• Patti Smith in Sydney

    Patti Smith in Australia

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    Sonics Rendezvous Band - The One That Got Away

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    Here Comes The Sun: Sunnyboys Live in 2017

New Groovies record out in September

plastic fantastic cover largeThat Flamin’ Groovies album we’ve told you about is finally going to be released. “Plastic Fantastic” is out on CD on September 22 on the band’s own Sonic Kicks/Severn Records.

“Fantastic Plastic” was recorded mainly with founding Groovies bassist George Alexander and the band’s latter-day drummer Victor Penalosa (both since departed), with assistance from members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Original member Cyril Jordan and longtime singer and guitarist Chris Wilson will be playing together on an album for the first time in 38 years. It features 10 fresh compositions co-written by Jordan and Wilson, plus covers of the Beau Brummels’ “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad”.

One of the tracks, the stellar "Crazy Macy", was released on Burger Records and our review is here

After 40 years, it's not time to say goodbye

x factory theatreX in full flight in Sydney. Murray Bennett photo  

Forty years of X and there’s a national tour to celebrate. Who would have thought? Certainly none of the original members, of which Steve Lucas is the only one remaining alive.

Lucas and bassist Ian Rilen were, of course, the only constant members of X. Almost. Even Ian was went briefly MIA from one line-up. The pair’s tumultuous relationship has been documented in many places and they were the heart and soul of the band.

Ex-Pistol locked and loaded for Australia-NZ shows

glenmatlock01Founding member of The Sex Pistols and Rich Kids and writer of hits “Pretty Vacant” and “God Save The Queen”, Glen Matlock is a musical legend and raconteur extraordinaire.

You'll see for yourself when he and his band hit Australasian shores in November, celebrating the 40th anniversary of “Never Mind The Bollocks”.

Matlock will be conducting exclusive Q&A's and playing Pistols classics and choice cuts of his own.

Matlock departed the Pistols as they hit their peak, leaving the way open for Sid Vicious to join. His next band, the Rich Kids, put out an influential album of the late ‘70s, “Ghosts Of Princes In Towers”.

Vale Hummingbirds vocalist-guitarist Simon Holmes

simon holmesSimon Holmes with the reformed Hummingbirds at their sold-out Sydney show in 2016. Murray Bennett photo

Simon Holmes, member of influential Sydney fuzz-pop band The Hummingbirds, has passed away suddenly. His son, Milo C. St Clare-Holmes, made the announcement on his father’s Facebook page yesterday.

His passing was marked by another brief message on The Hummingbirds’ Facebook page: “Simon Holmes, beloved father, friend to countless and our band mate, passed away last week. Our hearts are broken.” It prompted a massive outpouring of grief across social media. 

Best of Crime Rock - Chain and the Gang (In The Red Records)

crime chain and the gangIf de-constructed blues-garage rock pared back to its most basic elements is what you crave, here’s the album. “Best of Crime Rock” is all that and a bit more and one of the sneakiest records to seep out in 2017.

Stealthy, not because it’s mostly re-recorded versions of songs the band has committed to tape before, but for the way the music creeps up and embeds itself in your ears. There’s a dash of unhinged blues, a slice of funk and some pop in Chain and the Gang’s cooler-than-thou schtick that sets the band apart from almost any other.

Descent Into The Maelstrom: Brilliant documentary of a time, place and people

rob and denizWho's for popcorn? Rob Younger and Deniz Tek at the World Premiere.   Bruce Tindale photo 

It’s been pissing down in Sydney for morer than 24 hours.  I wait in a corner window at the Imperial Hotel, watching the steady torrent of streaming cars, my eye on the entrance to the Chauvel Cinema, tucked away inside Paddington Town Hall. A homecoming of sorts, 40 years on.

Fortry years. No longer is Radio Birdman a part of the zeitgeist, no longer are they merely an immediately cognisable legend. The weaves of history, misinformation and untruth, as well as the shedding of members and other things, like time moving on … all these things have taken place, as with many bands of yore.

Wrong Side of Yesterday - Meatbeaters (Pressed Ham)

wrong side of yesterdayIt’s not just the ripper cover of “Bomber” that summons up a Motorhead comparison but more on that later. This is Album Number Four for Adelaide’s Meatbeaters and it’s their best to date.

Meatbeaters are in a cohort of Aussie bands that you can classify as Yob Rock. Cosmic Psychos, the VeeBees, The Onyas and Shrewms all play it fast and aggressively with no concession to multiple chords or lyrical niceties. They also share a gutter-level sense of humour.

New Christs and James McCann and The New Vindictives bring fire to a cold Sydney night

new christs mville2Sometimes you get all philosophical. The penny dropped on Saturday night, after a succession of $14 jugs of beer with a mate, that the New Christs are probably the band that I’ve experienced live for the longest number of years.

Of course there have been so many line-ups that a statement like that becomes very elastic. But the wrist stamps don’t lie...

And they go right back to 1984 when a loose and limber Rob Younger bounded onto the stage of Sydney’s Capital Theatre, fronting the band’s first live incarnation, in support of Iggy Pop.

That line-up of Chris Masuak, Tony Robertson, Mark Kingsmill and Kent Steedman (the Rifle later to be subbed by a Spider, Richard Jakimyszyn) might have been equalled by the “Distemper” one (Charlie Owen, Jim Dickson and Louis Burdett/Nick Fisher) but never bettered. The former had a brutal edge, the latter a bluesier, expansive feel with jazzy inflections.

The current configuration of Dickson, Paul Larsen, Dave Kettley and Brent Williams measures up nicely in the history of the New Christs, probably sitting at level-pegging with the late-‘90s line-ups. They’ve all served up differing sounds and brought something different to the stage, with the one constant being Younger’s undeniable presence and bitter-sour song-writing.

“Emotional Jihad” and “Word Salad” are terms that others have used down the years to describe Younger’s lyrical vision. You can’t do much better than that.  

New Wave - Space Party (self released)

new wave space partyAustralia’s national capital isn’t exactly known for its crop of present day garage bands, so Space Party is a pleasant surprise. 

They might even be Canberra’s only garage band, except their PR sheet helpfully says that they recruited their singer from another outfit called Okinawa Girls, so that means there are at least two. 

(Before any public servants send thoughtfully composed emails of complaint, it’s been many years since I lived in Canberra so I’m possibly talking through my arse. The place does have at least two regular live venues and a cool community radio station in 2XX, so there are signs of rock and roll life amongst the roundabouts and grim Stalinist architecture.)

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