• Brujita cover

    Buy it now!

  • The Mummies live in Sydney

    The Mummies destroy Australia

  • Fleshtones

    Peter Zaremba of the Fleshtones drinks for free

  • Leadfinger

    Is Leadfinger Australia's best rock and roll band?

Lots to like about Little Lovers

golden decade lgeFounding member of Little Lovers, Wintah Thompson was dragged around every decent ‘90s music festival with Glenn Thompson, who in addition to being known as Wintah’s dad was also a member of iconic Australian bands Custard, The Titanics and The Go-Betweens.

Over the years, Wintah’s parents would encourage him to pursue a career in finance, or at the very least seek a life of reliable employment. Instead, he started a band. 

Little Lovers proceeded to cut their teeth in the sunny backyards of Brisbane. They released their debut, self-titled, E.P. which shot to number-one on Australian independent charts. The track “Red Devil” became a Brisbane favourite and was regularly played on local radio and in Brisbane’s indie clubs. A bunch of shows and supports followed before it was time to relocate and reform in Sydney. 

After well over a decade, two cities, two drummers, 489 bassists and hundreds of gigs, both big and small, Little Lovers have finally released their debut album “Golden Decade”.

Wintah Thompson’s songwriting isn’t nationalistic, but – just like The Go-Betweens, Smudge, Sunnyboys or Custard – you couldn’t imagine it coming from anywhere but Australia.

“Golden Decade” was recorded across Sydney with sessions in an old Australian naval base with Tim Kevin and in the industrial backstreets of the Inner West in Marrickville with Glenn Thompson. It launches at The Union Hotel in Newtown on October 6 with support from Dick Pix. You can hear the single “June” here and find out more at the Mere Noise Records website.

 

The Reverend who makes the world a better place

reverend horton heat astrideSo, ho to the Governor Hindmarsh, best rock pub not only in Adelaide but in Australia as far as I’m concerned. Off to see The Rteverend Horton Heat. Dead opposite the monstrous Ent Cent with its vast bowl of an arena, where the punters, grim at the thought of mystery beer in a disposable plastic cup at a fool’s price, head to the Gov for food and drink made by real human beings for real human beings.

It occurred to me tonight, that if I lived around the corner, it’s likely this place would see me once a day for something or other, whether it be for lunch or the occasional after workie, or a slap-up dinner for four mates - rowdy, but still, you know, civilised. The bar staff, without exception, have always been excellent, which is not something you can say of most pubs. Those in the band room tonight are brilliant.

Rockabilly has had a huge revival over the last couple of decades. I remember the first revival, spearheaded by the Stray Cats tour in, I think, 1981; a large number of punker types went and, the following weekend, about five percent were wearing quiffs. And it kinda grew from there, I think, mostly as an underground thing, but it never quite had the spotlight turned on it in the way that the Cats copped it.

But with the Reverend Horton Heat playing alongside what they call “punk rockers” in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and sharing the same label, Sub-Pop, as Nirvana, when Cobain and co. suddenly broke all over the world, everyone interested in Cobain and co. bought LPs from Sub Pop - and the Heat had a sudden increase in fans world-wide. Without really intending to, Jim Heath (as his custom scratch plate declares) was the spark-plug that triggered an engine of revolution.

Don’t Believe Everything You Think - The Main Grains (Twenty Stone Blatt)

main grainsNever paid The Wildhearts much attention so the fact The Main Grains bassist and mainman Danny McCormack played in ‘em didn’t mean much to me. A couple of spins of his new band’s debut EP on CD, however, made me a believer.

The Main Grains formed in Newcastle-0n-Tyne, Northern England, in 2015 and occupy the same punk rock-pop territory as The Wildhearts. They bring a bunch of songs to this EP that are catchier than a heavy cold in what passes for an English summer. 

The bio will tell you the band is McCormack and guitarists JJ Watt (Spill 16/Whiskey Haze) and Ben Marsden (Modern Day Dukes), and drummer Ginna Rhodes (Psychobabylon/Phluid), and that they fuse the sounds of the Ramones, The Wildhearts, Yo-Yo's and Blondie. They call it Northern Punk.

Johnny Collingwood b/w Baby No Good (Cobra Necktie Records)

johnny collingwoodWrong Turn is a duo-grown-into-a-trio from Melbourne that puts the primal back into rock and roll. Two albums in, this single is the first new recording to make it into the record racks since the band became a three-piece and it hits the bullseye, right in the fucking centre.

Wrong Turn is Ian Wettehall’s band and what his c.v. (The Philisteins, The Freeloaders, The Lords of Gravity, Seminal Rats, Stoneage Hearts) doesn’t tell you isn’t worth knowing.

Don’t let the jokey cover art fool you. The A side comes over like Chuck Berry on 11, telling a story about a man called Johnny Collingwood who never left home. It’s seriously raw and sounds like it was recorded in a toilet. There’s enough fuzz in the guitar to rattle your fillings loose, the vocals growl and the engine room of Myles Gallagher (drums) and Pip McMullan (bass) deliver appropriate crash-and-wallop with powerful fills. 

Flip it over and “Baby No Good” hits you in the solar plexus with equal effect. Vocally, there’s a touch of Hasil Adkins in the scream-and-stutter, reverb-soaked chorus (“B-b-b-b-b-b-baby no good!”) while the band sounds even trashier than pn the A. It's all recorded in glorious mono so you know it kicks like a mule. Score this gem at the band’s shows or hit them up on Facebook.

martiniratingmartiniratingmartiniratingmartinirating1/2

Dangerous Minds - The Media Whores (Who7represents Records/Twenty Stone Blatt Records)

dangerous mindsThey don’t half mind talking politics north of Hadrian’s Wall, but few Scots manage to mix it with scorching rock and roll like this crew. “Dangerous Minds” is the third Media Whores album since they formed in 2008 and sounds exactly like its title warns.

Pointed and to the point, The Media Whores don’t embrace lyrical subtlety. They attack subjects like fracking (“Frack Off”), cybersex (“Computer Love Affair”), materialism (“Zombies of Mayfair”), crooked cops (“Raking It In”) and all parts in-between with zealous glee. Musically, they run the gamut from hard-edged, new wave pop to punk rock.

4220 - Tokyo Beef (self released)

tokyo beefThis one’s by a bunch of blokes from Burleigh Heads, an idyllic spot in the most southern coastal reaches of sub-tropical Queensland where the weather’s warm, the beer’s cold and the attitude is either laid-back or laid-off and under-employed. 

If Tokyo Beef’s EP doesn’t quite reek of coconut oil on a frying Burleigh Heads sunbather’s back at the height of a summer afternoon, its sound would sit perfectly well in the beer garden of the town’s famous pub after the sun’s gone down. The band doesn't mind flying the flag for its home turf either - the title’s a reference to their postcode.

The Sonics work hard and put doubters in their place

sonics adlThe Sonics, 2016-style, owning the stage in Adelaide. Nick Spaulding photo

Opening support Juliette Seizuere & The Tremor Dolls had a lot to contend with in Adelaide tonight. First up, not enough punters in early, crowded stage (The Sonics’ Dusty brought his own kit from the States), a line-up re-arrangement (only the two guitarists remain), and singer-guitarist Shannon recently had an operation.

This is the first time I've seen them - I have tried to catch them before but never managed it. I enjoyed them, they're kinda powerpop with surfin' girl-pop overtones. Yeah, you'll spot “influences” but as always, it's about the music and the delivery. I have feeling that in several gigs time and in a smaller venue, they will be a force to reckon with, so I'll have to see them again. I've heard the CD is good: it's on Off The Hip.

Speaking of Off the Hip’s Mick Baty, and indeed of Loki Lockwood of Spooky Records, Subtract-S are the premier support band of choice these days. They're unsigned. They're great fun, have a swirling, varied sound and swap vocals between Sam the Bam and Tomway Army. They're always worth seeing, and many of us have travelled inordinate distances and gone to some inconvenience to dance at their feet. Doesn't take long. Get to a record company, boys, and get something out, those download cards are useful but won't make you money at a gig. The world awaits.

Sunnyboys head return of Flaming Hands and Shy Impostors

sunnyboys 2017

Thirty-five years ago, Sydney's Sunnyboys released their eponymous debut LP. Containing the hit singles “Happy Man” and “Alone With You”, the album enraptured teenagers of the time (and generations to come) with an astute blend of hi-energy, pop hooks and brooding, longing wordplay.

In celebration of the album milestone and the premiere period from when it sprang, Sunnyboys will take to the stage in February 2017 for a handful of shows playing a set entirely derived from 1981; a set that will also include Sunnyboys, the album, performed in its entirety.

For Sydney fans there will be the added bonus of seeing Sunnyboys 1981 gigging partners Flaming Hands – featuring singer Julie Mostyn and songwriter Jeff Sullivan – performing their stripped back blend of ’60s style soul, R&B and psychedelia for first show since 1985!

Joining them on this momentous Sydney line-up will be legendary Sydney act Shy Impostors. Fronted by singer/songwriter Penny Ward and featuring the pre-Sunnyboys Peter Oxley and Richard Burgman alongside drummer Michael Charles, Shy Impostors existed for just nine months during 1979-80 and releasing one (great) record only; the posthumous “At The Barrier” single in 1981.

Storm The Gates – The Prehistorics (Sonic Artillery Records)

storm the gatesWhat a long way this Sydney band has come in a few years – and not just geographically speaking.

The Prehistorics have done the European touring thing a couple of times now, returning home to relative indifference. Main-man Brendan Sequiera was planning to relocate to France but red tape and lukewarm day job prospects have put that plan on the backburner.

What he and his band have delivered with their fourth long-player is an album of world-class, melodic but hard-hitting rock and roll. It will go down a storm offshore and - all things being equal - should make an audience closer to home sit up and listen as well.

More Articles ...