.​.​.​For the Worms - All The Weathers (Rough Skies Records)

for the worms2019 is shaping up to be a real terror of a year. Parts of Australia are in the middle of a housing, job and health support crisis and the shit has well and truly hit the fan.

Heads of police are on trial for brutality, while politicians are dragging their feet on whether or not trans people have a right to exist.  Bodybuilders are shooting up strip clubs and a massive methamphetamine epidemic is destroying the lives of vulnerable young people.

Young men with schizophrenia are firebombing punk squats while teaching staff and metro workers are routinely striking, grinding workplaces and services to a halt.  On the street, there are hundreds of young people facing homelessness, violence, unemployment and lack of future prospects.  To them, the future is bleak. 

Despite all this, there are dozens of vibrant young artists creating challenging and unique works that directly tackle the horrendous and wretched world we find ourselves in.  One of those bands is Fern Tree, Tasmania, iconoclasts All The Weathers.

No rear vision for these Straight Arrows

straight arrows demolitionStraight Arrows. 

Straight Arrows

Bananagun

Tote Hotel, Melbourne

Friday, 22 March 2019

I’m not a big fan of the rose-coloured 1960s discourse. Sure, the music’s great, the anti-establishment political rhetoric is inspiring and the fashion iconic. But the 1960s gave the world Nixon and the first incarnation of Reagan the politician, Engelbert Humperdink outsold Hendrix and it was mainly rich white kids (especially men) who had the socio-economic stability to drop out – because they could drop back in again anytime they wanted to.

The 1960s is a mythical idea, not a corroborated historical construct. We want to believe what it was like, because it’s not like that now. Revisionism. Nostalgia. Self-deluded idealism. There was good shit going on, but there’s good stuff going on now. There was plenty of bad, square and nasty stuff going on then, too. More so than the good stuff.

Banangun sounded like they’d crawled straight out of a '60s documentary. Maybe a Nuggets Acid Rock compilation. I hadn’t heard of them before tonight, though later on it was pointed out to me that their main man is Nick from The Frowning Clouds, and then everything made sense.

An intoxicating evening

Mick Harvey Gergely CsatariGergely Csatari photo.

"Nocturnal X"
Mick Harvey and the Intoxicated Men
Gemini 4
Harry Howard and the NDE
Tiamo 3
Primo!
Melbourne Museum, Friday, April 5 2019

Upstairs at the Melbourne Museum hosts a local exhibit, a collage of images, dioramas, reportage and oral testimonies from the city’s post-invasion history. In a corner of the exhibit can be found a movie telling the evolution of post-war Melbourne, from the faceless images of businessmen in John Bracks’ Collins St, 5pm painting, to the vibrant, cosmopolitan metropolis of the present day.

A black and white photo from 1979 shows five youths staring at the camera, sullen, callow, defiant and charmingly obnoxious. The adult voice of one of those rebellious kids talks of the change in Melbourne’s character: Mick Harvey, Boy Next Door, Birthday Partier, Bad Seed. Back in the day, Harvey intones matter-of-factly, the inner-city was a cultural backwater.

5-6-7-8-9 is the countdown to new Aints! EP and shows

cover 56789 TheAints lgeAustralia's best old new musical group, The Aints!, are continuing their march to world domination with an EP and more live shows.

Ed Kuepper, Peter Oxley, Paul Larsen Loughhead and Alister Spence have added brass wizard Eamon Dilworth to the band ranks proper and are following up their debut album, "The Church of Simultaneous Existence".

As befits a band summoned to expand on the legacy of Kuepper's fabulous if reluctant punk pathfinders The Saints, the EP will be called "5-6-7-8-9", taking its cue from The Saints’ 1977 four-track release "1-2-3-4".

Click Read More to hear a track.

Silver Space Machine - Purple Urchin (self released)

silver space machineIt’s fuzz-laden and filthy rock and roll and the antecedents of two of Purple Urchin’s three members tells you why.

Guitarist-vocalist David “Spiff” Hopkins was in herbally-inclined Sydney skate-surf punks The Hellmen and treble-toned but righteous Perth rockers The M-16s, while Shayne Macri played bass in aptly-named West Australian band, The Fuzz, in which stellar-throated vocalist Abbe May also cut her teeth.

Purple Urchin come from Dunsborough, a surf town 250 kilometres south of Perth that serves as the gateway to Western Australia’s Margaret River wine region. Like everything else in that part of the world, it’s a long way from anywhere else. Purple Urchin have clearly brought their influences with them.

Shiny and New - Charlie Marshall and the Body Electric (Charlie Marshall)

shiny and new"Shiny and New" is quite a trip. For a start, there's not so much a wall of sound as a wall of optimism, to the point that, because I've been smiling so much, my face is hurting. 

There's a ton of soul, great swathes of bouncing joy, all wrapped up with a powerful sensibility of constant delight at the universe around us. I mean, who on earth apart from Stephen Hawking would conceive of a song about gravity?! And be able to realise it so magnificently? (Oh yeah, that's Hawking out. Couldn't sing worth a damn.)

I found myself wondering if the choice of covers came after the rest of Charlie's original songs had been assembled; "Mercy Mercy Me" - Marvin Gaye; "Move On Up" - Curtis Mayfield; and "God Only Knows" - Brian Wilson and Tony Asher. Because they snuggle effortlessly alongside Charlie Marshall's songs, swinging with style and pizzaz, providing such perfect thematic links. Ontime Harem Scarem frontman Marshall has made these classics his own. 

This is War! Godfathers Live! - The Godfathers (Godfathers Recordings)

this is warWe all know that band that was “born out of time”. The one that was on the cusp of success and that would/should have become household names given a modicum of luck and better timing. The Godfathers certainly qualify. 

Arising in the UK 10 years after punk’s initial rush and playing a brutal but hook-laden fast R & B, they had a degree of chart success in the US with “Birth, School, Work, Death” and “More Songs About Love & Hate” before leaving their major label for a German indie, peetering out in the 2000’s before a late decade reformation.

Crystal Cuts - Shifting Sands (Spooky Records/Beast Records)

crystal cutsA rating of eight bottles?!

Just to remind you - five bottles is the maximum. I take that to mean that those five are ticking the boxes. Further bottles are awarded for personal delight, surprise, enterprise and "they have no right to be this good".

"Crystal Cuts" is bloody gorgeous. It'll have you on the floor, or in a slow waltz, or blubbing as the level in the bottle sinks. Despite being nominally about a protracted relationship breakup, "Crystal Cuts" is also superbly uplifting, steadily exciting and a thrill to discover.

You know? The first time you listen to an album is special. Unique. Not every LP is that good that you cherish that moment, not by a long chalk. But I'll always remember pecking away in my back room waiting for the first decent rain of the year, a painting by Josh Lord ("false idols") to my left while Isabella Mellor's gently beautiful voice pours into my head.

Politics gets left at the door for good time rock and roll

angry bob metroAngry Andrson pontificates and Bob Spencer enjoys it. Shona Ross photo.  

Rose Tattoo
Hard-Ons
Metro Theatre, Sydney
Friday, March 29 2019

Photos by Shona Ross

There were plenty of people giving plenty of reasons why people should not go to this gig. The announcement that Rose Tattoo would team with the Hard-Ons for a the national "Still Never Too Loud" tour caused some people to lose their shit online - and not in a good way. More on that soon.

The more mundane reasons were timing (“it’s a Friday night in Sydney after a long working week, maaaaan”), the venue (“the sound at The Metro is sooooo dodgy”) to ignorance (“I never heard that was on”) so most of it was nothing unexpected. Another apathetic night in the Harbour City.

Then there was The Angry Issue.

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