spencer - The I-94 Bar

Beast Records Night at the Tote Hotel in Melbourne

tamara and dick
Tamara and Evil Dick.  Caroline Burston photo

In a parallel historical universe the vast southern continent now known as Australia might have been conquered by France.

While France was still a functioning monarchy at the time Captain James Cook invoked the now discredited legal fiction of Terra Nullius to claim the territory on behalf of the English throne; by the time Arthur Phillip lobbed into Botany Bay in 1788, France was starting to buckle in the face of rising bourgeois unrest, and had bigger internal fish to fry (or heads to lop, as the case may be).

Diamond In The Forehead - Garry Gray and The Sixth Circle (Off The Hip)

diamond foreheadNow I have to be upfront here. During the early '80s I was a huge Sacred Cowboys fan. I only saw them twice in Sydney but felt they were The Real Deal: a band in this territory of cool, alternative cowboy/Delta punk be that was coming from USA via people like The Gun Club and Wall of Voodoo, yet with a savage savage edge that was a nod to the "Blood River" period Scientists.

“Nothing Grows in Texas” simply was one best Australian singles of the '80s. Of courses Molly Meldrum slagged them off on TV on "Countdown". So we all knew they had so much going for them. At the centre was Garry Gray and his sneering vocals, somewhere between Alex Chilton and Jonathan Richman with a belly-full of hard, home brewed liquor.

Run Yourself Ragged EP - Dan Brodie & The Grieving Widows (Fat Swine)

brodie-raggedYou all know who Dan Brodie is, right? He’s released several LPs and EPs and yeah. You need this lil’ gem in your collection.

Why? Apart from the songs, it’s a fine little story of r’n’r excess, consequences, surgical procedures and ends with a damn-the-consequences romp in sterling style. I’ll quickly add that the production on the EP is damn fine too - that’s Glen Hewer, and the mastering is raucous and clean: David Briggs.

Spencer P. Jones and The Escape Committee live in Adelaide

spencer adl2 
I missed the first band, but I’ve heard good things. I did catch The Pro Tools.

Led by the extraordinary Pete Howlett, ThePpro Tools hammer at you - they’re a lot of noisy, in-your-face fun; coupled with Howlett’s almost Dolls-esque behaviour.

“No-one flicks his hair with such elegant contempt as Johnny Thunders,” remarked fellow audience member Nazz Nassari tonight, in response to my observation that Howlett’s perfectly timed angry slash at his hair toward the end of their set expressed an eloquent contempt). I never saw Thunders, but Howlett has a sort of compressed loathing of his instrument, despite his dexterity and talent, as if somehow the instrument simply cannot do what Howlett wants it to. Therein lies part of the public persona/reality of the man.

The Clashification of Dub - Dub Spencer and Trance Hill (Echo Beach)

clashificationWhat a brilliant record this is. I’ve played it about six times since buying this one on spec. Fuck but it’s great.

See, this is why I like exploring Amazon. The Clash were panned in their day for their dub experiments, journos always banging on about how super they were live.

Funny. I saw them once and got bored fairly swiftly. Their LPs are not always cohesive, but sod that. That’s what cassette tapes were for, and making your own versions of their LPs was always fun.

The Man Is Back: A Tribute To Johnny Cash - Various Artists (Beast Records)

the-man-is-backThere’s a news story that’s been doing the rounds of mainstream media about a man with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who was given a brain implant that turned him into a Johnny Cash fan.

If you want to delve further, the journal “Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience” (yeah, I read every issue) describes the case of “Mr B”, a 58-year-old Dutch man who had suffered severe OCD from the age of 13. The insertion of a brain pacemaker apparently turned him into a follower of The Man In Black.