too much typing—since 2003

6.01.2005

sorry, no Martha Quinn content

A while back, someone online (and I can't remember who: feel free to give yourself credit and let me know it was Dana over at The Mystical Beast) mentioned that This Is the Ice Age by Martha & the Muffins was going to be released. Indeed it has been, on Virgin in Canada - so I trudged through snowdrifts to get to Amazon.ca to order a copy. (Incidentally, although the site didn't say so, the CD arrived with a prominent label proclaiming that "this disc contains Copy Control technology." Luckily, none of the disc's legitimate usages seem impaired - despite the outrageous fact noted on the packaging that the disc may not play in car or computer CD players. A big Canadian fuck-you if such players are your only CD players, apparently.)

Anyway, I'd encountered Martha & the Muffins in college; I think I first heard "Echo Beach." I liked it well enough (I wasn't exactly inclined to listen, due to the name) but they seemed fairly minor at the time. A year or so later, a friend put on This Is the Ice Age's opening (and probably most famous) track, the wonderful "Swimming" (not posted here cuz someone else did: see first paragraph). I especially liked the Frippy lead guitar sound (actually, a lot of the guitars here sound like those on Discipline - must be a 1981 thing). As the record (yes, the large black plastic things with holes in the center: remember, I am old) played on, I liked more and more of what I heard, and - as a poor college student, prevailed upon Ron and Lori to lend me the record so I could tape (smallish blocky plastic things with brownish reels of filmy plastic in them) it.

Of course, cassettes last about as long as the typical Paris Hilton relationship, so I wasn't really able to listen to this album for quite some time. Probably my next tier of favorite tracks are "Boy Without Filters," an Eno-becalmed number that suddenly evolves into several attempts to suck feedback through a straw, and the title track, which begins as a fairly typical early-'80s dancey new-wavey number and then crossbreeds with a minimalist sense of repetition. I also chose these two tracks since one features Mark Gane's vocals and the other Martha Johnson's. Both singers have plain, straightforward, but nevertheless interesting voices that work well with Daniel Lanois's spacious but discrete production.

An amusing liner-note moment: the band's drummer Tim Gane (not the Stereolab Tim Gane) is quoted as saying that he left the band after this release because "it wasn't providing a livelihood [he] could depend on." A couple years and albums later, the band (under the moniker M+M) scored its biggest hit, "Black Stations/White Stations."

Martha & the Muffins "Boy Without Filters"
Martha & the Muffins "This Is the Ice Age"


(oh, alright: if you insist...here's some. Sigh...)

3 comments:

Dana said...

It was me. Thanks for keeping an eye out for the reissue...I forgot to keep checking.

Anonymous said...

The hit record might not have helped Tim's economic situation much, because he wasn't one of the writers in the group.

velvet lane said...

I like these M+M MP3's...all's I'd ever hoid was "Echo Beach" and "Danceparc" and these are nothing like that...Thanks, Architect guy.