This French band's EP is one Sweed ride

thee sweedersThee Sweeders - Thee Sweeders (Let’s Sweed Records)

No idea if there’s a decent garage rock “scene” of any sorts in Annency, France. The French tend to do to rock and roll what Australia's backpacker killer Ivan Milat did to tourists, both using a place called a shallow grave, but if there is, it’s lucky to have Thee Sweeders as part of it. This release is six tracks on vinyl of fine, hard driving punk rock and roll.

Comparisons are often odious and best avoided but let’s pause and consider a couple:

The Murder City Devils gave equal prominence to keys and guitar and produced some of the best Stooges-in-the-garage skronk to come out of Seattle, Washington, in the wake of grunge in the ‘90s.Thee Sweeders peddle a similar style, with Oliv’s swirling electric piano mixing it with Cuibs’ chunky guitar. Sweeders vocalist Gilles approximates Spencer Moody’s uncivil yowl - and probably speaks better English.

A double-dose of pop and punk fun

 
little murders ep
the fiction ep

Little Murders EP - Little Murders (Off The Hip)
Sweetness Brings The Light EP - The Fiction (Off the Hip)

It’s a crazy, mixed-up world where music-lovers buy things in every available format. This four-track vinyl EP comes direct from the “Dromana-Rama” CD album which is not available as an LP, so if you’re both a Little Murders fan and a vinyl fetishist, this is the only way to satisfy your habit.

“Memory Sky” is a superb opener but there’s also not a dud among the selections here. Which are: “Wait”, “Train” and “52 Bands”. The “Dromana-Rama” album has a lot of depth and grows with each listen, but something has to be said for assembling four of its best songs on a slice of black vinyl. If you don’t walk away from a listen thinking that power-pop-rock can't get any better, you have industrial deafness or your tastebuds have relocated to your back passage. 

Ups and Downs recall their best on new 45

the real world 45The Real World b/w Closer Still - Ups and Downs (Basketcase Records)

Two old songs given the re-recording treatment and issued on seven-inch vinyl. It’s well worth your time, energy and modest pocket money to seek and procure.  The A side (aka the Upside) was a cassette-only release from 1983, and it sounds just like the band did back then i.e. melodic and chiming. Urgent guitars, courtesy of John Flade and Peter Shaw, power the song with a great soulful vocal from Greg Atkinson. 

Flip it over when it’s done and the previously unreleased song “Closer Still” in freshly-recorded form switches the mood momentarily to subdued reflection, before breaking into a canter. The Sunnyboys-style harmonies and soulfulness again stand out.. Grab it digtlally hereor seek the physical product via your store of choice. Google won't let you down on that score.

martinirating  martiniratingmartiniratingmartinirating1/2

And those Hollywood nights

all that shinesAll That Shines Under The Hollywood Sign by Iris Berry (Punk Hostage Press)

“It appeared clear to me - partly because of the lies that filled my history textbooks - that the intent of formal education was to inculcate obedience to a social order that did not deserve my loyalty. Defiance seemed the only dignified response to the adult world.”
- Timothy B. Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story)

“Most men today cannot conceive of a freedom that does not involve somebody's slavery. They do not want equality because the thrill of their happiness comes from having things that others have not.”
- W.E.B. DuBois, Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil)

"The fortunate is seldom satisfied with the fact of being fortunate. Beyond this, he needs to know that he has a right to his good fortune. He wants to be convinced that he 'deserves' it, and above all that he deserves it in comparison with others. He wishes to be allowed the belief that the less fortunate also merely experiences his due. Good fortune thus wants to be 'legitimate' fortune." - Max Weber

"A catalog of catastrophic events shaped our lives..." - Iris Berry

ALMOST GOLD...

Iris Berry is my favorite movie star. In my personal rocknroll pantheon, she will always be the queen of the Hollywood underground. Hard livin' hellion, heroine, helper, healer, auteur, essayist. She lived on 10, on full-blast, for a long time, and has written several riveting books about it, including "Daughters Of Bastards", and her latest enchanting collection of poetic reminiscing's, "All That Shines Under The Hollywood Sign".

Part of the reason she is always such a big hit on the spoken word circuit is because we are all getting older and are increasingly nostalgic for our own wayward punk rock youth, and therefore, love hearing those far out and heavy, true tales from her seen it all history, but also, because something about her speaking voice is oh so very consoling and soothing, it is a tender, understanding salve for the sad and lonely, and scarred for life, all 'us last of the last, limping landmarks and leather clad convalescents. She has a comforting presence, because she emanates real deep, genuine article beauty, from the inside out. We can all recognize her as one of our kind. 

2019 Barfly Top Ten: Ron Brown, our Man in Dimboola

ron brown 2019 top tenReleases and Gigs

1 “Open Season” – Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers
This abum is a must for any Screaming Tribesmen or Mesmerisers fan. Full of catchy tunes. My number-one easily.

2 Hits live
Hits played Collingwood/Melbourne. Never a dull moment when drinking beer with Dick (Rich) Richards

3 “Ann Arbor Revival Meeting” - Scott Morgan’s Powertrane
After having a shitty bootleg for years it’s great that this has finally been re-released on LP and CD.

4 Radio Birdman, The Stems, Los Chicos - The Croxton Band Room, Melbourne
What a line up of talent! The Stems’ sound was amazing, Best bit of the night thoughg was meeting legendary X singer Steve Lucas (pictured at right - hatless) and his lovely wife Joey.

5 The Johnnys – Memo, St Kilda.
The Johnnys are still the Cow Punk Kings of The World,

The Tribe has spoken

mark enbatta tribe Mark Enbatta’s Tribe - Mark Enbatta’s Tribe (Bam Balam Records)

Way back in the early ‘80s, The Vietnam Veterans were the first French psychedelic band to grace a turntable in the I-94 Bar. It was their debut ,"On The Right Track Now" LP, and the wigged-out faux '60s atwork and cover of Roky's "I Walked With A Zombie" (reprised, even) were as attractive as its bargain price tag as it sat in the Phantom Records rack. 

It was weird stuff and out of left-field for someone then on a strict listening diet of Citadel Records post-Birdman fare. Over the course of six albums, until dissembling in 2009, the Vets carved a niche for themselves and toured extensively around Europe.

Like KISS, the Eagles and various other outfits whose names I can't believe I typed, let alone throught of, it was one of those splits that really wasn’t one. Various members played together under different names - most notably as The Gitanes and Vietnam Chain. Founding Vets member Mark Enbatta was the glue in those collaborations an d now ropes in two of his comrades for this, his second album under the Tribe moniker. Keyboardist Lucas Trouble is absent because he passed away in 2016, and it’s to his memory that the album is dedicated.

Dream Team to light up Brisvegas with one-off Junk Bar show

sunday night dream cardCrticial acclaim for their recent run of solo shows together in Melbourne has prompted Penny Ikinger (ex-Wet Taxis, Sacred Cowboys) and Mick Medew (ex-Screaming Tribesmen, Mick Medew and the Rumours and currently in Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers) to do it all again in Brisbane with a one-off show at The Junk Bar.

Mick and Penny will play the Sunday Night Dream Card show on January 12. They'll play sets of their own material - and music of bands they have been in - and duet on some slected tunes. 

The Junk Bar has limitd capacity so pre-sale tickets are the only way of guaranteing a spot and they can be bought here.

2019 Barfly Top Tens: Robert Brokenmouth

robert brokenmouth 2019Well. It's that time of year.

The time of year when all right-thinking folk set out the Santa traps on Christmas eve, hoping for a big, juicy Santa (and not the scrawny weasel we caught last year, jesus, no meat on him at all) and the traditional charcoal spit-roast Santa in the back yard with all your mates and beer a-flowing. Done just right, the flesh falls right off the fucker's bones and melts in the mouth.

Preferably with apple and cinnamon sauce, but maybe that's just me.

Truth is that, while I heard a lot of wonderful music this year, I really don't feel up to delivering a Top Ten. Sure, there are some which leap out, but I didn't really listen that widely, I don't think. And I hardly went out. All were reviewed, look 'em out if you don't believe me.

I mean, look:

Gigs to remember:

The Animals and FriendsThe Animals and Friends
Gang of Four
The Gig of Glory (which I didn't review, but was the same line-up as the Banned from the Fed gig, but with the immortal Sean Tilmouth bringing up Fear and Loathing to international status, and the proper line-up of the Filthy Gypsies - ditto international status)
Cradle of Filth
Chickenstones
The Drama Dolls

2019 Barfly Top Tens: Ron Sanchez

ron sanchez on stageGIGS

Hot Tuna - Rialto, Septermber 10
Veteran duo in electric mode with drummer. As heavy as it gets. Jack and Jorma playing with the same fire they had 50+ years ago. At the climax of one of the extended jams, Jack pogoed across the stage. We got right up to the front of the small venue for full effect.

Tom Rush - Ellen Theater, Bozeman, August 31
An unexpected visit by first division folk singer does not disappoint. At 79 years, he still has his voice and nimble fingers. Funny too. 2+ hour show. He manages to avoid playing any of his signature tunes.

BOOK

Jeff Tweedy - Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)
Well written and very funny. Tweedy weaves a compelling story about his childhood, bands and years of prescription drug addiction. Plenty of insight into the workings of Wilco and his songwriting. One of the best musician-penned memoirs I’ve read.

MOVIE

So Good I Can’t Take It - Aug 2 Ellen Theater Bozeman
Kirk Leclaire document’s the Montana music scene of the' 70s and '80s. Jeff Ament and Steve Albini figure large in the story. I get some face time too, though I only just make it into the time frame. Donovan’s Brain music is featured. A great story of small town misfits tearing it up and terrorizing the locals. A universal story that can be enjoyed even if you didn’t grow up in Montana. A Donovan’s Brain MK 1 reunion followed the screening.

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