• Skyhooks

    JJ Adams reflects on the Carlton scene

  • The Fools

    The Fools: The best defunct band you never heard

  • Dick Taylor and Phil May

    Dick Taylor lifts the lid on the new Pretty Things box

The funding decision that reveals a CASM between someone's ears

save casmAs you may or may not know, I dislike, and am deeply suspicious of, political causes. Usually they’re poorly thought-out (with unforeseen consequences which should have been foreseen, if you know what I mean) or are laden with the usual ‘elect me’ agenda.

This one isn’t.

It started publicly with Facebook, as many things do these days, as we’ve lost our newspapers. A chap called Nathan May posted at 8.25pm on 11 May:

“So tonight I was supposed to receive an award from the University of Adelaide for my contribution within the Music Faculty but I rejected it. The reason why I rejected it is because the course I did for the last three years in risk of getting cut. If it wasn’t for CASM I would not be in the place I am today, CASM is family.”

Looking for Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders (Chip Baker Films/Jungle Records)

looking for johnnySeems not so long ago (and in fact, it was the late 1980s) that the shadow of a still breathing, although not always fully-functioning, Johnny Thunders was almost everywhere you looked. His records filled the racks and every second person in a band wanted to look like, if not be, JT. As in buying the T-shirt with no need to tap a vein.

It was P.I. (Pre-Internet) so we didn’t have the same visual options that YouTube and Torrenting now offer, but you had to wonder how someone whose wasted pictures and sound defined the term “fucked-up” so convincingly could continue to make music.

Of course, way down in Australia we got our answer when an at least partially cleaned-up Johnny toured, with the ever-present legend Jerry Nolan on drums and a real live Sex Pistol, Glen Matlock, on bass. That had to be the year I was overseas, but by all reliable reports The Man and His Band were both lucid and great.

His music tends to be overshadowed by the fact that Thunders was a hardcore junkie for the second tw-thirds of his career, at first by choice and then, over the years, by necessity. You might argue that he also milked that reputation for all it was worth, to the point that it was a marketing tool as much as a cross to bear.

Friends launch online campaign to help Scott Morgan start over

scott live wide

Four years after being diagnosed with terminal liver disease, Detroit musical elder statesman Scott Morgan is back making new music. A mountain of bills from medical treatment and ongoing living expenses, however, are making it tough going.

The former Rationals, Hydromatics and Sonic’s Rendezvous Band member was diagnosed with terminal liver cirrhosis and a stomach tumour that was swiftly and painfully ravaging his body. Against great odds, he survived thanks to the excellent medical staff at University of Michigan and St. Joseph Hospitals.

Scott spent two years in treatment and recovery, and a third year in physical therapy to regain his vocal strength.

BellRays announce replacement Aussie dates

The world’s greatest exponents of down and dirty, heart breaking, soul shaking rock ‘n’ roll,The BellRays, are about to hit Australian shores again in August. The re-scheduled dates follow the cancellation of their planned double-headed tour of Australia with Supersuckers.

The ROCKPOCALYPSE Make Up Tour takes in three states and the national capital and includes forays into regional centres.

Jesus Drives a Sandman b/w Solicit - The Fools (self released)

sandmanI'm going to surprise you and tell you this isn't a great single. Well, not in the traditional sense. It's not what anyone calls a hit record. It barely finds a chorus. But is it fucking great? Oh yeah.

This is all kinds of thundering great hyper rock and roll madness. It's the sort of track that makes you want to jump into your Panzer Tank and overrun the nearest neighbouring country whilst swigging Wild Turkey and taking no prisoners. Guitars slash, scream and gurgle in electric squall. Bass pounds earthquakes. Drums thump the beat of zombie apocalypse (but the fast kind of modern zombie and not the shambling old school type). Tick off all the appropriate cliche rock and roll review boxes. Throw in words like blistering. Mention Detroit. It's not important. Just get the message out. This thing rocks like the proverbial motherfucker (even though I'm not sure how that visual is appropriate).

The Sweet Young Pretty Things Are in Bed (Now, Of Course) – The Pretty Things (Repertoire)

The Sweet Pretty Things Are In BedLet’s be provocative right up-front and say that The Pretty Things are not entitled to still be making records this good. Not after 50 years and not even allowing time off along the way for bad behaviour.

It’s not a disc full of instantly catchy “hits” by any stretch - and if it was nobody would listen anyway. The Pretties’ name is a total misnomer. Putting aside the baby-faced engine room, this is a band of three grizzled old men.

So let’s talk about what it is.

This time Saint Ed is coming to stay

saint edFor the better part of 2013-14, Ed Kuepper toured Australia performing his crowd-pleasing 'By Request' show in city centres and regional towns, culminating in a sold-out performance at the City Recital Hall for Sydney Festival with the Sydney Chamber Orchestra.

For his first tour of 2015, Kuepper will defy industry pre-conceptions by performing a set of largely new and as-yet-unrecorded material.

Dubbed the "Nostalgia For The New Tour", the run will include a three-week-mid-week residency in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne with spin-off weekend shows in regional areas.

The new material is being workshopped with the intention of recording a new album of all new studio material before the end of the year. Fear not, diehard Saints/Laughing Clowns fans: with each show being upwards of two-hours long and without a support, the sets will include back-catalogue gems.

Rarest Hydromatics album joins the re-issue ranks

powerglide re ishMore on the Hydromatics re-issues we told you about a couple of days ago: Third in the series - and possibly the best and most well-rounded release by the band, the impossibly hard-to-find “Powerglide” album - is coming out on CD, with a generous array of bonus cuts.

It will be the first in the series. 

Easy Action Records has paired the 14 Sonic’s Rendezvous Band and original compositions that were on the album with half a dozen live songs cut for radio, plus a bonus disc of 14 rehearsal tunes. This is the line-up of Scott Morgan, Tony Slug, bassist Theo Brouwer and Andy Frost (Powertrane) - it was a killer band and this is a powerful and soulful collection of recordings.

The Italian label that originally released “Powerglide” went belly-up soon after issuing it so copies of the original are next to impossible to find.

Here's a summary from the liners that'll give you an idea what this album is about:

Hydromatics albums being re-birthed by Easy Action

hydromatics dangerousHere's huge news for fans of Sonic's Rendezvous Band. The first re-issues from The Hydromatics’ back catalogue on UK label Easy Action are ready for pre-order.

The Hydromatics were a ‘90s trans-Atlantic supergroup of sorts, fronted by Scott Morgan (Sonic's Rendezvous Band, The Rationals) and reprising material by Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, as well as fresh originals. Their original line-up included Nicke Royale of Sweden’s Helllacopters and Dutchman Tony Slug (The Nitwitz) and they toured Europe extensively.

This is a band that had power to burn that shone a fresh light on Sonic's Rendezvous Band by doing justice in the studio to material that we'd only heard on dodgy bootlegs. 

‘The Hydromatics” is a re-mastered CD version of the group's debut record, “Parts Unknown”, with a stack of live tracks.

“Dangerous” is a LP (with free CD) of studio versions of Sonic’s Rendezvous Band classics like Asteroid B612, Electrophonic Tonic and City Slang. The 10-track LP is supplemented by “Do It Again”, “Mystically Yours” and “Power and The Glory” on the bonus CD. Get them here.

 

 

Flashback: King Khan caught in conversation

King Khan singingGarage rock royalty, King Khan and BBQ, are heading back to Australia in July, to play the sold-out Splendour In The Grass festival and sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney.

They’ll have a new album, “Bad News Boys”, in tow and it will be their first appearance on these shores since their chaotic show at Vivid in Sydney in 2010, after which they were declared by organisers to be "a security threat" and promptly broke up.

Canadian-born King Khan (guitar-vocals) and BBQ aka Mark Sultan (drums-vocals-guitar) have a string of solo and collaborative records to their name and years of touring their off-the-wall show. 

Their reformation and new record are as good an excuse as any to take a trip back in the time tunnel to 2008 when Patrick Emery cornered King Khan on the eve of him touring his band, The Shrines...

Resuscitation - Snare and the Idiots (Mincey Records)

resuscitationThis Newport, Kentucky, band lived its first life deep in the American Midwest from 1983-87 and has reformed sporadically since. One of the “Killed By Death” outfits - so-called because a series of bootlegs using that title gave them and scores of others fleeting fame outside their own backyards - they’ve issued this three-tracker CD single as a precursor to a retrospective album.

On the strength of “Resuscitation” they could just as easily make it all-new material. This stuff burns like a clear-headed version of the Heartbreakers, although without the same swing. The licks make it obvious where guitarist Donny “Tex” Watson is coming from, even if his feet are planted on the ground, rather than skidding all over the stage like the late Johnny Genzales.

Dubrovniks world jaunt book-ended by shows in Perth and Melbourne

dubrovniks title

After a 22 year hiatus, the Dubrovniks are temporarily back together and will be playing shows around the world, book-ended by gigs in Perth (June 6) and Melbourne (July 18).

“I’m Flipped Out Over You” is the theme for the Australian dates, the first leg of which is a show at Perth’s Rosemont Hotel with the original Scientists. It also happens to be the wedding reception for Dubrovniks and Scientists drummer James Baker and features the Television Addicts (two-thirds of the Victims, Spencer P Jones and  The Runaways (Spencer P Jones and Kim Salmon.)

The Melbourne version of “I’m Flipped Out Over You” becomes a two-stage garage punk extravaganza at the Corner Hotel with a gloriously loud bill that also includes the original line up of the Scientists (Kim Salmon, Baker, Boris Sudjovic and Rod Radalj), They’ll be joined by Rocket Science, Spencer P Jones & The Escape Committee, Hits, The Pink Tiles, The Electric Guitars and Girl Crazy.

Four shows celebrate legendary Max's Kansas City

maxsMax’s Kansas City was one of the legendary New York City scenes of the 1970s, home to Andy Warhol’s crew and a musical stamping ground for the Velvet Underground, Heartbreakers, Iggy & the Stooges and countless others.

It’s the club where Iggy met David Bowie and had his career fortunes revived, Debbie Harry waited on tables, Patti Smith went star-spotting and the Lou Reed era Velvets played their final shows.   

Former Max’s promoter Peter Crowley is hosting a 50th anniversary round of shows from June 4-8 and the line-ups feature some of the best that what’s left of the old-school NYC underground scene.

Do not adjust your TV set: Thirteenth Floor Elevators - live! - in Texas

Elevators live shot
Speak to Austin natives and not all will have heard of Roky Erickson – not your average man-in-the-street at any rate - but by having a few decent conversation with various Austin locals, commonalities begin to emerge. Everyone will have either seen a UFO first-hand or have a close friend or relative that has, including a 40-acre behemoth that buzzed the ranch of one, G.W.Bush, just a few years ago. 

Austinites love Beer, UFOs, Barbeques, Guns and…..MUSIC. Just as Sydney is the home of the world’s best Detroit music, Austin then, is the Global Capital of Psychedelia – thanks to seminal legends the Thirteenth Floor Elevators!

Enter Psych Fest, an ostensibly alternative/independent festival that debuted in 2008, and was reportedly instigated to some degree by local psychedelic outfit, the Black Angels.  Held over three days, it has since grown to accommodate even more local talent, as well as swelling to include many top-notch overseas acts. This year’s line-up reads like a who’s who of altered consciousness – Tame Impala, Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream were three of the previous evenings’ acts.

Thirteenth Floor Elevators lift-off in one-off festival gig

Ever wondered how the 13th Floor Elevators would sound live, 47 years after their last performance? Wonder no more. The band (most of it) reformed for a one-off show at the levitation Festival in Texas on May 10.  

And before you ask, the Elevators were without the late Stacey Sutherland whose guitar role was well-filled, by all accounts, by ring-in Eli Southward. Roky's son Jaeger added harmonica. 

Set list after the Read More button, plus another video. And no, we haven't heard of any plans to tour this, but we can dream. And keep checking back for a report from our Barfly on the ground. 

Hung Up (On You) - The Stoneage Hearts (Off The Hip)

hung up on youThe re-birth of the Stoneage Hearts sounds like a sequel to “High Fidelity”: Three guys walk into a record store at various times, buy the new Red Kross album from the owner and they all decide to form a band. They rehearse at nights in the shop, record an album, tour together and achieve global success.

Apart from the last bit about the worldwide success, the story is true. Not that global domination isn't possible, but more on that later.

This is the third incarnation of this Melbourne garage-pop band and apart from a stack of classic garage and powerpop influences, drummer Mickster Baty is the only constant. Previous line-ups were fronted by Danny McDonald (P76) and Dom Mariani (The Stems, DM3) with Ian Wettehall (Seminal Rats, Phillesteins, Freeloaders) on bass then and apart from guest Farfisa organist and Mickster, this one is populated by relative unknowns. Not that it matters a jot. They’re up to the mark and this is a great record.

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