BINKIES, BLANKETS, AND TEDDY BEARS by Jaimie Vernon


Hands up if the music you fell in love with and defined your teen musical awakening is still in your music rotation 40 years later? Hands up if the last piece of new music you acquired was in 1987? Hands up if you think all modern music sucks or that there’s no good music to be found out there?


If you answered yes to any or all of these questions you might be suffering from life’s 3 B’s – binkies, blankets, and (teddy) bears or as the therapists call it in this case Musical Infantilism. It’s a state by which our emotional IQ is reflected in our attachment to the music we first heard in middle or high school. It has become our bunker to buffer the pain and stress of adulthood. Music makes us feel good – none more so than the music that rocked our world when we were young, horny, and naive to the cruel inevitability of the real world. It’s literally the musical equivalent to eating an entire tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream except you’ve been doing it every day for 30 or 40 years.

In the most extreme cases it hampers musical evolution as a listener. We never get out of our nostalgia pods to find out that the world has carried on without us in every conceivable way. We want more musical food to soothe our longing for a better time, better place. But, there isn’t any. Or so we’ve told ourselves because the dealer – the musical ice cream man – is gone.

The record labels are not distributing to the stores or the radio or to MTV anymore with the rock or the pop or the dance tunes that have been interwoven with the events of our lives. You went through the motions of being an adult, but you’re still wistfully dreaming that your favourite old artists will come back around with new music.

Ironic then that you’ll accept their shit new tunes, but not any other artist competing with them whose name you do not know. They are the enemy. They are the reason that music has gone to hell in a hand basket while your artist is the only one carrying the torch and feeding your musical soul. It’s a rather elaborate excuse filled fantasy you’re trying to maintain here, is it not?

The truth is that you’ve given up emotionally. I suggest therapy. The best therapy I can think of is exploration. Though there are some useful algorithms on the internet that will suggest similar music to the kind that you like, there’s a good chance it’s going to steer you back to where you started which will be a typical trip down memory lame. It’s like going back and sleeping with your ex because it’s familiar and comfortable.

You can see this phenomenon in music groups on Facebook. Do we really need someone to post another video of Clapton playing “Cocaine” or Van Morrison doing “Into the Mystic”? You can hear that stuff anytime and anywhere (and most probably have them on speed-dial on your smartphone. You do have a smartphone, right?)


Currently we’ve become so insular and isolated from experiencing new music that we never rely on our friends and acquaintances to direct us – a tried and true variation of what we did as kids with our neighbourhood friends or even relatives. Word of mouth is now global. Bring in the experts to curate a playlist for you – not Google, not Spotify, not Youtube – but people whose musical taste you trust. Nothing brings folks closer to a sense of community than sharing tunes at the table. How the hell do you think you found Dark Side of the Moon in the first place?

To that end if you’ll trust me to drop some new music on you, you just might find one or two things that floats your boat beyond the comfort of the Grade 8 dance in 1973. Here’s a batch for this week. Discovered by me over the last few months. I’ll try and do this once a month. Have fun down the rabbit hole.

PETER FOLDY


Peter Foldy is old-school Canadian music royalty. His age is unimportant. His ability to still pop out a fresh, contemporary sounding pop hit is the prime directive. His Bedouin Soundclash approach to his last radio hit “Carly” showed his ability to adapt to musical evolution. He does the same here on the new socially conscious track “Toxic World” which has now exploded on radio stations across Quebec. Here’s hoping it does the same around the world. The song’s message is topical right now.

“Toxic World”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8yR8ead4xY

BERNER TRAIL
I ran into 23 year-old drummer Aaron Lusch on a Facebook group discussing 1960s Canadian rock, pop, and R & B. A knowledgeable young man who doesn’t just know his history, but has incorporated that feeling into the music he creates with the band named after a street my public school was on.

“Christine (You’re Worth More Than You’ll Know)”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXd5M6e8yXw

KRIS AND DEEIn 2014/2015 Kris Abbott and Dee McNeil knocked me off my feet with the introspective and beautifully produced album A Great Long Game. They are back with a new record called Browse Line featuring their strong acoustic-based tracks from their base in Kingston, Ontario.

“Politics Are Thicker Than Blood”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLPmZRV41ec

THE POZERS


Dallas, Texas power pop act The Pozers came to my attention in 2003 when they submitted a song for my upcoming Beatles tribute album It Was 40 Years Ago Today. If continued to stay in touch with member Jim Richey so when he sent me the new Pozers full-length CD Crybaby Bridge recently, I realized I was still a fan. See if you are too.

“Goodbye (I’m Gone)”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzRclVc_XAc

HAREM SCAREM
Harem Scarem is an anomaly in the music industry. Originally out of Oshawa, Ontario, the four-piece made waves in the early ‘90s after being signed to WEA Records in Canada. They were a hair-metal band taking off at the tail-end of the genre. When record labels switched to grunge, Harem Scarem didn’t blink and with the exception of a brief stint as power-pop act Rubber, have maintained their loyalty to the hard rock melodic genre that Europe and Japan still intensely support. Their new album Change the World (their 15th studio album) is another masterpiece of what many believed was a dead musical genre.

“The Death of Me”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n6XQJ-ehbM

W3APONS

This band is so new on the Canadian music scene they don’t have an album yet – just two single releases since 2018. Caught them on DAVE-FM while driving through Kitchener in December. The Cheap Trick-esque feel of this Saskatoon act tweaked my curiosity. This track was produced by a member of the band The Trews.

“She Was The One”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K0E22Tug-U

FERGUS HAMBLETON
Fergus is another old-school Canadian institution going all the way back to a band called A Passing Fancy (Google them) and he is still a founding member of interracial Canadian icons The Sattalites (Google them too!). However, where he has always shined is showing his diverse musical influences and styles as a solo artist. His latest album is the exceptionally well produced Neighbourhoods (on CD and vinyl through Current Records). Check out the lead single.

“Late September Song”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGxEgdsLIgo

[Betty Moon photo]
BETTY MOON

God, I love this woman’s stuff so much. She is a major musical force based in California and continues, chameleon-like, to re-define her sound. Betty’s been known to mix pop, hard rock, and dance styles all on a single album. Her latest single “Crazy” from the album Hellucination is another dance track that will get into your skull and rattle around in there indefinitely until she hits you with another one.

“Crazy (What You Make Me)”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqx8HuH7o8E

HERMITAGE GREEN
Last year I caught Irish folk act Hermitage Green on a short tour in Canada – specifically opening for The Trews. They are parts The Kongos (from Australia), Elbow (from the US), and any number of Celtic artists that have risen to mainstream prominence in the last 20 years. They’re young and hungry. Check out the title track from the upcoming album All In All. I also recommend checking out their cover The Cranberries’ “Dreams”.

“All In All”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZlAF8uwpYI

MARK MALIBU & THE WASAGAS

Mark Sanders is Mark Malibu. I ran into him at Cherry Beach rehearsal studios in Toronto last year and he turned me onto his fantastic band The Wasagas which is a mix of guys and gals paying homage to surf music of the 1960s. They’re an exceptionally fun party band live as well. You can’t help but jump on the dance floor for the Batusi while listening to this.

“12 Year Surf Itch”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCKfQOHpCfY

PS – And if you want me to feature your new music in these pages message me on Facebook!

=JV=

Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 41 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 24 years. He is also the author of The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and editor of “Sunny Days: The Skip Prokop Story.” Available through Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Jaimie+Vernon 

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