Jackdaw - Edward Clayton-Jones (self released)
I've been looking forward to hearing “Jackdaw” for a while, but I must confess I didn't expect it to be this damn good. The last thing I said to Ed was, “Well, look, you know me. If I don't like it or I think it's bad, I'll tell you I can't review it. I'd rather have the friendship.” He understood.
Bad reviews, pfft, they're mostly just juveniles showing off how clever they are, and I've got better things to do with my time. Also, I'm not clever. Years ago, the New Musical Express and Melody Maker used to hire such clever types and, while they could sometimes be amusing, they would often miss brilliance in preference to their own self-swagger (for example, XTC copped endless daft reviews which completely missed how fucking sharp, funny and evocative they were). So to “Jackdaw”.
Iggy & The Stooges Onstage 1967-74 by Per Nilsen (Sonic Bond Publishing)
Cutting to the chase: This is an amazing book and an essential item for any Stoogephile. Swedish author Per Nilsen has pedigree – he wrote the world’s first Iggy Pop biography, “The Wild One”, way back in 1988 – and he’s an academic, so you know it’s going to be researched to, er, within an inch of its pretty face going to hell.
The concept is simple: Nilsen divides the original lifespan of the Stooges into logical chunks, provides contextual information and then lists every show played, accompanied by as much information as is available. Yes, every show. He draws on a mix of primary sources and published interviews. He relies heavily on advertisements and reviews from local papers, underground press like The Fifth Estate and Natalie Schlossman’s fan magazine “Popped”.
You can’t beat great research. Nilsen picks up inaccuracies published elsewhere and rules out advertised gigs that were never played. He even calls out a minor error in Paul Trynka’s definitive “Open Up and Bleed” book. I’m not sure the road crew accounts here of the alleged Goose Lake shutdown tally with the Third Man Records record of the same show, but they make fascinating reading.
The roll-call of first-hand accounts is impressive. Early manager Jimmy Silver is a big catch. James Williamson’s bad guy rap for poisoning the band is shown to be the ill-considered myth that it is, with tour manager John Adam (aka The Fellow) confirmed as the real catalyst for various members’ heroin habits.
The Decline Years of the Stooges, post-Mainman, hold a certain fascination for hardcore fans. Part of it is voyeurism – a peek into the on-the-road medicine cabinet and the approval-seeking, self-insulating excesses that it fuelled in a damaged singer – and the other part is wondering why the band kept going on its march of death.
Eternal Life – Guttercats (Take The City/Wishing Well/Sweet Grooves)
If you’re one of those genre freaks with a need to categorise every record, good luck. There’s enough going on here to challenge the most obsessive.
Guttercats are from Paris and take their cues from The Only Ones, Rowland S Howard, the Jacobites, the Bad Seeds and The Gun Club. Their fifth album mixes melodramatic Baroque folk-pop with garage rock, punk and Gothic blues. It’s either hopelessly mired in the ‘80s or bravely staking a claim to a unique place in today’s bland music scene.
EP2 Electric Boogaloo – The Owen Guns (Riot Records)
Hardcore never went away. It just sprouted grey hair, developed prostate awareness and, in some extreme cases, took out a mortgage.
The Owen Guns have been flying old school punk’s flag for a year or two, blowing the roof off venues in Sydney and Wollongong. Members are based in both cities. They wear leather jackets, have weathered heads and their faces look like dropped pies. This is coming from someone who's no Paris model, but you get the idea. And in punk’s finest traditions, they could not give a flying fuck what me, you or anyone else thinks of them.
Punk is about economy and the seven songs on this, The Owen Guns’ second CD EP, clock in in at under 10 minutes.
Remember tours? Thee fuzz-toned and fabulous Cha Cha Chas have escaped the Victorian lock-down and are bringing their one-woman-one-man-band goodness to New South Wales this month.
“The Day Is Done Tour” kicks off on June 4 at Link & Pin in Woy Woy with The Not Nots, The Mild Times, Space Boozzies and Imaginary Things, and spans the following two weekends with gigs in Newcastle and Sydney. The band escaped Victoria before the COVID-19 drawbridge went up late last week.
Thee Cha Cha Chas, comprising Kylie and Lluis Fuzzhound. have been tearing up stages in hometown Melbourne for years with their gravel-rash-guitars-and-deadbeat-drums sound, and busted an EP, “It’s Coming After You”, out of the morass that was lockdown in early 2020.
The I-94 Bar has a hand in organising two free gigs at The Golden Barley Hotel in Enmore. Mark down Sunday, June 6 and a return bout on Sunday, June 13 for double doses of all the lo-fi rifferama your head can handle. June 6 finds them matching primal beats with the rough and raw Dunhill Blues as supports, while June 13 they’ll have the Sabbath-in-the-garage sounds of Jupiter 5 opening up. The tour is brought to you by Hog Wild Records and Outtaspace Presents.
The Cha Cha Chas
“Day Is Done” NSW Tour
4 - Link & Pin, Woy Woy - June 4
+ The Not Nots + The Mild Times
+ Space Boozzies + Imaginary Things
5 - Mayfield Bowlo
+ Dunhill Blues
6 - Golden Barley, Sydney
+ Dunhill Blues
10 - Frankies Pizza, Sydney
+ Scatter Light + The Object Project
13 - Golden Barley, Sydney
+ Jupiter 5
Identity Crisis b/w Song For Lulu –Kevin K & Ricky Rat (Vicious Kitten)
If you had to ask: Kevin K is an indefatigable product of the halcyon New York underground rock and roll scene and one of a handful of the CBGB crew still standing and delivering. Ricky Rat co-founded Detroit’s Trash Brats, larger-than-life dealers of flash glam, and more recently a member of the Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz-led, reconstituted Dead Boys. The pair spawned an album, “Party Store”, in 2020 and this single features two of its songs.
You shouldn’t be surprised that it rocks or that it’s on Vicious Kitten, the Aussie label that grew from the zine of the same name that variously championed Kevin K, his previous band the Road Vultures and the Trash Brats. The zine lives on in The Australian Rock Show podcast, by the way, and the record imprint has been revived after a 15-year hiatus to issue this seven-inch.
Music Lab 2020 - Captain Spud (self released)
As you may gather, “Captain Spud” is a pseudonym.
No way the bishop held up that squalling, red-faced brat, smacked it's ugly arse and plunged it face-first into the font, intoning: “I christen thee Captain Spud”. Kid might've drowned, for starters. Awkward questions might have ensued. Simply hours of paperwork. Remember, pop kids, if you're going to go into the Catholic faith, don't drown the little shits. More trouble than the brief pleasure it might give.
Speaking of starters orders, I find in a cursory search for the great man from Adelaide (he's been a musician and music-maker for over 40 years) references to a blogger (“Captain Spud is Amazing” - I'm sure he is, hem-hem), several YouTube channels (including a chap who paints little dolls, and a chap blowing stuff up on a vidgame), a pseudonym for a gamer (still not the great man) and would you believe - a racehorse (“a three-year-old gelding by Toronado out of the Street Sense mare, Dane Sense”) once owned by Danny Frawley (a kicker of balls, apparently).
Brisbane trash movie fanatic , Trash Video Archives owner and documentary maker, Andrew Leavold, is taking four nights of B-grade film madness on the road in New South Wales in May.
Leavold was the long-time owner of the Trash Video store in Brisbane. His documentary, “The Search for Weng Weng”, profiled Filipino cult movie star Weng Weng, an actor, stunt performer, martial artist, and Philippines' first international celebrity who stood 83cm tall, and he is currently making a doco about Melbourne musician Fred Negro (I Spit On Your Gravy).
The Devil's Weight - Eric Mingus (Ouch! Records)
I first saw Eric Mingus on stage at Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide a few years ago, masterminding (with producer Hal Willner) a production of The Who's 'Tommy' ... which I confess I didn't expect to work. But, not only did it work, it took my breath away.
If you don't feel like reading the full review, on the night I described Eric on the night as an "offhand, casual narrator with a fabulous, rich voice with a gobsmacking range who sets us up for a mischievous, powerful story, more human because it’s all happening right in front of us. What for some was a rather stilted and peculiar concept LP has become an alive, twisting, emotional creature; the story is instantly in us. His later (all too brief) scat singing is incredible, just amazing".