80’s (and sometimes 00’s) Music Rules ~ Slave to the SQUAREwave

slave_bSometimes local talent is so good, so fantastic, so unbelievably gifted, that it takes your breath away. Such is the case with Toronto, Ontario’s Slave to the SQUAREwave. This is a group that is tight, has all the right sounds, and boasts a lead singer who has the talent and range of David Byrne and David Bowie all wrapped up in one. They have got the look, sound, and feel of 80’s New Wave and synth pop down so well, that at times while listening  it’s hard to believe that I have not been surreptitiously transported back to the era of music that I cherish so much.

 I  have had the privilege of being introduced to the magic that is all things SLAVE via David Marsden’s weekly show streaming over the Internet from 94.9 The Rock FM (see June 25th’s post). This incredible group is made up of Colin Troy (vocals), Andrew Starr (guitar), Rob Stuart (keyboards), and Doug Lea (drums). Colin’s voice is a solid, full range that encompasses everything from a growl to a flawless high-octave wail. Bringing it all into perfect balance, the backing instrumentals are up to the raw power of Colin’s vocal mastery.slave_c

 This is a group that not only nails their songs in the studios, but is a strong onstage presence at live shows as well. I have heard reports from fans lucky enough to see them in and around the TO area, but I have also been given the chance to see and hear this phenomenon for myself via two fan videos on YouTube. Someone had the presence of mind to shoot video of  STTSW performing two of their hottest tracks live for CBC radio which I have included below.

 Slave to the SQUAREwave is such a powerful foursome that they deserve international fame. The fact that some artists/bands who have half the talent have struck it rich in the international music world, makes a strong case that this foursome is destined for the big time. One can only hope that they will be promoted strongly, garnering the following they need to catapult them into the spotlight. After nearly a decade, they are more than due.

slave_a Visit the Slave to the SQUAREwave website where you can hear full versions of some of their best music. Check them out on MySpace where you can treat your ears to their searing hot  new single “Healing Hands,” among other fabulous selections. RalphD has information about each of their tracks on his Slave to the SQUAREwave fan blog.

 If you like what you hear, support them by purchasing their music via CD Baby.

 

 

  [Edit: I received this note from Rob Stuart about the forthcoming Slave to the SQUAREwave CD:

 Missparker,

Thanks so much the kind words about S2TSW. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve just finished mastering the new 15 song CD which is called “The Money Shot” and I’m in the process of finalizing the artwork. It’s going to be a double disc set with a bonus DVD which includes videos, remixes, lyrics and photos. Release date is July 21st and will be available exclusively from http://www.marsdenglobal.com.

Thanks for your continued support.

Rob

 From the samples that David Marsden has played on his show, I can’t wait to purchase my copy!]

  “Sinners of Saint Avenue” Live for CBC via YouTube user DirkFimbob:

“Summertown” via YouTube user slavetothesquarewave:
 

“Sinners of Saint Avenue” via YouTube user KRASHandBarbie:

“New York’s A Go-Go” live for CBC via YouTube user DirkFimbob:

“Pumpin’ Up The ‘P’ House” via YouTube user SparksMusic:

Discography

slaveSlave to the SQUAREwave (2000)

slave2The Future is Square (2002)

slave1Big Change (SparksMusic 2007)

 

 

(no image available) The Money Shot (due for release July 21, 2009)

Advertisements

80’s Music Rules ~ Legendary DJ David Marsden

bigmars1In light of the sad events of this week, I’ve decided to start appreciating the people that mean the most to me while I still have them. I’ve written about David Marsden previously, but it seems I cannot say enough how much that man has enriched my life over the short period of time that I’ve gotten to know him.

It all started in March 2008, just a little over a year ago. One of the wonderful things about writing a blog is that you get to meet like-minded people from all over the world. Prior to WordPress, I wrote Rave and Roll over at Blogger (long story about why I left – totally off-topic). Somehow, and I can’t remember who wrote first, I met a fellow music blogger from Canada named RalphD when music-related comments were traded.

RalphD runs a fabulous blog dedicated to David Marsden called Marsbar Theatre. One thing led to another, and RalphD convinced me to listen to David’s show streaming live from 94.9 The Rock out of Oshawa, Ontario. Just to be able to say that I finally acquiesced, I tuned in one night and was shocked when I became instantly hooked. The show is my musical equivalent of crack. 

Where has David Marsden been my entire life? Blazing an incredible trail through the broadcast world. He took a formulaic industry and turned it completely upside down. Picture this: It’s early in the 1980’s and stuffed shirts are gathered in a conference room plotting how to run a business swiftly going downhill. The reason? MTV and music videos were kicking the stuffing out of radio. The solution? Instead of making radio more entertaining to try to win a losing battle, said stuffed shirts decided to dictate to the world what they would hear and how it would be delivered.

David Marsden emerged at this time in a little yellow-house-converted-to-radio-station as an absolute visionary. At the helm of fledgling CFNY-FM out of Brampton, Ontario, he broke every rule as he pioneered and championed free-form broadcasting. No rules, just honest-to-goodness music and dialogue that came totally from the heart and soul of a true revolutionary. marsden

And he transformed lives on both sides of the border. I have heard the stories first-hand from people who came of age during Marsden’s reign, who listen to him to this day, and revel in the memories he helped to create. I feel pangs of envy as I hear them talk of discovering the best music they ever heard, or how they woke up every morning smiling as they listened to the funniest and warmest on-air personalities. That was the time that radio lost its magic for me here in south Florida. Truth be told, it sucked rancid canal water.

How I sit and dream of how life might have been had there been satellite radio, or even the Interwebs back then, and I, too, could have been blessed with Marsden’s presence on the airwaves. Instead, I am grateful to RalphD for twisting my arm, to all of the wonderful people in Canada and beyond that I have met in David’s chat room (superbly run and overseen by the delightful Sistahmar), and for the heartfelt (and sometimes hilarious!) shout-outs that David has sent my way that have made me both laugh and cry when I needed it the most. Each Thursday and Friday night is like a gift waiting to be unwrapped and enjoyed. David is on a well-deserved break this week, but I really, really  miss him. Next Thursday night (July 2) simply won’t come quickly enough. As Sistahmar would say, “Only 7 more sleeps.”

Check out RalphD’s blog Marsbar Theatre where you can see David’s amazing musical playlists.

Visit David Marsden’s website to gain a bit of insight into this DJ Hall-of-Famer.

Listen to David Marsden’s show on 94.9 The Rock Thursday and Friday nights (starting again on July 2, 2009) from 7 pm until midnight (EST).

Read up on some vital CFNY history at the Spirit of Radio website, lovingly maintained by a fan.

Some of the music I’ve “discovered” thanks to the legendary David Marsden:

“Worlds Away” by Strange Advance via YouTube user mysweeteventhorizon:

“Lover’s Spit” by Broken Social Scene via YouTube user apalko:

“Butcher Blues” by Kasabian via YouTube user InFearofDub:

“Haunted When The Minutes Drag” by Love & Rockets via YouTube user nezror:

“Violet Light” by Raised by Swans via YouTube user cloudtifa:
 

“Of Bow and Drum” by Adrian Belew via youTube user rockgod111:

80’s Music Rules ~ More from Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ 06-23-09

cfrc-fm1

The show was off to a bit of a rocky beginning last night. It seems there was a major power failure, so the stream didn’t come up until 8:31, much to my dismay. I was able to get a recap of the songs played prior to getting the audio feed up and running – which was a mixed blessing because although I have a list to report, I also missed some great songs at the start of the show. Ed-FM was truly grace under fire as he delivered the goods better than we could have imagined under adverse conditions. Thank you for hanging in there, Ed! 

Note: Ed will be away the next three Tuesdays, returning live on Tuesday night July 21, 2009. Come back and join us then.

Be sure to tune in to Ed and his “never say die” 80’s Retrospect show on CFRC-FM from 8 pm until 10 pm on Tuesday nights. Ed takes requests by phone: (613) 533-CFRC (2372) or email: retrospectcfrc at yahoo dot ca. Indulge yourself in some “80’s Music that doesn’t suck.” I guarantee die-hard 80’s New Wave/post-punk fans will not be disappointed.

CFRC-FM Playlist June 23, 2009

Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
ED-FM ~ Retrospect
80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck
If the “Listen Live” link on the CFRC Website doesn’t work, copy and paste this URL into your Windows Media Player: http://sunsite.queensu.ca:8000/
Join us in the Chat Room during the show – either click the link on the right menu under the Rave and Roll graphic, or here.

1.      Martha & The Muffins – Several Styles Of Blonde Girls Dancing
2.      Maurice & The Cliches – Softcore
3.      B.B. Gabor – Metropolitan Life   
4.      Leisure Process – Love Cascade
5.      Depeche Mode – Get The Balance Right (extended)
6.      Art Of Noise – Close To The Edit
7.      Arkitex – Lincoln Walk
8.      Dalek I Love You – Heaven Was Bought For Me
9.      A Certain Ratio – Flight
10.   Jim Carroll Band – People Who Died
11.   Men Without Hats – Jenny Wore Black
12.   Comsat Angels – You Move Me (12 inch single)
13.   Thomas Dolby – One Of Our Submarines (Is Missing Tonight)
14.   Yello – Dr. Van Steiner
15.   Tubeway Army – We Have A Technical (ext)
16.   B Movie – Marilyn Dreams
17.   Moral Support – Strange Day For Dancing
18.   Fad Gadget – Swallow It

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ The Spoons

Spoons_BI’ve decided to stay in Canada for just a while longer (figuratively, though I wish it was literally), since many of my favorite underrated 80’s bands come from there. The band I am featuring today also hails from Ontario and is still going strong. They are The Spoons, and are the epitome of all that is fabulous about 80’s Canadian New Wave.

 One other thing that makes them so special is that founding members Gordon Deppe (lead vocals, guitar) and Sandy Horne (vocals, bass) were high school sweethearts and are still very much committed to one another. What better foundation for a successful band than a perfect soul-mate match?

The band formed in 1979 with Deppe and Horne, Brett Wickens (keyboard, synths), and Peter Shepherd (drums). The following year, Shepherd was replaced on drums by Derrick Ross and Wickens was replaced by Rob Preuss, a mere young lad at the tender age of fifteen. The band released their first full-length LP in 1981. Titled Stick Figure Neighbourhood, this classic example of 80’s New Wave remains a timeless collection of extraordinary music, backed by the engineering sheer genius of Daniel Lanois.

The LP that broke the band into the dance/New Wave scene was their sophomore effort, Arias and Symphonies. A masterpiece fusing guitars and synths into a seamless union of ear-pleasing music, it featured such gems as “Nova Heart,” “Arias and Symphonies,” and “Smiling In Winter.” “Nova Heart” represents all that is great in New Wave, while “Arias and Symphonies” shines as a highly orchestrated endeavor that leaves the listener both enthralled and breathless.Spoons_A

1983 saw the release of the LP Talkback, and a hit single “Old Emotions.” In 1985, both Rob Preuss and Derrick Ross left the Spoons to pursue other musical interests, replaced by Scott MacDonald and Steve Kendry. The Spoons released an album in 1986 called Bridges Over Borders which marked a departure from the New Wave genre into harder rock territory. The album didn’t fare well on the charts, leading to a retreat to the familiar New Wave sound, prominent on the group’s last LP Vertigo Tango, released in 1989.

The two remaining original members, Deppe and Horne, continue to play in and around the Toronto and Hamilton ON areas. Gordon Deppe has recorded solo efforts, as well as forming his current trio, Five Star Fall. One of their singles, “Mercurial Girl,” is an absolute barn-burning scorcher of a song, frequently heard on David Marsden’s show from The Rock FM. Deppe has also recorded the hard-rocking “Sonic Boom,” also featured in Marsden’s rotation. Rob Preuss is the Associate Musical Director for Mama Mia! at the Wintergarden Theater in New York City.

The aforementioned LPs are must-haves for any serious 80’s New Wave music collector. All guaranteed to conjure up memories of all that was good during the fabulous 80’s.

“Nova Heart” via YouTube user kurdtss:

“Romantic Traffic” via YouTube user dcappe:

 “Arias and Symphonies” (live) via YouTube user MCReFresh08:

 “Radio Heaven” via YouTube user MissParker0106:

Five Star Fall’s “Mercurial Girl” via YouTube user Homebass2636:

Discography

Visit the Spoons’ website for album availability and ordering information.

Spoons1After The Institution/My Job single (1980)

 

spoons2Stick Figure Neighbourhood (1981)

 

 

spoons3Arias & Symphonies (1982)

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

spoons4Talk Back (1983)

 

 

spoons5Tell No Lies EP (1984)

 

 

spoons6Listen To The City (1985)

 

 

 

 

 

spoons7

Bridges Over Borders (1986) 

 

 

 

 

 

spoons8 Vertigo Tango (1988)

 

 

spoons9Collectible Spoons (1994)

 

 

 

 

spoons10Unexpected Guest At A Cancelled Party (2007)

80’s Music Rules ~ More from Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ 06-16-09

cfrc-fm

Happy Birthday Ed-FM! To celebrate his own special day, Ed was out of the gate at full speed. Some highlights included the album version of Altered Image’s “I Could Be Happy,” and a huge plug for Pukka Orchestra with their critically acclaimed “Cherry Beach Express” and “Weekend Come alive” – yes, we certainly do, don’t we? And did I mention a very rare live version of “Here Comes The Fool” by Simple Minds? Ultra-fabulous stuff!

 Be sure to tune in to Ed and his “kick butt” 80’s Retrospect show on CFRC-FM from 8 pm until 10 pm on Tuesday nights. Ed takes requests by phone: (613) 533-CFRC (2372) or email: retrospectcfrc at yahoo dot ca. Indulge yourself in some “80’s Music that doesn’t suck.” I guarantee die-hard 80’s New Wave/post-punk fans will not be disappointed.

CFRC-FM Playlist June 16, 2009

 Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
ED-FM ~ Retrospect
80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck
If the “Listen Live” link on the CFRC Website doesn’t work, copy and paste this URL into your Windows Media Player: http://sunsite.queensu.ca:8000/
Join us in the Chat Room during the show – either click the link on the right menu under the Rave and Roll graphic, or here.

1.      M + M – Song In My Head Going Round And Round
2.      Altered Images – If I Could Be Happy
3.      Coconuts  – Naughty Boy
4.      Extras – Somebody Snatched It
5.      Pukka Orchestra – Cherry Beach Express
6.      Simple Minds – Here Comes The Fool (live/ Silver Box Set)
7.      Tears for Fears – Mad World (the World Remixed version)
8.      The Alarm – Strength (12” mix)
9.      Shakespeare’s Sister – Dirty Mind (live version)
10. The Creatures – Fury Eyes (20-20 mix)
11. Yello – Vicious Games (12” single)
12. Modern Romance – Tonight (12” single)
13. Devo – Dr. Detroit
14. Cactus World News – Years Later
15. Jam – Fever (12” single)
16. Creef – My Love Come Soon
17. The The – I’ve Been Waiting For Tomorrow (All Of My Life)
18. Nina Hagen – Alptraum
19. Gina X Performance – Be A Boy
20. Pukka Orchestra – Weekend Come Alive

 Once again – Happy Birth-yester-day!

Altered Images – Happy Birthday via YouTube user slowtofade:

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Pukka Orchestra

PO

(Exciting updates: Have heard from Tony Duggan-Smith [see comments] – he and Neil Chapman are performing with Steve Heathcote, Matt Horner, Glenn Olive, and Russell Walker in a band called Autocondo. Check out the YouTube link below and look for their new CD!

Also, Tony added this historical fact: “As a historical note: The Pukka’s received the 1985 CASBY Award for ‘Most Promising Group’ but for some reason this seems to have slipped through the cracks of internet history.
Neil and I were both at the awards and Graeme had just fallen  ill in Scotland. We were shocked when we won and In classic canadian style, the night ended with my walking home in the rain with the CASBY under my coat. The limo’s parked outside the Hall were for the record execs only!  Funny old world isn’t it!”)

This entry is a delight to write – not only does it entail the description of a criminally underrated-yet-gifted 80’s band, they are also from Toronto which is where much of my favorite 80’s music originated.

 Pukka Orchestra – now that’s a mouthful! All of the visions the name conjures up – exotic, big sound, foreign rhythms and influences – simply are not true. Just a superbly talented trio that had the capability of making their mark in a burgeoning world of music, but couldn’t due to mitigating outside forces.

 The mainstay core of the short-lived group was made up of Tony Duggan-Smith (guitar), Neil Chapman (guitar), and Graeme Williamson (singer/songwriter). The band originally formed in Toronto in 1979, releasing “Rubber Girl” in 1981, and their one and only album, “Self-Titled,” in 1984. This collection is a brilliant assembly of tunes that include critically acclaimed “Cherry Beach Express,” “Rubber Girl,” “Listen to the Radio,” and “Your Secret Is Safe With Me.”PO_a

 After releasing the album, Williamson became ill with kidney problems and the group disbanded. After about a year, Williamson was able to recover from his ailment and move back to Toronto from Scotland by receiving a kidney transplant. He briefly rejoined Pukka Orchestra in an attempt to release a second LP in 1988. For whatever reasons, the reunion failed and the album was scrapped.

 Neil Chapman continues to perform to this day in and around the TO area. DJ David Marsden frequently gives Pukka Orchestra songs airplay on his weekly show (Thurs. and Fri. nights, 7 pm-midnight Eastern) from 94.9 The Rock out of Oshawa, ON. Whenever I hear “Might As Well Be On Mars,” I have to stop what I am doing to become completely absorbed emotionally into it. Don’t let the cheesy video fool you – this is one very powerful song, both musically and lyrically.

 Unfortunately, even finding information on them is a challenge. Wikipedia has a short blurb along with a discography. And then there’s the Official Pukka Orchestra (http://pukkaorchestra.com/) web page that brings the reader a bit more insight into this enormously gifted band. I was able to dig up only two examples of their music on video:

 “Listen to the Radio” via YouTube user kurdtss:

“Might As Well Be On Mars” via YouTube user kurdtss:

 If you care to experience an important part of the Canadian post-punk scene, download what’s available from Pukka Orchestra at Amazon for a reasonable cost. It’s definitely worth it.

Update: New video from Autocondo consisting of Tony Duggan-Smith, Neil Chapman, Steve Heathcote, Matt Horner, Glenn Olive, and Russell Walker. Purchase Autocondo here.

“Paralyzed” by Autocondo via YouTube user autocondo:

  Discography

 Purchase Pukka Orchestra here.   

po_1Self-Titled (released in 1984)
 

 
PO-2The Place of Memory (EP released 1986)

PO_3Dear Harry (released in 1992)

80’s Music Rules ~ More from Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ (Rebroadcast from 05-12-09)

cfrc-fm1

Tonight’s show was a sizzling rebroadcast of the May 12, 2009 show. Ed was on the road this week for his job, but returns live, rocking, and rarin’ to go next Tuesday night June 16, 2009.

Oh…..and don’t say anything, but it’s Ed’s birthday next week. Join us in the chat room during the show and send him some cyber-whacks.

Be sure to tune in to Ed and his “not-to-be-forgotten” 80’s Retrospect show on CFRC-FM from 8 pm until 10 pm on Tuesday nights. Ed takes requests by phone: (613) 533-CFRC (2372) or email: retrospectcfrc at yahoo dot ca. Indulge yourself in some “80’s Music that doesn’t suck.” I guarantee die-hard 80’s New Wave/post-punk fans will not be disappointed.

Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
ED-FM ~ Retrospect
80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck
If the “Listen Live” link on the CFRC Website doesn’t work, copy and paste this URL into your Windows Media Player: http://sunsite.queensu.ca:8000/

Join us in the Chat Room during the show – either click the link on the right menu under the Rave and Roll graphic, or here.

Rebroadcast from May 12, 2009

  1. Chalk Circle – April Fool
  2. Danielle Dax – The Shamenen
  3. Men Without Hats – Security
  4. Gary Numan – I Can’t Stop (10” single)
  5. Stranglers – No Mercy
  6. Dominatrix – Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight
  7. The Promise – Glass House (extended)
  8. Rational Youth – I Want To See The Light
  9. Torch Song – Mothdoom Ecstasy
  10. Seona Dancing – Tell Her
  11. Ege Bam Yasi – Circumstance
  12. The Box – Dancing On The Grave
  13. Crown Of Thorns – Diamond Jim
  14. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Technopolis
  15. The Damned – Alone Again Or (mixed Again)
  16. The Clash – Bank Robber (Robber Dub mix)
  17. Screaming Bamboo – World Of Tomorrow
  18. Vis A Vis – I Am The Night
  19. Data Bank – Etiquette Of Travel
  20. Elton Motello – Jet Boy Jet Girl
  21. Strange Advance – Worlds Away