Punk Rock Project
CCS is gathering neglected Canadian alternative music from the ’70s to the ’90s, with the goal of creating a fresh, unique and diverse pool of music for use by the creative industries.
Many of the brilliantly diverse artists from Canada’s postpunk era have been forgotten or are unknown to all but those who were part of the scene, and many of their recordings have been unheard and unheralded in the digital age.
Says Cowboy Junkie and Latent Recordings boss Michael Timmins, who was a member of postpunk outfit Hunger Project in the early ’80s,
“Toronto had an amazing underground music scene and community in (this era). Just a small portion of that music was caught on tape but it’s exciting that some of it may now be given its due 35 years later.”
A NEON ROME (’86 – ’87)
A sound that ranges from dark and moody to intense and glorious, sometimes within the same song, A Neon Rome covers a surreal musical terrain: post-punk psychedelia, evoking The Velvet Underground and Patti Smith.
STARK NAKED AND THE FLESHTONES
Four on the floor, straight up, Ramones-inspired surf punk rock ‘n’ roll nailed down with sharp, satirical lyrics.
RENT BOYS INC (Recordings – ’82 – ’83)
Rent Boys Inc were described as “the enfants terrible of the Toronto post punk scene”, and matched the DIY nature of punk with a broad cross section of sounds that incorporated the free jazz of Sun Ra, the energy of Pigbag and the walloping basslines of Killing Joke and Public Image Ltd. RBI were one of the more popular live acts in Toronto circa 1982 – 1983.
THE YOUNG LIONS Welcome To The Freak Show (’86)
Inspired by the history of rebel music from the MC5 to The Clash and beyond, The Young Lions forged their own insurgent brand of Canadian hardcore punk throughout the early ’80s.
HUNGER PROJECT ‘(82 – ’83)
An edgy sound tempered by the atmospherics that were a big part of the late 70’s early 80’s punk movement.Hunger Project was influenced by many of the post-punk bands coming out of the UK including Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Banshees and The Cure.
THE STURM GROUP Untitled ’84 Century Ho! ’85 Grind ’89
A rhythmic blend of tumultuous pounding drumming and elaborate, gravelly melodic bass, at times precise and at others atmospheric, featuring razor’s-edge guitar tempered with washes of horns, synthesizers and field recordings. The two vocalists are sometimes operatic and sometimes snarling, shouted and tortured. Comparisons include Killing Joke, Gang Of Four, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Revolting Cocks.
THE GOVERNMENT (’79 – ’80)
The Government assimilated the new wave of Talking Heads with the dub of The Police and created music that made wry philosophical observations on the late ’70s.
TULPA ‘Apologise’/’Mystical Dream’ single 1983 Mosaic Fish LP 1984
High energy, progressive, melodic and rocking, written by brothers John and Chris Bottomley, influenced by such diverse artists as King Crimson and The Jam.
Blue Peter (’78-’85)
Led by key members Paul Humphrey (lead vocals) and Chris Wardman (guitar), and augmented by Jason Sniderman (keyboards) and the rhythm section Rick Joudrey on bass and Owen Tennyson on drums, Blue Peter were one of the most innovative and influential acts to emerge from the Toronto underground environment, and their brand of cutting edge pop, rhythm, and dance stands the test of time today.
It was not easy playing surf instrumental music when clubs wanted Black Sabbath, Black Flag or …. any other band wearing black clothes with vocals. Wasagas did manage to align with some other young bands around town and play the usual Toronto dives like the Turning Point, Larry’s Hideaway, Cabana Room to name a few. Wasagas reunited in 2014 for several shows with all original members. That’s 32 years later!
Whenever Toronto’s punk scene of the late 70s is discussed, it’s usually the Diodes and the infamous Viletones that get name-checked, while other important bands of the era are overlooked. In some cases, there are good reasons why groups that regularly played the main punk venues of the era like the Turning Point, Larry’s Hideaway and the Crash ’n’ Burn are now largely forgotten.
Tyranna’s best work wasn’t released on singles at the time, and they rarely ventured outside the city during their brief run in 1978 and 79. This explains why the energetic pop-punk crew led by the snarly Vera “Rabies” Skye, who split bills with Iggy Pop, Jane County, the Members and the Dils, isn’t better known today.
Scott B. Sympathy (’90- )
Scott Bradshaw, who records as Scott B. Sympathy, is a Canadian indie rock and alternative country musician. He released several albums with his eponymously named band in the 1990s
L’Etranger was a punk rock band from Toronto, Canada. Founded by Andrew Cash, Charlie Angus and Peter Duffin, later adding Bruce Melkie.