• A conversation with First Lady of Soul, PP Arnold

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

Songs From The Land of Nod - Beechwood (Alive Natural Sound)

songs from the land of nodThey don’t have Real Rock and Roll bands in New York City any more, do they? Don’t kid yourself, kid. They might be hard to find but they’re still there, their beating hearts buried under 50 feet of radio-friendly dross and cultural fragmentation.

No, Virginia, there’s no CBGBs. They made a shitty telemovie about it and moved the awning to an airport bar, somewhere. It was a shadow of what it was, even when I got there in the mid-‘80s. There’s no Max’s, either. Times Square is more family friendly than a Disney dance party. Even The Continental is just a dive bar now, more famous for (literally) banning a figure of speech than the Joey Ramone parties it used to host in the ‘80s.

Gentrification has a lot of downsides and one is squeezing cultural outsiders to the extreme margins. Art mostly doesn’t pay the rent, pegged or non existent. The NY rock “scene” is in Brooklyn these days, by all accounts. It has been for quite some time but it’s mostly disposable pop. Thank fuck, then, for Beechwood.

Thee Hypnotics return to Come Down Heavy on us

thee hypnotics 2018

Seminal English harbingers of the ‘90s garage rock revival, Thee Hypnotics, are reforming for album rte-issues and live dates. A heavyweight vinyl anthology, including rare and unreleased material, is due out via Beggars Arkive, with an accompanying tour of France and the UK ovwr March and April.

Taking their cues from the Detroit militancy of The MC5, the corrupting output of The Stooges and the gospel according to The Cramps, Thee Hypnotics’ devastating brand of rock’n’roll was propelled by near punishing decibel levels and a fervour bordering on the evangelical.

They recorded three studio records and one live album between 1987 and 1999 and were considered highly influential in Europe and the USA. Past members include original drummer Mark Thompson, the late Craig Pike and bassist Adam Sharam.

FLASHBACK: Tomorrow Will Be Fine: Reflections on the Sunnyboys with Richard Burgman

TV Richard

FLASHBACK: September 21, 2004 - Short-lived but incredibly influential, Sydney's Sunnyboys were one of the first 1980s Australian bands to bridge the commercial gap between inner-city hipness and a wider audience. Coalescing from the ranks of several inner-Sydney bands whose brief existences spanned the turn of the decade (more on that later), they bobbed their heads up on an exploding music scene with a debut EP on the Phantom label. 

Mixing gritty '60s-influenced rock songs with the "wise beyond his years" melancholic lyricism and exuberant pop hooks of songwriter-guitarist Jeremy Oxley, they almost immediately signed to a major label and hit national status with their self-titled debut album.

FLASHBACK: When Lipstick Killers stalked the earth

lipstick killers bondiDown to Kill: Onetime Filth bassist Martin Joyce with future Lipstick Killers Peter Tillman. Mark Taylor and Dave Taylor.

FLASHBACK: May 29, 2001 - Sydney music fans are in for a special treat. On May 11, one of the best bands of the late 1970s and early '80s Sydney "Detroit" scene, the Lipstick Killers, re-form for one show only. 

The occasion is a benefit for their original drummer David Taylor, who has been tragically injured in a car accident.

Taylor was also a member of the seminal punk group that spawned the Lipstick Killers, the Psychsurgeons, who were as raw and confrontational as bands come. As regular support to Radio Birdman at the latter's Oxford Funhouse (along with the Hellcats, fronted by Died Pretty singer Ron Peno), they grabbed what shows they could in a still resistant Sydney scene. That was until their singer Paul Gearside was set upon - mid gig - by a pack of Hell's Angels. He departed and the band picked up Peter Tillman, frontman for the even more extreme Filth. A change of band name later and the Lipstick Killers were born.

Mick Medew returns to Sydney for first show in five years

mick gig webLong regarded as one of Queensland rock and roll's most venerable singer-songwriters, Mick Medew is returning to a Sydney stage after a five-year absence with his band The Mesmerisers.

With one album ("The Mesmerisers") under their belt and another underway, Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers will play Marrickville Bowling Club on Saturday, February 24, with support from Loose Pills and The Dark Clouds. Tickets are on sale here.

The Sydney show has been added to follow a support to The Sunnyboys in Thirroul on February 23.

Vocalist-guitarist Medew is co-founder of the Screaming Tribesmen and more recently leader of Mick Medew and The Rumours, and he's been making a mark on Brisbane (and Australian) music for more than 30 years.

Originally a member of seminal inner-city Brisbane band The 31st, whose ranks included future members of the Hoodoo Gurus, the Hitmen and Died Pretty, Medew went on to front the Screaming Tribesmen, a band schooled in tough guitar rock overlaid with alternately hooky and plaintive melodies.

The Tribesmen outgrew their home town and moved to Sydney in the 1980s, becoming Australian independent music chart toppers with the classic single "Igloo".

The band lasted 16 years, signed to a US label, released three albums and toured North America and Europe (twice) before Mick moved home to Queensland and put them on hiatus in 1993. Reunions for tours followed in 2011 (Australia) and 2012 (Europe).

Master of The Universe b/w Man In The Dark - David Thomas & The Holy Soul (Damn You)

david thomas holy soulSydney band The Holy Soul have a way with collaborating with the rich, at least in in history, and infamous. Here’s another example of that maverick magic. 

Seven years ago, The Holy Soul combined with Damo Suzuki (Can) and a Drone to punch out a live album on Repressed. This time out, it’s a half-studio/half-live 45 of similar vintage, this time with Rocket From The Tombs and Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas, with whom they played on a blink-and-you-miss-it Australian visit.

“Master of The Universe” is the A side (it’s a Hawkwind cover) and hovers between industrial skronk and space rock. Theremin and a throbbing bottom end underlay dry guitars and Thomas’s unique, plaintive vocal. A melange of guitars - presumably John Hunter and Trent Marden or both - and synth raises the tension in the breakdown before Sam Worrad’s hypnotic bass resumes its ominous march. 

The live “Man In The Dark” starts with the wheeze of Thomas's accordion wheeze and plays itself out with restraint for its five-minute duration. Delicate guitars chime to a subtle bass-line while Thomas expounds on (I think) a lapsed relationship, half-talking, half-crooning. Measured and magnificent. it was left off the live album that you can find here. The link below will lead you to the single. Odds are it won't last long. 

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Buy it

FLASHBACK: Wayne Kramer and the fight against mediocrity

wayne kramer epitath promoFLASHBACK: First posted October 16, 1999: It's been quite an odyssey for Wayne Kramer. From 1964 to 1972, he was point man and Fender guitar terrorist for the legendary MC5, the Ur-American garage band turned psychedelic radicals whose high-energy jams prefigured much of the next 30 years of rock and roll dementia.

Kramer sat out a couple of years at the end of the 70s in Federal penitentiary on a drug charge, but resumed his career when he landed back on the street in 1979, playing in Gang War with Johnny Thunders, recording with Was (Not Was) and others.

Then in 1995, when a lot of people had written him off, he roared back into action with an album on Epitaph entitled "The Hard Stuff". Since then there have been three more Epitaph albums and a plethora of side projects.

Brother Wayne joined me at the bar on three different occasions, twice from his home in Hollywood, California and once from the L.A. studio where he's currently producing an album for Damned founder member and former Iggy Pop sideman Brian James.

Catzilla - Catzilla (Off The Hip)

catzillaHello from the farmhouse, I-94 Bar users and abusers! I can tell you that this week the farm has been grooving to Catzilla, a band from Perth with a surf/horror, '60s inspired sound that is very contagious to one's ears.

Every track on this self-titled album is crafted with love. The guitar fuzz of Andy Jarvis is so locked in with Coo Jarvis (keyboards and vocals), it's kind of hard to believe this fine band has only been playing a little over two years. Throw in the thumping bass of Tracey Devery and the drums sound that Trevor Judd has going and it all adds up to a great album...14 Catzilla tracks of groovy goodness.

FLASHBACK: At Times, So Political. Ed Kuepper on the reformation of the Saints and the Laughing Clowns

edkuepper181Ed Kuepper. Photo by Richard Sharman of Blackshadow Photography. 

Posted October 29, 2008:  If the thought of re-convening the classic mid-'70s Saints line-up presents more problems than formulating a lasting Middle Eastern peace plan, the organisers of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival series must be among international diplomacy's canniest operators.

The improbable becomes reality in January 2009 when ATP establishes an Australian beachhead, with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds curating and the Saints a feature act.

Yes, you read right. The Saints. Not any old Saints or even The Aints. The Kuepper-Bailey Saints, fercrissake, will be part of a varied and eclectic line-up over three locations and four days.

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