After years of medical tribulations, Scott Morgan is taking the next step in his return to active musical duty. The former Rationals, Sonic's Rendezvous Band, Hydromatics, The Solution and solo band artist with a career spanning five decades releases his first new album in seven years this month, the stellar "Rough and Ready" (Rouge Records).
Backed by The Sights, his band of choice on recent live outings, Morgan emphatically returns to his blue-eyed soul roots, laying down 10 songs of righteous beauty and grandeur.
Co-written with Eddie Baranek of The Sights and recorded by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders and Adam Cox at Hamtramck Studios, it's a refreshingly pure album and a reminder of why Morgan has long been regarded one of the best rock and soul voices in the business. We asked Scott to walk us track-by-track through "Rough and Ready". The photos are by Marian Krzyzowski.
Tony Thewlis and Kim Salmon fronting the Scientists at Sydney's Southern Cross Hotel in 1982.
The Scientists at their peak were unmatchable. A glorious collision of droning, caustic, fuzz guitars, minimalist bass, anguished lyrics about alienation and ominous, funereal rhythms, they created something unique after landing in Sydney in 1981.
Originally ragged New York Dolls-inspired popsters back in Perth, the re-constituted Scientists stripped their music back to its darkest roots, concoting their own brand of psychedelia and incorporating influences like Suicide, the Stooges and Captain Beefheart.
Too big for their own Surry Hills backyard, the band moved to the UK in 1982 and, in typical expatriate Australian underground band fashion, starved before going on to influence countless other acts into the ‘90s and beyond.
The second release from Melbourne's The Heartache State - the band formed by Southpaw's Justin Garner and much-travelled Nick Barker - has been something to look forward to for a long time. The good news is that there’s no disappointment to be found on "Last Of The Buffalo".
The first self-titled album was a couple of years back and a fine thing it was too, but this time The Heartache State has lifted it a few notches with 10 tracks of hard, swaggering Aussie pub rock.
Drone and fuzz are the base ingredients in this psychedelic stew from Sydney four-piece Gridning Eyes. The sound is thunderous and heavy in the mid-range, with no compromise to melody. Delicate harmonies are in short supply.
Grinding Eyes have been around for three years and have two singles on prodigious boutique Brisbane label Tym Records. This is their long player debut (on CD through Off The Hip) and it’s an exacting but rewarding trip
Recorded by Owen Pengilis (Straight Arrows), and mixed (in France) and mastered (in Detroit) by sonic wizard Jim Diamond, these are nine songs of dark, relentless assault.
The new Juliette Seizure & The Tremor Dolls album is dripping with bubble gum pop, big riffs and fabulous vocals.
It's a combination that has to make "Seizure Salad" a surefire winner on the live pub circuit. It's just made to be played to drunken punters on a Saturday night, and it's a perfect follow up to last year's "Chewing Out Your Rhythm On My Bubble Gum".
"Seizure Salad" finds the Tremor Dolls evolving their sound without losing any of their influences (the Ramones being the obvious one.) This six-piece Adelaide outfit has been refining its chops overseas, with a tour of Japan under the belt, in-between hitting as many Australian pubs as possible.
Have The Sand Pebbles made a bad album? I’ve heard or own half of them and they’re full of some of the most surreally fascinating, textured and immersive psychedelic music to come from an Australian band in the last 20 years. “Pleasure Maps” continues what’s more a body-of-work than a discernible progression.
A rant by Bruce Milne on Facebook initially piqued my interest. The ex-Au Go Go label/shop head posted his instant, first listen take-out that “Pleasure Maps” was killer. Patrick Emery’s review below takes it from there. I’ll just try to add something else.
Like the financial affairs of a retired politician, it’s amazing what you find in rock and roll if you dig deep enough. Japan’s The Deadvikings are a prime example.
These Far Eastern brothers-by-another-mother of the Hellacopters have been going for 10 years and have numerous releases behind them. They’ve done a split single with UK reprobates The Sick Livers and The Hip Priests (but don’t judge them by the company they keep.)
They’ve toured Europe and China. They’re hitting Australia in November, with their Sydney mates Bunt.
Dateline: Adelaide. Hugo Race (pictured right) and Michelangelo Russo arrived at the venue shortly after 4pm, just in time for a swift soundcheck, have a couple of beers, smoke a couple of rollies and a cigar (respectively) while Michael Plater was on.
Quizzed later about their 4am wake-up to drive from St Kilda to Adelaide’s West End, Hugo denied it being a hard trip. "Warsaw to Paris, that’s a hard drive" … you knew he meant non-stop.
And it’s not the first time Hugo’s done this drive; this time he was captivated by the patterns of light, the yellows of the rapeseed, a stand of blasted trees waving in the wind… Charlie Marshall does this kind of thing. Not so much old school as a rediscovery of the essence of travel.
A lot of water’s passed under the Story Bridge since Brisbane’s Dr Bombay released their debut album “Dose” three years ago. Amicable line-up changes mean that just two original members, singer Gary Slater and guitarist Stewart De Lacy, remain.
What hasn’t altered is Slater’s grasp of what makes great songwriting. The ex-Voodoo Lust and latter-day Trilobites frontman came up with all 13 of the tracks on “Spit Your Out Like Revenue” - and there are some pearlers in the ranks.