Let’s get the clichés out of the way; the show business myths that promise that the cream rises. That living fast and dying young will ensure immortality. It’s all bullshit. Too many artists fall through a crack in the Earth whilst laurels crown the insipid and the banal.
How many great albums and films have vanished to land fill? How many books are lost because libraries can’t afford the storage on their back catalogues? How much blood, sweat and tears has evaporated into the ether? Forgotten whilst the over culture lets us eat dog food. Here is your chance to right that wrong.
Guitarist Dylan Webster from Newcastle band The Fools
In the early ‘90s, raw and tough rock and roll was supposedly being re-birthed. Grunge had ushered in The Year That Punk Broke and the mainstream was finally embracing music that wasn’t safe and bland. Yeah. Right.
In reality, Real Rock and Roll was still fighting. The tidal wave that was the MP3 was about to arrive in earnest but the only game in town, as far as The Industry was concerned, was Grunge, a sludgy offspring of heavy metal and punk that promised little and (mostly) delivered less.
Too harsh? A lot of fine and worthy bands were trampled under the rush by major labels to sign any act with tuned-down guitars wearing flannelette shirts. It didn’t matter if their songs mostly remained the same; the big label A & R men couldn’t see past their own shaggy fringes.
Like Newton used to say, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction. In Australia, a fresh wave of high-energy acts like Powder Monkeys, Asteroid B612, Brother Brick, the YesMen and Bored! were kicking against the pricks and doing things their own way. A lesser light from the industrial port city of Newcastle, two hours north of Sydney, created their own ripples.
Chris Masuak (Radio Birdman, Hitmen, Screaming Tribesmen) has a new music video live and it's a taster for a forthcoming album, currently in production with his Spanish band, The Viveiro Wave Riders Associaiton. Here it is in all its stark glory, showcasing the "dead centre" of Klondike's adopted home town of Viveiro, in northern Spain.
Get in fast if you want to be a part of the Sydney tribute to late Hell Crab City singer Scott “Groges” Barker, who suddenly passed away in January. The gig is on track to be a sell-out.
As well as sets by Hell Crab City with guestr vocalists and 300 StClaire, Asteroid B612 will reform its original line-up (with Bullet McIvor on vocals and Leadinger on guitar) and The Crusaders will make a rare re-appearance.
It's happening on Thursday, April2 at the Factory Floor in Marrickville. All proceeds will go to Scott’s family. Tickets here.
A long-lost and forgotten rehearsal recording by legendary Australian punk band the Psychosurgeons is about to drop on seven-inch vinyl.
Legacy label Blank Records – the same people responsible for two pricey but desirable box sets of 45s by a host of ‘60s Aussie bands on the Festival label – are issuing “Crush On You” b/w “Falling Apart” any tick of the clock now.
The songs were found by Psychosurgeons/Lipstick Killers guitarist Mark Taylor on an un-labelled quarter-inch tape in a shoebox and of course the release has his blessing. The only other known recording by the Psychosurgeons was the “Wild Weekend” b/w “Horizontal Action” 45, recently re-issued by Crypt Records (with voluminous liners “borrowed” from the I-94 Bar.)
The Psychosurgeons were one of the earliest Australian punks bands and a mainstay at Radio Birdman’s venue, the Oxford Funhouse. Members went on to form the Lipstick Killers and “Crush On You” featured in their early set lists. You’ll be able to find the single in finer vinyl shops or you can pre-order it here.
The spirit of New York City’s Lower East Side (circa 1979) is alive and well and living under the nom de plume The Disconnects in Neptune City, New Jersey.
In many respects that’s good to know because in these horrifyingly gentrified times, it couldn’t exist any longer in safe and antiseptically clean Manhattan. Even its neighbour, Brooklyn, has become respectable. New York Punk (the Heartbreakers variant) was swept under the carpet years ago - so good on The Disconnects for flying that ragged flag.
Well, I know several people who loved The Pop Group when they first bent my head in 1979, and they and the band all went on to other things fairly swiftly, it seems now, and the age of the UK music weeklies waned, and not being in UK, I confess I rather lost track of the ex-members.
So, an in-depth analytic comparison with ‘past hallowed punk rock glories’ ain’t on the cards here. Most of my readers weren’t attuned to this band … but that may be about to change.
The late ‘70s in the UK saw a deluge of explosive music and art colliding, and while not all was good by any means (much was utterly dreadful), some was brilliantly wayward. The Pop Group are one such, and they are doing only THREE shows in Australia in March.
The first is at the Adelaide Festival on Thursday 5th March, the next day they’re in Sydney at the Factory Theatre, and the last gig is at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne (where they will be supported by the rather swish Harry Howard and the NDE). Then, they’re slugging through the USA and back to Blighty to cause more sore feet and body odour. Toting a brand new album "Citizen Zombie" that's relevant and brilliant.
The surviving members of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators are reforming for their first show since 1967.
Vocalist-guitarist Roky Erickson, jug player Tommy Hall, bassist Ronnie Leatherman and original drummer John Ike Walton will reconvene for the Levitation Festival at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, Texas, from May 8-10.
Also on the bill are Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, Jesus & Mary Chain, Spiritualized, Primal Scream, Black Angels and Thee Oh Sees.
The Elevators reunion will include an as yet un-named guitarist in place of Stacy Sutherland, who was shot and killed by his wife during a domestic dispute in 1978.
Roky Erickson has been performing for many years after recovering his health following protracted mental illness. The appearance by Tommy Hall, the band’s lyricist and spiritual (and drug) seer, is a major surprise, however. He’s understood to have been living in seclusion in San Francisco.