Brian Mann and Mick Medew trading licks in Thirroul. Shona Ross photo.
Gonna break that rule about not reviewing I-94 Bar gigs, as the second of this two-night engagement was badged thus. If you can’t write about things you like, what’s the point? It’s the ethos of why we do this e-zine thing.
So let’s be up front and say that Mick Medew is a good mate and his band, The Mesmerisers, are lovely people. In customary evangelical spirit, I’m unashamedly going to tell you that if you love rock and roll then you have to see them - in their native Brisbane or on one of their few forays outside of Queensland.
The first leg of this two-night weekend stand was a support to the mighty Sunnyboys, opening a bill shared with the mercurial Ups & Downs. The venue was the magic Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul, an hour-and-a-bit south of Sydney. The second was a Sydney show at the increasingly familiar stamping ground of Marrickville Bowling Club. The Mesmerisers are making the road trip a family affair with partners and two offspring in tow.
1 . Welcome Aboard – The On and Ons: Catchy, melodic powerpop tunes by former Kings Of The Sun and Screaming Tribesmen guitarist Glenn Morris with bass and harmony vocals by Hoodoo Guru/Stepfords /Wetsuits member Clyde Bramley, performed with energy and great live.
2. Beginning At The End – The Young Docteurs: Thirty or so years in the making and well worth the Wait. If The Young Docteurs had done more recordings they would have been one of the more influential Australian psych/Punk bands of the ‘80s.
3. Love Is A Gamble - The Steve Wernick Band: Folk rock, country and swing influenced songs well constructed and arranged, performed in a unpretentious, heartfelt way.
4. Johnny Streetlight- Chickenstones: Blues influenced, Aus alternative rock with songs about homelessness, gambling and cheating relationships but performed with upbeat humour. A great band to see live, too.
5. Rx- Loose Pills: Some of Sydney’s best powerpop musicians with tight, up beat songs.
Legendary guitar-pop trio DM3 are set to tour Australia in April following a renewed interest in the band on iTunes and on vinyl.
DM3’s “Monsters of Jangle” Tour will be a rare chance for fans of the WA-based, internationally revered power-pop outfit too see them perform live in limited venues around Perth, Melbourne and Sydney ahead of a trip to Japan.
“Monsters of Jangle” will showcase DM3’s ‘Best of’ vinyl release “One Time Two Times Three Times More”, a collection of explosive highlights from their five albums released on the respected Sydney based independent label Citadel Records from 1993-2002.
Formed in 1992 by The Stems’ founder songwriter Dom Mariani, the original line-up of DM3 includes Summer Suns’ drummer Pascal Barlolone and Someloves’ bassist Toni Italiano. Together they are revered worldwide for an explosive sound that fuses melodic pop hooks, cool vocals and high energy rock’n’roll guitar.
DM3’s first two albums “One Time Two Times Three Times Red Light” (1993) and “Road to Rome” (1996) were produced by the legendary Mitch Easter (REM, Pavement, Velvet Crush) and lauded by critics and fans alike as two of the world’s best in power pop genre.
Album number-three “Rippled Soul” (1998) put Mariani’s unrivalled skill as a songwriter front and centre and won legions more fans at home and in Europe and the USA.
The film clip for the lead single from the debut album for Sydney powerpop-rock supergroup Loose Pills has gone live. "Get Drunk, Play Records" is on "Rx", the album that's soon to be released on China Pig Records.
For a limited time you can download the single for free here.
The I-94 Bar hosted Loose Pills' first live show way back in 2012 and went on the record as calling them "Sydney's best 'new' old band". You can read a review of their "Not The Droiver" EP here.
Loose Pills are Ryan Ellsmore on vocals and guitar (Hammerfish, The Stiffies, The Scruffs), Matt Galvin on guitar and vocals (The Scruffs, Happy... Hate Me Nots, Eva Trout, Barbarellas, Orange Humble Band, Perry Keyes), Bill Gibson on bass and vocals (Orange Humble Band, The Eastern Dark, Lemonheads, Pyramidiacs, New Christs) and Stu Wilson on drums and vocals (New Christs, Atomicide, The Crisps, Hammerfish.)
Keep an eye on their Facebook or that Bandcamp site to grab the album.
Loose Pills (fron left) Stu Wilson, Matt Galvin, Ryan Ellsmore and Bill Gibson
Remember when ‘super groups’ played ‘pop music’ that rocked? Yes, both terms have been bludgeoned into redundancy but Sydney’s Loose Pills are doing their level best to re-introduce some relevance.
The membership should be enough to make you prick up your ears - New Christs, The Eastern Dark, Lemonheads, Orange Humble Band, The Scruffs (the Aussie edition), Pyramidiacs and too many more to mention dot the collective history. The debut album, “Rx”, seals the deal with a dose of raucous guitars, powerful dynamics and pop smarts.
We spoke to singer-guitarist Ryan Ellsmore to get the lowdown and what makes a great Heavy Pop record.
Aussie pop-rock supergroup The On and Ons have been busy recording their follow up to the highly acclaimed album "It's The On and Ons Calling", along with a bit of touring including a Radio Birdman support. Later this month there'll be a gig with a special preview of songs from the new record.
Marrickville Bowling Club in Sydney is the venue on August 27. The On and Ons wil lbe supported by Loose Pills and Chicanery. Every punter receives a free download of a new On and Ons single, "Run About".
The On and Ons contain former members of the Screaming Tribesmen, Hoodoo Gurus and Barbarellas. Details of their launch event are on Facebook here.
Loose Pills have recently returned from a break, supporting Died Pretty and featuring at the Mazstock festival in Northern NSW. They are in blistering form.
Chicanery are an exciting bunch of young ladies and formed at the age of 15 during high school. The group has played numerous shows since then. Now university students, the band has begun recording their debut EP, set for imminent release. "Open Road" is the first single from the upcoming EP, written for a documentary titled "Pontiacs Down Under", and has enjoyed some good radio play.
Get on down. Cheap drinks and food. Only $15 at the door.
With a band lineage like The Eastern Dark, the New Christs, Orange Humble Band, Happy Hate Me Nots, Lemonheads, Pyramidiacs, The Scruffs and Eva Trout among others, you’d have high expectations and “Rx”, the debut album for Sydney supergroup Loose Pills, matches the label on the bottle.
Great pop music is timeless. The proof is right here in the 37 rare or previously unreleased tracks on this compilation of Australian bands from Melbourne label Popboomerang.
Ask yourself this question: When did Pop - as the ‘60s defined it - become uncool with the masses? Who forced it to go sit in the naughty corner with its rowdy sibling Rock and Roll and its odd cousin Free Jazz? Best guess is when the corporatised music industry ate itself in the 1980s and all the people with emotional intelligence were replaced by spreadsheets.
Melbourne pop fan Scott Thurling and his prolific label just deals with it. With more than 100 releases in the back catalogue, for almost 20 years it’s been the go-to place in Australia for “real” pop - not the soulless pap that passes for the same for most people. As you might work out from the title, “Shake” is the third volume in a series and the label’s fourth compilation. A handful of these tracks date back 20 years but you'd never know.
Collaborations from Stustustudio – Stu & The Connections (Crankinhaus)
Vaguely new wave-sounding pop from a combo led by well-credentialled Sydney drummer Stu Wilson (Loose Pills,Hammerfish, Aberration and ex-Lime Spiders, New Christs, Chris Masuak & The Harbour City Wave Riders,and the Soul Movers) and it’s damned good. Six tracks - one a stripped-down alternate version – that showcase some adept song-writing and a disclination to be pigeonholed.
Stu’s one of the rare breed of drummers who sing - and that even rarer strain of drummers who sing well. He’s in the upper register and writes pop songs to suit. Wilson gets a bit of assistance – Sienna Egan,vocalist for his other current band The Rivers is prominent among a list of notable collaborators that includes bassist Andy Newman (ME-262, The Visitors). Matt Galvin (Barbarellas, Happy Hate Me Nots) and Ryan Elsmore (Loose Pills).
The On and Ons Glenn Morris and Jon Roberts with guest guitarist Murray Cook . Shona Ross photo
At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, this was a night of three contrasting but not dissimilar bands when The Smart Folk, Loose Pills and The On and Ons weaved their guitar pop web over Marrickville Bowling Club. It was also the album launch for The On and Ons' wonderful CD "Welcome Aboard".
These sorts of night are infrequent in Sydney these days. Ones where the bands on the bill complement each other and the venue doesn't turn people off, so they turn out in good numbers.
You’re here to read a live music review? Hang in there. There's a bit of preaching to go through, first...