Sydney’s premier cowpunks, Spurs for Jesus, are marking their 21st year with a four-week run of free shows at regular haunt, The Botany View Hotel, in Newtown. Spurs will be spitting out three-sets on the first four Saturdays in October, from 5-8pm.
The gigs are going to be some of the last for guitarist Moose Morricone who’s moving to Queensland in December. Keen gig-goers may know his alter ego, Martin Martini, who used to grace the ranks of southern Sydney '80s faves The Trilobites.
Spurs have just released a split single with Deadwood 76 (reviewed here) and is rightly regarded as an iconic presence on the Sydney music scene.
Much of the fun of listening to music that most of the world doesn’t get is imagining where it could be be transplanted to. Fuzz-faced Melbourne quartet Spacejunk would sound perfect on a scuzzy Southern European garage punk festival bill under a June or July sun with cheap beer in front of wild-eyed speed freaks who know the words to every song. Europeans love this stuff even if half their own bands can’t play it.
Spacejunk rejoices in hot-wired, fuzzy punk rock and roll that’s barely anchored to the floor. Short, sharp songs tumble after each other in an onslaught. It’s crudely recorded with sound leaking all over the place. Fast and frantic, they sound like a cross between the (speedcore) Hard-Ons, the late Jed Whitey and The Meanies. What’s not to love?
Mighty little Melbourne label Buttercup has taken up the cause of split singles by some of its home city's finest that Infidelity Records was rolling out when they shut their doors. The concept is an A side from a headliner backed with a couple of bands covering the lead-off band on the flipside. Putting The Meanies, Digger & The Pussycats and The Double Agents on the same slab of seven-inch vinyl is an inspired idea.
The Meanies are as much a Melbourne institution as that odd football game they follow and the venerable Tote Hotel. Their song, “Gravity”, is a particularly sticky piece of ear wax with a catchy vocal line and sharp guitar solo. The vocal harmony fade out will have you reaching for the turntable tone arm to play it again, even if your name isn't Sam.
Flip the 45 over and the explosive cover of “Gangrenous” is typical of the musical hand grenades that duo Digger & The Pussycats have lobbed in pubs and cafes from Geelong to Lower Europe. Bratty and brilliant and at 1min43sec it’s over before you can get bored.
The other cover song by The Double Agents is (as far I know) posthumous and only a touch over a couple of minutes long, But what quality minutes they are. The groove on “Cock Rock Lips” sounds like The Sensational Alex Harvey Band hitting high-gear in their tour van on a boozy road trip through the wilds of St Kilda. Too good not to hear again.
Buttercup Records on the Web
His latest album might have more guests than an open bar at the Playboy Mansion but there’s a consistency to the music that Peter Blast makes on “Painting Without Canvas” that makes it a worthwhile trip.
Blast is a Chicago native, onetime associate of Johnny Thunders and Stiv Bators and one of the first people to bring punk rock to the garish glow of the Las Vegas Strip, but he charts a path for the heart of Americana on this one, while never shaking off his Stonesy roots.
In short, “Painting Without Canvas” is like a dinner where Blast’s guests-of-honour are Keef, Gram Parsons and Nicki Sudden.
Well, here we are with another pair of CDs, both with a minimum of five bottles. Bag ‘em, folks, and you’ll find you suddenly have a yen for heading to the Sartorial Records site and loading up that shopping cart.
You know ‘mixtapes’, that modern nonsensical term for a compilation CD? You know how you used to make ‘compilation tapes’ yourself? Partly we did this so we could take some of our favourite songs and put them alongside those rarities like flexidiscs or 7”s so our original vinyl discs wouldn’t get worn out, and partly, of course, for the same reason then as now: radio is mostly rubbish.
Brian James hasn’t done a lot of looking back since parting ways with The Damned after writing and playing on their first two albums.
Sure, there’s been the odd reunion tour with Vanian and Co and he’s reprised some of his own songs from back then, but it’s his spells with The Lords of the New Church and a string of other projects - including separate bands with the MC5’s Wayne Kramer, Iggy Pop and Rat Scabies, plus his own Brian James Gang - that have kept him busy. This solo album continues the trend.
This album’s title is apt. Its 10 tracks reek of stinging, searing guitar. As a member of the stillborn-in-rehearsals London SS, James took his lead from the MC5 and the “Raw Power” Stooges and it shows. You can still make a case for him as playing one of the angriest guitars since James Williamson.