There’s a beautiful, sleazy rock and roll feel to “…disasterpiece” that’s refreshingly hard to pin down. From the rumbling and seedy “Dream Feature” to the girl-group-on-steroids swagger of “Don’t Shit Me Now”, and even more Spectoresque glow of “Spectre” (ha!), it’s an avalanche of hard-boiled hard Rock Action.
That Powerline Sneakers rock like motherfuckers should come as no surprise, given the pedigree of the players. Lead guitarist John Nolan was in the Powder Monkeys and Bored!. Sly Faulkner, on vocals and guitar, fronted the Splatterheads, who were well regarded even if I never got into ‘em. Bassist Katie Dixon was in Ripe and Mark Hurst pounded the tubs for The Yes-Men and Gutternsipes.
You just know some records will be good. UK trio Black Bombers summoned an explosive storm-front in the guise of a seven-inch single (“Crazy” b/w “That Kind”) in early 2015 that sold out its first pressing in a week. To say a full-blooded long-player was anticipated is like saying Kayne West has lots of self-confidence.
Black Bombers hail from Birmingham where everything is either black or Black Sabbath. Those local legends might be held in high regard around the globe but apart from a shared love for riffing and volume, Black Bombers are cut from a slightly different cloth.
She’s Back b/w The Other Side – Bored! (Fantastic Mess Records)
Discerning people like their diamonds ijn the rough. These are cast-off gems from Bored!’s “Feed The Dog” album sessions, released on a short run 45 by Fantastic Mess in the run to their re-issue of the 1991 record on vinyl. It’s the three-piece version of the band, led by the late Dave Thomas.
“She’s Back” sits back on the groove and shows off Thomas’s singular guitar tone. The vocal is buried deep in the mix but audible enough to give you the idea. Keep it sleazy! “The Other Side” is an obvious nod to Dead Boyswith more steamroller guitar and a tsunami-like feel from the ending room propelling things along.
Issued in clear and pink vinyl (the latter is already sold out) with the usual Fantastic Messtrimmings of inserts, sticker and postcard, it won’t be around long. Glenno Smith’s stark artwork suits it to a ‘T’.
It's said great songwriters know to write about the things they know about. Johnny Casino has a new 45 imminent and it reflects the strange times in which we all live.
“Twenty Twenty” was written and recorded in the early days of COVID-19 as the expatriate Australian was stuck in Philadelphia, trying to work out a way to get back to his adopted home of Spain. The flip, “People Say”, is a Bored! cover recorded in Spain in stripped-back style as a tribute to that band’s late frontman Dave Thomas, who passed away in 2020.
The vinyl single is out on Spanish imprint Folc Records on January 15 and available for pre-order here.
“’Twenty Twenty’ explains how i was feeling during the months of March and April 2020,” Johnny says. “I had just touched down into Philadelphia International Airport and my brother-in-rock Billy was waiting to pick me up, and his first words were: ‘Brrother I´m surprised they let you in.¨
“I had no idea what he was talking about!”
Casino explains: “Me and my wonderful wife Mayra live in a smallish seaside town called Denia in Spain and we knew there was ¨something¨ happening but not exactly what! We ain’t much for watching news or current affairs programs.
Before the recent passing of principal member Dave Thomas, Bored! had probably faded somewhat from the collective underground music consciousness.
There was a collection of live material out on Spanish label Bang! that did address that but, being a mail order thing, it was probably only heard by diehard Australian fans. This posthumous, limited-edition single from committed boutique label Fantastic Mess rights this wrong and is a fine tribute to Dave.
It’s being lauded as a definitive word on the this was geelong. Geelong rock and roll scene. It’s a 680-page book called “Bored! This Was Geelong” and one of the fertile breeding ground’s offspring is making sure they mark its release with a bang.
Warped is releasing a seven-track batch of compilation-only and live tracks called “Precocious Little Bastards”.You can see them both if you drag your mouse over the image at right.
But frst things first. The book is out now and the first 500 copies comes with two limited edition 45s featuring Bored!, White Noise and Seminal Rats. It’s selling here. It ain't cheap ($A225) but it looks incredible. For detailed information about the contents, hook up with the publishers on Facebook here.
Warped formed in 1990 as “three teenagers armed with three chords and no fear”, taking to the stage of the Eureka Hotel in Geelong to support The Dirty Loversand Bored!. Beer cans flew, obscenities were flung and a beast was born.
Thirty years on and the band are still going strong, a force in the rock landscape of Australia.
The first line-up, featuring Lightning Watkins on guitar, Cris Crime on drums and Darren “Dez” Dare on bass, laid the groundwork for the decades to come, worshipping at the altar of cheap pedals, noisy rock and one-up-manship on stage.Partial to destroying gear and the occasional Humphrey B Bear chair, they stormed through supports with the likes of Hard-ons, Bored!, Celibate Rifles, 5678s, Dead Moon and Fugazi.
In 1992 Darren parted ways with the band and formed Toadwith Daveand Buzzfrom Bored! and Thee Vinyl Creatures. Ben and Cris have continued on to tour extensively and release many records. “Precocious Little Bastards” is available in digital form here.
Issued as a cassette in 1988 in a limited run of 300, these are the first recordings of Bored! Expect no studio wankery or sonic polishing, other than the obvious mastering from cassette to vinyl. This is how the band sounded when they were a bunch of pups from Geelong, playing on the floor of their local record store.
Bang! Records is run by a couple of Basque Country rock and roll fanatics who have championed Beasts of Bourbon and various spin-offs, a host of scuzzy Downtown Manhattan noise-makers and the so-called Geetroit Sound. This recycled gem is on LP only and follows 2016’s “Piggyback” compilation of lost recordings on the same label.
While chowing down on early Stooges songs might be ho-hum in these Post Pop Reunion times, Bored! was really pushing envelopes in post-punk Melbourne and its environs. That explains the three-in-a-row inclusion of “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, “No Fun” and “TV Eye”. “No Fun” especially has intuitively weaving guitar fireworks from Dave Thomas and John Nolan that should make your jaw gape.
Sometimes there are insufficient words of adequare to do justice to something and this is one of those times. Let’s be clear: If you’re a fan of underground Australian rock and roll from the 1980s and ‘90s, make it your life’s immediate priority to get a hold of this book.
It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s a watershed in Australian music publishing. All 678 pages of it. Don’t be deterred by its singling out of Geelong as its geographical focus. The city on the western flank of Melbourne is its anchor - but its coverage and spirit extends far past its boundaries.
“Bored!” is many things but first and foremost it’s an outpouring of love for rock and roll by its creator, principal author and driving force Maree Robertson.
Maree – “Rock and Roll Maree” from the Brother Brick song – was a dear friend of the late Dave Thomas of key Geelong band Bored! Besides documenting the band’s rise and its creation of a scene from their mutual hometown of Geelong, Maree wanted to generate profits from book sales to help Dave’s family.
There's new music from Celibate Rifles guitarist Kent Steedman out today. Radio KSG is the group and it also features Russell Baricevic from Bored! on bass and Stew Cunningham from Leadfinger on vocals and guitar. "Place of Care" is the song and is available online only and is a preview for an album to be released next year. Go listen in iTunes or on Spotify.
This year I’m going to go with an all Australian bands top 5 of reissues / older stuff and a top 10 of new stuff.
Old Stuff (in no particular order):
1. SHUTDOWN 66 – Come On Girl Give Me Half A Chance. Reissue of their 4th and final long play release, the original was very limited and is super hard to find, so I was stoked to hear that Soundflat Records from Germany was reissuing this awesome garage punk LP.
2. ASTEROID B-612 – S/T The CD only debut long-player got a long overdue vinyl reissue this year from Spain’s Bang! Records.
4. THE PROTON ENERGY PILLS – S/T A collection of their studio releases. A fantastically packaged deluxe gatefold album. 5. BORED! – "Back For More" and BORED! – "Feed The Dog" A couple of great releases came out this year from Bored! “Back For More” (Bang!) is an awesome compilation with songs spanning the bands career, and “Feed The Dog” (Fantastic Mess) got the reissue treatment with a couple of bonus songs thrown in.
Yes, 300 St Claire were another of those noisy, intense and hard-as-a-cheap-pub-steak bands that were around in a crowded Sydney backyard at the cusp of the 2000s and never made a substantial mark anywhere else. They self-released an EP, gigged around and more or less fell off the radar before the decade was half-done.
My own memories include taking away tinnitus from a support they played to Asteroid B612 at the Iron Duke in Sydney one Friday night. By the time Johnny Casino and Co came on, the damage had been done, and every note The Big Fella played fell on ringing ears.
As is the way these days, 300 St Claire has reformed - to have fun and sink a few beers, the members will tell you - so now is a good time for their long, lost EP to resurface on Conquest of Noise, complete with extras. It’s every bit as bludgeoning as you’d expect.
Australian underground rock and roll has suffered another loss with the passing of former Bored! leader Dave Thomas, aged 56. Thomas had been fighting cancer.
Thomas co-founded Bored! in Geelong a satellite city of Melbourne, in 1987. The band was an early blend of punk rock and metal, and spawned a scene dubbed "Geetroit" for its trademark power and high-energy.
John Nolan (left) with Tim Hemensley and Timmy-Jack Ray in the Powder Monkeys.
John Nolan, the former Powder Monkeys and Bored! guitarist and more recently member of Powerline Sneakers, has died. It is understood a family member found him earlier today in his Melbourne home.
The lanky, long-haired and wickedly talented Nolan was an elder statesman of the Melbourne underground scene. He initially rose to prominence in Geelong band Beyond the Magnolia Curtain in the mid-1980s. and went on to the twin-guitar line-up of Bored!
In 1991, Nolan and Bored! bassist Tim Hemensley (ex-GOD) left Bored! to set up the Powder Monkeys, who became one of Australia’s most fearsome - and infamous - outfits.
The original album came out in 1991 and showed off a new, lean and still mean version of Bored!. “Feed The Dog” was an instant classic. Thirty years later, its guitarist, vocalist and driving force Dave Thomas is no longer with us, but be thankful that this fearsome, re-mastered version is.
If you were immersed in the Australian underground scene in 1991, you’ll know that the international name on everybody’s lips back then was Nirvana. Their debut album “Bleach” was making its mark and the over-ground success of “Nevermind” was just over the horizon. Bored! also could have gone on to huge things.