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Into Our Arms: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds triumph in Sydney

nick cave lax charismaLax Charisma photo

Alexa Clayton-Jones and I went out to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds last night at Sydney's voluminous and brand new International Convention Centre.

It blows my mind that for a few weeks in 1984, I played in the Bad Seeds, and I’m remembering bouncing around Europe in an old GMC wagon and some of the more colourful venues we played.

R.I.P. Jim Atkins of The Kelpies, Bedhogs

jim atkins
Ashley Thomson photo

Jim Atkins, singer in The Kelpies, The Bedhogs and other '80s Sydney punk bands, has passed away in a Darwin hospice after a long battle defying cancer. He was aged 56. 

Friends posted news on Facebook a few days ago that Jim (aka Jim Bedhog aka James Gelding) was extremely unwell. News of his passing landed today and sparked a string of online tributes.

PJ lets Adelaide (and the Thebarton Theatre) shake

pj harvey alison leaPJ Harvey makes her point. Adelaide laps it up. Alison Lea photo

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM

Poor old Thebby.

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM

Poor old Thebby, and its heritage-listed planks.

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM

After posting on Facebook that bits of poor old Thebby’s ceiling were falling around them, I’m fairly sure Sunn 0)))) had to turn down the volume a few months ago. Not that we noticed.

Henry Hugo, Andrew McCubbin, Michael Plater and friends in Adelaide

henry hugo exeterWho the fuck does Henry Hugo think he is?

Argentinian. Lives in the evil gnome capitalist capital, Zurich. Will only eat meat-lovers pizzas. No poncy vegetables or fruit for this Dark Lord carnivore. Would probably munch on dwarves if he could catch them unawares. One of these sentences is a fib.

And here he is, this Henry Hugo, writing songs like "Cold Night in Warrnambool", "Deep Lead Creek" and a whole host of others inspired by … erm, well. Us. Orstrilians. Strayans.

Well. There’s a lot of people in Australia. Millions born here, born and bred, who are, frankly, so repulsive in themselves they should be taken out to sea, tied to an old fridge and set free…

Henry Hugo is, like several other overseas-born artists, an honorary Australian. He loves Australian culture, the country, the people, how and why we live here. It’s not a political thing. He’s not a potential Swiss immigrant who complains about the cowbells, or a Muslim grumpy because we don’t [fill in the assorted blanks here], nor is he a reffo.

Shy Impostors open the vault to celebrate reunion show

 

A slew of previously unheard tracks from short-burning but bright Sydney band Shy Impostors is about to be released on Citadel Records, to coincide with the band playing a one-off reunion in support of the Sunnyboys’ Sydney show on February 4.You can pre-order your copy here.

Shy Impostors were active in 1979-80 and their ranks included future Sunnyboys Richard Burgman and Peter Oxley. Fronted by singer-songwriter Penny Ward and also featuring drummer Michael Charles (Lipstick Killers, Screaming Tribesmen, Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers), they played infectious, raucous and melodic pop music.


In February of 1980 the band recorded seven songs at Palm Studios, Sydney. Two of these tracks, “At The Barrier” b/w “Seein' Double”, were posthumously released late in 1980 on Sydney's Phantom label. The other five languished in the vaults.


During 2016 all seven tracks were restored from original master tapes and mixed by producer Jason Blackwell. The resulting self-titled CD is a long overdue retrospective giving yet another intriguing insight into the formative years of Sydney's post Radio Birdman indie music explosion.

Tracklisting:

Captain Fast (P Ward) (3:08 m:s)
At The Barrier (P Ward) (2:57 m:s)
When Night Comes In (P Ward) (3:22 m:s)
Sweet Defender (P Ward) (1:55 m:s)
My Sin Is My Pride (The Astronauts) (2:32 m:s)
She Can't Win (P Ward) (2:31 m:s)
Seein' Double (P Ward/M Charles) (3:32 m:s)

 

 

 

The Prehistorics, The Stukas & The Dunhill Blues live in Sydney

guy stukasIt's Saturday night in Marrickville and the outside space at The Factory is packed with folks in black but most of them are going upstairs to the Theatre to see some punk/hardcore.

The slightly older folk are here for three bands at the Factory Floor.

First up, The Dunhill Blues. Now, "The Dunnies" have always come across as being semi-shambolic, more about fun than artistry but of course they then turn around and whack out great songs that are short and to the point. This is my first time seeing them with “the new guy” on guitar who has replaced Jeff Pope.

Now, to expect him to pick up all of Jeff’s sonic sounds and not have any input of his own is unfair but to my ears, they seem to have a lost a bit of variety in their sound with Jeff’s departure

To be fair, he was done no favours by a mix that was too loud overal l- more about that later - yet curiously he was hard to hear during his solos.

Don’t get me wrong, they were still fun and enjoyable but just a bit off form compared to the other times I’ve seen them. Nice to see Jeff get up and join them for their last number.

The Stukas (pictured right) are a band I didn’t get around to seeing in the olden daze. I used to see their name on handbills etc and thought they were another Detroit-y band of the ME262/Trans Love Energies type.

Listen to "Miracle of Sin" from Powerline Sneakers

Here’s your first taste of the looming release by Melbourne’s Powerline Sneakers, whose album will be out early this year on Kasumen Records.

The band features ex Powdermonkeys guitarist John Nolan, with Sly Faulkner (guitar-vocals), Katie Dixon (bass, ex-Ripe) and Mark Hurst (drums, Gutternsipes.) Powerline Sneakers recorded their album with Paul Maybury (Rocket Science) and mastered it with Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring). More news as it comes to hand.

It's Just That They've Missed You: Julie Mostyn on the return of the Flaming Hands

jeff and julie
Jeff Sullivan and Julie Mostyn.    Steve Teece photo

The dictionary defines serendipity as “a pleasant surprise” and it's a term that scientists working in medical research are fond of using.  It’s also at the heart of how the looming reformation of beloved Sydney band the Flaming Hands came about.

Singer Julie Mostyn is on the phone from the Coffs Harbour home she shares with husband Warwick Gilbert, onetime bassist and graphic artist for Radio Birdman. She clearly remembers serendipity’s intervention on that very same landline, late in 2016.

“It was one of those life-changing phone calls…one that shocks you out of something you’ve been trying to get out of for a while,” she recalls.

“It was a call from Peter Oxley of the Sunnyboys, and he said: ‘Would you consider reforming the Flaming Hands?’ And I thought for half a second and said: ‘Yeah, that’d be good’.”

Talk about timing. It was as good as any excuse for Julie to ditch her day job in a local bank and embark on what's not so much a career revival as a chance to revisit great times, renew old partnerships and - maybe - push the musical boat out just a little further.

More on that last point later. More immediately, it means Flaming Hands supporting the Sunnyboys at the Sydney show of their February Australian tour, with similarly reformed friends, Shy Impostors, opening the gig.

Flaming Hands were Sydney’s best soul and psych pop band, a potent and popular outfit based around Julie Mostyn’s passionate voice and guitarist Jeff Sullivan’s emotion-baring songs. 

The Velvet Underground. Complete Released Works. Part Two

velvets dinkusSo, let’s assume that you enjoyed the plunge into the Matrix, and are curious to hear more.

This will of course, naturally lead you to their fourth, and last, studio album, "Loaded"; the Super Deluxe six disc box set is "Re-Loaded", the two disc set from 1997 is "Fully Loaded".

Now, "Loaded" itself is an excellent, heavily industry-influenced, subtly smart pop album. But, after coming from "The Matrix Tapes", you’ll feel that this album is a little too shiny, starchy and … just doesn’t quite have the juice.

I remember first hearing this LP after having thirsted through their first three records and wondering, ‘What the fuck happened to this band?’, then discovering that Mo Tucker wasn’t on drums for these sessions, that Doug Yule sings on four songs, and that Lou walked away as soon as recording was complete. David Fricke’s article on "Loaded" in the December 2015 issue of Mojo provides excellent background to what is a not-fully Velvet Underground record.

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