With a large amount of fresh music coming out of the province at a rapid rate, we sometimes forget to go back and savour some of the already released albums that were either vital to the development of Newfoundland’s music scene and community or find those little-known releases that were obscure and never given the attention they rightfully deserved. Unfortunately finding these albums can be easier said than done, with many not available through streaming services or download, and finding a physical copy in many cases being next to impossible with current prices being incredibly high. While it may seem like a lost cause of finding these albums, there is still hope! There has been a huge resurgence in Canadian music reissues. Labels like Artoffact Records, Label Obscura, SUPREME ECHO, Unknown Coast, and others are doing amazing reissues of lost Canadian gems, satisfying both original fans, and breathing new life by exposing younger listeners to fantastic releases they may have never heard of them. The following are 10 albums released by Newfoundlanders that need a proper reissue. With the recent success of the reissue of Fur Packed Action’s, The Dull Thud of Fur, and Rise Above Records run of Sheavy reissues the time is right to unearth some gems and make classics available again.
10.The Glendas: Inanimated (2013)
While this album is available as a free download on the groups Bandcamp page, Inanimated deserves a reissue to bring attention to one of the best rock albums released in Newfoundland this decade. Originally released for CBC’s RPM challenge in 2013 by Edward Whelan and Jeremy Harnum, the album made waves locally on its release along with the follow-up EP Keep Real with the band going silent after a few years. The last I could find was a tweet from 2015 about a 2016 EP with a link to a YouTube video that doesn’t seem to be around anymore. That’s honestly a real shame, this duo had an alternative rock sound all their own that could go from dreamy and spaced-out with hints of shoegaze to abrasive noise rock at the drop of a hat. The tracks Inanimated and Reanimated played back to back are more than enough to sell you on the album. This album getting a reissue, even if limited to a new run of CD’s and their material put on streaming services would be great as it could potentially ensure this album doesn’t end up as a lost relic like many of the albums on this list.
As well as being a great piece of 70’s rock, T.N.T’s only album is one of the most important albums in Newfoundland’s music scene and recording industry. Forming in 1975 with members Neil Bishop, Claude Caines, Elaine Kilpatrick, Ted MacNeil, and Denis Parker, the group secured the funds to build their own studio, Clode Sound in Stephenville. They also founded the first Newfoundland independent record label Quay Records, with T.N.T.’s debut self-titled album being the first full-length release on the label in 1977. Along with this album Quay also released important albums from other notable Newfoundland artists such as Wonderful Grand Band, Simani, and Minnie White. An album this important should be more available but is sadly only a collector’s item for those lucky enough to find an original vinyl pressing. Even finding this album in full online is impossible, with only a few tracks on YouTube being the only way to hear any of it. This album is in desperate need of a reissue, not just for the music but just for people to hear and appreciate the album that started Newfoundland’s independent music scene.
8.Kaos: Total Kaos/ TV Eye (Demo)
Overall, Newfoundland isn’t really known for its output of metal. Not that there aren’t metal bands from the province, far from it, it’s just not something many thinks of when it comes to Newfoundland music, aside from maybe Doom Metal legends Sheavy. This has led to many a band being overlooked, like the short-lived 80’s heavy metal band Kaos. Kaos had that classic heavy metal sound that could have brought them to larger notoriety, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Their only two releases being the above-mentioned mini-LP, Total Kaos, and the demo tape TV Eye, would fit perfectly into a single release be it cd or vinyl, allowing people to hear the bands output in full easily, instead of combing the net for scattered tracks, or spending large amounts for the original record and cassette tape which isn’t even listed on Discogs. There are several metal labels I can think of that could do an amazing job with this material. While the members of Kaos went on to do more, their releases remained little-known nuggets of melodic metal that need new exposure.
7.Wet Cheeze Delirium- Live at Bar None, November 10th, 1990
Noise music is a bizarre beast when it comes to people’s interest in it. Its challenging music based on experimentation, and it’s not hard to see why it turns many away. Noise music isn’t for everybody, and even with St. John’s bustling 90’s alternative scene I don’t know if there was much demand for experimental electronic music going against the grain of songwriting, even compared to genres like punk and metal. This Wet Cheeze Delirium album is the work of Wallace Hammond and Doug Ivey, two prominent figures in the Newfoundland scene. While it may not be for everyone this album would make waves both locally and globally. With the growing interest in Noise music and the names attached, people interested in the local underground scene would be interested. Also, noise fans have a huge interest in uncovering obscure releases from all over the world, so promoted well a reissue of this, or any of their work could bring attention from anywhere. It may be a niche release, but this well-crafted sonic experiment would work as both an introduction to the genre and a release to satisfy longtime fans that needs a reissue.
6.Jeff White- Grey Lord
Originally from Newfoundland, Jeff White relocated into Ontario in 1974. During this time, he found the Baha’i religion. Taking influence and inspiration from his new-found faith as well as his own personal aspirations he decided to make an album. Released as a private pressing in 1976, Jeff White’s album Grey Lord is a lost psych-folk gem that needs to be brought to more people’s attention. The album is a trip with Jeff’s gentle delivery over songs ranging from soft folk to full on Prog. The wide range of instruments and heavy eastern influence at times leads to an album that keeps the sound varied and exciting. This is on the same level as the best albums by similar Psych-Folk groups like The Incredible String Band, and Pearls Before Swine and very few people know about it. The whole album can’t be found online with only one track available to my knowledge. This album needs a full reissue both physically and digitally to make up for its years of being unknown.
5.The Keatniks- The Keatniks
Another album from Newfoundland that needs to be brought to more people’s attention due to its historical significance alone is The Keatniks self-titled. Released in 1965 this is the first full-length Rock album to be released by a Newfoundland group. Clocking in at just under a half hour this little-known piece of garage rock is a fun mix of original material and covers, like their take on Roger Miller’s, “King of the Road”. With songs fit for both a boogie and a slow dance it’s a great example of 60’s rock. While the whole thing is available on YouTube, the recordings could really go for a remixing/ remastering. Not to change the sound from the raw edge of many of the tracks but to just improve the sound which has been done to many Garage rock albums from the time. A reissue of this album expanded to include the single That’s My Girl/ Three long Days and Nights would be a hit and would fit nicely in collections next to the likes of The Sonics, and the 13th Floor Elevators.
4.The Ducats- The Ducats
While The Keatnicks may have been the first Newfoundland group to release a rock album, The Ducats were soon to follow with the second. Released in 1965 as well, The Ducats self-titled album has gained legendary status in terms of Newfoundland releases. Originally released in mono with a typo on the cover saying there were extra songs, and a second stereo pressing with the cover image zoomed in more than the original pressing. These cause the album to go for about $300 and up due to the limited amount of each made. Miss pressings aside copies of it are sought after for the solid 60’s rock held in the grooves. The band changed their sound after this album to be more Traditional/ Country which adds another level of interest to this release. Another reason why this album is on the list is it proved that there is an interest in obscure Newfoundland releases. A few years ago, there was a limited run of the album on CD which was a big success, but very limited. The only decent sounding recordings of them in their rock sound to be found online is a three-part half hour performance from CBC with them playing covers. The album with the band with the tartan blazers needs another release, and now would be a good time to do it.
3.Various Artists- Danger: Falling Rock- A Compilation of St. John’s
A different choice for this list but one that does what no other album on here does quite as well, and that gives an overview of an entire scene in Newfoundland music. Released in 1994 this compilation covers a good portion of St. John’s underground Rock scene of the early to mid 90’s. With 18 tracks all from different groups and a little over an hour and 15 minutes, this compilation shows what the city had to offer in the hay day of Grunge and Alternative Rock. It’s a snapshot of a brief period in local music that many hold a fondness for. With the deep-rooted nostalgia many people have for this time and many of these groups, there’s no way there wouldn’t be an interest in a reissue. This could also lead to a reinvigorated interest in releases from this time, having the potential for a whole series of reissues based around The Rock’s 90’s Rock scene.
2.Dog Meat BBQ- Dead Dogs of The Summer of Love
Picking one release from the Vikki Beat label was a tough choice as all their 17 releases deserve to be reissued, like The Reaction’s work which is currently amid a reissue treatment through the label Supreme Echo. Vikki Beat was a tape label started in 1983 by members the band Bubonic Plague to release music that would have gotten lost in the mix, at the lowest price. As time went on, however, the label and many of their releases have gone into obscurity like so many great independent releases do. Dead Dogs of The Summer of Love is a great example of what the label had to offer. A debut punk album over an hour in length not afraid to stray from the conventions of the genre with a hilarious sense of humour with tracks like “Star-Kist Tunie” about how they didn’t vote for Brian Mulroney, or “Kiss Me Godzilla”, a love song for the King of the Monsters. With the band’s music being recently featured in the film Crown and Anchor (written and directed by Newfoundlanders Andrew and Michael Rowe) the time is right for the world to hear Dog Meat BBQ, and the rest of Vikki Beat’s output.
1.Da Slyme- Da Slyme
When making this list I wasn’t too concerned about the placement of the albums, except for number 1. Everyone I talked to while making this list all said the same thing, “Da Slyme is going to be number 1, right?” and there’s a lot of reasons for this. Released September 30th, 1980, Da Slyme’s self-titled is the first double album to be released in all Canadian punk, the first in general for Newfoundland punk, and one of the first in the entire Atlantic Canada scene. Milestones aside, this album is 4 sides of classic punk rock that needs to be in more collections then those that can afford to spend upward of $500 for a used copy if they’re lucky enough to find one. One of the reasons for the high price besides the limited run is it’s the epitome of a D.I.Y. release. With it costing a fortune for the band to have the albums pressed they didn’t have a lot for packaging, so they got creative. Taking sleeves from other albums and putting their album in its place, the band’s name was then spray-painted across the front. Even though each album looks different they managed to make an iconic image that says with everyone who sees it. Even without the history and artwork, the music itself begs to be reissued. The few tracks you can find online like “Newfie Rastaman”, and “Piss Eyed Sleazoid” are a few of tons of great songs contained on these incredibly rare LP’s. Aside from the CD The Twenty Year Scam which is also nearly impossible to find there has been no other physical release of these songs. While that is a shame, there is hope on the horizon for this legendary album. While there is nothing definite, there have been rumblings of a reissue for a while, and from what I’ve heard it may be sooner than later.
If we are graced with a Da Slyme reissue there’s hope for the rest of these fantastic albums to be given the same treatment, whether they helped shape the provincial music industry, highlighted a time long gone in the local scene, or were lost in obscurity, each album has an important piece of hard to find music that needs to be reissued.