You know exactly what he’s gonna say: Sydney reviewer gets pissed off at the excess of musical talent in rival city Melbourne. Gets all angsty and laments The Good Old Days when Sydney more than held a candle to Melbourne. You’re partly right.
Cutting to the chase…Claire Birchall IS one of those uber talents from “down south” who grew up in the fertile Geelong scene and now lives in Melbourne. She plays everything from beatbox-backed pop to lean and mean rock. Genres are just a vehicle for the songs. “Nothing Ever Gets Lost” is a gnarly, blues-rock album.
The purple and blue cover art deceptively looks like one of those “Back From The Grave” acid punk compilations. The music, however, is fuzzy and warm and glows from the inside. There’s a great sense of dynamics and Birchall’s voice resonates with character and a world-weary charm.
James McCann leading The New Vindictives in Europe. JUXE photo.
1) The Damned @ 170 Russell St, Melbourne
I’ve always loved The Damned: the rush of energy of their first few singles and albums. My wife is a big fan and she educated me on all things Damned. I missed them last time around so I was pumped to see them finally, to say the least.
I didn’t want to be disappointed so I did my homework and watched recent live shows on YouTube and read recent reviews. By all accounts the band was on fire , so I was ready for it and they didn’t disappoint.
They are still Punk Rock weirdos at heart and it was side splitting when Captain Sensible talked about Kurt Vile playing before them at Golden Plains: “It used to be Phil Collins and Paul Weller , but I’ve found a new one KURT Fucking Vile , what a fucking tosser “ It's true so much contemporary underground music is middle of the road , like Bread in the 70’s or LRB , this shit is still the enemy, even though I’m sure Kurt Vile is a lovely guy.
1 . Welcome Aboard – The On and Ons: Catchy, melodic powerpop tunes by former Kings Of The Sun and Screaming Tribesmen guitarist Glenn Morris with bass and harmony vocals by Hoodoo Guru/Stepfords /Wetsuits member Clyde Bramley, performed with energy and great live.
2. Beginning At The End – The Young Docteurs: Thirty or so years in the making and well worth the Wait. If The Young Docteurs had done more recordings they would have been one of the more influential Australian psych/Punk bands of the ‘80s.
3. Love Is A Gamble - The Steve Wernick Band: Folk rock, country and swing influenced songs well constructed and arranged, performed in a unpretentious, heartfelt way.
4. Johnny Streetlight- Chickenstones: Blues influenced, Aus alternative rock with songs about homelessness, gambling and cheating relationships but performed with upbeat humour. A great band to see live, too.
5. Rx- Loose Pills: Some of Sydney’s best powerpop musicians with tight, up beat songs.