Category Archives: Martha And The Muffins

Top Muffins

Martha-the-MuffinsLast year, I contributed a Martha and The Muffins collection to The New Vinyl Villain‘s Imaginary Compilations series. The tracklisting and a write-up are here:

An Imaginary Compilation #27: Martha And The Muffins

…but the links have now gone. However, should you wish to download the compilation (and why wouldn’t you), I’ve uploaded it as a zip file here:

Martha And The Muffins – Cooling The Medium

It’s password-protected, and the password this time isn’t salad (because I forgot it was supposed to be), it’s topmuffins.

Some tracks that didn’t quite make the cut can be found on this very blog in a post titled Martha Superior.

Incidentally, if you look at the post on The New Vinyl Villain, you will see a cover I made for the compilation. For some reason I’ve always thought architectural drawings were a good match for Martha and the Muffins’ music. It’s not a visual style they’ve ever used themselves, so I’m not sure how I came to make that association, but anyway, I did a search for architect’s drawings associated with Toronto, and hit upon the image you see there, which is a pre-construction artist’s impression of the Sharp Centre for Design at the OCAD University.


The Sharp Centre in real life

It seemed to fit rather well with a band whose best-known song mentions buildings in the distance as a surrealistic sight, and as a bonus the black-and-white tiles on the top part of the building reminded me of the video for “Black Stations / White Stations”. Nice! What I didn’t find out until later is that OCAD University is where founding Muffin (and indeed founding Martha) Martha Ladly is now a Professor of Design and she actually works in that very building!  So a nice coincidence as well as a cool image. Don’t you just love it when these things come together?

Martha superior

If you’re not a reader of The (New) Vinyl Villain then (1) you really should be, and (2) you won’t be aware of the fascinating series of Imaginary Compilation Albums that has been unfolding there over the last year and a half and a month and a bit. These are… well, the clue’s in the name. They’re usually ten tracks, usually sequenced as a notional vinyl LP, usually with a bit of commentary on each track, and since they’re hand-picked by people who know their stuff, always worth a listen.


Last summer (remember summer? Ahhhhh…), I contributed a Martha & the Muffins compilation to that series, and I think it’s a pretty solid ten-tracker, but there’s one particular track which got lost in the shuffle that I always regretted leaving out. So a bit belatedly, here it is now…



Link: Martha & The Muffins – Women Around The World At Work

This was the only proper single release from their third LP, 1981’s This Is The Ice Age, and it’s a great single on a great album – but compared to the rest of the album it was a bit of a throwback to their earlier sound. I very much recommend This Is The Ice Age, which came out about the same time as labelmates Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark‘s acknowledged classic Architecture & Morality, and while its sound is quite different, it shares a similar icy-warm stateliness, if you know what I mean.

Here, incidentally, is the near-instrumental non-album B-side of the single:

Link: Martha & The Muffins – Twenty-Two In Cincinnati

And while we’re on the subject, here are a few more Muffins songs that weren’t even good enough to get onto an imaginary compilation album. (Hmmm… not selling these well, am I?) The first is typical of their early sound, when they could easily have been mistaken for regulars at CBGB; the second is my favourite song from the folk/country/cajun-influenced Modern Lullaby LP; and the third is an ethereal tribute to Paul Gaughin.

Link: Martha & The Muffins – Be Blasé (Trance And Dance, 1980)
Link: Martha & The Muffins – Fighting The Monster (Modern Lullaby, 1992)
Link: Martha & The Muffins – Garden In The Sky (Mystery Walk, 1984)