Greg Sawers & Penny Ikinger - photo by Loene Carmen
Siolo artist and ex-Wet Taxis and Sacred Cowboys member
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2020 started with a bang! I was treated to an ear-splitting performance from X at their Bushfire Relief Benefit show at The Spotted Mallard. in Brunswick, Melbourne. It was like travelling through a time warp littered with gritty rock n roll riffs and howls. The ones that X do best. They’ve still got it!
I was taken on another spin by a stellar line up of Guitar Wolf (Japan), 5,6,7,8’s (Japan) and Rocket Science at The Tote and also saw Japanese band The Jetboys at the same venue. Guitar Wolf and The Jetboys, arguably two of the best punk influenced rock bands of this day and age, are brutal. They play loud & fast with utmost conviction. Whatever it was they were singing about I was sure it was sacrilegious. It felt that way and that’s what counts.
The Schizophonics (USA) also performed in Melbourne (The Tote again!). This relatively youthful three piece exploded all over the stage and reassured that rock 'n' roll is not dead. Not that I ever thought it was, but that’s what ’they” keep telling me…
She’s been called “fuzz queen, sonic chanteuse and primal mistress of dark folk” and Europe is getting a brief opportunity to come up with more superlatives for Melbourne's Penny Ikinger and her unique brand of rock and roll this Northern summer.
Penny is promoting a CD single “Gin No Suzu” b/w “Ride On Cowboy” (that's the cover art at right), from her forthcoming album with a short series of dates in Spain and France, the peak of which will be appearances atAndoaingo Rock Jaialdiain Spain (June 17) and as part ofFete de la Musique at Petit Garagein Paris, France (June 21.)
Put this on.
Why? Well, apart from the fun of watching your girlfriend immediately leap to her feet or drop what she's holding and begin to gyrate wildly (the Frug, possibly), this is more-or-less genuine '60s guitar-based garage punk.
Well, it's noisy r'n'b actually, but who's taking notes? You're too busy bopping. There's bags of talent and energy here. Up front we have Tim Knuckey (who wrote two originals) on vocals, guitar and harp, and Jonathan "Gretsch" Adams on guitar and vocals, who wrote two more.
Knuckey you may recall from the Wet Taxis and rockabilly outfit Satellite 5; Adams (or Gretsch) from his rockabilly outfit The Wasted Ones. Looks like they planned this breakout from Quiffville for a long time.
Feedback songstress Penny Ikinger is pulling together an all-star band for a special one-off show in Sydney on October 17 with special guest Masami Kawaguchi from Japan.
Billed as a “psychedelic machine gun guitarist” by Wire magazine, Tokyo-based Kawaguchi will open the show at Marrickville’s The Factory Floor with a solo spot before joining Penny’s headlining line-up comprising Deniz Tek and Jim Dickson (Radio Birdman) and drummer John Fenton (Crow.)
Kawaguchi has played with Japanese bands Miminokoto, LSD March and Broomdusters and is said to be a master of Blue Cheer-meets-Nuggets fuzz zone. He played guitar on Penny’s new album, recorded in Tokyo. He is touring Australia to promote the release of his own solo album: “The Mad Guitar Sings” on Black Petal Records.
Main support will be The Maladies whose notoriously wild live shows swing erratically from tender croon to demented howl. Expect to see something intense and abrasive!
This is a one-off, never-to-be-repeated event and tickets are on here.
One of Australian underground music’s most special, enduring and well-travelled talents Penny Ikinger will play shows in Perth and Fremantle for the first time in May, en route to Japan to record with Deniz Tek.
It's a long time between Penny Ikinger records but the results are usually worth the wait. "Tokyo" follows "Penelope" (2010) and "Electra" (2003) and is as evocative as ever but with a slightly rockier disposition.
"Tokyo" was recorded with a batch of top-notch Japanese psychedelic musicians, with heavy input from Radio Birdman's Deniz Tek. The latter's influence is evident - not just in some flammable splashes of lead guitar but also in the odd lyric. That Four Winds Bar sure has done some mileage since being name-dropped by Blue Oyster Cult all those years ago...
Even so, "Tokyo" is very much a Penny Ikinger record. Gone are the days where she needed to be referenced as "a past member of Wet Taxis" or as "Nico defrosted". As clever as that last marketing line was, Nico ultimately shut out the world. Penny embraces its musical possibilities and has her own distinctive voice.