The ‘80s isn’t such a bad place to hang out. Simon Chainsaw has been there, musically speaking, since his former band The Vanilla Chainsaws, tasted success 30-something years ago, and this is his 14th album under his own name.
That '80s reference isn't inferring Chainsaw's musically moribund. Simon rarely sits still and was already Sydney's hardest-working musician before COVID fucked without the universe. The Chainsaw sound is instantly familiar, a sweet but tough mix of melody and downstroke power, and naturally uses what was learned during a golden time of Australian music. It's translatable toi places where Real Rock and Roll survives.
For every band that made an impact on Sydney's fevered 1980’s underground music scene, there are a thousand that left a fleeting impression.
Rigid With Desire was the next vehicle for Fast Cars singer-guitarist Di Levi after the first, mod-pop incarnation of that band dissolved. RWD melded ubiquitous (and very underlying) ‘60s melodies with a thick applique of fashionable post-punk, neo-Goth sounds. Their impression was more than fleeting and they made a mark on the then-serious Australian indepdent charts.
“Life At Night” compiles their five recordings, including the indie chart single “Nightlife”, and two by Helter Skelter, their re-jigged, latter-day line-up.
Former Lubricated Goat frontman Stu Spasm (real name Stuart Gray) is the subject of a new short documentary, which focuses on his work as a sculptor of creepy cult figurines. Part of a series called New York Hustle, which was produced by New York-based Aussie expats Angelica Von Helle and Matt Reekie, and you can watch the doco after the fold below.
Spasm, who left Australia in the early ’90s and has been based in NYC for the best part of three decades, continues to make music with his latest outfit The Art Gray Noizz Quintet while supplementing his income by making and selling his sculptures. Sculptures shown in the film include Alice Cooper, Suzi Quatro, Charles Manson, Rowland S. Howard and Leadbelly.
Spasm spoke with Danger Coolidge about his work as a visual artist.
Listening To Gospel Music On The Radio – Moonlight Five (self releseed video single)
"Listening To Gospel Music On The Radio" is the sophomore release from alt blues/country act from Sydney’s northern beaches Moonlight Five. Led by ex-Waxworks and Dwarfthrower frontman and I-94 Bar contributor Edwin Garland (and, no, we won’t hold that last point against him), "Gospel Music" leans heavily into the Tom Waits via-Dylan category, without being derivative.
There’s no doubt that the Lipstick Killers were in a class of their own when they stepped out of the shadow of Radio Birdman and onto Sydney stages. With sensibilities inherited from the import racks of White Light Records and the frantic energy of the Oxford Funhouse, they mixed stuttering power and rawness with a sense of theatre and an appreciation of the ridiculous.
The Lipstick Killers had a lineage going back to Funhouse denizens the Psychosurgeons,and the physically confronting Filth before them. If Birdman’s birth marked the Ground Zero for Sydney’s underground scene, the Lipstick Killers were heading a fast-following platoon whose ranks included Shy Imposters, Kamikaze Kids and The Passengers.
COVID-19 did its best to stall things and their show this Sunday with Simon Chainsaw and the Liberators and debutants Pocket Watch is postponed, but the debut vinyl single from Sydney's Jupiter 5 is now out. You can listen to it and score your copy from our record label Bandcamp.
They’re from Mid Coast New South Wales (that's be north of Newcastle) and this seven-song CD is as old school protopunk as you’re going to find in those parts - or almost anywhere else these days. Moot don’t tell it like it is as much as speak it as it should be. In other words, their language is straight-up, rocking and simple.
Record Collector Scum call this sound KBD (“Killed By Death”) after the ‘80s bootleg series of the same name that documented the burgeoning American punk scene. Most of it was uncompromising, politically charged and energetic, but with a sense of musicality. Moot has it nailed but they pack their punch in a variety of stylistic gloves and add a decent whack of Aussie sarcasm for good measure.
There’s a lot to be said for bands that exude an aura of dysfunction. They’re way more interesting than manufactured corporate whores or prissy private school prats whose parents bought their instruments.
Raygun Mortlock recorded this EP in Melbourne a couple of years ago and promptly forgot about it. The band didn’t exist for five years before that. Before COVID, they didn’t play much outside its home of Far Northern New South Wales with Brisbane being the extent of their touring ambitions.
The band’s recorded output is skinny but don’t let that put you off. This is primo noise rock that recalls likes of the Jesus Lizard, TAD and a host of other contenders from 20 years ago.
Sydney is in lockdown so local bar MoshPit and I-94 Bar are re-running last year's Monday Evenring Gunk series. Here's Episode 7 "Address to the Nation from Chris Masuak" that went to air on November 3. This episode saw Gunk going international with ARIA Hall of Famer and ex-Radio Birdman guitarist Chris Masuak joining by Zoom with Sydney Rock asnd Roll Mzarklets founder Tiffany Palmer and Bob Short (from Sydney’s first punk band Filth) co-hosting. Watch Chris and his Spanish band The Viveiro Wave Riders give us a face melting set of originals and classics from lockdown in Spain here.