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

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – Handsome Jack (Alive Naturalsounds)

eveythings gonna be alrightA word about words: Albums should be all about music, but descriptors count because they convey an identifiable concept of what the music sounds like. Lockport, New York, Handsome Jack’s record label, Alive Naturalsounds, calls them “boogie soul”. That cap fits…so you know the rest about wearing it.

Fourteen years into the game and “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” is the third long-player for Handsome Jack since they kicked off as a trio of precocious teens in a ubiquitous garage. Two of the three members remain - drummer Bennie Hayes is a newcomer - and while stability like that is a rarity, it’s also a virtue.

Guitarist Jamison Passuite summons up John Fogerty with his rich and resonant vocal on opening track “Keep On”; other places he echoes Southern rock and Stax soul. Throw in some Delta blues and the rest of this sure-footed, grooving album doesn’t stray far from the inspirational well. Many, if not most, of their influences seem to have been around before these guys were born. Is that a bad thing?

Electric Demon - The Deadvikings (Zodiac Killer Records)

electric demonThey might not be Japan’s most prolific rock and roll band but The Deadvikings’ two full-length albums each pack a considerable punch. This one dates from early in their 11-year history and delivers their Hellacopters style jams in spade-loads.

The Deadvikings toured last year’s “Libertatia” in Australia - well, in Sydney - and they're back in 2018, confusingly pushing their first CD from 10 years ago. Ours is not to reason why...

"Electric Demon" has some wayward moments (the ragged "The Ripper" and the low-key opening title track, which sounds underdone) but for the most part, it's surging high-energy rock songs. They're clearly in the thrall of the 'Copters and their Scandi Rock contemporaries, but this is hardly a bad thing when done right.

Born Out Of Time festival just days away

Do you have tickets yet for the garage punk gig of the year? It's on in Sydney this Saturday night and you can buy a ticket for Born Out Of Time #1 here. All pre-sales will receive a free CD of bands playing the series of bills.

Presented by Off The Hip Records and I-94 Bar., the first of a swries of shows will feature Grindhouse, The Crusaders, The Beat Taboo, Aberration and The Devours. Make a beeline for Marrickville Bowling Club. Doors open at 7pm and the event runs until 1am.   

Get Off My Wah Wah…And Suck This – Bored! (Bang! Records)

get-off-my-wah-wah-and-suck-thisIssued as a cassette in 1988 in a limited run of 300, these are the first recordings of Bored! Expect no studio wankery or sonic polishing, other than the obvious mastering from cassette to vinyl. This is how the band sounded when they were a bunch of pups from Geelong, playing on the floor of their local record store.

Bang! Records is run by a couple of Basque Country rock and roll fanatics who have championed Beasts of Bourbon and various spin-offs, a host of scuzzy Downtown Manhattan noise-makers and the so-called Geetroit Sound. This recycled gem is on LP only and follows 2016’s “Piggyback” compilation of lost recordings on the same label.

While chowing down on early Stooges songs might be ho-hum in these Post Pop Reunion times, Bored! was really pushing envelopes in post-punk Melbourne and its environs. That explains the three-in-a-row inclusion of “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, “No Fun” and “TV Eye”. “No Fun” especially has intuitively weaving guitar fireworks from Dave Thomas and John Nolan that should make your jaw gape.

Are you ready for the Space Boozzies?

i feel alrightSydney’s Dunhill Blues are on hiatus so what’s a poor boy to do but to sing and play in (another) rock and roll band? Adam Brzozowski from the Dunnies has formed Space Boozzies, described as “a mongrel dog from the Central Coast featuring members of all the popular surf/garage/rock bands you've never heard of”.

Space Boozzies’ Mikey Young-mastered debut album ”I Feel Alright” is being pressed right now – pre-orders are open here  - and the band is doing a run of shows in Northern New South Wales and Queensland to celebrate.

They’ll be touring with Son of Jaguar, the Coffs Coast's “kings of sweat-drenched, hip-shakin' rock'n'roll since 2016”. Their debut record “King Hit” is a twin-axe attack that gnaws at garage-punk's bones and is out on Conquest for Noise.

Space Boozzies-Son of Jaguar
Australian East Coast Tour
SEPTEMBER
28 - The Gollan, Lismore
+ The Antibodies
29 - East Brisbane Bowls Club (Space Boozies only)
with Public Execution + Fred Band + Koko Uzi
OCTOBER
12 - MoshPit, Newtown
w/Good Pash + Tweerkerz
13 – The Lass, Newcastle
+ Bitchcraft

Long Shadows, High Hopes. The Life and Times of Matt Johnson and The The by Neil Fraser (Omnibus Press)

long shadows high hopesFor once, instead of the anodyne whitewashed authorised biography, here you get the ghastly stories and goss. Also, like Matt Johnson’s too-few LPs, “Long Shadows, High Hopes” has been a long time coming. It has the full co-operation of its subject (the book features on The The's website, so one assumes it's the authorised tome).

It comes with a cracking (if brief) foreword by long-time friend and collaborator Jim Thirlwell (you may remember him from such films as , and for his work as Foetus, Steroid Maximus and so on).

It's also a biography with the insights and detail one would expect of a writer of one of the Stones, or a Beatle. And that's because, in the UK and the USA, The The were bloody huge. And ... he walked away from vast fame, fortune and all the usual head-spinning hoo-ha which so many rock gods revel in.

Fraser has done an excellent job, remaining on friendly terms with his subject, maintaining an even perspective but still able to take issue with him at times. Rather difficult if you're a fan, which Fraser obviously is.

Now, I confess I thought The The to be just another English ’80s pop band. Wasn't my thing. But, upon being queried whether I had an interest in reviewing the book, I had a quick look at what Johnson's been up to. Wikipedia (the people's unrelyabull enscycloppedya) tells me that, apart from The The, Johnson is "also a film soundtrack composer (Cineola), publisher (Fifty First State Press), broadcaster (Radio Cineola), and conservationist/local activist".

So I changed my tune and put my hand up and, slightly startled, read Thirlwell's intro at the bus stop. Also, Johnson's first single was produced by Graham Lewis and Bruce Gilbert and that stopped me dead in my tracks. Now I didn't just want to review the book. I wanted to hear the man.

Sydney bands get behind 2RRR

the baddiesUnderground music would be even further below the radar without community radio. That's why a group of Sydney-Central Coast bands are putting their weight behind a fund-raiser for 2RRR next month.

Aberration, The Balkan Grill, The On and Ons and The Baddies (pictured right) are playing North Ryde RSL on October 7. The gig runs from noon and admission is $20 at the door.

2RRR Fundraiser
Aberration
+ The Balkan Grill
+ The On and Ons + The Baddies
North Ryde RSL
- Oct 7
(Noon-6pm)

Japanese protopunks The Deadvikings set sail for Sydney's shores

dead vikings 2018Japan’s The Deadvikings return to claim their stake and expand their domination over Sydney this week with their ultimate heavy protopunk.

Their four-day Japanese invasion - their second in a year - starts at The Old Manly Boatshed on September 27 with locals Tshatki and 4 Barrel Hemi. Entry is free. 

Day 2 (September 28) sees a foray in to new territory via Paddington's Captain Cook Hotel sharing the helm with goth rockers RK Ally, Black Knuckles and Black Heart Breakers. Entry is $10 at th door. 

The third gig is a return to iconic inner west venue The Townie at Newtown on September 29, with Eightball Junkies and BUNT. Free entry.

Day 4 peaks at the empyrean of Sunday venues, Frankie's Pizza, in the CBD on September 30 with Stu G's Cloak & Dagger kicking off followed by cosmic sludge monarchs Lord Dodongo and US trio BOYTOY, making their Aussie debut. No cover charge. 

Bolt From The Blue - Warped (Conquest of Noise)

bolt from the blueFiguratively speaking, the title fits like a glove. 

This long player hasn’t arrived entirely without warning, but its sonic impact is like a sucker punch to the side of the head from a blind spot. 

No dispute that Warped is an Australian hard rock institution. Through two careers over the course of nearly three decades, the line-ups might have shifted but the commitment to that dirty “Geelong sound” has remained intact.

For the uninitiated, Geelong is/was an industrial city to the west of Melbourne which was a rich spring of of bands in the late 190s and early ‘90s. The town’s industrial nature has faded, but the “no airs, no graces” character of its music has hung in there.

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