New York City-based band Phantom Fifth (pictured right) has announced that Chris “Klondike” Masuak will be joining them for shows in California and New York in July.
Phantom Fifth is from New York City and is comprised of expatriate Australian bassist Greg Delves (ex-Inner Sleeves, Radio Luxembourg), Irishman Colin McCarthy (drums) and US-born Paul Stinson (guitar, vocals.)
Formed in 2015, the band bio says it "embraces the sonic sound and dark energy of Nick Cave, Joy Division, The Strokes and The Stooges. The Phantoms' sound is built around dark melodies, shimmering guitars, and propulsive bass lines, with lyrics about wolves, ghosts, murderous paramours, Italian discos, and other manifestations of love and madness".
Originally from California, where he co-founded the "punk Americana" band The Stripminers with members of X and The Donnas, Paul Stinson moved to Brooklyn in 2014 and quickly met up with power pop guru Delves and McCarthy (formerly of Amsterdam-based Belsonic Sound).
The trio immediately began writing, recording and performing in and around NYC and have plans in the works for tours of both the UK and Australia. The band's debut EP is due out in the US Summer of 2016.
July 20 – Brick & Mortar Music Hall, San Francisco, CA July 22 – The Uptown Nightclub, Oakland, CA July 24 – The Viper Room, Hollywood, CA July 29 – The Bowery Electric, NYC
1. Definitely at the top of the heap that was 2017, Jonathan Sequeira risked life, limb, and genuine sanity to bring us “Descent Into The Maelstrom”, a fiercely objective, no holds barred documentary about the shit storm that was Radio Birdman.
How he managed to convince that particular sack of snakes to agree to anything in the first place is a testimony to his considerable appreciation of the band’s legend, his heroic patience, and his nutsack-clenching resolve. A minor miracle, more so because it certainly wasn’t the puff piece that some characters clearly expected in their “imagining” of the bands tumultuous and antagonistic history!
Vindication for some, the trashing of decades of carefully cultivated bullshit for others, replete with many a “Holy crap!” moment.
A rollicking good story about a special band, time, and place in history!
1) White Stripes –Vault #33 Icky Thump X Third Man Records Vault only release, 10 year anniversary edition. Includes a wacko coloured vinyl re-press of the double album plus two bonus albums containing all the non-album b-sides and the full demos housed in a way out box. The demos are furious ! Only released for a few months via Third Man Records.
2) Shy Impostors CD (maxi EP/mini album CD) Unleashed by those God-loving folks at Citadel Records. Seven demos recorded 1980 and now finally after a loving re-mix by Jason Blackwell sound truly fab. The songs, vocals and rough as guts musicianship by these proto legends are gold. Melodic and dirty.
3) Buffalo Revisited gig at Brewtality Festival in Melbourne Is it truly an honour for me after being a Buffalo fan since 1974 to be playing with their mighty vocalist Dave Tice with some fellow Buffalo maniacs (Troy and Marcus). And to be playing those great songs (a mind melt to learn btw). We hit our cosmic groove at the Brewtality Festival in Melbourne; more to come for sure.
This year was returning to my childhood and gromit years - teenage times as well as inner-city music, alternative and garage rock, beer-soaked pubs and the alternative. Namely the Beatles, Midnight Oil and Patti Smith.
Patti Smith and Paul McCartney get the guernsey for the best gigs of the year. And for the same reasons. Both artists are incredible live and these final tours were a massive thank you to the fans…
1 Macca at Suncorp Brisbane Sir Paul delivered on all fronts. With the most thoughtful visual show and a hit every minute over those three hours and ten minutes, it ranged from pure, four-on-the-floor garage rock with guitars sonically attacking to more mellow stuff.
From “I Want To Be Your Lover” which would have made the Stones sound like a get-together at a nursing home to “Helter Skelter”, to the bombastic, “Live And Let Die” which inflamed the stadium, the cheesy “Mull of Kintyre” with a 25-piece pipe band, to the solo acoustic moments with “Blackbird”, this was gold. Macca’s voice, his insights, wit and humility, and his guitar playing were magnificent; 42 songs played. I won’t forget it a hurry.
1 Patti Smith at the State Theatre and spoken word at Sydney Opera House Another pair of gigs where Patti gave 300 percent. Patti engaged us with insights, stories and, as with Macca, showed a great deal of humility. The band, led by Lenny Kaye, at times still had the intensity of 1975 CBGBs Patti, yet with overtones of a grandmother and an earth mother.
I suppose my prevailing sentiment has been one of simmering frustration and anger at a world more out of control and stupid than I can remember. Perhaps it’s always been this way and I’m only noticing it in my dotage.
Whatever the reason, I’m noticing that personal selfishness and cultural callousness are the new black and that I just haven’t been able to continue being my usual conciliatory self.
Italian journalist and occasional I-94 Bar correspondent Roberto Calabro has had a Radio Birdman book published.
It's called "Radio Birdman. Il rito del suono selvaggio" (that would be “Radio Birdman: the ritual of the wild sound" for non-Italian speakers) and it’s published through Tuttle Edizioni.
Not just a historical recounting, it covers the whole story of the legendary Sydney band from the early days up to now with chapters about The Visitors, the New Christs and the work of individual members.
It’s only in Italian right now but Roberto is keen to have it translated and published in English. You can order a copy here. Comprendere?
Yeah Hup! The Radio Birdman documentary public screening dates have been announced. You can indulge in post-screening Q&As at a handful of them. Book your own "Descent Into the Maelstrom" at these cinemas via the links after the MORE link.
The soundtrack (pictured above) is now available for pre-order on LP and CD. Go here to grab a copy.
Miss out on the Radio Birdman box set? After unveiling vinyl versions of the re-issues, Citadel has now announced individual double-CD packs, including one for the killer and highly sought-after “Live at Paddington Town Hall” album.
Each package is loaded with the extras that came in the box set. Go to Citadel Mail Order and get clicking in time for Xmas.
Radio Birdman's 2015 European tour made enough successful noise for them to gain spots this coming June on several European festivals, most notably Spain's Azkena Rock Festival and Belgium's Sjock Festival.
The impact of their sold-out London show was such that they have been invited back to the UK with Manchester and Leeds added onto the itinerary and several other shows being slated.
The good news for Australian fans is that prior to their return to Europe, the band will play a limited number of local shows over the first two weekends of June. These are expected to be the band's only Australian shows for 2016.
Tickets go on sale Monday, 1st February from 12PM AEDT:
It’s difficult to believe that Chris Masuak is only in the second half of his 50’s when you examine his output. It’s been a diverse and solid career, spanning almost four decades.
He was in his late teens when he joined Radio Birdman. He was half of the sound of the “twin-guitar attack” that assaulted Sydney with its array of proto-punk influences, to forever stake Birdman a claim as one of the most influential bands the city has produced.
Then there were the post-Birdman bands. The Hitmen never had the songs, in my opinion, but they always delivered as a live act. Masuak’s guitar playing was the stand-out. Chris was still in his early 20’s and still forging his own style. It lay somewhere between the technical brilliance of Mountain and the pop-rock sensibility of The Dictators.
Finally extracted from the vaults after 12 years (it was recorded on a day off during an Australian tour in 2004) this was released globally for Record Store Day yesterday. “Buried and Dead” is the killer Masters Apprentices song was a staple in the Birdman set at the time, while the similarly reverred “Ballad” was recorded for a since-shelved Alice Cooper tribute on Sub Pop.
There's always been a No Man's Land between meticulousness and spontaneity about Birdman in the studio. Maybe meticulousness won but the band wasn’t all that fussed about the output of this recording session at the time.
The A side is the pick. Delivered with the sort of intensity you’d expect, it’s highlighted by entwining Tek-Masuak guitars and a roaring stop-start feel. “Ballad of Dwight Fry” has a stab but doesn’t quite hit the mark; Rob Younger’s vocal is muted, whether by range or intent, and the dynamism this line-up was capableof doesn't come through. Cock an ear to the live 1976 version floating around on YouTube for proof.
(It'll never happen but the propsect of a box set of Birdman singles of versions of songs they've covered live is a tantalising idea. The source material IS out there.)
Of course it's the limited edition 7" you need if you're a fan. Be warned though: It carried one of the heftiest Record Store Day price tags ($A28) around. That could be a gouge (such things aren't unknown on Record Store Day) or it could just reflect the cost of having it sent from the pressing plant to the label and on to shops in short time.
The I-94 Bar presented Chris Masuak and The Harbour City Wave Riders shows are making their way through and around Sydney. BZ Filmco shot this footage of the band tearing through "Niagara" at a packed Factory Floor last Friday night.
After a Wollongong show last Saturday and a private gig in Maiitland, the former Radio Birdman guitar slinger and his crack crew move onto Newcastle"s Small Ballroom on Friday and Narrabeen RSL on Saturday. Tickets fro Newcastle are hereand Narrabeen here. The whirlwind run winds up with Chris playing a free solo show at The Midnight Spedcial in Newtown on Sunday night.
Ex-Radio Birdman guitar slinger Chris Masuak has released a promotional clip to launch a crowd-funding campaign for his forthcoming album to come out on CD and it's likely to cause a stir with fans of his former band. The song's title is "Bird Brain."
You can get on board the crowdfunding campaign to grab anything from Birdman and Hitmen rarities, a Masuak show in your backyard to a copy of the album (when it comes out) here. Meanwhile, here's the clip:
He mighr be embarassed by it being said, but Jim Dixon is the Grand Old Bass Man of Sydney’s rock and roll scene.
Since dropping in as a member of raw Brisbane band The Survivors at the tail end of the ‘70s to relocating and driving the bottom end for The Passengers and many more, he’s been as much a fixture as cold beer and sticky carpets.
Active duty in London with the Barracudas and then back home to play with the likes of Louis Tillett, Penny Ikinger, the New Christs, the Deniz Tek Group and Radio Birdman, Gentleman Jim is omnipresent as both player and punter. Along the way he’s supplemented his music by working in a record store, running his own curry kitchen and, more lately, bussing tourists around Greater Sydney’s natural wonders.
What do George Michael, L7, Michael Caine and Radio Birdman have in common? They’re all Official Selections at the worlds largest and most prestigious Music Documentary Film Festival “ In-edit Barcelona & Madrid Spain 2018.
Jonathan Sequeira’s critically acclaimed and uncompromising documentary "Descent Into The Maelstrom – The Radio Birdman Story" is available to buy on DVD. The film will be released via streaming services (iTunes and Vimeo worldwide) on October 5 with YouTube to follow late 2018.
Who's for popcorn? Rob Younger and Deniz Tek at the World Premiere. Bruce Tindale photo
It’s been pissing down in Sydney for morer than 24 hours. I wait in a corner window at the Imperial Hotel, watching the steady torrent of streaming cars, my eye on the entrance to the Chauvel Cinema, tucked away inside Paddington Town Hall. A homecoming of sorts, 40 years on.
Fortry years. No longer is Radio Birdman a part of the zeitgeist, no longer are they merely an immediately cognisable legend. The weaves of history, misinformation and untruth, as well as the shedding of members and other things, like time moving on … all these things have taken place, as with many bands of yore.
These are quite remarkable recordings. Yes, you've heard rehearsal tapes and demo recordings by garage bands before, but these are different. It's all about the timeframe, the intensity and the fact that they're Australian and were recorded in relative cultural isolation.
“Dumb-World” is a serious collection of raw demos and rehearsal tapes from future Sacred Cowboys leader Garry Gray and his early bands between 1974-1978, featuring Judas and the Traitors, The Reals and The Negatives.
To place this in a historic context, the Australian musical landscape was fairly frigid. The local artists’ soundtrack was blaring from commercial AM radio, but it that was drab even though the live scene was flourishing and there were so many gigs for local musicians to play.
She’s been called “fuzz queen, sonic chanteuse and primal mistress of dark folk” and Europe is getting a brief opportunity to come up with more superlatives for Melbourne's Penny Ikinger and her unique brand of rock and roll this Northern summer.
Penny is promoting a CD single “Gin No Suzu” b/w “Ride On Cowboy” (that's the cover art at right), from her forthcoming album with a short series of dates in Spain and France, the peak of which will be appearances atAndoaingo Rock Jaialdiain Spain (June 17) and as part ofFete de la Musique at Petit Garagein Paris, France (June 21.)
Europe might be getting a taste of a substantially reconfigured Radio Birdman this month but their former guitarist Chris Masuak isn’t standing still.
With a new album in the can (recorded with his band The Viveiro Wave Riders) the Spain-based Masuak is star attraction at a gig billed as “The Australian Rock Festival - The Legacy of Radio Birdman In Spain” on June 19.
Bar Flora Disco is the venue, in Masuak’s adopted home of Viveiro, and the gig will be shot for a forthcoming Birdman documentary by Australian filmmaker Jonathan Sequeira. Support will come from surf-punk outfit The Sonic Race.