Mike Caen - Mike Caen (Foghorn Records)

mike caenThe media release is cagey, avoiding too much specific information on Caen’s background. He’s fronted bands, played in bands (to quote the bio: "such as Mental as Anything, Dragon and Jenny Morris … played hundreds of shows … from big city stadiums to outback mining towns").

At this point the diligent, well-paid reviewer on a daily paper should do their homework and look the man up, perhaps at www.mikecaen.com.au, to find out more. But I am a lowly scrubber at the I94-Bar zine and I have a mountain of CDs to approach (some with caution) and I am going to quail, claim I don’t have the time ("I don’t have the time for this, dammit" - see what I mean?) and go along with the between-the-lines message from the screed: Don’t look at the man’s history, listen to the bloody songs.

Selected Works: I Reject This Reality - Eric Mingus (self released)

i reject this realityEven if you don’t like what people call jazz, you’ll react to "I Reject This Reality". It’s far more honest, creative, exciting and interesting than dealing with those talentless oiks, berks and preening nobodies on the telly. Talk about too much methane in a fartbubble - hell, how many channels do we have these days? And how much is really, truly, actually worth watching? Are we children or goldfish to be distracted so long and so often by such bling? Life’s far, far too short. Dig "I Reject This Reality", it’s far more grown-up.

You may recognise the surname. Eric’s dad was famous, and groundbreaking at a time when ground needed to be broken, and the world watched with bated breath for every new jazz development.

Jazz, that is, real jazz, not that muck you hear in shopping malls, nor that cheery "trad jazz" stuff which seems so much part of the everyday background now, is now a rare thing. There is no longer a huge, rollercoasting movement like there was from the twenties to the sixties. This isn’t a new concept; you can say that the rollercoaster of punk and new wave more or less shivered, then sort of dawdled forward from, say, late 1984 (notwithstanding there were still brilliant bands and lps, the tidal wave was receding from the foothills, only to begin to gain momentum in Japan when nobody in The West was looking).

Ozone St - Los Dominados (Ejected Records)

ozone stThis record is so damned cool. So damned ultra-cool.

It’s sorta- like the late ’80s indie punk art of Sonic Youth with its rocky side exposed, combined with The Pixies and with the classic English rock pop of T-Rex thrown in. There’s even a nod to US ‘60s girl pop and urban country twang. It stayed in my CD player for a few weeks, and I keep hitting the the play again.

Los Dominados is essentially a band formed from the remnants of Moler, who mixed it up as a grungy, power pop band playing hip, street-level music with tough lyrics in the late ‘90s. Twenty years later, there’s been a vast development in song-writing - as shown in this, the band’s fourth album. We find a broader tapestry of influences and the band members have learned a lot about minimalism as well as using dark and light shade. And about sophistication.

On and Ons back live and giving away a new song

on and ons bowloAussie pop-rock supergroup The On and Ons have been busy recording their follow up to the highly acclaimed album "It's The On and Ons Calling", along with a bit of touring including a Radio Birdman support. Later this month there'll be a gig with a special preview of songs from the new record.

Marrickville Bowling Club in Sydney is the venue on August 27. The On and Ons wil lbe supported by Loose Pills and Chicanery. Every punter receives a free download of a new On and Ons single, "Run About".

The On and Ons contain former members of the Screaming Tribesmen, Hoodoo Gurus and Barbarellas. Details of their launch event are on Facebook here.

Loose Pills have recently returned from a break, supporting Died Pretty and featuring at the Mazstock festival in Northern NSW. They are in blistering form.

Chicanery are an exciting bunch of young ladies and formed at the age of 15 during high school. The group has played numerous shows since then. Now university students, the band has begun recording their debut EP, set for imminent release. "Open Road" is the first single from the upcoming EP, written for a documentary titled "Pontiacs Down Under", and has enjoyed some good radio play.

Get on down. Cheap drinks and food. Only $15 at the door.

Leadfinger on the road: Twin guitars assault Adelaide, locals pretend it isn’t happening

leadfinmger adelaide augustLeadfinger rocks out. Adelaide slumbers.   Mandy Tzaras photo.

It’s going to take a while to recover from this weekend. Each of the bands above play very different rock from each other, and were all well-suited in the line-up. Curiously, at each gig I was reminded of the late Darby Crash.

Friday night gigs are always a bit weird as so many of today’s musicians have day jobs. So, for example, they finish a week’s work and, instead of coming home to a beer or four and a chewie, people have to hurry home, put their gear together, get their stage concentration going and head out the door.

So a Friday night gig has all the makings of tired people fucking up and so on; for myself, I have work the following day, so I have to curtail the popping of champagne corks (cue: mock-chorus of “aaww” followed by a hail of empties).

Some Buttons Should Never Be Pushed - The Secret Buttons (TSB Records)

some buttons should never be pushedThe Secret Buttons are an outgrowth of The New Invincibles, a Perth band now in the veteran class with 10 years under its collective belt. Like the Invincibles, The Secret Buttons deal in ’60s derived rock and roll via the garage, and this is their debut EP.

It’s often said three-pieces are the perfect configuration for rock and roll because they leave lots of spaces for individuals to do their own thing. The Secret Buttons revel in the trio format. Drummer Dave Rockwell is the common thread between both bands and while The New Invincibles have keyboards, more of a pop bent and a broader aural palette, The Buttons play it straight and mostly go for the throat.

Ex-Sacred Cowboys leader heads for Sydney

GARRY GRAYOne of Australian rock roll’s few truly dangerous frontmen, Garry Gray (ex-Sacred Cowboys), is making a rare Sydney appearance with his crack band The Sixth Circle on November 18, presented by the I-94 Bar.

Garry Gray and The Sixth Circle are playing The Factory Floor in Marrickville with soulful rock soldiers Leadinger and street-level Northern Beaches rockers Chickenstones.

Melbourne-based Gray is a true survivor and legend of the Australian underground music scene. As crazed, chainsaw-wielding frontman for the Sacred Cowboys, he and his bandmates left a legacy of five studio albums and trademark singles, “Nothing Grows In Texas” and “Hell Sucks”.

Blasted by Molly Meldrum on Countdown as the worst band he’d seen in five years, Sacred Cowboys wore the insult as a badge of honour. They disrupted and devastated Australian audiences in the ‘80s and late ’90s with line-ups that included members of Beasts of Bourbon, The Models, Wet Taxis , Paul Kelly and The Dots and JAB.

Acoustic Menopause - Honest John Plain (Action Recordz)

acoustic menopauseThis is a simple and simply beguiling record, pared back rather than pared to the bone and impregnated with pop smarts. If the Johnny Cash take-off on the cover art didn't tell you already, it doesn't take itself too seriously either. 

If you didn’t twig already, Honest John Plain is one of the survivors of the UK punk scene, recruited into the first line-up of the band that became The Boys way back in 1975. In-between re-appearances by The Boys, Plain has been surfacing in his own bands ever since.

Burning Sound Vol 1 - Punch Me Hard – Various Artists (Burning Sounds Records)

punch me hardWith a band on it called Guitar Fucker, it has to be a winner. “Punch Me Hard” is a compilation CD from Burning Sound in Switzerland and it’s 15 tracks of garage and punk rock, with touches of swampy blues rock ’n’ roll, that fucking burns.

What a vibrant and rocking scene those Swiss fuckers have going on over there…it must be those very liberal ways of living? This CD reminds me of listen to Kev Lobotomi on PBS Radio in Melbourne or being at a Fred Negro gig. It’s interesting, diverse and who knows what’s coming next.

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