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Celibate Rifles put rumours to bed and make a claim for greatness

damien narrabeenDamien Lovelock leads the Celibate Rifles.    Shona Ross photo

It was a big week for rumours - and that’s not a reference to that awful Fleetwood Mac album being on high rotation.

Celibate Rifles were playing two successive nights in Sydney. A Friday at the near dormant ‘80s venue Carmens at Miranda in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, and a Saturday at one of their local stomping grounds, Narrabeen RSL.

It was about a fortnight before that the gossip started to fly.

Last drummer standing brings his own Animals to play

John Steel Piotr BienieckiOriginal Animals drummer John Steel.  Piotr Bieniecki photo

This May, The Animals are touring Australia and New Zealand.

No, Eric Burdon won’t be with them. He lost the rights to the name in 2008, partly because it was evident to a judge that the name was one of convenience to him. However…

John Steel is one of the co-founders of The Animals. Apart from singer Eric Burdon - now performing under his own name with his own cast of Animals - Steel is the member who has been with most of the incarnations. It's his version of The Animals making the trip down under in May.

Fifteen years and going strong: Off The Hip still burns bright

mickster at off the hipMickster Baty at home in his Off The Hip shop.

The music industry is a shallow trench full of sharks and transient imprints, to paraphrase Hunter S Thompson. Independent record labels come and go with the regularity of manufactured reality TV stars and only a few manage to find their niche and prosper. In Australia, only Citadel is still standing from the halycon days of the 1980s. A few rose in the '90s to fill the gaps left by the demise of Phantom and Waterfront. Since the 2000s, the most enduring has been Melbourne-based Off The Hip.

oth logoOff The Hip grew out co-founder Mick ("Mickster") Baty's love of all things garage rock, powerpop and psychedelia. A drummer and veteran of one of Sydney's finest garage-trash outfits, The Crusaders, he went on to killer powerpop bands The Pyramidiacs and The Finkers. Baty saw Off The Hip as an outlet for his own music. He had re-located to Melbourne by then and formed The Stoneage Hearts, a shifting cast of players who produced top-shelf garage rock with a pop bent.

A retail operaiton operating out of his house morphed into a bricks-and-mortar shop in Melbourne's CBD and a floodgate of releases via the fledgling label ensued. It's been an enduring success - on its own terms - since then. Off The Hip - the label and the shop - have inspired and contrinuted to the existence and growth of hundreds of bands. 

Last month, the Off The Hip label celebrated its 15th birthday. We decided it was high-time for Mickster to occupy the interview seat.

Gas - feedtime (In The Red)

gas feedtimefeedtime have come together to release their first album since 1996’s "Billy". A lot has happened in the last 21 years, so what can we expect from the original lineup of Rick, Al and Tom who have been playing sporadically since reforming in 2011?

It starts off well. “Any good thing” opens with a fantastic, sliding bass line before kicking off with pounding drums and a frenetically distorted guitar. My first thought when hearing Rick’s vocals was that of GG Allin’s voice towards the end of his life. The gravel has turned into a metallic growl.

And the pace continues well into “Thought”, before slowing down into "Box n Burn". Both strong tracks with a powerful sound. However, the issues start to arise with "Skilled Enuf". While the musicianship on the track is strong, the writing is quite simple and unengaging, “Skilled enough, to play one chord. Skilled enough to play one note” might be a true description of the band’s minimalist arrangements, but it is unengaging.

Naked Radio - Pink Fairies (Gonzo Multimedia)

naked radioThat some of the Pink Fairies are around today to make an album, two decades after their last and four after their heyday, is something of a miracle. Surprise Number Two is that it’s good.

If you’ve read Rich Deakin’s meticulous book about the band’s travails, “Keep It Together”, you’ll know that The Pinks were never people to shy away from the Rock and Roll Lifestyle. Taking care of business was never the band’s forte, which makes a new record’s appearance even more unlikely. Their last LP, “Kill ‘Em and Eat ‘Em” didn’t set any houses on fire and smelt like a once great band on its last legs.

Ray Hanson’s Whores of Babylon: Sonic outlaws, empire of dirt, glitter and perforated electric souls

thee hypnotics hansonRay Hanson used to play guyitar for Thee Hypnotics, who destroyed audiences in their home of the UK before they begat The Jim Jones Revue. His current band is Ray 'Sonic' Hanson's Whores of Babylon. What are they like? You'll hear for yourself, soon enough.

Here's a word picture.

Think: Geordie Pleathur jamming in the midnight hours to Sonic Ray while thinking of Nick Marsh, lost loved ones, and nursing a broken hand.

Now read on...

Made in Hawaii - Jeff Dahl (Iwannabeahoople Records)

made in hawaiiHere’s news for those who thought Jeff Dahl had put his guitar in a rack and drawn an end to his prolific punk-glam career. He’s back with a new album - and it sounds like he never went away.

Dahl had been laying low with protracted health issues since pulling up tent pegs at his Arizona desert digs and moving back to his own (and his wife’s) childhood home of the Hawaiian Islands. Prior to slipping off the public radar eight years ago, Dahl was a force of rock and roll nature, turning out a string of abrasive, hard-rocking records and publishing one of the world’s greatest magazines, Sonic Iguana.

Johnny Casino re-emerges with new album

time and time jcHe’s been out of sight but not out of mind since quitting Australia for love and moving to Spain, but Johnny Casino has been busy. On March 1 he notched up a birthday and launched a new album, “Time and Time Again” on LP and CD.

The album was recorded in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, Gandia and Els Poblets, Spain and was mixed in Spain and London, England, starting its life more than four years ago.

Instead of condensing the recording sessions into days or weeks at a time, Johnny was more content to simply only record when the moment or the feel of each song was right. That’s why the record was recorded in five different cities in three different countries.

The star-studded crew playing on the album includes Carrie Phillis (Boobytraps), Adam Pringle, Stew Cunningham (Leadfinger), Jodi Phillis (The Clouds) and Warren Hall (The Drones, Datura4, The Volcanics) as well as Spaniards Julain Marco, Isidro Rubio and Actor Ochoa.

The blurb says: “ ‘Time and time again’ is equal parts dangerous rock´n´roll, homespun rich melodies and sweeping cinematic views and was recorded with a roving cast of Johnny's musical brothers and sisters.In Johnny's words,” No reason to doubt it, but listen for yourself (and buy) at Bandcamp.

 

No Fool's Gold to be seen as Datura4 debuts in Sydney

datura4 factory floor

The term “jam band” first flashed across my radar in a small bar in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the early ‘00s. It was in a pub called The Eight Ball, underneath the much more famous Blind Pig. I was lucky enough to be sharing a drink with Scott Morgan. (Ooops. I dropped a name.)

“Who’s playing upstairs tonight?”

“Some jam band.”

“A what…?”

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