Archie and the Bunkers – Archie and the Bunkers (Dirty Water)

archie bunkersLet’s get it out of the way, up front. The two members of Archie and The Bunkers are teenage brothers from Cleveland, Ohio, who live with their parents. You need to know because media types will get hung up on that fact if and when these kids get better known.

That neither 17-year-old Emmett (on drums and vocals) or 14-year-old Cullen (organ and vocals) O'Connor is old enough to ask for booze on their backstage rider doesn’t matter. Not a jot. They pump out simple, and simply good, stripped-back punk sounds that are bereft of bullshit.

Tougher Pucker - Shandy (Contra Records/Longshot Music)

tough puckersIt's hearsay but I’ve got this on good authority: Being on the end of a kicking from one of Australia’s Sharpie gangs at the end off the ‘60s or start of the ‘70s was never have been as much fun as going to a show by Brisbane band Shandy.

For the uninitiated, a shandy is an Australian beer with lemonade added. Truly a relic of the ‘60s and, personally, there’s no reason to commit a crime like this unless your grandmother is really insistent and has a doctor’s certificate to prove she’s dying from thirst. Shandy, the band, on the other hand is less offensive by a factor of double figures. Shandy rocks.

The Sharps were a uniquely Australian brand of street gang that roamed the suburbs of Sydney and especially Melbourne 50 years ago. They liked their music raw and guitar-infested. Glam and boogie were the go. You can read more about it in this review of "When Sharpies Rules, the landmark compilation that came out in 2015.

West of Anywhere - DM3 (Alive Naturalsound)

west of anywhereDM3 are from Western Australia and make peerless powerpop. If you didn’t know that already here’s another chance to catch up.

Chances are you do already know that DM3 are Dom Mariani and (mostly) Pascal Bartalome on drums and Tony Italiano on bass. With surnames like that it’s no wonder Italy adores them as much as Berlusconi loves bunga bunga parties. You could think of DM3 as a musical version of the family-sized Neapolitan pizza: Chunky pieces of melody on a solid base of guitar - and easy on the cheese.

If you listen hard enough it will be apparent that it’s all in the hooks. Chronologically-speaking, Dom assembled this band after the ‘60s pop of The Stems and the even sweeter pop of The Someloves. Stylistically speaking, DM3 sits somewhere in-between them both.

Sydney gets a dose of The Mummies

mummiesThe Mummies need no introduction as one of the loudest stupidest most deranged bands on the planet and have been destroying lives, limbs and guitars worldwide since 1989. They’re visiting Melbourne and Adelaide for one week only - and now Sydney gets its chance.

Thursday, March 10 is the date and the venue is Hermanns Bar at Sydney University.

They’ll be joined by Psychotic Turnbuckles and Los Tones.

Tickets won’t last long and went on sale today here. It will sell out.

Why? These bandaged kooks are possibly one of the most legendary Punk/Garage bands on the planet. The Mummies originated the ‘Budget rock sound’ told SUB POP where to get off and now they will blow you a new hole right between those useless eardrums of yours.

The Mummies define what was to be a world-wide revolution of retardo rock and sloped-head slop that erupted in the late '80s and early ’90s, spawning so many bands you can’t even start to name them all.

You can rope in most of the riot girl movement, Beat Man, King Khan, and any of the hundreds of non corporate punk garage combos that are still wrecking guitars worldwide today.

Grande Ballroom movie released and it's Louder Than Love

It’s been years in the making and "LOUDER THAN LOVE", the long-awaited documentary paying tribute to legendary Detroit music venue the Grande Ballroom, is finally available.

The Grande was the birthplace or breeding ground for the likes of the Stooges, the MC5, The Up and The Rationals. It also became a notorious killing field for visiting international bands who had to undergo a "trial by support band" where the locals did their best to blow them off the stage (sometimes succeeding.)

“LOUDER THAN LOVE: The Grande Ballroom Story” is Tony D’Annunzio’s first independent film as a producer and director.  His movie chronicles the Detroit music scene in the late 1960s, as told through the eyes of the legendary bands that played there.

Fortean Times – The Holy Soul (Damn You)

fortean timesEver heard an album from a band you’d thought had all but put the cue in the rack only to be knocked out of your seat?  The Holy Soul has been slogging away around Sydney for a decade or more as one of those acts playing the all-too-familiar Game of Diminishing Returns.

You know that one. It’s where, through a combination of fickle fandom, demographic-driven media, venue turnover and diverging member interests, a band fades from view like the white dot on an analogue TV screen.

Appearances are deceptive. There’s been a bit happening in the background. In terms of getting onto the mainstream radar, however, The Holy Soul have been perpetual victims of their own nature. People like to grasp the familiar and The Holy Soul has traded in a strange mix of blues-rock that’s impossible to pigeonhole. So let’s all resist trying.

A Psychotic Xmas as the Turnbuckles prevail

jesse factoryJesse the Intruder of the Psychotic Turnbuckles

The Kings of The Combat Zone, the Psychotic Turnbuckles, returned to Sydney from Pismo Beach last Saturday night for a one-off Xmas show, presented by the I-94 Bar.

They were joined by Melbourne's Stoneage Hearts and Sydneysiders The Prehistorics in a no-holds-barred tag-team contest at Marrickville's Factory Floor. Shona Ross captured these images as the Turnbuckles triumphed in front of a packed house. Click more to see the images.

James McCann and The New Vindictives - James McCann and The New Vindictives (Beast Records)

new vindictivesTags are annoying to most musicians but even James McCann must acknowledge he gets to wear the ‘veteran’ badge when he arrives at the company Xmas party by now. There at the earliest days of The Drones and Nunchukka Superfly, he’s been one of those “best kept secret” solo artists Australia seems to bury for more than a decade, making a name for himself in his adopted home of Melbourne (and in France) but deserving much wider attention.

“James McCann and The New Vindictives” was a couple of years in gestation with French label Beast Records taking its time to squeeze it into their schedule. Contrastingly, the band and the recording came together with spontaneity very much the name of the game.

Good Night and Good Riddance. How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped Shape Modern Life by David Cavanagh (Faber)

peel bookHe was a BBC DJ. On the back cover there are heartfelt quotes about him from musicians as diverse as Jack White, Johnny Marr, Elton John, Robert Plant, Nick Cave and Elvis Costello.

His name was John Peel.

Here’s a comment about him from Carlton Sandercock, who runs Easy Action Records in the UK:

“John Peel was quite possibly THE most important person on the radio anywhere ever ... to find a DJ that championed new bands, unsigned bands, punk bands, bands of every genre…and encouraged growth when he was employed by one of the biggest corporations in UK is staggering to say the very least … I never met him but did have him stamping on the floor trying to get me, Annie Nightingale and Nikki Sudden to shut up…

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