• 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

Penny Ikinger to do a two-setter in Sydney

penny profileEx-West Taxi and formidable solo artist in her own right, Penny Ikinger, is playing a free Sydney show at the Midnight Special bar in Enmore on Sunday March, 15 for a two-setter that kicks off at 6pm.

The Midnight Special being a cosy place, you might want to get there early and sample their extensive beer selection (or something.) Did we say it's free? 

 

Boogie Pimps - The Juke Joint Pimps (Voodoo Rhythm)

boolgie pimpsThere’s only one thing to do with this album: Play it. Loud. Over and over, Recorded in an analogue Italian studio in two days by a German duo, it’s soaked in whiskey, boogie and blues.

You can bitch about bands that go out of their way to sound vintage and to some extent you’d be right most of the time, but there’s no faking this stuff when it’s played correctly and in the right spirit.

“Bogies Pimps” is not self-consciously retro - it actually sounds contemporary but without the affectations you might expect, or a clean-up. It’s  stripped back Chicago blues and The Juke Joint Pimps could be playing in your lounge room. Only on the closing “Mister Vegan” do the Pimps allow themselves a brief surrender to a looped electronic rhythm track.

Lady Luck - The Villenettes (Off The Hip)

villenettesThey’re four girls with guitars and this is their debut album. It twangs a lot and is laced with reverb in all the right places. It rocks like my vintage mono jukebox and the songs are ace. That’s it in a nutshell, but of course you want more…

Being an all-female band is fraught with dangers, not the least of which is that a certain percentage of sneering (probably male) arseholes won’t take you seriously. Don’t make that mistake. The Villenettes play this ‘60s garage psychobilly hellcats thing with skill and feeling.

The Villenettes take their party on the road

villenettes portraitStill on a high from their sell-out hometown launch, Adelaide’s all-girl outfit The Villenettes will keep celebrating the release of their first full-length album, “Lady Luck”, with a mini-tour of neighbouring state Victoria.

They’ll re-launch their record at The Luwow in Fitzroy in Melbourne on Friday the 13th of March.The mayhem will continue the following evening when The Villenettes stop over at The Karova Lounge, in up-country Ballarat, with locals The Yard Apes.

Supporting The Villenettes at The Luwow will be ‘60s garage girl gang The Reprobettes and The Luwow’s GoGo Goddesses and DJs.

Recorded at Melbourne’s Head Gap Studio (Adalita, Magic Dirt, Paul Kelly, Violent Soho) with Neil Thomason and Mick Baty, the album is released through local garage label Off The Hip Records. It follows their first release, the “V for Villendetta” EP, that sat at #1 on Adelaide radio station Three D for four consecutive weeks.

“Lady Luck” will be Feature Album on PBS 106.7FM on the week commencing 23 February, having also had this honour on Three D and Radio Adelaide.

Guess who's guitar sound this is: "Take Me Away" by Joeys Coop

Died Pretty guitarist Brett Myers has re-surfaced in Sydney band Joeys Coop, whose debut seven-inch single is due out soon on Citadel. Joeys Coop is Mark Roxburgh (Decline of the Reptiles), Andy Newman (Deniz Tek Group, Decline of The Reptiles), Matt Galvin (Eva Trout, Perry Keyes, Loose Pills), Lloyd Gyi (Perry Keyes, Dave Warner) and Myers.

We at the I-94 Bar are fans of the members' bands but we're especially keen on that distinctive Myers jangle-and-soar so you can guess what we think of the song. Joeys Coop will launch “Take Me Away” at Petersham Bowling Club on Sunday March 22 with supports Knievel, Buddy Glass and Matt Shacallis. More gig details here.

Crush On You b/w Falling Apart – Psychosurgeons (Blank Records)

psychosurgeons crushThere’s been a flurry of excitement about this - and rightly so. Along with Filth, the Psychosurgeons were one of the first Sydney bands to firmly grasp the grasp the back of punk’s bondage pants, give them a good tug in a downward direction and expose its arse.

The Psychosurgeons’ “Wild Weekend” will always be a classic 45, so hearing that this was on the way created the sort of anticipation that you could cut with a figurative knife. Or razor blade, if that was your thing.

The Who’s Tommy at the Adelaide Fringe Festival

tommy adelaide festival banner

Tommy is, of course, that double LP rock opera what the ‘Oo done, back in 1969.

Pete Townsend was a powerhouse of creativity and, since he didn’t own an opera company or a film company, we can say he made a pretty impressive stab at both over the four sides of vinyl back in the day. Streets ahead of the competition by a forward-looking rock band, Tommy rebooted the Who back into the limelight…and you know the rest, I’m sure.

There’s been an opera version, a musical adaptation, a film, and there’s been several reissues, including a Super Deluxe Edition. And now…this…extraordinary, louche, beautiful, moving interpretation of a record which is well and truly in I-94 Bar reader terrain.

Black Chameleon Prayer - The Dogs (Astma Records)

black chameleon prayerIt’s said you should never judge a book by its cover and the same goes for records. This is apparently Album Number Three from this Oslo, Norway, six-piece and they sound nothing like the middle-aged lay preachers standing ankle deep in water under a bridge that they appear to be. Hallelujah.

The Dogs (not to be confused with the late French band or the still kicking one from L.A. via Detroit) rock like they mean it. They worship at the shrine of the ‘60s garage/‘80s garage revival scenes but they bring enough manic energy to these songs that makes them stand apart from the rest of the pack. Cock an ear to the furious “Stay Away From Her” with its Dicatoresque vocal and melodic bass-line behind its driving guitars to know as much.

Watch Your Skull - Kit Convict & Thee Terrible Two

kit convictHey Kit Convict - the people of Medway called and they want their Billy Childish back.

Just kidding. But there is an strong resemblance between the music from most of Billy’s 55,000 albums and what Kit Convict and his stripped-back combo pump out.

This is short, sharp, simple and very catchy garage punk. I know “garage punk” is a broad descriptor and a little imprecise - hence the Childish reference. That the influences for this Melbourne band are obvious isn’t a problem. Like Billy, they’ve gone digging until they hit the right, rich vein and they’re mining from it.

In Heat - The Fools (self released)

in heat the foolsLet’s get the clichés out of the way; the show business myths that promise that the cream rises. That living fast and dying young will ensure immortality. It’s all bullshit. Too many artists fall through a crack in the Earth whilst laurels crown the insipid and the banal.

How many great albums and films have vanished to land fill? How many books are lost because libraries can’t afford the storage on their back catalogues? How much blood, sweat and tears has evaporated into the ether? Forgotten whilst the over culture lets us eat dog food. Here is your chance to right that wrong.

Getting Some Fun with the Sunnyboys' Richard Burgman

sunnyboys croll
As they were in 1981. Catherine Croll photo

In 2012, a reformed Sunnyboys delivered arguably the most emotional comeback of any Australian band in living memory. More on that soon. Three years later, they’ve given us the most unlikely of resurrected albums, with a stunning re-issue of their second record, “Individuals”.

Originally released in May 1982 when the band was poised to take the Australian charts by the throat, it sold respectably but ultimately foundered under the weight of massive expectations and a curiously subdued mix.

The discovery of a previously lost rough mix among the estate of their late producer and manager (as well as legendary guitarist), Lobby Loyde, cast a new light on a largely overlooked record. The new version sounds as lively and dynamic as the band’s “Sunnyboys” debut from 1980.

Celibate Rifles back home for mini-festival

sunkenThere was a time when Sydney’s northern beaches beaches were a hotbed of high energy rock and roll.

Since the decline in the Sydney live music scene (and the demise of the Manly Fisho's Club) the opportunity to enjoy local bands under one roof has been rare. An event at Narrabeen RSL on March 28 is trying to revive those days.

Sunken Ascension is a mini-festival, headlined by the home-grown Celibate Rifles, and running across three levels of the club. 

It’s free from 2pm and all-ages until 8pm, after which it’s $25 (or $20 pre-sale.)  For that you get cheap beer, inexpensive food, a downstairs cocktail lounge and a local shuttle bus.

Celibate Rifles, C.O.F.F.I.N, Captain Kickarse and The Awesome's, The Archaic Revival, Gutter Tactic, Bloody Kids, Taelor Jane, Bilby and Asia Hatton are playing and tickets are here.

 

Thee Rum Coves - Thee Rum Coves (self released)

thee rum covesIs it really a surprise in 2015 to hear rocking garage soul that has its origins in the UK played better than almost anyone else around by a band that comes from Auckland in New Zealand? Meet Thee Rum Coves.

These guys (and girl) should be the toast of the summer festival circuit in Europe. They deserve to fill the vacuum left by the demise of The Jim Jones Revue. Thee Rum Coves have everything going for them for a shot at success in Europe…except geography. Not that this should matter.

Individuals & Get Some Fun - Sunnyboys (Feel Presents)

get some funindividualsIt’s time to kiss and make up. When “Individuals” was released back in 1982, as a follow-up to the Sunnyboys’ barnstorming eponymous debut, it was justifiably unloved by many.

The songs were…good…but slower. Its lead-off single, the curious “This Is Real”, was stilted and a million miles removed from the infectious “Happy Man” and “Alone With You”. The biggest drawback, however, was the record’s lifeless production which reduced the sound of the Sunnyboys to an empty husk. It lacked warmth and sounded distant.

Brat Farrar II - Brat Farrar (Off The Hip)

bratt farrarIIFor a musician who spends many of his recording hours in a bedroom, Brat Farrar is more Punk Rock than you or I will ever be. This is the second album of short and snappy homemade songs from Melbourne-via-Europe Sam Agostino (one-half of Digger & The Pussycats) and it delivers in spades.

There’s a lot to love about “Brat Farrar II” if only because it sounds like “Brat Farrar I”. In fact, you could interchange many of these songs on an iTunes mix playlist (or something similar) and be hard pressed to pick what came from where.

Things are heating up as The Fools re-emerge

fools dylan
Guitarist Dylan Webster from Newcastle band The Fools

In the early ‘90s, raw and tough rock and roll was supposedly being re-birthed. Grunge had ushered in The Year That Punk Broke and the mainstream was finally embracing music that wasn’t safe and bland. Yeah. Right.

In reality, Real Rock and Roll was still fighting. The tidal wave that was the MP3 was about to arrive in earnest but the only game in town, as far as The Industry was concerned, was Grunge, a sludgy offspring of heavy metal and punk that promised little and (mostly) delivered less.  

Too harsh?  A lot of fine and worthy bands were trampled under the rush by major labels to sign any act with tuned-down guitars wearing flannelette shirts. It didn’t matter if their songs mostly remained the same; the big label A & R men couldn’t see past their own shaggy fringes.

Like Newton used to say, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction. In Australia, a fresh wave of high-energy acts like Powder Monkeys, Asteroid B612, Brother Brick, the YesMen and Bored! were kicking against the pricks and doing things their own way. A lesser light from the industrial port city of Newcastle, two hours north of Sydney, created their own ripples.

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