Brutality can be beautiful

so i could have them destroyedSo I Could Have Them Destroyed – The Hard-Ons (Music Farmers)

We need to talk. Oh, yes, we do.

There were doubts about this one. I’d seen the songs played live. Whether it was unfamiliarity or just an off night, to these ears the set didn’t gel. It cried out for more light and less shade. Ease off that pedal-to-the-metal thing, baby. Not in a greatest hits way, but maybe with the odd well-chewed pop bone thrown in. It wasn’t bad. Just not earth shattering.

Then the album arrived and hit the disc player.

Fark.

Smiles a mile wide as Shonen Knife puts the fun into art's home

shonen knife sydneyCraig Norman photo. 

Shonen Knife
New South Wales Art Gallery, Sydney
Wednesday, November 7, 2019

In which we discuss the topic "can art be fun?".

Most young New South Welsh men and women encounter the Art Gallery of New South Wales but once on school excursion.  Packed off in buses to pay respect the big historical back drops and listen as the dead beat teacher saw the modern stuff and hear them proclaim they could have done that.

Of course they didn't.  They wouldn't be teaching mongrels like us if they could.

If you make mine a bucket of Brains to go that would be Groovie

Flamin Groovies Between The Lines Hi resFresh from unleashing a volley of Scientists and Radio Birdman/Stooges offspring material, re-born Australian label Grown Up Wrong has a pair of Flamin’ Groovies releases in the wings to whet the appetite of even casual fans of the band.

Arch-Groovies acolyte and label head David Laing has compiled “I’ll Have a…Bucket of Brains”, which is eight tracks from the tapes made for United Artists in the UK in 1972. Mostly recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales with Dave Edmunds, this release captures the Groovies transitioning from punky R&B artists to flashy Stones types – en route to aspiring to be the new Beatles. It’s the Groovies album that never was, with four of the tracks instead being released on singles.

Expanded packaging and a speed-corrected take of the Groovies’ classic “Shake Some Action”, this collection was previously available as “The Rockfield Sessions” but has been long out-of-print.

The other offering is “Between The Lines: The Complete/Wilson Songbook ’71-81”, which compiles, for the first time, all original songs written by Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson in the classic second version of the band.

Do you want to be in my Gang? Oh yeah.

andy gill rick de pizzolJohn 'Gaoler' Sterry. Rick de Pizzol photo.

Gang of Four
God God Dammit Dammit
Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide
November 5, 2019

Gang of Four are touring Australia and New Zealand and played Adelaide earlier this week. They were fucking brilliant. Exciting. Brutal. Gigantic. Fun, too. But ... pointed and magnificent.

It's a no-brainer. Go see them while you can.

Right, well. A little context. When I was asking a few friends if they were going, one said, 'they sound like every other band' ... well, no they don't. See, the thing is, over the last 40 years a lot of other
bands have picked up on their style, which is now familiar.

Take The Fall for one Hex-cellent read

the big midweekHave A Bleedin Guess. The Story of Hex Enduction Hour
by Paul Hanley (Route Publishing)

Straight outta ... Pontefract ... comes Route's latest (rather brilliant) publication. For what I suspect is a small publisher, Route (est. 2000) punch above their weight. This is their 10th music book - the third to deal mostly with The Fall and - gulp - the second by a Fall drummer.

You can snaffle Simon Wollstencroft's “You Can Drum But You Can't Hide” and Steve Hanley's tour de force “The Big Midweek. Life Inside The Fall” at Route's website, and Paul Hanley's “Leave The Capital” (a history of Manchester music and liberation) as well.

My copy's pink with black writing, and  signed. Though I'd like to think you'd see this one in Dymock's or JBHiFi, don't hold your breath. I ordered mine, yes from overseas, and it arrived in a timely fashion, and much better wrapped than most books you order from overseas.

Which is excellent; particularly since it anticipates Cherry Red's upcoming '"1982" Fall box, the latter of which I expect I'll get to in due course.

Now, unlike his brother Steve, Paul Hanley approaches “Hex Enduction Hour” in two minds. The bulk of the text follows the obvious pattern: what came before the album, how the songs were put together, the context of the band in their time and so on. He approaches the album as a music historian, but is also able to correct wrongly-held beliefs (such as the likely identity of King Shag Corpse) with restrained glee, while inserting footnotes which reveal the bloke you want to meet at the pub. Rather puts me in mind of Terry Edwards' book on Madness' first LP, written for the 33 1/3 series.

Speaking of which, in the foreword, Stewart Lee (no, no idea) tells his sad story of wanting to write a book on “Hex” for 33 1/3, only to be rebuffed with the old “ain't commercial enough”, a sad and common refrain to many an enthusiastic writer (if not fan).

He's on a Mexican radio


mj halloranMichael Halloran is playing upstairs at The Tote with Light Magnetic on Thursday 14 November. 

Michael Halloran is busy, but he’s not in a hurry. Back in Melbourne from Mexico to see family and friends and to squeeze in a couple of live shows and some recording, Halloran is taking things as they come – organically, if you will.

“That’s where I’ve kind of got to now,” Halloran muses. “Fuck the whole organising and rehearsing, I’m too old for that – maybe not too old, but I’ve got my experiences.”

Having left Melbourne for New York five years ago, Halloran’s nominal home base is now in Mexico, where he runs a bed and breakfast. Earlier this year, Halloran returned to New York to put down some tracks with long-time collaborator Dee Pop and expatriate Australian musician Rob Mason: 

“I lived in New York for about five years so I’ve got a lot of musical contacts and friends. It’s a very strong musical community,” Halloran says. “I’ve had this idea that I’ve wanted to do recently, which is to record with different people at different places. Basically to turn up there, stay for a month, get a feel, get back into the vibe and check some unique music, stuff that’s going on.”

Brothers in arms

taste for evilTaste for Evil – The Cuthroat Brothers (Hound Gawd)

You’re over all those punk-blues duos? You prefer your blues un-bent, right? And you never want to see red and white stripes again? Think again.

The Cuthroat Brothers are real-life barbers from the US Pacific Northwest city of Tacoma, an area that also spawned The Sonics. One of them (Donny Paycheck) drummed for Zeke. Studio wiz Jack Endino (Mudhoney, Nirvana, Soundgarden) produced this, their second album. 

They sing songs about “blood, death, drugs, sex, black magic (and) bad relationships” and their music is raucous, rough-edged and rambunctious. What’s not to like?

Godbless. Ron Peno returns

ron peno memo

It really is a Blue Sky Day. From the Good News Department comes this:

Much-loved Died Pretty frontman Ron Peno is returning to live performance after successful treatment for cancer.

Ron and his solo band, The Superstitions, will play their first show since January at Memo Music Hall in Melbourne on Friday December 6.

When pop-rock knew no limits

no limitNo Limit: Collected Works 1985-89 – Love Minus Zero (Method Records and Music)

From the Never Quite Made It Department comes this collection of gems.

Love Minus Zero was a Sydney pop-rock band that was around in the mid-‘80s who managed to release some tracks on Waterfront label compilation and a self-titled EP on Citadel spin-off Green Fez before packing their tent.

“No Limit” is a pubic service of sorts, not the least reason being that it serves as a reminder of the embarrassment of riches that was the Sydney music scene 35 years ago.

More Articles ...