box set - The I-94 Bar
Barman, how many bottles can I get away with putting on this? If you’re a literalist, it’s five. Because you can’t go over 100 percent, by definition, can you?
Can you, fuck! Eight bottles, Barman. (ED: Go home, Robert, you're drunk!) This is a special, wonderful box set. Long overdue.
Reviewing the new Radio Birdman box set is an absolute poisoned chalice. You know I’m going to give it five bottles, right? It contains most of the great recordings by the greatest band to have sprung from these shores. Bar none.
I include everyone in that statement from the Easybeats through AC/DC and onto whatever crap that is currently passing itself off as popular music. Forget your Hoodoo Gurus and your Sunnyboys, your Birthday Party and your assorted Johnny Come Latelys. This band was Ground Zero and Year Zero. Accept no substitutes.
"Radio Birdman. Box Set. Seven CDs. One DVD. One hundred Aussie bucks. Five Bottles. Yay. It’s great."
And that has been the extent of the reviews of this thing. Nobody has wanted to prod it with a stick and turn it on its side. And with several good reasons. Radio Birdman have always put the fanatic into fans. No more surly beast has ever walked the earth than a Radio Birdman fan.
Fetishists alert! Ed Kuepper is on a vinyl re-issue spree so of course he has to have a limited edition box set. “Behold the Exploding Universe of Ed Kuepper” will contain:
- 1 x Ed Kuepper Singles LP on green, yellow, blue or black vinyl
- 1 x Laughing Clowns LP on clear vinyl.
- 1 x The Aints! LP on red vinyl.
- 1 x autographed 8” x 10” Laughing Clowns photo by Judi Dransfield Kuepper
- 1 x high quality Exploding Universe of Ed Kuepper iron-on transfer
- 1 x The Aints! vinyl sticker.
- 3 x press releases printed in full colour on quality stock.
Naturally, it will be housed in a beautiful black lift-top box. The run is limited to 100 copies and ships from May 28. You can order exclusively here.
“Just A Bad Dream: Sixty British Garage & Trash Nuggets 1981-89”– Various Artists (Cherry Red)
While most of us in Australia in the ‘80s and ‘90s were obsessing with the US resurgence in trashy ‘60s garage rock, the Brits were having a wild old time with the same sort of stuff. This stellar three-disc, clamshell box set lifts the lid on what was going on behind the Warm Beer Curtain, in cracking fashion.
Flash back to the dawn of the 1980s: Boxed in by the constraints of punk rock - which had morphed into a fashion parade by then - and repulsed by the rise of New Romanticism, a good many Brit bands made like it was still raining German V2’s and headed deep underground.
To be fair, you can also blame the Cramps for much of this, although the Poms were arguably able to tap their own deep, local wellspring. We Aussies, on the other hand, got locked into our own US ‘60s punk trip, thanks to our own tastemaker bands, and those buyers for local record stores who spent most of their time in the States.
1979 - Motorhead (BMG)
You all know who Motorhead are. You may dig them, you may not – although I can’t fathom how any true rock fan couldn’t. For mine, there has never been a more authentic, hard-hitting, long-lasting, and utterly committed rock band. Frontman Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister frequently opined that they were simply than the dirtiest rock and roll band on the planet, disagreeing with the oft-applied heavy metal label.
As a teenager in the '80s they were definitely metal to me – they were louder, faster, and grittier than anyone else – but with the benefit of hindsight, I understand why he proclaimed: “We Are Motorhead – And We Play Rock And Roll” at the start of every gig for their last few decades. Having said that, without doubt they inspired generations of metal bands, as well as many in other genres.
The tracklisting for the Radio Birdman boxset has leaked via a UK online retailer. The seven disc set (six CDs and a DVD) is slated for release in early October.
Update: Citadel Mail Order is taking pre-orders here.
Information from the band that the Paddington Town Hall gig (cover pictured at right) would be the jewel in the box set crown appears to be spot-on with the core of the release being familiar. There is enough meat on the bones in the form of bonus material, however, to satisfy most people.
The band's out-of-print EPs and some startling alternate versons and demo songs are being included although some live material that's been doing the rounds of fans for years is remaining in the vault.
Listen up if you’re proudly “collector scum”, a completist or just an appreciator of one of the greatest rock and roll bands to have walked the planet.
For more than 50 fifty years, The Pretty Things have proudly, unapologetically and righteously scorched their own, unique trail through contemporary music. A half-century (plus) of the raunchiest white-boy rhythm and blues, of punch-ups, dazzling highs and epic struggles, of innovation and exultation, lauded by their peers, vilified by authority, a crucial influence on successive generations of acts, The Pretty Things make it to the mid-20-teens with mojo intact and edge unblunted.
This epochal British rock 'n' roll band is justly being celebrated by way of “Bouquets From A Cloudy Sky”, a lavish multi-media box set due out in February in a limited edition of 2000.
R.I.P. Mark E. Smith, 1957-2018
"New Facts Emerge" came out in late July last year; the singles box (Seven discs! Eight hours!) came out four months later; they're my Christmas present from me to me.
"New Facts Emerge" - it merits seven bottles, if not eight. Bludgeoning, bruising, then it takes you on a short cruise: bloody hell this is good. It also grows on you with repeat listenings. However - and this is critical - while many long-term Fall fans seem contemptuous of the band's turn to powerful cranking rock, most Fall fans would find it difficult to come up with a Top 10 of the band's best 10 songs - you won't have that problem much with Judas Priest, or Alice Cooper, will you?
The Velvet Underground and Nico, Now - finally - we come to one of those albums that is insanely iconic (that peeling banana for a start), that you’re told is essential, but which so many people have and rarely listen to because - whisper it - they don’t really like it.
Characters like me, of course, love it (to put it mildly). Around about the time I first heard this LP (I was 12 or 13, my friend Paul had bought it in a chain record shop, filed in the comedy section) I recall talking to some older musicians in 1980, stalwarts of Adelaide’s piddly live scene. To them, the VU were “weird”, and therefore not worthy of examination. The Stooges, incidentally, were widely regarded as a joke, plunking, laboured plodders. The musicians I’m talking about were people who took Frank Zappa seriously (but dismissed Beefheart) and rejoiced when ELO came along (if I had a dollar for every bozo who forcibly showed me how super ELO sounded on their expensive new imported speakers …).
Is it possible that God doesn’t want Ozzy or Eric Clapton up there with Motorhead and Schubert, Bach, Bowie, Keith Emmerson and Bolan, and Robert Quine and Renestair EJ and Thelonious Monk and Charlie Mingus and Brett Smiley and Art Pepper and all the others … talk about spoiling the atmos …
Perennial I-94 Bar favourite Johnny Casino has a limited edition of seven-inch singles out under the apt name “5x7 - The Days of Wine and Cola”.
The physical boxset is in a run of 200 copies only and is available on Bandcamp here or through European labels Folc (Spain) and Beast (France). The digital edition is out on all platforms through Golden Robot Records.
Now living in Spain, the man once known as John A Spittles is the founding member and songwriter of the great Australian rock 'n' roll band Asteroid B612, Philadelphia PA's Johnny Casino's Easy Action, the rotating line-up that is Johnny Casino and the Secrets (featuring the who's who of Australian rock 'n' roll), The Egos, The Lord Street Sound,and Carrie Phillis and the Downtown 3.
Casino is a musicila journeyman always looking for new challenges whether it’s a riff to plunder, a melody to celebrate or a moment to capture, so let's allow Johnny describe the concept of the release: