• Dinner with Lou Reed

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

Catzilla - Catzilla (Off The Hip)

catzillaHello from the farmhouse, I-94 Bar users and abusers! I can tell you that this week the farm has been grooving to Catzilla, a band from Perth with a surf/horror, '60s inspired sound that is very contagious to one's ears.

Every track on this self-titled album is crafted with love. The guitar fuzz of Andy Jarvis is so locked in with Coo Jarvis (keyboards and vocals), it's kind of hard to believe this fine band has only been playing a little over two years. Throw in the thumping bass of Tracey Devery and the drums sound that Trevor Judd has going and it all adds up to a great album...14 Catzilla tracks of groovy goodness.

Master of The Universe b/w Man In The Dark - David Thomas & The Holy Soul (Damn You)

david thomas holy soulSydney band The Holy Soul have a way with collaborating with the rich, at least in in history, and infamous. Here’s another example of that maverick magic. 

Seven years ago, The Holy Soul combined with Damo Suzuki (Can) and a Drone to punch out a live album on Repressed. This time out, it’s a half-studio/half-live 45 of similar vintage, this time with Rocket From The Tombs and Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas, with whom they played on a blink-and-you-miss-it Australian visit.

“Master of The Universe” is the A side (it’s a Hawkwind cover) and hovers between industrial skronk and space rock. Theremin and a throbbing bottom end underlay dry guitars and Thomas’s unique, plaintive vocal. A melange of guitars - presumably John Hunter and Trent Marden or both - and synth raises the tension in the breakdown before Sam Worrad’s hypnotic bass resumes its ominous march. 

The live “Man In The Dark” starts with the wheeze of Thomas's accordion wheeze and plays itself out with restraint for its five-minute duration. Delicate guitars chime to a subtle bass-line while Thomas expounds on (I think) a lapsed relationship, half-talking, half-crooning. Measured and magnificent. it was left off the live album that you can find here. The link below will lead you to the single. Odds are it won't last long. 

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FLASHBACK: At Times, So Political. Ed Kuepper on the reformation of the Saints and the Laughing Clowns

edkuepper181Ed Kuepper. Photo by Richard Sharman of Blackshadow Photography. 

Posted October 29, 2008:  If the thought of re-convening the classic mid-'70s Saints line-up presents more problems than formulating a lasting Middle Eastern peace plan, the organisers of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival series must be among international diplomacy's canniest operators.

The improbable becomes reality in January 2009 when ATP establishes an Australian beachhead, with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds curating and the Saints a feature act.

Yes, you read right. The Saints. Not any old Saints or even The Aints. The Kuepper-Bailey Saints, fercrissake, will be part of a varied and eclectic line-up over three locations and four days.

Primal Scream return to Aussie shores

primal scream 2018

Acid house hedonists and shape-shifting rock ‘n rollers, Primal Scream, have built a 30-year career on the art of reinvention and are bringing their incendiary live show back to Australia next month.

Vocalist Bobby Gillespie is arguably the consummate rock 'n' roll star. Willowy, wispy and radiating swagger, he struts around the stage, mic in hand like the genetically-engineered love child of Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison. He and his band are playing an all-encompassing greatest hits set including tracks from their legendary 1991 album "Screamadelica".

Big Attraction/Giddy Up - Amyl and the Sniffers (Homeless Records)

amyl and the sniffersThis may well be the only review of the Amyl and the Sniffers LP that makes no mention of mullets, sharpies, bogans or moles.

(I must mention, however, that one of the best mullets I have ever seen is the bass player from the mid-period line up of The Angels as seen in the film clip of that "No Way Get Fucked" song...although he is no match for Bob Spencer who in the same video has no hair and a monster rat's tail! Awesome!)

Amyl and the Sniffers are a young Australian punk rock band from Melbourne...and they play like they really mean it. Unlike some fake punky rockers over the past 40 years who, despite having the right shoes, clothes, haircuts and an obscure Killed By Death seven-inch that sells for $800 on eBay,  were just trendies with no guts, heart , soul or songs. 

One of Those Fine Days - Guy Littell (AR Recordings)

guy littell coverWhen you take your surname from a character in a James Ellroy book, you nail your colours to the mast as a fan of most things American. Naples-born Guy Littell might be as Italian as pizza with a cappuccino on the side, but his music is drenched in Americana.

Littell’s biography mentions his links to Steve Wynn (of The Dream Syndicate and a long solo career) on whose next album Guy guests, and the impact of hearing Neil Young and Mark Lanergan. “One of Those Fine Days” shows those influences writ large - plus a deep dish serving of Matthew Sweet. 

Littell might not have the pipes of Sweet - who does? - but he and his band tackle these 10 self-penned songs with a similar measured, rock-pop aplomb.

How Green Was My St Kilda Day or Mr Brown Goes to Melbourne

powerline sneakers adbtgThe Powerline Sneakers at The Day By The Green. Noni Dowling photo. 

Well hello fellow I-94 Bar abusers! I took my skinny white bum down to Melbourne on the Friday morning – a 5am bus from the Farmhouse here in Dimboola, only a lazy 1000ks there and back - but folks, if they rock, I will travel. And A Day by the Green, the next day, was well worth it. Some call this long-running mini-festival “a day on the green”…well, it is held in St Kilda, after all.

They had a fabulous line-up, led by Melbourne rock royalty in John Nolan (ex- Powder Monkeys), in his most awesome band, The Powerline Sneakers. Also on the bill: River of Snakes, The Pro Tools, Seedy Jeezus , Cold Harbour, The Fiction, Me Graines and a couple of other bands that I missed (my bad.) I’ll be early next time.

SO FUCK DID IT RAIN. LET’S JUST GET THAT OUT OF THE WAY. Inside the dry setting of The St Kilda Sports Club, there were about 150 punters there when I made my grand entrance. No-one noticed, of course, because The Me Graines were pumping out a fine set of tunes, with a new drummer and a couple of well-chosen covers. They were right on the money - a $20 entry fee – and I got my money’s worth right there. And it’s only gonna get better.

Vol 10 - The Heartbrokers (Off The Hip)

heartbrokersThere’s no long history for this band apart from the collective curriculum vitae of the Melbourne people involved and the obvious fact they have an affinity for each other’s playing. It was recorded in a suburban shed on an oppressively hot day in 2014. It also grooves and rocks like the proverbial.

There are no Volumes 1-9 or even an 11. The Heartbrokers are Van Walker (Tasmanian-born singer-songwriter) on guitar and vocals, bassist Cal Walker, drummer Ash Davies, roots-rocker Jeff Lang and rockabilly-country pianist Ezra Lee. Plus friends like Jack Howard (sax).

Names can confuse and so can genres. Just as they toy with their title, these guys confound pigeonholing with their broad range. More (early) Seger than (doomed) Thunders but maybe a little Petty in terms of borrowing some sounds from Americana, The Heartbrokers defy categorisation other than good, old-fashioned, boogie and blues-based rock and roll.

Straightjacket Fits mainman set for Australian shows

shayne carter tourShayne Carter first emerged on the New Zealand rock scene in the ’80s with his high school punk band Bored Games and their “Who Colonel Mustard “ EP, which was one of the first releases on Flying Nun Records.

Part of the original “Dunedin Sound" scene, Carter went on to become a major player in the Flying Nun independent rock story as the singer-songwriter and guitarist in outfits such as Straitjacket Fits, Doublehappys and Dimmer. 

Carter is Melbourne-bound for three shows in February - hist first since 2016 when he and his band played a searing three-night residency at the Yarra.

Regarded as one of New Zealand’s greatest alternative rock figures, Carter has carved out a distinctive and innovative body of work that places him in the top pantheon of that country’s best songwriters.

His band Straitjacket Fits - a group that became well known to Australian audiences in the ‘90s - produced a blend of rock dissonance and melody that became hugely influential; predating both the shoe gazer movement and the angular rock of bands like Radiohead and others of a similar ilk that followed in Straitjacket Fits' wake. 

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