A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble (Exploding In Your Mind): The Wizards of Oz - Various Artists (Warner)

MonstrousPsychedelicBubbleCan you define psychedelica? Behind punk, it’s probably the most over-used term in the musical genre lexicon. That won’t change with this sprawling two-disc exploration of Australian psych, past and present.

Mixing ‘60s and ‘70s tracks with contemporary ones is an approach that could have gone horribly wrong.The wonder of this is how well the old tracks blend seamlessly with the new. Compilers Gaz Cobain (aka The Amorphous Androgynous) and Brian Dougans have done a splendid job of unearthing lost, forgotten and current nuggets and the mastering is great. It’s the fourth edition in a global series.

Mainline Honey - Babeez (Buttercup) & Rules No One - Broken Talent (Florida’s Dying)

babeez singleReissues of obscure 1970s and ‘80s worldwide punk rock are not uncommon.  It seems that not a week goes by that some little-known band from the era getting a reissue of their rare $600+ single.

Sadly, IMHFO, most of the bands were pretty ordinary at the best of times…lacking guts, originality, style or any other characteristics that can make olde time punk so great.  These two releases here are the minority. If you call yourself a punk grab these pronto.

broken talent

The Babeez 7” is brought to by Melbourne label Buttercup Records who have also issued titles by The Meanies, The Chosen Few and Deathwish. The Babeez were one of those great Melbourne punk bands from 1977 whose three-song single “Nobody Wants Me” is right up there with Razor, Rocks and The Leftovers in the Aussie ‘70s punk gold stakes.

This three-song single includes two early versions of songs from the first 45 and to hear them in this even more stripped down sound is a treat.  It sounds like a well-captured four-track recording. The guitars are not as prominent as the versions on the first 7” but it’s great to hear the vocals as clearly as this.

Vale Ron Cooke, bassist for Sonic's Rendezvous Band and Mitch Ryder's Detroit

early lineup with miguel mike martinez and ron cookeMuch-traveled Michigan bassist Ron Cooke has passed away, his wife Pam announced on Facebook earlier today.

Although replaced by Gary Rasmussen before Sonic’s Rendezvous Band’s "classic" period (the one which produced "City Slang"), bassist W.R. "Ron" Cooke was there from the very earliest days, when Fred "Sonic" Smith was searching for a musical direction following the MC5's 1972 implosion.

Ron is pictured in an early publicity shot at right, and is second from the left. 

Cooke was also a member of the Johnny Thunders-Wayne Kramer collision that was Gang War, an idea that the principals agreed looked good on paper but lost direction as old habits took hold.

And Ron had plenty of Detroit rock'n'roll history under his belt before then, most famously with Mitch Ryder's Detroit, whose killer version of Lou Reed's "Rock and Roll" was a classic slice of Motor City Rock Action that even the song's author agreed was "the way the song was MEANT to be played."

Ken Shimamoto talked to Ron from his home in Ann Arbor in early October 2000 as part of the research for this history of SRB. Here are Ron’s verbatim recollections.

BellRays live in Australia

bell rays rickIt’s late in Adelaide, I got work tomorrow, and I didn’t expect to be writing this. So why am I?

When you’ve seen a band who so effortlessly lifts your spirits, who convince you that you matter, and that they give a damn for the people they’ve come several thousand miles to entertain; when you see that band put out truckloads of energy, effervescence, fizz and smarts, fronted by one of those extraordinary showmen who make it all look so damn easy you want to form your own band … yeah, well, I owe them.

Who? 

The BellRays.

Never heard a song before tonight.

Mainstream entertainment world don’t know they exist. Across the road from The Gov is the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, lighting up the sky with a multicoloured display and one of those shifting electronic billboards advertising Neil Diamond, Elton John and Mrs Brown’s Boy and that Russell excrescence.

That’s where The BellRays should be playing. I once saw James Brown there. The BellRays may not be the same thing, but pound for pound they’re just as entertaining, and a damn sight more intimate and friendly.

 

Pic by Rick De Pizzol

Brisbane rock community getting behind baby Phoenix

kylieBass player, gig facilitator and festival roustabout, Kylie Lovejoy, is considered rock royalty in her hometown of Brisbane, Australia. She recently made headlines around the world with the unexpected and dramatic arrival of her son Phoenix, who arrived three months premature while Lovejoy was holidaying in Hawaii with her partner Brendan Wright and brother, renowned record producer, Jeff Lovejoy.

Baby Phoenix Koa Wright Lovejoy was born at 26 weeks gestation and weighed just 1115 grams (2.75 pounds) at birth.

Idyllic location aside, the delicate nature of such a premature birth has placed Kylie in a position of financial hardship with Phoenix needing round-the-clock care in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Honolulu until he has reached full term age.

Kylie will be residing in Hawaii for at least three months, until Phoenix is strong enough to fly home to Australia. Whilst some of the extensive medical expenses look likely to end up being covered by the US version of Medicare, the family must still meet the costs of Kylie's living expenses whilst she is staying in Hawaii. She currently has no income and is wading through a mountain of insurance company red-tape.

A group of Kylie and Brendan's friends and supporters have banded together to help raise funds for little Phoenix and his family in a loving attempt to meet these expenses.

A crowd-funding page (http://www.youcaring.com/kylie-lovejoy-and-family-382944) has been set up for immediate donations, and a benefit concert has been organized at The Triffid in Brisbane's Newstead for Sunday October 11, from midday.

When Sharpies Ruled - A Vicious Selection – Various Artists (Festival/Warner Music)

sharpies coverDepending on which side of the footpath you were on in the Australian 1970s, Sharpies were either misunderstood working class rebels or teenage thugs and bullies.

One Sydney Sharpie who went by the name of Big Victor (name changed to protect the guilty) would wait at suburban railway stations looking for long-haired surfers with the intention of breaking their surf boards and, if need be, a bone or two in the process. The Sharpies in Melbourne may have been different.

This is their soundtrack - ironically of mostly long-haired bands. The only real sharpie bands would have been Lobby Loyde and the Colored Balls and Buster Brown, whose singer Angry Anderson was a sharp. Certainly, Billy Thorpe had a sharpie haircut for while. The music is Australian 1970s pre-punk heavy rock/glam and as a collection that's representative of this era, it is nothing short of excellent.

Flamin' Groovies stage a re-birth with new single and album

groovies quadIn case you haven’t heard, the Flamin’ Groovies have a new album dropping in 2016 and a single about to hit the shelves. US tour dates have just been announced for November.

What started as a reunion in 2013 with tours of Japan, Australia, and the UK, has continued and evolved into a full-blown return. In the past two years the band has toured the USA extensively with repeated visits to New York, L.A. and their hometown of San Francisco, as well as recently returning from a hugely successful tour of Spain, France and Italy.

In anticipation of their 50th Anniversary in 2016, they are  putting the finishing touches on a new album and a documentary.

Their forthcoming single features two Cyril Jordan/Chris Wilson penned tracks - the recently written "Crazy Macy" and the first track ever written by Jordan & Wilson, "Let Me Rock" recorded for the first time.

You can hear a taste of the new output on teaser track “End of the World” by reading on.

The Fall to tour Australia

thefall

Influential English post-punk group The Fall is returning to Australia this October to perform shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The Fall and its leader Mark E. Smith have a place as one of the most pre-eminent groups in any discerning musical history across the last four decades. The Fall, more than any other group, are definitive and transcendent of a whole musical world and pop culture: post-punk.

Powerglide High Octane Edition - Hydromatics (Easy Action)

powerglide re ishUK label Easy Action is launching into its three-legged re-issue campaign for trans-Atlantic super group the Hydromatics by leading off with the band’s next-to-last studio recording. And with good reason. “Powerglide” is the perfect meeting place of blue-collar Detroit rock and roll and blue-eyed soul.

“Powerglide” came out in 2001 but if you can remember blinking back then you probably missed it. No sooner had it landed in the racks then the Italian label that put it out went belly-up. Fourteen years later, the gap in the market for genuine, rocking soul with power is larger than ever, so it deserves to sell by the truckload.

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