One of the lesser-known musical pleasures in Australian over the last decade has been the quirky garage sound of the Hekawis, a fuzz-and-organ-driven combo prominent on the Brisbane and Melbourne underground music scenes. Churning out release after release, partly via the then prolific Courdroy label (who happened to own the country's sole vinyl pressing machine for a period in the '90s), the Hekawis pushed all the usual '50s and '60s buttons but came up with a sound unlike any other of their ilk.
Flashback to 1994. A momentous and tumultuous time for music.
The world tragically loses Kurt Cobain and tragically gains the Presley-Jacksons (yep, that happened); the Eagles reform and charge $100 a ticket for their shows; Woodstock re-hits New York state; Korn introduces nu-metal to the universe; "Parklife", "Definitely Maybe", "Grace", "Dookie", "Crooked Rain Crooked Rain" and "Stereopathetic Soulmanure" all hit the shelves… and somewhere amongst all of it, Sydney band Smudge releases its debut album, "Manilow".
It’s the third album for one-man bent bluesman Chicken Diamond and it marks another point on his descent into sonic hell. Ten songs of dirt-flecked distortion with a rusty sawtooth edge.
The Chicken’s coop is France where anything that has the odour of being musically underground is driven so far below the surface you’d need a miner’s helmet and a canary in a cage to find it. Thankfully, brave labels like Beast are around to facilitate tours of the aural subterranean catacombs and cast some light.