A debut as strong as “Demon Blues” was always going to be hard to top, but but Perth’s hard rock combo extraordinaire Datura4 has scaled that mountain seemingly without trouble.
There’s a deeper psychedelic vein running through “Hairy Mountain” than its predecessor and the songs are just a touch stronger. Dom Mariani and Greg Hitchcock have solidified what was probably a fun idea involving teenage bandmates reuniting into a serious guitar partnership with some scorching sonic explorations. And the gun rhythm section of Warren Hall (drums) and Stu Loasby sounds in command and totally at home.
In no particular order, The Barman’s Top 12 albums of 2019: “So I Could Have Them Destroyed” – The Hard-Ons (Music Farmers) You could say “What a comeback!” but only if they’d really gone away. So much variety yet it hangs together so well.
“The Devil Won't Take Charity” - Kim Volkman and the Whiskey Priests (Beast Records) Kim and his band have that Stonesy-Keef vibe down pat. Raunch and roll.
“Mystery Train” – Chickenstones (Crankinhaus Records) Sydney’s best kept secret. Doc might be driving the bus but Preacher Phil really steps up. Soulful and abrasive tunes played with heart.
“Shake Yer Popboomerang Vol 3” - Various Artists (Popboomerang) Some of the material back-tracks but it’s a collection of rolled gold. Aussie power pop for the ages.
“Black Door” – The Volcanics (Citadel) High-energy, passion and variety. Their best to date. The Volcanics are truly a world class band.
“The Aints! Play The Saints” - The Aints! (Fatal Records) Will we ever see their faces again? Maybe. Maybe not. This is a white-hot snapshot of what they delivered live.
“Ann Arbor Revival Meeting” - Scott Morgan’s Powertrane featuring Deniz Tek & Ron Asheton (Grown Up Wrong) As historical artefacts go, this is as good as they get. It’s a generously appointed re-issue of a stellar, all-star show.
Rule My World b/w Phoenix - Datura4 (Alive Natural Sound)
Perth’s Datura4 grows in stature with each release and this single, issued in tandem with the latest album, kicks major sonic arse. “Rule My World” is a swaggering chunk of ‘70s raunch and only otherwise available on the CD version of “West Coast Highway Cosmic”. Warren Hall’s stuttering drum pattern summons the tune to life and Howard Smallman’s harp is the icing on the boogie cake. It's canny Dom Mariani pop with a ‘70s vibe.
The B side is exclusive to the 45 and is a suave instrumental, with some Bob Patient organ that’s cooler than a 1972 bottle of 4711 Ice Cologne on a February Perth aftwrnoon. Some wiry Mariani guitar lines take it out. There are just 300 numbered copies worldwide and you can find yours here if you’re in Australia, or here if you’re not.
That Mr Barman fellow, of I-94 Bar notoriety, has graciously once again asked me to pen a brief diatribe on the music I heard this year that breached my inherent tinnitus (this being a persistent “ringing” that originates in the ear rather than in the environment.)
The noise heard by people with tinnitus may be a buzzing, ringing, roaring, whistling, or even a hissing sound and is often associated with hearing loss.
As I'm a fellow of balanced research, and YouTube had offered a viewing of their "2017 Rewind" collection. I felt it important to have a listen to the Boobtube wares in case it informed me of important musical/cultural creations that I had possibly missed over the past 12 months...
Lo and behold it did !! Instantly I discovered that the roaring, buzzing, whistling or hissing of tinnitus can INDEED originate in the environment, contrary to what was taught during my medical schooling. What's more, that the associated hearing loss was a relief !!
Fortunately, the remedy was simple. I turned the bastard off and wondered what parallel universe of musical endeavour had led to my sudden selective deafness as it righted itself.
So, as usual, I shall make an opinionated mention of songs/releases/bands that crossed my bows during the stated period, though the pushing of record buttons, mixing and the mastering may have occurred a little before. To me, the release was when I got my sticky hands on the product, played said product and was then taken by the throat....
The Celebrity Roadie informs The Barman that he can't go out in public like that. As usual, he's ignored. Kyleigh Pitcher photo.
This is a Top Ten of two parts. First, live gigs, and second, albums. You know. Second part, different from the first.The rule of not reviewing my own gigs goes right out the door from the get-go. Got an issue with that? See you in the carpark...
Chris Masuak and the Sydney City Wave Riders:This was a sensational run of shows- a mini-tour in and around Sydney because that’s all that time allowed - by Klondike and his crack band of Tony Bambach (bass) and Stuart Wilson (drums). Great players, top blokes. Armed with a killer setlist drawing on most of Chris’s back catalogue, the guys fired from the get go. Many of the versions surpassed the originals with Maz playing two guitar parts, as few people can. The shows blew away much of the skullduggery and malakarey involved with certain ghosts from the recent past.
HITS at Marrickville BowloYou can’t keep playing the same old songs or you’ll get staid and there’s no sign of HITS doing that just yet. Members are now scattered the length of the East Coast so it can’t be easy getting together…or maybe that’s a blessing in disguise because it keeps things fresh. They continue to be THE Aussie band to follow.
It's Album Number Three for the blues-psych-boogie West Australian combo built by Dom Mariani (The Stems, DM3) and mates and it’s like the members sat in a studio and conspired to make everything heavier than what came before. If you want to be technical, they set the pan pots to Full-On Raunch and slammed the faders waaaay up to 11. All while wearing double denim.
While "Demon Blues" and "Hairy Mountain" had their feet stubbornly wedged in the mud of a rain-soaked Sunbury Festival paddock, "Blessed Is The Boogie" dives into the back of a Holden Sandman and posts a "If it's rocking, don't bother knocking" sign on the curtained back window and goes about its business.
Hot on the Cuban heels of their third international album release, “Blessed is the Boogie”, Fremantle-based rock psych-blues outfit Datura4 are heading to Europe in October. Datura4 will take on Italy, France and Spain in a three-week boogie-blitz of festivals, seedy bars and cool clubs on their "Blessed is the Boogie" tour.
"Blessed is the Boogie "was released worldwide on Alive Naturalsound in April, marking an exciting new evolution for the critically acclaimed band. The record builds on Datura4’s ‘guitars to infinity’ approach of “Hairy Mountain” (2016) and the hard-rocking, progressive debut “Demon Blues” (2015) – and takes the band a few swaggering steps further into psych-blues territory.
Frontman and creative force of the band, Dom Mariani continues his successful collaboration with bass player Stu Loasby (The Majestic Kelp) and drummer Warren “Wazza” Hall, the original drummer for The Drones.
Upping the legend quotient on “Blessed is the Boogie” is long-time friend and Australian music stalwart Bob Patient (of Fatty Lumpkin) on keys. Multi-instrumentalist, singer and freakishly brilliant guitarist Joe Grech joined a few months ago and it’s like he and Mariani were born to play together.
Datura4 are at the top of their game and audiences can’t get enough. The band cannot wait to plug in the guitars and the vintage amps and say merci, gracias and grazie to their European fans for fantastic support of their music!
Perth fans can wish Datura4 well before they go at four huge shows:
21 Sept – Mojos22 Sept – Indian Ocean Hotel24 Sept – Perth Blues Club27 Sept – Four5Nine, Rosemount Hotel
European fans can plug into Datura4’s tour via the dates on Facebook.
Robbie Harrold photo
One of the album highlights of 2016 was "Demon Blues", the debut release by Perth-based rock-psych-boogie band Datura4.
A quartet led by Stems/DM3 songwriter Dom Mariani and ex-New Christs, You Am I, Bamboos and Monarchs guitarist Greg Hitchcock, With Stu Loasby (bass) and Warren Hall (drums) completing the line-up, Datura4 conjure a heady mix of guitar-raunch 'n' roll and heavy melodic jams - in the tradition of the Colored Balls and Masters Apprentices, yet unlike any other Australian band currently treading the boards.
Their second album "Hairy Mountain" has recently been unleashed by US label Alive Natural Sounds and we chased down Dom Mariani for a brief grilling, ahead of a quick-fire tour of Australia's East Coast.
Perth psych-boogie rockers Datura4 (whose ranks include Dom Mariani and Greg Hitchcock) have their album "Demon Blues" out on CD and vinyl on Alive Naturalsounds July 10. Our review is here and this is the official video for the lead-off song.
Internationally acclaimed West Australian boogie masters Datura4are set to tour the east coast of Australia for the first time in six years on the success of their fifth album, “Neanderthal Jam”.
Datura4 is fronted by Dom Mariani of legendary Oz garage rockers The Stems, With plans to tour Europe in the latter part of 2023, the April tour will be their first time back since 2017.
The band will play four shows across New South Wales and Victoria, including an appearance at the prestigious Gum Ball Festival in the Hunter Valley and a Sydney show with returning platinum-selling Canadian act The Sheepdogs. Datura4 finds Dom Mariani rediscovering the heavy and progressive blues sounds he loved as a teenager - bands like Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After andt he Groundhogs, Aus bands like Carson, Masters Apprentices, Chain, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs and Perth locals Bakery.
Dom has even added an authentic ‘70s blues-rocker to his band – keyboard player Bob Patient is a one-time member of heavy prog rockers Fatty Lumpkin, a later day member of Matt Taylor's Chain and more recently a sideman of Perth’s internationally revered slide guitarist Dave Hole.
APRILFriday 21- Great Club Sydney (w/ The Sheepdogs) - TixSaturday 22 -, Gumball Festival - TixSunday 23- Barwon Club Geelong - Tix Monday 24- Cherry Melbourne (special guests - The Gas Babies) - Tix
West Coast Highway Cosmic - Datura4 (Alive Natural Sound)
From the opening title track, Datura4 roars into life like a modern-day Steppenwolf. They’re all Hammond organ, vintage synths and a rock band, intent on making a statement.
Datura4 employ a massive wall of sound that departs from Dom Mariani's preferred '60s space into late '60s-early '70s, Deep Purple shtick - without the overindulgence of Ritchie Blackmore. Datura4 still displays its garage roots, but is a blend of Arizona desert rock a la early Alice Cooper... albeit updated with modern sounds.
Johnny Casino albums are a treat for the converted and a revelation for those less fortunate. If you’re one of the latter, “Trade Winds” is as good a place as any to start.
It’s been way too long between records for Johnny - both this album and its predecessor "Time and Time Again" are old recordings woodshedded for later release - but well worth the wait. The big fella from Sydney’s Northern Beaches makes Spain his home these days, where he plies his dual trades of tattooing and playing music.
“Trade Winds” was recorded before he emigrated a couple of years ago with a crack band in North Fremantle, Western Australia. Drummer Warren Hall (The Volcanics, Datura 4, The Drones), a longtime Casino sideman, joined with Martyn P Casey (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds /The Triffids/Grinderman) played bass. That’s as fine an engine room as you’ll find.
“Black Speakers”, the new single for Perth’s retro rocking and extremely potent Datura4, the current vehicle for The Stemsleader Dom Mariani, is making its world debut here, and the new album is not far away.
“Black Speakers” was preceded by the dark and heavy blues-based thumper "Secret Society" and "Going Back To Hoonsville" (the non-LP version of which features Perth blues Legend Dave Hole on slide guitar) and "Open The Line".
"Open The Line" was chosen as "The Coolest Song in the World" by Stevie Van Zandt aka Little Steven on his influential and much-loved rock'n'roll radio channel on SiriusXM, “The Underground Garage”. Dom, who is a long-time favourite of Stevie's, was also interviewed on the channel on their weekly "Coolest Conversations" spot.
The "Neanderthal Jam" album is the band's fifth long-player and will be out on US label Alive/ Records on August 26. It will be distributed in Australia by MGM. You can pre-order splatter vinyl from the US here.