GWNtertainment #36 by JAIMIE VERNON

The 1980s are back, baby! What’s that, you say? Yes, you heard me correctly. Folks in the pandemic were expecting a return to the Roaring ’20s, but what actually happened was a return to the square wave. Maybe it was the desire to return to a decade that was fun and optimistic, or maybe just the fact that without being able to share a room with fellow musicians and make loud, raucous noise during the pandemic, Canadian musicians went back to their synth roots. Put on your skinny ties, Miami Vice pastels, and aviator sunglasses cause the music has gone neon again.

To wit, we have a new cover tunes EP by Men Without Hats called ‘Again (Part 1).’ The songs include “Satellite of Love” (Lou Reed), “All The Young Dudes” (Bowie/Mott the Hoople), “Blow At Hight Dough” (Tragically Hip), “2000 Light Years From Home” (Rolling Stones), and a new ballad-styled reading of their classic hit “Safety Dance” called “No Friends of Mine.”

Mirroring that is a new EP by MWH’s genetically modified cousin – Tracy and Gaenor Howe’s Rational Youth entitled ‘Wavelength.’ It’s a four song production featuring a new track entitled “Kepler 48” plus recreations of three songs from the band’s self-titled 1983 Capitol Records EP – “The Man In Grey,” “Latin Lovers,” and “In Your Eyes.”

But wait, there’s more!! Coming in from the west coast is the return of Drew Arnott and Darryl Kromm as Strange Advance with the album ‘4’. It’s an absolute return to splendour putting the feel and tone of the record squarely between 1985’s ‘2WO’ and 1988’s ‘The Distance Between’ marrying elements of both. Some tracks date back from that period and have been mixed for the modern listener; “Flow My Tears” had appeared as a bonus track on the 2016 re-issue of ‘The Distance Between’ and an alternate version of “Just Like You” comes from ‘2WO.’ The remainder of the album is like catching up with old friends. Imagine getting wistfully nostalgic with songs you’ve never heard before. But the feeling is so familiar. Tracks like “Way Past Midnight,” “Love Insane,” and the absolutely hook filled “Perfect Day” – a tune that would have made Top10 back in ‘the day’ – reminds us of what we’ve been missing from the duo all these years. Welcome back, gents!

Then there’s Burlington’s Spoons – compromised of original members Gordon Deppe and Sandy Horne – who have continued releasing material for years and were touring right up to the dreaded global SNAP! They hit us with not one but two retrospective releases in 2021. The first was the much anticipated ‘Repeatable 1980 – 2020’ compilation celebrating their 40th anniversary from teen idols to matured, introspective adults. It includes all of their hits like “Nova Heart,” “Romantic Traffic,” “Tell No Lies,” and “Old Emotions” plus the long-vaulted and previously un-digitized material from their two Anthem Records albums including the radio singles “Bridges Over Borders,” “Radio Heaven,” “When Time Turns Around,” and “Waterline.” The other project they released was a tribute album – to themselves – entitled ‘Echoes’. I mean, why not? They’ve been a much revered band in the Canadian music scene so they’ve tapped their musical friends to re-exam the band’s 40 year output and raise money for The Unison Fund. International acts include Clive Farrington of When In Rome (“Romantic Traffic” and “Landing Lights”), Felix & The Foreshadow (“Old Emotions”), “Send Me An Angel” hit makers Real Life from Australia (“End of Story”), and Christopher Anton of Information Society (“Nova Heart”) but there are name plus Canadian artists who are spotlighted as well – Styx front man Gowan (“Arias & Symphonies”), , The Box’s Jean-Marc Pisapia (“On the Beach”), Dale Martindale of Image In Vogue teaming with The Glen and Joe Show (“Waterline”), a reunited Kon Kan (“Arias & Symphonies”), Glass Tiger’s Alan Frew (“When Time Turns Around”) and Strange Advance doing “Nova Heart” – which would not have been out of place on the previously mentioned ‘4’ album.

* Colin Brunton is producing a feature documentary on late Toronto musician Nash the Slash and is looking for footage of the Rockpile (aka The Masonic Temple) on Yonge Street, circa 1968 – 1970; The Original 99 Cent Roxy Theatre, 1972 – 1976; The New Yorker Theatre, 1976 – 1978; The Cult Film & Video Festival, 1992; or any footage or ephemera of the mysterious masked man himself. If you have any leads, gossip, or rumours, please contact Colin directly at

* JUNO Award-winning record producer, music manager, publisher, and record executive Mel Shaw, died January 19, 2022 in Regina, Saskatchewan at the age of 82. Condolences to family and friends.

* Twenty-two years ago, on February 4th, 2000, approximately forty Sloan fans were invited to a warehouse studio in Toronto to sit and watch the band play all the songs from their recently released Between The Bridges album (plus one B-side!). The event was filmed and now the premiere broadcast of that concert concert will happen February 4th, 2022, 9 PM EST. Grab tickets here.

* “Send Down Your Love” is a new track by Mack Mackenzie’s band Three O’Clock Train that has now gone out to radio.

* Also headed to radio is “Treasure” by the Michael J. Miller Band.

* Kingston, Ontario outfit JukeBox County has released a music video for “Put Me Down.” The song is a fresh cut from their 2021 debut album ‘Inner Space/Outer Space’ produced by Hugh Christopher Brown.

* Toronto-based Hailey MacIsaac (by way of Prince Edward Island) gives us a new single called “Lumber.”

* Namechecking Cher, ABBA, Green Day, and The Verve, Montreal Pop artist Condor Matador celebrate a happy return from feeling blah with “The ’90s Song” from the forthcoming album ‘Dirty Thirty.’

* AraPacis (members Jerry Fielden and David Stone featured above) are just putting the finishing touches on the album ‘Suburban Mist.’ The advance single is “Urban Mist.”

* Canadian alt-rock artist Bryce Clifford‘s recent bad relationship breakup fuelled him to leave Austin, Texas, and head back to Hamilton, Ontario – fuelling his new album ‘Rebounder’ featuring the first single “Checkpoint Charlie” (a song originally featured on his 2020 ‘Brewha – East Hamilton E.P.’).

* Canadian Rapper Yasuke has released a Hip Hop love letter to basketball idol Michael Jordan on the new single, “Like Mike” (featuring Rito) from the album ‘Jyousak.’

* Canadian Alt-Rock artist Meagan Aversa has released a new 4-track EP entitled ‘Matchbox’ showcasing it is the new single  “Torso.”

* Toronto-based Nigerian Afrobeat artist Sonia Aimy has an optimistic message for us in the new song “Life Nah Jeje” from her new album ‘Reconnect.’

* Canadian Smooth Jazz & Folk chanteuse Catia Dignard has a new single called “Rather.”

* Canadian guitarist Stu Weinberg steps front and center alongside an all-star team of musicians with the release of his debut album, ‘Disco Stu Likes Disco Music’, and the lead-off single “Donnie Green.” Accompanying musicians include John Morgan Kimock (Phish’s Mike Gordon, Dead & Company’s Oteil Burbridge), while smooth-as-silk Andy Hess (Gov’t Mule, The Black Crowes, John Scofield) brings the bass. Todd Caldwell (Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joe Walsh), Robert Walter (Phish’s Mike Gordon, The Greyboy Allstars), and Marco Benevento (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead), and Oz Noy.

* Halifax’s The Flakes have released their debut 9-track album entitled ‘Elephant In The Room’ featuring the first single “When I Get It.”

* Ritesh Das’ JUNO-Nominated Toronto Tabla Ensemble has a new single called “Encore 21” looking ahead to a New Year and back 100 years for inspiration.

* Canadian Folk singer-Songwriter Faeya Brave has a new single called “Brave Obsession” from the new EP ‘The Blue Period: Volume 1.’

* Jeff Gunn is a JUNO Award nominated guitarist, songwriter and producer, who has a new single/video out for the song “Spiritus Momentus (Never Give Up Opus 2).”

* Canadian pop artist Ana Pac‘s new single is “Blast Off (Light Years and Beyond)” and is turning into a LGBTQIA+ anthem on TikTok thanks to her tribute to her fiance Jo; the two met by way of TikTok’s algorithm, and they now have a large following as a popular couple on the app.

* Vancouver rockers The Garrett Band have released the second single release from their fourth studio recording, ‘Sound Evolution,’ entitled “One More Day.”

* Canadian Christian singer-songwriter Ileen Laura celebrates the re-prioritizing of her musical gifts on the new single “Sit Beside Me.”

* Canadian duo The Co-Conspirators have delivered their new album, ‘The Unreliable Narrators,’ and the socially conscious first single, “The Lonesome Death of Elijah McClain.”

* Rush fans can rejoice as guitarist Alex Lifeson is the first out of the box since the band’s demise with his new project called Envy of None featuring singer Maiah Wynne. The new song is entitled “Liar.”

* Edmonton, Alberta artist Mackenzie Dayle says “I’m Good, Thanks” on her new single.

* Award-Winning Canadian singer-songwriter Julia Shuren has joined Italian duo WAMI for thei new single “Lost Sometimes.”

* Canadian singer-songwriter Kelly Besd tackles inequality on her new track “Dreamin’” featuring Jackie Art & K-Riz. The song is the latest from her debut album ‘Back To Me.’

* Canadian Country-Folk artist David McLachlan has a news single called “Gimme the Truth” from his 9th album entitled ‘A Little Place I Call Home.’ Here’s a live video of the track:

* They swear it’s not “Same Ol’ Thing” – the new single from Canadian Rockers Arsenal Mills from their new EP ‘Lovesick & Broke.’

* Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee Shirley Eikhard‘s new single is“Anything Is Possible” from her latest album ‘On My Way To You.’

* Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Sarah Tolle voices empathy to those with mental illness in her new pop single, “Fight For You.”

* Jarvis Church (Philosopher Kings) has reimagined Bill Withers’ “Just The Two Of Us” on the new album ‘The Soul Station Vol 3: A Tribute to Bill Withers.’

* TOQUE has released a live video featuring Darby Mills for their cover of Mills’ former band The Headpins’ “Don’t It Make You Feel”

* Light Organ Records has released a compilation of new music artists interpreting classic AM Radio CanCon singles called ‘Push Button Radio.’ Tracks include “Where Evil Grows”(The Zolas), “Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do)” (Fine Times), “Sweet City Woman” (The Matinee), “Last Song” (James Younger), and “What The Hell I Got” (The Mohrs) plus nine others.

* Toronto alternative music ensemble Black Pearls do a version of the Traveling Wilbury’s “End of the Line”

This issue was brought to you by: The SONY Walkperson – Because Women Enjoy Cassettes Too!!
Send us your news, views, and all manner of CANADIAN musical releases to promote and wave a flag for. Join the GWN Facebook page and drop us a message:

Keep up the fight!
Jaimie Vernon, 2022


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.

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