Jarmusch Stooges love letter lacks danger

gimme danger posterDunno what all the online backlash is all about. Jim Jarmusch called his film “a love letter to the Stooges” and that’s precisely what he delivered when “Gimme Danger” made its Australian debut at the Sydney International Film Festival on June 17.

“Gimme Danger” was never going to be a deep dissertation about what made the Stooges tick. Read Paul Trynka’s magnificent “Open Up and Bleed” for that.  It was more like a shallow duck dive into the broad history of the band. Or bobbing for apples.

I enjoyed "Gimme Danger" but this was the Stooges, dumbed-down for beginners. Or “Stooges 101” as someone later said.

Under Attack of The Busymen – The Busymen (Swashbuckling Hobo)

under attackJust when you thought it was safe to go back into the psych ward, this sliver of shiny black vinyl arrives out of Brisbane’s sub-tropical humidity, stumbling around like a homeless man in a threadbare coat who's baring his arse for all the world to see.

The Busymen don’t seem to have been living up to their name in recent times because this 10-inch EP is their first release since the “Distort All Levels” album of 2007. Put that down to commitments with other bands or members being detained by the authorities for their own good. They’ve certainly made up for lost time.

Half-covers and half-originals, “Under Attack…” resonates with the brutal thump of a Force 5 hangover after an all-night pub crawl through the seedier haunts of their hometown’s party district of Fortitude Valley. The morning after just doesn’t come any fuzzier than this.

A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble (Exploding In Your Mind): The Wizards of Oz - Various Artists (Warner)

MonstrousPsychedelicBubbleCan you define psychedelica? Behind punk, it’s probably the most over-used term in the musical genre lexicon. That won’t change with this sprawling two-disc exploration of Australian psych, past and present.

Mixing ‘60s and ‘70s tracks with contemporary ones is an approach that could have gone horribly wrong.The wonder of this is how well the old tracks blend seamlessly with the new. Compilers Gaz Cobain (aka The Amorphous Androgynous) and Brian Dougans have done a splendid job of unearthing lost, forgotten and current nuggets and the mastering is great. It’s the fourth edition in a global series.

Radio Birdman live in 2014: Two perspectives

emmy-manning-wideEmmy Etie photo

The tour is almost over and the verdicts are in following a re-tooling of the line-up with the controversial omission of guitarist Chris Masuak. We present divergent views of the sold-out Australian run of Radio Birdman shows.

Go here to read an appraisal of the Adelaide gig by Robert Brokenmouth and here to read Edwin Garland's read-out on the band's two Melbourne gigs. You can leave comments on both reviews. Photos are by Emmy Etie and Kyleigh Pitcher. 

A Fistful of Desert Blues - Lydia Lunch and Cypress Grove (Rustblade)

fistfulThe cover - taken by Lydia Lunch - shows the ruins of an ancient desert city. Could be Jericho. Whether Jericho is in the Mid-East or the West of the USA makes little difference. We’re dealing with perennial humanity in a perilous place with a mythological backdrop. But, you know, the Israelis and the Palestinians are still killing each other, and as I say, it’s a big thing on a big, operatic stage with no solution and no apparent beginning, never mind end…

… and there are plenty of abandoned towns in Australia… it doesn’t take much, just a bit of intolerance and a bit of ignorance, and idealism for a hopeless, not very sensible cause…

If Footmen Tire You - The Bloody Hollies (Alive Naturalsound)

bloodyholliesjpgIf one of those great, booze-soaked rock and roll weekends like Garage Shock or the Las Vegas Shakedown were still a going concern (correct me if I'm wrong and one of them still is ) the Bloody Hollies would have been one of those bands that came in unheralded, blew everyone away and sold a ton at the merch table. And anyone who picked this album up would have been plenty satisfied 'cos it's 30 minutes of fire-breathin' punk fury.

Mike Caen - Mike Caen (Foghorn Records)

mike caenThe media release is cagey, avoiding too much specific information on Caen’s background. He’s fronted bands, played in bands (to quote the bio: "such as Mental as Anything, Dragon and Jenny Morris … played hundreds of shows … from big city stadiums to outback mining towns").

At this point the diligent, well-paid reviewer on a daily paper should do their homework and look the man up, perhaps at www.mikecaen.com.au, to find out more. But I am a lowly scrubber at the I94-Bar zine and I have a mountain of CDs to approach (some with caution) and I am going to quail, claim I don’t have the time ("I don’t have the time for this, dammit" - see what I mean?) and go along with the between-the-lines message from the screed: Don’t look at the man’s history, listen to the bloody songs.

Selected Works: I Reject This Reality - Eric Mingus (self released)

i reject this realityEven if you don’t like what people call jazz, you’ll react to "I Reject This Reality". It’s far more honest, creative, exciting and interesting than dealing with those talentless oiks, berks and preening nobodies on the telly. Talk about too much methane in a fartbubble - hell, how many channels do we have these days? And how much is really, truly, actually worth watching? Are we children or goldfish to be distracted so long and so often by such bling? Life’s far, far too short. Dig "I Reject This Reality", it’s far more grown-up.

You may recognise the surname. Eric’s dad was famous, and groundbreaking at a time when ground needed to be broken, and the world watched with bated breath for every new jazz development.

Jazz, that is, real jazz, not that muck you hear in shopping malls, nor that cheery "trad jazz" stuff which seems so much part of the everyday background now, is now a rare thing. There is no longer a huge, rollercoasting movement like there was from the twenties to the sixties. This isn’t a new concept; you can say that the rollercoaster of punk and new wave more or less shivered, then sort of dawdled forward from, say, late 1984 (notwithstanding there were still brilliant bands and lps, the tidal wave was receding from the foothills, only to begin to gain momentum in Japan when nobody in The West was looking).

Ozone St - Los Dominados (Ejected Records)

ozone stThis record is so damned cool. So damned ultra-cool.

It’s sorta- like the late ’80s indie punk art of Sonic Youth with its rocky side exposed, combined with The Pixies and with the classic English rock pop of T-Rex thrown in. There’s even a nod to US ‘60s girl pop and urban country twang. It stayed in my CD player for a few weeks, and I keep hitting the the play again.

Los Dominados is essentially a band formed from the remnants of Moler, who mixed it up as a grungy, power pop band playing hip, street-level music with tough lyrics in the late ‘90s. Twenty years later, there’s been a vast development in song-writing - as shown in this, the band’s fourth album. We find a broader tapestry of influences and the band members have learned a lot about minimalism as well as using dark and light shade. And about sophistication.