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  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

Mazstock 2015 line-up announced

MAZSTOCK2015Northern New South Wales’s favorite little all-day rock-fest MAZSTOCK will be returning.

This year's show goes back to the Lismore Italo Club on Saturday, May 16, and will showcase some of the best local and interstate rock and punk bands.

The day will be headlined by Sydney rockers Front End Loader, whose rare Lismore appearance will surely make this a Mazstock to remember.

Also making the trip north will be Australia’s favourite pair of pisshead-yob rockers, Adelaide’s The Meatbeaters and Canberra’s The Vee Bees. Joining the the shenanigans will be Wollongong’s BRUCE! and Sydney’s The Dunhill Blues.

Play Your Favourite Stupid Songs - Flu Flu Birds (Action Records)

flu flu birdsIt’s almost a given that old rockers will put their amps aside from time to time, put on cowboy hats and play mildly ironic acoustic music full of songs about killing people and losing their girls. France’s Flu Flu Birds fit the bill on all fronts.

“Play Your Favourite Stupid Songs” is four tracks of hayseed cowpunk from members of The Stoneage Romeos and Ganbangers. Those names might not mean much to you but I can tell you that The Stoneage Romeos especially rock like motherfuckers. So you'd expect this diversion down a country backroad to be good.

Modern Low EP - The Tres Biens (TUG Records)

modernlowThey’re from Bavaria in Germany and their name is French for “Very Goods” so is it any wonder most of the rest of the world thinks Europe is a confusing place? There’s nothing muddle-headed about the brand of rock and roll this four-piece pub rock band pumps out on this four-track vinyl EP, however.

Two guitars and edgy, strangled vocals sit pretty well around these parts and The Tres Biens have cornered their own part of the market. The sound borrows from English bands like Graham Parker and The Rumour (especially on the opener “Factory Boy/Factory Girl”) and the pacing is relentless.

Creeper Vine - Luke Escombe and The Corporation (Dri-Clean Only Records)

creeper vineBetween battling and building awareness about Crohn’s disease, writing and delivering comedy routines and playing bluesy rock songs, hyperactive Sydneysider Luke Escombe makes records. Here’s one of them - an EP, in fact - and it’s a fun ride.

“Creeper Vine” is a five-song package of observations on 21st Century urban life. Its stated musical reference points (Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Elvis) are as clear as its themes (coping through coffee; the role of the axe in a happy marriage; female Prime Ministers.)

It’s all played with spirit by a well-honed band that includes veteran bassist Harry Brus (Kevin Borich, Billy Thorpe.) Escombe does the singing and most of the guitar playing and is no slouch in either department.

Something Quite Peculiar. The Church. The Music. The Mayhem. by Steve Kilbey (Hardie Grant)

something quite peculiarAfter nearly 40 years in the music industry, you can excuse Steve Kilbey for forgetting a few things. The lack of detail is the only real quibble with what’s one of the best Oz music reads of the last few years.

I approached this book with mixed feelings. Kilbey has a reputation for being a bit of a narcissist. The Church’s music is hit or miss for me - which is to say I left them alone after their first two albums, dipped back in at “Starfish” and walked away after the stodgy “Gold Afternoon Fix”, with only occasional revisits. So this was a book to be read from a position of not having much skin in the game.

Then I got sucked into the whole melodramatic, up-and-own, self-destructive and ultimately self-redeeming saga, and warmed to Kilbey’s flawed and fallible ways. I consumed “Something Quite Perculiar” in a couple of satisfying gulps.

Conjure Time - Hi Alerts (Twenty Stone Blatt)

hi alertsGarage blues and freakadelia had a baby and they named it Hi Alerts...

Over the last two or three years, something very interesting has been happening in the Glasgow underground scene; in contrast to the blandness of current high profile Scottish acts, from the derivative stadium rock of Biffy Clyro to the glossy coffee table electro-pop of Chvrches (they really should get the "U" key fixed on their computer), an exciting garage rock scene has coalesced around one of Glasgow's greatest, yet least heralded rock groups, The Primevals.

Formed by Michael Rooney in 1983, The Primevals blazed an uncompromising path through the '80s Scottish music scene. Inspired by such luminaries as The Cramps, Tav Falco & Panther Burns and The Gun Club, Rooney's barmy army of fellow punk-forged rock 'n' roll obsessives had no truck with the prevailing trends. Their outsider status within the Scottish music scene was in many ways analogous to that of Radio Birdman when they established their "Detroit South" Real O-Mindset in Sydney, Australia in the mid-70s.

I Can See My Love b/w Over Under Sideways Down - The In-Sect (Ugly Pop)

in sectPutting parochialism to one side, Australian ‘60s punk is vastly underrated with all but those who dig deep, so this gem from Canadian label merits more than your passing attention. Originally issued in 1966 with a different (tamer) B side, it’s one of those catchy freakbeat classics that stands tall in any company.

The In-Sect were a show band who did what any of their ilk with an ounce of self respect did and mutated into a garage-beat outfit with no pretensions. Contemporaries of the Masters Apprentices, they had a handful of singles before fading away with members going on to Jeff St John, The Twilights and Ram Jam Big Band.

Hot Box 1974-79 – Destroy All Monsters (Munster Records)

DAMboxIt’s high time this stuff was collected in one place. If you’ve no idea who Destroy All Monsters were, boy, you’re in the wrong place. If you are in the know, consider yourself lucky, take a pill and strap yourself in for a short history lesson.

Come the second half of the ‘70s, the Greater Detroit music scene was a forgotten No Man’s Land, an expanse of grey somewhere between the industry strongholds of New York City and the West Coast. The rabble-rousing and boundary-pushing of the cusp of the late ‘60s was gone, replaced by cover bands and blandness. Motown had moved to LA. Punk was just a figment of some future zine writer’s fevered imagination. Nobody cared about Detroit. 

When one album isn't enough

pissalbumNew York City punk original Sonny Vincent is taking to the European touring circuit in support of not one but three albums.

The massive tour of eight countries spans April, May and June and includes three supports to the Dead Kennedys. 

Already in the record store racks is “Spiteful” by Sonny Vincent and the Spiteful, whose ranks include Rat Scabies (The Damned), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) and Steve Mackay (Iggy and the Stooges.)

Out on Swami Records on March 28 is “Vintage Piss”, a woodshedded 2003 studio recording from Sonny, Speedo, ND and Ruby Mars from Rocket From the Crypt, his onetime US touring band.

Hot on its heels is “Psycho Serenades” on Spanish label H-Records, and features members of Rocket From The Crypt, Doc and the Medics and Stiv Bators solo band, as well as the late Scott Asheton.  

If that’s not enough, there’s also a single from Sonny’s pre-Testors NYC band, Liquid Diamonds, out on Hozac Records.  Tour dates in full after the break. 

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