Seas on Fire – East Coast Low (Crankinhaus Records)
The promise of their first recordings (an album and a promotional EP) has been realised and “Seas On Fire” showsEast Coast Low has the requisite rock and roll cojones to take on all comers.
A five-piece with most of its membership drawn from the matter-of-fact city of Newcastle, a couple of hours north of Sydney, East Coast Low is a product of its home-town: Nothing is overly dressed up and most of the songs get straight to the point, with no fucking around.
This is a well-travelled band. Grizzled, if you like. High rotation on the national youth network doesn’t beckon (though we all know they don’t program anything with a hint of ageism about them.) The Low formed in 2015 with members playing in Newy bands like The Fools and No Reason. The influences are myriad, although the ‘70s punk lineage is strong.
The long-rumoured and exhaustively researched biography of iconic Australian musician Spencer P Jones is out tomorrow.
Hard on the heels of the James McCann-compiled tribute double album, “All The Way With SPJ”, “Execution Days - The Life and Times of Spencer P Jones” is being published by Love Police and can be ordered here.
“Execution Days” was written by Melbournite Patrick Emery, who whose work has graced The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Beat, The Brag, Time Off, X-Press, Mess and Noise, Faster/ Louder, “1001 Albums You Must Hear” and the I-94 Bar.
Patrick carried out 150 interviews with friends, relatives and bandmates of the late Spencer, as well as the man himself.
With a career spanning over 40 years, Spencer’s resumé is vast, deep and eclectic, ranging from the wild cowpunk of The Johnnys, to the garage swamp of Beasts of Bourbon to the rugged beauty of his solo albums, to cameos with Ian Rilen, Paul Kelly, Maurice Frawley, Rowland S. Howard, Renee Geyer, Mudhoney and Violent Femmes. He also toured Europe with Sonny Vincent’s Shotgun Rationale.
“Execution Days” traces Spencer’s life from his childhood in New Zealand to his evolution as a musician in Australia to his profound impact on those around him. Along the way there are stories of irreverence and excess, of frustration and heartache, of friends loved and lost.
Like the escapees from lockdown prison that they are, Melbourne’s Swedish Magazines are setting a frenzied course for New South Wales now the gates are again open, and will land at Marrickville Bowling Club on Friday, November 26 for their only Sydney show, presented by the I-94 Bar.
The reformed early 2000s high-energy outfit will be packing a new best of collection, ”I Wish Life Could Be…”, on LP and CD.
And lending a hand as special guests are the re-animated Leadfinger (poised to release their own new record very soon) and the psychedelic Sabbath-meets-Dictators crunch of Jupiter 5, hauling their own vinyl and CD single. Tickets are on sale here.
I Wish Life Could Be… - Swedish Magazines (Rubber Records)
Underground rock on Australia’s East Coast really needed a well-organised interstate exchange program in the 2000s.
Despite a smoothed-out Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney making long-haul road-trips safer and a flood of cheap airfares, the flow of bands between the two big smokes slowed, largely in part to Sydney’s declining number of live music venues.
After all, bands can’t do reciprocal deals to play in each other’s cities if one hometown has 20 venues and the other has four. If the balance had been more equitable and audiences less fragmented, it’s a fair bet that Melbourne’s Swedish Magazines would have household names across the nation in the mid-00s and not juist in Melbourne.
Two weeks to write, a fortnight to record - cynics would doubt both claims - and the eighth album from these Swiss lunatics is testament to what you can achieve when you set out to annoy the living shit out of audiences.
“You’re Class, I’m Trash” is unadulterated fuzz guitar abrasion, a boil on the arse of commercially safe and bland music, with occasional diversions into sonic weirdness. And it sounds fucking great.
Hello Barflies! Well folks, The Farmhouse has been rocking these past few weeks. Los Angeles’ Sweet Justice have released the follow-up to their debut album - and it's only taken 18 years.
Why so long? Well, these boys are always busy, what with their other band the fabulous Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs (among other projects) keeping these fine musicians very busy.
Sweet Justice is a three-piece band featuring Frank Meyer (guitar and vocals), Bruce Duff (bad ass bass) and Mike Sessa on the skins (replacing original drummer Chris Markwood.) What as pedigree these blokes have. having worked with James Williamson (Iggy & the Stooges), Eddie Spaghetti, Jeff Dahl, ADZ and Wayne Kramer (MC5). So you know this ain’t no garbage or garage band I’m talking about.
Not content with co-producing the recent tribute album to Spencer P Jones, Melbourne muso James McCann (James McCann and the New Vindcitives, Harpoon, Nucnhcukka Superfly, The Drones) took the chance during lockdown to write and record a new album. His solo project, for whjich he played all the instruments, is called SKAG and "13 Moons (Burn Out)" is the lead-off video single for the forthcoming long-player "Death Groupie". Grab the track at Bandcamp.
Back For More – Rocket Science b/w Sick – Supergrass (Sound Pressing)
This is a double A side to mark the 2020 Australian tour that never was by Brits Supergrass and home-grown psych-garage rockers Rocket Science. COVID killed off that run, which was part of an ambitious world tour by Supergrass. Plans are afoot to make up for that, but for now this offering will have to do…
First to Rocket Science: Roman Tucker's throaty organ and some stop-start fuzz guitar dominate the breathless “Back For More”, recorded live at an in-store at Tym Guitars (R,I.P.) in Brisbane after the release of their fabulous reformation album, “Snake”. It’s a reminder that simple songs are often best - and that the album ruled if you didn’t wrap your ears around it at the time of release.