The American college town of Ann Arbor - A2 to the locals - has a lot to answer for. This re-issue of a long out-of-print live recording of some of its famous sons makes it apparent.
Originally released on CD only by Philadelphia's Real O-Mind Records in 2002, it's on vinyl as well as shiny silver disc this time around, and marks the return of David Laing's Grown Up Wrong label.
Everything about this show smokes. Powertane were the vehicle for A2 legend Scott Morgan, a soul prodigy (The Rationals) who made up a quarter of one of the greatest guitar rock and roll bands to ever go MIA in the mists of musical legend status, Sonics Rendezvous Band.
You’d be right if you said reggae doesn’t get much of a look-in at the I-94 Bar. It's not that anyone’s allergic to it, but rock and roll is the staple beer on tap.
You can argue that the Clash turned out their own kind of rock-reggae with mixed results, but the genre remains at the margins around much of the world - like its distant punk rock cousin.
Bob Marley introduced the wider world to reggae in the ‘70s but it had been entrenched in Jamaica for generations. A generation of immigrants had already spread rocksteady and ska to the UK.
The music that Marley brought to stadiums and concert halls was a few steps away from the sound that pervaded the alleys of Trenchtown. Major labels provided th bread, not Jah, and their producers rubbed the rough edges off Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff to make them acceptable to mass market ears.
Sand Pebbles John Curtin Hotel , Carlton Saturday, June 1 2019
I remember 2004. Living in a spacious weatherboard house in North Fitzroy, two small children, disrupted sleep patterns, fumbling through the fog of the embryonic years of parenthood.
Watching the Howard Years roll on. Mark Latham pushed his way into public view, tried to take up the fight with Howard. Toned down the more provocative aspects of his public discourse, held a press conference in front of a row of American flags, presented himself as the guy who understood the aspirations of the suburban demographic, but who wasn’t a product of an era that’d never return. Who’d have though 15 years later Latham would be a One Nation member in the NSW parliament? People thought Pauline Hanson was finished too. History is funny, innit?
Their bid to become a sovereign state might have crashed and burned five years ago, and they still haven't worked out how to banish those Sassenachs* from north of Hadrian's Wall, but the Scots have never been short of a political opinion. Just put a pint of beer in front of an Edinburgher** - or a microphone in the case of The Media Whores - and you'll get your money's worth.
“A Decade of Defiance” is a compilation of tracks from The Media Whores' three albums and one EP, with three cuts thrown in to preview their forthcoming new long-player.
It’s a brilliant idea so why didn’t someone do it before?
What’s that? you say. Record a bunch of iconic, mostly Sydney, underground songs in a way that honours the originals but makes them their own – at least for a few minutes.
UK-born, Brisbane-bred John Kennedy became a fixture on Sydney inner-city scene in the 1980s after cutting his musical teeth in his hometown. His distinctive “urban western” songs, and his bands JFK and The Cuban Crisis and John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong, earned him a healthy niche in a city that back then was groaning with musical talent.
John Kennedy was always backed by excellent bands and inevitably joined his peers in spreading their versions of the word on the national touring circuit, before moving overseas for a time. He and various line-ups of his John Kennedy’s ‘68 Comeback Special have been kicking around the now skeletal Sydney scene (read: Inner-Western Delta) for the last decade or so.
Also Sprach might have been the king of Eurodisco but Ed Kuepper reigns supreme as the Monarch of Re-invention. Of his contemporaries, only Kim Salmon comes close.
There was a modest risk in forming a third line-up of The Aints; the upside was that they'd pull crowds and make good cash, the other half of the equation being that it wouldn't take the legacy of the original band anywhere special. If you were a doubter, leave the room now...
Re-shaping un-recorded songs written for the original Saints was a masterstroke. So was Kuepper's selection of his band - the engine room of Paul Larsen-Loughhead and Peter Oxley was never going to be a dud - and his decision to colour the material with bold brass arrangements...that was inspired.
New archival footage of onetime Sydney ensemble Lubricated Goat has emerrged, to coincide with a US West Coast tour by onetime member Stu Spasm and his band The Art Gray Noizz Quintet. The clip of "He Moves in Mysterious Ways" was shot at Max’s, Petersham Inn in Sydney, in 1987 and features Spasm, bassist Guy Maddison (Monroe's Fur, Mudhoney) and late drummer Brett Ford (Kryptonics) and guitarist Peter Read (Thug). The Art Gray Noizz Quintet plays The Knock Out in San Francisco (June 8), Cafe Nela in Los Angeles (June 9), Turn Turn Turn in Portland (June 10) and The Funhouse in Seattle (June 12.)
"Taken by the Dream" rates seven bottles. Two more than five because, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, I never think this man is going to surpass what has gone before. Hell, I mean, what man could? Like Mick Medew (see my last review) and Bob Dylan, Race is a lifer.
Is Hugo Race some sort of madman? I think of him as a fearless troubadour, the man on the tracks, vulnerable and determined.
To be honest, in this era of rabid conformity to stock characters (I use this last word loosely) and ephemeral goals clung to like bull mastiffs to intruder's gonads, yes, I reluctantly concede that Hugo Race is indeed some sort of madman. Hell, Jesus was mad as a brush. I mean, totally canary-cage.