Jangle-pop near perfection that doesn't wear out its welcome

modern architectureModern Architecture EP - Danny McDonald (Popboomerang Records)

As the former Oscarlima and Jericho frontman, P76 leader and onetime member of Little Murders, Danny McDonald should need no introduction. But if you're curious about on of the most ybderrated purveyors of Aussie guitar pop and want a jumping-in point, his new EP is as good a place as any.

Danny plays guitar and writes pithy, Australian-tinged songs with depth and there are five crackers on "Modern architecture". They range from punky-pop to jangle-rama and are chockfull of melody and fire. McDonald has armed himself with a sterling engine room (Tim Mills on bass and David Klynjans on drums), a stellar vocal partner in Anna Burley (Killjoys) and an ace producer in Craig Pikington.

Double dose of pop with sax and sass

baby 8 splitLaughing Up a Storm - Baby 8 b/w Boys In Town - Penny Ikinger (Fantastic Mess Records)

This is a double A sided single from two of the best female-fronted/dominated and/or comprised outfits in Melbourne town. 

First to Baby 8 and “Laughing Up a Storm” which is brassy and bold, over-the-top pop. It’s immediately appealing with its rambunctious three-part harmonies with sax and trumpet parts kicking up a storm.  A lick of synth casts an oddness into the soundscape that befits this vengeance song. There’s a sharp lyrical turn that’s like the twist of a knife and Kat Karamitros sells the vocal like she means it. Wonderful. Don't cross her. 

The late Chrissy Amphlett was a mentor to Penny Ikinger and she brings plenty of conviction and feeling to her cover of Divynils’ “Boys in Town”. Three guitars give it more crunch than the radio-friendly original single, with Penny’s guitar howl leaking through the more conventional attack of Julian Heid and Sam Billinghurst-Walsh. Not content to sound just like the original, Penny and Co have bent the song out of shape, just so. 

It’s the usual Fantastic Mess run of other clear-spattered or ruby red vinyl in a limited pressing. Grab it here

martiniratingmartiniratingmartiniratingmartinirating1/2 - both

 

2019 Barfly Top Ten: Ronny Van Dyk

ronny van dyk 2019Random top 10 bands to see live according to how much I enjoyed them in the tiny backroom bars I’ve been hanging in all year. There were so many, but these spring to mind:

The Lenores
Year 6 Disco
Space Boys
Froth Dogs
Minor Surgery
Flangipanis
Bitchcraft
Sounds like winter
Legal Aliens
Lights Out Holy Roller

Special mention Australis Über Alles.

Ronny Van Dyk plays guitar in Wollongong's BotBots and was vocalist for punks The Leftards (RIP). He runs the Wreckless Enterprises record label and booking agency.

2019 Barfly Top Ten: Bob Blunt

bob blunt 2019You want me to write a year in reflection? Well, where and how to start? I will bang on these keys and most likely bang on in my usual stoic warm way.

Mind you, I rarely write about music these days. I look back and reflect on the shit I once wrote and it seems all so naïve, sycophantic almost. But here’s a try and since it’s not the 10 best gigs, nor the 10 best recordings, I have license to mix it up.

Best thing that happened – helping out with the band bookings at MoshPit, a small unpretentious little bar down the south end of King St which now fits 120 people. Yes, it’s small, and don’t go there if you feel paranoid or claustrophobic as you’ll probably hate it. But, in the vein of CBGB’s in NYC, Frenches which was on Oxford Street (Darlinghurst) the Old Bar in Melbourne, and its local counterpart Midnight Special in Enmore, this place oozes fun.

Where else can you put on your favourite bands and liken it to your best ever lounge-room party. There’s a whole range of yummy booze, great staff, the co-owners Pat n Wax, + two sound people who know what they’re doing within limitations. Nunchukka Superfly, Thee Evil Twin, Face Command, White Knuckle Fever and Los Monaros are just some of the great local acts that graced there in 2019. We was lucky and their goodwill was priceless. Sydney needs venues like these so in my unbiased best, please support.

Best things I listened to – newish stuff from Pallet, Small Town Incident, White Knuckle Fever, Sounds Like Winter, Syntax Error, Joseph Leonard, Wreckless Enterprise Recordings volume 1 and 2 – compilations featuring Dirty Slutz, Babymachine, Leftards, Minor Surgery, Space Bozzies, Bitchcraft, Piss to Eme.

Tie yourself in Knots

knots epAction; 1980 Three Tracks - The Knots (Rave-Up)

For those of you who aren't familiar with the name, Joey Pinter, he is like an angrier, tough as leather, hard as nails, punk rock Billy Gibbons. Or if Johnny Thunders was still alive and vital and never lost his mojo. Roughly, he's the American equivalent to Spencer P. Jones-in that he is also a formidable and prolific singer/songwriter in his own right, who is best known for having played soulful, emotionally charged, white lightning guitar in beloved cult bands.

I first discovered Pinter's legendary American punk gangs, the Waldos and the Knots, back when I was 20-years-old and pin-balling back and forth between Boston, Hollywood, and New York City. I was a pencil thin scarecrow, would-be vocalist, back then, trying to forge my own dangerous glam rock band ala Smack, Hanoi Rocks, and Dogs D'Amour, but I never had the money or social skills, to keep a band together for long.

Popboomerang caravan reaches Sydney

ups and downs 2019

You might have read our recent rave about the latest “Shake Yer Popboomerang” compilation. It was recently launched in Melbourne and Brisbane. Now it’s Sydney’s turn. 

Ups and Downs (pictured above), Halfway and The Arial Maps will do the honours at Marrickville Bowling Club on February 29. Tickets are on sale here.

"Shake Yer Popboomerang 3" is the latest in a series of compilation albums released on the Popboomerang Records label to document and celebrate the finest melodic pop, jangle, folk and rock music in the Australian scene. The label was founded by Scott Thurling in 2002 and has released more than 80 recordings.

2019 Barfly Top Ten: Adam Yee from Smudge

adam with david huck shawTOP TEN ALBUMS

Broads - "Stay Connected"

Loved everything they’ve done, and this ain’t any different. Songs, arrangements, voices.

Julia Jacklin - "Crushing"
Wow. This was awkward and difficult to listen to in a good way. So personal; beautifully, simple observations of life. Could be the best of 2019 for me.

Paranoyds - "Carnage Bargain"
New wave 60’s garage pop (?) outta LA. Brilliant.

Levitation Room - "Headspace"
I listened to this on repeat for about three hours and had to make myself switch it off.

Shifting Sands - "Crystal Cuts"
Almost a drop dead gimme that this was going to be superb after "Beach Coma".

Shelley’s Murder Boys - "Above Is A Roar"
Bluegrass from the Inner West. I just love how kinda ‘not perfect’ they are, just as bluegrass should be. Always great to see live.

Chelsea Wolfe - "Birth Of Violence"
She is the Dark Lord.


Adam Yee (right) with Stms drummer David Huck-Shaw.

What Brian Henry Hooper knew

what would i knowWhat Would I Know? - Brian Henry Hooper (Bang! Records)

Brian Henry Hooper was a remarkable man. I first encountered him when he was part of Kim Salmon's band, The Surrealists. I had no idea what to expect, and the huge shattering sound, the big horror-show songs, and Kim's howls backed by two droogies from an abbattoir ... my mouth was flat on the floor. Magnificent.

It was many years later that I met Brian for the first time, more or less by accident at a different gig, when I used a rather unpleasant local term which Brian immediately picked up on - "That's a real Adelaide term, isn't it?" Brian was always interested in the world around him - I recall him also relating how beautiful Adelaide was as the aircraft came in to land ... come in the right way to land, I suppose, and even ...no, that's not right. I knew what he meant, the place can be damned pretty.

No, really. Brian liked Adelaide.

2019 Barfly Top Tens: Matt Ryan of Munster Times

matt munster 2019TOP 11 ALBUMS 

Eddy Current Suppression Ring - All in Good Time
Nine years is a long time between drinks, but this was well worth the wait. For my money the most important Melbourne band of the last 20 years returns with an LP up there with their first two albums. In true Eddy Current style this LP just all of a sudden dropped out of nowhere, with no shows and little media presence to promote it. Garage rock the way it should be, messy but tight, loose and fast and songs ending whenever it feels like that’s enough.

Hexdebt- Rule of Four
Punk meets shoegazing with social’political messages that come straight in your face. The long awaited debut LP of Hexdebt backs up their reputation as a killer live outfit

Cereal Killer – The Beginning and End of Cereal Killer
The first and last long player of this Geelong supergroup. I saw ‘em live a few years back with feedtime and was blown away, so was keen to hear the LP as I wanted to see how that stage show was put on record. The LP has plenty of the power of the live show, combining elements of garage, punk and electro, one of the most fresh and finest releases of 2019.

Plastic Section - Trouble is Our Business
Sun City meets John Spencer. Killer '50s guitar and vocals, two ripper instrumental tracks and only one song cracks the three minute mark. Its sounds old but in a new way, powerful but not flashy guitar. Singer-guitarist Ben Edwards sounds like he could ave played with the Killer himself.

Mick Trouble- Here’s the Mick Trouble LP
Thanks to Ritchie Ramone at Strangeworld for putting me onto this. Was amazed this came out this year as I thought it was a lost Television Personalities recording. One of those gems I would only discover via the man behind the record store counter. Buzzcocks style harmonies meets the storytelling of Wreckless Eric.

Imperial Wax - Gastwerk Saboteurs
Pete Greenway, Dave Spurr and Keiron Melling had been the core of the Fall for the last decade of the band's existence until the passing of Mark E Smith. The three lads hooked up with Sam Curran to make an LP their old taskmaster would ave been proud of. It’s not the Fall, but without MES how could it? Theres certainly elements of the Fall in there but the lads ave their own approach and ideas, much like the Fall, taking a simple idea and expanding, taking rock music to new places.

Wild Billy Childish & CTMF - Last Punk Standing
With the exception of Mark E Smith no one has given me more joy then Billy Childish. Pretty much every year theres an LP with the name Childish that appears in the top 10 list. The mans a hero of mine. On top of the massive discography of amazing albums, what I love about him is the fact the man just gets on with it. Bangs out two LPs a year, with just two, if that, chords and bangs out a record in one take. No overdubs no time for being precious, just doing it and doing it well. I wish I had this talent and discipline.

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