mick harvey - The I-94 Bar

An intoxicating evening

Mick Harvey Gergely CsatariGergely Csatari photo.

"Nocturnal X"
Mick Harvey and the Intoxicated Men
Gemini 4
Harry Howard and the NDE
Tiamo 3
Primo!
Melbourne Museum, Friday, April 5 2019

Upstairs at the Melbourne Museum hosts a local exhibit, a collage of images, dioramas, reportage and oral testimonies from the city’s post-invasion history. In a corner of the exhibit can be found a movie telling the evolution of post-war Melbourne, from the faceless images of businessmen in John Bracks’ Collins St, 5pm painting, to the vibrant, cosmopolitan metropolis of the present day.

A black and white photo from 1979 shows five youths staring at the camera, sullen, callow, defiant and charmingly obnoxious. The adult voice of one of those rebellious kids talks of the change in Melbourne’s character: Mick Harvey, Boy Next Door, Birthday Partier, Bad Seed. Back in the day, Harvey intones matter-of-factly, the inner-city was a cultural backwater.

Forty years after the not so great "Lethal Weapons" rock and roll swindle

lethal weapons frontCorporate con or well-meaning act of benevolence? History tends to deliver a verdict of the former. for "Lethal Weapons", the 1978 compilaiton album of Australian "punk". 

"Lethal Weapons" was a product on an offshoot of major Australian label Mushroom (the same people who brought you Chain, Skyhooks and the Sunnyboys) and it was clearly a cynical attempt to commercialise underground music scenes then burgeoning in Melbourne and Sydney, especially.

Compiled by would-be A & R man Barry Earl, the album was notable for its eclectic cast which included The Boys Next Door (soon to become The Birthday Party), JAB, The Survivors,  whose members would go onto Sacred Cowboys, The Moodists, Radio Birdman, Teenage Radio Stars and the Bad Seeds. 

Trevor Block went in search of many of the original protagonists in bands that signed to Suicide. We're reprising his article to mark 40 years of "Lethal Weapons", and the decade since its CD re-issue. 



He Gets Up Again

brian and the angelsBrian Henry Hooper being attended to by his angels, his nurses. Carbie Warbie photo.

Four weeks ago Brian Hooper lay in intensive care, surrounded by family and his closest friends. The tumour doctors had found on Hooper’s lung just before Christmas was preventing Hooper from breathing without medical and mechanical assistance. Specialists suggested the even Hooper’s short-term survival was in the realm of miracles.

It wasn’t the first time Brian Henry Hooper had been told to fear the worst. Just over 14 years ago Hooper was told by specialists he may never walk again, after the balcony he was standing on at a gathering in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula collapsed, sending Hooper crashing to the ground, his back mangled from the fall.

Over the next 12 months, Hooper pulled himself back from the edge of permanent paralysis. Hooper’s resilience and psychological strength astounded all around him. In late 2004 Hooper limped back on stage with the Beasts of Bourbon for a gig at the Greyhound Hotel. Towards the end of the set, his battered spine unable to withstand the trauma of standing any longer, Hooper lay on the ground. His bandmates, save for Tony Pola on drums, followed suit, three battle-hardened rockers lying prostrate on the stage in sympathy for their comrade-in-arms.

Intoxicating Mick Harvey and friends

mick harvey adlMick Harvey:
"Intoxicated Man. Presenting the Songs of Serge Gainsbourg"
Elder Hall, Adelaide
March 14,  2019
Mandy Tzaras photos

Verdict in a nutshell: Brilliant. You shoulda been there. Get the CDs instead.

It's a strange place, Adelaide. A reputation for bizarre and secretive murder blends with a town which happily dozes for most of the year, abruptly jerks to life as summer hits with the subtlety of a jackhammer, and keeps the long-suffering residents on their toes: the steady stream of utter twatheads who emerge from beneath sordid rocks, blinking into the light of the civilised world for the first time; the ubiquitous meth-heads roaming the streets and communing with the sky; the endless and confusing roadworks; endlessly over-running building works; a hospital which doesn't seem to work very well (though it does provide an excellent example of how to make a place unpleasant for the customers with, presumably, the intent of discouraging their attendance for all but the most involuntary admission)...

These are all everyday local wonders, and frankly we should charge admission. The Festival, The Fringe, the stupid car race, the writers week, WOMAD and so on and so on and so on, all serve to ensure large numbers of normal South Australians keep their distance. 

Love, invisibility and vomit in the span of three albums

loveandevolLØVE & EVØL - Boris (Third Man Records) 
Invisible You - JP Shilo (Ghost Train Records) 
Fortuna Horribilis - Vomit of the Universe (The Artist)

ANTI-RAMONES WARNING: NO BORIS SONG UNDER 3.5 MINUTES.

Grayson Haver Currin of Pitchfork comments on the latest alvum from Japan's venerable trio Boris:

“These seven anemic songs find Boris becoming something new yet again - self-satisfied.”

Eric Carr, of the same magazine (ED: Isn't he in KISS?), commented retrospectively on Sonic Youth's LP “EVOL” in 2002:

“EVOL would mark the true departure point of Sonic Youth’s musical evolution - in measured increments, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo began to bring form to the formless, tune to the tuneless, and with the help of Steve Shelley’s drums, they imposed melody and composition on their trademark dissonance. A breathtaking fusion of avant-garde noise (as far as Rock was concerned) and brilliant, propulsive rock... this is where the seeds of greatness were sown.”

I think it's a fair bet that Boris are nodding at Sonic Youth's "EVOL" LP here; in 1992, on their first CD - a 60+minuter comprising only one song, “Absolutego” - they scribbled their influences - including Sonic Youth, a band whose first four records I bought and loved. 

The Winter Journey - Julitha Ryan (self released)

the winter journey“The Winter Journey” has been such a difficult album to review. Why? Well, I can’t concentrate on typing, I keep falling into it and staying there, hypnotised. It’s just bloody wonderful. I’ve tried with pen and paper, same thing. Just dragged in. Fabulous, really.

Seven bottles, Barman. This is the second of Julitha’s solo albums, hopefully of many more. Her first LP, “The Lucky Girl” I responded immediately to and “The Winter Journey” does the same. Sure, if you’re expecting a wall of guitars, you might pause when you get a wall of … Julitha’s delicate voice. But then everything else kicks in: piano, organ, guitars, pedal steel, synthesizers, strings, brass section, and oh, yes, her all male choir (The Wall of Men) used to intensely powerful effect.