Martha and the Muffins emerged from the early punk/new wave/art pop scene in 1977 which was centered around various clubs along Toronto's Queen Street West and the Ontario College of Art, where several members of the band were students. The band was signed by Virgin Records UK and recorded their first album, Metro Music at The Manor near Oxford, England in 1979. After Echo Beach became a top ten single around the world in 1980 MatM toured extensively in Britain, Europe and North America.
Since then, the band has released seven studio albums internationally, three of which were co-produced with Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel). In 1983, lead vocalist Martha Johnson and guitarist Mark Gane pared the band down to a duo and briefly changed the name to M+M. Combining sonic textures and art funk in their dance single Black Stations/White Stations, the song reached 2 in Billboard's Dance Chart in 1984.
Martha and Mark spent much of the '90's scoring music for various television and film projects. The birth of their daughter in 1992, inspired Martha to write and record an album of original children's music, Songs From The Tree House which won the 1996 Juno Award for Best Children's Album.
Over the last few years, EMI Canada has reissued several MatM albums on CD, including Metro Music, This Is The Ice Age and the CD compilation Then Again - A Retrospective. In keeping with Martha and Mark’s plan to make the remaining original albums available on CD, the 25th Anniversary CD reissue of Danseparc was released on Cherry Red Records in August 2008 in the UK and is available through CD Baby.
MatM have completed their long-awaited album, Delicate, the first new release in 17 years, scheduled for release in mid 2009. Please visit www.marthaandthemuffins.com or email MatM at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Originally released in 1992, the seventh MatM studio album was recorded in bedrooms between 1988-91 while Martha Johnson and Mark Gane were living in Bath, England and was completed upon their return to Toronto. A major departure stylistically from their 1986 release, The World Is A Ball, Modern Lullaby is a introspective, sonically rich combination of uptempo and quieter songs that reflect the beautiful, dreamy city it was recorded in. Featuring David Piltch, (k.d. lang, Mary Margaret O'Hara) on bass, Stuart Gordon, (Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack, Tori Amos) on violin, Michael Sloski, (Bruce Cockburn, Mary Margaret O'Hara) and original Muffin drummer, (and Mark's brother), Tim Gane on additional percussion as well as sound advice from Paul Ridout, (Peter Hammill, Clannad).
What the critics say about Modern Lullaby...
"It's been far too long since the cool, occasionally detached Toronto duo of Mark Gane and Martha Johnson had their hits…Rainbow Sign is already getting nibbles at MUCH and Fighting The Monster is the likely follow-up…the pair deserves to be heard again. ***1/2"
THE RECORD, October 12, 1992
"M+M have always made unique albums, each one different from the other with nary a dud to be found and certainly devoid of filler. This one is no disappointment. From the opening track To Dream About You , with its Jon Hassel-like trumpet sounds wiggling around in the background to the unlikely violin work in Fighting The Monster, the duo again prove their capacity for inventing fresh and durable music. Fans will love it."
Jim English, EXCLAIM MAGAZINE, November 1992
"Johnson's voice has never sounded better, whether she's giving strong and throaty vocals to songs like Fighting The Monster or singing smoothly and melodically as in Show Me Your Magic."
Dianne Rheinhart, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, December 26, 1992