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.
Hello I-94 Bar Readers , well with all the bushfires and a shit Government ain't it good that there is music to take your mind this horrific summer. Folks, here is a worthy distraction
“Dromana Rama” is a pure pop sounding album with a nod to those old English mod bands. Little Murders were formed in 1979 by Rob Griffiths have a rich history in old Victoria as those who have followed the local music landscape can tell you.
One of Australia's finest power-pop bands, Melbourne's Little Murders, are the subject of a forthcoming documentary but the project needs an injection of fan funds to push it over the finishing line.
Director-producer Matt Wilson has been documenting the history of Little Murders and its founding and sole continual member Rob Griffiths. "Little Murders - 40 years on the smell of an oily rag" has a funding target of $6000 and is 40 percent of the way to the goal.
"In our ageist society it's rare that a musician in his 60's can maintain what is essentially a pop band and bring it to a level allowing a tour in Japan in 2019," Wilson writes.
It’s a snapshot. Not grainy - this is from a well balanced desk tape - but captured with no attempt to airbrush the minor imperfections. Which adds to the charm.
If you don’t know Melbourne’s mod-pop kings Little Murders your life is incomplete. They were two years into their stop-start career and “Anglesea 1981” captures one of the early line-ups on a New Year’s Eve night in a crammed pub on the Victorian Surf Coast. There’s a fair sprinkling of what you should recognise as classics, plus some spirited covers.
Simple songs simply done is a time-honoured formula often born out of necessity rather than choice. So it was in the beginning for The Fiction, a Melbourne punk band that sprang up 40 years ago, burned briefly and fell apart before spawning International Exiles and Little Murders.
Only around for a year, The Fiction was fuelled by the nascent songwriting talents of frontman and expat Englishman, Rob Griffiths, and guitarist Rob Wellington.
Their influences were what was coming out of the UK punk scene in the ‘70s, as much as Melbourne visitors Radio Birdman and the Saints. The important point-of-difference between the UK and Australia back then was that the local standard of living made it hard to get too angry at anything much, relatively speaking.
It could have been called “Short Lives Of The Poor and Obscure”.
Like Reals, Negatives, Young Charlatans and News/Babeez, The Fiction is but a footnote in Melbourne punk’s earliest days, briefly existing from 1978-79. They released a posthumous EP under the name Little Murders, kickstarting that enduring brand and the career of its leader, Rob Griffiths. They also enjoyed the patronage of the rightly-lauded Melbourne punk mover and shaker Bruce Milne and Pulp, the zine he ran with Clinton Walker.
The Fiction had a loose affiliation with those glam-sheep- in-punk-wolves clothing, La Femme, sharing a practice space and a manager. Musically, The Fiction seems to have been drawing more from bands like The Who and the Small Faces, although there’s undoubtedly a bit of Bowie in there, too.