One re-issue that does justice to the legend

x aspirations 2020X-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.

Getting loved up with Steve and Joey

jetaimeJe 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.

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Sorry for the no-shows, folks

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.

Make mine a breakfast burrito with extra chilli

mezcaltonesMexican 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. 

Gurus back to their punk roots on RSD release

hoodoo gurus 2020

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”.

Indulge your inner biker with Angus Khan

behind the fridgeBlack Leather Soul - Angus Khan (Nickel and Dime Records)

Hello from the Farmhouse, Barflies. This is one from the archives, originally issued in 2009, but this most rocking album has been re-released in July and is already on all good music streaming services with a extra track, "Silver and Green" (acoustic.) I, for one, love this tune and the album.

Angus Khan was formed in the summer of 2006 by three Streetwalkin' Cheetahs and two B Movie Rats in sunny California. They were Frank Meyer and Bruce Duff on guitars, Dino Everrett on bass, Derek Christenson (vocals) and Andy Baker of the B Movie Rats on drums. What a cracking line-up.

That's some pedigree and they didn't disappoint. This is a hard rock album that just kicks from the first track, the wonderful "Midnight Moses".

These tunes are a must for any Barfly who loves Rock 'n' Roll played hard with witty lyrics. "Call Me Motherfucker", "Hot Pants", "Bop City", "Chainsaw Betty" and "Scene Bitch" are perfect examples of what I love in a rock band: Don't take yourself too seriously and have some fun. Angus Khan most certainly does both in abundance.

"Black Leather Soul" takes listeners on a journey of stomping riffs. Oh, those guitars just blast out of the speakers. No bullshit here. It's a must have album.

I was lucky enough yesterday to have a conversation with Frank Myer about why he decided to branch out from the Cheatahs and form Angus Khan. Just quickly before I let Frank loose on the public, you should know that they derived their name from Angus of AC/DC and Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongol Empire. So name alone, you know this album ain't for pussies.

So I'll let Frank explain the origins of the band and I'm most grateful for the time he took to speak to a dirt farmer from Dimboola, Victoria

When the Cheetahs and the Rats both broke up, Derek and I had been plotting on doing a heavier band for some time. We wanted to do something kinda like Zodiac Mindwarp meets Turbonegro - a really dirty sleazy biker metal music with dashes of punk and glam.

At the time I was also writing for Cherie Currie of the Runaways on a solo album that would return her to her Runaways roots. Unfortunately that album never ended up getting done so a bunch of the songs like "Scene Bitch" and "Big Balls" we just took and continued that direction, making it more extreme and as we continued writing new songs.

When we were writing songs for Angus Khan we where listening to a lot of music like Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Nashville Pussy, ZZ Top and even Megadeth and Metallica. We wanted a sound to be steeped in '70s hard rock but with a metal twist.

There's a lot of fun and cheap humour in the lyrics; We wanted the music to be fun and funny, with lyrics that were cool yet ridiculously over the top.

Each member of the band had a character. I dressed like a Army guy and went by the name Sgt Rock. Our biker singer went by Dirty D, our bass player was Droogie from the movie "Clockwork Orange', the drummer was Tarzan and the other guitarist was a '70s rock god. We all dressed the part and kept the whole thing as over the top as possible.

So Barflies, this is a must for lovers of hard-riffing, good time, over-the-top rock 'n' roll. Download or stream this most wonderful album on Spotify, Apple or Amazon music, and if you're not familiar with The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, give them a listen also. They just kick fucking arse.

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Six Beers Please Barman AND keep them coming

From The Farmhouse, enjoy your week and don't run out of bog rolls.

Arctic Circles come in from the cold

full circle coverFull Circle - Arctic Circles (Buttercup Records) 

With a scant recorded legacy, it would be easy to forget Arctic Circles, a ‘60s-inspired band that kicked around Melbourne’s underground music scene in the second half of the 1980’s. A 45 (“Angel” b/w “My Baby Said That”) and a mini-LP, “Time”, was the sum total until a posthumous live seven-inch on Buttercup Records in 2014. 

Six years later, Buttercup has upped the ante with “Full Circle”, a vinyl compilation of Arctic Circles’ entire output, supplemented by live tracks and a bonus CD of demo’s and live cuts. It’s in a limited run of 200 copies. 

Up There Cazaly: What a load of balls

nall movementBall Movement - The Toss (self released)

Hello I-94 Barflies. As always, the old Farmhouse has been rocking loud, and these past couple of days it’s been to the sounds of The Toss, those fun-loving and football-crazy nuts from Adelaide.

“Ball Movement” is CD’s the name and whether taking the piss or draining it is their game, this puts them right at the top of the ladder. It’s the seventh album for The Toss, following hard on the heels of the highly acclaimed “Full Support Of The Board”. This is a masterpiece of Australian Football songs but before I bounce the ball and start the review-proper, I think you need a "Footy Record" account of who's who.

It's all Ups and no Downs as pop powers on at Sydney launch

greg atkinsonGreg Atkinson of Ups and Downs. 

"Shake Yer Popboomerang 3" Sydney Launch
Ups and Downs
Halfway
The Aerial Maps
Marrickville Bowling Club
Friday February 29, 2020
Photos by Mark Fraser of Redback Rock

This isn’t going to be one of those reviews where someone walks you through a song-by-song recreation of the gig. For starters, I’ve seen Aerial Maps once, Halfway never, and Ups and Downs twice. None of them are really big on song introductions either. So I have no idea what any of the tunes were called, besides a couple from the headliners.

I guess a dedicated reviewer would have gone and had a squiz at the set lists, or maybe bailed up a hapless band member, but to be honest I was too busy drinking with a dear friend I hadn’t seen in ages to worry about that. So it’s going to be more about the vibe, man, and a few observations I jotted down in a notebook.

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