Tag Archives: Rush

RUSH – Counterparts & Test For Echo

In to the ’80s Rush released their best known album Moving Pictures, but the band’s follow up – Signals in ’82 signaled a change from the hard rock / prog metal guitar driven sound to a slightly lighter sound with a lot more keyboards. Despite this Signals is one of my top 3 or 4 Rush albums with tracks like “Subdivisions” and “Analog Kid”. The next album Grace Under Pressure was more in tune with the ’80s, a great album, but less heavy. I saw that tour (my first Rush show), as well as the follow up tour for Power Windows. That latter album was the start of a period where I began losing interest in the band and moved on, with Rush’s next 3 albums being lighter, with more keyboards and less hard rock – Hold Your Fire, Presto, and Roll The Bones — albums I didn’t get til well after their releases, and Rush LPs I played the least. But in 1993 Rush would return to a hard rock guitar driven approach with the album Counterparts, released in October, it would peak at #2 on the US Billboard charts. I remember “Stick It Out ” being the first track to be aired and I thought it was a cool heavy track, and upon hearing the rest of the album I was convinced Rush had returned, with songs like “Cut To The Chase”, “Nobody’s Hero”, “Between Sun & Moon”, and my favorite from that album – “Animate” – what a great album! Gone were excessive [most all] keyboards, rap breaks, techno… it was back to guitar, bass and drums, and the organ on “Animate” was a nice touch. Influenced by the ’90s scene, but still Rush – and heavier than they had been in over a decade.

Prior to the next Rush album Alex Lifeson would release his side-project Victor in January of ’96 (featuring the singer from I Mother Earth). Counterparts was followed up in September of ’96 with Test For Echo, another great sounding album. I thought it was a solid follow up / partner with the classic title track, plus “Driven”, “Half The World”, “Time and Motion” etc… Test For Echo would be a top 10 album in the the US, Canada, and Finland. Both albums sporting blue covers, with the latter being a classic Hugh Syme design featuring an inuksuk (a stone figure in the shape of a human). Both albums would be co-produced by Peter Collins, featuring 11 tracks each.

And strangely (well it was the times) – neither album would see a domestic vinyl release until 2015 (well Counterparts was issued in Europe and Brazil on vinyl initially). In November of 2015 both albums were issued on 2-LP 200 gram vinyl editions [separately], with the 4th side being an etched design. I remember finding these no problem at the time and getting both for under $25, but both are highly sought after now, with these editions fetching over $300 on Discogs! I wonder if we’ll ever see box sets of these 2 albums(!?) 🙂

Test For Echo would be the last Rush studio album for nearly 6 years, as the band would be on hiatus following the loss of Neal Peart’s daughter and wife in ’97 & ’98. In that period before 2002’s Vapor Trails there were a few compilations, as well as the excellent Different Stages : Live, and Geddy Lee’s solo album My Favorite Headache. I see a number of Rush album rankings online usually have Test For Echo near the bottom of the list, with Counterparts much higher, but I like the pair fairly equally, a great period, and far more enjoyable to the few that came before them.

Links:

http://www.martinpopoff.com/html/driven-rush-in-the-90-and-in-the-end.html

https://www.rushisaband.com/blog/2015/11/06/4519/Rushs-Counterparts-and-Test-for-Echo-vinyl-reissues-released-today

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/rush-counterparts-album-review

ENVY OF NONE – New band featuring Alex Lifeson & Andy Curran announce album

Envy Of None, the new band and debut self-titled album from Alex Lifeson (Rush), Andy Curran (Coney Hatch), Alfio Annibalini and singer Maiah Wynne due for release on Kscope on April 8th 

First single “Liar” out now – 
LISTEN HERE 

PRE-ORDER HERE (https://eon.lnk.to/EnvyOfNone)
Alex Lifeson is no stranger to the concept of evolution. As a founding member of Rush, he’s been able to explore more musical ground than just about any other guitar player out there – taking rock to new progressive heights throughout the decades and always in the most wildly inventive of ways. His influence can be heard on countless bands around the world, from indie shoegaze and math rock to heavy metal and beyond. Over the last few years Lifeson has been focusing on a new project that, no matter how well-acquainted you are with his discography, will undoubtedly shatter all seeds of expectation and blow the mind. That project is Envy Of None.

The new band, also featuring Coney Hatch founder/bassist Andy Curran, accomplished producer and engineer Alfio Annibalini and singer-songwriter Maiah Wynne, will be releasing their self-titled debut album on April 8 via Kscope. Its 11 tracks – which ricochet between various shades of alternative, experimental and synth rock – throw surprises at every turn, twisting dark melodies against contemporary pop hooks. Lifeson himself is proudly aware of how little of it crosses over with the band that made him famous. 

However, it was only when singer Maiah Wynne became involved that this truly started to feel like a band destined to go somewhere. Her haunting melodies and soul-baring intensity is – by the admission of her own bandmates – what truly brought this music to life. All things considered; she is a star in the making… “I sent over an early version of the song Shadow,” explains Andy Curran. “When I played what she’d done back to the others they were like, ‘Who is this crazy talented person?!’”

The album’s first single, Liar, is out now. Its industrial beats, driving fuzz bass and atmospheric guitars concoct a seductive swirl indeed – thrilling in ways closer to the darker art rock of Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle than anything these musicians have been known for prior.

“Maiah became my muse,” continues Alex Lifeson. “She was able to bring this whole new ethereal thing through her sense of melody on tracks like Liar and Look Inside. After hearing her vocals on Never Said I Love You, I felt so excited. I’ve never had that kind of inspiration working with another musician. When we say she’s special, it’s because she’s really fucking special!”

“One of my favourite things about these songs is the intimacy of them,” reveals Maiah Wynne. “It makes them feel different and more honest. There are some heavier songs too, like Enemy, and then tracks like Kabul Blues, that sound completely different to anything else.”

The album closer, Western Sunset, which was penned by Alex Lifeson in tribute to his dear friend Neil Peart. It’s a highly emotive piece of music to honour a man deeply missed by the rock community at large, and even more so by those who were lucky enough to know him. “I visited Neil when he was ill,” says Alex Lifeson. “I was on his balcony watching the sunset and found inspiration. There’s a finality about a sunset that kinda stayed with me throughout the whole process. It had meaning. It was the perfect mood to decompress after all these different textures… a nice way to close the book.”

It’s a book you’ll almost certainly want to be reading. Envy Of None’s self-titled album is due for release on April 8 via Kscope.

Envy Of None track listing 
1. Never Said I Love You [04:06]
2. Shadow [03:21]
3. Look Inside [04:44]
4. Liar [03:13]
5. Spy House [02:23]
6. Dog`s Life [04:36]
7. Kabul Blues [03:12]
8. Old Strings [05:15]
9. Dumb [04:19]
10. Enemy[04:16]
11. Western Sunset [02:25]

The album will be released on the following formats and is available to PRE-ORDER HERE (https://eon.lnk.to/EnvyOfNone)

Ltd Edition deluxe version – presented in a gatefold sleeve with a blue coloured vinyl LP, 2 CDs including a 5 track bonus disc, 28 page Booklet with exclusive content
CD – includes a 16 page poster booklet
LP – on black vinyl / baby blue coloured vinyl (North America exclusive) / white coloured vinyl
Digital

Envy Of None are:
Alf Annibalini – Guitar, Keyboards, Programming
Andy Curran – Bass Guitar, Synthesized Bass, Programming, Guitar, Background Vocals, Stylophone
Alex Lifeson- Guitar, Mandola, Banjo, Programming
Maiah Wynne – Lead Vocals, Background Vocals, Keyboards

Follow Envy Of None:
https://www.instagram.com/envyofnone_
https://twitter.com/envyofnone_
https://www.tiktok.com/@envyofnone_
https://www.facebook.com/envyofnone
www.kscopemusic.com/artists/envyofnone
https://envyofnone.com

Top 10 Canadian Albums Of 1985

Well, this is the year where things kinda took a turn, IMO. Not a huge list to choose from, and for the most part these are where bands got way more ‘commercial’ or pop oriented, more keyboards (or introduced keyboards)… Not the best from many. Considering I pretty much hated the ’90s, and there was less releases going forward; these lists may get tougher.

Rush – Power Windows

I thought “Big Money” was great as the lead off single here, and it’s still the stand out song for me on this. “Territories”, “Manhattan Project”, good songs, even if it was further into the use of keyboards, etc… but give Rush credit for always moving forward and doing something new – that is why they lasted. Released in October. I saw this tour at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Coney Hatch – Friction

The 3rd in the ’80s trilogy by the Hatch, and the 2nd with Max Norman. A very good album, though the focus on 1 lead singer lost a bit of the magic in the band. But, great tracks – “She’s Gone”, “This Ain’t Love”, and good singles “Girl From Last Night’s Dream” and “Fantasy”.

Headpins – Head Over Heels

The 3rd and final album from the Vancouver band fronted by the amazing Darby Mills, and lead by Brian “Too Loud” McLeod. This one seemed to come and go with less impact than the previous 2. Less of the heavy, a bit more ’80s pop driven, but plenty of good songs – “Stayin’ All Night”, “Never Come Down From The Danger Zone”, “Be With You”…

Helix – Long Way To Heaven

The 3rd Helix album during their heyday, released in November. My favorite one, with “Deep Cuts The Knife”, “The Kids Are All Shakin'”, “Without You”. I remember seeing these guys walking through a local mall back then – wearing their tour jackets! I got Brian Vollmer’s autograph on the back on gift card bag [I was Christmas shopping].

Loverboy – Lovin’ Every Minute Of It

The band’s 4th, released in August This one featured 2 top 10 Billboard hits, the title track [penned by Mutt Lange, who thankfully did not produce this album], and a ballad “This Could Be The Night” [with a co-writing credit to Jonathan Cain, uhg]. A bit heavier overall, another lame cover. I did like this album.

FM – Con-Test

The ‘reunion’ album w/ Nash The Slash returning. A definite more ’80s keyboard pop direction featuring a few hits like “All Of The Dreams”, “Just Like You”, and “Why Don’t You Take It”, as well as favorite “Distant Early Warning” [Ben Mink on guitar].

Kick Axe – Welcome To The Club

This Regina, Saskatchewan band’s 2nd album, and 2nd with Spencer Proffer producing. Some deliberate attempts at breaking the big time with a guest-list filled cover of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends”, but it’s the band’s own songs that I liked far better, like the ballad “Never Let Go”, “Comin’ After You” [single], the title track, and “Hellraisers”.

Saga – Behaviour

Released in August, the last to feature the ‘classic’ line up [for a few years]. Included the hits “What Do I Know”, “Listen To Your Your Heart”, as well as favorites “Here I Am” and the title track.

Orphan – Salute

The 2nd and final album from this Winnipeg band, released in the summer. Featured the hit “Lyin’ To Me”, as well as favorites “Open Up The Skies” and “Woman In Love”.

Aldo Nova – Twitch

Released in October. Not much hard-rockin’ here, with [again] way more keyboards and pop produced tunes. But, heck there are a number of very good songs, like the hits “Rumours Of You” and “Tonight (Lift Me Up)”, and rocker “Heartless”.

Other releases: Lee Aaron Call Of The Wild , Blind Vengeance Blind Vengeance , Hanover Fist Hungry Eyes , April Wine Walking Through Fire , Convict Go Ahead…Make My Day Touchdown Tricks Of A Trade

06 / ’21

Top 11 Canadian Albums Of 1980

This was a busy year in Canadian rock, but more so in ‘pop’ . Some great albums, but not a lot of heavy releases. A memorable pair of debuts here, and a couple of final albums from bands that split up. Yeah, this is supposed to be a top 10, but I gave in to a tie for my last choice.

Rush – Permanent Waves

Released in January, the band’s biggest success until the next one, reaching #3 & #4 in Canada and the US . “Freewill”, “The Spirit Of Radio”, “Entre Nous”, and the epic 9 minute + “Natural Science”. The first of my favorite trio of Rush albums.

Harlequin – Love Crimes

From Winnipeg, Harlequin featured the voice of George Belanger [still does]. This was their 2nd and biggest album. Released in the fall of that year, it featured 2 hits [and 2 of the band’s best known songs] – “Innocence” and “Thinking Of You”., as well as favorite aor-ish rockers like “It’s All Over Now”, “Wait For The Night”, and “Love On The Rocks”. A solid album, should’ve been huge.

Loverboy – Loverboy

These guys came out, featuring one-time Moxy singer Mike Reno, and former Streetheart members Matt Frenette and Paul Dean. A huge album released in October, featuring the top 10 hit “Turn Me Loose” , as well as 2 further hits “The Kid Is Hot Tonight” and “Lady Of The ’80s”. A solid album along with live favorite “Teenage Overdose”.

Teaze – Body Shots

The 5th and final album from Windsor’s Teaze. Coming off [arguably] their best – One Night Stands, Body Shots [only issued in Canada] was a good follow up, featuring favorites “Boys Night Out” [reworked from their first album], “Sure Thing”, “Calling All Nurses” and “I’m Not Gonna Cry Anymore”. Sadly, they packed it in after this. *I did get to witness their fantastic return show in 2019.

Max Webster – Universal Juveniles

The last album by the legendary Max Webster, released in October. It boasted favorites like “Check”, “April In Toledo”, “Drive And Desire”, and most notably “Battle Scar” – which featured Rush. +David Stone [ex Rainbow] on keys for much of the album.

Saga – Silent Knight

The band’s 3rd album, and first with the classic line up, released in August. Featured the classics “Don’t Be Late” [the single], “Careful Where You Step”, and “Compromise”. One of those few early Saga albums that saw no US release til years later. Great cover art.

Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush – What’s Next

Released in February, this was the last to use the Mahogany Rush tag for a number of years. Features one of Marino’s best recordings in the fast flying “Something’s Comin’ Our Way”. as well as favorites in the drivin’ “Finish Line” and “You Got Livin'”. Also includes a cover of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues”.

Cruiser – Rollin’ With The Times

Montreal based Cruiser lead by singer / songwriter Don Beauchamp, and featuring original April Wine drummer Richie Henman. A very overlooked album full of great tunes – very catchy pop, rock, and a bit of prog … all very well produced with favorite tracks like “No Admission”, intro “R & R Survival”, and “Incident At New World Theatre”. A 2nd album was released in 2014. Brothers Tom & Wallie Rathie would later write a few tunes for April Wine.

FM – City Of Fear

Progressive trio FM [well before the British aor band of the same name!] released their 4th album in June. The band consisted of lots of keyboards, bass, drums, electric violins & mandolin. Closest band to compare I’d say is supergroup UK [with Cameron Hawkins even sounding a bit like John Wetton on occasion] One of their best, including “Krakow”, “Power” [the single], and the excellent title track. Would be the band’s last for a few years.

Toronto – Lookin’ For Trouble +

Originally called ‘Sass’, Toronto was [is] fronted by Holly Woods, the band’s debut was released in June. It featured the singles “Even The Score” and “Lookin’ For Trouble”, as well as a cover of The Rascals “You Better Run” [a hit for Pat Benatar a month later], and favorite “Get Your Hands Off Me”.

Triumph – Progressions Of Power+

Released in March. Not my favorite Triumph album [lacking something], but it includes the classics “I Live For The Weekend” [a minor hit in the UK], “I Can Survive”, and “Tear The Roof Off”.

+couldn’t decide, so I left it a tie

Other mentions: Zon I’m Worried About The Boys, The Kings Are Here, Prism Young And Restless , 451 451, Wireless No Static, Bryan Adams Bryan Adams

*Drop me a note in the comments with anything you feel was well overlooked or recommendations, and feel free to subscribe to my page.

KJJ, 04 / ’21

Top 10 Canadian Albums of 1982

Well 1982 was a far busier year for Canadian rock albums, so it was a bit tougher cutting this down to… 11 [ok, my last pick was only an EP, so….]. A few follow-ups albums from bands that had their biggest sellers in ’81, as well as a number of great debut albums. ..*leave some feedback in the comments on albums you would’ve picked.

Rush – Signals

A big deal was made of Rush’s use of keyboards, with Signals being a change for the band, with keyboards taking a more prominent role in many tracks, released in September that year. It had been preceded by the single “New World Man”. The next single “Subdivisions” remains my favorite Rush track [fantastic video]. Also includes “The Analog Kid”, “Chemistry”, and “Countdown” [the 3rd single]

Aldo Nova – Aldo Nova

Aldo Nova’s debut album, released on April 1st, was loaded with classic hard rock and pop-rockers like the 2 hit singles – “Fantasy” and “Foolin’ Yourself”, the latter was a huge top 40 hit. A 3rd single was the ballad “Ball & Chain”, with the album making the top 10 in the US. Aldo released a new CD in 2018 featuring 6 new versions of tracks from this album.

Triumph – Never Surrender

The follow up to Allied Forces, released late in the year in Canada, but early ’83 elsewhere. This was pretty close to being just as great, with the classics “Never Surrender” & “A World Of Fantasy”, and rockers like “Too Much Thinking”, and “All The Way”.

Coney Hatch – Coney Hatch

The debut from Toronto’s Coney Hatch, released in May and produced by Kim Mitchell [ex Max Webster]. Another classic first album, with the the band’s 2 biggest hits, and best known songs – “Monkey Bars”, “Hey Operator”, plus “Devil’s Deck”, as well as a number of live favorites – “We Got The Night”, “No Sleep Tonight”, “Stand Up”….New live album is in the mail as I write.

Santers – Racing Time

Another Toronto 3-piece. The band’s 2nd album, recorded and released following the band’s cross Canada tour, opening for Ozzy Osbourne. This is the band’s best IMO, featuring a number of great rock tracks like “Mistreatin’ Heart”, “Road To Morocco”, “Mystical Eyes”, “Winter Freeze”….

Frank Marino – Juggernaut

Marino’s 2nd solo album, released in the summer, would be his biggest solo commercial success. Seems a bit more ‘radio friendly’ in places. Featured the radio hit “Strange Dreams” (complete with keyboards), the 8 minute epic “”Stories Of A Hero”, and cool rockers like “For Your Love” and “Maybe It’s Time”. Great LP cover, cool album!

Headpins – Turn It Loud

Headpins stormed out in ’82, a side project by guitarist/producer Brian “Too Loud” McLeod of Chilliwack. Fronted by the Darby Mills, the debut album received plenty of radio play and went platinum in Canada. Released in June (to coincide with a Canadian tour w/ Girlschool & Toronto); It featured the hit single “Don’t It Make Ya Feel”, as well as the classic title track, and “Breakin’ Down”. RIP Brian McLeod.

Harlequin – One False Move

The Winnipeg band’s 3rd album from June. It boasted the hits “Superstitious Feeling” and “I Did It For Love”. Very keyboard-y, but also some great tracks, notably the guitar heavy “Ready To Love Again”, plus catchy pop rockers like “Shame If You Leave Me” and “Fine Line”.

Anvil – Metal On Metal

Anvil’s 2nd album released in April, featuring the classic anthem title track, as well as favorites like “Heat Seek”, “Jackhammer”, and the instrumental “March Of The Crabs”. The first of a few produced by the legendary Chris Tsangarides [RIP].

Leggatt – Illuminations

Don’t think this LP [released on 2LPs] got much press at the time, but known for including Hughie Leggatt [bass/vocals] and Danny Taylor [drums] – both ex of A Foot In Coldwater & Nucleus. Leggatt [other brother Gordon] are also known for penning the track “White Flags” [included here], which was the single, and went on to be a hit for Blue Oyster Cult 4 years later. But lots of great music here, progressive, pop, rock… cool tracks like “Amerikan Lights”, “Rolling Hard”, and “Slipping Into Limbo”.

Kim Mitchell – Kim Mitchell

The 5 song debut from Kim Mitchell, fresh out of Max Webster in November. Great songs, and a few that got plenty of radio play in Ontario – “Miss Demeanor” and “Kids In Action”. Awesome guitar record!

Other Mentions: April Wine Powerplay, Toronto Get It On Credit, Queen City Kids Black Box , Lee Aaron The Lee Aaron Project , Streetheart Streetheart , Sheriff Sheriff, Chilliwack Opus X .

KJJ. 04/’21