Talking in rock and roll tongues

speak evil 5Speek Evil: Illustrated Rock and Roll Periodical (The Art of Fox)

Reviewing what’s a visual feast served on paper pages is a challenge at the best of times but who doesn’t love a test? “Speek Evil” is neither a zine or a comic – call it a zomic if it makes you happy - because it combines the best of both, and it’s chock full of dark imagery and rock and roll attitude.

Which should come as no surprise, as it’s the product of the mind and pen of Mike Foxall, late of Nancy Vandal and more lately guitarist in The Neptune Power Federation. Foxall is one of the pre-eminent rock and roll graphic artists of the Sydney underground scene.

He’s a member of a club that boasts Ben Brown, Ray Ahn and Glenno Smith, and his imagery adorns the covers of his current band’s albums, plus posters and T-shirts for Crapulos Geegaw, King Parrot, Frenhal Rhomb and The Australian Beef Week Show. He’s also an animator.

“Speek Evil” is a lavish, full-colour 80-page production printed on high-quality matt paper and is produced quarterly. It plumbs similar cultural depths as “Unbelievably Bad” used to, but with Foxall’s own punk rock pre-occupations and peers in evidence. It’s up to five editions.

No need to be vague about how good they are

I've been watching that Tim Burton Addam's Family reboot, "Wednesday", and smiling when the young actress tears it up go-go zombie, old school death style to an old Cramps tune, also find myself gravitating to old Alien Sex Fiend and Peter Murphy videos in my tiny hours.

As an almost perpetually melancholy and new wave nostalgic, elderly goth antisocial glamarchist, bored to tears in a deadend desert, wind blown, graveyard town, I'm always complaining about how there is almost zero modern music with the coolness and style and abstract innovation of the ‘80s post-punk, goth, and synth-pop I grew up with.

But this dynamic band, Vague Scare, have all the chilly vintage atmosphere and evocative lyrical panache and gloomy, brooding vocals of Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and I totally love them. If you came of age in the Bauhaus/Sisters Of Mercy/Skinny Puppy era and yearn to hear some new sounds that got that classic retro gothic vibe, you will love Vague Scare. They are almost too cool, remind me of every record I love.

New album out right now! I heard the recent Soft Cell/Pet Shop Boys duet and VAGUE SCARE is way better! Check out their Bandcamp here.

Folk off: Let's get hypnotised

the fallowingThe Fallowing - Adam Geoffrey Cole Cornish (Sunstone)
The Tracks of the Afterlander - Adam Geoffrey Cole (Ramble Records)

I don't have much taste for what gets defined as “folk”.. Which conjures up the same sorts of things for you as it does for me, really. Marxist Orstrilian dingbats dressed up in “traditional” Oirish garb, wittering out stuff which all sounds a bit too twee and cliched, while bunging on a nasally twinge and waxing lyrical about a lifestyle they're only really familiar with through reading about it (and possibly a holiday in the Auld Coontry when they were 11). Oh, and bags of make-believe wailing humility.

Shoot them all, I say, and be quick about it.

Chicks Who Rock and a Died Pretty special to close out Thursday Evening Gunk

The latest episode of Thursday Evening Gunk is here and the theme is "Chicks Who Rock". Guest host Heather Goodman talks to Jessamine Finlayson of Raising Ravens, The Missmade  and Nitrocris and Bianca Kotoulas of rising young Sydney band Euterpe.  

The episode in the season steams this Thursday at 8pm Sydney time and is a Died Pretty special. Guest host Danny Lau speaks to Brett Myers and Steve Clark from Died Pretty and Brett's bandmate Mark Roxburgh from his other band, Joeys Coop. Steve Clark's duo Nothing But Dust will play a live set. Follow this link to watch the stream live from the MoshPit Facebook page,  or pop into MoshPit Bar in St Peters, Sydney, at 8pm AEDST.

 

Floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee

honey beeHoney Bee b/w Ride The Iron Space Bird - The Neptune Power Federation (Speek Evil)

Combining live theatrics with high-energy and heaviness is just one facet of The Neptune Power Federation. The other is being able to twist on a stylistic dime and pivot into another direction. In case you don’t know, the Sydney band is populated by ex-members of Frenzal Rhomb and Nancy Vandal, and they bring all sorts of punk, metal and psych influences to the table.

The A side is sassy, bubblegum pop with Screaming Loz Sutch delivering a killer vocal. A nice edgy guitar solo from Troy Vod or Mike Foxall is the cream on top .Brilliant.

Get Filthy with The City Kids

filth city kidsFilth – The City Kids  (Very Fried Artists) 

“Filth” is one helluva punk-glam headbanging album that has to be heard and played loud. The City Kids are out of the UK (with a bit of Danish blood) and this is their second album.

Named after a Pink Fairies song (later covered by Motorhead), “Filth” has The City Kids poised to be heavy metal’s next big thing. Dave Sanders’ drumming, in particular, on this is fucking outstanding.

I was once told  by a very well-known Australian drummer  that every band is only as good as the drummer. Obnoxious prick that he was, he was spot-on. Sanders is 100 percent on the money.  Just WOW!

Who Will Save Rock and Roll? Re-constituted Dictators are The Next Big Thing

roth and bossKeith Roth, Albert Bouchard and Ross The Boss. 

The Dictators
Debonair Music Hall
Teaneck, NJ USA
November 2, 2022

By Geoff Ginsberg (with help from Frank "Geoff couldn't edit his way out of a wet paper bag" Friedman)

Dictators assemble! They're baaaack!!

And there was much rejoicing.

Andy Shernoff and Ross The Boss have reconstituted the band and they're doing gigs and recording again.

Before I get to the show itself, a bit of semi-recent history. I'm going to assume if you're bothering to read this, you already know the big picture history - punk forefathers, the NYC band between the Dolls and the Ramones, etc.

In 2006, CBGB was wrapping up their historic run on The Bowery. Many CB's legends came out of their apartments to perform on that stage one last time and give the venue the send-off it so richly deserved.

The penultimate night featured Walter Lure (RIP) and The Waldos, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, and the first performance by the Dictators in several years. They had done some gigs in 2003 as a four piece since Scott "Top Ten" Kempner had moved out west, but this was the full complement: Handsome Dick Manitoba, Ross, Top Ten, Andy and JP Thunderbolt Patterson.

Hit the road, Jack, if these Clouds don't rock your world

my way or the highway cvrMy Way Or The Highway – The Dark Clouds (self released)

It took ‘em a couple of goes but it’s finally recorded and released and it’s a triumph. The Dark Clouds’ second album “My Way Or The Highway” is as bombastic, in-your-face and rocking as you could have hoped.  

It’s seven years since “After The Sun” but cut ‘em some slack: a plague intervened and that managed to fuck up the plans of the best of us. The Wollongong band did convene in a studio in-between waves of COVID, but weren’t happy with the results.

“After The Sun” had its best moments when it wilfully matched the best Aussie underground sounds of the ‘80s to lyrics laced with wry societal observations. The state of rock and roll, the inane cult of celebrity and the dumber side of life in The Lucky Country all got their comeuppance, done in a style that nodded in multiple directions.  

Spice up your life with The Square Tugs

square tugs cvrMonster Hits – Square Tugs (self released)

If variety is the spice of life, Brisbane’s Square Tugs are the celebrity chefs of Australian punk rock. The trio’s debut album “Monster Hits” is a curry with enough popping flavours in it to set off your tongue, and lyrics to get your brain into gear at the same time.

They’re not of pensionable age but they’re not spring chickens either, so the odds are short that a glimpse into the Square Tugs’ record collections would throw up some interesting and familiar selections. 

Did you know Square Tugs originally formed as a Circle Jerks tribute band?

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