eddy current suppression ring - The I-94 Bar

Musk Hill - The Baudelaires (Off The Hip)

musk hillAnother day, another great and surreal psych band from south of the NSW-Victoria border. The Baudelaires have a string of singles under their belt (via Colourtone Records) and this is their full-length debut (on Off The Hip, of course.)

Mr Everywhere, Mikey Young (Eddy Suppression Ring), recorded this with The Baudelaires in a three-day session at a house on the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria. The songs burn slowly, for the most part, with a magnificence all their own. They aren’t in any hurry but they arrive at their destination.

Fifteen years and going strong: Off The Hip still burns bright

mickster at off the hipMickster Baty at home in his Off The Hip shop.

The music industry is a shallow trench full of sharks and transient imprints, to paraphrase Hunter S Thompson. Independent record labels come and go with the regularity of manufactured reality TV stars and only a few manage to find their niche and prosper. In Australia, only Citadel is still standing from the halycon days of the 1980s. A few rose in the '90s to fill the gaps left by the demise of Phantom and Waterfront. Since the 2000s, the most enduring has been Melbourne-based Off The Hip.

oth logoOff The Hip grew out co-founder Mick ("Mickster") Baty's love of all things garage rock, powerpop and psychedelia. A drummer and veteran of one of Sydney's finest garage-trash outfits, The Crusaders, he went on to killer powerpop bands The Pyramidiacs and The Finkers. Baty saw Off The Hip as an outlet for his own music. He had re-located to Melbourne by then and formed The Stoneage Hearts, a shifting cast of players who produced top-shelf garage rock with a pop bent.

A retail operaiton operating out of his house morphed into a bricks-and-mortar shop in Melbourne's CBD and a floodgate of releases via the fledgling label ensued. It's been an enduring success - on its own terms - since then. Off The Hip - the label and the shop - have inspired and contrinuted to the existence and growth of hundreds of bands. 

Last month, the Off The Hip label celebrated its 15th birthday. We decided it was high-time for Mickster to occupy the interview seat.

Follow The Sun - Various Artists (Mexican Summer)

follow the sunQuestion: Who is this compilation of 20 songs of Australian folk obscurities of the 1970s for? Answer: Head to your nearest record collectors fair.

These are mythical gatherings, full of badly-dressed people with body odour problems who are entirely bereft of social graces. They clamber over each other, poring through crates and boxes while entirely oblivious to the other’s existence. They wear T-shirts commemorating concerts that nobody went to or that occurred before they were born. Or so the cliche goes.