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The Devil Won’t Take Charity - Kim Volkman (self published)

Devil Wont Take CharityIt’s been said that everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay. Melbourne musician Kim Volkman begs to differ.

Now, he’s not exactly a household name so you could well ask what business Volkman has writing an autobiography. If you do I’ll not-so-respectfully point out that Justin Bieber has five (allegedly) self-penned books against his name on Amazon right now.

It helps that Volkman has led an interesting musical life. Guitarist with Ian Rilen and the Love Addicts - one of the most underrated, raw and real bands to appear on Australian stages in the last 30 years - he’s also had three stints filling his late ex-band leader’s bass spot in X.

Volkman’s played with many lesser-known bands - including his own very good Whiskey Priests. Unlike Justin Bieber, he’s never had notable success. That’s probably a good thing in Kim’s case - on his own admission, it might have killed him.

Binic Folks Blues Festival is a safe European home for Australia's best bands

 

bcsixfthickBen Corbett makes a point to the crowd as SixFtHick play on.

In May 2012, I had the good fortune to travel to Brittany in France to see HITS plays three club shows in the cities of Brest, Lorient and Lannion. The brilliant Ben Salter happened to be touring France at the same time, so he arrived, guitar in hand, to see his friends in HITS - and was promptly added to the bill for those gigs.

HITS and Salter were welcomed with open arms and rapturous applause, but I started to hear French people say the same thing to them after every show - "You have to play at Binic!"

White Mice are Exploding - again

white mice

Here’s one you might not have expected: Adelaide’s hard ‘n’ heavy Exploding White Mice are reforming for shows, in conjunction with the Adelaide Film Festival.

The Mice were a staple in the ‘80s and ‘90s with their landmark “Nest of Vipers” EP (1983) and a string of albums with a variety of line-ups. They were renowned as one of the best Radio Birdman-Ramones influenced outfits in Australia and took a distinctly poppy turn in their later days.

Farewell seminal producer Tony Cohen

tony cohenAustralian underground music’s most influential producer, Tony Cohen, has died.

Tony’s brother Martin announced his passing in a Facebook post yesterday: “Just arrived home to learn that my only sibling, my older brother Tony Cohen, passed away peacefully in Dandenong Hospital this afternoon. He turned 60 in June this year.

“Tony was a legend of Australian music shaping the industry and many of the best artists to come out of Australia including Nick Cave and the Cruel Sea," he wrote.

"He won three ARIA's in the 1990's for producing and engineering and was featured on several documentaries on the history of Australian music including ‘Its a Long Way to The Top’.

“Tony lived a hard life with drugs and alcohol playing a big part of his professional career. He did give them up many years ago but always knew that he would eventually pay for his 'sins'.

“As brothers we were like chalk and cheese. But, I loved him and fully respect what he achieved in his career. He was technically brilliant, but also a caring, big-hearted man. He sometimes frustrated me belong belief, but I will miss him for the rest of my days.”

Cohen’s production credits read like a Who’s Who of Australian music in the 1980s and ‘90s. They include Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party, The Cruel Sea, Beasts of Bourbon, TISM, Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes, Sacred Cowboys, Models, The Ferrets, The Johnnys, Supernaught, Kim Salmon and the Surrealists, The Moodists, Pel Mel, The Go-Betweens, The Saints, Spencer P Jones, The Devastations and Cold Chisel.

Charlie Marshall & the Curious Minds live in Adelaide

 Charlie Marshall wheatsheafPhoto by Robert Dunstan of Bside magazine 

When you shut your eyes and listen, support act Workhorse sound very good, kind of soothing but slightly disturbing.

Several of us did just that. Watching them was interesting - their violinist was exceptional (most violinists seem to think that furiously sawing away will earn them some sort of Scout or Brownie badge), the vocals haunting and rather beautiful, and a rather lovely Vox bass throbbed effectively.

 It may be early days for this outfit (I'm told that a couple, including the lead vocalist/ guitarist, were/ are in the Wireheads) and there's a certain amount of shyness - common to a large number of young bands these days - which I don't think suits the material. I'll make a point of seeing them again as I enjoy noticing how bands develop.

Infestation - The Stinkbugs (Swashbuckling Hobo)

infestationStuck firmly in a time warp of their own making, Brisbane’s The Stinkbugs make music that bears no relation to anything you’ll hear on mainstream radio or oh-so-limp reality TV shows. Fuzzy ’n’ frothy, psychedelic garage rock is their stock in trade. 

With a lineage that includes membership of Shutdown66 and the Hekawis, The Stinkbugs mix their ’60s acid punk with their ‘70s hard rifferama to come up with their own distinctive, odd sound. This is their second album (with a couple of fine singles in-between) and veers between trashy lo-fi ragers and cloudy, acid-washed trips. 

Wind Horses (A Special Edition) - Peter Blast (Blast-O-Matic)

wind horsesPunk turned Americana country bluesman Peter Blast occupies a musical space vacated by Nikki Sudden and contested by a string of similar-minded outriders. This two-song CD single gives a glimpse of why the others are mostly pretenders. 

He might look like his late friend Johnny Thunders’ Chicago cousin and Blast shares his plaintive vocal stylings, but the soulful music he makes is all his own. “Population Zero” is sparse, country blues dressed in a skeletal arrangement and spooky lap slide. Herein lies the Nikki Sudden comparison. 

Wasty Tasty - Swhat (Heart of The Rat Records)

swhat albumSwhat is another one of those bands that subscribes to that simple formula. It’s one from the mid-‘70s UK and (paraphrased) it goes like this: “Here’s one chord. Here’s another. Here’s one more. Now go form your own band.”

Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. We all need a fix of bracing, ear-clearing punk in our musical lives. It clears the head, channels the thoughts and wipes away memories of accidental exposure to mundane pap like Beyonce and untenable excrement like the Idol TV franchise.

A Big Bad Beautiful EP - The Godfathers (Godfather Recordings2)

godfathers epThe doubters can get back in their box. The Godfathers do what too many re-born bands of their vintage can’t and sound as convincing as they did in the ‘80s. This EP features two album cuts (one re-mixed) and a couple not on the record. .

“A Big Bad Beautiful Noise” is the album title track (and EP lead-off) and it’s a relentless, surging wall of guitars - just as it should be with an act that was among a bunch of unfashionables that were kicked to the kerb and labelled “rockist” by the fickle UK music press, way back in the day.

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