Seedy Jeezus’s new record summed up in a pithy double entendre: “Lex Waterreus gives good shred.”
It’s there in the title track, after a 30-second entrée of post-prog-via-Kubrick sonic meandering, and riding on the back of a thundering grinding Sabbath rhythm courtesy of drummer Mark Sibson and bass player Paul Crick that threatens to split your cerebral cortex into a thousand shimmering metal pieces.
You can check it out in the reassuring “Everything Will Be Alright”, unless you want to fix your gaze on the barrelling TV Eye-via Birdman riff that precedes Waterreus’s shredding escapades. “Million Light Years” is more intense, a spacewalk curated by Ace Frehley on a diet of acid and early Hawkwind. Waterreus’s sometime collaborator and touring buddy, Earthless’s Isaiah Mitchell, lends an appropriately heavy guitar hand on “All My Gods Are Stone”.
This 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.
It’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.
Neil 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.
Plenty 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.
Yes, 300 St Claire were another of those noisy, intense and hard-as-a-cheap-pub-steak bands that were around in a crowded Sydney backyard at the cusp of the 2000s and never made a substantial mark anywhere else. They self-released an EP, gigged around and more or less fell off the radar before the decade was half-done.
My own memories include taking away tinnitus from a support they played to Asteroid B612 at the Iron Duke in Sydney one Friday night. By the time Johnny Casino and Co came on, the damage had been done, and every note The Big Fella played fell on ringing ears.
As is the way these days, 300 St Claire has reformed - to have fun and sink a few beers, the members will tell you - so now is a good time for their long, lost EP to resurface on Conquest of Noise, complete with extras. It’s every bit as bludgeoning as you’d expect.