stems - The I-94 Bar

Campaign launches to document rich West Australian underground scene

Way Out West Book Promo Advert from George Matzkov on Vimeo.

It’s high time somebody wrote a book about the heyday of Perth’s underground music scene. Powerpop label (Zero Hour) operator and publisher George Matzkou is doing something about it.

Matzkou has launched a crowdfunding campaign to produce a comprehensive history and limited edition companion CD. “Way Out West” will cover Perth bands from the 1976-89 era.

Datura4 bring their heavy jams east

Datura4 RobbieHarroldRobbie Harrold photo

One of the album highlights of 2016 was "Demon Blues", the debut release by Perth-based rock-psych-boogie band Datura4.

A quartet led by Stems/DM3 songwriter Dom Mariani and ex-New Christs, You Am I, Bamboos and Monarchs guitarist Greg Hitchcock, With Stu Loasby (bass) and Warren Hall (drums) completing the line-up, Datura4 conjure a heady mix of guitar-raunch 'n' roll and heavy melodic jams - in the tradition of the Colored Balls and Masters Apprentices, yet unlike any other Australian band currently treading the boards.

Their second album "Hairy Mountain" has recently been unleashed by US label Alive Natural Sounds and we chased down Dom Mariani for a brief grilling, ahead of a quick-fire tour of Australia's East Coast.  

DM3 jangling around Australia

jangle webLegendary guitar-pop trio DM3 are set to tour Australia in April following a renewed interest in the band on iTunes and on vinyl.

DM3’s “Monsters of Jangle” Tour will be a rare chance for fans of the WA-based, internationally revered power-pop outfit too see them perform live in limited venues around Perth, Melbourne and Sydney ahead of a trip to Japan.

“Monsters of Jangle” will showcase DM3’s ‘Best of’ vinyl release “One Time Two Times Three Times More”, a collection of explosive highlights from their five albums released on the respected Sydney based independent label Citadel Records from 1993-2002.

Formed in 1992 by The Stems’ founder songwriter Dom Mariani, the original line-up of DM3 includes Summer Suns’ drummer Pascal Barlolone and Someloves’ bassist Toni Italiano.  Together they are revered worldwide for an explosive sound that fuses melodic pop hooks, cool vocals and high energy rock’n’roll guitar.

DM3’s first two albums “One Time Two Times Three Times Red Light” (1993) and “Road to Rome” (1996) were produced by the legendary Mitch Easter (REM, Pavement, Velvet Crush) and lauded by critics and fans alike as two of the world’s best in power pop genre.

Album number-three “Rippled Soul” (1998) put Mariani’s unrivalled skill as a songwriter front and centre and won legions more fans at home and in Europe and the USA.

Hey Rock 'n' Roller - The DomNicks (Citadel)

domnickscoverGood things and small packages: Only seven tracks long, this debut from the Perth band led by Dom Mariani (DM3, ex-Stems and ex-Some Loves) and Nick Sheppard (a "Cut The Crap" Clash member) is a killer-no-filler collection of soulful rock and roll.

Monsters b/w Before You Go - DM3 (Spider Music)

monsters 45It’s been a long time between drinks but the DM3 cocktail remains as sweet as ever, without losing any of its bite. This limited edition, double A-sided 45 shows off the Fremantle trio’s trademark tight harmonies and guitar-fuelled melodies, just right.

The Vibrajets - The Vibrajets (Fyrebyrd Records)

vibrajets epWith more twang than you can poke a tuning fork at and a vibe that’s positively from the ’50s, this modest little vinyl EP from a Melbourne band is a bona fide gem. Three of the four songs are instrumentals but, unusually for that sort of music, with no surfboards overtly in sight.

It’s valve amp retro rock that draws its inspiration from the pre-surf era of guitar-driven popular music. With Julian Matthews (Stems bassist and also in The Level Spirits) the “star turn” who’s something of a guitar master these days, The Vibrajets embrace the old with a dynanism that steers clear of this ever being authentic for authenticity’s sake.

“Rock til the End of Time” gives rhythm guitarist Sammy-Lee Croissant her time at the mic with a vocal that’s straight out of The Wanda Jackson School. The guitars get up and dance on “33 Errol Street” and while “Petrol Fumes” is a straight-up rocker, “Steak & Eggs” belies its name and is a vibrato monster.

Shake down The Vibrajets on Facebook if you want a mail order copy or hassle them at a show. Reckon Off The Hip would be the right retail place to ask about it in Melbourne if bricks and mortar is your thing.

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Turn Up The Sun - Dom Mariani and The Majestic Kelp (Head Records)

turn-up-the-sunStar billing for Mr Mariani in the band name these days is no surprise. He's been leading this diverse and floating crew for years and they've never failed to deliver on a promise of broadening the limited palette of traditional surf music. Putting Dom's moniker on the cover won't hurt sales and most of the playing is his own work.

West of Anywhere - DM3 (Alive Naturalsound)

west of anywhereDM3 are from Western Australia and make peerless powerpop. If you didn’t know that already here’s another chance to catch up.

Chances are you do already know that DM3 are Dom Mariani and (mostly) Pascal Bartalome on drums and Tony Italiano on bass. With surnames like that it’s no wonder Italy adores them as much as Berlusconi loves bunga bunga parties. You could think of DM3 as a musical version of the family-sized Neapolitan pizza: Chunky pieces of melody on a solid base of guitar - and easy on the cheese.

If you listen hard enough it will be apparent that it’s all in the hooks. Chronologically-speaking, Dom assembled this band after the ‘60s pop of The Stems and the even sweeter pop of The Someloves. Stylistically speaking, DM3 sits somewhere in-between them both.