• First review of the album for James Williamson & The Pink Hearts

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

The Barracudas re-appear in London

Garage-surf kings from the '80s, The Barracudas, reconvened for a show at the Finsbury in North London last weekend. Here’s some footage of "We're Living In Violent Times":

Brisbane punks RAZAR to headline one-off show

white chairs2

Brisbane’s legendary RAZAR will reform for a one-off show on October 14, celebrating that city’s punk rock history.

The Triffid is the venue for “Return To White Chairs Vol 2”, the second instalment in reunion gigs for the punk and counterculture music loving crowd that met and drank at the infamous Elizabeth Street bar in Brisbane City between 1977-‘87. RAZAR will be joined by Ipswich darlings The Toy Watches as the main support.

A massive undercard that spans punk, new wave and rockabilly genres and includes old timers The Horny Toads, Scrap Metal, Public Execution, The 5 Hanks, Vacant Rooms and The Chrysalids. Contemporary Brisbane bands Dr Bombay, Dangerous Folk, The Bollocks and Cultured Few will fill out the bill, which is raising funds for the Growing Nepal Foundation.

Hailing from the sleepy Brisbane suburb of Mt Gravatt in the mid ‘70s, RAZAR began as a high school garage band, comprising 18-year-old Greg Wackley on drums, his 16-year-old brother Robert Wackley on bass, vocalist Marty Burke and Steven Mee (both 16) on guitar.

Brando Rising - Brando Rising (self released)

brando rising coverThere’s an element of impending doom and high drama about the songs of new-ish Melbourne band Brando Rising on this self-released six-track EP - and that shouldn’t be a surprise. Vocalist Ripley Hood (Mushroom Planet, ex Gun Control/Funhouse) is an actor on his days off. 

If you're into labels, Brando Rising’s music is a mix of post-punk hard rock, hardcore and punk. The band cites Dead Boys, Bauhaus, Fear and David Bowie among its influences and you can hear bits of them all. There’s also an echo of Massappeal at times (especially on “Sunsets”) and “Enough is Enough” takes something of its groove from the New Christs. 

“Brando Rising” was recorded as a demo but the band was happy enough with the mastered product to release it. Guitarist Kelly Hewson (another former Gun Control and Funhouse member) did most of the writing. 

California Dreaming b/w The Real Thing - Fast Cars (Method Records)

california dreamingNil to do with the Mamas and the Papas song, this is from the fab Fast Cars album “LAX” and it’s a lush, string-tinged brooder that’s a great calling card for the psychedelic long-player. 

Remember albums? They were those things where a band put more than one idea into extended pieces of music (aka songs) that became a sum of a greater part. Fast Cars - once a Sydney mod band but these days vocalist Di Levi and multi-instrumentalist Fabian Byrne - sure do, and evoke more in these few minutes than a lifetime of downloads by Taylor Swift clones. 

“California Dreaming” is part of a concept about ambition and star-making in a strange environment and place but you don’t need the back-story to appreciate the 45. 

The flip is a brave take on the Russell Morris song of the same name. No marching jackboots but a heady sonic picture nonetheless. You’d hope Molly would appreciate it because it works all the same.  It’s mastered a little quietly but you can compensate by playing it loud. Available as a 45 from here. 



Thirteen - Simon Chainsaw (Dark Roasted/Pitshark)

thirteen lgeThere’s a familiar sound to all Simon Chainsaw records and it’s not going to change radically any time soon. It owes much to  Sydney’s mid-‘80s underground scene - Simon being the one constant member of the Vanilla Chainsaws - and adds dashes of punk, pop and hard rock from myriad other places. 

So of course “Thirteen” sounds a lot like the preceding 12 Simon Chainsaw studio albums. You expected techno? Simon’s distinctive vocal rasp, chunky guitars just this side of metal, an inherent sense of melody and lyrics about girls, the road and the resilience of rock and roll are all a given. 

Even so, there are stylistic departures (keys on “Cried a Million Tears”, lap steel on the anthemic “Take My Rock ’n’ Roll Back”) and the classic Oz Rock influence cuts through elsewhere, notably on “Firestorm” which features AC/DC session drummer Tony Currenti.

Oi! The Cockney Rejects will be getting in your face in Australia and NZ

cockney rejects

UK Oi! band Cockney Rejects are touring Australia and New Zealand for the first time.

The band is known throughout the land for in-your-face live shows, something Australasian fans can now finally experience.

Formed in the East End of London in 1979 The Rejects will play highlights from their career including “Fighting In The Street”, “The Greatest Cockney Ripoff”, “I’m Not a Fool”, “Bad Man”, “War on the Terraces”, “Police Car” , “Bubbles” (a tribute to their beloved West Ham United) and their iconic anthem, “Oi! Oi! Oi!”

La Crise b/w Le Mot de Trop - Christopher Sourice (Slow Death)

la criseIt’s a vinyl and CD single from the former drummer for French band The Thugs and it doesn’t muck around. Christopher Sourice sings in French but don’t let that stop you if you’re mono-lingual. 

“La Crise” (“the crisis”) is built on chugging guitars, vamping keys and a dense rhythmic backbone. It’s like a “Too Tough To Die” Ramones song with the foot off the accelerator. Repetitive but powerful stuff with Sourice’s urgent vocal leading the charge 

The flip side reminds me of The Trilobites in their “Venus In Leather” days of the early ‘80s (it must be that chorus) and once more it’s a song driven by chunky guitars, a heavy pop feel and a keyboards wash. Who says drummers should stay behind their kit? That's a Bandcamp below so you can try before you buy. 

Buy it

Out Of My Head - Paul Collins (Alive Natural Sound)

out of my headHas it really been four years since “Feel The Noise” and eight since “King of Power Pop”? The release of another Paul Collins record is a special occasion and “Out Of My Head” doesn’t disappoint.

While its predecessors explored rocking and powerpop songs respectively, “Out Of My Head” finds Collins sitting squarely in pop territory. Ringing chords, the odd minor key melody and Collins’infectious vocals rule throughout. Well crafted songs with depth. 

Paul Collins seems to work best when he has a crative partner to bounce off and in this instance it’s bass player Paul Stingo, whose melodic tone and vocal harmonies suit to a tee. Collins plays the guitars and drums and the record was recorded in a Brooklyn studio.

Friends rally around Aussie bluesman Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson 2Legendary Melbourne bluesman Chris Wilson (Crown of Thorns, Harem Scarem) has pancreatic cancer.

The multi-instrumentalist - best known as a stunning vocalist and stellar harmonica player – has been a fixture on the Australian music scene for 40 years, collaborating with bands and performers as diverse as Paul Kelly, Diesel and X.

A benefit concert is being organised at the Corner Hotel on Friday, August 24. The first round of acts on the bill includes Steve Lucas, Kerri Simpson, Finn & George Wilson, Jerome Smith, Barb Waters, Shane O’Mara, Barry Palmer, Tim Rogers, Dave Hogan, Jo Jo Smith, Matt Dwyer and radio’s Max Crawdaddy on the decks. You can buy tickets here

A GoFundMe campaign for the Wilson family is operating here.

Mandy Hall photo


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