Smoke, mirrors and substance

jamc adl2

The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Gov, Adelaide
March 15, 2019
Alison Lea photos 

Late the following afternoon I received a message to the effect that I was off to see the Jesus and Mary Chain that night. My photographer, engrossed with preparations for a seven-year-old's birthday, told me where to take myself. I called Peter, I called Bob. Both busy. I called a different photographer and we presented ourselves at the rather wonderful Gov, where I eventually hope to be buried.

Intoxicating Mick Harvey and friends

mick harvey adlMick Harvey:
"Intoxicated Man. Presenting the Songs of Serge Gainsbourg"
Elder Hall, Adelaide
March 14,  2019
Mandy Tzaras photos

Verdict in a nutshell: Brilliant. You shoulda been there. Get the CDs instead.

It's a strange place, Adelaide. A reputation for bizarre and secretive murder blends with a town which happily dozes for most of the year, abruptly jerks to life as summer hits with the subtlety of a jackhammer, and keeps the long-suffering residents on their toes: the steady stream of utter twatheads who emerge from beneath sordid rocks, blinking into the light of the civilised world for the first time; the ubiquitous meth-heads roaming the streets and communing with the sky; the endless and confusing roadworks; endlessly over-running building works; a hospital which doesn't seem to work very well (though it does provide an excellent example of how to make a place unpleasant for the customers with, presumably, the intent of discouraging their attendance for all but the most involuntary admission) ...

These are all everyday local wonders, and frankly we should charge admission. The Festival, The Fringe, the stupid car race, the writers week, WOMAD and so on and so on and so on, all serve to ensure large numbers of normal South Australians keep their distance. 

The Hot Sweets – Hello and Goodbye (self released)

the hot sweets"Hello and Goodbye" is the debut album for The Hot Sweets, a short-lived Wollongong band that folded a couple of years ago. I’m here to tell you, there’s a lot to like about The Hot Sweets, particularly if melodic garage-rock/power pop be your thing.

Yet that catch-all tag is only the tip of the iceberg. To better define The Hot Sweets sound you need to add in the following descriptors – likeable female vocals, melodic sensibilities, hard hitting riffs, infectious choruses and underscoring it all – pop hooks. For as I’ve written a zillion times, no matter what type of sound you are after, if a song don’t have a hook – it ain’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Jesus and The Mary Chain's perfect pop set to the aesthetics of noise

jmc majotielveCredit: @majortielve

It's easy to forget just how good the Jesus and Mary Chain actually are; how many drop dead classic songs they have recorded. Then, on a Thursday night at the Sydney Opera House (no less), they ram a shit ton of their greatest hits down our throats and they still leave out a huge chunk of back catalogue just to spite you.

They make it look easy. But being this damn good is not easy.

Easter Monday - Mustang Jerx (J-Pop)

easter monday mustang jerxIt's the fourth full album for Japanese trio Mustang Jerx and while they're not a household name in Australia, there's a small but willing fanbase here awaiting their third visit on the back of this record.

"Easter Monday" is nimble blues-rock with a swing in the bottom-end and a scything slide guitar up front. Their 2019 visit to these shores will follow similar hit-and-run missions six and five years before, and will owe much to the mutual admiration between them and Sydney band Bunt.

Mustang Jerx sing in their native language so the lyrical themes are impenetrable to these ears, but the music they grind out is universal in its rawness and punchy appeal. It's dirty and unpolished - and you know that's gotta be a plus when you mix it with sticky carpet and liberal amounts of beer.

Brass Knobs, Bevelled Edges (And In 25 Different Positions) - Green Circles (Off The Hip)

green circles reissueFifteen years ago, this record from an Adelaide band sounded like one of the best pop rock records to have been crafted at Abbey Road in a hundred lifetimes. There's been a lot of water under the Albert Bridge since then but nothing's different today.

Don't know if any of The Green Circles members have been within a bull's roar of Abbey Road. Their album - the first in a string of worthy records - was put together in a more humble studio setting in Adelaide. Regardless of its origins, it's timeless, '60s-inspired greatness that's been re-issued, with bonus tracks, for a generation of fresh ears.

"Knee Jerk Reaction" kicks off the album with an onslaught of fuzz and an irresistible rhythm. It's pure pop with a cutting edge. "Colour Me There" is similarly fuzz-toned and sounds like one of the early Stems 45s on Citadel. The dynamics and hooks are firmly in place.

"Love Surrender" is atypical - it sounds like the Celibate Rifles in a lighter moment - but that's not to mark it down. "Given Time" reverts to form by bringing the jangle and marrying it to the warm glow of an organ.

Picture Us - Money for Rope (Cheersquad)

money for rope albumI can’t remember the first time I saw Money for Rope play. Probably sometime around 2010, give or take a couple of years. Wally Kempton, initially fan, then manager, now the band’s record label benefactor, was there, telling us these guys were good. Very good. He was right, of course.

There have been a few changes in the line-up since that initial sighting, maybe not on the scale of The Fall, but enough to threaten Money for Rope’s initial promise. But every time I’ve seen Money for Rope since then, they’ve been as impressive as they were that first time. Sometimes you get bands like that.

Sometimes When - The Golden Rail (Candlestick Records)

sometimes whenIf you heard the debut album you know what to expect: These four veterans - supplemented by producer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Batterham - have been around too long to put a foot wrong, so it’s stellar guitar pop all the way.

With origins going back to Perth popsters like The Palisades, The Rainyard, Header, Summer Suns, DM3 and The Jangle Band, a
re-grouping in Australia's music capital, Melbourne, would be hard-pressed to fail.

The 10 songs are co-writes by guitarists-vocalists Jeff Baker and Ian Freeman and they're exactly what you don't expect to hear on mainstream radio. In other words, they're full of understated melodies, feels that sit back in the pocket and chiming guitars.

The Golden Rail's evocative sound winds things back to the '80s, capturing echoes from the preceding decades.

Country legend Chad Morgan to share a stage with his biggest fans The Johnnys

johnnys chadRock and roll cowpunks The Johnnys are proud to be sharing a stage for two special shows with a true Australian country music legend, Chad Morgan, in April.

The Johnnys will perform with Chad Morgan at the Hardys Bay Club on the NSW Central Coast on Friday, April 5 and Marrickville Bowling Club in Sydney on Saturday, April 6.

Chad Morgan, 86, has been performing to generations of Australian music and comedy fans for more than 50 years. Dubbed “The Sheikh of Scrubby Creek” after one of his most popular songs, Chad released his first album in 1952.

He is renowned for his vaudeville style of comic country and western songs, and goofy stage persona. Chad is the ultimate comic of Australian country music and is instantly recognisable for his unique trademark – those teeth!

A platinum and gold record artist, Chad has an enormous and devoted following and is constantly touring the country, performing songs such as “I’m My Own Grandpa”, “The Shotgun Wedding”, “Double Decker Blowflies” and “There’s Life In The Old Dog Yet”.

Tex Morton once described Chad as the only original country music artist in Australia. Slim Dusty called him the crown prince of comedy. When Gordon Parsons came up with “The Pub With No Beer”, Chad’s the bloke who wrote the words down and contributed a verse of his own.

Chad and The Johnnys go back 30 years. Guitarist Slim Doherty said: “Chad Morgan played a few shows with us in Sydney many moons ago and loved us as we did him.

“He has a cameo in our 'Buzzsaw Baby' film-clip and it is an honour to have shared the screen with this legend. I have an Eko Electric guitar Chad 'signed' with his pocketknife which I still treasure immensely.”

The Johnnys are Slim Doherty, bassist Graham Hood and drummer Billy Pommer Jr and they will be coming fresh off a national you’re with The Beasts. These shows will be a unique pairing and will sell out so don’t delay. Pre-sales tickets are available here.

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