danny mcdonald - The I-94 Bar
Fifteen years ago, talented Victorian songwriter Danny McDonald told me that Little Murders was THE great lost power-pop band of Australia’s halcyon musical underground days of the 1980s. They were defunct at the time and an Off The Hip re-issue of their early material - and another reformation - were away off in the future.
Of course, Danny was right. He’d grown up with the band’s songs and they’d left a permanent mark. Little did he know that in 2015 he’d join Little Murders for their fifth and latest studio album “Hi-Fab!” - or that it might be the best thing they’ve ever recorded.
Vocal melodies and rippling guitars never get old. “Into The Sun” originally came out in 2000, on the ubiquitous US-Australian label Zip Records and has been re-issued by Off The Hip, 18 years later.
It sounds fresher than a couple of teenagers in the back row of a movie theatre on a first date sponsored by Colgate and Listerine, and could have been recorded a week ago.
Some context: Danny McDonald is only a little bloke but he’s a towering talent of Aussie powerpop. After doing his best to crack the mainstream charts while leading P76 and the preceding Jericho, as well as 18 months as a hired hand for Oscarlima, he took a step back, to life in rural Victora, and raise a family. And record and release three excellent albums under his own name.
Modern Architecture EP - Danny McDonald (Popboomerang Records)
As the former Oscarlima and Jericho frontman, P76 leader and onetime member of Little Murders, Danny McDonald should need no introduction. But if you're curious about on of the most ybderrated purveyors of Aussie guitar pop and want a jumping-in point, his new EP is as good a place as any.
Danny plays guitar and writes pithy, Australian-tinged songs with depth and there are five crackers on "Modern architecture". They range from punky-pop to jangle-rama and are chockfull of melody and fire. McDonald has armed himself with a sterling engine room (Tim Mills on bass and David Klynjans on drums), a stellar vocal partner in Anna Burley (Killjoys) and an ace producer in Craig Pikington.
Marching Out of Time – Various Artists (Popboomerang)
With 115 releases to its credit, Melbourne’s Popboomerang is as an amazing independent record label success story and a beacon for under-the-radar Australian pop. Presuming, of course, that success is measured in quality music and not sheep stations.
The labels been a long-time labour of love for owner Scott Thurling and that passion makes his decision to close it down, at least for now, all the more noteworthy. In his own words:
Being locked up can do funny things to you! I will admit to feeling a little frustrated on July 24, 2021, when I made the announcement to end Popboomerang Records. The news might have been a surprise to some, but it was one I had been contemplating for a while.
Covid-19 challenges to running a label were the tipping point after 18 months of cancelled live events and the gigantic increases in the price of international postage which was making exporting almost impossible.I had also recently established a new record label, Sound As Ever 90-99, focussing on Australian ’90’s indie music, which was taking off, and it felt impossible to do justice to both ventures at the same time.