All I Wanted Was a Kebab - White Knuckle Fever (self released)
Strap yourself in. Or strap it on. It’s going to be that sort of ride.
White Knuckle Fever is Sydney duo Celia Curtis on vocals and Ross Johnston on guitar and everything else. Ross used to be 3kShort in Machine Gun Fellatio and Celia goes by the name Cruella, Lady of Steel, in macabre vaudeville act Circus Bizarre. So they should be easy to find if the cops issue a summons.
In live performance (remember that?) the duo supplements things with loops and the like. On recordings, they sound like a five-headed Hades houndog that's chewing on the scrotum of Satan.
Nervous Breakdown - Destination Lonely (Voodoo Rhythm)
There’s more fuzz on “Nervous Breakdown” than an ageing punnet of strawberries from the back of the fridge a month after their use-by date. The band responsible, Destination Lonely, is described as “three angry men from Toulouse”, and they sound more crankier than one of their countrymen at the end of a crash diet when they’re told by the baker that he's fresh out of baguettes.
Sometimes a large meal is best consumed in a couple of portions and that might be your best approach to “Nervous Breakdown”. It’s 17 tracks long and sometimes all that distortion and primal skronk becomes hard going - like on the 14-minute noise fest “Nervous Breakdown (big band)”.
The much-anticipated return of Endless Boogie and the Australian debut of Howlin’ Rain will happen, and has now been moved from April to late October and early November.
Both bands will be appearing at the rescheduled Boogie festival (October 30-November 1) in rural Victoria and at the same East Coast venues they were originally booked into. All existing tickets will be honoured.
Endless Boogie & Howlin' Rain
29 - The Tote, Melbourne, Sydney
5 - Crowbar, Sydney
Endless Boogie only
6 - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
7 - Eltham Hotel, NSW
The bad and unavoidable news is that Died Pretty has joined the ever growing list of bands impacted by Coronavirus. The good news is that the band has re-scheduled all but one of the four shows for later in the year. The Perth gig unfortunately cannot be re-booked due to member availability, so has been cancelled.
X-Aspirations - X (SL Express)
The (mild) hype accompanying the 40th anniversary edition was deserved and - and then some. This is as essential an Australian “punk” album as the Radio Birdman and Saints debuts - even if comparatively few people noticed at the time.
The reputation of “X-Aspirations” as the ultimate in primal, spontaneous and minimally brutal music fron this part of the world (Australia) has grown with every re-issue, and this re-mastered vinyl version is surely the last word.
Sydney-reared and as street-level as a band could be, X had all but been destroyed by reputation and reality by the time they went into Trafalgar Studios in 1979. Venue owners despised them and the crowd they attracted. Gigs inevitably ended with a full house, physical damage, spilled blood and a warning for the band not to come back.
Je T'aime Moi Non Plus b/w Je T'aime Instrumental - Steve Lucas & Joey Bedlam (Radio Rocks)
This is the I-94 Bar Singles Bar, isn't it? "Je T'aime Moi Non Plus" (translated: "I love you no more") is a lovingly-crafted cover of the Serge Gainsborough song he wrote for for Brigitte Bardot, sung by X's Steve Lucas and his better half Joey Bedlam, most notably of Dollsquad.
Everybody from Kim Salmon and the Surrealists to Nick Cave and Anita Lane, TV siren Abigail and Bob Downe has had a lash at "J T'aime", so it would be a pity if you had to self-isolate and not have the chance to sing along with your own nearest and dearest and steam up some windows.
It's a faithfully-rendered version and a million miles from X, but it's also a bunch of fun. Flip the sucker over and there's an instrumental version that you can karaoke with or record along to. Grab a copy at Bandcamp and see the uncensored cover that Facebook banned.
I-94 Bar promoted shows involving the New Christs (Marrickville Bowling Club, April 17) and Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers (Marrickville Bowling Club, March 27) have been regretably cancelled due to the Coronavirus crisis. The Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers show at Mayfield Bowling Club (March 29) has also fallen victim to the outbreak.
Pre-purchased ticket refunds for the Marrickville shows are available from Oztix.
Mexican Hillbilly Surf Music - The Mezcaltones (Foghorn/MGM)
For most Australians, Tex Mex music is like Mexican food: Only a handful of us have experienced the real thing. So props to Sydney band The Mezcacltones for cooking up their home-grown variant of the former, and dubbing it “Mexican Hillbilly Surf”.
The twang is the thang as far the sound of this six-piece goes. It’s all over their music. Their brand is country - with some trimmings - and the delivery is slick without being overly so. It’s commercial enough for The Mezcaltones to have played the Tamworth Festival five times.
Amongst the silly hype that Record Store Day now brings there are glimmers of hope. The Hoodoo Gurus will release their latest single, "Answered Prayers", as a limited edition 7" for RSD on April 18 and it's said to hark back to the band's punk rock roots.. Its release will coincide with the digital issue of an expanded Deluxe Edition of their 2004 album “Mach Schau”, which will combine the track listings from both the local and US editions in a new 16 track running order.
The RSD single, which is already available digitally, is the first new music from the band in 10 years, not counting 2014's "Gravy Train", a newly-recorded EP of lost tracks from the band's early days. "Answered Prayers" is a said to be a stark and visceral track addressing a certain type of abuse propagated by a particular type of male. It's also a reminder of the Gurus' roots in the original punk rock of the '70s.
Indeed the track follows the release in the US of both old and new material by The Victims, the band that head Guru Dave Faulkner formed with drummer James Baker in Perth in 1977, some four or so years before the pair reunited in Sydney to form the Gurus.
"Song of the Year", which will feature on the RSD single's B-side. Written and sung by guitarist Brad Shepherd, the flat-out screamer of a song obliquely references in its chorus two of Brisbane's legendary punk-era bands, The Fucken Leftovers and The Survivors. Brad, of course, fronted his own group as a teenager in Brisbane at the time, who begun as The Aliens, before evolving into the legendary Fun Things. "Song of the Year" will also appear on the digital Deluxe Edition of “Mach Schau”.