• Skyhooks

    JJ Adams reflects on the Carlton scene

  • The Fools

    The Fools: The best defunct band you never heard

  • Dick Taylor and Phil May

    Dick Taylor lifts the lid on the new Pretty Things box

Crush On You b/w Falling Apart – Psychosurgeons (Blank Records)

psychosurgeons crushThere’s been a flurry of excitement about this - and rightly so. Along with Filth, the Psychosurgeons were one of the first Sydney bands to firmly grasp the grasp the back of punk’s bondage pants, give them a good tug in a downward direction and expose its arse.

The Psychosurgeons’ “Wild Weekend” will always be a classic 45, so hearing that this was on the way created the sort of anticipation that you could cut with a figurative knife. Or razor blade, if that was your thing.

Celibate Rifles back home for mini-festival

sunkenThere was a time when Sydney’s northern beaches beaches were a hotbed of high energy rock and roll.

Since the decline in the Sydney live music scene (and the demise of the Manly Fisho's Club) the opportunity to enjoy local bands under one roof has been rare. An event at Narrabeen RSL on March 28 is trying to revive those days.

Sunken Ascension is a mini-festival, headlined by the home-grown Celibate Rifles, and running across three levels of the club. 

It’s free from 2pm and all-ages until 8pm, after which it’s $25 (or $20 pre-sale.)  For that you get cheap beer, inexpensive food, a downstairs cocktail lounge and a local shuttle bus.

Celibate Rifles, C.O.F.F.I.N, Captain Kickarse and The Awesome's, The Archaic Revival, Gutter Tactic, Bloody Kids, Taelor Jane, Bilby and Asia Hatton are playing and tickets are here.

 

The Who’s Tommy at the Adelaide Fringe Festival

tommy adelaide festival banner

Tommy is, of course, that double LP rock opera what the ‘Oo done, back in 1969.

Pete Townsend was a powerhouse of creativity and, since he didn’t own an opera company or a film company, we can say he made a pretty impressive stab at both over the four sides of vinyl back in the day. Streets ahead of the competition by a forward-looking rock band, Tommy rebooted the Who back into the limelight…and you know the rest, I’m sure.

There’s been an opera version, a musical adaptation, a film, and there’s been several reissues, including a Super Deluxe Edition. And now…this…extraordinary, louche, beautiful, moving interpretation of a record which is well and truly in I-94 Bar reader terrain.

Thee Rum Coves - Thee Rum Coves (self released)

thee rum covesIs it really a surprise in 2015 to hear rocking garage soul that has its origins in the UK played better than almost anyone else around by a band that comes from Auckland in New Zealand? Meet Thee Rum Coves.

These guys (and girl) should be the toast of the summer festival circuit in Europe. They deserve to fill the vacuum left by the demise of The Jim Jones Revue. Thee Rum Coves have everything going for them for a shot at success in Europe…except geography. Not that this should matter.

Black Chameleon Prayer - The Dogs (Astma Records)

black chameleon prayerIt’s said you should never judge a book by its cover and the same goes for records. This is apparently Album Number Three from this Oslo, Norway, six-piece and they sound nothing like the middle-aged lay preachers standing ankle deep in water under a bridge that they appear to be. Hallelujah.

The Dogs (not to be confused with the late French band or the still kicking one from L.A. via Detroit) rock like they mean it. They worship at the shrine of the ‘60s garage/‘80s garage revival scenes but they bring enough manic energy to these songs that makes them stand apart from the rest of the pack. Cock an ear to the furious “Stay Away From Her” with its Dicatoresque vocal and melodic bass-line behind its driving guitars to know as much.

Watch Your Skull - Kit Convict & Thee Terrible Two

kit convictHey Kit Convict - the people of Medway called and they want their Billy Childish back.

Just kidding. But there is an strong resemblance between the music from most of Billy’s 55,000 albums and what Kit Convict and his stripped-back combo pump out.

This is short, sharp, simple and very catchy garage punk. I know “garage punk” is a broad descriptor and a little imprecise - hence the Childish reference. That the influences for this Melbourne band are obvious isn’t a problem. Like Billy, they’ve gone digging until they hit the right, rich vein and they’re mining from it.

In Heat - The Fools (self released)

in heat the foolsLet’s get the clichés out of the way; the show business myths that promise that the cream rises. That living fast and dying young will ensure immortality. It’s all bullshit. Too many artists fall through a crack in the Earth whilst laurels crown the insipid and the banal.

How many great albums and films have vanished to land fill? How many books are lost because libraries can’t afford the storage on their back catalogues? How much blood, sweat and tears has evaporated into the ether? Forgotten whilst the over culture lets us eat dog food. Here is your chance to right that wrong.

Brujita by Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders Association

Chris Masuak (Radio Birdman, Hitmen, Screaming Tribesmen) has a new music video live and it's a taster for a forthcoming album, currently in production with his Spanish band, The Viveiro Wave Riders Associaiton. Here it is in all its stark glory, showcasing the "dead centre" of Klondike's adopted home town of Viveiro, in northern Spain.

The Pop Group - Citizen Zombie (Freaks R Us)

Citizen ZombieWell, I know several people who loved The Pop Group when they first bent my head in 1979, and they and the band all went on to other things fairly swiftly, it seems now, and the age of the UK music weeklies waned, and not being in UK, I confess I rather lost track of the ex-members.

So, an in-depth analytic comparison with ‘past hallowed punk rock glories’ ain’t on the cards here. Most of my readers weren’t attuned to this band … but that may be about to change.

Get your dancing shoes on with The Pop Group's Mark Stewart

pop group white

The late ‘70s in the UK saw a deluge of explosive music and art colliding, and while not all was good by any means (much was utterly dreadful), some was brilliantly wayward. The Pop Group are one such, and they are doing only THREE shows in Australia in March.

The first is at the Adelaide Festival on Thursday 5th March, the next day they’re in Sydney at the Factory Theatre, and the last gig is at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne (where they will be supported by the rather swish Harry Howard and the NDE). Then, they’re slugging through the USA and back to Blighty to cause more sore feet and body odour. Toting a brand new album "Citizen Zombie" that's relevant and brilliant. 

Individuals & Get Some Fun - Sunnyboys (Feel Presents)

get some funindividualsIt’s time to kiss and make up. When “Individuals” was released back in 1982, as a follow-up to the Sunnyboys’ barnstorming eponymous debut, it was justifiably unloved by many.

The songs were…good…but slower. Its lead-off single, the curious “This Is Real”, was stilted and a million miles removed from the infectious “Happy Man” and “Alone With You”. The biggest drawback, however, was the record’s lifeless production which reduced the sound of the Sunnyboys to an empty husk. It lacked warmth and sounded distant.

Brat Farrar II - Brat Farrar (Off The Hip)

bratt farrarIIFor a musician who spends many of his recording hours in a bedroom, Brat Farrar is more Punk Rock than you or I will ever be. This is the second album of short and snappy homemade songs from Melbourne-via-Europe Sam Agostino (one-half of Digger & The Pussycats) and it delivers in spades.

There’s a lot to love about “Brat Farrar II” if only because it sounds like “Brat Farrar I”. In fact, you could interchange many of these songs on an iTunes mix playlist (or something similar) and be hard pressed to pick what came from where.

Things are heating up as The Fools re-emerge

fools dylan
Guitarist Dylan Webster from Newcastle band The Fools

In the early ‘90s, raw and tough rock and roll was supposedly being re-birthed. Grunge had ushered in The Year That Punk Broke and the mainstream was finally embracing music that wasn’t safe and bland. Yeah. Right.

In reality, Real Rock and Roll was still fighting. The tidal wave that was the MP3 was about to arrive in earnest but the only game in town, as far as The Industry was concerned, was Grunge, a sludgy offspring of heavy metal and punk that promised little and (mostly) delivered less.  

Too harsh?  A lot of fine and worthy bands were trampled under the rush by major labels to sign any act with tuned-down guitars wearing flannelette shirts. It didn’t matter if their songs mostly remained the same; the big label A & R men couldn’t see past their own shaggy fringes.

Like Newton used to say, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction. In Australia, a fresh wave of high-energy acts like Powder Monkeys, Asteroid B612, Brother Brick, the YesMen and Bored! were kicking against the pricks and doing things their own way. A lesser light from the industrial port city of Newcastle, two hours north of Sydney, created their own ripples.

Raise a glass to Groges at star-studded Sydney benefit gig

groges webWhen Scott “Groges” Barker suddenly passed away in January, the Sydney rock community lost undisputedly one of its nicest guys. For more than a decade Scott fronted garage punk rockers, Hell Crab City.

On Thursday 2nd April at the Factory Floor in Marrickville, Scott’s rock and roll brothers and sisters will host a tribute night featuring some of his favourite bands, to celebrate his life and help his family.

Reprising the classic “Not Meant For This World”/”Teen Sublimation Riffs” line-up, one of this country’s finest exponents of Detroit‐inspired rock’n’roll, Asteroid B612, will come together for the first time in almost 20 years.

Original frontman, Grant McIver together with John Spittles (Johnny Casino), Stewart Cunningham (Leadfinger), Scott Nash and Ben Fox, will deliver their very own brand of two-fisted rock’n’roll once more.

Sword‐brandishing 60s garage miscreants The Crusaders will take to the stage for the first time since the Middle Ages to get fat, drunk and stupid with us once again.

Lost Psychosurgeons tape discovered

psychosurgeons crushA long-lost and forgotten rehearsal recording by legendary Australian punk band the Psychosurgeons is about to drop on seven-inch vinyl.

Legacy label Blank Records – the same people responsible for two pricey but desirable box sets of 45s by a host of ‘60s Aussie bands on the Festival label – are issuing “Crush On You” b/w “Falling Apart” any tick of the clock now.

The songs were found by Psychosurgeons/Lipstick Killers guitarist Mark Taylor on an un-labelled quarter-inch tape in a shoebox and of course the release has his blessing. The only other known recording by the Psychosurgeons was the “Wild Weekend” b/w “Horizontal Action” 45, recently re-issued by Crypt Records (with voluminous liners “borrowed” from the I-94 Bar.)  

The Psychosurgeons were one of the earliest Australian punks bands and a mainstay at Radio Birdman’s venue, the Oxford Funhouse. Members went on to form the Lipstick Killers and “Crush On You” featured in their early set lists. You’ll be able to find the single in finer vinyl shops or you can pre-order it here.

Los Straitjackets land at Sydney Rock and Roll Markets in March

markets marchThe latest Sydney Rock 'n' Roll & Alternative Market on March 15 – already a must-do on Sydney’s event calendar – will feature American garage-soul wrestlers Los Straitjackets fronted by Californian singer Big Sandy. 

Part market, part music festival, part meeting place, this is one of Sydney’s most unique shopping experiences over three floors and  two giant courtyards of Manning House, in the grounds of Sydney University.

Rock ‘n’ roll, alternative, vintage, handmade and unique clothing for men, women and children, jewellery, accessories, posters, artwork, homewares, collectables, retro hair and make-up stylists, vinyl LPs and cult DVDs, food and drink are all part of the fare.

Legendary Californian roots music singer Big Sandy is leaving his Fly-Rite band at home to reunite with his buddies Los Straitjackets for a surf and rock spectacular. They promise a dynamic and exciting show with slices of surf, rockabilly, '60s groove, rock and soul.

When it comes to high-energy rock’n’ roll surfin’ sounds, nobody matches the power of Los Straitjackets . These mystery men in Mexican wrestling masks formed in Nashville and have been Grammy nominees, with 19 albums under their belts.

The undercard features Pat Capocci and The Mothertruckers, plus the usual DJs.  Entry is $5, with kids under 12 FREE. Doors open at 10.30am.

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