Do you want to be in my Gang? Oh yeah.

andy gill rick de pizzolJohn 'Gaoler' Sterry. Rick de Pizzol photo.

Gang of Four
God God Dammit Dammit
Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide
November 5, 2019

Gang of Four are touring Australia and New Zealand and played Adelaide earlier this week. They were fucking brilliant. Exciting. Brutal. Gigantic. Fun, too. But ... pointed and magnificent.

It's a no-brainer. Go see them while you can.

Right, well. A little context. When I was asking a few friends if they were going, one said, 'they sound like every other band' ... well, no they don't. See, the thing is, over the last 40 years a lot of other
bands have picked up on their style, which is now familiar.

Brothers in arms

taste for evilTaste for Evil – The Cuthroat Brothers (Hound Gawd)

You’re over all those punk-blues duos? You prefer your blues un-bent, right? And you never want to see red and white stripes again? Think again.

The Cuthroat Brothers are real-life barbers from the US Pacific Northwest city of Tacoma, an area that also spawned The Sonics. One of them (Donny Paycheck) drummed for Zeke. Studio wiz Jack Endino (Mudhoney, Nirvana, Soundgarden) produced this, their second album. 

They sing songs about “blood, death, drugs, sex, black magic (and) bad relationships” and their music is raucous, rough-edged and rambunctious. What’s not to like?

Take The Fall for one Hex-cellent read

the big midweekHave A Bleedin Guess. The Story of Hex Enduction Hour
by Paul Hanley (Route Publishing)

Straight outta ... Pontefract ... comes Route's latest (rather brilliant) publication. For what I suspect is a small publisher, Route (est. 2000) punch above their weight. This is their 10th music book - the third to deal mostly with The Fall and - gulp - the second by a Fall drummer.

You can snaffle Simon Wollstencroft's “You Can Drum But You Can't Hide” and Steve Hanley's tour de force “The Big Midweek. Life Inside The Fall” at Route's website, and Paul Hanley's “Leave The Capital” (a history of Manchester music and liberation) as well.

My copy's pink with black writing, and  signed. Though I'd like to think you'd see this one in Dymock's or JBHiFi, don't hold your breath. I ordered mine, yes from overseas, and it arrived in a timely fashion, and much better wrapped than most books you order from overseas.

Which is excellent; particularly since it anticipates Cherry Red's upcoming '"1982" Fall box, the latter of which I expect I'll get to in due course.

Now, unlike his brother Steve, Paul Hanley approaches “Hex Enduction Hour” in two minds. The bulk of the text follows the obvious pattern: what came before the album, how the songs were put together, the context of the band in their time and so on. He approaches the album as a music historian, but is also able to correct wrongly-held beliefs (such as the likely identity of King Shag Corpse) with restrained glee, while inserting footnotes which reveal the bloke you want to meet at the pub. Rather puts me in mind of Terry Edwards' book on Madness' first LP, written for the 33 1/3 series.

Speaking of which, in the foreword, Stewart Lee (no, no idea) tells his sad story of wanting to write a book on “Hex” for 33 1/3, only to be rebuffed with the old “ain't commercial enough”, a sad and common refrain to many an enthusiastic writer (if not fan).

Godbless. Ron Peno returns

ron peno memo

It really is a Blue Sky Day. From the Good News Department comes this:

Much-loved Died Pretty frontman Ron Peno is returning to live performance after successful treatment for cancer.

Ron and his solo band, The Superstitions, will play their first show since January at Memo Music Hall in Melbourne on Friday December 6.

When pop-rock knew no limits

no limitNo Limit: Collected Works 1985-89 – Love Minus Zero (Method Records and Music)

From the Never Quite Made It Department comes this collection of gems.

Love Minus Zero was a Sydney pop-rock band that was around in the mid-‘80s who managed to release some tracks on Waterfront label compilation and a self-titled EP on Citadel spin-off Green Fez before packing their tent.

“No Limit” is a pubic service of sorts, not the least reason being that it serves as a reminder of the embarrassment of riches that was the Sydney music scene 35 years ago.

Two albums full of piss and vinegar

bomber down address to the nation sm

Address to the Nation - Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders (I-94 Bar Records)
Bomber Down - Bomber Down (self released)

“Address to the Nation” and “Bomber Down” come out of the blocks, fiery and roaring, full of piss and vinegar. Tight strong songs, stuff that belongs on the stereo, in the car, loud at parties and annoying pimply neighbours who ruin the neighbourhood and go to bed at 8.30.

“Address to the Nation” is Klondike's fourth long-playing solo band CD; the others, although most readers of this site will have them, were Klondike's North 40: “The Straight Path”; Chris Klondike Masuak “Workhorse”; Chris Masuak and the Viveiro “'Brujita”.and now this all issued by the website you're reading now.

Full Disclosure nonsense: I like Chris too. Also, I knew the members of the immediate precursor to Bomber Down, Phil, Sean, Rob and Tony. Rob and Tony are no longer with us - it's not been a good year.

He's on a Mexican radio


mj halloranMichael Halloran is playing upstairs at The Tote with Light Magnetic on Thursday 14 November. 

Michael Halloran is busy, but he’s not in a hurry. Back in Melbourne from Mexico to see family and friends and to squeeze in a couple of live shows and some recording, Halloran is taking things as they come – organically, if you will.

“That’s where I’ve kind of got to now,” Halloran muses. “Fuck the whole organising and rehearsing, I’m too old for that – maybe not too old, but I’ve got my experiences.”

Having left Melbourne for New York five years ago, Halloran’s nominal home base is now in Mexico, where he runs a bed and breakfast. Earlier this year, Halloran returned to New York to put down some tracks with long-time collaborator Dee Pop and expatriate Australian musician Rob Mason: 

“I lived in New York for about five years so I’ve got a lot of musical contacts and friends. It’s a very strong musical community,” Halloran says. “I’ve had this idea that I’ve wanted to do recently, which is to record with different people at different places. Basically to turn up there, stay for a month, get a feel, get back into the vibe and check some unique music, stuff that’s going on.”

It's not summer without some Sunnyboys

sunnyboys 2019

In 2020 Sunnyboys will celebrate 40 years since their inception (though a mere 12 years of actual existence) via liver shows and a new release. “Sunnyboys 40” brings together the first ever re-release of the band’s much loved 1980 eponymous debut 7” - featuring the original version of the all-time classic “Alone With You” - alongside four new recordings of songs from the archives of chief songwriter Jeremy Oxley.

The full length 8-track album will be released on November 29 via all formats including a limited edition vinyl release complete with hard cover 12 page 30cm x 30cm photo essay of the band, as well as CD, cassette and all digital platforms.

Sunnyboys 40 is available for pre-order now via here and hits retail on November 29.

The science of swimming upstream

kim salmon solo

As if an inaugural US tour with the Scientists wasn’t memorable enough, Kim Salmon is packing a lot more into the back-end of 2019 and the kick-off of 2020. 

He’s launching his Douglas Galbraith-penned biography, “Nine Parts Water One Part Sand. Kim Salmon And The Formula For Grunge” in Melbourne on November 9, heading a bill that includes King Congo (backed by Harry Howard and the NDE) and Dave Graney and the MistLY.

Salmon is being inducted with the Scientists in the WA Music Hall of Fame on October 31 – along with former teen idol and Young Talent Time TV host, Johnny Young (!)

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