Getting Some Fun with the Sunnyboys' Richard Burgman

sunnyboys croll
As they were in 1981. Catherine Croll photo

In 2012, a reformed Sunnyboys delivered arguably the most emotional comeback of any Australian band in living memory. More on that soon. Three years later, they’ve given us the most unlikely of resurrected albums, with a stunning re-issue of their second record, “Individuals”.

Originally released in May 1982 when the band was poised to take the Australian charts by the throat, it sold respectably but ultimately foundered under the weight of massive expectations and a curiously subdued mix.

The discovery of a previously lost rough mix among the estate of their late producer and manager (as well as legendary guitarist), Lobby Loyde, cast a new light on a largely overlooked record. The new version sounds as lively and dynamic as the band’s “Sunnyboys” debut from 1980.

Crush On You b/w Falling Apart – Psychosurgeons (Blank Records)

psychosurgeons crushThere’s been a flurry of excitement about this - and rightly so. Along with Filth, the Psychosurgeons were one of the first Sydney bands to firmly grasp the grasp the back of punk’s bondage pants, give them a good tug in a downward direction and expose its arse.

The Psychosurgeons’ “Wild Weekend” will always be a classic 45, so hearing that this was on the way created the sort of anticipation that you could cut with a figurative knife. Or razor blade, if that was your thing.

Celibate Rifles back home for mini-festival

sunkenThere was a time when Sydney’s northern beaches beaches were a hotbed of high energy rock and roll.

Since the decline in the Sydney live music scene (and the demise of the Manly Fisho's Club) the opportunity to enjoy local bands under one roof has been rare. An event at Narrabeen RSL on March 28 is trying to revive those days.

Sunken Ascension is a mini-festival, headlined by the home-grown Celibate Rifles, and running across three levels of the club. 

It’s free from 2pm and all-ages until 8pm, after which it’s $25 (or $20 pre-sale.)  For that you get cheap beer, inexpensive food, a downstairs cocktail lounge and a local shuttle bus.

Celibate Rifles, C.O.F.F.I.N, Captain Kickarse and The Awesome's, The Archaic Revival, Gutter Tactic, Bloody Kids, Taelor Jane, Bilby and Asia Hatton are playing and tickets are here.

 

The Who’s Tommy at the Adelaide Fringe Festival

tommy adelaide festival banner

Tommy is, of course, that double LP rock opera what the ‘Oo done, back in 1969.

Pete Townsend was a powerhouse of creativity and, since he didn’t own an opera company or a film company, we can say he made a pretty impressive stab at both over the four sides of vinyl back in the day. Streets ahead of the competition by a forward-looking rock band, Tommy rebooted the Who back into the limelight…and you know the rest, I’m sure.

There’s been an opera version, a musical adaptation, a film, and there’s been several reissues, including a Super Deluxe Edition. And now…this…extraordinary, louche, beautiful, moving interpretation of a record which is well and truly in I-94 Bar reader terrain.

Thee Rum Coves - Thee Rum Coves (self released)

thee rum covesIs it really a surprise in 2015 to hear rocking garage soul that has its origins in the UK played better than almost anyone else around by a band that comes from Auckland in New Zealand? Meet Thee Rum Coves.

These guys (and girl) should be the toast of the summer festival circuit in Europe. They deserve to fill the vacuum left by the demise of The Jim Jones Revue. Thee Rum Coves have everything going for them for a shot at success in Europe…except geography. Not that this should matter.

Black Chameleon Prayer - The Dogs (Astma Records)

black chameleon prayerIt’s said you should never judge a book by its cover and the same goes for records. This is apparently Album Number Three from this Oslo, Norway, six-piece and they sound nothing like the middle-aged lay preachers standing ankle deep in water under a bridge that they appear to be. Hallelujah.

The Dogs (not to be confused with the late French band or the still kicking one from L.A. via Detroit) rock like they mean it. They worship at the shrine of the ‘60s garage/‘80s garage revival scenes but they bring enough manic energy to these songs that makes them stand apart from the rest of the pack. Cock an ear to the furious “Stay Away From Her” with its Dicatoresque vocal and melodic bass-line behind its driving guitars to know as much.

Individuals & Get Some Fun - Sunnyboys (Feel Presents)

get some funindividualsIt’s time to kiss and make up. When “Individuals” was released back in 1982, as a follow-up to the Sunnyboys’ barnstorming eponymous debut, it was justifiably unloved by many.

The songs were…good…but slower. Its lead-off single, the curious “This Is Real”, was stilted and a million miles removed from the infectious “Happy Man” and “Alone With You”. The biggest drawback, however, was the record’s lifeless production which reduced the sound of the Sunnyboys to an empty husk. It lacked warmth and sounded distant.

Watch Your Skull - Kit Convict & Thee Terrible Two

kit convictHey Kit Convict - the people of Medway called and they want their Billy Childish back.

Just kidding. But there is an strong resemblance between the music from most of Billy’s 55,000 albums and what Kit Convict and his stripped-back combo pump out.

This is short, sharp, simple and very catchy garage punk. I know “garage punk” is a broad descriptor and a little imprecise - hence the Childish reference. That the influences for this Melbourne band are obvious isn’t a problem. Like Billy, they’ve gone digging until they hit the right, rich vein and they’re mining from it.

Brat Farrar II - Brat Farrar (Off The Hip)

bratt farrarIIFor a musician who spends many of his recording hours in a bedroom, Brat Farrar is more Punk Rock than you or I will ever be. This is the second album of short and snappy homemade songs from Melbourne-via-Europe Sam Agostino (one-half of Digger & The Pussycats) and it delivers in spades.

There’s a lot to love about “Brat Farrar II” if only because it sounds like “Brat Farrar I”. In fact, you could interchange many of these songs on an iTunes mix playlist (or something similar) and be hard pressed to pick what came from where.

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