Sure, it’s easy to dog Canada, Canadians, Canadian music (two words: Nickelback’s “Rockstar”), but they’ve given us a few good records, at least. Besides the ’80s output of Rush, I mean, ’cause that’s in its own category: LOVE LOVE LOVE ’80s Rush, especially ’84’s Grace Under Pressure and ’85’s Power Windows. Anyway, when I attended Purdue in the late ’80s, we got our dorm cable off satellite, but the university was too cheap to unscramble MTV. Ergo, our music video channel was also Canada’s: MuchMusic. At the time, it was gloriously, gleefully schizoid, and paid a lot more attention to the underground than its south-of-the-border cousin. I learned of a fair amount of artists via MuchMusic, and some of ’em I even still fancy.
I can’t resist: Rush it is. “Distant Early Warning” blew my mind at age 13, and I’ll argue it still holds up, as does the entirety of the heavy-concept Grace Under Pressure. There’s no one quite like Canada’s most major power trio.