• 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

A personal look back at Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation

acdc animatedAs fans around Australia rejoice at the news of AC/DC's upcoming national stadium tour this November and December it's worth reflecting on how rough, but yet ultimately triumphant, the past 12 months have been for the band. 

Almost exactly a year ago whilst working a camera shift for the ABC's 7.30 programme I had the enviable task of working on a story about AC/DC: one of my all-time favourite rock bands. But the feeling was bittersweet: troubling rumours were swirling around about the band's rhythm guitarist and unofficial leader Malcolm Young, elder brother of the more recognisable schoolboy uniform-sporting lead guitarist Angus.

The word was he was suffering from an undisclosed debilitating sickness, rendering him permanently unable to play guitar and therefore leaving the band's plans for a 40th anniversary tour and new album in ruins. The band was to call it a day. Such an integral piece of Australian cultural history: no more?! The 'other greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world' (next to the The Rolling Stones): done and dusted?

Going Back Home - Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey (Chess/Universal)

Going Back HomeNow, I’m going to write one small phrase. If you don’t know who Wilko Johnson is, they should be enough to get your interest. If the phrase doesn’t get your interest, I’m sure you can find something else more interesting to do, like taking pictures of your lunch and sending it to your closest pals on instagrit.

The phrase is: dirty british R ’n’ B .

And of course, r’n’b refers to that peculiarly affecting, tough-man-hard-tears style which the Brits pioneered in the early 196ts; a platform which lead to stuff like The Beatles (you may have heard of them), The Rolling Stones (hmm, they sound familiar), The Yardbirds … and on and on into the Jam and the Sex Pistols (along the way, admittedly including some of the most appalling pub bands about whom the less said the better, although their very dullness lead to a musical revolution which began brewing, it seems, in about 1972 and finally found a popular name in 1977, propelled by events on a hamfisted kid’s show in December 1976).

Here comes a new Cosmic Psychos record

Everybody's favcourite yob rockers, Cosmic Psychos, are unleashing their first studio album in six years in June and will spruik it with an Aussie tour in tandem with with likeminded mates, Dune Rats.

“Cum The Raw Prawn” is the new LP and it’s described (unsurprisingly) as “beer-soaked, bulldozer-fuelled pub anthems accost at every turn and it's as grotty and unapologetic as ever”. You expected yacht rock ballads?

“Cum The Raw Prawn” was recorded on Ross Knight's farm in January this year and the lead-off song is “Better Not Bitter”, which you can listen tro and watch ivia th ewonders of the embedded clip above. Click more for tour dates and ticketing: 

This man will play mistLY for you

DaveDWith his entire back catalogue now available digitally, including the latest, “Play mistLY For Me”, the first of two live collections available now, Dave Graney and The mistLY are playing some shows in New South Wales in May.

The tour is a mix of band and solo shows in a range of venues. 

27/05 Wednesday - Bearded Tit –Redfern - Dave Graney solo 
28/05 Thursday Heritage Hotel Bulli - Dave Graney and the mistLY
29/05 Friday Django Bar – Camelot Lounge - Dave Graney and the mistLY
30/05 Saturday Bunker - Coogee Diggers - Dave Graney and the mistLY
31/05 Sunday Newcastle - Royal Exchange - Dave Graney solo

We asked Dave what fans should anticipate: "Expect many wildly shining gems from their enormous and highly individual songbook. Plenty say they do their own thing – none have done it for so long and so fearlessly!"

Indeed.

We have three winners

The entries are in and the winners have been drawn in our contest to win a Joeys Coop pack of a band T-shirt and their double A-sided single, “Take Me Away” b/w “Down To The Sea”.

 They are Rob Minogue  and Guy Bohan of NSW and Matthew Woods from Queensland, who all correctly named Joeys Coop guitarist Brett Myers’ prior bands as Died Pretty and The End. (No Dance would have got you the money, too.)

Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the winners. Your packs will be in the mail as soon as The Barman drags his sorry arse away from the fridge and to a post office. 

Leadfinger versus the City of Churches

leadfinger live

After playing up and down the East Coast of Australia for the last seven years in all the coolest joints that Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Wollongong have to offer, Leadfinger knew they would never be taken seriously until they plucked up the courage to play Adelaide.

And so it has come to be. On April 24-25, the boys from the ‘Gong’ will take the acid test and make their first trip to South Australia.

Leadfinger frontman Stewart “Leadfinger” Cunningham is no stranger to conquering the City of Churches, having laid waste to it many years ago in Brother Brick and Asteroid B-612.

He’s also fresh from a one-off reunion of the classic Asteroids line-up in Sydney for the recent Scott Barker Tribute gig, so he’s well-primed to crank it out.

Mazstock 2015 line-up announced

MAZSTOCK2015Northern New South Wales’s favorite little all-day rock-fest MAZSTOCK will be returning.

This year's show goes back to the Lismore Italo Club on Saturday, May 16, and will showcase some of the best local and interstate rock and punk bands.

The day will be headlined by Sydney rockers Front End Loader, whose rare Lismore appearance will surely make this a Mazstock to remember.

Also making the trip north will be Australia’s favourite pair of pisshead-yob rockers, Adelaide’s The Meatbeaters and Canberra’s The Vee Bees. Joining the the shenanigans will be Wollongong’s BRUCE! and Sydney’s The Dunhill Blues.

Modern Low EP - The Tres Biens (TUG Records)

modernlowThey’re from Bavaria in Germany and their name is French for “Very Goods” so is it any wonder most of the rest of the world thinks Europe is a confusing place? There’s nothing muddle-headed about the brand of rock and roll this four-piece pub rock band pumps out on this four-track vinyl EP, however.

Two guitars and edgy, strangled vocals sit pretty well around these parts and The Tres Biens have cornered their own part of the market. The sound borrows from English bands like Graham Parker and The Rumour (especially on the opener “Factory Boy/Factory Girl”) and the pacing is relentless.

I Can See My Love b/w Over Under Sideways Down - The In-Sect (Ugly Pop)

in sectPutting parochialism to one side, Australian ‘60s punk is vastly underrated with all but those who dig deep, so this gem from Canadian label merits more than your passing attention. Originally issued in 1966 with a different (tamer) B side, it’s one of those catchy freakbeat classics that stands tall in any company.

The In-Sect were a show band who did what any of their ilk with an ounce of self respect did and mutated into a garage-beat outfit with no pretensions. Contemporaries of the Masters Apprentices, they had a handful of singles before fading away with members going on to Jeff St John, The Twilights and Ram Jam Big Band.

Hot Box 1974-79 – Destroy All Monsters (Munster Records)

DAMboxIt’s high time this stuff was collected in one place. If you’ve no idea who Destroy All Monsters were, boy, you’re in the wrong place. If you are in the know, consider yourself lucky, take a pill and strap yourself in for a short history lesson.

Come the second half of the ‘70s, the Greater Detroit music scene was a forgotten No Man’s Land, an expanse of grey somewhere between the industry strongholds of New York City and the West Coast. The rabble-rousing and boundary-pushing of the cusp of the late ‘60s was gone, replaced by cover bands and blandness. Motown had moved to LA. Punk was just a figment of some future zine writer’s fevered imagination. Nobody cared about Detroit. 

Steve Lucas' support of Child Wise is an X-cellent idea

childwiseSome of Australia’s most beloved musicians are being brought together by one of Australian punk rock’s seminal figures for a one-off concert to raise funds in the fight against child abuse.

X frontman Steve Lucas is organising The Child Wise Benefit Concert on Tuesday, May 12 at the Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne. It's his second year and he's pulled together an impressive bill.

It includes ‘60s psych legend-turned-bluesman Russell Morris, Beasts of Bourbon and Cruel Sea frontman and solo artist Tex Perkins, ex-Queen of Pop Debra Anne Byrne, blues singer-harpist Chris Wilson, bassist Jerome Smith (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Rufus Thomas, Divinyls) and MC Brian Nankervis (Rockwizz.)  

Stoneage Hearts return with third album

stoneage hearts 2014

You may remember them from their 2002 debut album “Turn On With” fronted by Danny McDonald or “Guilty As Sin” (2004) with Perth legend Dom Mariani (Stems/Someloves) on guitar/vocals, but Melbourne’s Stoneage Hearts are back with a new line-up and record.

“Hung Up (On You)” is the newie on Off The Hip with the line-up of Tony Dyer (vocals/guitar), Simon Kay (lead guitar), Dave Hine (bass), plus mainstay skinsman Mick Baty.

What is the common denominator this time ‘round you as? Simple: Redd Kross.

Play Your Favourite Stupid Songs - Flu Flu Birds (Action Records)

flu flu birdsIt’s almost a given that old rockers will put their amps aside from time to time, put on cowboy hats and play mildly ironic acoustic music full of songs about killing people and losing their girls. France’s Flu Flu Birds fit the bill on all fronts.

“Play Your Favourite Stupid Songs” is four tracks of hayseed cowpunk from members of The Stoneage Romeos and Ganbangers. Those names might not mean much to you but I can tell you that The Stoneage Romeos especially rock like motherfuckers. So you'd expect this diversion down a country backroad to be good.

Creeper Vine - Luke Escombe and The Corporation (Dri-Clean Only Records)

creeper vineBetween battling and building awareness about Crohn’s disease, writing and delivering comedy routines and playing bluesy rock songs, hyperactive Sydneysider Luke Escombe makes records. Here’s one of them - an EP, in fact - and it’s a fun ride.

“Creeper Vine” is a five-song package of observations on 21st Century urban life. Its stated musical reference points (Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Elvis) are as clear as its themes (coping through coffee; the role of the axe in a happy marriage; female Prime Ministers.)

It’s all played with spirit by a well-honed band that includes veteran bassist Harry Brus (Kevin Borich, Billy Thorpe.) Escombe does the singing and most of the guitar playing and is no slouch in either department.

Something Quite Peculiar. The Church. The Music. The Mayhem. by Steve Kilbey (Hardie Grant)

something quite peculiarAfter nearly 40 years in the music industry, you can excuse Steve Kilbey for forgetting a few things. The lack of detail is the only real quibble with what’s one of the best Oz music reads of the last few years.

I approached this book with mixed feelings. Kilbey has a reputation for being a bit of a narcissist. The Church’s music is hit or miss for me - which is to say I left them alone after their first two albums, dipped back in at “Starfish” and walked away after the stodgy “Gold Afternoon Fix”, with only occasional revisits. So this was a book to be read from a position of not having much skin in the game.

Then I got sucked into the whole melodramatic, up-and-own, self-destructive and ultimately self-redeeming saga, and warmed to Kilbey’s flawed and fallible ways. I consumed “Something Quite Perculiar” in a couple of satisfying gulps.

Conjure Time - Hi Alerts (Twenty Stone Blatt)

hi alertsGarage blues and freakadelia had a baby and they named it Hi Alerts...

Over the last two or three years, something very interesting has been happening in the Glasgow underground scene; in contrast to the blandness of current high profile Scottish acts, from the derivative stadium rock of Biffy Clyro to the glossy coffee table electro-pop of Chvrches (they really should get the "U" key fixed on their computer), an exciting garage rock scene has coalesced around one of Glasgow's greatest, yet least heralded rock groups, The Primevals.

Formed by Michael Rooney in 1983, The Primevals blazed an uncompromising path through the '80s Scottish music scene. Inspired by such luminaries as The Cramps, Tav Falco & Panther Burns and The Gun Club, Rooney's barmy army of fellow punk-forged rock 'n' roll obsessives had no truck with the prevailing trends. Their outsider status within the Scottish music scene was in many ways analogous to that of Radio Birdman when they established their "Detroit South" Real O-Mindset in Sydney, Australia in the mid-70s.

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