pop - The I-94 Bar

Diamond Afterlife - Blue Stratos (Off The Hip)

diamond-afterlifeDon’t be put off by the band name, appropriated as it is from a cheap ‘80s men’s cologne, or the inside cover shot of the group members that drips unadulterated hipsterism. Stripped back Melbourne garage duo Blue Stratos pepper “Diamond Afterlife” with enough primal gems to dazzle the most demanding fencer of stolen jewels.

Hi-Fab! - Little Murders (Off The Hip)

hi fabFifteen years ago, talented Victorian songwriter Danny McDonald told me that Little Murders was THE great lost power-pop band of Australia’s halcyon musical underground days of the 1980s. They were defunct at the time and an Off The Hip re-issue of their early material - and another reformation - were away off in the future.

Of course, Danny was right. He’d grown up with the band’s songs and they’d left a permanent mark. Little did he know that in 2015 he’d join Little Murders for their fifth and latest studio album “Hi-Fab!” - or that it might be the best thing they’ve ever recorded.

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.

1977 - Iggy Pop (Easy Action)

1977 cover large

"Lavish" and Easy Action are synonymous - as the latest box set of raw power from the Pop attests. Ya gets four discs in long box format, derived from live shows and studio outtakes (mostly) by the band that recorded "The Idiot". There's also a booklet written by Kris Needs. Not only an important documentation of a man full of piss and bad manners and on the comeback trail, but an ideal gift for the obsessive Ig-fan in your life.

A Million In Prizes - Iggy Pop (Virgin)

millioninprizesjpgI can remember a time back in the dark ages, a period I like to call my high school years, when a Stooges album was harder to find in Detroit than, well, the Stooges themselves, especially after that Michigan Palace brannigan immortalized on “Metallic K.O.”

A Million In Prizes - Iggy Pop (Virgin)

millioninprizesjpgI can remember a time back in the dark ages, a period I like to call my high school years, when a Stooges album was harder to find in Detroit than, well, the Stooges themselves, especially after that Michigan Palace brannigan immortalized on “Metallic K.O.”

A Stooge re-surfaces


recca 

There's not much more information than what's on the poster but onetime Stooge Jimmy Recca (now living in L.A.) is playing a show in Arlington, Virginia. If you want to know about Mr Recca and his Stooges history, you could do no better than reading this interview by Ken Shimamoto originally penned for Easy Action Records.

 

Beat 'Em Up - Iggy Pop (Virgin)

beatemupCranberry-swilling Ken Shimamoto and I were only discussing this in the Bar the other day: We both mark Iggy harder than those so-called legends who present with a far less memorable back catalogue.

California Hitch Hike - Iggy Pop (Easy Action)

hitch-hikeHis studio recordings are up and down like a hypoglycaemic's sugar levels but the one place Iggy Pop delivers the goods consistently is the stage. This 1979 taped-for-radio recording from San Francisco in 1979 finds the Pop at the very top of his game with a killer band in attendance.

Cheap Trick tribute looms on Aussie label

cheap trick tribPerth’s powerpop label punching way above its weight, Zero Hour Records, has announced a double CD tribute to Cheap Trick.

The 38-song collection includes music from The Affections, Rob Smith and Danny McCarthy, Plasticsoul and Spike Priggen and is due out on May 22.

Pre-orders get a swag of extras and you can take the plunge here

You can also pick up dirt cheap stuff from Dom Mariani (his unplugged acoustic album is an underrated gem), Turnaround and a slew of lesser-known acts from the garage-pop underground.

Fay Wray - The Exile Co. b/w My Name and My Number - The City Lights (Spiral Scratch)

exileco-splitcity-lights-splitWhatever happened to the split-single 7” where bands of a feather got pissed in a studio together, slapped out a song each and whacked out a record with a song on either side? The styles didn’t always blend but that was much of the charm. The split single seems to have fallen from favour, despite the resurgence of vinyl. Reality is that it never really went away and here’s a great example from two Sydney bands.

Get On The Outside Of This - Green Circles (Sexy Diablo)

greencirclesDidn't have much time for mods, generally. Growing up in Sydney in the heyday of great, Birdman-inspired music in the 1980s, their thing seemedmore contrived than anything else (although, in retrospect, there was a great deal of energy in evidence on the Sussex Street scene, when it crawled up the stairs and seeped into the Trade Union Club.) The Green Circles are a mod-influenced band from Adelaide, and the good news (for me) is they're more V-6 than Vespa.

Gimme Some Stooges songs: James Williamson opens up and talks

JamesWilliamsonSingle1ARTThe Golden Age of Iggy and The Stooges continues unabated. With the band on indefinite hiatus, “Raw Power” era guitarist James Williamson is shining new light on a batch of mostly unreleased or never-properly-recorded gems from the band’s back-pages.

Go - Little Murders (Off The Hip)

little-murders-goGuitar pop like this has no equal. Rob Griffiths has been writing and playing it longer than anyone can remember. Little Murders are a Melbourne institution and the current line-up is the longest serving. Each of these facts is connected.

James Williamson on "Raw Power", 30 years on

james-williamson-heather-harris
James Williamson in 2011 - Robert Matheu photo

James Williamson staked his claim to rock'n'roll immortality based on just eight songs, but what songs they were...the ones comprising Iggy & the Stooges' epochal 1973 "Raw Power" album, still cited as a prime influence by purveyors of Rock Action from Stockholm to Seattle to Sydney.

Kill City - Iggy Pop & James Williamson (Alive Naturalsound/Bomp)

killcity-remixThe first record I ever reviewed was "Kill City". That was back in 1977 for Self Abuse fanzine. I wish I had a copy of the article so I could compare how I felt then and how I feel now. I wrote that review because everyone I knew was slagging this off at the time. West Coast bland was the popular consensus. I didn’t agree and I wanted it down for the record.

Look Back and Laugh b/w Tripwire - Suzi Chunk (State Records)

Ichunk-coverf it’s a single of ‘60s sounds it makes perfect sense for it to be in mono. Suzi Chunk is a Welsh singer fronting a well-mannered band called Groovy Uncle and singing beat pop. If she was any more authentic her name would be Dusty Springfield.

Lots to like about Little Lovers

golden decade lgeFounding member of Little Lovers, Wintah Thompson was dragged around every decent ‘90s music festival with Glenn Thompson, who in addition to being known as Wintah’s dad was also a member of iconic Australian bands Custard, The Titanics and The Go-Betweens.

Over the years, Wintah’s parents would encourage him to pursue a career in finance, or at the very least seek a life of reliable employment. Instead, he started a band. 

Little Lovers proceeded to cut their teeth in the sunny backyards of Brisbane. They released their debut, self-titled, E.P. which shot to number-one on Australian independent charts. The track “Red Devil” became a Brisbane favourite and was regularly played on local radio and in Brisbane’s indie clubs. A bunch of shows and supports followed before it was time to relocate and reform in Sydney. 

After well over a decade, two cities, two drummers, 489 bassists and hundreds of gigs, both big and small, Little Lovers have finally released their debut album “Golden Decade”.

Wintah Thompson’s songwriting isn’t nationalistic, but – just like The Go-Betweens, Smudge, Sunnyboys or Custard – you couldn’t imagine it coming from anywhere but Australia.

“Golden Decade” was recorded across Sydney with sessions in an old Australian naval base with Tim Kevin and in the industrial backstreets of the Inner West in Marrickville with Glenn Thompson. It launches at The Union Hotel in Newtown on October 6 with support from Dick Pix. You can hear the single “June” here and find out more at the Mere Noise Records website.