A Psychotic Xmas as the Turnbuckles prevail

jesse factoryJesse the Intruder of the Psychotic Turnbuckles

The Kings of The Combat Zone, the Psychotic Turnbuckles, returned to Sydney from Pismo Beach last Saturday night for a one-off Xmas show, presented by the I-94 Bar.

They were joined by Melbourne's Stoneage Hearts and Sydneysiders The Prehistorics in a no-holds-barred tag-team contest at Marrickville's Factory Floor. Shona Ross captured these images as the Turnbuckles triumphed in front of a packed house. Click more to see the images.

James McCann and The New Vindictives - James McCann and The New Vindictives (Beast Records)

new vindictivesTags are annoying to most musicians but even James McCann must acknowledge he gets to wear the ‘veteran’ badge when he arrives at the company Xmas party by now. There at the earliest days of The Drones and Nunchukka Superfly, he’s been one of those “best kept secret” solo artists Australia seems to bury for more than a decade, making a name for himself in his adopted home of Melbourne (and in France) but deserving much wider attention.

“James McCann and The New Vindictives” was a couple of years in gestation with French label Beast Records taking its time to squeeze it into their schedule. Contrastingly, the band and the recording came together with spontaneity very much the name of the game.

Good Night and Good Riddance. How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped Shape Modern Life by David Cavanagh (Faber)

peel bookHe was a BBC DJ. On the back cover there are heartfelt quotes about him from musicians as diverse as Jack White, Johnny Marr, Elton John, Robert Plant, Nick Cave and Elvis Costello.

His name was John Peel.

Here’s a comment about him from Carlton Sandercock, who runs Easy Action Records in the UK:

“John Peel was quite possibly THE most important person on the radio anywhere ever ... to find a DJ that championed new bands, unsigned bands, punk bands, bands of every genre…and encouraged growth when he was employed by one of the biggest corporations in UK is staggering to say the very least … I never met him but did have him stamping on the floor trying to get me, Annie Nightingale and Nikki Sudden to shut up…

Come back Lucinda, all is forgiven

lucinda live

Truth be told, Lucinda Williams’ last tour of Australia in support of the "Little Honey" album was a little disappointing.  And by a little you can read a lot.  I had pretty much said I would never attend one of her concerts again.  Ever.  All right.  It was more severe than that.  Blood was spilled and oaths were sworn.  A goat may have been sacrificed. 

So what was wrong with that show?  Vague and disorientated, Ms Williams stumbled around the stage in a manner suggesting someone had slipped her a Rohypnol and it may well have been her.  She kept telling us how great it was to be playing in a rock and roll club.  The “rock and roll club” in question was the all-seated Enmore Theatre. 

The seats were so tightly jammed against each other that you couldn't clap for fear of putting someone's eye out.  The band laid down a brutal four-on-the-floor boogie.  She indulged in strange off beat dance steps, shifting weight from foot to foot and clapping hands above head.  These activities seemed to bear no resemblance to the placement of snare and bass drum.

The Hydromatics – The Hydromatics (Easy Action)

dangerousWhat do you reckon we’re gonna say about it? One of the greatest releases of the 1990s – a downright patchy time for Real Rock and Roll – that’s been given a re-mastering spruce-up and coupled with a stack of bonus cuts? Damn right that it rocks - far more than any grunge or shoegazer crap of its time.

Originally entitled “Parts Unknown” and issued on the White Jazz label in 1999, this album has been impossible to find for years now and it’s more than stood the test of time. The Hydromatics were a “supergroup” led by Michigan rocker Scott Morgan joined by Nick Royale (Hellacopters) on drums, Tony Slug (Nitwitz, BKG) on guitar and Theo Brouwer on bass (both hailing from Europe’s own Murder City, Amsterdam), they kept the light burning for the music of Sonic’s Rendezvous Band.

The Prettiest Star. Whatever Happened to Brett Smiley? By Nina Antonia (SAF)

prettiest starThis book completely beggars belief. Top marks and way, way beyond. It’s also utterly brilliant as well as being compelling reading. It’ll have you ranging your emotions from laughter to sorrow and is so well researched (Nina doesn’t bother much with academic references as her books come mostly from her own interviews and experience) and put together … words completely fail me.

If you’ve read any of Antonia’s other books (on the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders and The Only Ones) and enjoyed her style and intelligence … The Prettiest Star is so far ahead that it may as well be the best fiction you’ve ever read, except it’s all true.

I can’t believe that you’ll recall Brett Smiley. He had one hit, “Va Va Va Voom”, in the UK in 1974, at the height of that bizarre post-6ts glam and pop period where decent songs were generally in short supply in the charts. Oh dear, much like now? Really? I’m shocked.

New book lifts the lid on the art of Aussie punk and post-punk 45s

45 psychosurgeons

Pressed for a Xmas gift for that special Rock Action person in your life? Worry no more. “Product 45” has landed.

“Product 45” is a lavish book released this week that focuses on the years 1976-1980 and showcases single cover art from the Australian punk/post punk era. This is the first book in a series of three that looks at the art of packaging Australian music as told by the musicians, the artists and the fans.  

This lavish coffee table masterpiece has been lovingly compiled by Sydneysider Murray Bennett who has carved a career packaging records for Australian independent and major labels.

Richie to fly Ramones flag in Australia

The legend of the Ramones lives on in Australia this May, when Richie Ramone hits Australian shores.

Richie is bringing that blistering backbeat to venues in Byron Bay, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, playing the tracks he wrote and recorded with Da Bruddas as well as new material that rocks like leather jackets, ripped knee jeans and battered Converse sneakers.

Looking out for Johnny: Author Nina Antonia on Thunders, the Dolls and The Only Ones

johnny thunders nina antonia closeupJohnny Thunders and his biographer Nina Antonia.

Recently, I was obliged to dig through about 30 of my 100 boxes from storage and came across Greil Marcus' philosophical punk book “Lipstick Traces”. Highly regarded around the world, I recall reading it with irritation at the time, feeling that ... there was a distance to his writing. He just didn't seem excited.

I suppose it was that the man was a music journo, and obliged to listen to so much pap that after a while ... everything is part of the same thing. I liked how he got the world-wide impact of what punk did, but I really don't think he came close to nailing his topic.

When I had the opportunity to conduct an e-mail interview with UK author Nina Antonia, I grabbed it with both hands. Nina Antonia is the author of biographies on Johnny Thunders, the New York Dolls and Peter Perrett (The Only Ones) and has a knack of always nailing her topic. She's a delight to read. A quick scamper through bookdepository.com - armed with her name - is always exci

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