sydney - The I-94 Bar
Born out of a surf club fundraiser, this trio from the Manly Dam Delta on Sydney’s Northern Beaches have just rolled out album number two. “Gypsy Mojo” makes it clear that if The Hollering Sluggers have sold their souls to the Devil at the Brookvale Oval crossroads, they ain’t getting a refund.
The Sluggers are a trio playing blue collar blues with a distinct rock and roll edge. There’s no new ground being broken on “Gypsy Mojo” but that’s not going to worry fans of this style. It’s honest and unpretentious blues-rock.
Good god, what a fucking racket.
“Johnny Streetlight” is four-and-a-half bottles of joyous, fresh-faced old school rock’n’roll, soaked in piss and substance abuse and if you treat it right you’ll lose part of your hearing (just don’t eat the worm at the bottom). There’s no bad songs on “Johnny Streetlight”, they’re all good for gold. If this band had been around in the mid-‘80s they woulda been huge.
The inner sleeve pic by Leif Alan Creed makes the band look positively criminal (one gentle soul makes up for his lack of pupils by wielding a rather lethal saw).
Rod Hunt is a passionate sharp shooting Sydney music photographer and has been perfecting his craft for more than 25 years. Now an accomplished and sought-after snapper, he has many published works and awards under his belt.
Hunt’s upcoming exhibition, “Rod Hunt: Portraits, Pits & Punks” draws on his extensive catalogue of work for his first major solo show taking place from February 16-26 at Chrissie Cotter Gallery in Camperdown, Sydney. Legendary Australian music photographer Tony Mott will be guest speaker on opening evening.
As a teen, Rod frequented his local music venues, shooting punk outfits such as Hard-Ons, Massappeal and the Hellmenn, at places like Sutherland Royal Hotel and Penshurst Den, the Lansdowne, the Journo’s Club, the Hopetoun and the Evil Star.
Half of the Flaming Hands: Julie Mostyn, Warwick Gilbert and Jeff Sullivan. Drummer Baton Price is obscured. Murray Bennett photo
In preparation for their upcoming support slot with the Sunnyboys at the Enmore Theatre, the band calling themselves "The Strangers" - aka The Flaming Hands - lined up a show at Marrickville's Factory Floor.
The Thursday night crowd gathering outside the venue contained many familiar faces of gig goers and musicians from what was loosely termed the "Detroit Scene" of the late '70s-early '80s from which The Flaming Hands emerged.
In an alternative universe where justice prevails, Leadfinger would be spending their Friday night cranking out a two-hour set to a packed Hordern Pavilion. Five-thousand sweaty people would be singing along to every word of every song from their newest - superb - album.
Instead, they’re middle-of-the-bill and out front of a half-full Factory Floor in Marrickville. And the thing is, to watch them and to listen to those brilliant songs played with such passion and fire and love, you wouldn’t know the difference on stage.
This was only my second Leadfinger show. My first was at the Blood Bank Benefit for Mick Blood in 2014. I’d heard of them but not heard them. I spent the next 40 minutes standing there with my jaw on the ground going “Who the fuck are these guys and where have they been all my life?” Now to be fair, I had waged a blitzkrieg on sobriety that day and only remember general amazement, and a scorching cover of “City Slang”, but I blabbered about them for ages to everyone I spoke to in the real and cyber worlds.
It seems a lifetime ago when the two great outposts of Sydney rock and roll were its northern and southern beaches. They were feeder tributaries to the inner-city and spawned bands like the Celibate Rifles and the Trilobites, to name just a couple.
The venues that were their spawning grounds have long closed down, the bands willing to play their own music thin on the ground. Only a hardy few are still willing to take a risk and make the swim up-stream.
Blue Oyster Cult. Fashionably obscure forerunners or collective remnants of past glories? Only in it for the money tourists or a heritage act with a reputation to uphold and something still to say? The first band to make the umlaut cool? You can debate these things until you're Blue in the face. The only way you're going to find out is to get off your arse and see for yourself.
I often put forward the argument about his Bobness that if any new artist produced a run of albums with the depth and quality of "Time Out Of Mind" in 1997 until "The Tempest" in 2013, we would hail them as a lyrical genius, the likes of which we'd not heard since Leonard Cohen.
We would be in wonder of this songwriter who draws Americano from his depth of styles, whether it be through darkened Southern blues, Western swing, folk ballads, rockabilly or Irish balladering.
We'd note the remarkable gravel in the vocals akin to Tom Waits and Shane Mc Gowan, and the way they descend to a whisper, the aural equivalent of the oldest oak tree, all weathered and timbered.
But it's Dylan. No singer/songwriter compares, and there is no other career like his.
Blondie and her session men plus Clem Burke (obscured). Dean Ertl photo
I come at this review as a fan. Since 1976 (earlier if you count the Dolls and the Velvets), I have been enamoured of that New York New Wave sound. It's a broad church. Suicide could thrash synthesizers and Television could probe the stratosphere with spiralling lead guitar lines. The Ramones could make dumb look smart.
The Talking Heads sounded nothing like the Heartbreakers. The Fast sounded nothing link Mink DeVille. But the scene was still recognisable as a whole.
Blondie lived in the spotlight of eternal summer despite spending a lifetime dodging sun rays. You could be walking through the Lower East Side, see a boy you liked and say hello. Even if you found yourself charged with solicitation, everything would be all right because you are young, beautiful and in love.
It depends where you live but electrified Deniz Tek shows are more or less annual affairs these days, with the good Doctor spending half his time tending to A&E patients in Sydney, Australia, or Billings, Montana, with rock tours squeezed in during down-time. Unplugged gigs, on the other hand, are fewer and further between.
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.
Here's how to start 2017 with a bang: Three of Sydney’s best high-energy bands are kicking off 2017 at stun volume on Saturday, January 7 with a dual album launch at The Factory Floor in Marrickville.
Detroit-inspired rifferama melody kings The Prehistorics are launching their fourth long-player, “Storm The Gates”, on CD and vinyl with their first gig in 13 months.
Main-man Brendan Sequeira has been dividing his time between Sydney and France and this will be their only home-town appearance before a lengthy European tour.
They took their time about it but The Stukas are finally unleashing their debut CD, “Ju-87”, after 30 years of live savagery.
Reputed to be Sydney’s most hated band, The Stukas have played with everybody from the New Christs to XL Capris, the Celibate Rifles and New York City’s Dictators. It’s been a long and hard road but their latest line-up is as energetic and confronting as ever.
The Dunhill Blues recently notched 10 years of gigs all over Australia and Europe, playing their unique hybrid mix of rock, garage, country and punk blues.
The Dunhill Blues play a pummelling, primitive and pulsing style of rock 'n' roll that's best viewed beer in hand. They don’t have a new album to launch (they’ve already released three) but they do have the firepower to shake you out of your post-Christmas stupour.
Tickets will be on sale at the door or save yourself some dollars by pre-booking online here.
What does a garage band do when it wants to shoot a film clip? Hold a garage sale and let the cameras roll, of course. The Dunhill Blues from Sydney shot this clip for their forthcoming single "Ronnie Wood". We like it. Production by Cheap Music Videos.
You can catch the Dunnies in Queensland and Nothern New South Wales in September and Europe after that.
If you hate hyperbole, stop reading now. The verbiage will pile up. This Sydney band draws from previous endeavours (notably, The Dolly Rocker Movement), inhales deeply from the musty vault of '60s bubblegum and psych and puts their own bent on things. They are The Shit That You Need To Hear Right Now. They're just what this city's flaccid music scene needs.The same probably applies to the postcode in which you reside.
"This album is dedicated to a small club: the squatters of Campbell Buildings in 1979/80. Every year our numbers get fewer but the story lives on," writes Bob Short on the LP cover.
Yeah. Just like the 100 Club and the Sex Pistols, occupants of the Campbell Buildings in London now number in their mythological thousands.
Yeah right. Some pasts attract wanna-be’s like flying bugs to apricot jam, others … well, let’s just say you’d give some pasts a wide berth.
One of Australian rock roll’s few truly dangerous frontmen, Garry Gray (ex-Sacred Cowboys), is making a rare Sydney appearance with his crack band The Sixth Circle on November 18, presented by the I-94 Bar.
Garry Gray and The Sixth Circle are playing The Factory Floor in Marrickville with soulful rock soldiers Leadinger and street-level Northern Beaches rockers Chickenstones.
Melbourne-based Gray is a true survivor and legend of the Australian underground music scene. As crazed, chainsaw-wielding frontman for the Sacred Cowboys, he and his bandmates left a legacy of five studio albums and trademark singles, “Nothing Grows In Texas” and “Hell Sucks”.
Blasted by Molly Meldrum on Countdown as the worst band he’d seen in five years, Sacred Cowboys wore the insult as a badge of honour. They disrupted and devastated Australian audiences in the ‘80s and late ’90s with line-ups that included members of Beasts of Bourbon, The Models, Wet Taxis , Paul Kelly and The Dots and JAB.
A committed underground music fan and member of acid rock cover band The Resurrection Men, Sydneysider Craig Norman is also the father of eight-year-old Jack, who is battling a non-operable brain tumour.
Craig and wife Tanya are fulltime public servants who have burned up much of their annual leave and are battling to give their son a decent quality of life, while also caring for their young daughter.
I-94 Bar patrons who can give a donation can help out here.
Much-loved Sydney blues-punks feedtime are releasing their first new album in 20 years on March 24. "Gas" will be on In The Red and "Any Good Thing" is the preview track. Pre-orders are happening here.
Against the backdrop of the burgeoning inner city music scene, feedtime was formed in 1979. Taking notes from the incendiary live shows of X and Rose Tattoo, feedtime set about creating their own interpretation of the events unfolding before them, a blues-noise that was equal parts abstract minimalism and working class roots-rock. Post-punk, yet right in the thick of it; miles ahead of the pack and not many seemed to notice.
Tuesday night rock'n'roll at the Annandale? Not gonna be an eventful night, no sirree....goin to pay homage to some power-pop legends who have given me years of inspiration and pleasure, coupla beers and some great tunes and home to bed. It's Tuesday night for chrissakes, can't get carried away, what can possibly go wrong I thought...I often forget about the influence of rock'n'roll on my weak will.
Ever heard an album from a band you’d thought had all but put the cue in the rack only to be knocked out of your seat? The Holy Soul has been slogging away around Sydney for a decade or more as one of those acts playing the all-too-familiar Game of Diminishing Returns.
You know that one. It’s where, through a combination of fickle fandom, demographic-driven media, venue turnover and diverging member interests, a band fades from view like the white dot on an analogue TV screen.
Appearances are deceptive. There’s been a bit happening in the background. In terms of getting onto the mainstream radar, however, The Holy Soul have been perpetual victims of their own nature. People like to grasp the familiar and The Holy Soul has traded in a strange mix of blues-rock that’s impossible to pigeonhole. So let’s all resist trying.