In a recent edition of the L.A. Weekly’s Ask a Mexican
column, someone asked why it was that so many young Mexican kids seemed gaga for Morrissey
. The columnist thought the better question was why so few children of the imperialists (white kids) weren’t as equally gaga about some of the excellent music made by Latino musicians. Granted, as I hear my neighbor drive up blasting his stereo beyond what could possibly be comfortable for him inside the nuclear heart of that volume, I have to admit that much of what he plays for the neighbors sounds pretty good. Not necessarily something I would run out and buy, but I was far from hating it.
What’s that got to do with Canada? Good question, but in some ways, it's obvious. Canada is the Mexico of the Great White North, dont’cha know? It has only been the fact of a more-or-less common language that has allowed the very few Canuck rockers to break USA radio charts that have so far. Neil Young, Bare Naked Ladies, Bryan Adams, Alanis Morissette, Steppenwolf, Rush, Leonard Cohen
; there aren’t many that spring to mind and most of them are not in my personal collection, but they built careers with American money without being America
n or British. Good job, guys!
So, trawling thru the
Red Sea of Clearance, I happened upon an album cover that has haunted me since my childhood. The vacant stare of the half-man/half-mannequin surrounded by the glowing hoop and splash of light has taunted me from Clearance bins for as long as I can remember being conscious of music. “Now’s the time,” I declared and grabbed it.
's Black Noise
was in Clearance due to some condition issues, but it was there and cheap, so I took it. FM formed in Toronto in 1976, and Black Nois
e is their first album, from 1977. I hear a lot of Fragile
in their sound, some Jean-Luc Ponty
, a splash here and there of Jan Hammer
and a lot of the prog that defined the reigning Canadian supergroup of the day, Rush
. Perhaps it was the curse of the also-rans, the stigma attached to coming later than first with any particular sound that kept FM from being heard, or maybe we had already filled our Canadian quota for 1977. I certainly don’t mean to give the impression that FM were copy-cats, by any means. There’s enough Buggles
in their sound to tilt them towards what was becoming known as New Wave
and a bit away from the pack of dyed-in-the-wool proggers. Their drive is provided by fuzzed guitar, virtuoso drums and the central wail of Nash the Slash’s