If you’ve spent any time in Wollongong, you’ll know it as Sydney’s less pretentious cousin. Much of the music from the onetime steelworks city is the same way. So here’s cheers to The Leftards, your new favourite punk band.
As a bunch of older dudes from shop-soiled local bands like Bulldoze All Bowlos and The Dark Clouds,The Leftards have no compunction winding things back to the late ‘70s when everybody knew rap was crap and techno was a college where mechanics went to do a trade. This is the second Leftards seven-inch release and puts four inspired songs on a vinyl single.
Buzzy, fuzzy guitars, nagging and damaged vocals, yob humour and social commentary all sit side by side. The sound is a little shambolic - like a loose version of the Misfits - but nobody's shooting for AOR airplay.
Jeff who? Ex-guitarist with Jason and The Scorchers - not the classical jazz guy from Orgegon and certainly not that twat Jack Johnson. This is a blistering four-song single, more abrasive than broken glass in your shaving cream and deliciously low fidelity. The songs, though…
Johnson recorded this with a bunch of players in Brazil with the bass player over-dubbing his parts for two songs from London. Swashbuckling Hobo (from Brisbane) put it out. If you appreciate blues-rock that sounds like it’s been filtered through a gutter, this should live on your turntable.
Only “Call of Submission” sounds much like the output of his onetime band, with a subdued vocal and just a touch of Crazy Horse peeking through its dense wall of sound. “Believe In You” is a monstrous “Raw Power” outtake with acrid lyrics (“Hey girl, fuck with me/Your love is such liability”) and a chord sequence that twists like “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” in the grip of a muscle spasm. If the production wasn’t so early Husker Du, this would be an enlightened radio hit.
What did your Sydney sound like in 1978? The Professors did their best to define it for their own tight coterie of followers after Radio Birdman left for Europe to seek world domination, by sounding like this.
Graduates of the infamous Oxford Funhouse, they took their lead from its most notable tenants bysetting up their own venue at The Royal Oak pub in Chippendale, They adopted their name from Chris Bailey's nickname for their singer - and the Saints repaid them with some namedropping in "KNow Your Product." The rest is history aka some photos and a caption in a Clinton Walker book
These two songs are from a demo tape that was exhumed by singer Stephen Vineberg and spruced up by engineer Barry McGuirk just a year ago. It’s been packaged in a gatefold cover by the folks at Buttercup and issued in a range of colours. Just as you’d expect.
There was a pop band inside late ‘70s Melbourne punks News (aka Babeez) and it was desperately trying to break out - just like the creature in "Alien". Molly might not to have wanted to touch them with a barge pole, but here’s the irrefutable evidence of their pop tendencies, thanks to the inventive folks, Scotti and John, at Buttercup Records.
The A side is a melodic punker - a demo, no less - that motors along on two guitars and Gavin Quinn’s sing-song/singalong melody line. "Lemme Alone"could have easily stood up as a 45 in its own right back in the day, but of course Australian punk bands weren’t as prolific as today’s laptop musicians and YouTube heroes.
The flip is another demo - a piano version of the previously released Babeez track “Nobody Wants Me” revived from baked, quarter-inch tape. It’s a starkly bitter-sweet ode to finality that you can take any way you want - and it's distinctly “un-punk” in its delivery if you’re into cliches. Essential, really.
Go here before they run out. The 45 comes in the usual range of limited edition Buttercup variants.
Hello I-94 Bar abusers and users. Well, it's Friday afternoon and the Farmhouse has been rocking to the new EP by Melbourne band Wrong Turn. This rockabilly-garage rock three-piece have just released their wonderful record on Cobra Snake Neck-Tie Records.
Kicking off this mini masterpiece is the title track, a rolling, stomping, rocker that, well, just fucking rocks. Ian Wettenhall (guitar and vocals_ sounds like he is having one hell of a good time. Myles Gallagher pounds those skins (he’s one hard hitter) while Pipon (aka Duane Pipe) on bass keeps the tempo with coolness to burn. Great opening track.
Track two is my personal favorite; “Gimme More” is where Myles’s drumming really stands out. Thumping bass with a stand-out guitar riff. It don't get any better. Oh, and it features an awesome lead break. “Gimme More”? Yes please, gentlemen.
Another one from the archives and it’s not going to last long, with just 200 copies on offer. The three songs come from a New Year’s Eve 1978 show by proto-punks The Chosen Few at St Kilda’s Seaview Hotel (playing with Boys Next Door) and they're punchier than a front bar drunk at footy finals time.
“Get Nicked” is an original - a bare bones rock thumper in the vein of Johnny Dole and The Scabs or Rocks. Minimal chords and a maximised message, it’s catchier than a cold. The Sam and Dave cover features muscular guitar from Bruce Friday, who’s gnawing away on that signature riff like a dog with a marrow bone.