Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders' letter from Palookaville delivers home truths

palookaville“…there’s pretty things in Palookaville…” - Pat Todd & The Rankoutsiders (Hound Gawd!)

Unless you’re one of the lucky few you won’t have yet heard the latest album from ex-Lazy Cowgirls frontman Pat Todd and his pack of old stagers, The Rank Outsiders. So what’s the point of a song-by-song description? You’ll forget the song titles before you clap ears on the real things, anyway. So let’s dispense with that bullshit and tell you how it will make you feel, instead…

Slap it onto the turntable or whack it into the player. Crank it. Good and loud. The opening G chord of “All The Years #1” kicks in and hangs in the air, and it’s like an old friend just walked in the door with a case of cold beers and a headful of fresh stories. 

It’s all jagged riffs and Todd’s impassioned vocal, urgent and insistent. It sounds immediately familiar, yet fresh, a menu of yarns set to punkish, rootsy rock and blues, basted in minor chords and a harmonica dry rub, and roasted in a slow cooker.

Blackie deals a strong hand with quirky new clip

Hand-Ons/Nunchukka Superfly guitarist, singer-songwriter and much-loved Australian punk-rock icon Peter "Blackie" Black has dropped the first video from his solo album "If This Is The Hand That I'm Dealt”. 

The album was released late last year in tandem with another solo record, "I'm Gonna Cheat As Much As I Can". The two albums, when taken together, reveal the breadth of Blackie's pop smarts, the quirkier and heartbroken ends of which can both be heard in  "What The Fuck Should I Be Thinking".

The film clip was co-directed by Jonathan Sequeira (director of the acclaimed Radio Birdman documentary "Descent Into the Maelstrom") and his partner in Cheap Music Videos, Wade Jackson. When asked to comment about the video, Jonathan said:

"‘I thought Blackie was joking when he told me about wanting to do the pec dance. But he got it one take so we knew he’d been practising in front of the mirror’.

“That is actually true, but probably not the quote you want. How about:

"'It was great to work with Peter, one of Australia’s best songwriters, and I love the new albums so was keen to do a video. He had a simple idea and really let me run with it, which wasn’t difficult because he gave such a great performance, and it was a lot of fun shooting it.'"

"Loud As Ever" collection captures a time and place

loud as ever coverLoud As Ever – Various Artists (Sound As Ever)

Every generation of music lovers grows up thinking its era was the best. So it goes with those who ploughed through puberty in the ‘90s, a time now digitally immortalised  (as all things are) by a Facebook page, “Sound As Ever”, dedicated to Australian independent music from 1990-99.

“Sound As Ever” is a snapshot of what life looked and sounded like on the fringes of Australian music in the ‘90s. It has an audience of 72,000 Facebook users after just a year. Like any retrospective, some of what’s thrown up is gem-like and some is shite.

Personally, the ‘90s were a letdown: Once the tidal wave of grunge had subsided, it left a lot of mediocrity on the surface and it seemed there wasn’t much Real Rock and Roll left. Bands like the Powder Monkeys and New Christs that were grossly underappreciated at the start of the decade criminally remained so at the end.

Fifty years on, you'll love this madly

la woman hugo raceThe ghosts of '80s St Kilda will meet the spirit of '71 when Hugo Race - mainman of St. Kilda icons The Wreckery and foundation Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds guitarist - together with his band The True Spirit performs two special shows in April with special guest Steve Lucas of X.

Lucas, whose legendary X called St Kilda home in the late '80s and early '90s, has joined the bill for Race's upcoming L.A Woman 50th Anniversary shows at Theatre Royal in Castlemaine on Saturday 17 April and the Memo Music Hall in St Kilda on Friday April 23.

Hugo and band will be performing The Doors' apocalyptic “L.A. Woman” in its entirety to mark 50 years since its original release in 1971. Steve will open each night, performing a solo set of his favourite tunes from the same year, including selections from the Rolling Stones' ”Sticky Fingers” and Rod Stewart's “Every Picture Tells A Story”. 

Industrial strength riffage from one of Melbourne's best

waiting in a corner coverWaiting in a Corner - Jackson Reid Briggs and the Heaters (Legless Records)

Ever since The Enlightenment pulled away the fig-leaf of irrationality of religious justification, we’ve convinced ourselves that there is some rational basis for existence, some ultimate purpose to which we are cleaving, some end game of cognitive understanding.

Along the way there have been heated philosophical disputes, heresy trials, corrupted social policy programs, perverse economic theories and the same merry go-round of war, peace, famine and indulgence that has always characterised human history. No wonder Jean Paul Sartre decided to raid the top shelf of his local pharmacy in an amphetamine-ravaged attempt at deconstructing it all.  

Does existentialism belong in rock’n’roll?  According to the press release, Melbourne’s Jackson Reid Briggs and the Heaters’ new album, “Waiting in a Corner”, “explores the idea of waiting and searching for something that isn’t specific. Just a sense of something coming".

Dictator Top Ten stands down due to ill-health

top ten scott kempnerThe reformed Dictators have announjced the sad news that Scott "Top Ten" Kempner is being forced to retire due to ill-health.

The band made the announcement on Facebook overnight, saying the rhythm guitarist and member of the Del-Lords has early stage dementia:

The Dictators are sad to announce that our brother Scott Kempner will be leaving the band due to health reasons. Scott has been diagnosed with early stage dementia, We spoke to him yesterday and he wants everyone to know he is feeling fine. 
 
Our relationship with Scott goes back 50 years. The band was a shared vision and Scott’s sense of rock and roll history and our place in it along with his arrangement and songwriting skills kept us on the right course over the years. We will be forever grateful. 
 
As many of you know, The Dictators recently reformed, Scott’s enthusiasm played a major role in our decision to make music again. We will miss his contributions in the future.

Vale Beasts of Bourbon and Surrealists drummer Tony Pola

surrealistsTony Pola - drummer for Beasts of Bourbon, The Beasts and Kim Salmon and the Surrealists - passed away over the Easter weekend. His wife Katherine Pola made the announcement via  a Facebook post.

The West Australian-based drummer (pictured far right with The Surrealists), with bass player, the late Brian Hooper, and Kim Salmon had a reputation as one of Australian music’s most irascible and eccentric characters. He was a founding member of The Surrealists, as well as drummer on the Beasts of Bourbon’s “breakthrough” classic, “The Low Road”.  

Bandmate Kim Salmon has launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover the costs of Tony’s funeral. You can make a contribution here. Kim also posted a tribute online:

Detroit label puts out the trash - again

trash brats self titledTrash Brats – Trash Bats (I-94 Recordings)

Summa you cool kids might remember I-94 Records out of Detroit (as opposed to I-94 Bar Records out of Sydney, Australia) as the dead savvy tastemakers behind those vital and volatile “Drunk On Rock” compilations. The label introduced loads of underground punk-roll bands, as well as essential full-length releases by Cranford Nix Jr. and the Malakas, the Trash Brats and B-Movie Rats. They are back with the highly influential debut of the Trash Brats first album, previously only available on cassette. In the 80's.

Trash Brats were the most important punk band in the Midwest - part NY Dolls, part Candy, part Teenage Head, poppy, melodic, fun, with notoriously crazy shows known for big energy and wild abandon. Appealing to fans of Sloppy Seconds, Hanoi Rocks, the Dickies, and the Ramones, a Trash Brats concert was where small-town kids travelled to shake ‘n’ shimmy, to get fucked up and jump up and down, try out all their kookiest Alien Sex Fiend and Bat Cave makeup, and to meet all your favorite, lifelong, goth girl pen pals.

Having one more drink with Streetwalkin' Cheetah Frank Meyer

AP Murray cheetahsFrank Meyer flanked by Cheetahs bandmates (from left) Bruce Duff, MIke Sessa and Dino Evertett on bass. AP Murray photo. 

In these COVID-fraught times, asking Frank Meyer what he puts on his curriculum vitae is a valid question. The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs vocalist-guitarist doesn’t skip a beat, down the line on Zoom from his home in Long Beach, California.

“Right now, I mean, I'm basically freelance film producing and directing. You know, my last full time job was at Fender as directing and producing their digital content. But at the beginning of COVID, they laid off a lot of my team, including myself. And then showbiz kind of shut down.

“But now I've essentially just been doing music and freelance editing and online production, and a lot of session work, singing and playing, recording and producing. In the last few months, digital production has picked up and I've been getting a bunch of field production gigs. And I've got some book deals happening. So things are looking good right now.”

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I-94 Bar