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Songs About Insects - St Morris Sinners (Off The Hip)

st morris sinners insectsThe St Morris Sinners must have had a lot of fun recording this. They’re one of those bands who,  like the Butthole Surfers on their first 12”, have released a disc so uniquely different you could be fooled into thinking you’re listening to several bands. That’s a good thing, of course, because it implies that there’s a broader palette just waiting to be applied.

It’s rated five bottles, although depending on your taste, you’ll likely be putting this one into the obsolete technology in 20 years. ‘Songs about Insects’ is a big restless, itchy slab of mucky stuff and St Morris Sinners have a narky, deceptive approach all their own.

Peripherique - Mass Spectrometer (Ghostjogger)

mass specIf I told you this was worth four bottles, and probably more, you’d probably go out and get it. If I told you the truth, which is that I’ll still be turning this little ripper on in 20 years time if I’m spared, it’s a six bottle disc and you can’t live without this one … what will you do? Look. Dave Graney would dig this. I reckon Ed Kuepper would too. And Ed Clayton Jones, Hugo Race, Charlie Marshall and a host of others.

Imagine. It’s the early 1980s, and you live in New Zealand, far, far from the tumbling new wave and alternative bands falling out of everywhere. There’s a New Zealand scene which you love, but which almost everyone outside the country is ignorant of: indeed, the question many New Zealanders get asked is, “What language do you speak?”

The Velvet Underground. Complete Released Works. Part Four

velvets dinkus"White Light/ White Heat" and "The Velvet Underground", the band’s second and third LPs, were always the kind which you experience in the fullest sense of the meaning. When you’d finally recovered after playing the bastard to death, you’d inevitably create a mix tape, if not two.

From one perspective, then, the Velvets’ LPs are all seriously flawed; from another perspective (mine) any flaws they may have are simply the representation of the kind of genius several individuals can create, where the creation reaches far, far above anything we do individually. But like I say, approach with caution. And have your mixtape equipment handy.

At this point I must also mention two 1980s compilations of Velvets recordings. These tracks turn up on the deluxe boxes, and on "Peel Slowly"; the records were "VU", and "Another View". Many people prefer the first to the second; as lost Velvets albums, however, they’re a damn sight more balanced than "White Light/ White Heat" and "The Velvet Underground".

Brokenhearted on the Nullarbor - The Systemaddicts (Off The Hip)

brokenhearted nullaborFirst an apology: it’s taken me ages to find the time to write this down, but “Brokenhearted” is a constant in the car, revving us all up when we … er. Go to the shops. Go to the beach. Go visit me mum. You know.

Oh yeah. What a fabulous band the Systemaddicts are. One of Adelaide's best. Yeah, you’ll hear fragments of Birdman in them, you’ll hear the big brassy sound of The Saints (especially their third album) but most of all you’ll hear the urgency and freshness that you got from some of those early ‘60s British explosion outfits. Vim, verve, smarts and relevance.

Grab yourself some Pussy

nashvillepussy 01

The touring news just keeps coming. Atlanta’s Nashville Pussy is set to blaze a trail through Australia and New Zealand in May 2017.

Defying any fixed genre, Nashville Pussy are a cowpunk, hard rock and psychobilly monster smeared with whisky soaked sleaze. The band's lyrical themes mostly revolve around sex, drugs, drinking, fighting, and rock 'n' roll. 

We're all Happy Men and Women

sluggo enmore lightsIn days to come, when rock and roll has finally been relegated to the cultural nursing home to be read its last rites. It'll be a nice room with dappled sun, shared with other old cogders like Jazz and Rolling Stone magazine.

People will reflect that some of its best times were in Sydney in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. They’ll also realise how good things were, and how easily they slipped away.

This wasn’t going to be one of those high faultin’ essays on the fragility of cultural scenes and the futility of trying to recapture them (because, you know, things can never be like they were.) About how you can’t put your arms around a memory. Telling you: Don’t Look Back. But a story "angle" can just happen.

Sometimes we try to bury nostalgia or pretend it’s not a valid thing. It’s so easy to hope you die before you get old when you’re in the full flourish of indestructible youth…and then you want to take it all back when you realise that the future's not so much uncertain and the end is increasingly near.

So let’s make the observation that if nostalgia isn’t so much the elephant in the room at the Enmore Theatre tonight then it’s taking up much of the available space in the foyer. And that's fine. More than ever, with so many people who were influential in rock and roll dropping off the twig. We all crap on about how bad 2016 was for that sort of thing but of course it's only going to get worse. 

Right: Sluggo from Flaming Hands under the Enmore lights. Shona Ross photo

Peanut Butter Blues - Dr Boogie (self released)


"There is nothing to win by this kind of an outcry..." -Richard Hell

"Everything is really hard, if you ain't got that credit card." -Iggy Pop

peanut butter bluesOld grape popsicles don't expire, they just get freezer burnt.

Back in my bespangled youth, there was no Internet and no downloadable sound files you could carry around in your hand-held Orwell gadget. We had, like, Walkman's and a couple of cassettes, if we were lucky, you know? If we got real enterprising, we'd spring for all those big batteries to power up our boom boxes, with all the band stickers on it, but it costs a lot to keep those machines blaring, especially if you hung out with a ragamuffin lot of heavy metal kids, Stooges heads, and ersatz break-dancers.

Rock 'n' roll sounds still mostly came on collectible black platters with colorful picture sleeves, but you had to send cash away for it in the mail, relying on the honor of scuzzy rascals, and every so often, you might get chumped. 'Had to figure, somebody must be awful hard up, to rip off their own fans. There was no Pay-Pal, you just paid your pals.

A trip in the Delorean with The Flaming Hands

flaming hands factoryHalf of the Flaming Hands: Julie Mostyn, Warwick Gilbert and Jeff Sullivan. Drummer Baton Price is obscured.  Murray Bennett photo

In preparation for their upcoming support slot with the Sunnyboys at the Enmore Theatre, the band calling themselves "The Strangers" - aka The Flaming Hands - lined up a show at Marrickville's Factory Floor.

The Thursday night crowd gathering outside the venue contained many familiar faces of gig goers and musicians from what was loosely termed the "Detroit Scene" of the late '70s-early '80s from which The Flaming Hands emerged.

Radio Birdman, Died Pretty tour takes flight over Australia

Iconic underground products of the Sydney music scene, Radio Birdman and Died Pretty, are undertaking a double-header tour of Australia.

Although they formed 11 years apart, Birdman and Died Pretty had their roots in the same Darlinghurst breeding ground. Died Pretty's Ron Peno was a patron at the Oxford Funhouse and a member of Birdman support act The Hellcats. Birdman's Rob Younger has been a production hand at critical points of their recording career.

Muscially, they veered in disparate directions. Spirit-wise, the bands shared a common sense of independence and going their own way. Both bands will be alternating headline positions.

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