Vi-Nil retrospective casts a different light on Sydney's underground heyday

indie sounds vi nil cvrIndie Sounds From The Harbour City (1983-87) – Various Artists (Vi-Nil Records)

The Vi-Nil label lurched into life in 1983 with The Klerks and spawned more notable offspring such as the Hard-Ons and the Psychotic Turnbuckles before winding down at the end of the decade. This collection marks the label’s re-birth, and features a representative selection of its first era stable.

There are 20 tracks and it’s a diverse output, ranging from power-pop to acid punk and back to new wave and garage rock. Vi-Nil’s release of “Sockman” by the Lipstick Killers was my introduction to the label and to these ears it still epitomises the frenzied attack of the first era line-up.

An offer you can't refuse

godfathers alpha betaAlpha Beta Gamma Delta – The Godfathers (Cargo Records)

Whenever the one and only Peter Coyne switches up the roll call of the long loved Godfathers institution, the fans always fret momentarily and then the front doors get kicked in and here they come again, guns blazing, in full color and better than ever.

I did not know they could possibly be this good and do it again, but here they are still gigantic fucking towering monuments of Real Rock ‘n’ Roll, ya know ever since the Sid Presley days this lot has been as influenced by gorgeous, chiming, classic hit melodies from the golden age of pre-Pepper Beatles, as they have by the snarling rebel roar of the pissed-off Pistols, they still have all that in their sound, and they still write songs that are just unbelievably stick in your skull catchy, hand tailored for rock ‘n’ roll radios, if such a thing exists.

Affirmation of life

a fire of life lpA Fire of Life – The Stooges (Easy Action)

Pertinent Question: Who else but Easy Action would have issued this and shown such a high degree of care? The Stooges are no more. Every listenable recording of the band during any of its phases surely has been exhumed and put into the marketplace by now.

Incorrect.

“A Fire of Life” is the Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Watt-Mackay Stooges at the height of their reformation powers.

The first half combines broadcast quality sets from Sydney (2006) and New Orleans (2003) while the second act is audio of a pay-for-view, live-in-the-studio 2007 set, showcasing one song from “The Weirdness” with five re-recorded classics. It’s rounded off with an in-store appearance by Iggy, Rock and Ron at Newbury Comics in Minnesota in 2003.

Pure gold is calling

love is calling cvr smLove is Calling - Mick Medew and Ursula (I-94 Bar Records)

Two years of lockdown were not wasted by Mick Medew and Ursula Collie-Medew. Besides getting married, they also managed to entertain every second Sunday with their live lockdown streaming gigs.

The streaming shows were wonderfully received, with Mick playing some classic songs from his back catalogue with the Screaming Tribesmen and others, plus new tunes, and Ursula sitting in on keyboards on a few. When words reached The Farmhouse that Mick and Ursula were releasing a new CD of songs written over lockdown, I for one was excited to hear how these tunes would sound with full production.

And it’s pure gold, folks.

'Scuse me while I Open Up and Bleat

STOOGES whisky a go go cvrLive at The Whisky A Go Go – Iggy and The Stooges (Easy Action Records)

It’s ridiculous to say, as many of you have, that the management at the I-94 Bar treats Stooges recordings with the reverence of ancient religious artefacts.

Let’s dispel that untruth right now: We hold them in much higher regard than that. If you want to know why, go no further than this Record Store Day vinyl release.

Record Store Day was a good marketing idea that devolved into a clusterfuck. Sure, it encourages otherwise disengaged to find a bricks and mortar shop and lay down their hard-earned, but it’s been taken over by greedy fucks who run major labels that issue/re-issue “product” that cost them sweet fuck-all, or recouped a million years ago.

Gluck's new collaborations create compelling sounds

the selfThe Self - Jeremy Gluck (SWND Records)

On other occasions, when I've introduced Jeremy Gluck's new work, I've usually referred to his previous musical collaborations. Which might have been a mistake.

It's far too easy for an outsider to pigeonhole a creative person. I've been referred to as “the guy who wrote ...” and they name a particular work. Which, while at the time that thing consumed me, is no longer the case. In fact, I've been beavering away at other things, sometimes with other people, and I find the newer works to be far more satisfying and, dare I boast, far more interesting to the half-awake public.

I-94 Bar