Creeper Vine - Luke Escombe and The Corporation (Dri-Clean Only Records)

creeper vineBetween battling and building awareness about Crohn’s disease, writing and delivering comedy routines and playing bluesy rock songs, hyperactive Sydneysider Luke Escombe makes records. Here’s one of them - an EP, in fact - and it’s a fun ride.

“Creeper Vine” is a five-song package of observations on 21st Century urban life. Its stated musical reference points (Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Elvis) are as clear as its themes (coping through coffee; the role of the axe in a happy marriage; female Prime Ministers.)

It’s all played with spirit by a well-honed band that includes veteran bassist Harry Brus (Kevin Borich, Billy Thorpe.) Escombe does the singing and most of the guitar playing and is no slouch in either department.

I Can See My Love b/w Over Under Sideways Down - The In-Sect (Ugly Pop)

in sectPutting parochialism to one side, Australian ‘60s punk is vastly underrated with all but those who dig deep, so this gem from Canadian label merits more than your passing attention. Originally issued in 1966 with a different (tamer) B side, it’s one of those catchy freakbeat classics that stands tall in any company.

The In-Sect were a show band who did what any of their ilk with an ounce of self respect did and mutated into a garage-beat outfit with no pretensions. Contemporaries of the Masters Apprentices, they had a handful of singles before fading away with members going on to Jeff St John, The Twilights and Ram Jam Big Band.

Something Quite Peculiar. The Church. The Music. The Mayhem. by Steve Kilbey (Hardie Grant)

something quite peculiarAfter nearly 40 years in the music industry, you can excuse Steve Kilbey for forgetting a few things. The lack of detail is the only real quibble with what’s one of the best Oz music reads of the last few years.

I approached this book with mixed feelings. Kilbey has a reputation for being a bit of a narcissist. The Church’s music is hit or miss for me - which is to say I left them alone after their first two albums, dipped back in at “Starfish” and walked away after the stodgy “Gold Afternoon Fix”, with only occasional revisits. So this was a book to be read from a position of not having much skin in the game.

Then I got sucked into the whole melodramatic, up-and-own, self-destructive and ultimately self-redeeming saga, and warmed to Kilbey’s flawed and fallible ways. I consumed “Something Quite Perculiar” in a couple of satisfying gulps.

Hot Box 1974-79 – Destroy All Monsters (Munster Records)

DAMboxIt’s high time this stuff was collected in one place. If you’ve no idea who Destroy All Monsters were, boy, you’re in the wrong place. If you are in the know, consider yourself lucky, take a pill and strap yourself in for a short history lesson.

Come the second half of the ‘70s, the Greater Detroit music scene was a forgotten No Man’s Land, an expanse of grey somewhere between the industry strongholds of New York City and the West Coast. The rabble-rousing and boundary-pushing of the cusp of the late ‘60s was gone, replaced by cover bands and blandness. Motown had moved to LA. Punk was just a figment of some future zine writer’s fevered imagination. Nobody cared about Detroit. 

Conjure Time - Hi Alerts (Twenty Stone Blatt)

hi alertsGarage blues and freakadelia had a baby and they named it Hi Alerts...

Over the last two or three years, something very interesting has been happening in the Glasgow underground scene; in contrast to the blandness of current high profile Scottish acts, from the derivative stadium rock of Biffy Clyro to the glossy coffee table electro-pop of Chvrches (they really should get the "U" key fixed on their computer), an exciting garage rock scene has coalesced around one of Glasgow's greatest, yet least heralded rock groups, The Primevals.

Formed by Michael Rooney in 1983, The Primevals blazed an uncompromising path through the '80s Scottish music scene. Inspired by such luminaries as The Cramps, Tav Falco & Panther Burns and The Gun Club, Rooney's barmy army of fellow punk-forged rock 'n' roll obsessives had no truck with the prevailing trends. Their outsider status within the Scottish music scene was in many ways analogous to that of Radio Birdman when they established their "Detroit South" Real O-Mindset in Sydney, Australia in the mid-70s.

When one album isn't enough

pissalbumNew York City punk original Sonny Vincent is taking to the European touring circuit in support of not one but three albums.

The massive tour of eight countries spans April, May and June and includes three supports to the Dead Kennedys. 

Already in the record store racks is “Spiteful” by Sonny Vincent and the Spiteful, whose ranks include Rat Scabies (The Damned), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) and Steve Mackay (Iggy and the Stooges.)

Out on Swami Records on March 28 is “Vintage Piss”, a woodshedded 2003 studio recording from Sonny, Speedo, ND and Ruby Mars from Rocket From the Crypt, his onetime US touring band.

Hot on its heels is “Psycho Serenades” on Spanish label H-Records, and features members of Rocket From The Crypt, Doc and the Medics and Stiv Bators solo band, as well as the late Scott Asheton.  

If that’s not enough, there’s also a single from Sonny’s pre-Testors NYC band, Liquid Diamonds, out on Hozac Records.  Tour dates in full after the break. 

After the Sun - The Dark Clouds (self released)

after the sunWhen I got “After The Sun” in the mail about six weeks ago, I wondered whether the Barman (whose review follows this but was published first) had it right.

Doesn’t seem to matter these days about influences, except to the sad bearded bastards desperate to appear interesting, and besides, I particularly enjoy listening to a CD cold, without the hype and boosterism. But … if you like rock’n’roll, and have ever kicked yourself (like me with Leadfinger) that you weren’t on the ground floor of a band on the elevator heading up fast to the 99th floor…

Black Moose - The Dead Brothers (Voodoo Rhythm)

black mooseI have actually lost count of the number of times I’ve played this. I keep doing it. In the car, on the computer and around the house. Bloody hell it’s good.

Ever find yourself in the situation where you’re presented with a band with an unpromising name, an enigmatic if not daft cd title which, upon listening, you are so transported and delighted with that you play the item over and over in amazed disbelief, discovering as you go, humming and singing around the room, that the band have been in existence for quite some time and have five more LPs to their name and you paw miserably at your spartan wallet, realising that the next pay packet will have to do..?

Yes, Black Moose is one of those albums. Like listening to a smart blend of Lovecraft, R.E. Howard and the darkest American blues and country while reading Grimm to a terrified child. It’s as real as reality, and as tangible as imagination.

Phringe Dwellers - Phringe Dwellers (self released)

fringe dwellersDon't feel sorry for the fact that, at the time of writing, only five people “liked” Fringe Dwellers on Facebook. It’s just that the music of this veteran Sydney trio is much better than their online self-promotion.

They’ve only been around a few months and this three-track CD single is Phringe Dwellers’ first foray into “product”, but it indicates that there could be enough in the kit bag to stretch to a worthwhile album. The songs hark back, relentlessly, to inner-Sydney circa the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and that’s where the band’s spiritual roots lie.

Guitarist-vocalist John South and bassist Carl Edman were members of formidable blues-rockers The Hunchbacks back then, while drummer (and past I-94 Bar scribe) Simon Li is an expatriate Melbourneite who was brought up on a diet of the Powder Monkeys. While the music never reaches those intensity levels, it does hit hit its own mark.

More Articles ...

I-94 Bar