• First review of the album for James Williamson & The Pink Hearts

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

All You Need Tonight - Dee Rangers (Low Impact)

dee rangers all you need tonightIt's been 15 years since I first laid ears on Sweden's Dee Rangers via their mighty "Pretty Ugly Beat" album, so smear me with a bowl of IKEA meatballs and mashed potato for thinking they'd broken up. Au contraire, to mix European languages in an almost Brexit world, they are very muich alive and kicking.

"All You Need Tonight" is album number seven for a band whose membership has stayed largely stable since they formed in the mid-'90s. You'll recognise their influences as soon as you hear their music. Firmly rooted in the '60s but blurring the stylistic boundaries between pop and garage, it's a potent distillation of what made Scandi music great for a very long time.

Lost For Words - Deniz Tek (Career Records)

lost for wordsMaking an instrumental album is a brave step for someone best known for doom-laden tunes about living eyes, muscle cars and human reinvention under piles of ice and snow, but Deniz Tek's departure from the well-worn path really works.

From the scuzzy serrated intro of "Eddie Would Go" with its air of "Human Fly" Cramps crossing swords with Davie Allan to the clean and lean retake on Radio Birdman's "Zeno Beach", "Lost For Words" makes a voice-less statement about simpler times.

Back in the '60s, a pre-teen Tek cut his musical teeth on these sorts of songs. Surf music (and its variants) was a radio staple around the world. Tek told Perfect Sound Forever in 2001:

"The first rock and roll song I learned to play on the guitar in entirety was 'Walk Don’t Run.' I was 12-years-old. And their version of the Hawaii Five-0 theme was a great inspiration to me in the summer of 1969, the year I started driving fast cars. When it came on the radio, the ‘68 Charger went much faster!"

Descent coming on streaming services

Descent awards

What do George Michael, L7, Michael Caine and Radio Birdman have in common? They’re all Official Selections at the worlds largest and most prestigious Music Documentary Film Festival “ In-edit Barcelona & Madrid Spain 2018.

Jonathan Sequeira’s critically acclaimed and uncompromising documentary "Descent Into The Maelstrom – The Radio Birdman Story" is available to buy on DVD. The film will be released via streaming services (iTunes and Vimeo worldwide) on October 5 with YouTube to follow late 2018.

C'mon Sydney: Let's do it for Stew

stew sydneyAfter such a phenomenal fundraising performance by Team Leadfinger (Melbourne Branch) and everyone at the Tote Hotel in Melbourne recently, it’s time for Sydney/Wollongong Team Leadfinger to run with the momentum created.

A group of friends are organising “See You Tonight – A benefit gig for Stewy ‘Leadfinger’ Cunningham” at Marrickville Bowling Club on Friday, November 23.

Cunningham, singer-guyitarist for Leadfinger, Asteroid B612, Challenger 7, Proton Energy Pills and The Yes-Men, was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year 

This will be one memorable night with a host of Sydney and Wollongong artists coming together to celebrate the man and the music that is Mr Cunningham.  

Also on the bill are international tourists Señor No, direct from the Basque country in Spain. High-energy veterans Señor No are big fans of Australian underground music and played host to Leadfinger when they toured Spain in 2017. This will be their only Sydney show.

The line-up is: 

  • SC5 (Sydney’s own amazing MC5 tribute featuring ex members of the New Christs and Lime Spiders)
  • Señor No
  • Adam Young and the Down Main (Adam and mates bring some Alt Country rock to the night)
  • 300 St. Claire (Sydney Blundstone rock from guys you all know)
  • Fangin Felines (a very new band with Carrie Phillis from Booby Traps and Morgana and Sarah from Nitocris)
  • Dave Curley’s Ripped Genes (featuring members of Leadfinger along with special guests Kent Steedman (Celibate Rifles), Bill Gibson (The Eastern Dark) and others. 

Be sure to stuff your wallets with cash money for the night. With the awesome assistance of some great labels and record stores across Australia, organisers will be raffling off CDs, vinyl, tees and other goodies. Tickets here.

 

 

Thurston Howlers are back to headline Tiki Safari

Thurston HowlersSydney's cocktail-sipping frat rock kings, Thurston Howlers, are back from oblivion to headline this year's Tiki Safari. 

The event is billed as "a supersonic eruption" that's going to rock Marrickville's Factory Theatre and raise more heat than Kilauea lava on Saturday, October 13.

Thurston Howlers were garage rock staples on the Sydney scene in the mid 1990s. After 20 years away, they'll be joined by an eclectic cast: 
 
Last year’s explosive act, Pacific Dreamz Polynesian Dance Group, will deliver another mesmerising performance of island dance and drums. Rosa Maria brings a splash of garage, a hint of surf, a measure of psych and a dash of blues.

Pat Capocci is an international festival favourite, a superstar of the rockabilly scene who is guaranteed to deliver a rock’n’roll spectacular. The Hellcat III are a tumultuous trio that promise to raise the roof and get this party started with their exciting blend of traditional surf guitar and neo rockabilly.

Los Monaros will drive you to a tantalising tropical zone with their cool grindhouse surf beats.
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DJs Jay Katz, Rod Almighty and Andy Travers will keep the afternoon and evening moving. There will be food, merchandise, clothing, collectables and rum and the doors open at 3pm. Tickets are $35 in advance here and $40 on the door.

“The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities” by Wayne Kramer (Da Capo)

the hard stuff coverIt’s a truism that stated fact sits at one end of the scale and fiction at the other, with the truth lying somewhere in-between. Ex-MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer has been a divisive figure at times - the stillborn “A True Testimonial” documentary, anyone? - so parts of his story will be disputed by some.

Ultimately, though, it’s pointless buying into all that. “The Hard Stuff” is Kramer’s own story and it’s told from his own perspective. None of the other people still standing are offering alternative perspectives (although the posthumous autobiography from bandmate Mike Davis is out there, too.) On its merits, “The Hard Stuff” is a rollicking read with only a few stones left unturned.

The plotline for dummies: Kramer’s the working class Detroit kid from a broken family who shook off the handicap of an abusive stepfather and forged his own musical way. He was a founding member of the radical chic MC5 and remains a compellingly lyrical guitar player who’s influenced countless others. 

“The Hard Stuff” takes us through the rise and fall of the 5, Kramer’s slide into crime, his imprisonment for drug dealing, ongoing battles with booze and smack, career revival and personal redemption through hard work and love.

Oh you Pretty Things: Phil May looks back without sorrow

pretty things sepia

In the middle of 1968 The Pretty Things were seated in a conference room with EMI executives and production engineer Norman Smith at EMI’s corporate headquarters in Manchester Square, London. The Pretty Things were presenting their new album, and their first with EMI, a concept album based around the story of a fictional character by the name of Sebastian F Sorrow: SF Sorrow.

Standing at a lectern in the conference room, Smith, in-house engineer at Abbey Road studios where the album was recorded, read snippets from the story before the corresponding song on the album was played. But it was apparently immediately that the corporate stiffs had no empathy for The Pretty Things’ ground-breaking album.

“They’re all sitting there in their suits, looking a bit bemused,” recalls singer Phil May. “We weren’t sure how well it went down, so the next morning I get a phone call. Because we were going to have both the story and the lyrics on the cover, they rang me and asked me I really thought the story was important enough to print on the cover. I was gobsmacked. Why did we read it to them? What was the point of that whole exercise, and now you’re asking me ‘Was it important?’ Imagine if it came out with the story – it would have been really confusing! What the bloody hell is going on?”

Stranger Charms b/w Web of Sound - Loveland (Hound Gawd)

strange charms lana loveland 45What a monster of a 45. Two songs of fuzzed-up,slamming ’60s goodness from Germany, wrapped up in a full and contemporary (although not overly so) sound.

Loveland is a vehicle for Lana Loveland, organist for the a lineup of The Music Machine and the now EU-based Fuzztones and the better half of that band’s Rudi Protudi, with whom she has recently birtheed a child. A prog rock lullaby this single is not.    

“Stranger Charms” kicks off with a microsecond throb of Rudi Protudi's bass before a wall of crunching, insistent guitar from ex-Fuzztone Lenny Svilar arrives. The song sounds like a cross between the early versions of the Lime Spiders and The Stems. Lana Loveland’s clipped Germanic purr sits perfectly in the middle of the mix while Svilar’s guitar pans left and right. 

The aptly-titled “Web of Sound” adds Lana’s pulsing keyboard to the mix and is a nasty slice of acidic punk. Protudi and drummer Oli Freidrich lock in and lay down a sonic bedrock for the other two to add colour. Ms Loveland has an agreeable and authoritative vocal. More serrated edge guitar takes the song out. Again, there are no surprises but so what when it's this great. 

Get your mouse pointed at this link and order a copy. I'm off to find myself a copy of the Loveland album that pre-dates it.

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The Church of Simultaneous Existence - The Aints! (ABC Records)

church of simultaneous existenceHave you heard that the people at Warner Bros are working on a re-make of the Road Runner cartoon? Hollywood has unfailingly screwed up the legacy of almost every other iconic TV show with a lame makeover, so why the hell not?

Rock and roll has its own history of reinvention and Australia’s master of the art is onetime Saint, Ed Kuepper.

Kuepper’s enduring career has been through more twists and turns than Wile E. Coyote navigating a cliff-side road on an ACME corporation-sponsored suicide mission, but unlike the bird-seeking missile of cartoon fame, he usually delivers his payload with unerring accuracy.

So make no mistake:  “The Church of Simultaneous Existence” is a controlled demolition that’s worthy of comparisons to his most seminal work.

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