Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Music Box: Martha and the Muffins

"Black Stations, White Stations" by Martha and the Muffins M+M

Blogger Mark Allen, of fame, and I have been online pals for nearly a decade. We've never actually met, but I used to listen to his Internet radio show back in the day and was smitten by him when he used to live his life on camera -- pre-"Big Brother." (Can you figure out why?) In more recent times, our paths have crossed because of our eerily similar taste in obscure '80s music. When Mark went looking for old Slow Children tunes, it was my blog that came up when he did a Google search. Then I can't read his blog for more than five minutes without catching him sticking in references to Prefab Sprout b-sides. Last week he messaged me that my Romeo Void post "was amazing," saying that he must be the band's second-best Romeo Void fan because he wasn't even aware of their reunion demos I posted. Still, he stood firm when he told me no matter what I might say, HE was the biggest Martha and Muffins fan around. I quickly conceded on that one, admitting that with the exception of "Black Stations/"White Stations" (see video above), Martha and the Muffins (or M+M as they were later known) were one of those bizarre blind spots from the New Wave era. I'd always been aware of them -- and would practically buy any album by a band with a female lead singer back then -- but never bought a single record of theirs. I asked Mark if I should give them a try somewhat after the fact and here's the advice he had to offer:

"Black Stations/White Stations" was from the first LP of the post-break up Martha & the Muffins, they were just called M+M at that point.'s a fun song, and that LP is actually pretty good ("Mystery Walk") but the real meat is M&TM four LPs as a band:

1. "Metro Music" (real upbeat and quirky, with 'Echo Beach' their first and best-remembered top ten hit)

2. "Trance and Dance" (similar to the first, BUT the only one not ever printed on CD at all)

3. "This Is The Ice Age" (this is many fans' cherished favorite, including mine -- it's very artsy and weird, with really chilly, ambient moments and lots of atmosphere -- the actual 'songs' tend to stick out like a sore thumb, and are good - different than their other albums - when it finally was officially released on CD it sold like crazy)

4. "Dansparc" (back on previous track with upbeat, quirky songs)

Most of their songs deal with finding peace in urban environments, and daydreaming. They love suburban settings and their lyrics and song titles reflect that. Lyrically, they're brilliant -- on par with Slow Children, Prefab Sprout, The Waitresses (another obsession of mine), Romeo Void, etc...

There are two collections called "Far Away In Time" and "Then Again: A Retrospective."

Thanks, Mark! I think I will check them out. Something tells me I'd be missing something on your blog if I didn't get fluent in Martha & the Muffins -- pronto!

This Week's Faves
I Ain't Dead Yet Lyrics
Ashton Shepherd
I'll Keep Your Memory Vague Lyrics
Finger Eleven
Maybach Music Lyrics
Rick Ross
One Side Lyrics
You Know I’m No Good Lyrics
Amy Winehouse
Google Me Lyrics
Teyana Taylor
Heartbeat Lyrics
Get It Girl Lyrics
Keri Hilson
Miles Away Lyrics
100 Million Lyrics
Get your blog's here.


Anonymous said...

i have LOVEd M+M/Martha and the Muffins forever. so glad you've been exposed to one of the best canadian bands around!

nojarama said...

M+M were fab! "Danceparc" was my personal fave. KROQ here in SoCa did play them infrequently back in the day & I also owe you kudos for all the fab RV stuff!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick shout-out to thank you for starting my Wednesday with Martha and the Muffins. I just KNOW today is gonna ROCK!

Back in the day, when I was a hip young alternative fag living in Austin, my friends and I used to go to these "New Wave" dance nights at the Continental Club. M+M, Laid Back ("Ride the White Horse") and New Order were all over the place, and I was a happy little queer.

Ah, the folly of youth.

Anonymous said...

Martha and the Muffins will release the 25th Anniversary Editioin of Danseparc on August 4th via Cherry Red Records. Visit for more info!

Gary said...

M+M recently announced a new album coming February 10. There's a Facebook group where they've been posting stills and videos.