• First review of the album for James Williamson & The Pink Hearts

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

RIP Andy MacQueen (Exploding White Mice, Pro-Tools)

andy mcqueenExploding White Mice and Pro-Tools bassist Andy MacQueen has unexpectedly passed away. 

A fixture on the Adelaide live scene, it's understood Andy had complained of abdominal pains recently. Bandmates were understandably too upset to comment further but Jeff Stephens from the Mice posted this on his own Facebook page at 9.30 tonight:

All of us here in Exploding White Mice are utterly shocked and heartbroken at the passing of our dearly beloved Andy. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and to everyone who knew him. We love you Andy.

The Exploding White Mice reformed last year, playing two shows in their home town of Adelaide and making another appearance at the River Rocks festival in Geelong, Victoria. It’s understood plans were underway to tour more extensively. 

Queen of Soul PP Arnold and her ace band give us all a lesson

PP6
A PP Arnold show is more than a “gig“, it really is a live performance music history of somebody who has had an extraordinary career as a vocalist since 1964.

Word of the amazing shows in Melbourne had reached Sydney and slowly but surely the room started to fill up (including a front seated section for some of her more mature age fans.)

Whoever assembled her backing band should be congratulated.Thy comprised three-quarters of You Am I who IMHFO don’t get nearly enough credit for being the great musicians they are (Andy Kent should be singled out for really nailing the bass parts), with James Black (the bloke from Rockwiz) and vocalist Talei Wolfgramm joining them.

Tuckerbox - Aberration (Crankinhaus Records)

tuckerboxListen up: This is killer. Ten songs of sharp-edged, driving punk with lots of melodies. 

The original Aberration kicked around Sydney in the 1980s as a four-piece, playing New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) inspired punk, sharing stages with the likes of the Hard-Ons and Massappeal before that hoary old chestnut, “lifestyle issues”, took ‘em out in ’86. 

Original Aberration singer, Big Al Creed (Hell Crab City/New Christs/Panadolls), is the sole survivorv on vocals and guitar. He’s joined by Tony Bambach (ex-Lime Spiders) on bass and Stu Wilson (ex-New Christs, Lime Spiders) on drums. 

Polaris Oblique - Seedy Jeezus (Blown Music)

polaris obliqueMelbourne band sell out. Again.

Seedy Jeezus: "Polaris Oblique". Rhetorical question: how do three hairy men make so much bloody racket? And why is it so damn good?

Patrick Emery's given this one four bottles in the review below, but you know what? bugger him with an awkward object, it's five or more easy. Thwack this on the car stereo and you'll be making sharp turns and mounting sidewalks in no time. 'Polaris Oblique' is big, heavy, and soaks like alcohol into a villain's hanky.

The Seedies know their shit, they know their rock'n'roll; Lex Waterreus (gesundheit) (he's the talented swine with the voluminous guitar and the brilliant artwork) sounds like Plant on a good day, and one must assume he has the whacking great dong to match.

Power to burn on the LP version of "disasterpiece"

disasterpice lpIt’s said every great CD release deserves to come out on vinyl and the folks at Buttercup Records have been listening.

They’ve obliged by making Melbourne band Powerline Sneakers’ wonderful “disasterpiece” album, originally issued by Kasumuen Records on CD only, available on wax.

“disasterpiece” was one of The Barman’s choices in his 2017 Top Ten and it was easy to hear why. Gritty, hooky and raucous tunes from veteran survivors of bands like Powder Monkeys, Splatterheads and Ripe, it’s spent lots of time in the CD player and is reviewed here.

Limited to 300 hand-numbered copies on vinyl, it’s the usual bang-up Buttercup job - three colour variants, spectacular new artwork by Glenn Smith, double-sided insert and download card. Follow this link to order a copy before they're gone. 

Paradox – Neil Young and The Promise of The Real (Reprise)

paradox youngNeil Young shouldn’t be allowed near a Super 8 movie camera, let alone a big screen. If his girlfriend, The Mermaid Lady, wants to make her own movies, she’s rich enough to go right ahead. Just be merciful and don’t make them compulsory viewing.

This is the soundtrack to a Mermaid Lady movie. Her directorial debut, no less. Apparently, the fillum is a rambling, plot-less Netflix download in which Neil and his band (aka The Spawn of Willie Nelson) appear as outlaws and cowboys, who "pass the days digging for treasure while they wait for the full moon to bring its magic, the music and let the spirits fly."

The above review comes from a friend and the media release. I can’t vouch for it myself. What I do know is that Neil needs to stick to making music. It’s his strength.

April 4th, 1978 – Sonic’s Rendezvous Band (Easy Action)

srb rsdThis recording is where it all started for recent Sonic’s Rendezvous Band fans. Originally issued in 1998 as “Sweet Nothing”, it was the first non-bootleg, live recording that stood up, sonically speaking, and both the CD and LP pressings sold out quickly.

A second disc of live and tweaked studio stuff (“City Slang”) surfaced a year later and we’ve been fairly spoiled with a flow of material since then.

“Sweet Nothing” was an ear-opener in all senses of the term. No longer did you need to listen to “Strikes Like Lightning” or any of the other lamentably poor quality boots and ponder why nobody in Detroit in the mid-‘70s owned a boombox with a decent microphone.

The steady stream of releases peaked with Easy Action’s lavish 2006 “Sonic’s Rendezvous Band” box set, a six-disc CD collection that included rehearsals, other live recordings and a spruced-up version of this show. Now, this vinyl release has arrived as part of the annual Record Store Day hoopla.

The Ark - The Vacant Lot (Damn You)

the arkIt’s said that the only good thing to come out of Australia’s national capital is the Federal Highway, but it’s not true. Canberra’s also spawned some decent punk rock, and here’s more evidence. 

It’s not a hanging offence if you’ve never heard of The Vacant Lot. Molly Meldrum never made their acquaintance either. If he had, he would have hated them. Take that as a plus. 

The Vacant Lot grew out of the Australian National University campus in 1978. Canberra had a small but energetic punk or new wave scene by then. Wearing less Detroit leather than Sydney, not as ragged and oppressed as bands from Brisbane and not as artfully smacked out as the Melbourne crew, it was a community that tolerated - no, encouraged - music that didn’t fit with convention. 

Behind The Shade – James Williamson and the Pink Hearts (Leopard Lady Records)

behind the shadePlenty of people won’t “get” this record. That’s the inherent risk when you move forward and don’t stay comfortably treading water in one swimming pool.

It’s the second solo album for James Williamson (third if you count the live one with The Careless Hearts) and “Behind The Shade” doesn’t kiss-off his substantial Iggy & The Stooges legacy. More pointedly, it reinforces that Williamson is no one-trick pony.

Of course you should know James for inventing one of the most brutal guitar styles ever. Iggy himself paid him a back-handed compliment by saying that his former collaborator filled every possible space in their band’s soundscape. He did say it was to the point of claustrophobia, or words to that effect.

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