Monday, September 29, 2008


"They brought to Punk something nobody else had managed or dared to attempt: Compassion..."

"Penatration - 2nd Greatest Band in the History of the World, no doubt about it."

New Wave, Punk

Neale Floyd - Rhythm Guitar (1978-1979)
Robert Blamire - Bass (1976-1979,2001-)
Pauline Murray - Vocals (1976-1979,2001-)
Fred Purser - Lead Guitar (1978-1979)
Gary Chaplin - Guitar (1976-1978)
Gary Smallman - Drums (1976-1979,2001-2006)
Graham Kaye - Drums (2006-)
Steve Wallace (ex-Forgodsake and Automatic) - Guitar (2001-)
Paul Harvey
( - Guitar (2001-2006)
Brian Atkinson - Guitar (2007-)
Billy Gilbert (ex-16 Forever, Chelsea,Hangups,Lurkers,Sleep Creature & The Vampires,Automatic etc.) - Guitar (2006-)

"Lovers of Outrage"


Pauline Murray - Vocals
Fred Purser - Guitar, Keyboards
Gary Smallman - Drums
Neale Floyd - Guitar
Robert Blamire - Bass
Robert Mason,Russell Mills - Cover Design
Mick Glossop ( - Producer,Engineer
Mike Howlett ( - Producer

1-11 are from the original LP V 2109
12 & 13 are from the single VS 192
14 is the b-side of single VS 226
15 & 16 are from the single VS 213

"Life's A Gamble"


01 Future Daze
02 Life's A Gamble
03 Lover Of Outrage
04 Vision
05 Silent Community

06 Stone Heroes
07 Movement
08 Too Many Friends
09 Reunion
10 Nostalgia
11 Freemoney
12 Don't Dictate
13 Money Talks
14 V.I.P.
15 Firing Squad
16 Never

Link to download:

When singer Pauline Murray saw a relatively unknown band called The Sex Pistols perform in a garage in North Yorkshire in 1976, she knew she was witnessing a musical revolution.The sheer energy of the group, combined with the fact that they didn't care about image, blew her away. The gig was the catalyst for Pauline's own punk-rock aspirations, and a year later she started her own band, Penetration.

The original 1976-1977 U.K. punk explosion produced 100 fantastic bands, but only a small handful ever get mentioned in the endless articles that pay homage to those days. Anyone who has been willing to go beyond the heavyweights or the since-deified has encountered rock & roll brilliance brimming with spirit, talent, attitude, great lyrics, and most of all (and this is what's most forgotten) variety. Penetration took a few singles before they really achieved greatness, but even their simplistic debut, the Mike Howlett/Mick Glossop-produced Moving Targets, had a slew of great songs for the amazing Pauline Murray to sing, and their second and final LP, the Steve Lillywhite-produced post-punk classic Coming Up for Air, just further established their lasting worth. But whenever turning someone on to the group, the LP that best reveals their greatness is definitely Race Against Time, a plain, black- and white-sleeved, authorized bootleg on Clifdayn Records that was released as the band was breaking up at the end of 1979. It consisted of nine 1977/1978 demos on side one, and seven more songs recorded live in Newcastle (and they could really bring it live, as seen on Race and at their New York gig at Hurrah). This 65-minute CD is a reissue of Race, with a proper sleeve this time, and even tacks on seven previously unreleased, hot John Peel sessions! All 23 tracks are more live, raw, hard, exciting, and one hell of a great rush, far less polished than the Howlett/Glossop/Lillywhite major-label outings. And Murray's savvy lyrics and impassioned singing are not to be missed. Once you get this, you'll want the two proper LPs (Moving Targets was reissued on import CD in 1990), and Murray's two excellent solo LPs, 1981's Pauline Murray & the Invisible Girls and 1989's Storm Clouds. ~ Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover, All Music Guide

Buoyed by the sheer magnificence of their "Don't Dictate" debut single, Penetration's debut album stands among the very last true greats of the first wave of British punk offerings. A glorious collision of adrenalized exuberance and astonishing energies, topped by Pauline Murray's unmistakably soaring vocals, Moving Targets wrapped 11 tracks across its two sides of vinyl, and it was the greatest indication of their quality that it wasn't till you reached the end that you realized "Don't Dictate" itself was absent. In its stead, "Stone Heroes," the explosive "Movement," and the swirlingly atmospheric "Vision" were all classics in the making, while a cover of Patti Smith's "Free Money" is simply spellbinding, crunchier than the original but more emotive, too. And then there's the opening bars of the title track, a hilarious reminder of how fast things were changing back then -- it's the Pistols' "Holidays in the Sun," and doesn't it sound old-fashioned! All of which illustrates the sheer versatility bound up in the band. In another lifetime, they could have given the likes of Led Zeppelinand Deep Purple a run for their money, at least in terms of demonstrating dexterity, and it was Penetration's bad luck that they were riding a wave that had little time for such abilities. Not that they allowed the disappointment to show. Moving Targets shrugs aside most of punk's archetypes as it rockets along, while the decision to cover the Buzzcocks' "Nostalgia" reminds listeners that Penetration weren't the only band around that didn't give a toss for fashionable accessories. Of course, that determination would lead to the disappointment of the band's second album -- and, thereafter, their demise. As of mid-1978, however, Moving Targets could only herald a dazzling future, while the Captain Oi! reissue depicts a glittering past as well -- five bonus tracks include both sides of the "Don't Dictate" and "Firing Squad" singles, to complete an irrepressible snapshot of Penetration in full pomp and glory. ~ Dave Thompson, All Music Guide

How did the idea for Penetration initially come together?

"It was just four teenagers who got together purely to play music for fun. There was no great master plan."

"I was from a very small pit village in County Durham when the mines were closing and nobody gave a damn about it, and our songs reflected that."(

I remember buying this album in 1979 which was originally pressed in luminous vinyl- most excellent! This was Penetrations first album featuring the vocals of Pauline Murray and the impressive although basic sounds of Robert Blamire on bass. The classic single 'Don't Dicate'is on track 12 and must be a must for any collector of the 'pure' punk sound of the late '70's. The follow-up singles 'Firing Squad' & 'Life's A Gamble are also included and both still stand the test of time!. While the album may not be considered a milestone I would have no hesitation in recommending this to sit alongside you copies of Never Mind The Bollocks (Pistols) and Another Music (Buzzcocks)."

"Right from the outset of the first track (Future Daze), it is abundantly apparent that this is not the standard punk fare of the time. The musicianship and production are far in advance of much that was on offer at the time. Most of the material has a light, airy feeling to it, but that doesn't mean that it's lightweight. Far from it, this is serious music for serious people. Songs like "Silent Community" and "Lover Of Outrage" still have meaning even now, some twenty-four years after initial release. Most of the material is self-penned, but there are cover versions that don't sound like filler "Nostalgia" (Buzzcocks original) and "Free Money" (Patti Smith), are both excellent songs, covered well by the band; Pauline Murray's vocal talent coming to the fore, as ever. This CD release also features 5 bonus tracks not on the orignal LP release. These are taken from two single releases: "Don't Dictate" & "Firing Squad", the remaining three tracks being the b-side material from these singles. All in all, an excellent debut LP, with addition of those extra tracks makes this a worthwhile purchase. The only reason this CD doesn't rate 5 stars is that the follow-up LP is, in my opinion superior. That alone, should pique your interest!"

"You would have been forgiven, after the punkiness of the early "Don't Dictate" single, for expecting 1978's "Moving Targets" to have been something like a cross between Buzzcocks (Pete Shelley's "Nostalgia" is covered here) and X-Ray Spex (Pauline Murray's voice sometimes sounding uncannily like that of the warrior in Woolworths, Poly Styrene).Despite being released on nearly unlistenable luminous vinyl, what Penetration actually served up was an adept and surprisingly mature set of songs. Murray and company had the confidence to let slower, reflective passages appear in some of the tracks, such as "Reunion", whilst speedier tracks like "Stone Heroes" conformed a little more closely to the amphetamine pace of the times. The original material is strong and the two covers (the second is Patti Smith's "Freemoney") well executed.
What makes Penetration stand out from the multitude of punk groups that sprang up in 1977 is Murray's distinctive and powerful voice, whilst her lyrics perhaps hint at a vulnerability and introspection that became all too evident in later years.
"Moving Targets" was a fine debut but also a dead end. There are places in which the guitar playing unpleasantly prefigures the "New Wave Of British Heavy Metal", which aspect of Penetration's sound helped ruin the dismally poor second LP, "Coming Up For Air". Unsurprisingly, the group split shortly after it.
At a reduced price this CD reissue is well worth having. The Invisible Girls' material is hard to find but showcases Murray's voice and songwriting even better."

"This CD is soooo good!!! It never grows old. Pure Punk Rock. Pity that Penetration was such an underrated group. I love Punk Rock (Sex Pistols, Ramones, The Clash, Blondie, Patti Smith) and I think Penetration stands side by side with the greatest ones."

More review:
COMING UP FOR AIR (1979,reissued in 2001)

Artwork By - BOLD images
Engineer - Ian Taylor (tracks 01-11),Mick Glossop (tracks 12-14)
Performer - Fred Purser , Gary Smallman , Neale Floyd , Pauline Murray , Robert Blamire Producer (tracks 01-11) - Steve Lillywhite
( and 12-14) - Mick Glossop , Mike Howlett
Written-By - Purser* (tracks: 03, 04, 06, 07, 11) , Smallman* (tracks: 09) , Floyd* (tracks: 01, 05, 08 to 10) , Murray* , Blamire* (tracks: 02, 06)

Recorded and mixed at Ridge Farm Studios and Phonogram Studios.


01 Shout Above The Noise
02 She Is The Slave

03 Last Saving Grace
04 Killed In The Rush
05 Challenge
06 Come Into The Open
07 What's Going On?
08 Party's Over
09 On Reflection
10 Lifeline
11 New Recruit
12 Danger Signs
13 Stone Heroes (Live)
14 Vision (Live)

Link to download:

1979 saw extensive touring, both in the UK and in the US. The group also released their second album, Coming Up for Air, despite starting to suffer internal disharmony and disillusion, especially on the part of Pauline. The band did eventually split up, and the break-up was announced at one of their last gigs: Newcastle City Hall on October 14, 1979. The show was was recorded and issued as a post-humous official bootleg.

The spiky aspirations of their debut album and first few singles notwithstanding, Penetration was always a more convincing hard rock band than most punks gave them credit for. The glee with which they unveiled a twin-guitar lineup, the faith they placed in songs with titles like "She Is the Slave" and "Shout Above the Noise," and, if hindsight be the guide, the accuracy with which they predicted the entire New Wave of British Heavy Metal outbreak — all these things place Penetration in a very different bag to that they normally wriggle around in. Guitarist Fred Purser went on to form the Tygers of Pan Tang. That should tell you everything. Released in late 1979, their second album, Coming Up for Air, is the sound of the group embracing that destiny. Critically pummeled at the time and often overlooked thereafter, it is a far cry from the scratchy urchins who unleashed "Don't Dictate" a mere year earlier, a rip-roaring, riff-heavy leviathan that places its focus on Purser and Neale Floyd's wailing guitars, then layers Pauline Murray's banshee-bark vocals atop of them. Unfortunately, in ripping apart the punk formbook, Penetration also tore up their songwriting manual. Without exception, the ten songs on the original album are uniformly leaden, while two live bonus tracks merely amplify the band's lumpen metal pretensions. Only "Danger Signs," the third bonus track and the band's last memorable single, stands proud, but even that is not a recommendation. (

After releasing “Coming Up For Air, ” and 3 years after forming you called it a day. What were the reasons for that?

Pauline :
"There was a lot of pressure and it was no fun anymore. We were also very, very tired from constant touring." (Quotes arond the time - “I never wanted to be in Penetration and to be worrying all the time. I wanted it to be fun, not to be always thinking of hit singles and cracking America and writing for the next LP.Why am I doing this ?..Why am I miserable ? ..What’s the point ? brings it down to the level of having a job.” )

What have you been up to in the intervening years?

"Since the break-up of Penetration in 1979, we have involved ourselves in various endeavours too numerous to mention, from roofer to recording studio owner to record production, to builder to printer, lecturer, security, doorman, band management, proprietor of rehearsal studios, record label, dishwasher, distributor, Stukist, painter, reflexologist, singer, drummer, bass player, guitarists, mother and father."

"There is really no comparison between Coming Up For Air and the other Penetration albums available on CD (e.g. Moving Targets, Don't Dictate). This is the first and still the best."
"Penetration's second studio album might have become more than what it is: a sad coda to a fine British pop band's career. With origins in punk, Penetraton gradually extended its style, while still maintaining a certain edge. Over-production troubled their first studio LP; their next would prove more troubling.
The two tracks from the single, "Come Into the Open" were crisp and exciing, and promised something special. But when the LP was released later on, the tracks from the single had all the treble pulled away from them. Even the two single tracks sounded dull. While the import LP is slightly brighter than the US version, it wasn't enough to push away the disappointment. Most frustrating of all is that the record company could have mixed these tracks so they'd sound crisp and special, like the singles; instead, they're muddy and dull.
Penetration has never been known for their lyrics. Paulline Murray has a great voice, but her lyirics have always been vague. This only adds to the problem."

More review:


Robbie Blamire - Bass
Gary Smallman - Drums
Fred Purser,Neale Floyd - Guitar
Pauline Murray - Vocals
Producer - Jeff Griffin

Originally recorded for the BBC 7th July 1979 at the Paris Theatre and broadcast the same month The Ruts


01 Danger Signs (2:37)
02 Lovers Of Outrage (3:59)
03 She Is The Slave (3:18)
04 Come Into The Open (2:54)
05 Movement (3:14)
06 Nostalgia (3:58)
07 Free Money (4:12)
08 Stone Heroes (3:45)

Link to download:

PENETRATION (1995) (Compilation)

tracks 10-13 Peel Sessions 05/07/1978
tracks 15-16 Peel Sessions 28/02/1979



Demos 1977-Jan 78:

01 Duty Free Technology
02 Firing Squad
03 Race Against Time
04 In The Future
05 Free Money
06 Never Never
07 V.I.P.
08 Silent Community
09 Don't Dictate

Peel Sessions 1978-1979:

10 Movement
11 Stone Heroes
12 Vision
13 Future Daze
14 She Is The Slave
15 Danger Signs
16 Last Saving Grace

Live At Newcastle Dec 78-Oct 79:

17 Come Into The Arena
18 Movement
19 Lovers Of Outrage
20 She Is The Slave
21 Too Many Friends
22 Killed In The Rush
23 Danger Signs (Alternative Version)

Links to download:
Big thanks for the covers Dave!

Although Penetration's debut, Moving Targets, is smoother and better produced, it doesn't pack the raw wallop and bristling energy of this collection of demos and live recordings cut from 1977-79. The live side, recorded in the band's hometown of Newcastle, provides the greatest thrills per song, but ultimately the Penetration saga is one of missed opportunity and overinflated expectations. Most importantly, "Don't Dictate" is here in demo form, and it still sounds pretty great, although the version that shows up on the CD reissue of Moving Targets sounds better. (
The original 1976-1977 U.K. punk explosion produced 100 fantastic bands, but only a small handful ever get mentioned in the endless articles that pay homage to those days. Anyone who has been willing to go beyond the heavyweights or the since-deified has encountered rock & roll brilliance brimming with spirit, talent, attitude, great lyrics, and most of all (and this is what's most forgotten) variety. Penetration took a few singles before they really achieved greatness, but even their simplistic debut, the Mike Howlett/Mick Glossop-produced Moving Targets, had a slew of great songs for the amazing Pauline Murray to sing, and their second and final LP, the Steve Lillywhite-produced post-punk classic Coming Up for Air, just further established their lasting worth. But whenever turning someone on to the group, the LP that best reveals their greatness is definitely Race Against Time, a plain, black- and white-sleeved, authorized bootleg on Clifdayn Records that was released as the band was breaking up at the end of 1979. It consisted of nine 1977/1978 demos on side one, and seven more songs recorded live in Newcastle (and they could really bring it live, as seen on Race and at their New York gig at Hurrah). This 65-minute CD is a reissue of Race, with a proper sleeve this time, and even tacks on seven previously unreleased, hot John Peel sessions! All 23 tracks are more live, raw, hard, exciting, and one hell of a great rush, far less polished than the Howlett/Glossop/Lillywhite major-label outings. And Murray's savvy lyrics and impassioned singing are not to be missed. Once you get this, you'll want the two proper LPs (Moving Targets was reissued on import CD in 1990), and Murray's two excellent solo LPs, 1981's Pauline Murray & the Invisible Girls and 1989's Storm Clouds. ~ Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover, All Music Guide

"This is a CD release for those of you who missed it in 1979 - Penetration put out an excellent LP of demos on one side and live cuts on the second on their own label for their fans who missed the early days. The original title was Race Against Time, and it contained almost all ther tracks listed here. The demos come from 1977-78 when they were just getting started in Newcastle, and the live set is from gigs played December 78 to October 79. They are all great versions of the songs that appeared on their later LPs on Virgin UK. If you think punk rock was just the Sex Pistols and 3 chord thrash, think again - Penetration was at the forefront of the new bands who could play and write great songs. Pauline Murray's voice made them stand out from the crowd, and they were excellent live. Pauline later went on to a solo career after the band split, but it was never quite the same. If you are looking for something fresh with an attitude, this is the CD to buy."

"Very few women can *really* sing rock and roll the way it's meant to be sung. Pauline Murray is one of them. Penetration was an amazing mix of metal and punk at a time when the two genres were at war. If you think women like Pat Benetar or the Heart sisters sing rock 'n' roll--it's only because you haven't heard the real thing."

"When "Moving Targets" was released just as punk and new wave was rolling in to wash away the excesses of bands like Yes and Genesis, it sat uneasily amongst releases by the Clash, Eddie and the Hot Rods, the Sex Pistols etc. On the one hand it clearly shared their DIY ethos and celebration of raw energy but on the other hand it equally clearly wasn't about denying the value of 'everything' that had gone before. In parts almost 'traditional' straight ahead rock, it embraced the new ethos without being defined by it. Perhaps partly as a consequence, Penetration didn't quite make it as harbingers of the new sound that would lay the foundations for the change in direction that came to fruition in the 80's. But, now that the 70's and 80's have both become ancient history, its possible to listen to Moving Targets unencumbered by the influence of passing fashions of the day and so appreciate just how good this 'missing link' between pub rock, punk, and grunge actually is. Tracks like Free Money, and Nostalgia For An Age Yet To Come fire up the hormones and make quibbles about whether or not they're 'really' punk seem silly and self defeating. This is a band that pumped. Who cares whether untrained voices are a good thing or bad a thing - the emotion and power is undeniable and the guitars simply roar. This is exhilerating music that reaffirms the belief that as long as that beat and power can move you you're alive and kicking, no matter how old and decrepit your doctor insists you really are"

The only summation one can make of the career of English punks Penetration is, what a disappointment. In 1977, Penetration released a classic chunk of punk rock defiance titled "Don't Dictate." With Pauline Murray's impassioned vocals (sounding a bit like X-Ray Spex's Poly Styrene) leading the way, this was a blazing piece of anti-authoritarian rant: loud, snotty, and proud. Sadly, it was to be the one song they remained best noted for (assuming there are people who still remember Penetration). The problem was that they traded in barely competent but energetic bashing and thrashing for a more "mature" new wave/"punk-ish" rock sound. As a result, their debut LP, Moving Targets, although it has its moments, never lived up to the promise of "Don't Dictate." Still, Pauline Murray was a force to be reckoned with. Easily one of the best singers to come out of English punk rock, she made the band interesting even when the songs weren't there, the production was overwrought, and the whole enterprise was terribly uneven. It was to the surprise of no one that by 1980 she was fronting a new band, the Invisible Girls, who based on Murray's strengths became known as Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls. Still, major success eluded Murray, and she later moved into singing more elegant, mainstream pop/rock, remaining one of England's best unknown singers. ~ John Dougan, All Music Guide

More bio:

Moving Targets (1978)
Coming Up For Air (1979)
Race Against Time (1979)(Compilation)
BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert (1991)
Don’t Dictate: The Best of Penetration (1995)
Penetration (1995) (compilation)
The Early Years (1997) (Compilation)
Live 1978-1979 (2008)

PENETRATION reformed in 2001 after a 21 year break and have been doing a few one off gigs and recordings over the last few years, the single ‘Our World’ will be out on 7” in October 2008(

After 23 years in 2000 Penetration came back. How did that come about?

"Various members of the band contacted me in the same week from out of the blue. I always said I would never reform the band but it just wouldn’t go away so I thought OK! Let’s give it a try!"

Penetration have been recording tracks towards a new album. Tracks completed so far include Guilty, The Feeling, Our World, 2 Places, Sea Song. These all feature the current line-up. The band will perform some of their new material at the Cluny, Newcastle on 3rd October. More live dates are being lined up.(

PAULINE MURRAY (solo after Penetration)

"Singer Pauline Murray,occasionally sounded like Siouxsie Sioux, but her vocals were far more melodic and girlish than those of her competitors."

"one of the best singers to come out the punk era with a warm, soaring voice that stood out like a jewel in a field of spitters and snarlers."

Any advice to young musicians starting out in the bizz?

"Make music for the love, not for the money. Cause there is none!"

PEEL SESSIONS (19/03/1980)

Line Up:
Pauline Murray - Vocals
Peter Howells - Drums
Robert Blamire - Bass
Alan Rawlings (from Cowboys International)- Guitar
Producer - John Etchells
Engineer - Nick Gomm


01 Sympathy
02 When Will We Learn
03 Dream Sequence
04 Shoot

Link to download:


New Wave, Pop Rock,Synth -Pop

Pauline Murray -Vocals
Dave Rowbotham
( - Guitar (1980)
Vini Reilly (from Durutti Column, -Guitar (1980)Robert Blamire - Bass
Steve Hopkins - Keyboards
John Maher (ex-Buzzocks, - Drums
Martin Hannett ( - Guitar,Bass (1980)
Dave Hassell ( - Percussion (1980)
Wayne Hussey ( - Guitar (1981)

Arranged By - Martin Hannett , Steve Hopkins
Engineer - Chris Nagle
Guitar - Vini Reilly , Wayne Hussey (tracks: 12 to 14),Guitar - Bernard Sumner (Joy Divison/New Order) (track 14)
Producer - Martin Hannett , Steve Hopkins

This album is dedicated to Martin Hannett who died in 1991

Tracks 12-14 originally released as "Searching For Heaven" (10") (1981)

"Mr X"


01 Screaming In The Darkness (3:36)
02 Dream Sequence 1 (3:19)

03 European Eyes (3:20)
04 Shoot You Down (2:07)
05 Sympathy (2:47)
06 Time Slipping (4:04)
07 Drummer Boy (3:03)
08 Thundertunes (3:23)
09 When Will We Learn (3:35)
10 Mr. X (4:27)
11 Judgement Day (4:25)
12 The Visitor (3:44)
13 Animal Crazy (3:16)
14 Searching For Heaven (2:59)

15 Dream Sequence II
16 Two Shots (7" 1980)

Link to download:

Read this:

VP :
You then “became” Pauline Murray and The Invisible Girls with Robert , released a classic debut album and worked with various people including producer Martian Hannet, Vini Reilly, Wayne Hussey New Order’s Bernard Sumner and John Maher From The Buzzcocks. This music was totally different from Penetration’s. Was this a case of you wanting to do something completely different after 3 years at the forefront of punk?

Pauline :
"The songs were written as normal, not intending to be any different but the Invisible Girls set up was very much a studio project with a different style of musician, more keyboard than guitar based."

The Invisible Girls were a rock band formed in Salford, Greater Manchester in 1978 to provide musical back drop to the recorded output of Salford punk poet John Cooper Clarke. The band was based around the nucleus of Joy Division producer Martin Hannett and keyboardist Steve Hopkins, with contributions from, amongst others, Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks and Bill Nelson. The band also played on the first solo album by Pauline Murray (lead singer of Penetration), the eponymous Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls.(

After Penetration split up in 1979, Pauline Murray (born 8 March 1958) got together with the Invisible Girls (who also played with John Cooper Clarke). Line-up was: Pauline Murray (vocals), Dave Rowbotham (guitar), Vinney Reilly (guitar), Robert Blamire (bass), Steve Hopkins (keyboards), John Maher (drums). John Maher plalyed at the same time also at the Buzzcocks. Sadly this co-operation didn't last long - little more than an year.There was very little punk in Invisible Girls records, the music was more like ethereal pop. Their only LP was producted by Martin Hannett who also had produced Joy Division and it reached n:o 25 on British chart. First single Dream Sequences peaked at n:o 67 on the British single chart.(

Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls; an age old reference that will hopefully have people searching out some records as much as scratching their heads in confusion. Murray of course was the voice in classic Northern England punk act Penetration, whilst The Invisible Girls were a legendary ‘backing band’ who performed on nearly all of John Cooper Clarke’s albums and who featured in their line up the legendary Martin Hannett as well as Steve Hopkins and Buzzcocks drummer John Maher. When you consider Pete Shelley was also a some-time member, you get some idea of their collective genius (though lets conveniently forget that Wayne Hussey also cropped up on the ‘Searching For Heaven’ single).

"After Penetration split, Pauline continued to work with bassist Robert Balmire and the fruits of their labours produced the classic “Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls.” An album so far ahead of its time in terms of sound and production (from Joy Divisions legendary producer Martin Hannett) that it appeared to languish in a sort of post-punk limbo. Some old fans found it “too pop”, whilst new fans didn’t quite know what to make of this dark, brooding “Electro pop.” This album clearly demonstrated what the 1980’s could have been, this was the sort of electronic music, with a menacing pop underbelly that should have ruled the airwaves in the early 80’s. Criminally the album sunk and we got “Einstein-A-“Bloody”-Go-Go” instead, it does however, remain a lost pop classic."


"This is from ex-Penetration lead singer Pauline Murray & her follow up band Invisible Girls. I was a "punk" in 1980 who owned the 7" from Penetration: Firing Squad. I loved that song and the b-side NEVERr. Found myself in a small shop in Greenwich Village one evening, near closing, and the clerk was spinning an amazing single. Turned out to be Dream Sequences by Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls. I snapped it up, then busted my ass to afford the album. This release from 1980. Britain and the US were on the verge of the age of Reagan and Thatcher. And this is like a hauntingly beautiful cry in the wilderness. Like Cassandra wailing against the pounding surf of the bleak future - the encroaching slavation of mankind. Pauline Murray has a soulful edge to her voice and delivers her poetic visionary lyrics against a deep blue background of sound that serves to alternately soothe and disquiet. A Masterpiece of post-Punk lushness and beauty. Get your hands on it - Wow."

"I really love this album. I bought it in 1980 as friends of mine played songs of this album on their pirate radiostation at the time. I really think this album has great vallue. The music is produced by the late Martin Hannett (of joy Division and Magazine production fame) and he did a fine job. Unfortunately, it was the only effort on album. Fortunately the beautiful 'Animal Crazy' and former 10" record is present too as a bonus !! Two very good reasons to get this one cd. I love the voice of Pauline Murray, and it really settles well with the Hannett production. The songs vary in nature, but all have their quality. I can't believe so few people discovered this album.... I believe even now she deserves a chance from a larger audience. Always will have very warm feelings for this album. Love to play it over and over. It somehow gets to you, and the songs easily pop up in your mind, which is more than pleasant."

"Pauline Murray emerged with Penetration in the white heat summer of Punk. After Penetration's demise Murray teamed up with Salford punk-poet John Cooper Clarke's occasional backing band The Invisible Girls and, guided by the production skills of Martin Hannet (who himself was one of the Invisible Girls), set about recording what, for me, is one of the finest pop albums to emerge from the post-punk era. This record sounds like one of the very best albums the Factory label never released (it originally appeared on the RSO label) - but with Hannet at the controls it was bound to have a Factory feel. But where it differs from the standard Factory fayre (if there is such a thing) it is that there is a definite pop sensibility running throughout the album. Dream Sequence, all breathy vocals and majestic keyboard swirls is like no song that Factory ever released but it still somehow manages to sound like a Factory single from start to finish - maybe its the production, doomy and dense but managing, within the tangled web, to allow breathing space. The catchiness of the mostly upbeat melodies never quite manages to let the listener escape the feeling of dread and foreboding - altogether an unsettling and strange experience. The album sank without trace on release despite being warmly received. It also has one of the best album covers you will see anywhere - beautifully designed by Peter Saville (another Factory link). The version of the sleeve used on the CD is a much reduced and less impactful version than that on the original vinyl album - seek out the vinyl version if you can. It is a great pity that this album is out of print in any format at the moment (2006), so if you see it, in any format, buy it, listen to it, love it, make it feel wanted. It deserves it. I submit reviews to Amazon fairly regularly and it is very rare that I give anything other than a 4 star rating. This is a lost classic that deserves the best rating available." "After Penetration collapsed under the weight of crude heavy metal guitar playing on their second LP ("Coming Up For Air", 1979), Pauline Murray and Robert Blamire hooked up with producer Martin Hannett and a varying selection of Manchester musicians (e.g. Vini Reilly, the odd Buzzcock).This 1980 LP does three things: it provides another setting for the trademark gated drum sound that Hannett introduced and which became a definitive mark of early 80s pop: it makes copious use of then still relatively novel synthesisers: most importantly, it showcases Murray's voice like no other material she performed.This was therefore an LP about two years ahead of its time. The audience that would buy Human League and later Simple Minds LPs by the thousands hadn't yet formed. Unfortunately, its ethereal sound and dancing rhythms were not punk and not yet popular, so it did not sell well.So fresh was the approach for the times Murray occasionally struggled to find a melody to suit some of the songs and her voice, but when it worked ("Dream Sequences", the bonus "Waiting For Heaven") the effect was nearly sublime.This is the best of Pauline Murray and a document of the emerging sound that would come to dominate 80s pop. It's well worth your money - if you can find a copy."

"This album is brilliant. Pauline Murray at her best. The album was critically aclaimed when it first came out, but never reached the success it deserved. This album is a must for every collection. Buy it now and transport yourself back to the early eighties with tracks like Dream Sequence and Time Slipping. The production on this album was unusual for its time but now seems bang up to date. Oh Pauline where are you now ?" "Strangely, I have been listening to a lot of old ‘80s synth pop just recently and tonight in fact am playing the eponymous 1980 album by Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls, Pauline Murray of course being the one-time voice of Penetration, and the Invisible Girls being Steve Hopkins and Martin Hannett, legendary Manchester producer. And is it synth pop at all? I don’t know. I do know it’s a great, atmospheric album full of the kinds of wintry, metallic noise that you might expect of Hannett, but also full of tremendous Pop tunes, notably ‘Dream Sequence 1’ and ‘Time Slipping’, which are just the kinds of soaring and trembling things you might expect me to fall for, helped on their way, as they were, by the inestimable Vini Reilly."


More review:

PAULINE MURRAY AND THE INVISIBLE GIRLS - Live In Amsterdam And Den Haag (The Netherlands) (1981)

The recordings heard here are two gigs from the promotional tour throught the Netherlands, recorded and broadcasted by VARA and KRO radio.

Track 01-08 are taken from the concert given at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on March 5. 1981.
Track 09-14 are taken from the concert given in Het Paard van Troje, in Den Haag, The Netherlands on April 3. 1981.

Tracklist :

01 Screaming In The Darkness
02 Searching For Heaven
03 Time Is Slipping
04 Dream sequence 1.
05 Two Shots
06 When Will We Learn
07 Mr. X
08 Animal Crazy
09 European Eyes
10 Thundertunes
11 Animal Crazy
12 Time Is Slipping
13 Dream Sequence 1.
14 Two Shots Left

Link to download:

Thanks to my friend for this!!

PAULINE MURRAY - Storm Clouds (1989)

Pauline Murray - Vocals,Guitar
Robert Blamire - Bass
Paul Harvey ( - Guitar
Tim Johnston ( - Drums,Percussion
Graham Henderson,Steve Hopkins,Peter Johnston
( - Keyboards


01 This Thing Called Love
02 Holocaust
03 Soul Power
04 No One Like You
05 Another World
06 Don't Give Up
07 Pressure Zone
08 Close Watch
09 Everybody's Talkin'
10 New Age
11 Time

12 Don't Give Up (B-side of Holocaust 12" 1984)
13 Aversion (B-side of Holocaust 12" 1984)
14 The Only Ones - Fools (1980 feat Murray)

Link to download:

You disappeared then turned up in 1989 with Pauline Murray and The Storm. Then disappeared again. What did you get up to in the years away from music?

"After the Invisible Girls I got very depressed and walked out of music and had to deal with many personal life changes. I eventually started to write songs again and play live which lead to the Storm album. In 1990 I set up Polestar Rehearsal and Recording studios in Newcastle, and it’s still going strong today!"

"Pauline Murray was never better than on the 1984 single Holocaust. While, in retrospect, it's somewhat hampered by its '80s keyboard sounds, it's still a powerful portrayal of a destroyed life. Murray's voice was never better: clear and open and almost anonymous. Not only does this give her singing a sense of honesty, she also becomes a cipher, an everywoman speaking out to all of life's fuck-ups. This really is one of those forgotten classics. 23 years on, I think it's ripe for rediscovery."(

"I have just been given a record player after being without one for the best part of 15 years and when digging out my old records discovered this gem. Pauline's voice sounds like it was sent from heaven and the music so melodic. I've had it out of storage for a little over 2 days and laready listned to it 8 times!!! Enough said?"


as Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls:
Untitled (1980)

as Pauline Murray:
Storm Clouds (1989)

(born 8 March 1958 in Waterhouses, County Durham, England) was the lead singer of punk rock band Penetration, originally formed in 1976.In May 1976 18-year-old Pauline Murray saw the Sex Pistols. Murray and her Ferryhill comrades became Pistols devotees, earning for themselves by late 1976 the title of 'Durham Contingent' (coined by the NME).Penetration soon began gigging and debuted on vinyl with their single, "Don't Dictate". The studio albums released were Moving Targets and Coming Up For Air and they have since released a Best of Penetration compilation album. After some brief success in 1978/79, they split up in 1980.Murray featured briefly with The Invisible Girls, which also included other ex-Penetration member Robert Blamire (usually credited as "R"), as well as other Manchester musicians who drifted in and out such as Vini Reilly, guitarist in the The Durutti Column. John Maher from Buzzcocks drummed for the band also. The album that resulted, produced by Martin Hannett, spawned the singles "Dream Sequence" and "Mr.X". Murray also provided vocal for The Only Ones on their track, "Fools".Murray worked sporadically as a solo artist under the name "Pauline Murray and The Storm" with Robert Blamire, Tim Johnston and Paul Harvey. She spent the next 10 years fronting various outfits. She is now back gigging with a rejuvenated Penetration

In 1990 she established Polestar Rehearsal Studios,which is located in the Ouseburn Valley cultural area of Newcastle-Upon Tyne.(

More info:

was a founder member of Penetration, a seminal Punk band from the North East of England.
He formed a new band Soul On Ice (Superior guitar-pop band) after left Penetration.Their one-and only album was never released (except a single called "Wide Screen), apparently because of management disagreements.

Now he has released his first solo album - MN001. "Always eclectic, Chaplin has combined his love of film scores and left-field rock, drawing on Can, Captain Beefheart and electronica to produce a unique cocktail of truly modern music"

Now he works for Sedgefield District Council as Enterprise Facilitator (

was the member of The Scars and also played with Patrik Fitzgerald (1979)
( He produced Puppy Fat too (
He is also lecturer in Graphic Design.

was a member of Tygers of Pan Tang (1982-1983) and Whisky Priests (1994-1995),also worked with China Drum (1994-1998) and This Aint Vegas (2005-2006),Toy Dolls etc.

More details here:

He established Trinity Heights Recording Studio during the late Nineteen Eighties. (

has been working on the new Penetration material; however, the recent gig at the Carling Academy was his last. He has a successful building business so Penetration are looking for a new drummer.

I found these two links but not sure if they really related to him?:

More info for Penetration: (lot of photos)

Interviews (Pauline Murray)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


"Canada's all time best new wave band, our answer to Blondie."

"Martha and the Muffins is one of the main reasons that the '80's were a cool decade."

Electronic, Rock
New Wave, Synth-pop

Members :
Martha Johnson
Mark Gane
Leo Valvassori - Cello (2005-)( and
Jocelyne Lanois - Bass (1981-1983,2005-)

Former members:
Andy Haas - Saxophone (1978-1981)
David Millar - Guitar (1977-1978)
Carl Finkle - Bass (1977-1980)
Tim Gane - Drums (1977-1983)
Martha Ladly - Keyboard,Vocal (1978-1980)
Nick Kent (ex-CeeDees,see: - Drums (1982-1983)
Mick Kent - Drums (,,452667,00.html

"Echo Beach"


Andy Haas - Saxophone
Carl Finkle - Bass
Mark Gane - Synthesizer, Guitar
Martha Johnson - Keyboards, Vocals
Martha Ladly - Trombone, Keyboards, Vocals, Treble
Mick Kent - Drums
Mike Howlett ( - Producer, Sequencing
Richard Manwaring - Engineer
Tim Gane - Drums


01 Echo Beach
02 Paint By Number Heart
03 Saigon
04 Indecision
05 Terminal Twilight
06 Cheesies And Gum
07 Hide And Seek
08 Monotone
09 Sinking Land
10 Revenge (Against The World)
11 Cheesies And Gum
12 Copacabana (B-side of Saigon 7" 1980)

Link to download:

Read these:

"An incredible debut album, and one that both stands the test of time and serves as an excellent sampler of a distinct era and sound called new wave. Hailing from Toronto, though recorded in England by Mike Howlett, the Marthas (there were two Marthas in the original lineup, Johnson and Ladly), and their Muffins recorded energetic and fun pop songs. Just try standing still during the brilliant "Echo Beach" or "Paint By Number Heart." They also managed to write some pretty powerful and intelligent lyrics on this album; just listen to the beauty of "Saigon," featuring haunting vocals from the Marthas, and excellent playing from the band. Mark Gane stands out with his distinctive guitar, featured prominently throughout the album, and Andy Haas provides some very catchy, memorable sax solos. The album also features witty, almost silly songs, such as "Cheesies and Gum," simplistic and hilarious, with a heavy dance beat. Perhaps the only negative aspect of the album is the production; Howlett at times seems to want to focus on the pure pop aspect, while not allowing the band to have their own distinct sound. It is the production that dates the album, but nevertheless, the brilliance of the songs shines through. ~ Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide

"This is a classic you will never tire of listening to, since I've been listening to it for over 20 years. The music is very straight forward and sincere. My favorite tracks being Revenge (against the world), Echo Beach, Indecision, Monotone,...heck I LOVE the whole album! Though not a well known group, no 80's collection would be complete without them to reference from."

"this album was for me and my brother the best album of the 80's. We must have worn the the thing out 3 times I highly recommend it. But it is like all music it places us in a time and a place that can not be reproduced where our memory is fused with the the moment for life ENJOY!"

"This album is the ultimate in avaerage. Sure theres some good songs and all, but I dont care for anything about this album, the singer seems to agree with. Techniclly her voice is fine, but it annoys me like nothing else. She just sounds so BORED with the song when she sings."

"Metro music is a sophisticated punk new wave music with saxophone. The bass is particularly good with its elaborated patterns, Never boring. The female lead vocals fits well with the style. There is rather brief discrete electric guitar sounds with no distortion. The ensemble is very rythmic. There are some keyboards that give a new wave personality. This record is a bit margin, but the songs, not flashy, are rather pleasant to listen"

"Excellent musicians, experimenting and finding a style. Refreshing for the time, and a plus in the column of the Toronto Music scene."

"It's a safe bet that anyone over a certain age with an ear to the charts will remember Martha and the Muffins' "Echo Beach". Though it was (in my humble opinion) one of the best post punk pop records of the era (and certainly the best by a Canadian outfit featuring two women called Martha), the band never managed to trouble the compilers of the top 20 again.
Fronted by keyboardist/singer/trombonist Martha Johnson and guitarist Mark Gane, M+M (as they were later to become) spun dispassionate, witty tales of boredom, longing and paranoia in a manner not dissimilar to that of Talking Heads. However, they had a pure pop sensibilty that put them in a slightly different bracket from the hordes of Art school rockers doing the rounds at the time, coupled with an unwillingness to let themselves be taken too seriously (that disappeared later when they hooked up with producer Daniel Lanois).
"Echo Beach" is of course a pretty good encapsulation of all these qualities, but all the tracks on this reissued and remastered debut show that their one hit wonder status wasn't for lack of good material. The formula is pretty consistent throughout; taut, metronomic rhythms topped off with Gane's chiming, minimal guitar figures add up to pared down powerpop heaven.Andy Haas's raspy tenor sax recalls Andy Mackay's work with Roxy Music, and Johnson's occasionally cheesy keyboards prefigure the Farfisa driven ironies of Stereolab. Johnson sings in a slightly detached fashion, while Martha Ladly (later of the Associates) goes for a more emotive approach ("Hide and Seek", "Revenge") with more mixed results.
Most of all, the Muffins had good tunes; "Paint by Number Heart" and "Indecision" are viral in their catchiness. While the slightly dour "Sinking Land" prefigures their later ambient experiments, Metro Music is for the most part untouched by the pretensions and angst that afflicted many of their greatcoated contemporaries.Oh, and it's got 'Echo Beach" on it too..."



Andy Haas - Saxophone
Carl Finkle - Bass
David Millar - Live Sound
Mark Gane - Synthesizer, Guitar, Vocals
Tim Gane — Percussion, Drums
Martha Johnson - Keyboards, Vocals
Martha Ladly - Trombone, Keyboards, Vocals, Treble, Illustrations, Cover Painting
Mike Howlett - Producer
Peter Saville ( - Art Direction, Design
Richard Manwaring - Engineer


01 Luna Park
02 Suburban Dream
03 Was Ezo
04 Teddy The Dink
05 Symptomatic Love
06 Primal Weekend
07 Halfway Through The Week
08 Am I On?
09 Motorbikin’
10 About Insomnia
11 Be Blase
12 Trance And Dance

Link to download:

"The second album from Martha and the Muffins is something of a disappointment after the brilliant Metro Music. The album sounds rushed and disjointed, as if the band were pressured into capitalizing on the instant fame achieved with their debut. In fact, some of the songs on this release date back to before Metro Music, indicating that the band did not have time to write enough new songs for an album. As with their debut, the band themselves play wonderfully, and there are some wonderful songs on it, such as the highlight, "Symptomatic Love." Martha Johnson's vocals for this track are flawless, and the song features great lyrics that in their apparent simplicity say a great deal. "Suburban Dream," "Be Blasé," "Luna Park," and "Was Ezo" are other standout cuts that demonstrate the brilliance of this band. Once again, the production is something of a problem, as the energy of the band (as clearly demonstrated on the free live EP enclosed with initial pressings) is not caught in the studio. Quite simply, Mike Howlett did not know how to produce this band (this was to be the last album he produced for them). This album marks the first time the band covered a song, Chris Spedding's "Motorbikin'," an interesting choice, but not one that suits Martha and the Muffins. This album was also to be the last featuring the original lineup, as Martha Ladly would leave to pursue a solo career shortly after the release, and Carl Finkle simply quit the band. Overall, something of a disappointment after such a brilliant start. ~ Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide

"I guess I'm the only one who considers this an improvement over their (also good) first album.
One review I read of this online described it as "too dance-y" in comparison to the previous album. I say that the only thing more "dance-y" about this than Metro Music is its title. It sounds just like Metro Music, actually... but better. The band don't sound like they're fumbling around as much. They sound like they realize all the minor flaws with their first album and are correcting them here.
I love it. I like all of these songs (though they sound like a lot of other bands of that time--they have that Rough Trade sound, like Delta 5 or Kleenex, which is what keeps me from giving this fun record a solid 5.) It's good stuff. 4.5 stars. Eat me."

"its got some pretty bad reviews, but i really like this record. saxophones, girl sings and its a little dancey and a little post punky. i think its actually very good sounds sorta like romeo void. i havent heard their other stuff, so maybe this isnt as good in comparison?"


Andy Haas - saxophone
Mark Gane - Guitar
Tim Gane - Drums
Carl Finkle - Bass
Martha Johnson - Keyboards, Vocals


01 Trance And Dance
02 Am I On

03 Suburban Dream
04 Hide And Seek
05 Saigon
06 Be Blasé
07 Symptomatic Love
08 Terminal Twilight
09 Halfway Through The Week
10 Luna Park
11 Indecision
12 Echo beach
13 Primal Weekend
14 Paint By Number Heart
15 Cheesies And Gum
16 Motorbikin'

Link to download:


Alyx Skriabow - Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Sandy Horne ( - Vocals,Vocals (Background)Andy Condon - Handclapping
Nick Gane - Castanets, ?, Noise
Andy Haas - Saxophone, Sax (Alto), Treble
Corinne Plomish ( - Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Daniel Lanois ( - Percussion, Vocals, Vocals (Background), Producer, Engineer, Treatments
George Axon ( - Percussion
Glen Schellenberg ( - Piano
Gordon Deppe ( - Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Jocelyne Lanois - Bass, Percussion, Vocals (Background)
Mark Gane - Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Treatments
Produced by Daniel Lanois / Martha and the Muffins

"Women Around The World At Work"


01 Swimming
02 Women Around The World At Work
03 Casualties Of Glass
04 Boy Without Filters
05 Jets Seem Slower In London Skies
06 This Is The Ice Age
07 One Day In Paris
08 You Sold The Cottage
09 Three Hundred Years/Chemistry
10 I'm No Good At Conversation
11 Twenty-two In Cincinnnati

Link to download:

"It all came together on this album for Martha & the Muffins. Working with a new producer, a young Daniel Lanois, and a new bass player (Daniel's sister, Jocelyne), the band seemed to have the freedom to produce their sound their way. And it worked in a big way. From the first track, the incredible "Swimming," to the fantastic closer "Three Hundred Years/Chemistry," this album is a multi-layered, unforgettable experience. Mark Gane wrote the majority of the album, and he branches out both in his writing and his playing, while Martha Johnson produces one of her finest songs, the exquisite "One Day in Paris." The humor is still there, but now somewhat bittersweet, as evidenced in the wonderful "You Sold the Cottage," a wonderful companion piece to their single "Echo Beach" in that it showed just how much this band had grown in two years, and how much more mature their sound had become. A very strong album, one that would appeal to a great many tastes if given the chance; not instantly accessible, but well worth the effort of several listens. There are no real highlights, as the entire album is a standout, and also groundbreaking, with several production techniques still being used today. [A Canadian version of the CD was released in 2005.] ~ Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide

"The legendary masterpiece of the 80's New Wave genre is finally out on CD more than 20 years after its original vinyl release. This record sprang from the ashes of Canada's top New Wave band, best known for the rousing single "Echo Beach". The original band had two Marthas, and one of them (Mart
ha Ladly) had gone solo under the name "Martha". But the remnants of the original band distilled upon the lead singer Martha Johnson and lead song writer and guitarist Mark Gane. And from this turmoil came startling freedom. New Wave music was about more than just reclaiming the dance floor for rock-n-roll, it was about breaking the bounds of style. Myriad influences, quirky instrumentation, dissonant tonalities, ironic humor--these were all part of the mix. This record is a classic of the genre. It opens with with the clatter of Toronto street noise which then weaves into the snaky trance of "Swimming". The single "Women Around the World at Work" comes next with a completely different mood. And on and on. The title track "This is the Ice Age", surely the perfect accompaniment for an existential bike ride, "an unfinished memory". "One Day in Paris" is heartbreaking, while "You Sold the Cottage" is a zany romp. The standout centerpiece. "Boy without Filters", has Mark Gane singing lead, Martha providing vocal atmospherics, and is enough alone to recommend checking out this album. A brilliant, haunting piece of music."

"as much as I like martha & the muffins, I have to admit this album only has a few good songs on it. "Swimming" is excellent and "Women around the world at work" is perhaps the other strong track. "One day in Paris" is a beautiful track as well. But three good tracks doesn't give the album quite enough to make it noteworthy. This album did mark progress in the right direction for the group with the next three albums being progressively better. The next album that came out was Dansparc, which is a three-star work. Then came their second best work "Mystery Walk" (four-star). Then their best album "the world is a ball" which is a solid five-star album. The first two martha & the muffins albums unfortunately are one star."

"M+M's second album is a sonic masterpiece, in part because of the subtle nuances of soon-to-be famous producer Daniel Lanois but more because of its subtle marriage of texture and theme. Moody, tounge-in-cheek, and downright gorgeous, the album features strong songwriting by Gaine and Johnson and great realization by the Muffins. Songs like "Swimming", "Boy Without Filters, "Casualties of Glass" and the title song showcase the considerable talent of this Toronto band at a time when rock music was going through its most creative, innovative and fascinating period. This is one of the finest albums of the '80s, and is a testament to the freshness and pop intelligence of the New Wave movement -- as well as to the great musical talent north of the 49th parallel. Well worth looking into."

"When spinning a record by Martha & the Muffins I certainly didn't expect the band's weakest link to be ... Martha but it sure does appear that way, with the male singer stealing the show completely in the fabulous "Swimming", with its lines of "We're Afraid to call it Love...let's call it Swimming" dripping in amazingly sophisticated new wave fashion and casting a long shadow over the rest of the disc. Maybe even one of the 80's finest that one. And then while I expect Martha to recapture her thunder it's the dude again that shines in the eerie "Boys Without Filters". She does claw one back with the tres good "One Day in Paris", though, where her vocals get to a finer plateau than usual."

"This Is The Ice Age" (love the title) is a cool record, the band plays well off each other and their post punk / new wave sound is fairly impressive (in the longer songs' build ups for instance), yet it has the fatal flaw of not having enough quality songs to hold it all together, balancing phenomenal tracks (the three I mentioned before) with below average rock songs that'll probably leave my brain in a heartbeat or two (almost everything else). A mixed bag then, even if it does sound good while it's playing."

"one of the most overlooked albums of the past 3 decades by a criminally ignored band. it parallels and rivals any Talking Heads album and often surpasses them, especially in regards to the prescence of a female vocalist (a wonderful one at that). the title track is a genre defining new wave song and the final half of three hundred years/ chemistry are my favorite 3 odd minutes in music."

"This was actually a great surprise for me, I had heard Metro Music previously which is alright, but largely inconsistent and then I'd heard the odd late song from them which sounds like an entirely different (and terrible) group. This though, this album sounds ahead of it's time, it's more of a post-punk kinda sound, and there is a male vocalist who is actually quite good who pitches in on this album along with Martha of course. The first song "Swimming" is so impressive that I actually thought it sounded like something from The Magnetic Fields...seriously! I'd go on and point out more highlights but when all ten songs are the highlights it wouldn't make sense to. Actually just about every song had a completely different personality, but they were all really good and intricately crafted yet it never is "too much". When I think about the lack of ingenuity involved in the other album I've heard from this group and then I think of what happened here...again it's like night and day. What was really strange for me is that well they are from Toronto and yet I've never heard any of the songs from this album on the radio....ever! This is some of the best post-punk material that will likely go unheard by many, so buy a copy and then pass it on to your friends. I can't believe I had no idea that this amazing album was out there, and I'd have never expected it from this group from the stuff on the radio, so ignore what you know and try try try!!!"

"This album gets a five-star rating from me because it is completely effective in connecting beyond the surface level of the mind and conjuring very distinct feelings. There is a sad, cold nostalgia to this music, even the peppier numbers such as "Women Around the World at Work" and "You Sold the Cottage."
The Ice Age is a time without human warmth and connection. It is open and gray. The music here reflects this empty, lonely feeling, particularly in "Swimming," "Boy Without Filters," "Jets Seem Slower in London's Skies" and "One Day in Paris." The arrangements are sparse and the vocals are stoic. The beautifully sad "One Day in Paris" is particularly nostalgic, with the singer yearning for a sense of completion in another time and place. It is unspecified and unimportant whether that place is in the past or future - all that matters is that it is away from the present "Ice Age."
"Casualties of Glass" is another highlight, and becomes especially effective near its end with the chant of "don't lose hope."
"You sold the Cottage" is the closest the album comes to being lighthearted, and at first seems out of place. However, I think its themes of looking back into the past and finding a sense of dissatisfaction works nicely with the running sense of cold nostalgia.
Also noteworthy are the lengthy "This is the Ice Age" and "Three Hundred Years/Chemistry." The first is almost tribal, while the latter begins as a minimalist instrumental that bursts into a melodic tune that gives a true sense of completion to the album.
The music itself is not the only thing that makes this connection so effective. The album's title relates perfectly to the mood of the music, as does its cover art. It is austere and desolate, intermingling a space seemingly devoid of any specific time and place with a space that is notably modern (illustrated by the tall office building in the distance). In this sense, the entire package conveys a "modern Ice Age.""

"Toronto is not a beautiful city. Not beautiful in the sense of a Paris, Montreal, or Budapest. It's a hodge podge of old and new, mostly twentieth century buildings, with wires and tracks running everywhere. The city is so divided that you get the sense it wants to be somewhere else. Communities like the Annex, Queen St West, The Danforth, and Kensington Market are filled with shops within old store fronts being repainted and ressurected every couple decades. It also happens to be the most multi-cultural city in the world.
It is the kind of place that you would expect a collection of new wave groups would emerge and flourish. It shares new wave's sense of rebirth. It is ambiguous and multifaceted. It is a multi-purpose city as David Byrne might say. But the only real new wave band to present something at the time was Martha and The Muffins. And they are still the only band able to realize the city in music.
This Is The Ice Age is not elegiac, as the title indicates, but presents a reality (the cover to this album also happens to be one of my favourites). Songs like "Swimming", "Casualties of Glass", and the title track are both cold and at the same time hopeful for something better."You Sold The Cottage" is a funny little track that almost any Southern Ontarian can relate to. "Three Hundred Years/Chemistry" is a walk up Bathurst St. from Queen to Bloor, because the street cars aren't running like they should. "One Day In Paris" is, again, from the point of view of the visitor, who seems uncomfortable with anything that grand.
You can keep your Broken Social Scene. Martha and Muffins is the essence of a Canadian musical underground. Don't be fooled by the Cute-sy name. Like Canada, once you get past the preconceptions of some place cozy and kind, you see a moving, breathing, disturbed, and beautiful creature."

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Daniel Lanois - Percussion, Vocals (Background), Engineer, Treatments
Debbie Griffiths - Vocals (Background)
Nick Kent — Percussion, Drums
Dick Smith - Percussion
Glen Schellenberg - Synthesizer
Ron Allen ( — Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax
Jocelyne Lanois - Bass, Percussion, Vocals (Background)
John Oswald ( - Sax (Alto)
Mark Gane - Guitar, Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals, Treatments
Martha Johnson - Guitar, Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals
Nick Gane - Synthesizer, Piano
Produced by Daniel Lanois / Mark Gane / Martha Johnson



01 Obedience
02 World Without Borders
03 Walking Into Walls
04 Danseparc (Every Day It’s Tomorrow)
05 Sins Of Children
06 Several Styles Of Blonde Girls Dancing
07 Boys In The Bushes
08 What People Do For Fun
09 Whatever Happened To Radio Valve Road?
This Dangerous Machines (B-side of Danseparc 12" 1983)

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"a catchy, subversive attack on society as a whole"

" Unique sounding, their Talking Heads style off-beat new wave and punk funk is quite experimental in places, and works well throughout the album. A lost treasure being resurrected, from an unlikely source."


"A new label, and the beginnings of a name change. Working with Daniel Lanois again, M + M managed to produce another album full of beautiful, layered sound, not entirely unlike the previous release, This Is the Ice Age. In fact the two releases are good companions. Mark Gane and Martha Johnson, the writers and main creative force behind the band, once again expand the pop music form into ambient sounds mixed with solid dance beats, augmented by thought-provoking lyrics, and top-notch playing. And, not forgetting the wonderful layered sounds created from a variety of sources, from the powerful, driving "Obedience" to the somber, yet beautiful "Sins of Children" and the almost bittersweet, beat driven, yet melodic "Danseparc (Every Day It's Tomorrow)." An excellent album, and once again, the band shows a continuation, yet progression from their prior releases. It's also amazing to hear how far they had come since their Metro Music debut a mere four years prior to the release of this album. ~ Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide

"Primarily remembered in this country for their 1980 hit, Echo Beach, Martha And The Muffins have long been under-appreciated in their place in the creative forefront of what we now term new wave. Like many acts of the time, they attempted to fuse intelligence and experimentalism with dancefloor-friendly beats and basslines: a sort of Canadian Gang Of Four, if you will. Danseparc, their fourth album has long been known by their hardcore fans as one of their defining statements. Here it's finally re-released with bonus tracks.The band had, by this point shedded founding members and decided to rename themselves M+M (a name that was later to stand for remaining members, Martha Johnson and Mark Gane). Having already relocated to their native Toronto, their previous album (This Is The Ice Age, 1981) had been produced by Daniel Lanois, and it was he who went back into the studio with them in 1983 when, dropped by Virgin, they signed to indie label, Current Records. Lanois' sister, Jocelyne also joined the band. Danseparc's angular funk and tribal modernism revolved around a loose concept of the park in modern urban life. ie: The way in which it attempted to recreate a Waldonian wilderness within the heart of the city and all the contradictions that this raised. Such a lofty concept took its cue from Eno and Byrne's 'fourth world' primitivism, especially on Talking Heads' Remain In Light. In fact the players here represent the next wave of art rock's adoption of ethnic forms and ultra-modern technology. The father of plunderphonics, John Oswald, makes an appeartance on sax on Boys In The Bushes, while the touring version of the band (included on a live bonus version of Danseparc) included future ambient guitar legend, Michael Brook. Both he and Lanois were of course to work with their hero Eno. And it's Lanois who really makes his mark here. A veritable fifth member of the band during the recording, he pushed the sonic limits of what might have been a functional new wave album. Guitars are flanged into insanity while the pallette of percussion rattles teases and gets the white boy hoodoo down straight. It constantly takes risks - for instance the blistering guitar overkill about a minute and a half into opener, Obedience. On top of this the album features film samples, manages to slip in singing pygmies and even what sounds like cistercian chanting. Amazingly, for such an intellectual record, Danseparc's title track did enter the Canadian top 40 and critical acclaim ran high. Even to this day it sounds fresh and brave."(

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Daniel Lanois - Guitar, Pedal Steel, Producer, Treatments
Dave Pilch ( - Bass
Dick Smith - Percussion
the Brecker Brothers ( - Horns
Wayne Mills - Horn
Eluriel Tinker - Bass
Yogi Horton - Drums
Martin Deller
( - Percussion
Fred Maher ( - Drums
Julie Masi (ex-member The Parachute Club) - Vocals
Brian Patti, Shawne Jackson (, Sharon Lee Williams ( — Backing vocals
Rufus Cappdocia ( — Cello
Mark Gane - Guitar, Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer, Photography, Cover Design, Treatments
Martha Johnson - Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer
Produced by Daniel Lanois / Mark Gane / Martha Johnson

Released as by M+M

"Black Stations White Stations"


01 Black Stations/White Stations
02 Cooling The Medium

03 Come Out And Dance
04 I Start To Stop
05 Big Trees
06 In Between Sleep And Reason
07 Garden In The Sky
08 Nation Of Followers
09 Alibi Room
10 Rhythm Of Life

11 Black Stations/White Stations (Extended version)
12 Black Stations/White Stations (Disconet remix)

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"Stripped down to just Martha Johnson and Mark Gane, and assorted studio musicians, M + M worked closely with producer Daniel Lanois for the third time. And, once again, it was a very successful combination. Incorporating more funk and dance sound, perhaps due to being partially recorded in New York City, M + M continue their growth and expand their dimensions as a band. Once again, the album is full of melodic, well-constructed songs. "Cooling the Medium" and "Black Stations/White Stations" have some wonderfully memorable hooks; the latter also features the amazing bass of Tinker Barfield and the horn playing of Michael and Randy Brecker. The incredible beat structures throughout the album (provided, for the most part by Yogi Horton) make it almost impossible to sit still. But as with their previous two releases, this album is sound. M + M create sound through layering, and excellent producing and arrangements. Martha Johnson uses her voice quite effectively on this release, especially on "Come Out and Dance," and the wonderful gem "Rhythm of Life." ~ Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide

"Martha and the Muffins, best known for the New Wave hit "Echo Beach" in 1980, continued to produce some of the most interesting music of the 80's, but listening to this CD, you will have to put aside some preconceptions of "80's music". M+M experimented freely, and the uninitiated might find the mix perplexing. Indeed there is a marked difference in tone between "Danseparc" and "Mystery Walk", the former being a broad-shouldered, boisterous, in-your-face kind of album, while "Mystery Walk" is cooler, more distilled. There are terrific songs in both realms."

"Mystery Walk, released in 1984 is still totally rad, and the best in the M+M catalog. Here's why M+M still sounds cool today: Daniel Lanois. This musician/engineer/producer has worked with U2, Robbie Robertson, Scott Weiland, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel, and on and on. This guy has "rock as art" down. Very Cool Guy. So on Mystery Walk you'll hear some of the new tools of the day (i.e. digital synthesizers), but filtered through delays, reverbs, and other techniques that render the sounds very organically. Add a lot of REAL drums and percussion, and you get some great pop grooves that remind me of period Talking Heads."

"I was beginning to wonder when Martha & The Muffins or M+M as they were called at this point began to sour. Especially after being thrilled with This Is the Ice Age and having enjoyed both Metro Music and Trance and Dance, but well I haven't gotten to Danseparc yet which bridges the gap between this material and the good stuff. Okay having already marked the other material as "the good stuff" I suppose I ought to explain what isn't right with this album. It actually starts off well entirely different than they used to be but perhaps that's because with the name change the band was reduced to simply Martha Johnson and her Husband I believe. Along with the line-up change one should prepare for the difference in sound, now they are more of a synthy '80s sounding band and actually it's more of a world love kind of mode. All of the sudden their music is about harmony and love and whatever which may have been present in their earlier work but it was well...better hidden. Okay this sounds like I'm being quite a whiner, but seriously the biggest issue with this (aside from the scaled down useage of "real" instruments) is that it sounds positively cheesy and happy which doesn't work for post-punk....for me. So anyhow I guess it's safe to put them in with new wave/pop/world stuff at this point but sometimes this album hits it's mark and truly it's not that bad or anything. As M+M they have several "hits" which play on our Canadian retro music video channel and they are pretty erm...bad, "Cooling The Medium" being one I believe, and "Black Stations/White Stations" which is also on this album also fits that bill. In fact, some of the duff singles from the M+M days are what initially scared me away from this band. I guess overall at an arms length it's somewhat entertaining but when you compare it to how they used to sound that's where severe disappointment kicks in. If you aren't really familiar with this band, drop this review and go listen to Metro Music or any album with The Muffins listed will do really."

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Dick Smith - Percussion
Michael Sloski — Drums
Dimo Safari - Photography
Eluriel Tinker ( - Bass
Tony Levin ( - Chant
Yogi Horton ( Drums
Shawne Jackson,Jerry Marotta ( Colina Phillips, Ruby Turner ( — Backing vocals
Greg Roberts - Engineer
Jerry Marotta
( - Vocals (Background)
Mark Gane - Guitar, Vocals, Producer, Performer, Cover Design
Paul Ridout (,,485034,00.html) — Programming
Produced by David Lord (also Peter Gabriel, XTC, Echo and the Bunnymen,see: Mark Gane / Martha Johnson

Released as by M+M
"Song In My Head"


01 The World Is A Ball
02 I Watch I Wait
03 Watching The Boys Fall Down
04 Only You
05 By The Waters Of Babylon
06 Song In My Head
07 Don’t Jump The Gun
08 Stuck On The Grid
09 Someone Else’s Shoes
10 As A Matter Of Fact

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""The World is a Ball" is the best Martha & the Muffins album, hands down. This unfortunately was a difficult album to find in the US even when it was a new release (perhaps because it seems to have been a Canadian release that RCA didn't really push in the states). Every song is exceptionally good and the group is at their very best."

"Continuing as a duo, augmented by the cream of the crop of studio musicians, Mark Gane and Martha Johnson connected with new producer David Lord, and returned to England to record this album. It's a different sound from the prior release, Mystery Walk, but once again, one of the charms of M + M was that one never quite knew what to expect from them. The album is full of interesting sounds, and wonderful songs. Mark Gane demonstrates his singing ability on the beautiful "Stuck On the Grid," and Martha Johnson continues to use her voice to full extent on "Song In My Head," the somber "I Watch, I Wait," and the somewhat angry "Don't Jump the Gun." The production is somewhat loud for M + M, and the sounds are not nearly as layered as previous releases. However, strap on headphones, and one is treated to some interesting effects and sounds sprinkled throughout. Overall, a pleasant, hard-sounding pop album with dance overtones; there is enough here to keep avid fans interested and win over some new listeners. ~ Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide


Various producers - CD Compilation of first three albums


01 Echo Beach
02 Paint By Number Heart
03 Saigon

04 Indecision
05 Terminal Twilight
06 Hide And Seek
07 Monotone
08 Sinking Land
09 Revenge (Against The World)
10 Cheesies And Gum
11 Insect Love
12 About Insomnia
13 Motorbikin’
14 Suburban Dream
15 Was Ezo
16 Women Around The World At Work
17 This Is The Ice Age

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"A rather poorly assembled best-of from Martha and the Muffins' first three albums, released on DinDisc/Virgin. In fact, it's just the Metro Music release, with seven added tracks from Trance and Dance and This Is the Ice Age, and the latter is poorly represented, so it's not even a good overview of the band. The music is excellent, with tons of great songs and great memories ("Echo Beach" one of the finest singles released in the '80s), but it is the overall packaging that is particularly disturbing. The liner notes do not provide much information, and at times the notes appear almost insulting. With the exception of the odd but interesting "Insect Love" (previously only available on a single), there are no rarities or interesting oddities. With the wealth of material available to Virgin from the first three albums, this could have been a great, well-thought-out package. Martha and the Muffins deserve much better than this. Still, the music is top-notch, and fun to listen to once again. ~ Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide

"you may love this gem from the early 80's. It has the minimal mood of Wire's Chairs Missing, the saxophone drone of Romeo Void and the sultry/ironic vocal style of Martha Davis and the Motels. It is the epitome of the 80's art school sound. It's modern and spare, but tuneful. It is detached and abstract. It represents the triumph of a redefined and stripped down approach to pop music that no longer exists. Echo Beach is a great song that begins the CD and all the tracks from the original Metro Music grow out of each other like crystals."

"A wonderful "compilation", if you can call it that, of early Martha and the Muffins (later, M+M), a horribly underappreciated Toronto band of the early '80's (and continuing through, at least, 1992). This CD contains the entire Metro Music LP, a briskly stunning piece of new-wave power-pop, as well as a handful of tracks from Trance and Dance and This is the Ice Age (each available in the US previously only as imports). Anyone who listens to the two "Ice Age" tracks will hopefully try to seek out the entire album, as well they should - although never released on CD, even the original vinyl is worth seeking out to anyone who enjoys their pop with a brain, with a Roxy Music-esque twist."

"My favorite song of course "Echo Beach", but every song just about is good on here. This band was perfect for new wave, but ahead of it's time too!"

"Take a listen to elastica ,then listen to this cd !The Martha influence is unmistakable .It is a great cd and I forgot how much I loved this band when I was young .I gave Martha and the Muffins records to friends for b day gifts when I was young I love this cd!!!!!!!!"


David Piltch - Bass
Mark Gane - Producer, Writer, Main Performer, Photography
Martha Johnson - Producer, Writer, Main Performer
Michael Sloski ( - Percussion
Paul Ridout - Sousaphone
Stuart Gordon (,,437168,00.html) - Violin
ex-Muffin Tim Gane (on "additional percussion")
Produced by Mark Gane / Martha Johnson


01 To Dream About You
02 Fighting The Monster
03 Rainbow Sign
04 Modern Lullaby
05 Paradise
06 The Looking Time
07 Birdcage Walk
08 Everybody Has A Place
09 Show Me Your Magic
10 Million Dollars
11 Where Blue Meets Green

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Reverting back to their old name for their first new release in six years, Martha and the Muffins, still the duo of Mark Gane and Martha Johnson, deliver a somewhat more mature, and very melodic sound. That is not to say the album is slow or bland; in fact, quite the opposite. Mark Gane continues his fascination with layered sounds, supporting the group's distinct pop style. This CD also features some of the finest songs they have written. "Rainbow Sign" is a standout, augmented by fabulous violin playing from Stuart Gordon. "Everybody Has a Place" is another fine track with a mellow tune, full of interesting sounds, and very nice singing from Martha. A well-produced and well-played album, full of incredible songs, that demonstrates that some bands are able to mature and still release very relevant and essential music. A must for Martha and the Muffins fans. ~ Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide

"The seventh studio album, recorded in Bath, England in Martha's and Mark's bedroom is a introspective, sonically rich combination of uptempo and quieter songs that reflect the beautiful, dreamy city it was recorded in.Originally released in 1992, the seventh MatM studio album was recorded in bedrooms between 1988-91 while Martha Johnson and Mark Gane were living in Bath, England and was completed upon their return to Toronto. A major departure stylistically from their 1986 release, The World Is A Ball, Modern Lullaby is a introspective, sonically rich combination of uptempo and quieter songs that reflect the beautiful, dreamy city it was recorded in. Featuring David Piltch, (k.d. lang, Mary Margaret O'Hara) on bass, Stuart Gordon, (Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack, Tori Amos) on violin, Michael Sloski, (Bruce Cockburn, Mary Margaret O'Hara) and original Muffin drummer, (and Mark's brother), Tim Gane on additional percussion as well as sound advice from Paul Ridout, (Peter Hammill, Clannad).
What the critics say about Modern Lullaby..."

"It's been far too long since the cool, occasionally detached Toronto duo of Mark Gane and Martha Johnson had their hits…Rainbow Sign is already getting nibbles at MUCH and Fighting The Monster is the likely follow-up…the pair deserves to be heard again. ***1/2"
THE RECORD, October 12, 1992

"M+M have always made unique albums, each one different from the other with nary a dud to be found and certainly devoid of filler. This one is no disappointment. From the opening track To Dream About You , with its Jon Hassel-like trumpet sounds wiggling around in the background to the unlikely violin work in Fighting The Monster, the duo again prove their capacity for inventing fresh and durable music. Fans will love it."
Jim English, EXCLAIM MAGAZINE, November 1992

"Johnson's voice has never sounded better, whether she's giving strong and throaty vocals to songs like Fighting The Monster or singing smoothly and melodically as in Show Me Your Magic."
Dianne Rheinhart, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, December 26, 1992



Compilation of 7 studio albums plus one new bonus track


01 Paint By Number Heart
02 Echo Beach
03 Suburban Dream

04 You Sold The Cottage
05 Swimming
06 Women Around The World At Work
07 World Without Borders
08 Danceparc (Every Day Its Tomorrow)
09 Obedience
10 Several Style Of Blonde Girls Dancing
11 Black Stations/White Stations
12 Come Out And Dance
13 Cooling The Medium
14 Song In My Head
15 By The Waters Of Babylon
16 Rainbow Sign
17 Fighting The Monster
18 Resurrection

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"The second, and infinitely superior compilation CD of Martha and the Muffins/M + M, an '80s band that crossed many bridges, including pop, new wave, experimental, dance, and whatever else they felt like doing. This particular CD works much better than the first for two reasons. First, it spans their entire career, including the material from the RCA years, when the band was known briefly as M + M. Second, the compilation was assembled by Martha Johnson and Mark Gane, the creative core of the band, and they made some excellent choices. Also, because the CD is sequenced in chronological order, it assists the listener in assessing this incredibly creative band's evolution, while maintaining their own distinct sound. It is also able to demonstrate Martha Johnson's growing confidence with her astounding voice, and Mark Gane's mastery of the studio and his various instruments. This CD also serves as an excellent introduction to this band. The hits are all here ("Echo Beach," "Women Around The World At Work," and "Black Stations/White Stations"), as well as choice album cuts ("World Without Borders," Come Out and Dance," "Rainbow Sign"). It is a wonderful overview of this band; the only thing better is to seek out the original albums. This also proved to be the CD debut of several of the songs, and they have never sounded better, especially the wonderfully eerie but danceable, "Danseparc," the poppy "Song In My Head," and the incredibly catchy "Cooling the Medium." Overall, an excellent album for fans and newcomers. Perhaps the only criticism is that given the wealth of material of this band, a double CD would have given the band an opportunity to include other tracks, and the obscure but brilliant non album B-sides. Included, however, is a brand new song, "Resurrection," which fits in quite well with the older material, yet is able to show that the band continues to grow. ~ Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide

"A great new band that I just recently ran into, which I'm pretty happy about. This is a poppy new wave group that alternates between rock leanings, funk, Eno-influenced production, and dance. All of this coated over with a great sense of melody and songwriting. The first 10 of the 18 wonderful tracks, which pull tracks from their first 4 albums, are by far the best, taking four tracks from their best album in my opinion "Danseparc". Fans of new wave should take notice of this group, this is an interesting musical footnote on the genre and should please anyone interested in it. ... "

"If you are a fan, you will love it. If you are not a fan, you don't know what you are missing!"

"Often dismissed as one hit wonders in the UK, Martha and the Muffins made about seven great albums and are still around today. A brilliant compilation from a talent that is still fresh and original after 20 years as the new track (Resurrection) shows. The only criticism which stops me giving this collection five stars is the strange inclusion of a clunker like 'Suburban Dream' at the expense of the infinitely better 'Was Ezo'. Now what does it take to get a record company to release their back-catalogue?"

"One of the greatest bands in Canadian music history. All hits, past to present. There are some great hits missing though. As other reviewers hope, maybe they'll appear on Retrospective II (This is the Ice Age, Sins of Children, Boy Without Filters, One Day in Paris, ALIBI ROOM). Or better yet , maybe they'll re-release all their albums. Check out "Modern Lullaby" and "Far Away in Time" by the same artists."

"After hearing Toyah's cover of "Echo Beach" I became interested in finding out more about the Canadian band Martha & the Muffins. I was not dissappointed one bit. This album contain 18 songs all distinct and largely experimental. I've never heard a band quiet like the Muffins. Many of the songs touch on several genres. The erie sound of "Swimming" and the layering of the chorus is awesome. The chorus and melodic guitar of "World Without Borders" is dreamy. "Danseparc" is very stylish and catchy. "Several Styles of Blondie Girls Dancing" is one of the most odd songs, but one of the most brillant. But "Song In My Head" is my personal favorite. I can't seem to get this highly danceable song out of my head. The strenght of these songs is reason enough for me to rate this album five stars. Martha & the Muffins seems to be another one of those brillant bands that tragicly receives little attention from the media."


Dub, Future Jazz, Downtempo


01 Echo Beach (Extended Dive Version) (Remix - Deep Dive Corp.)
02 Echo Beach (Le Mar Dub Version) (Remix - Gabriel Le Mar)
03 Echo Beach (Dreaddub Version) (Remix - Reverend E.C.H.O.)
04 Martha & The Muffins - On a Silent Summer Evening (Echo Beach Version)
05 Echo Beach (Flowing Version) (Remix - Thomas Fehlmann)
06 Echo Beach (Beach House Version) (Remix - Vincenzo)
07 Echo Beach (Echo Version) (Remix - Sounds From The Ground)
08 Echo Beach (Elephant Dub Version) (Remix - Groove Corporation)
09 Echo Beach (Waterdub Version) (Remix - Watershell)
10 Echo Beach (Pre-Fade Dub Version) (Remix - Pre Fade Listening)
11 Echo Beach (Sushi Version) (Remix - Sushi Club, The)
12 Echo Beach (Echo Nuri Version) (Remix - Ostinato)
13 Echo Beach (Infected By The Scourge Of The Earth) (Remix - Scourge Of The Earth, The alias Jimmy Cauty,ex-KLF)

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"The legendary wave tune Echo Beach by the Canadian combo Martha & The Muffins is back on earth. Germany's finest (as far as progressive sounds and flows are concerned) dub label, named Echo Beach and inspired by the lyrics and spirit of that track, has set out to pay tribute to this song which is more than a classic. The first mix/remix of Echo Beach, done by Reverend E.C.H.O. and released on the Echo Beach sampler 'Various Artists: Far Away In Time' has already enjoyed a strong reputation ... Read More »world wide. Marki Gane, the original composer of Echo Beach and still a member of M & M (aka Martha & Muffins) - and by the way, also married to Martha Johnson (lead singer of the band M&M) - enthused: `It sounds as if the orignal ECHO BEACH was shot into outer space, hit a planet and floated back to earth in pieces...!!!"

"The problem with this album is that it is based on one brilliant song. If you come across anybody who has Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins in their all-time top ten, well, you can't really argue, even if it's not in your personal top ten (it's not in mine). It's got a great guitar riff, some haunting lyrics and it's just generally very atmospheric. The better tracks on this album are the ones that make heavy use of that guitar riff. As soon as they go off into trance-y squelches or d'n'b rinse outs they get very stale very quickly....
Anyway, there's nothing on this album that sounds half as strange or exciting as the original single sounded when I was a nipper. It just goes to prove, if you've got a great pop song, you can't improve it with remixes, you can only damage it.
I think this disk will be helpful for DJs who need to drop something into a set when they need to lift a floor full of jaded 30-somethings. Everyone else should give it a miss."

"Lets be honest - the only reason i bought this CD was for Jimmy Cauty's "Infected by the Scourge of the Earth" remix. Was it worth it? well yes, I think so. It's a Tribute, not so much to Martha & The muffins, but to the song "Echo Beach" we are presented with 13 diferet version of the track, mostly with the same, distinctive, guitar riff. All the tracks are good, listening to the whome album is not as repetitive as you might think, and while most of the tracks are "dancy" in nature to my ears (not a "Dance Music" fan, just a KLF fan) they're pretty good.Well worth a listen!"

Martha and the Muffins emerged from the early punk/new wave/art pop scene in 1977 which was centered around various clubs along Toronto's Queen Street West and the Ontario College of Art, where several members of the band were students. With their eclectic mix of musical influences, (ranging from free-form jazz, experimental music, Motown, Roxy Music and The Beatles), MatM quickly attracted a strong local following which continued to grow as the band became exposed to a wider audience. After Glenn O'Brien, music critic at Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine in New York City played a cassette of Muffins songs to an A&R rep for Virgin Records UK and Robert Fripp of King Crimson, the band was signed by Virgin Records and recorded their first album, Metro Music at The Manor near Oxford, England in 1979. With the top ten success of the single Echo Beach around the world in 1980, MatM toured extensively in Britain, Europe and North America, returning to The Manor to record their second album Trance and Dance and opening for Roxy Music on its U.K. tour. " In early 1981, new bass player Jocelyne Lanois introduced her brothers Daniel and Bob Lanois to the band, leading to a rewarding artistic collaboration with co-producer Daniel Lanois beginning with the third MatM album This Is The Ice Age and contining for two more albums, Danseparc (1983) and Mystery Walk (1984). In 1983, lead vocalist Martha Johnson and guitarist Mark Gane pared the band down to a duo and changed the name to M+M. Combining texture and art funk in Black Stations/White Stations, (from M+M's Mystery Walk album, featuring the Brecker Brothers on horns), the dance single reached #2 in Billboard's Dance Chart in autumn 1984. After setting up their own home studio, The Web, Mark and Martha began recording The World Is A Ball, enlisting producer David Lord, (Peter Gabriel, XTC, Echo and the Bunnymen) as co-producer and continuing to record at his studio in Bath, England in the spring/summer of 1985. After The World Is A Ball was released in 1986, the video for the single Only You, directed and shot by Mark and Martha on a shoestring budget on black-and-white Super 8 film, won Best Music Video Production at the 1987 Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival, influencing the look of many television commercials and receiving critical acclaim. Martha and Mark moved to Bath, England in early 1987, setting up their studio and beginning to work on their seventh album Modern Lullaby, a hybrid of funk/pop/country and experimental influences. Eventually released under the original name Martha and the Muffins, Modern Lullaby briefly appeared in 1992 before the Canadian Indie label that released it went bankrupt. Martha and Mark spent much of the '90's scoring music for various television and film projects as well as Michael Gibson's well received feature-length film Defy Gravity. The birth of Martha and Mark's daughter in 1992, inspired Martha to write and record an album of original children's music, Songs From The Tree House which won the 1996 Juno Award for Best Children's Album. Since its release, she has performed for thousands of children in school and public venues across Ontario and beyond. In 1998, with the help of EMI Canada's Deanne Cameron, Shan Kelley and Warren Stewart, Mark and Martha released Then Again - A Retrospective, the first compilation CD to include representative tracks from all seven of the Martha and the Muffins/M+M albums released to date, digitally remastered and including a bonus track Resurrection. This was followed by the CD reissue of MatM's first album Metro Music, in 2003. This Is The Ice Age, which fans have been requesting for years, is scheduled to be reissued in April 2005. Encouraged by continued demands for reissues of the back catalogue and for new material, Martha and Mark are currently writing and recording material for a new Martha and the Muffins album as well as several individual projects. In addition, they hope to continue to reissue the remaining albums on CD.

The roots of this Canadian new wave band lie in the mid-70s, when Martha Johnson was the organist with Oh Those Pants, a 10-piece 60s covers/send-up band that also included future members of the Cads. This was followed by a spell in another Toronto band, the Doncasters, who specialized in revamping 60s garage band material. In 1977, Johnson joined up with Mark Gane (guitar), Carl Finkle (bass), Andy Haas (saxophone) and Tim Gane (drums) to form Martha And The Muffins. They were joined by Martha Ladly, who initially played guitar but later moved to keyboards and trombone. The band sent a tape to New York journalist Glenn O'Brien, who referred them to the fledgling DinDisc Records label. This led to the release of their debut single, 1978's "Insect Love". Success followed in March 1980 with "Echo Beach", which was a number 10 hit in the UK charts. Its escapist verses ("From 9 to 5 I have to spend my time at work/My job is very boring I'm an office clerk/The only thing that helps me pass the time away/Is knowing I'll be back at Echo Beach someday") remain popular to this day. Follow-ups, including "Saigon" (with its double groove b-side - playable both backwards and forwards) fared less well. This resulted in Martha And The Muffins becoming denigrated as "one-hit-wonders", when in actuality all their albums, particularly Trance And Dance, are deeply resonant collections of songwriting which endure as well as any "pop new wave" of the period.
Tensions between the various members saw Ladly leaving in 1981 to work with the Associates. She later formed the Scenery Club who released two singles on DinDisc. Finkle was then replaced by Jocelyne Lanois, up-and-coming producer Daniel Lanois' sister. Daniel teamed up with the band to produce their finest album, This Is The Ice Age. Following its release the band signed to RCA Records and session player Clara Hurst played keyboards temporarily before joining the Belle Stars in 1982. Following Haas' departure the band was reduced to a line-up of Johnson, Mark Gane, Lanois and drummer Nick Kent to record 1983's Danseparc, but the album's poor commercial showing hastened their demise.
Wife and husband team Johnson and Mark Gane formed M+M, who enjoyed a major US hit with "Black Stations, White Stations' They released two albums as a duo, Mystery Walk and The World Is A Ball, before moving to the UK. Following soundtrack work in Toronto for the movie Modern Gravity, the duo revived the Martha And The Muffins name for 1992"s Modern Lullaby, but their label went bankrupt shortly after its release. They have also recorded a children's album together, Songs From The Tree House which received positive reviews and won the Juno Award, (Canada's equivalent to the Grammy) for Best Children's Album the following year."
Martha Johnson & Mark Gane have composed music for commercial applications including scores, songs and theme music for the television drama series "Paradise Falls" (Showcase), as "A Comme Artiste", "L'Avenir en Tete" and "Video Art Video".Defy Gravity (1990) .
The rest of the band went on to find work as a driver for the Canadian Automobile Association (Tim Gane), architect and swimming pool designer (Finkle), graphic designer (Ladly), and art museum guard (Haas).Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

Metro Music (1979)
Trance and Dance (1980)
This is the Ice Age (1981)
Danseparc (1983, credited to Martha and the Muffins/M + M)
Mystery Walk (1984, credited to M + M)
The World is a Ball (1985, credited to M + M)
Far Away In Time (1987) - compilation
Modern Lullaby (1992)
Then Again: A Retrospective (1998)
!!! New album is coming soon !!!
Delicate (2008,not released yet)

"She was a founding member of the Canadian New Wave band Martha & the Muffins where she played keyboards and vocals. The New Wave was a movement in American, Australian and British popular music, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, growing out of the New York City musical scene centered around the club CBGB. The term itself is a source of much confusion. ... Martha and the Muffins Martha and the Muffins were a Canadian new wave synth pop band in the 1970s and 1980s. ... Ladly left the band in August 1980 and relocated to the United Kingdom where she lived with designer Peter Saville, her painting Factus 8 was used by him for the sleeve of New Order's EP 1981 - Factus 8 - 1982.(
She briefly pursued a solo career and also provided backing vocals on Roxy Music's 1982 album Avalon. In 1982 she joined cult Scottish Post-punk act The Associates famously appearing with them on Top of the Pops when Alan Rankine fed a chocolate guitar to the audience. She left The Associates in 1986 and subsequently worked with Robert Palmer's band.Between 1992 and 2001 she worked with Peter Gabriel as the head of Real World Design, editor of Real World Notes and a producer for Real World MultiMedia. As a key member of the Real World MultiMedia team, she was the recipient of numerous international design awards for interactive art and music projects such as Secret World Live, EVE and Ceremony of Innocence CD-ROM projects.
She is currently an associate professor of design at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where her specialty is interactive communication. She is a mentor with the Canadian Film Centre's Interactive Project Lab (IPL) and a faculty member with the Habitat Interactive Art and Entertainment Program. Prior to her appointment at OCAD, she was the creative director of HorizonZero; a bilingual internet publication dedicated to creating and showcasing the best in digital art and culture in Canada, in collaboration with the Banff New Media Institute and The Ontario College of Art & Design is Ontarios premier school devoted entirely to art and design."

Martha Ladly:
"It's really nice to read all of your comments, and to hear that people still love our music. You know, I even listen to it myself from time to time, and I think it still has a fresh original sound, (that was my poetry and spoken intro on terminal twilight...) I think it is because we were living the music. Being at art school and in the band in the 80s had to one of the most fun times in my life! I'm a university professor now and teach at design at OCAD in Toronto, and still sing and play keyboards for fun and pleasure, maybe I'll do some recording or performing again -- you never know! Life is definitely what you make it. Oh, and I love Stereolab too, I think they learned some keyboard playing techniques -- two fingers -- and female duet tricks from us, but it is a different Tim Gane..." (

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has performed, recorded and collaborated with many musicians (e.g: God Is My Co-Pilot (1993-1994),John Zorn (1995),Zeena Parkins (1996),Marc Ribot (1997),Ikue Mori (1998),David Watson (1999)) who were at the center of the creative avant garde music coming out of NYC by the '90s, such as John Zorn, Fred Frith, Ikue Mori, Thurston Moore, Marc Ribot, and more. Haas was an original member of Toronto's Martha & the Muffins, which formed in 1977. He played saxophones for the band through their 1981 release, This is the Ice Age. Through the '90s, Haas was most often found playing the didjeridu, such as on the fun and eclectic Knitting Factory compilation, Jewish Alternative Movement: Guide for Perplexed, and on his own album, Arnhem Land, released on the Avant label in 1997. ~ Joslyn Layne, All Music Guide

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the architect and swimming pool designer who is a member of Lost Anglers ( since 2005 where he plays on piano, organ, mandolin.A founding member of Martha and the Muffins, Carl is also the former manager of art-rockers the Spoons and classical artists The Bowkun Trio. He cut his country teeth playing with Johnny Macleod's Country Lads and was the executive producer of the first 45 released by celebrated 70s Queen Street legends, the Dishes

I also found this:

"Carl Finkle, King Township, is a board member and a past president of the King Township Historical Society, and an amateur genealogist who has been researching the Rolling family on and off for the last 18 years. He has a B.A. from York University, majoring in history. He teaches part time at Seneca College, and works full time as a landscape designer. Over the years he has spoken to local historical societies about his research into the Rolling family, and this February he was part of the York Region Board of Education's "African Heritage in York Region" program for students." ( )

"is a Canadian musician, bassplayer, songwriter , who has been a member of the bands Martha and the Muffins and Crash Vegas ( and . She is the sister of legendary record producer Daniel Lanois, and was partner to producer, musician and Boys Brigade founder Malcolm Burn, collaborating on his solo release, Redemption, while they together operated the experimental Lab Studio.Lanois went on to develop a career in scoring music for films and documentaries, in addition to touring stints as bass player with Ani DiFranco and Chris Whitley.She later retired from music, and is now a graphic design instructor at the Ontario College of Art & Design."
( and

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played with the CeeDees (, Mondo Combo, the Nationals and recently is a member of Mad Housewives (

More info: (lots of photos) (reunion pics)

Lot of thanks to my friend for The World Is A Ball album and for the live record!!