Greg Sawers & Penny Ikinger - photo by Loene Carmen
Siolo artist and ex-Wet Taxis and Sacred Cowboys member
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2020 started with a bang! I was treated to an ear-splitting performance from X at their Bushfire Relief Benefit show at The Spotted Mallard. in Brunswick, Melbourne. It was like travelling through a time warp littered with gritty rock n roll riffs and howls. The ones that X do best. They’ve still got it!
I was taken on another spin by a stellar line up of Guitar Wolf (Japan), 5,6,7,8’s (Japan) and Rocket Science at The Tote and also saw Japanese band The Jetboys at the same venue. Guitar Wolf and The Jetboys, arguably two of the best punk influenced rock bands of this day and age, are brutal. They play loud & fast with utmost conviction. Whatever it was they were singing about I was sure it was sacrilegious. It felt that way and that’s what counts.
The Schizophonics (USA) also performed in Melbourne (The Tote again!). This relatively youthful three piece exploded all over the stage and reassured that rock 'n' roll is not dead. Not that I ever thought it was, but that’s what ’they” keep telling me…
Promo shot of The Atlantics 2012. Ashfield Leagues Club, before the last show played by the full lineup. Jim Skiathitis (guitar), Martin Cilia (guitar), Peter Hood (drums) and Bosco Bosanac (bass). Mandy Hall photo
The passing of The Atlanticsdrummer Peter Hood in September closed the door on one of Australia’s most important surf bands. The Atlantics formed in Sydney in 1961, the group spawned the worldwide hit “Bombora” in 1963.
The follow-up “War of the Worlds” was an innovative 45 that arguably pioneered space rock before there was such a thing. It was unsuccessful and the band re-invented itself after the surf music genre declined in popularity.
Taking on singer Johnny Rebb, they pursued success playing tough R&B (among other styles) and their Peter Hood-penned “C’mon” is widely regarded as an Australian ‘classic, later adopted by the Wet Taxis.
She’s been called “fuzz queen, sonic chanteuse and primal mistress of dark folk” and Europe is getting a brief opportunity to come up with more superlatives for Melbourne's Penny Ikinger and her unique brand of rock and roll this Northern summer.
Penny is promoting a CD single “Gin No Suzu” b/w “Ride On Cowboy” (that's the cover art at right), from her forthcoming album with a short series of dates in Spain and France, the peak of which will be appearances atAndoaingo Rock Jaialdiain Spain (June 17) and as part ofFete de la Musique at Petit Garagein Paris, France (June 21.)
Put this on.
Why? Well, apart from the fun of watching your girlfriend immediately leap to her feet or drop what she's holding and begin to gyrate wildly (the Frug, possibly), this is more-or-less genuine '60s guitar-based garage punk.
Well, it's noisy r'n'b actually, but who's taking notes? You're too busy bopping. There's bags of talent and energy here. Up front we have Tim Knuckey (who wrote two originals) on vocals, guitar and harp, and Jonathan "Gretsch" Adams on guitar and vocals, who wrote two more.
Knuckey you may recall from the Wet Taxis and rockabilly outfit Satellite 5; Adams (or Gretsch) from his rockabilly outfit The Wasted Ones. Looks like they planned this breakout from Quiffville for a long time.
Feedback songstress Penny Ikinger is pulling together an all-star band for a special one-off show in Sydney on October 17 with special guest Masami Kawaguchi from Japan.
Billed as a “psychedelic machine gun guitarist” by Wire magazine, Tokyo-based Kawaguchi will open the show at Marrickville’s The Factory Floor with a solo spot before joining Penny’s headlining line-up comprising Deniz Tek and Jim Dickson (Radio Birdman) and drummer John Fenton (Crow.)
Kawaguchi has played with Japanese bands Miminokoto, LSD March and Broomdusters and is said to be a master of Blue Cheer-meets-Nuggets fuzz zone. He played guitar on Penny’s new album, recorded in Tokyo. He is touring Australia to promote the release of his own solo album: “The Mad Guitar Sings” on Black Petal Records.
Main support will be The Maladies whose notoriously wild live shows swing erratically from tender croon to demented howl. Expect to see something intense and abrasive!
This is a one-off, never-to-be-repeated event and tickets are on here.
Flippin’ Kick Outs – Flippin’ Kick Outs (self released)
Down a band member but with songs to play, Sydney’s Flipped Out Kicks became the Flippin’ Kick Outs in 2019 and broadened their musical palette.
Which is to say they still played garage punk but they markedly blurred the stylistic edges, tossing in some rockabilly and hard rock for good measure. This digital album is the fruit of their recent recording labours since COVID and it’s a pretty spiffin’ dose of the sort of street-level rock and roll that used to be par for the course in their hometown.
One of Australian underground music’s most special, enduring and well-travelled talents Penny Ikinger will play shows in Perth and Fremantle for the first time in May, en route to Japan to record with Deniz Tek.
It's a long time between Penny Ikinger records but the results are usually worth the wait. "Tokyo" follows "Penelope" (2010) and "Electra" (2003) and is as evocative as ever but with a slightly rockier disposition.
"Tokyo" was recorded with a batch of top-notch Japanese psychedelic musicians, with heavy input from Radio Birdman's Deniz Tek. The latter's influence is evident - not just in some flammable splashes of lead guitar but also in the odd lyric. That Four Winds Bar sure has done some mileage since being name-dropped by Blue Oyster Cult all those years ago...
Even so, "Tokyo" is very much a Penny Ikinger record. Gone are the days where she needed to be referenced as "a past member of Wet Taxis" or as "Nico defrosted". As clever as that last marketing line was, Nico ultimately shut out the world. Penny embraces its musical possibilities and has her own distinctive voice.
The night before the Woy Woy storm: Penny Ikinger at Marrickville Bowling Club.
After 150 days, the rain stopped. There was sunshine and it was a Sydney long weekend. Not sure how many built arks and were still floating along while I was driving north on the Pacific Highway to the coastal town of Woy Woy this sunny Sunday afternoon - on a tankful of $2.30 a litre petrol with just enough change to buy a chocolate milk.
The Link and Pin Café at Woy Woy has evolved into the coolest gig - and who would thought the birthplace of Spike Millikan would be a new home away from home for veterans of the Sydney Trade Union Club and Hopetoun Hotel?
And why not? It’s a 90-minute trip by train, road or by ferry across water. It is an adventure that many Sydneysiders are taking to see that anyone from local metal bands, to alternative darlings to Chad Morgan. The venue even launched the new line-up of the Hard-Ons. There is a vibe here and it’s run by hardcore music fans.