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Ed returns for a second dose of "Lost Cities"

Ed Kuepper returns with part 2 of his "Lost Cities" album Australian tour, performing solo and in duo mode across select dates in Darwin, Newcastle, Sydney, Katoomba and Melbourne.

The duo shows see Kuepper reunite with his old sparring partner Mark Dawson – a collaborator most notably on the celebrated “Today Wonder” and ARIA winning “Honey Steels Gold” albums – between them featuring two of Ed’s most recognisable tracks in “Everything I’ve Got” and “The Way I Made You Feel”. Mark will join Ed for shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Belgrave.

Vaporized! – Vaporized! (cassette and download from Urge Records)

vaporized tapeSometimes I want to avoid the fact that I'm becoming an old fart. Sadly, talking up the "good old days" is a sign of this. Even so, it seems relevant when talking about today's Sydney, the bands and the live scene. It's how I view the world. 

I remember when I was seeing bands most nights of the week. It was somewhat of an outlaw existence and hard to comprehend it all at just 19-years-old. Back then, anyone over 24 was “old”. The veteran bands were the Sex Pistols and Radio Birdman. Then there was Iggy, who was ancient.

It was the early ‘80s and I was living in Surry Hills in Central Sydney when could you get a room in a shared house hold for $25 a week. There were quality, cutting-edge bands playing within a few minutes’ walk, five nights a week. The Triffids, The End, The Moffs, Salamander Jim, Scientist, The Laughing Clowns, and all that Black Eye art-noise band stuff.  There were venues everywhere - Trade Union Club, Evil Star, French’s, The Strawberry Hills, The Lansdowne and The Hopetoun. Then there were the squat gigs or house parties where everyone put bands on in their lounge rooms. And mostly always, those were free. It’s now all just a faded blur. 

Cherie bombs as Sydney stays home

cherie bombGrowing up in Sydney in the ‘80s,  we were spoiled. The amorphous thing called Pub Rock spawned an explosion of live music and it was literally everywhere. The one thing all those bands had in common is still hard to put your finger on but you could term it The Pub Contract.

From the audience side, the Contract read like this: “Don’t give us any airs and graces. If you aren’t any good, we’re going to put shit on you. Due to us consuming social lubricants in prodigious proportions, you need to play hard to get our attention.”

Those days are gone and only a few people care anymore. The ones who might be keen are buried deep under mortgages, families and adulthood.

Maybe it was the lack of a crowd, skewed expectations or the fact that The Runaways were never mandated high rotation listening in my own world, but Friday night’s Cherie Currie show at the Manning Bar in Sydney fell flatter than a soufflé in a bricklayers’ pie oven.

It wasn’t entirely the fault of the headliner.

The Runaways’ place in history is notable if slightly perverse. On one hand, as an all-girl band in a man’s world, they provided inspiration for a later generation of Riot Grrrls and (Punk Rock) Sisters Doing It For Themselves. On the other hand, they were shamelessly objectified, used and abused and have become a cautionary object lesson in exploitation.

Round Eye send a message home to the USA

Expatriate Americans living in Shanghai in China, Round Eye have unleashed a video to accompany their song “Billy” which is a stringing critique on the state of politics back home.

Round Eye recently signed to the Canadian label Sudden Death Records (owned by DOA’s Joey Shithead) and collaborated with the late Stooges sax man Steve Mackay on an eponymous record "Round Eye" last year which you can hear and download via theiur Bandcamp (link below).

“We've lived here for 6 years but have never neglected the issues of home,” explains singer Chachy. “This video is our open letter to the United States.  We really put a lot of work into this to ensure the message is very loud and very clear.”

Round Eye on Bandcamp

Round Eye on the Web

 

Sydney to turn it on for Spencer

SpencerPJonesByCarbieWarbieSydney’s music community is rallying to get behind much-loved rocker Spencer P Jones in an hour of need.

Spencer is battling serious illness and fund-raisers have been popping up all over Australia. Sydney is responding with its own show, The Axeman’s Benefit, on Friday, June 24 at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville.

Died Pretty is headlining a heavyweight bill which will include Spencer’s old band The Johnnys (with guest vocalists), the Hoodoo Gurus (playing a mini-set), home-grown garage up-starts Straight Arrows and psych-punk veterans Young Docteurs.  The Johnnys will close the night.

The killer line-up will be augmented by a bevy of guest musicians including Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil), Simon Day (Ratcat), Jack Ladder, Murray Cook, MC Anthony Morgan, Jason Walker, Peter Fenton (Crow) and Kane Dyson (Spurs For Jesus.) FBi’s Jack Shit will be lending his DJ talents.

All of the acts have played alongside or recorded with Spencer in some capacity.  Died Pretty is fresh from a summer of sold-out A Day On The Green and club shows and is re-convening especially for Spencer.

Although his career has been mainly under the mainstream music radar, Spencer P Jones has been a tremendously influential figure in Australia.

Arriving in Australia from New Zealand in 1976, Spencer came to prominence with hard-drinking cowpunks the Johnnys and then inner-Sydney swamp supergroup the Beasts of Bourbon, he’s also played with the Gun Club, Renee Geyer, Chris Bailey, Rowland S Howard, Nick Cave and Paul Kelly.

In recent years he’s been recording and playing with his own solo bands as well as members of The Scientists and The Drones.

Tickets for The Axeman’s Benefit went on sale last  night and are here. A substantial number have gone already so don't delay.

My Adelaide weekend beats your year

system addictsThe Systemaddicts in full flight. Mandy Tzaras photo

Right now, Adelaide might not be the centre of the musical universe, but that's not for want of talent, effort and sheer fuck-offed-ness. Last weekend proves it.

First, Friday night at The Grace Emily Hotel. It's probably wrong to describe Subtract-S as Tomway Army's band, but he's definitely the leader, and the star. In fact, at the Grace Emily in Adelaide tonight, the air positively stinks of stardom, the kind of stardom which winks at you, lures you in like a jam rolypoly to Billy Bunter, then rams a fist into your blubbery belly.

If you've not caught Subtract-S, you must. In the audience tonight was a gentleman who'd come all the way from Hamburg just to see Adelaide bands. And he loved it.

Talking Loud – Sulfur City (Alive Naturalsound)

sulfur city loudThere’s something special about a gutsy and compelling female vocalist fronting a hard rock band when it’s done right. Canadian band Sulfur City tick all those boxes.

Sulfur City’s bold, bluesy and soulful sound is a perfect fit for the Alive Naturalsound stable which has carved a market in the rootsy hard rock space. They’re the label’s first female-fronted act which was a surprise. .

Hailing from Ontario, the band’s focal point is ex-truck driver and bartender Lori Paradis, a flame-haired vocal powerhouse and electric washboard player (!) whose voice will knock you flat at 20 paces. “Talking Loud” is an attention-getting debut record overflowing with blues-boogie and soul goodness.

They were robbed, mate. You can help.

We were robbed mateIn early May thieves broke into Dan Sullivan's Johnston Street recording studio in Melbourne and stole guitars, effects pedals and recording gear worth thousands of dollars.

Despite the best efforts of friends and fellow musicians, the equipment and gear has yet to be recovered, leaving Sullivan and James McCann personally and financially devastated.

The studio has recenty been used (for free) to record tracks for an upcoming Spencer P Jones tribute album.

On Sunday, 22 May members of the Melbourne music community will come together at The Tote in Melbourne to raise money to replace the missing gear. The event will feature performances from Kim Salmon, Garry Gray & the Sixth Circle, James McCann & the New Vindictives, Penny Ikinger, Midnight Scavengers, Fraudband, Los Dominados, Claire Birchall & the Phantom Hitchhikers, Jules Sheldon, Helen Ryder and Tex Napalm.

Come along and see some great music, while helping out some hard working members of the Melbourne music community in a time of need. Keep an eye on the Facebook event for playing times and to spread the word. 

Earthquake - The Sensational Second Cousins (Independent Future Recordings)

earthquakeIf they weren’t really a duo from Holland, The Sensational Second Cousins would be double Dutch to most of us. Sorry, the puns should stop now. You don’t need them clogging this review. But they really are a duo and they do come from Holland.

The Sensational Second Cousins play stripped-back rockabilly with a punk edge, excessive reverb and a heap of humour. What’s more, the band members ARE second cousins. Hectic Henri (guitars/ and vocals) and Ravin' Jerk (stand up drums) take rock and roll back to its elemental roots and squeeze its throat. Hard.

MDC. Memoir From a Damaged Civilization. Stories of Punk, Fear and Redemption by Dave Dictor (Ma nicD Press)

DaveDictorbookDid you ever see The Decline of Western Civilization documentary? The first one?

Pretty uneven, isn’t it? And by god, there’s a lot of indifferent stuff in there. The Germs are horrible, but rather wonderful. Fear are also quite nasty, and funny, and wonderful. The rest … well, it’s kind of interesting. But Decline (Mk I) is not a film I readily return to.

Even so, because it captures a scene in a scattergun style, it’s significant. By no means was that every significant band. By no means known to man, woman or beast.

But when it first came out here in Australia (1984, I think) it made and confirmed a huge impact. The wave of US hardcore and secondary punk was finally breaking into our homes (well, not if you listened to mainstream radio and watched TV, granted. I mean, us in the alternative scene.

You remember that…) and gentle young souls with spiky hair, the right jeans and Doc Martens and leather motorcycle jackets with UK punk band names and patches all over them? (I was always reminded of my school exercise books when I was about 13; I figured I’d done that already, I didn’t need a jacket that reminded me of school.) When, in 1983, we tried to explain to these gentle souls that, you know, it was the American punk bands which were amazing, they were aggressively dismissive.

Blood & Treasure - Pat Todd & The Rankoutsiders (Hound Gawd)

blood and treasureThere’s no-one better qualified to decry “this counterfeit world” than Pat Todd as he does on the opening cut of the same name on his new album.

Todd’s been The Real Deal for three decades, first with Los Angeles underground legends The Lazy Cowgirls and more recently with The Rankoutsiders. “Blood & Treasure” is long=player number-four and builds on a substantial body of work.

People sometimes look down their noses at the term “bar band”. Why is a mystery. Isn’t a “bar band” the antithesis of a “stadium band”? Todd has assembled one of the world’s best bar bands in The Rankoutsiders and it would be a travesty to think of them playing Coachella.

Mazstock line-up means all roads lead to Lismore

mazstock 2016The eighth year of boutique festival Mazstock in the far northern New South Wales town of Lismore is almost on us and it's another rip-roaring line-up.  

There's a distinct Sydney/Wollongong flavour with the likes of Bunt, Leadfinger, The Hot Sweets and Loose Pills mixing it with locals like Royal Chant and The Antibodies.

Click here to find ticketing details at the Facebook event. 

Sydney: Are you ready for some Darkness?

turbolecoAre you ready to rock in double denim? Are you ready for the infamous Turbobelco? The pride of Belconnen and of this nation’s capital hits Marrickville Bowling Club on Saturday, May 21.

Yes, there are many Turbonegro tribute bands throughout the world, but Turbobelco are one of the greatest denim-clad homages to Norway’s kings of Deathpunk rock ‘n’ roll that you’re ever likely to witness. The five-piece features members of The Vee Bees, The Levitation Hex (Adam Agius, also ex Alchemist), Law Of The Tongue and Pod People, with the flame-haired Baron Von Kreep on vocals.

Supporting will be no less than arguably Wollongong’s finest punk ‘n’ rollers to surface in recent years, the re- formed Hy-Test, playing their first Sydney show in years.

Also on the bill are The Neptune Power Federation recently released their second album, boast members of Nancy Vandal, Frenzal Rhomb and Fattura Della Morte among their ranks - and they rock like it’s 1986!

Opening will be the mighty Mucho Sonar, whose sound has been described as “Motorhead plays Little Richard. Complete with face melting horn section.” Getting the party started will be the DJ Crucifox and the Turbojugend Sydney DJs. It runs from 6pm till midnight and tickets are $12 at the door (or $10 for Turbojugend members.)

Dead Boy Not Running Scared: Cheetah Chrome to tour Europe

cheetah knobs

Punk rock guitar legend Cheetah Chrome is hitting the live music bolt-holes of Europe for the first time ever, backed by a hand-picked Dutch band called The Knobs.

The new millennium has brought new opportunities for the ex-Dead Boy, including his first release under his own name, a critically-acclaimed book and multiple tours in the United States alongside the likes of Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls), Ronnie Spector, the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, James Williamson (The Stooges) and The Blackhearts.

In Fall 2016, he will be returning to Europe to embark on a tour across mainland Europe and through Scandinavia. Cheetah has recruited a quality cast of bandmates who have aligned themselves with his style and have brought his influence to their country.

The Neighbourhood Strange b/w Wytches Sky - The Neighbourhood Strange (LSD Records)

neighbourhood strangeFormed within a stone’s throw (sorry) of Stonehenge you might expect The Neighbourhood Strange to live up to the second-half of their name. They’re not playing music that’s weird as much as very good. It's moody, freakbeat pop with a dark streak.

This is the debut single for a band that’s only a year old but has purportedly played “hundreds” of gigs. Hmmm. Strip away that hype and you’ll hear A-side “The Neighbourhood Strange” as striking psych pop with driving organ and a surging beat. Guitarist Marcus Turner’s heady vocal sits at the centre of a swirl of colours. Great layered production and depth. The B-side is more downbeat but with a sweeping melody line that embeds itself from after one or two listens. We deserve to hear an album's worth. 

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Buy it on Bandcamp

The Neighbourhood Strange on Facebook

 

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