The Flamin' Groovies in Paris in 1972 with James Ferrell at right.
Long obscured in the Flamin’ Groovies behind Cyril Jordan, Roy Loney, Chris Wilson and even tight-lipped man of mystery, George Alexander, guitarist James Ferrell is a key player in the band’s story. Along with his best pal Danny Mihm, James served in both the Loney-fronted and Wilson-fronted incarnations of the Groovies, and in Loney’s brilliant subsequent band, Roy Loney & The Phantom Movers.
James climbed aboard the Groovies train, replacing Tim Lynch, in Roy’s final days – he plays on the classic 1971 Fillmore recording that’s been released on both Voxx and Norton as well as other labels – and lasted through to 1976. He took part in the early European sojourns, their time with UA in London and the prime days of their relationship with Dave Edmunds and Rockfield Studios. That relationship produced game-changing 45’s, including “Slow Death” and “You Tore Me Down”, as well as the landmark and hugely influential "Shake Some Action" album.
James was there for the band’s legendary shows with the Ramones – on the 1976 Bicentennial bill in London and in LA - before departing the band and ultimately falling back in with Roy and Danny.
Avoiding other people's reviews - at least until our own are done, dusted and posted - is standard modus operandi for most of us at the I-94 Bar. After all, it's important to approach this critical caper with an open mind, and comparisons are odious, aren't they?
It was by accident that the browser stumbled across a critique of the new-ish album, "Second nature", from Scotland's The Primevals by someone whose opinion carries a great deal of stock (Hi, Gus!) to find mentions of Lou Reed, Crazy Horse and The Gun Club. All of which are valid when you're swept up in the record's lyrically dark undertow.
Rule My World b/w Phoenix - Datura4 (Alive Natural Sound)
Perth’s Datura4 grows in stature with each release and this single, issued in tandem with the latest album, kicks major sonic arse. “Rule My World” is a swaggering chunk of ‘70s raunch and only otherwise available on the CD version of “West Coast Highway Cosmic”. Warren Hall’s stuttering drum pattern summons the tune to life and Howard Smallman’s harp is the icing on the boogie cake. It's canny Dom Mariani pop with a ‘70s vibe.
The B side is exclusive to the 45 and is a suave instrumental, with some Bob Patient organ that’s cooler than a 1972 bottle of 4711 Ice Cologne on a February Perth aftwrnoon. Some wiry Mariani guitar lines take it out. There are just 300 numbered copies worldwide and you can find yours here if you’re in Australia, or here if you’re not.
Some would hide their earliest bands’ recordings in a dark place and hope nobody found them. Thankfully, not Sonny Vincent.
As one of the last New York punks still standing, Sonny Vincent criminally remains a well-kept secret. The music he’s made under his own name, and with a string of bands - most notably, Max’s Kansas City and CBGB graduates, Testors - is some of the best primal sound around. This collection of songs from his pre-punk bands, spanning 1969-72, does nothing to detract from that track record.
The Third Degree - Mushroom Planet (Planet Records) Anarchy in TwentyTwenty - Ben Gel (BadAss) The Glue - Tom Redwood (self released) Diarrhoea Part 2: The Shittening - Geezergosis (self released) Saint John's Eve - Michael Plater (Hypostatic Union)
Nina Simone apparently once said, “I'll tell you what Freedom is to me. No fear.” She meant, of course, the everyday fear. That no matter what she's doing, or where, she could be attacked or killed just for being what she was.
We're a pretty intolerant, brittle lot, we people. We really are. One of the several reasons I refer to COVID-19 as "the stupidvirus" is that it seems to have brought out all the stupids in our assorted societies. Our cracks and inadequacies are there for all to see, and people die because of vanity, of an inbuilt reluctance to face up to ugly or inconvenient truths.
The On and Ons streaming from Sydney venue The Moshpit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the music industry globally. As if the digital disruption of music sales in the post CD era wasn’t enough, the closure of venues has killed the oldest revenue stream known to musicians, the live gig.
As the first industry to close and most likely the last to re-open, the meagre incomes of musicians have collapsed and the outlet for their creativity has disappeared. But being resilient and creative thinking beasts, the music industry and has turned its hand to live streaming as a way out of this abyss.
Bad Bad Barrel of Monkeys - The Meanies b/w Goodbye Man - Glenn Richards + House of Bassinet - Snout (Fantastic Mess Records)
Just a stab in the dark here, but it’s likely that anything on a short-run seven-inch single by Melbourne institution, The Meanies, will sell out faster than toilet paper during a second wave of Coronavirus. So the parable at the outset is: Don’t snooze unless you want to lose.
This is the latest in a run of limited edition singles by The Meanies. The good news for fans is that it’s available today. The bad news is that it’s only one song, with the B side devoted to songs by related acts Glenn Richards (of Augie March) and Snout. Two guests on the flip is how the series runs so it shouldn't be a disappointment.
“Bad Bad Barrel of Monkeys” is catchier than the aforementioned Coronavirus with simple lyrics, a hooky refrain and a snaking guitar line. It’s instantly likeable. The B side plays at 33rpm and shudders into life with “Goodbye Man”, a steamy psych rocker preceded by a curious snatch of studio babbling. Glennn Richards plays everything. Snout’s “House of Bassinet” is swampy yet percussive pop and just as good, with subtle instrumentation and a rightfully credited whistling line. Buy it here.
Existential Hangover - These Things (Dirtyflair Record Company)
Three albums in and These Things just made their own patch of swamp in Australia just a little deeper.
These Things have nailed it with “Existential Hangover”. Crawling king snake fuzz intersects with patches of clean guitar against a no-nonsense backbeat. If Mudhoney crept out of a recycling depot in a rural Victorian town and went on an absinthe bender with Reverend Beat-Man, they’d sound like this.
Brisbane-based Aussie rockers Suburbia Suburbia are making a noise since the release of their song "10lb Hammer" through MGM Records in April. Here's a taste of their bogan rock. If you're lucky you can still pick up a copy of their "In The Fridge" album, reviewed here.