So it’s goodbye from them. After 12 years of playing gin places, late-night dives and boltholes all around Australia, a US tour, two EPs and two albums, with one final lap of honour, Sydney's Hell City Glamours will be no more. “Deux” is the farewell long-player and it’s a pretty good way to go out.
glam - The I-94 Bar
Don’t judge a book by its cover or a band by its promo shot. They might look like wholefood bearded hipsters in their publicity materrial but even less than a considered listen to their third album “Law And Order” reveals there’s a quirky glam-pop heart beating within.
Ulysses hails from Bath in the middle of England’s West. Now, putting to one side generic Australian jokes that we love so much about Poms and soap, these blokes have been soaking in a tub of diverse influences. The bio cites The Cars, Thin Lizzy (especially), Alvin Stardust (check the label name - ha!), Hot Chocolate (huh?) and Supergrass (of course) but that’s just a start. You could toss in Alice Cooper, The Sweet, The Glitter Band - and a few dozen others.
There’s a case to be made for not messing with the tried and tested formula of two sharp-edged guitars, a raucous singer and an energetic engine room and Welsh band The Sick Livers knows it only too well.
If you thought South Wales was only good for rugby union, Harry Secombe and massed male choirs, think again. The Sick Livers add glam punk (“glunk”) to the list in emphatic style. “Motors, Women, Drugs, Booze & Killing” doesn’t break any fresh ground in terms of musical style or lyrical content - but don’t let that deter you if you prefer your cocktails served in the gutter without extraneous fruit or little paper umbrellas.
These five gnarly Welshmen won’t win any beauty contests but latch onto three chords like a starving Pembroke Corgi chomping down on a Glamorgan sausage after a five-day fast. They name-check Turbonegro (and especially fair call) and Backyard Babies in their bio and even some bloke called Glen Matlock likes ‘em. No, that doesn’t mean they sound like the Beatles, smart arse.
Italy’s best kept secret since the Bellini cocktail with Peroni chaser has an Australian record label. In an age of Fake News, this is significant Good News. It means there’s one fewer reason (like overseas postage) for Aussies not to pay attention.
So let's catch up with the rest of the world: Giuda play irresistible songs that marry all the best parts of glam rock to punk. That’s the simple story. Handclaps mixed with hooks… nasty, gravel rash chords…rifferama that’s sharper than a Rome pickpocket’s reflexes.
This book completely beggars belief. Top marks and way, way beyond. It’s also utterly brilliant as well as being compelling reading. It’ll have you ranging your emotions from laughter to sorrow and is so well researched (Nina doesn’t bother much with academic references as her books come mostly from her own interviews and experience) and put together … words completely fail me.
If you’ve read any of Antonia’s other books (on the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders and The Only Ones) and enjoyed her style and intelligence … The Prettiest Star is so far ahead that it may as well be the best fiction you’ve ever read, except it’s all true.
I can’t believe that you’ll recall Brett Smiley. He had one hit, “Va Va Va Voom”, in the UK in 1974, at the height of that bizarre post-6ts glam and pop period where decent songs were generally in short supply in the charts. Oh dear, much like now? Really? I’m shocked.