Wham, bam, thank you Dang!!!

sociopathfinder cvrSociopathfinder - Dang!!! (Apollon Records)

What the difference between a “supergroup” and a “super group”? 

The answer and five bucks will get you a cappuccino, but only if the pandemic-induced labour shortage that’s hit coffee shops in these parts mean there’s someone on deck to make it for you.

While you’re pondering the problem you might go cold turkey with your Wordle obsession and cock an ear to what’s in these grooves.

Dang!!! is a Norwegian studio collaboration that started with Arne Thelin (ex-Lust-O-Rama, Kwyett Kings) and Stu Manx (ex-Gluecifier) swapping guitar riffs over the Internet during lockdown. One thing led to another and by the time they convened in a real studio with drummer Havard Takle Ohr and keyboardist Geir Nilsen, emailed music parts were flying in from all over the globe like members of the International Olympic Committee on their way to a fine dining festival.

Split LP showcases top-shelf French garage rock

split lgfGames, Sex and Life – Little Green Fairy/Go To The Station – The Sonic Preachers (Zombies on Mars Records)

This split vinyl album pairing of French veterans Little Green Fairy and evangelistic garage rock countrymen Sonic Preachers is très cool

The concept of a split single or EP is common, but two bands sharing a side of an LP less so. Maybe it’s some canny French move to save money in the pandemic, or a reflection of both bands coming from the picturesque port city of Sète,  (“the Venice of the Languedoc”) and sharing a guitarist? Who knows? Slap it on the turntable and stop worrying. The sound of both bands complements each other.

Little Green Fairy (it's an absinthe) has come a long way in their 20-plus years. Originally taking a derivative leaf from the rough and ready psych garage rock of The Vietnam Veterans, they’ve broadened their sound and it’s not easily pigeon-holed. They remain the go-to band for support spots on the French Mediterannean coast, and have an impressive back five-album catalogue. 

Seminal sounds

protons single cvrTombstone b/w Revolution – Proton Energy Pills (Outtaspace)

You can’t replicate the past but you sure can borrow from it. Two founding members of ‘80s Wollongong upstarts Proton Energy Pills have teamed with three younger players to lay down some of their old band’s unrecorded songs and the results are satisfying.

As predecessors to Tumbleweed and the vastly underrated Brother Brick, the Protons lit a fuse under their hometown and made righteous noise on the national touring circuit before falling apart. Three decades on, there was never an intention to release these recordings and their progress to completion was stymied by various health issues.  After hearing the fruits of their labour however, original members Dave Curley and Stew Cunningham (he of Leadfinger) thought: Why not?

Live tribute to Damo makes it to vinyl

damo the musical cvrDamo The Musical – The Celibate Rifles (self released)

Sunday, September 22, in the year 2019 P.P. (Pre Plague) was the date when The Celibate Rifles took to The Enmore Theatre stage in Sydney to pay tribute to their late frontman Damien Lovelock. The show was originally scheduled for The Factory Theatre, but demand for tickets outgrew the room. And it sounded something like this…

This LP is a dozen songs from the night and a fitting tribute to the man widely known as Damo. With his place at the centre stage mic vacant, some friends had to fill it. More on them later, but first some observations.

The instrumental mix is as punchy as fuck; with an big bottom-end. The vocals are up and down - but put that down to the vagaries of varying mic technique. It was a round robin of singers without the luxury of extended rehearsals. The Rifles excelled in accommodating the rotating cast which gave its best in return.

Debut for Robodebt is no debt and deficit disaster

robodebt single cvrFlat Till Death – Robodebt (Swashbuckling Hobo)

So a band you’ve probably never heard of, let alone heard, releases its debut 45 and The Barman says it shakes more shit that a dunny carter’s truck on a cobblestone street and therefore you should own it? Best believe it. Four punk rock songs on this baby outta Brisbane, and they’re uniformly raw and energetic.

“Uber To The Penthouse” is perhaps the least developed in that it’s a handful of lyrics wrapped around a riff and the briefest of lead breaks, but it kicks like a motherfucker. Nicko (guitar) is a paint-peeler vocalist and the engine room of Dr Rock (bass) and Tom keep it simple, stupid, and economy is the watchword.   

Voice of the exiles

stranded updated coverStranded. Australian Independent Music, 1976-1992. Revised and Expanded Edition
By Clinton Walker (The Visible Spectrum)

First issued in 1996, the brilliant “Stranded” was Clinton Walker's second "overground" success (his first being his biography of Bon Scott two years earlier), and was a more readily-available primer on how Australian music - as a whole - abruptly changed into something both credible and world-class. 

Yeah, and you disagree? Look, prior to 1978 (say) there were only a handful of bands determined, lucky, and good enough to get above the parapet and charge stark-naked and take on the world.

Around 1978, everything changed - though I'll emphasise that the world-wide impending undercurrent of change started way back. Hip young kids taking the present culture and either embracing it or pouring gasoline on it (or both), and investigating the past cultures and appropriating what they identified with. 

In his preface to this edition (with "invisibly" revised original text and very visible expansions), Walker makes several statements I vehemently disagree with. This is unremarkable, as the nature of The Life is that it is mercurial, shape-shifting. For example, where Walker is amused by Sonic Youth's title “1991: The Year Punk Broke”, I thought it insanely naff, wrong and downright stupid.

Top Tens for 2021: Melbourne musician Penny Ikinger

penny2021GIGS:

Adalita - Melbourne Town Hall
Adalita performed in the magnificent space of the Melbourne Town Hall, with J.P. Shilo playing the four storey-high Grand Organ. They were accompanied at various stages by Adalita's band, plus backing vocalists Charm of Finches and The Letter String Quartet. Adalita's emotive and well-crafted songs were driven home by her powerful guitar playing and the brooding sound of the swirling organ. A contender for one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen in my life.

Ed Kuepper and Jim White  - Rising Festival
Ed Kuepper and Jim White opened the ill-fated Rising Festival in Melbourne at the Comedy Theatre and what a show it was. It felt pretty exciting to be at a gig in another iconic building. There was also an element of fear - in this seated though crowded space, was I going to get out of there virus free? All in the name of rock ’n' roll!!!

The Rising Festival had an eclectic, artistically challenging and ambitious programme of events but unfortunately was closed down on the second day due to you-know-what. Another one bites the dust.

Liz Reed photo

The Axeman's Story gets the book it deserves

execution days lgeExecution Days: The Life and Times of Spencer P. Jones
By Patrick Emery (Love Police)

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Melbourne writer Patrick Emery’s exhaustively researched and engrossing biography of the late Spencer P. Jones is that it found a publisher.

Thanks to the internet, book publishing is a low-margin crap shoot. But Aussie publishing houses were already renowned for their lack of imagination and reluctance to take risks on books about anyone who’s not mainstream, middle-of-the-road or, ahem, National Living Treasures. Even those imprints that are outgrowths of universities, our bastions of free thought.

If you haven’t received a formal rejection letter from a friendly Aussie publisher after shopping a musician’s autobiography, you haven’t lived. The stupidity of not keeping and framing a letter that read, in part, “there is no market for this because Radio Birdman fans can’t read” is regrettable in hindsight – it should have gone straight to the pool room - but, fuck you, anyway, self-important publisher twat. You deserve to be shot by a ball of your own shit.  

Patrick Emery suffered his share of similar fools while trying to place “Execution Days”.

Vale Detroit Cobra Rachel Nagy, "Stoogeling" Natalie Schlolssman and guitarist Gregory Hilleard

rachael nagyRachel Nagy of the Detroit Cobras.

The year 2022 is off to a very bad start. Over the weekend, the Detroit Cobras announced co-founder and vocalist Rachel Nagy had died.

Nagy co-founded the Detroit rock-soul band in 1994 with guitarist Mary Ramirez, and Greg Cartright (Reigning Sound, The Oblivians) was a musical collaborator. The band released four full-length albums, toured Australia in the 2000s and was scheduled to play US dates in March. No cause of death was revealed.

The weekend also claimed Nadalyn (Natalie) Schlossman, former manager of the Stooges fan club in the 1970s and a dedicated documenter and champion of the band since.

Known as “The Stoogeling”, Natalie lived in Philadelphia and ran the Stoogeaholics Facebook group where former Iggy and the Stooges guitarist James Williamson has paid tribute:

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