You're never alone with a bulging back catalogue. Ain't that the truth

 rob factory
Rob Younger at The Factory Theatre. Shona Ross photo.

Radio Birdman
+ Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers
+ East Coast Low
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Friday, June 21, 2019

Radio Birdman
+ Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers
+ The Dark Clouds
Factory Theatre, Marrickville, NSW
Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Aints!
+ Colonel Kramer & The Eamon Dilworth One Man Brass Ensemble
Factory Theatre, Marrickville, NSW
Friday, June 28, 2019


Your own legacy is a hard act to follow. This is a tale of two bands.

On one hand you have Radio Birdman, a thoroughly re-tooled and different beast to its previous incarnations and still carrying a substantial reputation. They’re a prime reason why The I-94 Bar exists.

On the other, you have The Aints!, who are led by foundation Saints member Ed Kuepper and armed with a setlist partly planted in that band’s past, with the balance comprising songs that were written for the old band but never recorded.

Tactics return for select Australian shows

tactics title

Seminal post punk group Tactics are playing their first Australian shows since 2008, with dates in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Emerging from the murky depths of Canberra's punk scene in 1977, this critically acclaimed underground band led by Dave Studdert released six albums over a decade. Studdert now lives in Europe but his band’s post-punk pop and stripped-down psychedelia was a staple on the Sydney underground scene of the 1980s.

On the eve of the release of their seventh album, Tactics will play Marrickville Bowling Club in Sydney on August 9, The Foundry in Brisbane on August 10 and Melbourne’s Curtin Hotel on August 15.

The Past Came Callin’ - Pat Todd & The Rankoutsiders (Hound Gawd!)

past came callin coverAmericana is a term that excuses all sorts of sins. It’s so sweeping as to be meaningless - and it’s been homogenised to the point of dross - so let’s not speak of it again.

Some folks call Pat Todd “Americana” and it doesn’t remotely cover what he and his Los Angeles-based Rankoutsiders play. They’ve been tagged “Mellencamp with the Les Paul turned right up” by one reviewer, which is a bona fide compliment if you ignore the stuff that charted in Australia…

So, the fifth Rankoutsiders album, “The Past Came Callin’”, is rootsy and muscular rock and roll, an amalgam of rock, country, blues and everything in-between, and a contender for their best yet.

What makes the 14 tracks on “The Past Came Callin’” stand out? The songwriting, for one. Pat Todd doesn’t do mawkish sentimentality and writes from the heart. These are a mix of old and new songs, stories about relationships and crimes - which we all know are sometimes one and the same thing.

The surging, urgent guitars of Nick Alexander and Kevin Keller are another distinctive plus. Like Thunders with a clear head or Keef with a new-found dose of inspiration and less noodling, these guys make you take notice of every lick and steamrolling riff.

Top of the Food Chain – Prehistoric Douche (Surely Poor Records/Dirty Flair)

top of the food chain coverA conundrum for you: If douche is a word for “an obnoxious or contemptible person” why don’t these guys suck harder than a top-of-the-line Dyson vacuum cleaner near a split beanbag?

The intent is obvious from the song titles and long before you first drop that stylus into the groove. The Douches want to wind music back to Flintstones days, stripping it bare until there’s just fuzz left on the bones. Thirty-somethings on drums, bass and two guitars. What you see in their artfully posed cover St Kilda Beach photo is what you hear.

Zappa rhetorically asked if humour belonged in music and the answer’s right here. Eight songs and there’s a droll dad joke in most of them. What’s not to love about the “primordial cordial” chorus in the song of the same name, especially when it’s about going on a bender?

Sonically speaking, Prehistoric Douche are Melbourne’s equivalent of Sydney’s Crusaders without masks and playing a little slower. The playground they’re both in is familiar but each brings something of their own to stand out from the rest of the kiddies.

Who? - The Heck (Dirty Water)

who the heckYou might ask who they are, but after you wrap your ears around this debut album from The Heck, chances are your next question will be: “Where can I get more?”

The Heck hail from the northern reaches of the Netherlands and are the new garage rock outfit for singer-guitarist Henri Soulman (Sensational Second Cousins, the Miracle Men and De Keefmen) Soulman references the Sonics and The Reigning Sound as his big influences but there’s a lot more going on under the hood.

The Heck are a trio and we all know that such a configuration puts a sharp focus on the rhythm section. The fluid, warm bass-work of René Katerbarg and effervescent drumming of Erik Berends are right up to the job. Katerbarg fills any holes in the road while Berends drives the songs from just behind the beat.

Folk Implosion co-founder's tour

john davisOne-time oollege radio favourite John Davis - part of The Folk Implosion in the '90'- is heading to Australasia.

Davis and Dinosaur Jr bassist Lou Barlow co-founded The Folk Implosion in 1993 while the latter was looking for a different outlet to Sebadoah, his band at the time.

Davis left in 2000. He now now records and tours solo and with a band of rotating characters based in Durham, NC, USA.

Vale Sue Telfer, Sydney music icon

sue telfer
Michelle Fabok photo

Sydney’s live music scene suffered a body-blow last week when much-loved and long-time live music booker, musicians’ rights advocate and den mother to countless bands, Sue Telfer, passed away.

Sue had been conspicuously absent from a Deniz Tek acoustic gig she’d booked at Sydney’s Golden Barley Hotel last Tuesday night. Her employer, APRA AMCOS (the Australasian Performing Right Association and the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society), raised the alarm when she failed to log-on remotely for work.

Police attended Sue’s inner-city unit and found her. There were no suspicious circumstances.

Moronic Pleasures – The Candy Snatchers (Hound Gawd!)

moronic pleasuresRarely does the cliché “all killer no filler” stick in real life but here’s an example where it does. Recorded in 1997, shelved while the band did other things, and then issued digitally 20 years later, this little-known gem has finally made it to vinyl.

Saying it’s been worth the wait is like calling Isis just a little heavy-handed just after they’ve buried your nearest and dearest up to the neck in sand and wheeled out the harvesting machine.

The Candy Snatchers were one of America’s best-kept secrets back in the ‘90s. With the unbridled energy of The Dragons, the unrestrained spite of the drug-fucked Stooges and the sheer power of the Dead Boys, these Virginia Beach miscreants bled over US stages for about 16 years, before guitarist Matthew Odietus clocked out at the tender age of 40. They have returned to stages sporadically without him.

Hide your lighter fluid when these Schizophonics come to play

The Schizophonics Marrickville Bowlo Tom Wilkinson 28Tom Wilkinson photo.

The Schizophonics
Grinding Eyes
Sk8tergrrrl
Marrickville Bowling Club
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Photos by Tom Wilkinson

This gig was a bit of a big deal for Sydney’s spluttering live rock and roll scene. There’s an online buzz on San Diego’s Schizophonics, driven by their livewire videos and their reputation for spectacular shows. The Harbour City, however, was absent from their original travel plans.

A tour through New Zealand was being followed by just one Australian show - at The Tote Hotel in Collingwood, Melbourne - until last-minute intervention by a drummer in one of Oz’s most prominent bands (Russell Hopkinson of You Am I knows who he is) and another party who shall remain nameless. 



So a side trip to Sydney was organised - for a Thursday night show at Marrickville Bowling Club. The night after a hurriedly organised, extra Melbourne show. 

Marrickville Bowlo has become a haunt for Sydney’s older rock and roll demographic. Lansdowne for the kids, Bowlo for the seniors. It’s a nice-sounding room with a great PA and friendly staff. The drinks are cheap.

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