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The Clouds return with their first single in decades

Sydney’s sublime popsters, The Clouds, are returning with their first new recording in 20 years.

The Clouds were among the leading lights of the Australian indie scene in the early to mid-‘90s, fronted by the dual vocals of Jodi Phillis and Patricia Young. With three Top 50 Albums - including the classic "Penny Century" - The Clouds were well loved by critics and their huge fan base. They reformed briefly in 2014 to play a national tour.

The new single, “Mabel's Bookshop“, is from a forthcoming EP “Zaffre” out on February 14, 2017 as a digital download. They’ll also play their first headline show in Sydney for three years at Newtown Social Club on March 31. It’s a warm-up to national dates on the Day on The Green tour with Blondie and Cyndi Lauper in April.

THE CLOUDS launch “Zaffre” EP
FRIDAY 31ST MARCH 2017 - NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB
Plus Special Guests Melodie Nelson + Jack Tickner
Tickets $35.00+BF from http://newtownsocialclub.com

Williamson and Tek team for acoustic EP

After collaborations for singles with Petra Haden (“Blues Jumped The Rabbit”), Lisa Kakuala (“I Love My Tutu”) and Maia (“Sickkk”) in the last six months, ex-Iggy & the Stooges guitarist James Williamson is poised to release an acoustic EP with Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek.

“Acoustic KO” is being released digitally and as a vinyl EP on March 31. The track listing is “I Need Somebody”, “Penetration”, “Night Theme” and “No Sense Of Crime” and you shouldn’t need to be told that the first two come from “Raw Power” and the others from the Williamson-Pop “Kill City” album. Tek provides vocals and guitar on three cuts and Williamson contributes guitar (naturally) but expect acoustic drums, guest singers and an orchestra in there too.

Let It Slide - Mark Porkchop Holder (Alive Natural Sounds)

let it slide porkchopHard to comprehend that this is Mark Porkchop Holder’s debut album. He’s a founding and former member of the blues-stomping raunch machine, Black Diamond Heavies, and that should tell you something straight away, even before you play a single track.

“Let It Slide” is roadhouse blues - no, not those “Roadhouse Blues” with the drunken clown out front singing about mute nostril agony. I mean the shit you might hear in little bars when you get off the interstate highways in Tennessee or Louisiana. Best served with a corn dog side dish, grits and catfish fried in possum sweat. As featured on "Man versus Food".

Heath Green and the Makeshifters - Heath Green and the Makeshifters (Alive Natural Sound)

heath green cdIt’s just a theory so bear with it: As music’s once essential ingredients like passion and energy become even more diluted, those who still want to practice rock and roll as it used to be known will be forced right back into their past.

The ‘70s will become Rock’s Golden Age, even if the ‘60s were better, simply because that was the time when mass media first took a real grip and force-fed culture to the populace. Rock and roll will become more reactionary, tougher and more comfortable within its own leathery skin.

The meek will have already inherited the earth and occupied portable electronic devices and the digital channels. The only contestable ground will be bars and clubs where earthy, honest rock and roll will make a vinyl-like resurgence among a small but devoted following, and select newcomers (aka bored Milllennials.) Which is where someone like Heath Green comes in.

Sydney to have its own vinyl pressing plant

The vinyl revival will suddenly become more accesible if you’re an Australian band looking to press an album or single.

With just one local pressing plant (Zenith in Melbourne) capable of a substantial run, Australian bands have been starved of choice with the cost of having a record manufactured offshore compounded by shipping costs. A new plant is set to open in Sydney’s inner-western mid-year, according to the facility’s manager Vincent Chen.

The Velvet Underground. Complete Released Works. Part Three

velvets dinkusThe Velvet Underground and Nico, Now - finally - we come to one of those albums that is insanely iconic (that peeling banana for a start), that you’re told is essential, but which so many people have and rarely listen to because - whisper it - they don’t really like it.

Characters like me, of course, love it (to put it mildly). Around about the time I first heard this LP (I was 12 or 13, my friend Paul had bought it in a chain record shop, filed in the comedy section) I recall talking to some older musicians in 1980, stalwarts of Adelaide’s piddly live scene. To them, the VU were “weird”, and therefore not worthy of examination. The Stooges, incidentally, were widely regarded as a joke, plunking, laboured plodders. The musicians I’m talking about were people who took Frank Zappa seriously (but dismissed Beefheart) and rejoiced when ELO came along (if I had a dollar for every bozo who forcibly showed me how super ELO sounded on their expensive new imported speakers …).

Is it possible that God doesn’t want Ozzy or Eric Clapton up there with Motorhead and Schubert, Bach, Bowie, Keith Emmerson and Bolan, and Robert Quine and Renestair EJ and Thelonious Monk and Charlie Mingus and Brett Smiley and Art Pepper and all the others … talk about spoiling the atmos …

Unbelievably Bad zine Issue 20

ub 20One of the last Aussie ‘zines standing is setting some sort of record for durability, but issue 20 is tinged with deep sadness.

Editor Danger Coolidge’s opening column, detailing the life and tragic loss of his son, Angus Reekie, who took his own life late last year at the age of 16, is one of the most powerful things you’ll read. Cathartic in the extreme, if it doesn’t touch you, you’re not human.

On the brighter side of the coin, this issue is the usual mix of gems, surprises and obscurities. The interview with Buffalo vocalist Dave Tice is detailed and comprehensive (and we played a small part in making it happen so it’s all the more satisfying.) The chat with Link Meanie is long overdue and covers a storied and ongoing career that's taken on fresh legs wityh Sun God Replica.

As for obscurities, Unbelievably Bad invariably shines a light on acts most of the world hasn’t heard of and there are pieces on Undinism (the Geelong band - not the Donald Trump allegations), Nick Singer (of Newcastle band Brandon’s Island) and Jonah Wallis (Fucked Up.) Harriet Hudson might be a name known to the kids who follow Miss Destiny but I didn’t like Circle Pit (her other band) so I can take or leave her interview.

Musk Hill - The Baudelaires (Off The Hip)

musk hillAnother day, another great and surreal psych band from south of the NSW-Victoria border. The Baudelaires have a string of singles under their belt (via Colourtone Records) and this is their full-length debut (on Off The Hip, of course.)

Mr Everywhere, Mikey Young (Eddy Suppression Ring), recorded this with The Baudelaires in a three-day session at a house on the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria. The songs burn slowly, for the most part, with a magnificence all their own. They aren’t in any hurry but they arrive at their destination.

Coleum Versus - Jim Dickson (Citadel Records)

coelum versusHe mighr be embarassed by it being said, but Jim Dixon is the Grand Old Bass Man of Sydney’s rock and roll scene.

Since dropping in as a member of raw Brisbane band The Survivors at the tail end of the ‘70s to relocating and driving the bottom end for The Passengers and many more, he’s been as much a fixture as cold beer and sticky carpets.

Active duty in London with the Barracudas and then back home to play with the likes of Louis Tillett, Penny Ikinger, the New Christs, the Deniz Tek Group and Radio Birdman, Gentleman Jim is omnipresent as both player and punter. Along the way he’s supplemented his music by working in a record store, running his own curry kitchen and, more lately, bussing tourists around Greater Sydney’s natural wonders.

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