australian - The I-94 Bar

Rarebits - Fast Cars (Methodmusic)

rarebitsIt's been mentioned here before that Fast Cars are a 1980s Sydney mod band, revolving around the creative core of Di Levi (vocals, guitar) and Fabian Byrne (guitar), that reformed a couple of years ago to make more music. This EP is their second since re-convening and was compiled for the “15th Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival” in Wales earlier this month.

Mod is a label that suggests Union Jacks, sharp clothes, Vespa scooters and The Who, but Fast Cars aren’t constricted by the genre’s straight jacket. “Rarebits” comprises four old tracks and two new ones and takes the band deep into psychedelic pop territory.

The Complete Steve & The Board - Steve & The Board (Playback Records)

SteveandtheboardThey were around for only a year and were well short of being a household name in Australia by the time they played their final note in 1967, but Steve & The Board left a handy collection of recordings in the wake. Legacy label Playback has applied love and diligence to this historical release and more power to them for preserving Australia’s musical past.

Steve & The Board played beat pop, pure and simple. Some of it carries the aroma of a stab at the charts, other songs shows broader love for the hard-edged R&B of the times. Most Australian bands in the mid-‘60s were in the thrall of the British Invasion that had hit the USA and Steve & The Board were no exception. Their recordings aren’t world beaters but have vibrancy and some occasional grit.

A bunch of old Wild Things who made my heart sing

troggs the gov

Chris Allen and Chris Britton up front of The Troggs, 2016-style. Mandy Tzaras photo 

The original Troggs were Ronnie Bond (drums), (guitar), Reg Presley (vocals) and Pete Staples (bass), and their first hits began over 50 years ago. Along the way, they profoundly influenced ‘60s garage rock (not to mention glam) and seem likely to have been the inspiration for “Spinal Tap" when a spirited recording session was recorded, edited and bootlegged ("The Troggs Tapes").

Those reasons alone would be good enough to shell out your $70+change and hurry along to the fine establishment on Port Road in Adelaide, The Gov.

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.

A Whole Wide World of love for Rocket Man

wreckless zac bonnellWreckless Eric. Zac Bonnell photo. 

“I will never have anything said against that man!” Eric Goulden, aka Wreckless Eric, is waxing lyrical about a fellow traveller in the English rock’n’roll and pop scene.

You’d be forgiven for thinking Eric might be talking about the late Ian Dury, the iconoclastic poet-cum-musician who provided a rough template for Eric’s own career, or maybe one of the sundry punk rockers who attached themselves to Stiff Records around the same time Eric bounced into popular consciousness with the now classic "Whole World World". Maybe even Joe Strummer? Pete Shelley?

Ain't that cool? Another Aints show, supports announced

The Aints Play The Saints (’73-78) national tour in November led by Ed Kuepper and an all-star band is selling out all over so new shows have been announced.

The gig at Melbourne's Caravan Music Club has joined Sydney’'s The Factory Theatre as a pre-tour sell-out.  Limited tickets remain for the other Melbourne show (November 18 at the Corner Hotel) and all other shows in Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Due to demand, Sunday, November 26 has been set aside for a performance at Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast and tickets are on sale via aussieworld.com

Aussie troubadours take their brands of darkness on the road

plater live fawniaMichael Plater live. Fawnia photo. 

Now, there are a few of you out there who read The I-94 Bar regularly. You may have noticed I'm rather a fan of Australian musician/songwriters Michael Plater and Tim Hudspith.

Plater's music spans various indie, gothic folk, country and “noir” influences, and his first two albums “Exit Keys” (2012) and “Mythologies” (2016) have received worldwide critical acclaim. Hudspith plays guitar with  Goldentone, Colourhweel, The Low-Fi Cowboys, Death Valley PTA and Dead Eyed Seraphim and is a solo artist in his own right. 

This month Melbourne-based Plater and Adelaidian Hudspith (a Ballarat expat) will be touring select interstate venues with intertwining dates, plus some shows in their own right at the end. So, Sydneysiders, Brisvegas residents, Canbrites and Newkies, get out of the house. Dates are at the bottom of the article.  

I was hoping to see the two Sydney shows, but... as you know, Adelaide's electricity bills aren't what they used to be, so I had to content myself with doing an interview with both Plater and Hudspith..

Battles announce sideshows

Already confirmed for the 2016 Laneway Festival, Feel are now pleased to announce headline shows for Brooklyn based trio Battles. 

The idiosyncratic three-piece, featuring drummer John Stanier (The Mark Of Cain/Tomahawk), bassist and sonic manipulator Dave Konopka, and multi-instrumentalist Ian Williams, will bring the noise via new album “La Di Da Di” for sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne.

BellRays announce replacement Aussie dates

The world’s greatest exponents of down and dirty, heart breaking, soul shaking rock ‘n’ roll,The BellRays, are about to hit Australian shores again in August. The re-scheduled dates follow the cancellation of their planned double-headed tour of Australia with Supersuckers.

The ROCKPOCALYPSE Make Up Tour takes in three states and the national capital and includes forays into regional centres.

Birdman tag-team with The Stems for two-weekend run

birdman octoberRadio Birdman is embarking on a short, sharp Australian tour with Citadel label-mates The Stems in tow. The five-date run will include Spanish band Los Chicos as guests on three gigs.

Tickets are on sale via venue websites.

Radio Birdman
+ The Stems
OCT
25 – Factory Theatre, Sydney
+ The LangLangs
26 – The Gov, Adelaide
+ Sunday Reeds
NOV
1 – The Triffid, Brisbane
+ Los Chicos
2 – Coolangatta Hotel
+ Los Chicos
4 – Croxton Ballroom, Melbourne
+ Los Chicos

Citadel to release special edition of Stems classic in time for Oz tour

violets are blue cover lgeTo coincide with The Stems’ 30th anniversary tour celebrating the release of their 1987 debut LP "At First Sight Violets are Blue", Citadel Records is re-issuing the long deleted album as a limited digipak edition CD on November 3.

The album has been digitally re-mastered and includes three bonus tracks. A vinyl reissue will see light of day early next year.

Originally released through Mushroom Records' off-shoot White Label, the album was first pressed in mid-1987. The title track and subsequent singles “For Always” and “Sad Girl” gained mainstream airplay – a big call for an underground band back then. The Stems influenced a host of new local bands playing '60s garage rock and roll.

Dave Studdert's Tactical return

dave studdert colourDave Studdert.

When drawn to writing about Tactics, their new album and their forthcoming Australian tour, I had a youthful flashback to being a 17-year-old and moving down to Sydney from the bush. Armed with smudgy-ink copies of RAM magazine, I was aware of so many bands that I knew mostly in name only: Midnight Oil, Hitmen, The Saints…and some weird shit (at least in my mind) like The Tactics, Thought Criminals and Dead Travel Fast. I was like a sponge and I wanted to see every one of them.

I had a hunger for a tapestry of sounds and new, sharp sonic edges - stuff that was so far from the bland radio fodder like Cold Chisel and Dragon. I left a live music scene centred on a dilapidated pub by a river that often flooded…a place with peeling paint and populated by old tradies with battered faces, professional alcoholics and underage kids. We watched the odd cover band and the place was home to weekend rock-stars playing poorly -delivered Chuck Berry riffs. The alternative was the local blue light disco that usually ended in a bloodbath by the end of the night.

So, I moved. I headed to Sydney.

Descendents descend down under

Descendents 2017

Back in Australia for the first time since 2012, punk rock pioneers Descdents are touring next month in support of their new album, “Hypercaffium Spazzinate”.

Many say that the Descendents invented pop punk. t. They perfected the warp-speed amalgam of adolescent angst, snotty attitude and championship melody infesting the airways today. They took a genre that was about spikes, chaos and anarchy, and brought it to earth, singing about girls, growing up and food.

Died Pretty adds Brisbane

Died Pretty have added a Brisbane date to their run of select club sideshows to go with their A Day On The Green commitments:

Friday 4th March, 2016
The Factory, Sydney NSW
Tix: Ticketek and SABO

Friday 11th March 2016
The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Tix: http://tickets.thetriffid.com.au/?Event=57714

Friday 18th March, 2016
Max Watts (formerly The Hifi), Melbourne VIC
Tix: Oztix.com.au and Ticketscout

Dino Jr sells out Melbourne show, another goes on sale

Dinosaur Jr have sold out their Melbourne show just 24 hours after the on-sale. Feel Presents are pleased as punch to announce a second Melbourne show for the original power-trio: Saturday, January 21 at the Croxton Hotel and it's on sale here.

Elsewhere Dinosaur Jr tickets have got off to a great start with the tour set to be a national sell-out well ahead of time. For all your Dinosaur Jr ticketing needs and up-to-date news check in at http://www.feelpresents.com/

 

Easter Monday - Mustang Jerx (J-Pop)

easter monday mustang jerxIt's the fourth full album for Japanese trio Mustang Jerx and while they're not a household name in Australia, there's a small but willing fanbase here awaiting their third visit on the back of this record.

"Easter Monday" is nimble blues-rock with a swing in the bottom-end and a scything slide guitar up front. Their 2019 visit to these shores will follow similar hit-and-run missions six and five years before, and will owe much to the mutual admiration between them and Sydney band Bunt.

Mustang Jerx sing in their native language so the lyrical themes are impenetrable to these ears, but the music they grind out is universal in its rawness and punchy appeal. It's dirty and unpolished - and you know that's gotta be a plus when you mix it with sticky carpet and liberal amounts of beer.

Eight Years of Moonlight – Tamam Shud (self released)

eight years moonlightThis is a mind-blowing album on several fronts.

Firstly, because Tamam Shud formed almost 50 years ago: and could be last Australian band still standing from the ‘60s (certainly from the alternative and underground.) I cannot think of anyone else. The album features two of the founding members, Lindsay Bjerre (vocals and guitar) and Peter Baron (bass) from 1967; and two more members who were there four years later, in Tim Gaze (guitar) and Nigel MaCara (drums) from the ”Morning of the Earth” soundtrack era.

Historically, Tamam Shud was the first Australian band to put out a an album full of original compositions when “Evolution” was released late in 1968: There is not one Australian band that I can think of with original members, from their heyday; that has come up with a new album nearly 50 years later so the release of this on vinyl is an historical event.

Electric Demon - The Deadvikings (Zodiac Killer Records)

electric demonThey might not be Japan’s most prolific rock and roll band but The Deadvikings’ two full-length albums each pack a considerable punch. This one dates from early in their 11-year history and delivers their Hellacopters style jams in spade-loads.

The Deadvikings toured last year’s “Libertatia” in Australia - well, in Sydney - and they're back in 2018, confusingly pushing their first CD from 10 years ago. Ours is not to reason why...

"Electric Demon" has some wayward moments (the ragged "The Ripper" and the low-key opening title track, which sounds underdone) but for the most part, it's surging high-energy rock songs. They're clearly in the thrall of the 'Copters and their Scandi Rock contemporaries, but this is hardly a bad thing when done right.

Ex-Pistol elicits miles of smiles

matlock adelaideMandy Tzaras photo.

Glen Matlock's Adelaide show was such a fine, big smile-stretched-across-the-face, hugely enjoyable gig. Not because of the association to THAT band, but because Glen is who he is, likes the kind of music he likes, and brings it into you. 

If you’re hesitating about whether to see this man’s gigs - don’t. 

Just go. 

Ex-Pistol locked and loaded for Australia-NZ shows

glenmatlock01Founding member of The Sex Pistols and Rich Kids and writer of hits “Pretty Vacant” and “God Save The Queen”, Glen Matlock is a musical legend and raconteur extraordinaire.

You'll see for yourself when he and his band hit Australasian shores in November, celebrating the 40th anniversary of “Never Mind The Bollocks”.

Matlock will be conducting exclusive Q&A's and playing Pistols classics and choice cuts of his own.

Matlock departed the Pistols as they hit their peak, leaving the way open for Sid Vicious to join. His next band, the Rich Kids, put out an influential album of the late ‘70s, “Ghosts Of Princes In Towers”.