The Johnnys elicit a lotta love at The Tote, 40 years on

johnnys toteLiz Pommer photo

The Johnnys
The Tote
Friday 14 October 2022

There’s some audio of The Johnnys live at Le Tote sometime in 1983, couple of years after the Doherty family had decided to host bands in the band room of The Ivanhoe Hotel in an attempt to address the pub’s precarious financial future.

The set is good ol’ sloppy cowpunk fun, replete with lyrical signposts to The Johnnys’ inebriated schitck and irreverent celebration of country music. “You know why we’re having fun?’, guitarist-singer Roddy Radalj calls out rhetorically. “Because we’re drunk!”

Too much fuzz is never enough for Dez Dare

“Trashin’” is the latest video single from Dez Dare, the alter ego of expat Geelong boy Darren Smallman (ex-Warped among others), now living in the UK. It’s taken from the album “Ulysses Trash” and you can procure it here.

The Stranglers announce Australian tour

stranglers 2022

Iconic British punk and new wave rockers, The Stranglers, have announced they’ll be touring Australia, playing shows across five cities in April 2023.

First forming in 1974, the band's no bullshit attitude saw the band blaze an experimental trail, from Art Rock to Goth to New Wave Pop, inspiring a wave of prog rock guitar players and confrontational vocalists to find their roots in The Stranglers unabashed confidence. 

Baby, you can drive his car: Kevin K revs it up

cadallac man cvrCadallac Man – Kevin K (Vicious Kitten Records)

Around these parts, Kevin K records are like a comfortable pair of slippers: You slide in and feel at home with his slashing or chugging guitar and mewling vocal drawl. This record is sized extra-large with 26 songs putting it in the realm of what used to be called a double album.

For the uninitiated (and shamefully there still are some), Kevin K is a Buffalo, New York State raised, New York City-tempered veteran of the Lower East Side-CBGB scene, who remains musically true to that long-gone playground. This is his 33rd album of gritty, street-level rock and roll, and it’s more of the same.

So what's the buzz, cock?

buzzcocks sonic lpSonics in the Soul - Buzzcocks (Cherry Red)

I'm gonna be as objective as I can. I loved the Buzzcocks. I mean, I'm not alone. Everyone loved them, didn't they?

Okay. I came in at the beginning, heard their journey, was delighted by their first two LPs, their singles, then ... that third LP which initially bewildered me, but I grew to love better than the other two. Except, of course, the compilation, “Singles Going Steady”. 

Then, 42 years ago and five years after it all started (particularly with the “Spiral Scratch” EP, which unleashed the DIY independent music scene in the UK), came those three singles which sort of worked, but didn't quite. Something had changed. Because, you know, change happens.

Gunk is back

 
The I-94 Bar and MoshPit Bar celebration of the salad days of underground Australian rock and roll returns for a sec ond season on October 10. "Monday Evening Gunk" has been replaced by "Thursday Evening Gunk" and will stream via the MoshPit Facebook page from 8pm (AEDST) on Thursdays. If the timeslot doesn't work for you, you can watch catch-up episodes right here.   

Lucky Country as the curtain comes down

Jonathan Armstrong Midnight Oil 01 
Midnight Oil
Hordern Pavilion
Monday 3 October 2022

Photos by Jonathan Armstrong of www.bigjphotography.com

The 1982 Capitol Theatre run of shows in Sydney was a crossroads for Midnight Oil. They were broke and had already notched 500 gigs since September 1977, which was the date that they decided to go full-time after a Bondi Lifesaver show.  

Midnight Oil was equally the largest drawcard on the Australian live circuit but it was not reflected in record sales. It had cost a lot to record their third album, “Place Without a Postcard’ overseas with legendary producer Glyn Johns (Rolling Stones and The Who). “Place” was a rocking, earthy and colloquial album. The production was warm - yet it was of the past and sounded like it had been recorded it in 1970.

Rolling thunder from a band called Slug

slug lp cvrCaveat Emptor - Slug (self released) 

The northern New South Wales town of Lismore has been a magnet for people from Sydney’s ‘80s underground music scene and their Melbourne cousins. Or it was until successive floods wiped half of it off the map. Slug draws on this influx of tree changers for paret of its membership, and sounds like they brought some eroding bricks from the Hopetoun Hotel with them.

Slugs don’t move quickly so it should come as no surprise that the band’s debut long player is out decade or so into the band’s life cycle. “Caveat Emptor” is swampy, psychedelic-tinged rock and roll. Recorded live in a studio with minimal overdubs, It sounds  more urgent than a bunch of old farts are entitled to be.

Older Frowning Clouds still bring sunshine

frowning clouds modern

Frowning Clouds
+ Mug
+ Yep!
John Curtin Hotel, Carlton, VIC
Friday 23 September
2022 

I’m pretty sure the first time I saw Frowning Clouds was around 2007, upstairs at the Tote supporting The Dolly Rocker Movement.

The story was that the Frowning Clouds, at the time stumbling toward the end of their high school tenure, had been banned from the Tote for drinking in contravention of a venue management edict.

Apparently they’d been given a reprieve to play that night, on the promise no such unlawful activity occurred. But judging by the pint glasses in the band members’ hands and general unruly behaviour, they’d screwed the memo up and drop kicked it out of mind and sight.

At a subsequent gig, this time at the Birmingham on Smith Street, again supporting Dolly Rocker, the Frowning Clouds had accidentally brought Dolly Rocker’s psychedelastic set to an end when they managed to spill beer on the fold back monitors on the front of the stage.

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