris Prize Office.  Today, Eugene is still rocking and he just released a new album entitled, Punks and Pushers.  You can purchase the album on Itunes.  You can follow Eugene Ripper at  His first single, The Peking Hop, is a very rare find today.  I wasn't able to locate any available copies for sale at the time of this blog.  However, you can hear the song, The Peking Hop, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Artist: BB Gabor, Album: BB Gabor, Song: Nyet Nyet Soviet (Soviet Jewelry)

BB Gabor was a new wave artist that began his career in the clubs of Toronto during the late seventies.  He was originally from Hungary but his family were forced to flee that country as a result of Soviet occupation.  He landed in England first before pursuing a desire to travel and seek out the Motown offices in Detroit as his intended destination.  He flew to Toronto because the flight was cheaper and decided to stay there.  He decided to pursue music as a career in his mid to late twenties which is remarkable.  He was signed to Anthem Records and released his self-titled debut in 1980.  His sound was very diverse but mainly alternative rock or new wave.  He would often incorporate traditional sounds from his European upbringing into his music.  His lyricism usually had an underlying socio-political message.  Nyet Nyet Soviet (Soviet Jewelry) was one of the singles off his debut album.  The album was nominated for a Juno and BB toured Canada in support of the album.  He would release one more album in 1981 before being dropped by Anthem.  He would go on to do production work as well as work with Todd Rundgren.  He apparently was working on a third album which was to be produced by Todd Rundgren but was found dead in his Toronto apartment in 1990.  Truly one of our most diversely talented musicians.  BB's discography was re-released by Pacemaker Entertainment in 2001.  You can purchase a 2on1 compilation of his two releases from Pacemaker at  You can hear the song, Nyet Nyet Soviet (Soviet Jewelry), on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Artist: Bahamas, Album: Pink Strat, Song: Whole Wide World

"When I was a young boy, my mama said to me.  There's only one girl in the world for you and she's probably in Tahiti."Afie Jurvanen (aka Bahamas) is a singer songwriter from Barrie, Ontario.  He's spent a few years accompanying Feist on tour and in the studio as a guitarist and pianist.  In 2009, following a break in touring, he laid down his first independent release on Nevado Records entitled, Pink Strat.  His band included members of the Golden Dogs, Great Lake Swimmers, Zeus (see blog 8/12/10) as well as Ms. Feist herself.  The album was nominated for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year at this past year's Junos but lost out to Amelia Curran.  He's been touring across Canada on his own as well as in a supporting role for artists like Wilco and Jason Collett.  The song, Whole Wide World, is the only cover song on this album.  The original was done by a man named Wreckless Eric from Stiff Records, the label that brought us the likes of Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello way back in the late seventies and early eighties.  Afie does a great down tempo version of this tune.  He is apparently finishing up work on his second release.  You can follow him at  The album, Pink Strat, is available on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Whole Wide World, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Artist: Absolute Whores, Album: Absolute Whores, Song: Bore Dumb Blues

"Cadillac with matching fins."  The Absolute Whores were a Toronto band that surfaced in the mid to late eighties.  They released one self-titled full length in 1989.  The band had a long standing residency at the Isabella Hotel in Toronto, where they would host talent nights for local artists.  The band was very inventive for the time.  They had a newspaper circulating called "The Whore Rag".  They were also known for their high energy Elvis covers and the subsequent smashing of an Elvis bust during their performance.  Their sound was part country, rockabilly, old time rock and roll and blues.  They were Blind Pig Neuton (Vaughn Passmore), Ugly Dick (Greg McConnell), John Paul Trash and Clint Rude.  Greg McConnell actually played with another Toronto band called the Lost Dakotas around the same time.  Vaughn, Greg and John Paul would hook up again in the mid to late nineties as the band, Strato-chief ( See blog 8/9/10).  The self titled debut was a mix of covers (Merle Haggard, Eddie Cochrane, Replacements) as well as originals which were mainly written by John Paul Trash.  Bore Dumb Blues is a great tune that really showcases the band's many styles and influences.  Today, John Paul Trash is carrying the torch and has started a MySpace page dedicated to the band's memory.  He's also uploaded some cool live footage of the band.  You can follow him at  At the time of this blog, there were no used copies of the band's self titled debut available for sale.  You can hear the song, Bore Dumb Blues, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

You Tube Message From : JP Trash

his is hilarious. and such a walk/stumble down memory lane. ill have to let the sickies know there's a cover of one of their songs on here.

The Sickies never got around to recording it which is too bad. They were a punk band from the Cambridge area that we met in the late 70s and they were great. They had rehearsal spaces Berkley Street and out on Kingston Road and hosted some very large and boisterous parties.

The singer - Axel Thumm - went on to play in The Dice, Shock Army, Atomic Thumm, - pronounced tomb- and Raw Dog, Oxfart Marphalogna became the singer for Mr. Science and often performed with the Absolute Whores and created some of the funnier stage props that we used. Gerald McGuinness was the first bass player for the Whores

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Artist: Trey Mills, Album: Athabasca, Song: Big Crow Rising

"Big crow rising, dreams are flying, things can never be the same.  Big crow rising, dreams are flying, flying away."  Trey Mills is a singer songwriter from Toronto originally, but now based in Calgary.  He's released one album that I know of, entitled, Athabasca, in 2007.  He produced and wrote all of the songs on the album.  The song, Big Crow Rising, has both a r&b and country feel to it.  The horns give me a Kool & The Gang, Summer Madness, feeling all over again.  I do have a thing for horns though.  Trey seems to be focusing much of his time writing songs and producing albums for other artists on the OP3 label.  He's had some success getting his songs in to films and television as well.  He is also introducing one new song on the first of each month to his MySpace fans.  You can follow him at  The album, Athabasca, is available on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Big Crow Rising, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Artist: Arlene Bishop, Album: Snarky Girl Pop, Song: My Way Of Saying Goodbye

"Hey, I've got something to say.  You're not going to celebrate and when it's out you may shout or you may walk away.  Subways don't announce suicides, oh, and our love is a lie.  And everyday a thousand babies die and this is my way of saying goodbye."  Arlene Bishop is a singer songwriter from Toronto.  She has been performing around Toronto since the early nineties often taking up residency at local clubs or coffee houses and running weekly gigs.  She's shared the stage with musicians like Ron Sexsmith and the Barenaked Ladies.  She recorded her debut EP in 1996 and Snarky Girlpop was her full length follow up in 2000.  It was produced by Blair Packham who is formerly of the band, The Jitters.  My Way Of Saying Goodbye is from this album and you can sense the heartbreak in her voice as she sings this song.  It stops me dead in my tracks every time I hear it.  Snarky Girlpop also yielded a track called, 98 Points, which was used in the Canadian film, The New Waterford Girl, starring Andrew McCarthy.  Arlene is still writing and recording and is set to release a new album in the coming year.  If you sign up as a fan on her website you can download a free album teaser.  You can follow her at  Snarky Girlpop is available for download on Itunes.  You can hear the song, My Way Of Saying Goodbye, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Message from Arlene:

From: "Arlene Bishop"
Date: March 5, 2011 8:25:05 AM EST
Subject: Thanks!


Just a quick "THANKS!!" for including me in your blog. I think it's a great site and hope you get a million views!


New album BEGIN AGAIN available for a limited time at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Artist: Smokin' Frogs, Album: Waterproof, Song: Think

"Where do I belong in this world of hate, to make a change and do what I think?"  The Smokin' Frogs were an alternative rock band from British Columbia.  They released this album on Turtle Records in 1995, entitled, Waterproof.  The band was Jamie Osborne, Aaron Grain, Travis Rea, Paul Derksen and Jared Starling.  The song, Think, is a funky little number with an edge.  I love the drum and bass groove that opens this song.  Unfortunately, there isn't much information on the band although we do know that they are no more and the members have gone on to pursue other interests, some musically and some not.  Aaron Grain composes and produces music for television and film.  Turtle Records is still around and is based in White Rock, B.C..  The founder, Larry Anschell, has worked with everybody from Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains to Sarah Mclachlan.  Part of their vision was to provide local independent musicians with the means to record and release their music.  Unfortunately though, a lot of this material is never re-released digitally.  As is the case here, the Smokin' Frogs album, Waterproof, is likely very hard to find.  At the time of this blog, there were no copies available.  You can hear the track, Think, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Artist: Sianspheric, Album: Somnium, Song: Flow, Ebb & Die

Sianspheric are a rock band from Burlington, Ontario that started their career in the early nineties.  In 1995, they released their debut entitled, Somnium, on Sonic Unyon Records out of Hamilton.  It was a trippy, rock record with equal parts influence from Pink Floyd as well as contemporary artists like Swervedriver, whom they were often compared to.  The band had this sound scape about their music and this particular track, Flow, Ebb & Die is no exception.  The lead singer almost chants over the instrumental backdrop.  The last song on this album is actually 21 minutes in length!  The band has released 6 albums to date and two of the original members are continuing to carry the torch today.  Unfortunately, despite their longevity, the band has had some brushes with potential greatness but never quite got the attention they deserved.  They were supposed to support Swervedriver in 1998 on tour but the plans were called off at the last moment.  They watched bands from their own hometown like The Rainbow Butt Monkeys become famous as Finger Eleven.  They soldiered on and continued releasing material and toured Canada whenever possible.  You can follow the band at  Somnium is available for download on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Flow, Ebb & Die, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Artist: The Bloody Five, Album: Bedroom Music, Song: Bedroom Music

"Bedroom music, could you be my lover?"  The Bloody Five are a 4 piece from Toronto.  They are Tomi Fear, Bass Hau, KD and Raw Beats.  They released their debut EP, Bedroom Music, in the summer of 2010.  It is a wonderful collection of rock songs that melds classic rock influences with alternative rock melodies.  The title track, with it's sonic guitar driven melody is a balls out rocker.  This inventive band was nominated for a Toronto indie music award and is becoming a fixture on the Toronto music scene.  They have a gig coming up on January 20th at the Bovine Sex Club.  They are also working on a new album.  Bedroom Music is available for download on Itunes.  The band has also been allowing fans to download the album for free from their website since the late fall.  As well, there is a very cool remix of the song, Bedroom Music, available on their website.  This exciting new band is certainly one to watch in the coming year.  They have a very cool website and are socially connected with their ever growing fan base through Twitter, You Tube, Facebook, MySpace and Blogging.  You can follow their  music at  You can also vote on which video you prefer for the song, Bedroom Music, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Artist: King Cobb Steelie, Album: King Cobb Steelie, Song: Jackasshole

"You said it's true that it takes too long.  That's sincere when you said that it takes too long.  But that's not fair when it's you that I'm waiting on."  King Cobb Steelie were an indie rock band from Guelph, Ontario.  They released their self-titled debut in 1992 on Raw Energy records.  Their sound on this particular album was a mix of dub and alternative rock.  This track, Jackasshole, especially shows this interesting hybrid of sound with it's turntable intro.  This song just brings back so many memories from a very exciting time in Canadian music.  Sounds were changing and rock was splitting off in to these new experimental areas combining different genres of popular music.  King Cobb Steelie would release another indie album in 1994 before signing with EMI and releasing their most commercially successful album, Junior Relaxer, in 1997.  They would release two more albums with Canadian label, Outside Music, their latest in 2004.  Their sound became progressively more dub and electronic in comparison to their debut but no less interesting.  The band was nominated for a Juno and their music has been added to high profile films and television shows like Six Feet Under.  Bassist Kevin Lynn has gone on to record as a member of the band, Holy Fuck as well as a side project known as The Straggler.  You can follow King Cobb Steelie at  King Cobb's last three releases are available on Itunes but their first couple of indie releases are a rare commodity nowadays.  At the time of this blog, there were cassette copies on Amazon trading for $10 and a Cd copy on Discogs for $10 as well.  You can hear the song, Jackasshole, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Artist: Merlin, Album: Arcade, Song: The Playboy Interview

"My favourite book is TV guide.  My favourite band is no longer alive.  I live with twenty machines.  I wish I lived with twenty wives.  If you're wondering where the fuzz is and you're wondering where the raps are.  Then you never really knew me.  How can you rate me only one star?"  Merlin is an artist from Quebec who burst on to the scene in the middle of grunge with his indie debut, A Noise Supreme.  He self produced the album on his own label, Channel Three Records.  He got some decent airplay on alternative radio and had a video in rotation on Much Music.  Ever the chameleon though, his next release in 1996 entitled, Arcade, was less industrial/rap and had more of a pop sensibility with a diverse range of styles.  The song, The Playboy Interview, pokes some fun at his critics who failed to support him through this experimentation.  This is a great album from a neglected artist.  He would go on to release two more albums, the last one in 2001 with MCA records.  Merlin then began focusing more attention on photography.  You can follow his work at  At the time of this blog, there were copies of Merlin's Arcade trading between $5 and $100 on Ebay and Amazon.  You can hear the song, The Playboy Interview, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Artist: Varga, Album: Prototype, Song: Freeze Don't Move

"Nothing like a nice conviction...."  Varga was an industrial metal band from Hamilton that released their  full length debut entitled, Prototype, in 1993.  Their sound bridged hard rock and alternative and made them a saleable commodity during the grunge years.  A lot of metal bands nose dived during this time.  When you look back at the Juno nominations in 1995, they included a much different style of hard rock than in the year preceding it.  In 1994, the nominees were Rush, I Mother Earth, Tea Party, Doughboys and Wild T & The Spirit.  In 1995, they were Varga, Malhavoc, Front Line Assembly and Monster Voodoo Machine.  They didn't win but it shows how hard rock was getting progressively harder and darker.  With lyrics like, "You're gonna die in pain with a bullet in your brain", they weren't singing about wine, women and song anymore.  The band got some great video play for the single Freeze Don't Move on Much Music, but they would go on to only release one more album in 1996 before calling it quits.  The producer of this album was David Bendeth, who has a long list of credentials, both in Canadian music (Serena Ryder, Segarini, Teenage Head) as well as internationally (Kaiser Chiefs, Papa Roach).  Today, Varga's music is only available second hand.  At the time of this blog, there were copies trading on Amazon and Ebay between $5 and $50.  You can watch the video for Freeze Don't Move, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Artist: Staggered Crossing, Album: Staggered Crossing, Song: Further Again

"Let me in, let me out, let me shake it all about."  Staggered Crossing were a rock band from Toronto that formed in 1996.  They became fixtures on the local club scene, building up a strong following which attracted Warner Music in 1999.  The band had already released some indie EP's and live recordings up until this point.  In 2001, they released their major label self-titled debut and hit the road touring Canada with bands like Midnight Oil and Nickelback.  The song, Further Again, is the lead off track on the album and was the first single released.  It was a Top 10 hit on the Canadian Rock Music Charts.  Unfortunately though, sales were sluggish and they were dropped from Warner.  That didn't deter them though.  They started their own label called Bent Penny Records and would go on to release two more albums before calling it quits in 2007.  Today the band still re-unites to perform the odd show around town.  You can follow them at  You can purchase their self-titled debut on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Further Again, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Artist: Freaks Of Reality, Album: Chi-Litchi-Latchi-Low 12" Single, Song: Chi-Litchi-Latchi-Low

Freaks Of Reality were a hip hop group from Toronto that cut this addictive single in 1994.  The band had a video for the song that got some great rotation on Much Music's Rap City program.  The band was also nominated for the Best Rap Recording in 1995 but lost out to fellow Torontonians, Ghetto Concept.  This was a good year for rap music in Canada.  A lot of great artists were releasing music like the Rascalz and the Dream Warriors.  The Freaks Of Reality were on the Steppin' Bigga label which also released some singles for Canadian artist, Saukrates.  I believe the label went under shortly after this release.  Chi-Litchi-Latchi-Low with it's addictive chorus had a sound similar to G-funk.  The rapping was similar to Das-Efx and maybe the Fu-Schnickens.  The song was also included in a Canadian independent film called, Rude, that was released in 1995 as well.  It featured a pirate radio DJ that spun tunes in the urban project where she lived.  Unfortunately, I spent the better part of my young adult life searching for this release.  I finally found a copy for sale on Discogs from Play De Record in Toronto.  At the time of this blog, there were 9 copies trading on Discogs ranging from $10 to $80.  You can hear the song, Chi-Litchi-Latchi-Low, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Artist: Scott McGrenere, Album: Trans Can, Song: Radio Love

"Well she's the queen of my every night.  She tucks me in so sweet and Lord so tight.  But she's just a sound carried on a wave and my soul is free for her to save."  Scott McGrenere is a singer songwriter from Toronto, Ontario.  He began his career in the mid nineties releasing his indie debut called, Greatest Hits.  He followed that up with a second release in 1996, called, Armoured which continued in the vein of alternative country.  His final release was in 1997, entitled, Trans Can.  The album was inspired by his trip across Canada along the Trans Canada Highway and of course, the places he visited in between.  The album was recorded in Vancouver and mixed in Toronto and has some wonderful tracks on it like this one called Radio Love.  Unfortunately, there isn't much on Scott.  He has a MySpace page but it doesn't appear to be updated with any new shows or events.  His albums are also very hard to find and likely had limited pressings.  I couldn't find any copies of Trans Can available at the time of this blog.  However, he does have some great tracks on his MySpace page that you can listen to.  You can follow him at  You can also hear the song, Radio Love, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Subject: RE:

Hi there
I think your site's a great idea. I'm back in toronto now and will be playing at the Cloak and Dagger Sun Feb 6th. Also working on a bandzooge site and updating myspace and cbcradio3 content. Keep pushing Canadian music.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Artist: Lawrence Falcomer, Album: Q107 Homegrown Vol.15, Song: The Alien Song

As mentioned in some earlier blogs, homegrown radio contests were effective vehicles for musicians and labels alike, to harvest local talent and develop them in to national hit making machines.  In Toronto, Q107 was a station that focused on hard rock development and for a great many years they launched the careers of some big time acts like Honeymoon Suite, The Partland Brothers and Wild T & The Spirit.  The station regularly released a compilation album featuring the contestants and supported the contest by playing the music.  Lawrence Falcomer was a guitarist from Toronto who had an instrumental called, The Alien Song, on 1994's edition of the Q107 Homegrown Contest.  He had already done some session work for bands like Frozen Ghost and Triumph before being featured on the contest.  I'm not sure if he actually won this, but the track is outstanding.  To put his music in context.  Heavy Metal guitarists were already stepping out from the shadows of their lead singers and releasing their own solo albums.  During the eighties, a guy by the name of Yngwie Malmsteen became known for this.  Following that, guys like Steve Vai of Whitesnake and David Lee Roth fame, Joe Satriani ("Crush Of Love") and Impellitteri ("Somewhere Over The Rainbow") followed.  While being a guitarist might have been a prerequisite for really appreciating the talents of Yngwie.  Joe Satriani started releasing instrumentals that appealed to a broader metal listening audience.  This track by Lawrence Falcomer falls into that category.  Lawrence works in a band called Sonic X as well.  You can follow his work at and at  Unfortunately, I don't think there is a recording available of this song other than the Q107 Homegrown Vol.15 release.  At the time of this blog, I couldn't find any copies available.  You can hear The Alien Song on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Artist: Segarini, Album: On The Radio, Song: Steady Eddie

"Eddie was a guy I went to school with, man.  I used to see him at dances with a knife in his hand.  And he looked so cool and all the girls he knew had a bad reputation.  He would terrorize wimps in the high school halls and smoke strange cigarettes in the boys room stalls."  Bob Segarini was actually from California but established himself musically in Canada.  He kicked around in a number of bands through the late sixties and seventies with moderate success like Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers and The Dudes.  By the late seventies, he had re-located to Toronto and released his full length debut, Gotta Have Pop.  On The Radio, was a recording of a live radio performance that preceded his second studio album.  Steady Eddie was a track from Gotta Have Pop that they performed live at Thunder Sound Studios in 1978, in front of 60 people which was simultaneously broadcasted on Q107 in Toronto.  I would describe this track as having the "New Jersey Shuffle".  A sound popularized by Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band ("10th Avenue Freeze Out"), Southside Johnny ("Trash It Up"), Mink Deville ("Spanish Stroll"), John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band (Eddie & The Cruisers Soundtrack, "Tender Years") and Wet Willie ("Street Corner Serenade").  It's just a great rock song that draws influence from the golden years of rock n' roll.  Bob was definitely one of those artists that had an uncompromising sound and vision about him that was never fully appreciated by the majority of listeners.  Often referred to as the Canadian Nick Lowe for that same reason.  Unbelievable creativity just not a lot of commercial success. Bob would release two more albums as Segarini culminating with his final release in 1981.  He continued to work as a session musician with bands like Goddo and developed himself on the production side of the business with bands like The Romantics.  He also worked as a DJ on Q107 in Toronto.  Most of his releases have been remastered and you can find this album along with Gotta Have Pop on Itunes.  You can follow Bob at  You can hear the song, Steady Eddie, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Artist: Gary O', Album: Strange Behaviour, Song: Shades Of 45

"Oh she came upon us, I heard them say.  One silver angel, a cloud of grey.  The sky was fallin', future callin'.  Lady Armageddon's here today."  Gary O' was a singer songwriter who started his music career in the mid sixties as part of a number of bands.  He recorded albums as a member of Cat, Aerial and Liverpool.  The latter started out as a Beatles cover band.  Gary decided to pursue a solo career in the early eighties and released his self-titled debut in 1981 with Capitol Records.  It was his follow up in 1984, entitled, Strange Behaviour, that really exposed his talents as a musician and songwriter.  He played almost every instrument on the recording and the album yielded some great singles like Call Of The Wild and this track, Shades Of 45.  A song written for veterans of the Second World War.  This would be Gary's last recording as he began to focus his attention on songwriting.  You might remember the band, .38 Special ("Teacher Teacher"), from the eighties .  Well Gary wrote one of their biggest hits called, Back Where You Belong.  Molly Hatchet and Eddie Money have also recorded his songs.  A long lost Canadian gem!  At the time of this blog, there were only vinyl copies of Strange Behaviour available on Amazon and Ebay trading between $20 and $80.  You can watch the original video for Shades Of 45 on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Artist: Bob Wiseman, Album: Accidentally Acquired Beliefs, Song: William

Bob Wiseman is a singer songwriter from Toronto.  My first introduction to Bob came when he was a member of the band, Blue Rodeo.  He played a number of instruments in the band but his work on the keyboard was the most prominent.  From the debut Outskirts, through the Casino and Diamond Mine years and culminating with the wonderful Lost Together album, he was a big contributor to their rapid popularity and success.  At the same time, he was dabbling in other musical projects and by 1989, had released his first solo album.  Following the Lost Together recording with Blue Rodeo, he left the band permanently to pursue his solo career.  I imagine it takes a man with big cojones to pick up and leave a gig like Blue Rodeo but I think for Bob, the chance to be artistically free was likely a no-brainer.  To date, he's released 10 albums and collaborated with some big names in music like Feist, Wilco ("Heavy Metal Drummer"), The Wallflowers ("One Headlight"), Edie Brickell ("What I Am") and Garland Jeffreys ("Wild In The Streets").  He can also count David Bryne (Talking Heads) as a fan of his work.  Bob is a multi-instrumentalist and if you are like me and are expecting to hear a lot of piano driven music upon first listen, you will be shocked.  There isn't a genre of music he doesn't explore.  At times, controversial, but very entertaining.  A true genius.  Accidentally Acquired Beliefs was released in 1995 and includes the power pop gem, William.  An accessible track but certainly not indicative of his entire body of work.  Bob is currently touring through the Maritimes and New York State over the next two months.  You can keep up with his career at  While there are some of his releases available on Itunes, this particular album is not.  At the time of this blog, there were new and used copies of Accidentally Acquired Beliefs trading on Ebay and Amazon between $2 and $80.  You can hear the song, William, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Artist: Copyright, Album: The Hidden World, Song: Rock Machine

"You can be what you wanted to be and leave the way you've been behind.  What you wanted to see was always there but you were blind and I know you'll agree that it gives you just a little bit of style.  But it don't come for free so give the man a smile.  Let the dope take control of your soul.  Let the rock machine roll."  Copyright were a rock band from Vancouver.  They were Tom Anselmi, Christian Thorvaldson, Eric Marxsen and Pete Bourne.  Tom and Christian were in a punk band known as Slow before this band.  Slow released some unbelievable music that has been overshadowed by an incident at Expo 86 which touched off riots at one of their shows.  The band broke up and in 1991, Copyright or © (Circle C) as they were first known, released their debut album.  It featured guests, Talmage Bachman and Toumani Diabate.  The album sold poorly and they wouldn't release their next album until 1996 with BMG.  The Hidden World was their final release in 2001.  One thing about Copyright was that their sound was constantly changing.  The albums were different and The Hidden World might be described as their heaviest album of the three.  The song, Rock Machine, typifies this heavy sound.  It's a dark rocker about addiction.  Today, Tom Anselmi is involved in a project known as MIRROR, a multi media production that combines music with theatrical and video production.  You can follow him at  Copyright's discography is a difficult find today.  At the time of this blog, there were copies of The Hidden World trading on Amazon between $1 and $40.  You can hear the song, Rock Machine, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Artist: Prairie Oyster, Album: One Kiss, Song: Sweet, Sweet Girl To Me

"She was a sweet, sweet girl to me.  No matter where I go, no matter who I see.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.  She was a sweet, sweet girl to me."  There are a number of interesting definitions for the term Prairie Oyster.  I'll leave it to you to Google.  Musically, Prairie Oyster is a country band from Ontario that formed in the mid seventies playing clubs and taverns in Toronto.  They wouldn't record their first album until 1986 with Stoney Plain Records.  They were quickly picked up by RCA for their next release and went on to become multiple Juno award winners and recent members in the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame.  They have 8 releases to date and a handful of number one singles as well as gold and platinum records.  In 2006, they decided to re-group and release a self-produced album of originals and covers called, One Kiss.  It included this rockin' tune, Sweet, Sweet Girl To Me.  The song was actually written by Don "Sea Of Heartbreak" Gibson.  If you like your 50's rock n' roll with a bit of honky tonk you'll dig this track.  You can follow the band at  Prairie Oyster's recent release, One Kiss, is available on Itunes.  You can hear the song, Sweet, Sweet Girl To Me, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Artist: SuperGarage, Album: Duct Tape EP, Song: Post Teen Crisis

SuperGarage are a rock band from Thorold, Ontario.  They are Marco DiFelice, Mike Palermo, Rob Passero and Roger Habel Jr..  They take their name from an auto shop that they used to rehearse in and released their debut EP, Duct Tape, in 1996.  It has some great pop punk classics on it including this track, Post Teen Crisis.  The vocals on this track are reminiscent of  the Kings Of Leon at times although in fairness, this band pre-dated the Kings by about 7 years.  This was the launching board that led to their first of three full length releases in 1997.  Their latest album was released in 2003.  The band toured constantly and played shows with some of the biggest bands in alternative rock like Cracker, Soul Asylum, Hot Hot Heat and The Broken Social Scene.  They appear to be still around but don't have any upcoming shows or news to pass along at this time.  You can follow them at http://WWW.SUPERGARAGE.COM/.  Duct Tape is not an easy album to find these days.  At the time of this blog, there were used copies available on Ebay and Amazon trading between $6 and $20.  You can purchase their other releases from Itunes.  You can hear the song, Post Teen Crisis, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Artist: The Dudes (2006) Album: Brain Heart Guitar, Song: Mom 100

"Late Friday night, I'm at your door but your not home.  There's your mom outside hiding.  I see her lurking in the shadows, looks like she's ready for battle.  And it's 2-4-6 what's this that your pulling from your bag of tricks now.  2-4-6 oh Mrs. Pure Evil underneath her night gown.  I'm running from your Mom but she won't stop.  She just keeps coming."  The Dudes are a rock band from Alberta that were formed in the late nineties.  They have 2 full lengths to date that are available.  The first entitled, Brain Heart Guitar, released in 2006 and garnered the band some attention nationally.  One particular song on the album, Dropkick Queen Of The Weekend, got some considerable play on a Rogers Wireless commercial.  The Dudes possess that unique ability to sound new yet similar.  They have a throwback sound that conjures up memories of the seventies at times but do it in a way that makes them sound original.  And that they are.  They released their most recent album in 2009.  Both albums can be downloaded from Itunes.  You can follow The Dudes at  You can hear my personal favourite from Brain Heart Guitar entitled, Mom 100, on You Tube (  The Dudes are a name actually shared with another Canadian band from the early seventies that was formed by Bob Segarini and some of the members from April Wine.  Their discography is a bit harder to find but will be the subject of another blog in the future.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Artist: Kon Kan, Album: Vida!, Song: Sinful Wishes

"I feel good, I feel right.   I feel that I'm on an illegal high."  Kon Kan were an electronic duo that released their debut, Move to Move, in 1989.  They had a number of well known Canadian hits from that album like the song, Harry Houdini.  However, the lead off single, I Beg Your Pardon, was an international hit charting in the US and Canada in the Top 40 and in the UK and Germany in the Top 10.  The band would release two more albums before calling it quits in 1993.  Vida! was their final album and it produced the catchy dance track, Sinful Wishes.  For myself, when I look back on some of the great electronic tracks of the eighties and nineties like Move Any Mountain (Shamen), What's On Your Mind (Information Society), Bizarre Love Triangle (New Order), Kon Kan's songs are right up there.  There aren't many Canadian dance/pop artists that have achieved the level of success that they did, yet sadly, less has been written about them.  Barry Harris, the principle founder, would go on to work as part of a DJ remix duo known as Thunderpuss and remix tracks for a number of artists like Britney Spears, Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera.  The Kon Kan discography is a lost treasure today.  Only their remixed first hit, I Beg Your Pardon, has been re-released.  At the time of this blog, there were 3 copies of Vida! for sale on Amazon and Discogs for $125!  You can watch the video for the song, Sinful Wishes, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!