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.

Shot Myself Up - Iggy Pop (Easy Action)

shot myself upIf 1977 was the year Iggy Pop presented his professional face to the American public, it was really by a matter of degrees. Think about what constituted Mainstream USA back then and ask if it was ready for Iggy, even in the guise of a clean-living and professional working stiff? The question’s rhetorical so don’t bother answering.

The Iggy that Americans saw (those who took notice) is captured on “Shot Myself Up”, a made-for-radio recording captured live in a studio on Pop’s ’77 tour of his homeland.

In Cold Blood - Johnny Thunders (Easy Action)

In Cold BloodIt would be the ultimate irony if Johnny Thunders’ most consistent album came out 24 years after he died. Any sober assessment of his post-Heartbreakers output would deem it erratic but speckled with explosions of brilliance that outshone the lesser moments.

And so it is with “In Cold Blood”, a double CD package from UK label Easy Action that brings together a number of lost threads. It’s not Thunders’ most well-rounded effort - that’s probably still his first solo LP “So Alone” – but it’s still a significant addition to the JT canon.

The original “In Cold Blood” was a double vinyl affair that came out in 1983 while the outlaw guitarist was still breathing. It paired bare bones studio recordings by ex-Stones producer Jimmy Miller to a disc taken from a 1982 UK gig.

Cum The Raw Prawn - Cosmic Psychos (Desperate Records)

raw prawnThere’s something reassuring about a new Cosmic Psychos record. It’s about ageing disgracefully and all that. The fuzz bass, careering guitar lines and shout-spoken – no, drawled – vocals about beer, drinking and other everyday pursuits wrap themselves around you like a favourite blue singlet on a sweltering December day.

No Psychos record is radically different from another and therein lies the comfort factor. If you’ve been paying attention, by now you know exactly what you’re going to get. There’s more verbal abuse here than Caitlin Jenner taking a post-operative vacation at an ISIS-controlled holiday resort.

Return To Hell - The Sonic Race (Krypta Records)

return to hellWhat with them scheduled to support Chris Masuak (“The Australian Rock Festival - The Legacy of Radio Birdman In Spain”) for a show in Spain being filmed for a documentary, I suppose it would be polite to review the Sonic Race’s CD.

The Sonic Race are from Spain and play high-energy, exuberant rock that keeps rocking. They don’t stop for no-one and you need this album in your house - and on your car stereo - right now. Oh yes, magic phrase:Twin guitar assault.

I got mine through their Australian representative Axelle Dee on Facebook. She may have a few left and they also have a Bandcamp

Blue Sky Thinkin' – Anne McCue (Flying Machine Records)

blue sky thinkingAustralian Anne McCue left our shores well over two decades ago with her black Gibson Les Paul and a knapsack.  She was raised in working-class Cambelltown in a loving family including a father with an amazing recording collection; a ghost that would haunt her years later. 

Anne played gig after gig, after gig, in tiny bars, to major supports, and residencies. Driven by her music, her home was where opportunity knocked so she could record and play. Developing her craft as a minstrel of the world with a bucketful of personality, playing live in truckdriver rest stops, juke joints and to the hippest venues in town, she’s spread her music from Vietnam, England, Spain and her now home of Nashville, Tennessee.

Second Winter - Ed Kuepper & Mark Dawson (Prince Melon Records)

second winter“Second Winter” feels almost like a concept album. Those are familiar with Kuepper’s work since his solo debut of “Electrical Storm” of 1985 will find it all like a passage between the past and the shadows of previous melodies and phrases. It's rather haunting.

Even the cover of the record has captured the ambience of the front of his first solo album (also made with long term collaborator, drummer Mark Dawson.) This shot shows four identified figures leaving an entrance of a stone building.