• A conversation with First Lady of Soul, PP Arnold

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

Follow Your Instinct - Guttercats (Pop The Balloon/Ghost Highway/Beluga Records)

follow your instinctIt’s four albums into the game for French band Guttercats and it’s with an almost entirely new line-up. Vocalist Guts Guttercat is the sole original member. Before you ask, he sings in English - and with more than a little sense of drama in his delivery.

Not to be confused with the UK Gutter Cats (punks) or their L.A. counterparts (sleaze-glam), both contemporaries using the two-word form of the name, this crew cites The Only Ones, Rowland S. Howard, Nikki Sudden, Chris Bailey and Gun Club as influences. 

That’s a varied bag and so is their music. It runs the full gamut - from Bohemian semi-acoustic, dark pop to garage-style rock rave-ups. I’d throw the Bad Seeds and Dream Syndicate in there, too, or even final days Johnny Thunders.

Revealed: Ed and The Aints delivering two albums for the price of one

peter oxley studioBy the time you read this, Ed Kuepper and his new favourite band The Aints will be ensconced in Phil Punch’s Sydney studio, recording their new album.

“The Church of Simultaneous Existence” was previewed on the recent runs of Aints shows across Australia, and will consist mostly of old songs intended for a fourth album by the early (definitive) version of the Kuepper-Bailey Saints.

The Aints lineup is Peter Oxley (bass), Paul Larsen (drums) and Alister Spence (keys) with Kuepper on vocals and guitar, backed by a three-piece horn section. The photo at right of Peter Oxley in the studio yesteday is courtesy of Feelpresents. 

Last Friday night at Sydney's Marrickville Bowling Club, The Aints played a bracket of the album songs in their entirety. They backed up that blistering show with an appearance the following night at the Gumball festival in the Hunter Valley..

Did we say recording “a new album” (singular)? The Aints are also recording a new Ed Kuepper album - with strings.

It’s the same “electric trio” configuration that appeared with Ed and the Nonsemble Strings at Leftys Old Time Musical Hall in Brisbane in December 2017.

No release dates have been announced for either album but mixing sessions have been scheduled, so watch this space.

This R.E.M. tribute goes out to the ones they love

Tis the season to pay tribute, it seems. “The Ones We Love” is a unique series of concerts in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, celebrating R.E.M. and featuring an all-star line-up of singers, most of them drawn from the Australian semi-underground.

Jeff Martin (The Tea Party), Steve Kilbey (The Church), Ron S. Peno (Died Pretty), Trish Young (The Clouds), Alannah Russack (The Hummingbirds), Ashley Naylor (Even), Greg Atkinson (Ups & Downs), Peter Fenton (Crow) and Amanda Brown (The Go-Betweens) are sharing star billing. Backing will come from The Exploding Boys who, at last glance, comprised members of Glide and Died Pretty. 

THE ONES WE LOVE: Celebrating R.E.M.
AUG
31 - Brisbane, Tivoli Theatre
Sep
6 - Melbourne, Palais Theatre
7 - Sydney, State Theatre
Tickets - Pre Sale: Friday May 4th, 9am Local Times. On Sale -   Monday May 7th, 9am Local Times. 
From Metropolis Touring

 

Oldest Friend - The Painkillers (Off The Hip)

oldest friendOf the four albums by The Painkillers since 2006, this is the first to feature a full band. It also reprises five of its nine songs from earlier recordings. 

The Painkillers were formerly a duo - guitarist-singer Joe Bludge, a bluesman, and drummer James Baker, a man who surely needs no introduction. 

Coming from Perth (yeah, yeah, the most isolated capital city in the world) kept them a secret from the rest of Australia. I remember rushing across town one Saturday night, after an opening spot by Wrong Turn at The Empire (RIP), to catch a rare East Coast Painkillers show at Sydney’s Excelsior Hotel (RIP again), and finding the band barely outnumbered by punters. 

Hindu Gods, Dave's calling you

lipstick killers wide shotLipstick Killers precursors The Psychosurgeons.

That finder of lost treasures extraordinaire, David Laing, is on the hunt for archival photos, handbills and posters relating to Sydney band the Lipstick Killers.

Formerly head of the Grown Up Wrong and Dogmeat labels and longtime footsoldier for Shock Records and more recently Universal, Dave is branching out on his own and his first project is a double CD of definitive Lipstick Killers goodness.

Working with Lipstick Killers guitarist Mark Taylor, Laing has already unearthed some unheard gems and now wants to do the packaging justice by adding unseen images. Says "Dogmeat Dave": “I’m especially keen to find decent promo shots, including good quality versions of the ones regularly doing the rounds. In particular I’m after photos and a contact for one, Gary Lane, who did a shoot in ’79 – one photo was used in RAM magazine.”

Drop Dave a lineThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Who Is Innocent? A Singles Collection 1983-87 - Fixed Up (Nineteen Something)

who is innocentTheir legacy was just two LPs and a stack of singles but Fixed Up’s punky and soulful garage rock touched people in their native France and all the way around to the other side of the world in Australia.

A lot’s been made about the Sydney-Detroit connection, mainly through Radio Birdman and its now fading local musical legacy. The irrefutable fact was that Birdman and its associated influences ruled the Sydney roost in the early 1980s. As true as that was, you can make a strong case for the affinity between Australia and France being almost as important, once the Sydney underground scene started to diversify and expand. 

The Franco-Ausstralian link was made when John Needham, chief of seminal Sydney label Citadel Records, started dealing with the likes of Sonics Records in France. Suddenly, there was a pipeline for Australian bands to have their music heard on the Continent - meaning outside the UK where the perpetually jaded music press briefly adopted Aussie arty pop, junkie rock and the swamp sound for a time. 

Into The Sun - P76 (Off The Hip)

into the sunVocal melodies and rippling guitars never get old. “Into The Sun” originally came out in 2000, on the ubiquitous US-Australian label Zip Records and has been re-issued by Off The Hip, 18 years later.

It sounds fresher than a couple of teenagers in the back row of a movie theatre on a first date sponsored by Colgate and Listerine, and could have been recorded a week ago.

Some context: Danny McDonald is only a little bloke but he’s a towering talent of Aussie powerpop. After doing his best to crack the mainstream charts while leading P76 and the preceding Jericho, as well as 18 months as a hired hand for Oscarlima, he took a step back, to life in rural Victora, and raise a family. And record and release three excellent albums under his own name.

Langered - The Jenkinses (self released)

langeredIf you could bottle the brashness on the five tracks from this EP by The Jenkinses you’d have a product to bring lasting peace to the Middle East, send a man to Mars and restore hair to Peter Garrett’s head. All considered impossible before now. 

The Jenkinses are a two-guitar four-piece from Brussels, full of grizzled veterans from Belgian bands like Contingent, Nervous Shakes, Vice Barons and Wild Ones. Only Nervous Shakes are familiar to me and they were great. The exception to the grizzled descriptor is guitarist Juliette Drumel, who’s the other guitarist-vocalist James Neligan’s better half.  Juliette gets her own picture on the inside of the digipak.  Happy wife, happy life, right James?

“Langered” - that's an Irish term for drunk - see, I like ‘em already - is the band’s second release, the first eponymous EP presumably being physical product when it came out four years ago, but now only available digitally. So how's it sound?

Love Hypnotic - The Jim Mitchells (Off The Hip)

love hypnoticDon’t judge a book by the cover, they said. They were right. The contents of ”Love Hypnotic” leave its quirky artwork for dead.

Descriptor? Somebody said “acid washed garage goodness” and that’ll do. Respect. That one can’t be topped. There’s an almost effortless drift to this Sydney band’s sound that makes it click. Wafting melodies and dreamy vocals jostle with rustic guitars to create an alluring soundscape. 

I know. You’re dying to know if there is an actual Jim Mitchell and the answer’s Yes. There’s the man - on vocals and guitar - who's evidently the creative multi-instrumentalist, and his band. And they are a band. They even play live and tour - a lot by contemporary standards. 

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