Le Cape Noir – The Ramalamas (Half a Cow)
This soundtrack to an imaginary ‘60s cult movie, or so the shtick goes, is really a collection of intriguing garage-swamp pop outbursts by enduring but low-key Sydney band. It’s the fifth long-player by The Ramalamasand their first on vinyl.
“Le Cape Noir” is a celebration of ADHD. It swings from surf-tinged rockers to garage pop and back to spy movie instrumental in the space of a few tracks. Its 16 (yes, 16!) songs are broken up by snatches of spoken word faux movie dialogue.
Sit back and let it wash over and you could be sitting in the Valhalla Cinema at Glebe watching a cult film, and ending the night stumbling out of the Sydney Trade Union Club at 4am.
Venerable Australian label Half a Cow has moved with lightning speed to respond to the floods that have devasted parts of the Australian east coast this week.
One-hundred percent of the proceeds from the digital release of the quickly-assembled, all-Australian “Flood Zone” compilation will go to Queensland and New South Wales victims of the inundation, via the GIVIT platform.
Copies downloaded during Bandcamp Friday will be exempt from Bandcamp charges. It can be purchased here.
Participating acts are The Lovetones, Crow, The Ramalamas, Key Out, The Finalists, Darren Hanlon, Froggy Prinze, Bum Spa, Claire Birchall, Baby Blue, Montana, Tim Guy, Thee Cha Cha Chas, Adele & The Chandeliers, Turnstyle, Lost In The Woods, The Nature Strip, Monnone Alone, Victoria, Stressless, Bambino Koresh, La Huva, Smudge and Falling Joys.
Says label head Nic Dalton:"Thanks to all the acts for helping out! Some songs are old, some songs are new and some have never seen the light of day before."
Australian cult power pop singer-songwriter John Dowler, best remembered for his groups Young Modern and the Zimmermen (and their classic 1985 single “Don’t Go to Sydney”), is returning with a new album, "12 Stiches".
It's the second long-player for John Dowler's Vanity Project. and comprises 10 new band originals, a Brian Wilson tune and an interpretation of Split Enz’s “Time for A Change”.
Half A Cow is releasing "12 Stitches" digitally and on CD on May 1 and it's preceded by an EP, "A Certain Reputation". It features the first single “Billy’s Pizza” and three non-album tracks - new versions of Spare Change’s acerbic and artful “Let’s Get Rich Together” and the Zimmermen’s chiming “Ordinary Man”. Get it here.
This is an intruiging and charmingly all-over-the-shop album on which this Sydney five-piece sheds its alt.country label and heads for a garage in a swamp. There's more variety in this Licourice than a pallet-load of Darrel Lea Allsorts.
The Ramalamas have been around for a decade or so, led by Chris Nielsen (vocals-guitar) and subsisting in their city’s fragmented live circuit while putting out a string of albums, of which this is their fourth. Nielsen name-checks the usual ‘60s references (Kinks, Stones) with a nod to the US West Coast’s psychedelic folk-pop scene.
As well as owning a serviceable pop voice and playing nifty guitar, Nielsen is an award-wininng illustrator and his work adorns the CD cover and inlay.
John Dowler (second from he left) and his Vanity Project.
John Dowler concedes that the name of his solo project, John Dowler’s Vanity Project, is tainted with irony. But, Dowler adds, “a friend of mine did tell me that all bands are vanity projects in one way or another – certainly all of mine are. So I just owning up to it”.
On the basis of his longevity in the rock’n’roll caper, Dowler has cause for at least a modicum of be vanity. Add into the equation the fact Dowler was four bars ahead of the rock’n’roll curve when his contemporaries were still mimicking Beatles chords, and the guy should really have his name in lights somewhere.
Simon Holmes with the reformed Hummingbirds at their sold-out Sydney show in 2016. Murray Bennett photo
Simon Holmes, member of influential Sydney fuzz-pop band The Hummingbirds, has passed away suddenly. His son, Milo C. St Clare-Holmes, made the announcement on his father’s Facebook page yesterday.
His passing was marked by another brief message on The Hummingbirds’ Facebook page: “Simon Holmes, beloved father, friend to countless and our band mate, passed away last week. Our hearts are broken.” It prompted a massive outpouring of grief across social media.