Can you define psychedelica? Behind punk, it’s probably the most over-used term in the musical genre lexicon. That won’t change with this sprawling two-disc exploration of Australian psych, past and present.
Mixing ‘60s and ‘70s tracks with contemporary ones is an approach that could have gone horribly wrong.The wonder of this is how well the old tracks blend seamlessly with the new. Compilers Gaz Cobain (aka The Amorphous Androgynous) and Brian Dougans have done a splendid job of unearthing lost, forgotten and current nuggets and the mastering is great. It’s the fourth edition in a global series.
Emmy Etie photo
The tour is almost over and the verdicts are in following a re-tooling of the line-up with the controversial omission of guitarist Chris Masuak. We present divergent views of the sold-out Australian run of Radio Birdman shows.
Go here to read an appraisal of the Adelaide gig by Robert Brokenmouth and here to read Edwin Garland's read-out on the band's two Melbourne gigs. You can leave comments on both reviews. Photos are by Emmy Etie and Kyleigh Pitcher.
The cover - taken by Lydia Lunch - shows the ruins of an ancient desert city. Could be Jericho. Whether Jericho is in the Mid-East or the West of the USA makes little difference. We’re dealing with perennial humanity in a perilous place with a mythological backdrop. But, you know, the Israelis and the Palestinians are still killing each other, and as I say, it’s a big thing on a big, operatic stage with no solution and no apparent beginning, never mind end…
… and there are plenty of abandoned towns in Australia… it doesn’t take much, just a bit of intolerance and a bit of ignorance, and idealism for a hopeless, not very sensible cause…
If one of those great, booze-soaked rock and roll weekends like Garage Shock or the Las Vegas Shakedown were still a going concern (correct me if I'm wrong and one of them still is ) the Bloody Hollies would have been one of those bands that came in unheralded, blew everyone away and sold a ton at the merch table. And anyone who picked this album up would have been plenty satisfied 'cos it's 30 minutes of fire-breathin' punk fury.
It’s a fatalistic notion, this idea of Real Rock and Roll as a dinosaur, a dying life form stalking the planet in search of an audience with only a few remembering its heyday. The reality is that lots of us remember, but this beast won’t come to us and we have to search it out. We all need to travel deep through the jungles to find real Rock and Roll.
As far as the sterile, Lost World of the Australian nation’s capital, Canberra, where grim, Stalinist architecture and endless roundabouts posing as intersections struggle with fenceless cul de sacs and frost-scarred bike tracks in a pointless competition to be the most memorable feature. The rarefied atmosphere of this godforsaken, soul-less place isn’t conducive to Real Rock and Roll. Or so we thought.
Cue: The Undermines, a band in the finest traditions of what we (in Sydney, at least) used to call Detroit Rock.
The best re-issues are a reminder of how great an album was the first time around. “Turn On With” is exactly that - 11 songs of prime garage pop, exhumed and revived after 15 years.
The Stoneage Hearts started as a vehicle for drummer Mickster Baty (Finkers, Pyramidiacs, Crusaders) to play with some mates and collaborate on writing some spiffing tunes after he moved from Sydney to Melbourne. It was also the first CD on his own Off The Hip label and 160-plus releases later it’s still going strong. There have also been several incarnations of the band, with Dom Mariani a notable member. Another version of the band lives on today.