It’s evident that Italian-born Stiv Cantarelli is a musical creature of his environment. Basing himself in the US in the ’00s, his records reeked Americana and a return to Tuscany in 2012 spawned a dirty alt-country album (“Black Music/White Music”).
Fast-forward a couple of years. “Banks of the Lea” finds him relocated to London with a reconstituted Italian band and churning out urgent, punky blues rock with a dark streak. Music of a time and place.
It might be a prime tourist patch but when you scratch the surface, London is just another very big city. Cantarelli immersed himself in the everyday ordinariness of Hackney, of all places, and this record is the result.
Pretty Things frontman Phil May has been diagnosed with the serious lung disease COPD after a lifetime of smoking and is hospital in London. The band’s busy touring schedule is on hold.
In true fashion, "Ugly Things" - the magazine that has championed the band throughout its second coming - is running a campaign to lift May’s spirits by calling for a barrage of supportive letters.
The back catalogue of Johnny Thunders is way overdue for re-issue treatment. It’s coming up to 24 years since the talented but terminal ex-Doll checked into a New Orleans hotel and checked out on life. "ho better to revive his recorded legacy than Easy Action?
Whatever your stance on how the media portrayed Thunders, the guy was a walking contradiction. When it came to his image as Rock’s Most Wasted Human Being (aka The Guy Who Makes Keef Look Like a Schoolboy), he alternately kicked against it or embraced it with open, track-marked arms. “Hurt Me” was a poignant collection of stripped-back covers and standards - and a departure of sorts for JT, coming as it did five years after the bleary-eyed party that was “So Alone.”
No-nonsense four-piece stoner-punk powerhouse BRUCE! have been flat out since releasing their 2012 full-length debut and are heading back out on the road with a series of extensive Australian dates.
The Wollongong locals have shared stages with the mightiest of all mighty rock lords, including Turbonegro, Supersuckers, Brant Bjork, Regurgitator, Beasts of Bourbon, Cosmic Psychos, Tumbleweed, and most recently supporting Violent Soho in Sydney on their sold-out Australian tour.
Austin, Texas, resident John Schooley was a substantial blip on the I-94 Bar radar in the mid-1990s when Australian label Dropkick put out one of his records (“ You Won't Like It ... 'Cuz It's Rockn'Roll!”) with his band The Hard Feelings.
Here was a guy who crunched rootsy Americano with raucous garage grit in the most emphatic fashion. “You Won’t Like It...” even scored a write-up in Rolling Stone - but died a comercial death when the label head was struck down with cancer and couldn’t press up any more copies. Thankfully, he recovered - and Schooley, too, is still kicking. Like a mule.
Do you take album titles at face value? Let's take this legalisation of everything one step further. In an ideal world, we could also frame a law to make listening to worthwhile music compulsory. Frowning Clouds would be one of the first cabs off the rank.
Earlier this year, Frowning Clouds supported Sunnyboys and The Stems at a sold-out theatre show in Sydney. It was a prestigious gig. Among the pre-show chatter at the pub, I heard a comment that Frowning Clouds had been "psychedelised."
From the spectacle of the Rolling Stones the previous night, I awaken somewhat seedy and blasted. It’s been a huge week, dealing with our Beasts of Bourbon documentary, taking note of Stoneswatch, seeing the Stones on a stage half a soccer pitch away and now… Rowland, who would have been 55 the previous day (AKA Stonesday here in Adelaide).
Ho to the Wheatsheaf Hotel on a borderline suffocating hot day, where Alison Lea’s photographs of young Rowland (the infamous late 1980 Adelaide tour, where scrawny Nick Cave painted a skull and tentacles on his chest, performed topless with the paint running to buggery and beyond.) If you’ve seen the cover of the Nick the Stripper 12”, that’s Alison’s photo. If you need more information go here.
There were two sets, the first being These Immortal Souls, and the second devoted to Rowland’s solo work. It wasn’t the line-up for the Melbourne shows; Hugo Race wasn’t there, nor was his sister Angela, nor Ed Kuepper.
I haven’t been so profoundly moved all year. Partly because, after interviewing him on many occasions and brought him down to Adelaide for a few gigs, I knew Rowland reasonably well. Which meant that seeing these songs being performed by his friends had me rather teary. It was painful to watch, confronting, nasty even; more poignantly, his words are now far more loaded…
Voula Williamson photo
For the last two weeks, Stones fever, ably abetted by the broadsheet newspaper, has hit Adelaide.
Not for everyone, of course, mostly fogeys. Of which I am one.
In the days running up to the gig, Stoneswatchers staked out their hotel, their rehearsal ‘room’ (disused Glenside Mental Hospital, not that there’s any shortage of clientele, just that funds are a bit short apparently).
"Will you nail yourself on to a cross for me? Will you blow your fucking brains out with a gun for me?"
James King and the Lonewolves have a reputation that precedes them; evolving out of the Glasgow punk scene in the late '70s and early '80s, the band quickly became renowned as hard-drinking sociopaths whose mercurial live shows featured a punked-up Velvets' approach. Curiously, their singles tended to showcase the catchy pop side of their repertoire, which die-hard fans felt was unrepresentative of the band.