Sound of Sydney series is back 40 years later

sound of syndey 4 lgeRevived Sydney record label Method Records and Music is crowd-funding a collection of unreleased and rare recordings by some seminal Australian artists.

“Sound of Sydney Volume 4” reprises the compilation series the label issued in the 1980s and so far includes tracks from Ups and Downs, Deniz Tek, the Hard-Ons, Happy Hate Me Nots, Even As We Speak and Fast Cars.

“The purpose of this crowdfunding is essentially a pre-sale for the latest volume of the Sound of Sydney,” says label owner Fabian Byrne, also part of Fast Cars.

“We want to press on vinyl as well as CD and print a really cool T-Shirt based on the album design which will feature one of legendary artist Peter O’Doherty’s brilliant paintings of Sydney."

Scientist and Surrealist Kim Salmon joins "Gunk" this Monday


The second episode of the I-94 Bar Intrnt TV show "Monday Evning Gunk" streams live thisw Monday night at 7.30pm (AEST) from the Moshpit Bar in Sydney with swamp rock legend Kim Salmon the special guest.

This week's co-hosts Jay Katz and Tiffany Palmer will talk to Kim about his new album with the Surrealists, "Rantings From The Book of Swamp", as well as matters to do with the Scientists, the Beasts of Bourbon and his numerous other musical and art projects. 

"Monday Evening Gunk" is free and comes to you from Moshpit, Zenn Stream, City of Sydney Council and Coopers beer. You can watch it on the Moshpit Facebook page here and register for a reminder at the associated Facebook event here

A lot to love about this dog's life

dog songs jack howardDog Songs - Jack Howard and the Long Lost Brothers (self-released)

This from the press release:

"'Dog Songs' is a 'best of' Jack's Dog's Bar residency with his mighty band of Long Lost Brothers - and sisters. It features some powerful new songs, like 'Reason to Believe', and 'Panic in the City', plus ripper versions of some of Jack's great older tunes like 'Let Me Live' and 'City Lights'. The band features some of Melbourne's finest in absolutely stellar form - Ed Bates on pedal steel guitar, Nick Del Rey on guitar, Cal McAlpine on drums, Rob Walker on bass, Fiona Lee Maynard on backing vocals and percussion, and Amy Valent Curtis on percussion. Production from Craig Harnath at Hothouse Audio captures the band's live energy and power without sacrificing the rich warmth and depth of a studio recording.'"

Well, you don't need me, really, do you?

Off you go and buy "Dog Songs".

No? Still here?

What's that?

"Do some fucking work, Robert" ...?

Bastards, the lot of you.

Reeding between the lines

sunday reeds Bryan LynaghAdelaide band The Sunday Reeds' latest release, “Drive You Mad”, has been one of my favourite releases for 2020. A brilliant combination of Cramps-style ‘60s garage with elements of Riot Grrl, punk and shoegaze, it’s an amazing mix of genres spread over six tracks.

Core members, Romana Ashton and Drew Jones, have continued the band despite the two now living in different states. Singer-bass player Romana spoke to us via phone from her South Australian home base.

I-94 Bar: Before we kick off can I ask how have you been going in these odd times?

Romana: it’s been fine, the first few months I was ok, I prefer working from home and it suited me better. I’m alright on my own as I’m a fairly introverted person so I cope ok with that. But even now I’m a bit sick of the walls, seeing the same thing. I have a cat to keep me entertained and to kept me sane, taking up some time and entertaining myself. But I’m itching to see a few things now, kind of over it (laughs).

I-94 Bar: I’ve had a cat around my place for a year and it is a good feeling saying, 'Sod the world I’m gonna hang out with the cat tonight'?

Grooves and guitars ensure "Psychopharmacologist" will capture hearts

psychopharmacologist smPsychopharmacologist - Mick Medew (I-94 Bar Records)

Issued by this website's very own head honcho, The Barman, who is responsible for organising many, many gigs which you've all thoroughly enjoyed. The kind of punter who decides he wants to see bands, and figures you will, too, so he puts them on. 

This LP rates 5 bottles, and that's not because I know Barman and he's slipped me a brown envelope behind the cistern at Central Station, but because “Psychopharmacologist” is bloody lovely, and you absolutely need it in your collection. The press release explains that this is “Mick Medew’s first true solo album and his most surprising musical adventure yet with its broad stylistic sweep and kaleidoscopic use of sound”, and that's a fair comment.

“Sea of Souls” is a gently-teasing opener, with a rather lovely guitar figure up-front. By the time we've hit “When the Wood is Brown (Full Return)”, we're well ensconced in a 1960s-style, music played with an ear for tune, texture and resonant meaning, with Mick's unique voice filling our ears. 

Every song here is strong, sinewy, and makes you feel damn good. A bit like the first time you ever heard 1960s music. Yeah, alright, some of that was awful, I know, like the 1970s. But when you heard the songs which uplifted you, your head was turned and your eyes bulged. Where did this honeyed sound come from? Third song, "Koln", is a summery, gorgeous instrumental, followed by "Betty Jackson" which, with Medew's distinctive voice, makes a serious topic sound positively romantic. 

“Red Head” captures that perfect series of moments when you gets your heart captured by a woman, with Medew's yearning pedal steel offset with light-hearted strumming. The instrumental version of the Screaming Tribesmen's “Igloo” would get your attention alone, it's all back-porch reflective and ruminatory. 

The LP's title track, “Psychopharmacologist” is a well-groovy instrumental which will have you gently bopping in the dark.

Another pulsing groovitan, “Black Cowboy” is next, with Mick seducing us out of our socks in the shrubbery.

Bassist from Mick's band The Mesmerisers, Lois Andrews, and Mick’s partner-keyboardist, Ursula Collie, add extra depth and resonance with intelligence and a gently quirky spirit (some of the sounds which I presume Ursula has come up with are bloody wonderful, and very well-chosen). 

The press release says nice things about echoes of Hendrix, Berlin Bowie and The Byrds. Well, perhaps. That may be where Mick's head was at, but I'm rubbish at spotting influences. Hell, there's a noticeable Kraftwerkian moment, as well as what sounds like a bit of early Wall of Voodoo, and an obvious Ennio Morricone. No, what comes across is a man who constructs the kind of song which the hip radio stations should be playing. I have my favourites here, but a few really belong in a film - or, as with “Black Cowboy”, opening one.

The last song, “Where the Crows Fly Backward”, I won't spoil for you. 

Some people can only do nasty. Some people can only rock out. Some people can only squeal, shout and squawk. “Psychopharmacologist” shows a consistently honest, sweet part of one man's nature and, apart from that being such a relative rarity you must have it in your collection, “Psychopharmacologist” is a bloody beautiful album, and that's definitely special. Come on, how often do you hear an album made by a genuine romantic? So much gorgeous music. Like I say, an essential 5 bottles.

Needless to say, listening just wasn't enough, so I decided to ask the man a few questions

The Barman mentions on the Bandcamp page for the new album that it's reminiscent of Hendrix, Byrds and Berlin-era Bowie. Was that actually accurate, what you were listening to as you came up with these songs?

MM: I have always listened a lot to Hendrix , lately I have been listening to a lot of Jeff Beck which is not unusual for me either , I often wonder what Jimi would sound like these days if he had survived like Jeff has.

I guess the Bowie-Berlin comparison is kind of true, but more like Iggy Pop with David Bowie helping him. Lately I've been listening to The B52s and New Christs, but I don't know if that has been an influence on this record. 

First thing people might think is, gosh, a few instrumentals. Me, I'd rather have a decent instrumental than ruin one with shit lyrics. Why so many instrumentals, though?

MM: Yes, there are a few instrumentals, I have had a few tunes laying around that I've not done much with, but there was always something about the ones that are recorded on "Psychopharmacologist" that I liked, and I thought they needed to see the light of day. To compound things I recently purchased a couple of loop pedals to help colour my solo shows, I found this really worked for me and has resulted in me being empowered to make a lot of instrumental music, although I don't think I'll have as many on my next album.

There's a lot of what seems to me to be carefully worked-out tunes and progressions; what was to the fore as these songs were coming together?

MM: This album was always going to be different. Since COVID-19 I've not been able to rehearse with my full band as our drummer Michael Charles lives in Tweed Heads, and the Queensland border is currently closed to New South Wales.

I wanted to make an album and the situation has left me with my long time friend, Band member and engineer producer Brian Mann to collaborate with. Lois Andrews (The Mesmerisers bass player) also pitched in some bass and production duties on "When the Wood is Brown (Full Return)"; Also with the Covid 19 thing, I started jamming with my fiance, Ursula (as you are aware I play with her now in a new duo) and I enlisted her help on "Psychopharmacologist" as well. I wanted to do something unexpected; I didn't want to make another 'Power Pop'' album like "Open Season", especially since it's only been 12 months since that release.

Now, it's been a long time since the Screaming Tribesmen, but why an instrumental of "Igloo"?

MM: I started doing an instrumental version of Igloo in my solo performances , it always brings the house down and so I thought why not include it on this album?

Can't argue with that, of course ... lso, here's one: how did you end up choosing guitar? And what were you hoping to happen with it once you'd figured out how to play?

MM: When I was growing up my Uncle Joe used to play Johnny Cash all the time , this is what turned me on to the guitar to start with. I found it difficult to make friends when I was younger and the guitar was my constant companion, I think it saved my life. 

What do you do these days when you're not holed up in a studio making music?

MM: These days my whole life is making music, writing, recording, performing, listening (now to the radio more than ever). Seeing live music was my first real love and that is still true even now, I think I need to find an extra interest, LOL!

- Robert Brokenmouth


Hello I-94 Barflies! The wonderfully talented Mick Medew has a new solo album out very soon and it is a beautiful record, showcasing Mick's guitar playing and vocals. "Psychopharmacologist" is full of instrumentals and some classic country tracks.

"Sea of Souls" is the first track and has some fabulous guitar-work. "When The Wood Is Brown (Full Return)" is one fine track with Lois Andrews from Mick's band The Mesmerisers assisting on bass guitar.

"Koln" and "Where The Crows Fly Backwards" has the future Mrs Medew, the lovely Ursula "Border" Collie, on keyboards; these are both instrumentals and both great tracks. "Betty Jackson" and "Red Head" have a country Stones feel and I love both these tunes.

If you have been catching Mick's Sunday afternoon sessions on his Facebook page or one of his solo live shows in a hotel (remember them?), well, I'm sure you would have picked up on his original Screaming Tribesmen song "Igloo" done as an instrumental. It's here and a good one for budding musicians to play along with.

And "Psychopharmacologist" (the title track) has some trippy guitars.

This album was recorded between April and July at Brian Mann's studio in Annerley, Brisbane, where adds sonic textures on this most wonderful album.

So Barflies, I highly recommend this album. It is a bit different from Mick's previous releases and bit slower with some instrumentals - but it shows how diverse Mick can be and what a wonderful guitar player he is. So folks, order it at the link below and get in contact with The Barman for your CD and digital copy.

Stay Healthy! From The Farmhouse. - Ron Brown


Out on September 25 and available here.



What it's cracked up to be

crack brandoA Crack in the World - Brando Rising (Crankinhaus)

“A Crack in the World” is an utter cracker, and if any of you lot had recorded anything half as good as this you'd have heads as big as prize-winning pumpkins.

I mean to say, Jesus wept, lads. “A Crack in the World” gets your attention as surely as if someone has heaved a box of tinned tuna at your head.

Doesn't matter what mood you're in, put this in your slot (oo-er, missus, fnaar fnaar etc) and you'll feel like a character in a 1950s Warner Brothers cartoon who has rashly “just added water” to a mysterious sachet.

From out of iso comes the ghost who Walkers

Ghosting van walkerGhosting - Van Walker (Green South Records)

The emerging artistic genre de jour of 2020 will be iso-art. Some of it will be insightful, philosophical and impressive; over in the bargain bins of artistic creation, there will be tedium, self-indulgence and vacuous expressionism. When the world shuts down, and even incidental social intercourse is legally and morally restricted, art follows.

Van Walker’s new album isn’t iso-art per se, but it’s an album that resonates in a world characterised by isolation. Van, aided and abetted by his equally hirsute brother Cal, have been fixtures on the Melbourne music scene for around 15 years, since making the trip from regional Tasmania (itself a place of relative geographical and demographic isolation).

Finger lickin' good

10 piece feed10 Piece Feed - The Missile Studs/Thee Evil Twin (Evil Tone Records/Dirty Flair)

This is a marriage made in Fast Food Heaven. “10 Piece Feed” pits Adelaide scuzzballs The Missile Studs against Sydney’s recently dissolved punk trio Thee Evil Twin over a 10-song split LP, and it’s hotter than a fire in a chip shop grease trap.

Split albums can be disappointing but the contrasts and similarities in both bands work well here. The Studs are more of your traditional thrash-y punks while Thee Twin have a ‘60s garage undercurrent. Neither band is a slave of studio polish, and they possess equal amounts of humour and energy. Breast or Thigh? Plenty here to appease fans of either - or both.

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