Five Things - Smalltown Tigers (Area Pirata Records)
There’s nothing new in rock and roll. The same goes for punk rock. So get over it. Reinvention has always been a constant and the trick to being good at the caper is adding as your own unique ingredient.
“Five Things” is eight songs from three Italian girls calling themselves Smalltown Tigers. They come from Romagna in the country's north-east, cut their teeth playing Ramones songs at squats and beach parties and went into a studio in 2019, under the production hand of Stiv Cantarelli.
They're only been around a couple of years but you wouldn't know it. With a single in the racks before this, "Five Things" swaggers with confidence and loads of energy. It would be politically incorrect to say the girls have good looks on their side as well, so we won't. Image counts for much in rock and roll.
The Victims are now Ray Ahn, Dave Faulkner and James Baker.
Given the current restrictions on social gatherings, there is a certain irony in the story of The Victims’ first gig in Perth in early 1977. Perth, by some calculations, the most isolated capital city in the world, didn’t have a big punk rock scene. After all, this was the era of bland commercial radio, flaccid cover bands and conservative social attitudes.
When drummer James Baker, guitarist Dave Faulkner and bass player Dave Cardwell set up at the sharehouse in one of Perth’s light industrial inner suburbs to play in front of 50 enthusiastic garage and punk rock fans, they’d pretty well captured the entire Perth punk market. But get that many people in a house right now, even to listen to a Ramones record, and you’d be breaking the law. Back then, all the audience cared about was that there were other people who felt the same way about music.
“Music for us was rebellion against the conformity of the city, being so isolated. Because everything we loved was so far away,” Faulkner says.
We're hopping back into the Time Tunnel...this time to dig up a late-'90s interview with late Stooges guitarist RON ASHETON by KEN SHIMAMOTO.
It was November 1998. Ron was at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was talking up the prospects of a release and possible tour by supergroup Wylde Ratzz, off the back of the movie "Velvet Goldmine" for which they'd supplied some of the soundtrack. It failed to materialise and the J Mascis collaboration that helped ignite the Stooges reunion was also in the future.
The interview is one of the most revealing Ron Asheton pieces up until then, laying to rest some misconceptions about his attitude towards fellow Stooge James Williamson, and showing him to be a musician who fervently wanted to not only express his own music as much as reclaim some of his old band's legend.
A Stooges Asthma Attack at th Grande Ballroom in1968. Robert Matheu photo.
The year 2006 was something of a watershed for fans of high-energy rock and roll of the Detroit variety. The reformed Stooges were in full flight and an historic six-CD, eponymous Sonic's Rendezous Band box set came out on UK label Easy Action.
The box set's executive producer of the box was ROBERT MATHEU, a Detroit-raised and former Creem magazine staff photographer. Sadly, Robert passed away in 2018, but a dozen years before, he told the back-story of the box set to the I-94 Bar - and of course regaled us with stories about the MC5 and the Stooges.
We're revisiting many of the stories originally published on the I-94 Bar that were archived when we moved virtual location a few years ago. This is one of the trips back in The Time Tunnel.
It's 13 years since he passed from cancer but the reputation of Lobby Loyde is not diminishing. We live in crazy times but one of the sane things occurring right now is that the trailblazing Australian guitarist, bandleader and producer is finally getting his dues outside his homeland.
As leader of the Coloured Balls, Loyde set a benchmark in Australia for innovative hard rock. The "Ball Power" and "Heavy Metal Kid" albums, both released in 1974, are all-time classics. As a player in The Aztecs, Rose Tattoo and solo, the earlier Wild Cherries and Purple Hearts,
Loyde blew up more amplifiers and sent more people deaf than anyone who followed. As a producer in the 1980's, he was a force behind albums for the Sunnyboys, Painters and Dockers, Machinations and X.
Re-issues of his Coloured Balls albums and Lobby's solo work on the Aztec label re-lit the spotlight in Australia in the '90s. Just Add Water Records is deep into a program of vinyl re-issues, out of Berkeley, California.
They've done a killer job on three singles and an LP re-issue of "The First Supper Last Or Scenes We Didn't Get To See".
We decided to track down label owner JASON DUNCAN and ask him about Just Add Water's mission to re-visit the music of Lobby Loyde, and a select bunch of other similarly-minded rock and roll outsiders.
Home, James And Don’t Spare the Horse Power - Anytime James (self released)
The dictionary defines “raunch” as “energetic earthiness; vulgarity”, and the second album from Anytime James has it in bucketloads.
Anytime Who? Read on.
Anytime James is an outfit of musicians from the Far North Coast of New South Wales, assembled and led by former Asteroid B612 guitarist Michael Gibbons. At the risk of (more) accusations of hype, let's toss caution to the metaphorical breeze and say Anytime James might be the best band you've never heard of. Here's why.
Pyongyang Kaengsaeng! - The Dry Retch (Stalingrad)
The UK owes the world an enduring apology for afflicting it with insipid shit like Robbie Williams, but there are signs of redemption if you look hard. You’ll find it seeping out of the cracks in footpaths in big cities outside London, where high-energy outsider bands like The Hip Priests (Nottingham) and Black Bombers (Birmingham) hold the line. From one such dark fissure in Liverpool comes The Dry Retch.
You’ll know the back-story if you saw our recent review of their Stooges-obsessed “A Kick in the Gulags” EP. “Pyongyang Kaengsaeng!” (allegedly Korean for “really shitty car” - would Little Rocket Man lie?) is their latest album - and it was launched on the undercard of a 2020 Brian James Q and A in Nottingham, no less. If tender balladry is your thing, look away, now.
Not content to wait for a Record Store Day stifled by Coronavirus disruption, the Hoodoo Gurus will release their new single in limited edition, vinyl form.
"Answered Prayers" is out on June 12, along with an expanded, digital edition of their 2004 album "Mach Schau" combining tracks from the Australian and US editions in a new 16-song running order.
"Answered Prayers" is already available digitally and is the first "new" music from the band in 10 years - not counting 2014's "Gravy Train", a freshly-recorded EP of lost tracks from the band's early days with former members.
“Someday soon, will you tell us when it’s time to play for you?” asks iconoclastic Australian music legend Ron S. Peno, towards the nd of “See You When I’m Looking At You”, the nearly nine-minute long "chain" song from Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission and friends and released this week.
It’s a question that many artists hope will soon be answered, and one of many telling moments in an epic song, sung and worded by a cross-generational selection of some of Australia’s finest singer-songwriters in COVID-19 isolation.
Conceived by Thomas – the ARIA-winning singer-songwriter of Weddings Parties Anything – in April, “See You When I’m Looking At You” began life when Mick wrote a verse and a chorus while isolating in his Melbourne backyard.