Stiff Little Fingers live in Australia

jake burnsDuring these past few weeks there has been a stream of classic 1977 UK punks band bands floating through, or announced to play in, Sin City, aka Sydney.  Names like Buzzcocks and The Stranglers have been something of a call-to-arms. And now a band that has less of a profile locally, Stiff Little Fingers, is playing.

Stiff Little Fingers emerged out of Belfast in 1977 as a bunch of teenagers playing in a punk band in a city with its soul ripped apart. It was a hard place but one that still had heart. Anyone who looks at news footage at the time knows Belfast was a warzone.

I remember a great uncle telling me first-hand stories of how brutal the city really was. Daily body searches by the English soldiers, ruthless gangs that murdered you for your religion and children that were bashed within an inch of their lives after school for walking down the wrong street.  Entrenched generational anger and hatred ran deep on both sides.

Boil Your Blood & Aldecide EPs - Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind (self-released)

boil yer bloodTell me, was the Jim Jones Revue one of the highlights of the Big Day Out (2011) or fucking what? They were utterly on fire, all Jerry Lee and compressed brutality … I thought the majors would scoop them up and take them to war …

Well… almost. The band broke up after years of battle, but Jones, retaining Gavin Jay on bass, picked up Joe Glossop on keyboard, Phil Martini on drums and David Page on pedal steel and theremin … why?

aldecideWell, when the main songwriter is … I think “trangressing” might be appropriate here rather than “progressing”… from one place to another, it’s not fair on the band he’s gathered to try to shove them down a hole they don’t want to go. If you thought JJR were shit hot, wait’ll ya get a load of this stinky skanky beast.

Brujita - Chris Masuak & The Viveiro Wave Riders (I-94 Bar Records)

brujita smIt’s difficult to believe that Chris Masuak is only in the second half of his 50’s when you examine his output. It’s been a diverse and solid career, spanning almost four decades.

He was in his late teens when he joined Radio Birdman. He was half of the sound of the “twin-guitar attack” that assaulted Sydney with its array of proto-punk influences, to forever stake Birdman a claim as one of the most influential bands the city has produced.

Then there were the post-Birdman bands. The Hitmen never had the songs, in my opinion, but they always delivered as a live act. Masuak’s guitar playing was the stand-out.  Chris was still in his early 20’s and still forging his own style. It lay somewhere between the technical brilliance of Mountain and the pop-rock sensibility of The Dictators.

Gotta Get Away b/w Six Foot Dirty Looking Beast - The Strollers (Crusher Records)

strollers singleThese Swedish garage rockers really were The Shit back around the turn of the ‘90s but with just two albums to their name (“Falling Right Down!” and “Captain Of My Ship”) their legacy was too slight for a band of their quality. The good news is that they’re back with a single that’s just as great as their old material.

“Gotta Get Away” is the perfect blend of fuzz and Farfisa that’s ideal  to shake up any parry. Henrik Wind’s insistent organ and Mathias Lilja’s commanding vocal pushes the song into a singalong chorus on the back of an irresistible feel. “Six Foot Dirty Looking Beast” is a slower simmer of a song with lyrics straight out of the life playbook for misfits. Another great tune that soars. The band’s back for festivals in Europe this summer. Is it too much to hope for an album?

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Buy it on Crusher Records

The Lucky Girl - Julitha Ryan (Silver Ray Productions)

the lucky girl“The Lucky Girl” is a seven bottle CD. This is a brilliant, fabulous record (yes, she has vinyl as well) and if there was any justice in the world she’d be making a triumphant return to Australia after touring the stadia of the USA and Europe, coming home to pack the Rod Laver Arena four nights in a row. If this were only 25 years ago, the industry would be elbowing each other with intent to get ahold of a moneymaking talent on a par with Kate Bush.

That good? Well, don’t blame me, I didn’t make it. You need “The Lucky Girl” like you need your thumbs; not having “The Lucky Girl” is the equivalent of having paws. She’s currently recording a follow-up. But why seven bottles?

Won’t Give Up - Charlie Marshall and The Body Electric (Red Ted Entertainment)

charlie marshallIt seems every Australian city had its underground "punch-above-its-weight" scene in the ‘90s. Hell, all of Charlie Marshall’s Melbourne band members here had serious form. That said, just because there’s a track record doesn’t mean there’s always gonna be magic. There might be concrete. Or salad instead.

In Marshall’s case, it’s magic. If you recall Harem Scarem in the ‘80s, well alright. But this ain’t that, and now ain’t then. If you’re a Nick Cave or Kim Salmon completist, you’ll snaffle this anyway (the presence of Warren Ellis and Jim White of The Dirty Three should send warning bells, and surely Brian Henry Hooper needs no introduction.) Same applies if you’re investigating Hugo Race ditto (Bryan Colechin of The True Spirit) and Darren Seltmann of The Avalanches.

Cherie of a tour

cherie currie

The voice of The Runaways, Cherie Curie, is heading to Australia and New Zealand in May and June for her first Antipodean tour.

The Runaways burst onto the LA scene in 1975 with a 15-year-old Currie out front screaming the instant classic “Cherry Bomb!”  The Runaways created a sensation wherever they appeared and quickly catapulted from playing small clubs to selling out major stadiums—headlining shows with opening acts like the Ramones, Van Halen, Cheap Trick and Blondie.

The Baddest Man in Shit Town - Ben Gel and The Boneyard Saints (Bad Ass Records) and EP - The C-Bombs (C-Bombs)

c bombsAdelaide is filled with musicians who are muso’s, musicians who have been around the block, and musicians who are scary and won’t go away. Ben Gel and Co, and The C-Bombs, are locals who are scary and won’t go away. 

Talent squirts out of these discs like … er, I’d better not go there. These two CDs are four-and-a-half bottle discs. I’d give them more if I could; fuck though, it’s Adelaide, our water is crunchy. 

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Ben Gel has been building a following in neighbouring Melbourne; The C-Bombs formed from the ashes of Grudge and have created a bloody monster. Both outfits resemble outlaws; I mean, they’re serious underground legends here, and for damn good reasons. You don’t want to be sober in front of these blokes. I’ve reviewed them together because both bands fit on the same bill very, very well.

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