• First review of the album for James Williamson & The Pink Hearts

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

J Mascis announces extensive Australian and NZ solo dates

jmascis2-thumbRegular visitor, Dinosaur Jr frontman and guitar-guru J Mascis returns to Australia and New Zealand in February 2015 for a stack of solo shows.

The Mascis itinerary includes an appearance at the Adelaide's Garden Of Unearthly Delights Aurora Spiegeltent, two spots as special guest to premier ambient / noise outfit Mogwai at Perth's International Arts Festival, headline performances along the Australian east coast (including first time solo appearances in Hobart and Canberra) and three gigs on the north island of New Zealand.

The 2015 tour follows the release of "Tied To A Star", the second solo album from Mascis that picks up exactly where 2011's debut "Several Shades Of Why" left off.

Extend a helping hand to an I-94 Barfly

craig-and-jackA committed underground music fan and member of acid rock cover band The Resurrection Men, Sydneysider Craig Norman is also the father of eight-year-old Jack, who is battling a non-operable brain tumour.   

Craig and wife Tanya are fulltime public servants who have burned up much of their annual leave and are battling to give their son a decent quality of life, while also caring for their young daughter.

I-94 Bar patrons who can give a donation can help out here.

 

Banks of the Lea - Stiv Cantarelli and the Silent Strangers (Stovepony Records)

banks-of-the-leaIt’s evident that Italian-born Stiv Cantarelli is a musical creature of his environment. Basing himself in the US in the ’00s, his records reeked Americana and a return to Tuscany in 2012 spawned a dirty alt-country album (“Black Music/White Music”). 

Fast-forward a couple of years. “Banks of the Lea” finds him relocated to London with a reconstituted Italian band and churning out urgent, punky blues rock with a dark streak. Music of a time and place.

It might be a prime tourist patch but when you scratch the surface, London is just another very big city. Cantarelli immersed himself in the everyday ordinariness of Hackney, of all places, and this record is the result.

Pretty Things singer Phil May needs your help

phil-mayPretty Things frontman Phil May has been diagnosed with the serious lung disease COPD after a lifetime of smoking and is hospital in London. The band’s busy touring schedule is on hold.

In true fashion, "Ugly Things" - the magazine that has championed the band throughout its second coming - is running a campaign to lift May’s spirits by calling for a barrage of supportive letters.

BRUCE! take new EP on the road

No-nonsense four-piece stoner-punk powerhouse BRUCE! have been flat out since releasing their 2012 full-length debut and are heading back out on the road with a series of extensive Australian dates.

The Wollongong locals have shared stages with the mightiest of all mighty rock lords, including Turbonegro, Supersuckers, Brant Bjork, Regurgitator, Beasts of Bourbon, Cosmic Psychos, Tumbleweed, and most recently supporting Violent Soho in Sydney on their sold-out Australian tour.

Legalize Everything – Frowning Clouds (Rice is Nice/Saturno)

LegalizeEverythingDo you take album titles at face value? Let's take this legalisation of everything one step further. In an ideal world, we could also frame a law to make listening to worthwhile music compulsory. Frowning Clouds would be one of the first cabs off the rank.

Earlier this year, Frowning Clouds supported Sunnyboys and The Stems at a sold-out theatre show in Sydney. It was a prestigious gig. Among the pre-show chatter at the pub, I heard a comment that Frowning Clouds had been "psychedelised."

Hurt Me - Johnny Thunders (Easy Action)

hurt-meThe back catalogue of Johnny Thunders is way overdue for re-issue treatment. It’s coming up to 24 years since the talented but terminal ex-Doll checked into a New Orleans hotel and checked out on life. "ho better to revive his recorded legacy than Easy Action?

Whatever your stance on how the media portrayed Thunders, the guy was a walking contradiction. When it came to his image as Rock’s Most Wasted Human Being (aka The Guy Who Makes Keef Look Like a Schoolboy), he alternately kicked against it or embraced it with open, track-marked arms. “Hurt Me” was a poignant collection of stripped-back covers and standards - and a departure of sorts for JT, coming as it did five years after the bleary-eyed party that was “So Alone.”

The Man Who Rode The Mule Around The World – John Schooley (Voodoo Rhythm)

muleAustin, Texas, resident  John Schooley was a substantial blip on the I-94 Bar radar in the mid-1990s when Australian label Dropkick put out one of his records (“ You Won't Like It ... 'Cuz It's Rockn'Roll!”) with his band The Hard Feelings.

Here was a guy who crunched rootsy Americano with raucous garage grit in the most emphatic fashion. “You Won’t Like It...” even scored a write-up in Rolling Stone - but died a comercial death when the label head was struck down with cancer and couldn’t press up any more copies. Thankfully, he recovered - and Schooley, too, is still kicking. Like a mule. 

Pop Crimes: The Songs of Rowland S. Howard in Adelaide

pop-crimesFrom the spectacle of the Rolling Stones the previous night, I awaken somewhat seedy and blasted. It’s been a huge week, dealing with our Beasts of Bourbon documentary, taking note of Stoneswatch, seeing the Stones on a stage half a soccer pitch away and now… Rowland, who would have been 55 the previous day (AKA Stonesday here in Adelaide).

Ho to the Wheatsheaf Hotel on a borderline suffocating hot day, where Alison Lea’s photographs of young Rowland (the infamous late 1980 Adelaide tour, where scrawny Nick Cave painted a skull and tentacles on his chest, performed topless with the paint running to buggery and beyond.) If you’ve seen the cover of the Nick the Stripper 12”, that’s Alison’s photo. If you need more information go here.

There were two sets, the first being These Immortal Souls, and the second devoted to Rowland’s solo work. It wasn’t the line-up for the Melbourne shows; Hugo Race wasn’t there, nor was his sister Angela, nor Ed Kuepper. 

I haven’t been so profoundly moved all year. Partly because, after interviewing him on many occasions and brought him down to Adelaide for a few gigs, I knew Rowland reasonably well. Which meant that seeing these songs being performed by his friends had me rather teary. It was painful to watch, confronting, nasty even; more poignantly, his words are now far more loaded…

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