Combining elements of 60s garage, funk, soul and old time rock ‘n; roll showmanship, San Diego’s The Schizophonics are one of the "hardest working" bands you’ll see. And I mean "hard working" in reference to when they hit the stage.
Singer/guitarist Pat Beers comes across like a mix between Jerry Lee Lewis and an eight-year-old kid on too much red cordial; the man never stops. While some singers take five to get a breath, Pat keeps the party going with some amazing onstage moves that would score high in any Olympic gymnastics competition.
While the bass often switches, Pat and drummer/wife Lety Beers are the core and soul of the group. The two of them, along with their beautiful dog Beanie, spoke to me via the zoom machine on the eve of their return to Oz.
Osees + R.M.F.C. The Metro Theatre, Sydney 15 February 2023 Photos - Vic Zubakin / Look Sharp Photography
Osees have been landing on Australian shores for more than a decade and consistently leaving an impression as a “must see” band. Over the years, I have been in conversationswith people who have raved about the powerful live experience, the guitar sound and the energy.
When I heard claims they were “one of the best live rock bands in the world” I was always dubious. Let’s face it: rock roll can be about hype and creating a myth. Finally, I had an opportunity to witness what all the talk has been about.
Band leader John Dwyer is someone who anyone making independent original music should greatly admire. Over 26 years, there are 33 albums he has produced, or played on. Dwyer is the last of a breed: the rock ‘n’ roll outlaw and fringe dweller completely living the music.
In the last decade, with intense work, he has made a real impact, supporting his music with shit jobs like stacking shelves, with one focus: Running his own label, creating art, playing in a band and driving his part of a cottage industry.
Melbourne duo Velatine is now a constant in my life, in the same way that (say) disco was a constant in some people's lives every Friday and Saturday night, or punk was, or AFL every season, or cricket... you know?
I'm not alone, it seems - this week my local independent radio station, 3D in Adelaide, made it LP of the week. And it's not out till Friday.
However, I must be frank here. Velatine ain't for everyone. It ain't yer commercial radio fodder for sparkies and housewives. The independent radio stations should love "I Won't Be Civilised", but of course, you know. They have zero taste after being told for so long what's hip and cool by ... paint salesmen. Sorry, I mean “record executives”.
Osees Croxton Hotel, Thornbuy, VIV Saturday, February 11 2023
My employer received some correspondence recently from a "sovereign citizen". It was, as so often the case with such sincerely composed missives, a rambling diatribe replete with muddled pseudo-jurisprudence and wilful indifference to the symbiotic relationship between individual autonomy and collective responsibility.
We searched in vain for some discipline of reason, even a vague hint of cogent argument but, alas, there was only nonsensical assertion. It was, someone remarked, the discursive equivalent of a sugar-laden teenager playing free-form jazz on a cheap recorder over a concerto piece played on a defective turntable and then labelling it a work of artistic genius.
Later that night we went to the cinema to see “Tar”. Before Cate Blanchett’s titular character falls from grace, she explains the often mysterious movements of the orchestral conductor. Crudely, one hand represents timing and tempo, the other conveys the desired shape of the music.
I confess my age: I missed John Cale’s Australian tour in 1975 (being 11 is no excuse, of course) but caught him at the Tivoli in Adelaide in ‘83, and again a few years later. Heard and have many of his albums, but confess that some are hit and miss, while others are (for me) spectacular.
I-94 Barflies will recall that Cale was one of two “foundation members” of the Velvet Underground (which didn't stop him from being booted when Lou Reed felt threatened) and, shortly after, he produced a record by a bunch of laid-back savages from Detroit. If you're not sure who I mean, ask The Barman, he'll fill you in.
Long story short: Spanish garage rock band that’s been on hiatus for 11 years resurfaces on an American label with a German office that sells records to the USA, Mexico and Japan as well as the EU. Sounds about right in today’s digital world, but it’s also proof that rock and roll still spans multiple cultural borders.
As a confirmed Monolingual, I know when I’m beaten. “Superioridad Moral” (“Moral Superiority”) is sung entirely in Spanish. I have no clue what Dr Explosion is singing about. But the songs sound strong with touches of psych rock and pop running prominently throughout.
"In a MistLY" - Dave Graney and Clare Moore (Cockaigne)
It's an astonishing thing, the passage of time. One minute we're slavering over the new LP by our superstar heroes and the next, it seems, we're old, fat and bald and fuck me sweetly, is this the 24th Dave Graney album?
Sorry, not counting his time with The Moodists, live LPs, compilation LPs and soundtracks...
How the fuck did that happen?
(Looks down at unacceptably fat tum, peers bewildered into mirror at fat bald git)
(Winces as recognises self)
Ah well, at least there's the Dave Graney and Clare Moore LP, “In a MistLY”.
The latest video single, "Bloodbath-on-Hi", from UK-based expat Australian fuzz rocker (and Geelong old boy), Dez Dare, is copping some attention and his third album, "Perseus War", is abouit to be released. It's described ass "10 songs of dystopian indifference captured over four weeks in late 2022.". Check it out on Bandcamp here and other formats here.
“Punk is many things and has so many different definitions but, definitely, yes it’s ideological,” says writer, musician and feminist activist Tobi Vail on the eve of an Australasian tour with Bikini Kill.“In my definition, it’s counter hegemonic energy. It’s opposition, it’s questioning the status quo and creating an alternative.”
As founding member of the seminal riot grrrl band Bikini Kill, a punk rock polemicist and a protagonist in the Pacific North-West alternative scene of the 1980s and 1990s, Vail is in a privileged position to muse on the nature of punk rock.