• Celibate Rifles

    Earl O'Neill traces the birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • The Real Kids

    David Laing speaks to John Felice of the Real Kids

  • James Williamson

    James Williamson on Re-Licked

Re-Licked - James Williamson (Leopard Lady)

Re-Licked CoverIt’s Rolling Stones Week here in Adelaide, Australia. Right now hundreds of fans around the city are on ‘Stones Watch’, chasing legendary wraiths, trying to get to their rehearsal space, looking for big fuck-off black tinpot dictator limousines…

Go and get your copy of "Raw Power" right now.

No, not any of the variants or out-takes, not the remixed version… the original. 

Taking your licks with James Williamson

JamesWilliamson5 HeatherHarrisThese bloody phone interviews. If you’ve never done one, this is how it goes: 

First, you notice unfamiliar terms in the email from the publicist like AEDT and CST that refer to time zones. And that excremental daylight saving kicked in two days ago. Cue frantic fiddling on the computer to make sure you’ve got the right time. 

You’ve been given a choice of times - if you’re lucky. Bit awkward if you get stuck with a time when you’re at work and you have to excuse yourself to go to the bog and do an interview. Trust me, you get looks. 

“Who were you cackling away to in the toilet, Robert? New … chum?”

Cue: furious blushing.

This interview was with James Williamson, the guitarist for Iggy and The Stooges, who has a new solo album, "Re-Licked" in the racks. And I got lucky on another front this time, and the nearly-threenager grandchild didn’t arrive until after I’d finished, so assorted boing noises, yowls and her squeaky voice didn’t float up into the recording. 

With most "phoners"you do have a strict 20 minutes to adhere to, a weird time (in this case it’s from 8.55am to 9.15 am). But you do worry that it’s 4.30 am where the interviewee is, and he’ll be off his head on Tequila and mushies. As rock stars do.

Just 20 minutes to gain rapport and probe the poor bugger’s most intimate self?  Poor bugger? He’s on the receiving end of a long line of assorted gits like me for several hours.

One minute before the appointed time, you dial a local number - with the area code prefix. A recorded message asks you to select your language. I am always very tempted to fuck with this but have so far refrained. One day I’ll select Croat or Bulgarian or Tig or something.

Ghost Songs - Delaney Davidson (Casbah Records)

ghost-songsNew Zealander  Delaney Davidson is like a lot of musicians who saturate themselves in the blues, country and modern rock. 

Unlike the majority, he still gets it. The music is as vital for him now as when he picked up a guitar. He’s never still, always moving to improve and expand his range. Why? Because he doesn’t want the songs to sound the same.

I must apologise - this has been sitting along with a couple of other CDs, waiting their turn as I try to complete a documentary about a rather brill Australian rock band and another book. I’ve been a tad busy elsewhere too. So the review may be a little old.

Should you chase a copy?

The Pop Group come to Australia

popgroup

Post-punk originals The Pop Group make their Australian debut this February, performing at Adelaide Festival and for headline shows in Sydney and Melbourne.

Formed as teenagers in 1977, The Pop Group fused black funk, free jazz, dub, political protest and punk rock energy into a heady cocktail neatly coined as post-punk or in the bands own words "end-of-the-world-music".

Their debut album “Y”, produced by dub-reggae legend Denis Bovell and featuring the the classics “She is Beyond Good & Evil” and “We Are Time”, is  considered a masterpiece and proved massively influential, not the least on Nick Cave and the early work of The Birthday Party.

Circus in Town - Love Child (Love Child)

Love-Child-AlbumOnce upon a time blues had led rock to a powerful, muscular, emotional place. 

You don’t see this much anymore. And most of the practitioners who plod from town to town are long, long past their relevance (never mind their heyday).

But Love Child from Sydney...now here’s the kind of band you want to see on a Saturday night but you’re not allowed out anymore. There are no duff musicians here, it’s all tight and glossy and yearning. The singer, Steve Hancock, has the sort of voice which swells men’s chests and moistens um, erm, lady’s lips. He really knows how to belt a song out. The girls must heave themselves at him like despairing lemmings.

The Clashification of Dub - Dub Spencer and Trance Hill (Echo Beach)

clashificationWhat a brilliant record this is. I’ve played it about six times since buying this one on spec. Fuck but it’s great.

See, this is why I like exploring Amazon. The Clash were panned in their day for their dub experiments, journos always banging on about how super they were live.

Funny. I saw them once and got bored fairly swiftly. Their LPs are not always cohesive, but sod that. That’s what cassette tapes were for, and making your own versions of their LPs was always fun.

The Devil and the Deep - Sun God Replica (Spooky Records)

devil-and-the-deepIf you don’t know Sun God Replica, they’re a hairy floor-filling Melbourne three piece (led by Link Meanie) who enjoy breaking bones and throwing stones. With amplifiers, harmonies and a smirk at the back. 

Sun God Replica are also the kind of band which would do well overseas. Get outta town, boys.

Glimpses: 1963-1968 Rarities – Yardbirds (Easy Action)

glimpsesScratch deep enough and you’ll find an undercoat of Yardbirds below the shiny paintwork of every worthwhile rock and roll vehicle.

We’re talking a group that was part of the original wave of British blues, but took 12-bar and twisted it for their own purposes. The Yardbirds were true progenitors of overdrive and sustained feedback, bringing in eclectic influence like Gregorian chants and Eastern ragas.

All-in sonic escalations (dubbed “rave-ups” by the band) were features of their song arrangements. Does that that ring any bells about contemporary bands all these years later?  

3D Live to Air - The Billion Dollar Bums (Billion Dollar Music)

billion-dollar-bumsTake the massive rhythm section of Fear and Loathing, add ex-Love Fever and Primevils’ David Mason on one guitar and the redoubtable Sean Tilmouth on the other guitar and you have a crunching, bowel-scouring rock band. 

The Bums were first put together a few years back by the late Renestair EJ; their first gig featured a rather heatstroked Ren beaning a startled Mr Tilmouth with the mic stand. Mr Tilmouth’s response to this was not, "I say, that’s a bit harsh, Ren old buddy". No.

Sean knocked Ren out cold, and floored him again when Ren got up and went for the cuddle of forgiveness. I’ve seen the video and this band owe me a new pair of underpants. 

Let’s Go To A Disco! - Captain Spud (Spudland)

spudAt first, second and third glances there are copyright problems all over this CD EP. And that’s just the cover. This is wonderful.

Inside we have three beguiling, entrancing tunes - the title track, "Vice City Cop" and "Space Lounge." Your intrepid reviewer has been exposed dancing to all three, and even bouncing around in an Adelaide radio station studio to "Let’s Go To A Disco!" Is it a band or an individual? These days you can’t tell.

Penny Ikinger returns to Japan

penny-japan-2014Australian sonic chanteuse Penny Ikinger is taking her unique sound to Japan again - this time to record as well as play live.

Penny has teamed up with Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek to write new material on the first stage of her next musical offering. Stage two then takes Penny back to Japan to team up with her Japanese musical crew to record the songs. 

“I’ve collaborated before but this time I’ve taken it to another level to really challenge my approach to writing and to bring a fresh new sound to the music being created,” Penny said.

“Deniz is a fabulously talented musician and opening up the music for a true collaboration was an experience that brought new energy and ideas to the whole process.”

But that’s not the end of the story. Penny will now take these songs to Japan where she will further collaborate with her Japanese musical partners from recent tours.

“Last time I went to Japan in 2012 I performed with some amazing psychedelic rock musicians – Masami Kawaguchi (guitar), Louis Inage (bass) and Keiichi Sakai (drums),” Penny said.

“This time around we’ll play a few gigs, but the main focus will be recording this new material and having the guys bring their unique flavour to the songs.

“I’m really excited about the possibilities of where we might go with this – the crew in Japan are extremely talented musicians and although their sound aligns with my style, they are quite different in their approach.”

Set In Stone - Iron Feather (DM3)

set-in-stoneA few weeks ago I went out in search of crunching, scabrous rock’n’roll. Headlining were Fear and Loathing (their usual ramshackly brilliant horrorshow), Leather Messiah just before (their new stuff is fabulous. Remember how Legends of Motor Sport were great fun but seemed to lack something? Leather Messiah have that extra something - they’re a burnout, man). 

The band I was curious about, Iron Feather, were second on the bill, and within seconds of punching us all out, assorted members of the Messiah and FAL were front and centre, thrilled.

And you know how old and past it we all are. Who the fuck are Iron Feather?

Blood Bank Benefit show with the Lime Spiders and guests

Ripley Hood fronting the Lime SpidersRipley Hood stands in for Mick Blood in the Lime Spiders.       Steve Whelan photo

Ten bands. One bill. Despite being run (a.) in what is, these days, a notoriously taciturn live music town as Sydney and (b.) in direct competition with some obscure code of football’s grand final, it made sense.

Blood Bank was one of four benefit shows in as many cities to assist Lime Spiders vocalist Mick Blood, rendered unable to work after an altercation a few months ago in a pub in his newly adopted home town of Newcastle. Mick suffered a brain injury and is on the mend but it’s going to be slow progress on a long road.

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