Garage-punk pioneers and stand out performers at 2012’s inaugural Dig It Up! Invitational in Australia, The Sonics, return Down Under this September-October at the invite of Wollongong’s Yours & Owls Festival and for headline shows around the country.
The Sonics laid down the blueprint for garage-rock back in 1963 with the release of their first single The Witch. They followed that up with even up with even more grease and oil soaked nuggets in “Psycho”, “Boss Hoss”, “Cinderella”, “Strychnine”, “He’s Waitin’”, “Shot Down” and “Have Love Will Travel” before calling it quits in 1968. Reuniting briefly in 1972 and again in 1980, The Sonics then took permanent leave while the rest of the world caught up with them.
Americana Rock and Roll is the new black. No, make that orange. Or whatever colour’s in vogue this week. Make no mistake though: If the trend stays still for five minutes, Jeremy & The Harlequins will be huge.
Jeremy & The Harlequins are from Brooklyn, which is the epicentre of what’s left of New York City’s rock and roll scene. Before that, Jeremy and brother-drummer Stephan came from Toledo, Ohio, where they assembled The Harlequins from remnants of other NYC bands. Their first album was mixed by Matt Verta Ray (Heavy Trash) so you know what sound they were shooting for.
Don’t judge a book by its cover or a band by its promo shot. They might look like wholefood bearded hipsters in their publicity materrial but even less than a considered listen to their third album “Law And Order” reveals there’s a quirky glam-pop heart beating within.
Ulysses hails from Bath in the middle of England’s West. Now, putting to one side generic Australian jokes that we love so much about Poms and soap, these blokes have been soaking in a tub of diverse influences. The bio cites The Cars, Thin Lizzy (especially), Alvin Stardust (check the label name - ha!), Hot Chocolate (huh?) and Supergrass (of course) but that’s just a start. You could toss in Alice Cooper, The Sweet, The Glitter Band - and a few dozen others.
Fast Cars grew out of the Sydney mod scene of the 1980s. Home turf was the fertile Sussex Hotel and they made a modest mark with a couple of EPs before moving on. This five-song CD is their first release in 30 years.
Here’s what a mod band sounds like after it grows up. That’s not being trite or dismissive. Creative people don’t stand still - and bands like Fast Cars were no exception. Guitarist Fabian Byrne went on to the dance-orientated Fiction Romance, shifted into management and ran the Method label that gave a leg-up to bands like Allniters, Paul Kelly, Spy vs Spy and The Amazing Wooloomooloosers. So you’d expect “More?” to sound different to Fast Cars of the ‘80s.
Has this debut album really been three decades in arriving? The details of how and why are more than a little shrouded in mystery but what counts more is that it’s here and it delivers.
Young Docteurs materialised in Canberra in 1978 with a potent brew of punk-psych that has always been hard to categorise. They made the move to Sydney in the early ‘80s and became part of the rich tapestry of life that was Surry Hills and the Sydney Trade Union Club scene. Despite some heavyweight backing (Jeremy Oxley, Nic Dalton and Steve Kilbey were fans), they never emerged to major prominence nationally and have flashed off and on like a lighthouse in the thickening fog ever since.
New York City-based band Phantom Fifth (pictured right) has announced that Chris “Klondike” Masuak will be joining them for shows in California and New York in July.
Phantom Fifth is from New York City and is comprised of expatriate Australian bassist Greg Delves (ex-Inner Sleeves, Radio Luxembourg), Irishman Colin McCarthy (drums) and US-born Paul Stinson (guitar, vocals.)
Formed in 2015, the band bio says it "embraces the sonic sound and dark energy of Nick Cave, Joy Division, The Strokes and The Stooges. The Phantoms' sound is built around dark melodies, shimmering guitars, and propulsive bass lines, with lyrics about wolves, ghosts, murderous paramours, Italian discos, and other manifestations of love and madness".
Originally from California, where he co-founded the "punk Americana" band The Stripminers with members of X and The Donnas, Paul Stinson moved to Brooklyn in 2014 and quickly met up with power pop guru Delves and McCarthy (formerly of Amsterdam-based Belsonic Sound).
The trio immediately began writing, recording and performing in and around NYC and have plans in the works for tours of both the UK and Australia. The band's debut EP is due out in the US Summer of 2016.
July 20 – Brick & Mortar Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
July 22 – The Uptown Nightclub, Oakland, CA
July 24 – The Viper Room, Hollywood, CA
July 29 – The Bowery Electric, NYC
Phantom Fifth on the Web
Chris Masuak on the Web
With more twang than you can poke a tuning fork at and a vibe that’s positively from the ’50s, this modest little vinyl EP from a Melbourne band is a bona fide gem. Three of the four songs are instrumentals but, unusually for that sort of music, with no surfboards overtly in sight.
It’s valve amp retro rock that draws its inspiration from the pre-surf era of guitar-driven popular music. With Julian Matthews (Stems bassist and also in The Level Spirits) the “star turn” who’s something of a guitar master these days, The Vibrajets embrace the old with a dynanism that steers clear of this ever being authentic for authenticity’s sake.
“Rock til the End of Time” gives rhythm guitarist Sammy-Lee Croissant her time at the mic with a vocal that’s straight out of The Wanda Jackson School. The guitars get up and dance on “33 Errol Street” and while “Petrol Fumes” is a straight-up rocker, “Steak & Eggs” belies its name and is a vibrato monster.
Shake down The Vibrajets on Facebook if you want a mail order copy or hassle them at a show. Reckon Off The Hip would be the right retail place to ask about it in Melbourne if bricks and mortar is your thing.
When was the last time you heard a British guitar band with the energy of the Sex Pistols, swagger of the New York Dolls and great songs to boot? Scottish punk band Heavy Drapes (the name’s something to do with Malcolm McLaren/Vivienne Westwood’s shop, apparently) have been making quite an impact since the release of this impressive four-track EP (vinyl or CD on Suck Revolution Records), which has now been re-released as a US edition by New York-based Tarbeach Records.
While many UK punk bands have sunk into a mire of clichéd, pseudo-political lyrics and music to match, Heavy Drapes stand out due to the quality of their songs and the sheer exuberance with which they are performed. The four band members have all adopted appropriate noms de guerre; hence we have De Liberate on vocals, Rikki Stiv on guitar, Jerry Dangerous handling bass duties and Billy Chaos on the traps. Fortunately, there’s much more to this group than just a good dollop of old school show-biz pizazz (which they have in spades.) Heavy Drapes can back up their image with serious musical chops.
Marcia Resnick photo
A handful of songs into just one album, and Robert Quine had staked a claim as one of the most distinctive guitar sounds on the New York punk scene.
Quine was part of that small but influential coterie of musicians, artists-turned-musicians and assorted dilettantes that populated a seedy ex-biker bar called "CBGB and OMFUG" at 315 The Bowery, on the Big Apple's seamy Lower East Side. He was the principal guitarist in Richard Hell and the Voidoids, a unique quartet spitting out some of the New Wave's most disturbing music.
On the 12th anniversary of the passing of Robert Quine, we present this archived interview from May 2000.