Goblins shit me. Witches and bats, too. The intrinsic silliness and - now, let's be honest - pomposity in the most excessive heavy metal music bred in me a disdain for much of that musical form from a very young age. So where does a band with a garish album cover with a skull wearing a helmet adorned by stag horns stand?
Imagine a woman in gothic chiffon dress and Melbourne Cup headpiece singing in front of a band that’s a cross between a metallic version of Funkadelic, Fu Manchu and Sabbath.
"Pizza, Punks & Prophets"Barfly Top Ten 2020Dean Darkloud of The Dark CloudsWollongong, Australia(Anthony Mitchell photo)
“Rock n Roll ain’t dead. It just sounds a little different”
10. Wreckless Enterprise. Hats off to these two DIY Crazy Cats for doing what they do. With passion and intent, tirelessly flying the flag of creative support. 2020 saw them release, amongst other things the third instalment of their "Short Fuse" compilation series: 15 tracks, all under a minute jammed packed onto a 7” (or CD). It’s a punk rock smorgasbord. Wreckless Enterprise: keeping the underground above ground. So, if it’s a home grown, all you can eat punk rock buffet that you are after; check out this blossoming grass roots label. "Short Fuse" we salute you!
9. Mike Foxall. The man behind the Art of Fox. You may know him as Inverted Crucifox, guitarist extraordinaire in Neptune Power Federation whom in my opinion are one of Australia's best modern live acts.
Honey Bee b/w Ride The Iron Space Bird - The Neptune Power Federation (Speek Evil)
Combining live theatrics with high-energy and heaviness is just one facet of The Neptune Power Federation. The other is being able to twist on a stylistic dime and pivot into another direction. In case you don’t know, the Sydney band is populated by ex-members of Frenzal Rhomband Nancy Vandal,and they bring all sorts of punk, metal and psych influences to the table.
The A side is sassy, bubblegum pop with Screaming Loz Sutch delivering a killer vocal. A nice edgy guitar solo from Troy Vodor Mike Foxall is the cream on top .Brilliant.
Screaming Loz Sutch. Credit: Neptune Power Federation website
Neptune Power FederationFrankie’s Pizza, Sydney October 9, 2022
It’s official! The Neptune Power Federation are my new favourite band.
Their last two LPs, “Memories Of a Rat Queen” and “Le Demon De L’amour” have been on high rotation at the home stereo system all year, but due to various life challenges I had never seen them live. So the gig at Frankie’s was a do or die mission to get there.
Heavy Rock is NPF’s bag..and heavy baggage they have in spades (Heavy Rock…not to be confused with its ugly bastard grandchild Heavy Metal). If you listen closely you can tell NPF (or The Feds as their fan club call them) have been sprinkled with the magic dust of the giants in that field. I’m talking first three albums of Queen, ditto for Blackmore’s Rainbow, Motorhead, AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Led Zeppelin and Buffalo (whose first guitarist John Baxter could even tell).
Some of Austrealian rock and roll’s best-known underground artists fwill be featured in an exhibition opening in Sydney next month.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll High School Art Class of 2023” runs at Ambush Gallery at 4 James Street, Waterloo, from Friday, October 13 until Sunday, October 15 from noon until 4pm.
Described as “a group show by artists that rock and rockers who art”, it will show art from the likes of Reg Mombassa (Mental as Anything), Warwick Gilbert (Radio Birdman), Glenno Smith and Gina Monaco (Hellebores), Mike Foxall (Sick Fizz, Neptune Power Federation), Celia Curtis (White Knuckle Fever), Ray Ahn (Hard Ons), Ben Brown (Hellmen), Link Meanie (The Meanies), Rick Chesshire and Simon Day (Ratcat).
You’ll find the Facebook event here.
Speek Evil: Illustrated Rock and Roll Periodical (The Art of Fox)
Reviewing what’s a visual feast served on paper pages is a challenge at the best of times but who doesn’t love a test? “Speek Evil” is neither a zine or a comic – call it a zomic if it makes you happy - because it combines the best of both, and it’s chock full of dark imagery and rock and roll attitude.
Which should come as no surprise, as it’s the product of the mind and pen of Mike Foxall, late of Nancy Vandal and more lately guitarist in The Neptune Power Federation. Foxall is one of the pre-eminent rock and roll graphic artists of the Sydney underground scene.
He’s a member of a club that boasts Ben Brown, Ray Ahn and Glenno Smith, and his imagery adorns the covers of his current band’s albums, plus posters and T-shirts for Crapulos Geegaw, King Parrot, Frenhal Rhomband The Australian Beef Week Show. He’s also an animator.
“Speek Evil” is a lavish, full-colour 80-page production printed on high-quality matt paper and is produced quarterly. It plumbs similar cultural depths as “Unbelievably Bad” used to, but with Foxall’s own punk rock pre-occupations and peers in evidence. It’s up to five editions.
1. Dion Lunadon “Beyond Everything” Album This is the second solo album by ex-D4 member Dion Lunadon. I actually discovered his first album via a reviewon this very site and loved it instantly. If anything this one is even better - a really cool mix of super raw Stooges-y guitars, moody synths, atmospheric interludes and balls-out garage rock.
2. Love Gang "Meanstreak" SingleThis band's debut album “Dead Man's Game” was one of my favourites of 2019 so I was stoked to get this tasty morsel from their follow up due in January 2023 on the excellent Heavy Psych Sounds label. It’s a roaring greasy blues proto metal number that absolutely pummels the listener. Kind of sounds like Budgiemeets Motorheadand all the awesomeness that would entail.