Hardcore is an odd beast. Visceral energy is its stock-in-trade. All too often it paints itself into a corner and whatever it has to stay is lost in a blur of downstrokes and angry intentions. Then somebody works out that you can play with dynamics and (shock!) melodies.
Perth band Leeches! stand out because they can do both. “Blurred Visions” is compelling, surging punk rock that seethes and burns - but also surprises with its no-nonsense harmonies and skilful playing. It reminds of Massappeal’s more creative stuff or even Off! That’s no faint praise.
Headliner Kim Salmon: No fish out of water. Campbell Manderson photo
Every time I go to Melbourne, something elbows me in the ribs and, somehow, things don’t go according to plan. The last few weeks have been short pay weeks, so I didn’t have quite enough dosh as I expected.
Of course, I had also completely forgotten that hotels now want a deposit against impromptu extra day stays and so forth, just in case you take the toaster into the shower or, to settle an argument, see how just far down the emergency stairs you can surf on the bed.
So, somewhat impoverished, I set off for St Kilda, a once-magical place of genteelly-crumbling art deco, dread gangsters (the real kind), assorted equally impoverished students, musicians, dealers and migrants and so on and so on. The event is the 16th A Day By The Green, a long-running Melbourne rock and roll institution.
Four years into their re-birth, Australian pop-rock champions the Sunnyboys are unleashing a live album on CD. “Best Seat In The House” was recorded at Enmore Theatre in March 2015 and will be released on February 27 through Feel Presents and Inertia.
You can read our live review here but rest assured that the band was in blistering form, playing with as much energy and vitality as they did in their first life more than 30 years ago.
Tracks include live favourites “Tunnel Of Love”, “I’m Shakin’” and “The Seeker” plus the hits “Happy Man”, “Show Me Some Discipline”, “You Need A Friend” and “Alone With You”.
About that band name: These guys hail from Ballarat in regional Victoria, Australia. Their touring schedule is unlikely to include the USA after they unwittingly named themselves with a derisive term for African Americans. You Yanks may know the term but it's almost unheard of in Australia. The faux pas is a pity because this album is a cracker.
“Should’ve Stayed Home” is a big step up from the debut record, “Devil’s Road”. It’s fuzzier, dirtier, nastier and more in your face. There’s a foot planted in rock and roll’s nursery (that’d be the 1950s) but they’ve taken it to a new sonic level.
Originally a member of South American garage band Los Peyotes, Rolando Bruno is now a solo artist in his own right. He’s peddling the weirdest brew of salsa-garage-exotica heard outside of an Buenos Aires coke den.
Los Peyotes were on Dirty Water Records. Rolando dipped his toe in the solo artist water while still with them. Voodoo Rhythm Records is his new home. The label has a habit of signing weird and wonderful one-man bands (case-in-point: its owner Beat-Man) and Bruno is no exception to the rule.
This autobiography by American pop-cum-punk-rock guitarist Frank Secich is a charmer. It’s big on warmth and doesn’t dish the dirt.
Its vignettes sometimes run to less than two pages apiece and are served canape style rather than in large chunks. Its 200 or so pages won’t suck up more than a few days for most people to consume.
Polite charm and gentle humour shine through.
You’d never guess its author spent two years touring with one of America’s most notorious punk bands.
Frank Secich cut his musical teeth in a bunch of Mid-western garage and teen hop bands in the ‘60s, almost cracked the big time with major label signings Blue Ash and was a sideman on bass for the latter-day Dead Boys, with his good mate Stiv Bators.
Secich worked with Stiv in his time as a solo artist for Bomp Records, retired and went on to a second career with Club Wow (with Jimmy Zero) and garage rockers Deadbeat Poets. He’s paid his own dues and those of several other people.
Sydney Northern Beaches-based ambassadors for rock and roll, The Overtones, have scored a coup by landing themselves a spot on the Meatstock barbecue festival at Olympic Park this Saturday.
Always making the most of any opportunities - and playing in front of 5000 people has to qualify as one – The Overtones will use their 3pm spot to launch their debut album.
They’re playing with The Beards, Snowdroppers, Henry Wagons and Blind Ray but too bad if you want a ticket – the first day of the all-weekend event has sold out.
To those who witnessed Ed Kuepper’s live shows last year in which he first aired this new crop of songs, we were set afloat in a dimly-set world and intimate setting.
Ed was sitting on his throne; his approach was self-absorbed, ambient and ethereal, yet focused. With the odd Scotch on the rocks being downed, Kuepper was in fine form.
Want to know what the classic line-up of Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers sounded like live? Most of us missed them the first time around and with three of them no longer with us there’s no chance whatsoever of them reforming - at least in this life.
So you’ll just have to settle for listening to “Live At The Village Gate”.
Glad you asked.
“Live At The Village Gate” is a newly-minted album on Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records. It’s out on LP and CD. It was recorded at the legendary jazz venue, The Village Gate, in New York City in 1977. Our review is here.
To many ears, it represents the ultimate recording of the infamous Heartbreakers at their highest peak. No slop, no pop. Pure power and energy that’s powerful enough to level a New York City block. It captures the notoriously drug-addled quartet in clear-eyed form and totally on their game. Out to impress and definitely Down To Kill.