i94bar1200x80

sydney

  • psychotropicHere it is folks - this is the sound the “cool kids” make these days. “Cool kids” being what the wearers would dismissive as a totally pejorative term, but essentially being a title for whatever constitutes a “scene maker” in these musically fractured times. “Scene” being another pejorative word.

    It’s hard to keep up with contemporary music once you pass a certain age - even when you’re consciously trying to cock an ear to what seeps out of cracks in the footpath and shuns daylight. Of course it’s a given that you shouldn’t pay attention to just about ANYTHING that makes it to commercial radio airwaves, but in this case "contemporary" means the underground shit, maaan. And Los Tones are under the commercial radar by any measure.

  • thee evil twin singleOld school punk from Sydney in the style of Johnny Dole & The Scabs. These guys are an evil trio, not a duo, but who cares about theirnumerically-challenged state-of-mind when the output is good?

    The A side is about being a punk who's lost in the once seedy and now gentrified suburb of Pyrmont. The anger is real. Flip the platter and the Twins are expressing how much they want to “kick this city in the balls”. Many share that sentiment and there's mor than a whiff of a singalong in this one.

    It's all very basic in its production with a nice and meaty guitar sound. Thee Evil Twin aren’t flashy and that’s a good thing. This one’s a limited run of 150 and likely will sell out - just like their other 45s. Go here for a copy. 

    martiniratingmartiniratingmartiniratingmartinirating

     

  • jim atkins
    Ashley Thomson photo

    Jim Atkins, singer in The Kelpies, The Bedhogs and other '80s Sydney punk bands, has passed away in a Darwin hospice after a long battle defying cancer. He was aged 56. 

    Friends posted news on Facebook a few days ago that Jim (aka Jim Bedhog aka James Gelding) was extremely unwell. News of his passing landed today and sparked a string of online tributes.

  • BirdmnlogoRadio Birdman will warm up for its European tour with two intimate Sydney shows at the Factory Floor in Marrickville on June 5 and 6. 

    In a Facebook post the band says: "With no other Australian appearances scheduled for 2015 these shows will provide a unique opportunity to catch the band in a small room - hot, loud and sweaty. This 'up close and intimate' experience, echoing the band's early days at the Oxford Funhouse, will not be repeated any time soon!"\

    Support on both nights will be local rockers Black Heart Breakers and tickets are on sale here. European tour dates are in our Living Eye section.

     

  • rb-flagRiding to Newcastle to catch the first show of Radio Birdman tour is the obvious choice. Didn’t quite seem like it, trying to get outa Sydney on a Friday arvo. I took a quick spurt up the footpath a few times to relieve the tension. Then we hit the freeway and Jenny gave me that tap on the left hip that means ‘slow down’ but I was doing 90mph through one of the tighter curves and slowing down wasn’t the point. Nor possible. Can’t brake a motorcycle unless it’s reasonably upright.

    1982, the first time I really heard Radio Birdman was the 1976 2JJ show at midnight on a Monday. Used to be a lot of good movies on late back then, ‘Vanishing Point’, ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, ‘Five Easy Pieces.’ One night I walked into my little bedroom at the back of the house, flicked on the radio and my life changed.

    Every friend and lover, every beautiful terrible moment, it all started then. It’s been one hell of a ride and the road rolls ever on.

  • life at nightLife At Night 1982-1984 – Rigid With Desire/Helter Skelter (Method Records and Music)

    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.

  • chickenstones beachChickenstones main man Andy “Doc” Temple Ellard is fighting a battle against an aggressive cancer but that shouldn’t be the only reason you see his band’s last Australian show for 2018. 

    Chickenstones are one of Sydney’s best straight-up rock and roll bands. 

    Doc is also one of the Sydney scene’s most genuine characters, a fine frontman and guitarist and a tireless champion of underground music via the weekly Devil’s Jukebox on 2NSB and Radio 365.

    The band’s most recent CD, “Johnny Streetlight”, is out on vinyl on French label Basil Records and the show - at Collaroy’s Beach Club on April 21 - is billed as a second launch for that erstwhile artefact.

    The band plans to tour the record in Europe later this year, pending the outcome of Doc’s treatment.

    The bottom line is that Doc will appreciate your support but Chickenstones shows are also one big party. For this one, they’ll be supported by locals Dias. Tickets are just $10. 

  • Schizos FB Marrickville

    That Sydney gig by explosive trio The Schizophonics in March has moved to Friday night to accomodate a bigger crowd. I-94 Bar will co-present the Sydney gig at Marrickville Bowling Club on March 12. The Facebook event is here and tickets are here.

    Supports in Sydney will be Fangin' Felines and Grinding Eyes.

  • second prizeHow great are back-stories? Music on a record should always be able to stand up for itself, but the yarns behind it give context and (occasionally) help understand what lies beneath.

    The tale behind "Second Prize in a Beauty Contest" is fraught with life. In the band's words, it encompasses "three divorces, one marriage, one baby, one European tour, countless Australian east coast tours, line-up changes (and) a 7” single". The Dunnies' last album (their third) was "Hulacide" in 2012. This one was recorded in two days in Sydney in 2017 and left to sit on the shelf while everybody got on with their lives.

    The evidence of its difficult birth is in the music - some of it bitter and forthright. A song title like "That's a Fucking Lie!" doesn't reek of subtlety.

  • birdmanwalking

    Tickets for the previously announced Radio Birdman Sydney Manning Bar show on Saturday, October 6 are selling fast, with a sell out expected. The band has announced a second show at the same venue on Friday,  October 5 and tickets are on sale here.

    Radio Birdman is doing a limited number of Australian East Coast shows over two weekends this coming September/October before heading off for a 22-date tour of Europe. Supports on the Australian tour will include Adalita (Melbourne), Brisbane's HITS (Brisbane and Sydney) and all shows will feature special guests from Spain, Los Chicos.

    Last year's Australian tour with co-headliner Died Pretty was surrounded by the buzz of the limited cinema release of "Descent into the Maelstrom", the Jonathan Sequeira-produced documentary about Radio Bifrdman. The local release on DVD with bonus content will coincide with the tour with a special edition available at the band's shows.  

  • knighty metroRoss Knight.  

    COSMIC PSYCHOS
    + ZEKE 

    Metro Theatre, Sydney
    Saturday, January 13 2024

    Nice Day To Go To The Pub? Aren’t they all during an Australian summer? Tonight in Sydney it’s muggier than a brickie’s armpit and there’s no reason to break convention, but, fuck me, The Sir John Young Hotel on Sydney’s George Street sure has changed. 

    It’s been re-named “The Resch” (gee, wonder where they dug up that one), the front bar has been opened up and there’s not a TV set in sight. All that polished concrete makes for a brutalist existence. Of course, it lacks live music, with a DJ setting up while we sip our beers, and the usual crowd of pre-Metro gig people absent. The schooners have not unexpectedly crept up close to the $10 mark. That’s life in Sydney!

  • slights still unspoken smThere was a time when sharp divisions ran like Pacific Rim fault-lines between underground musical factions in Sydney. 

    One one tectonic plate stood the Radio Birdman-influenced, leather-clad, guitar warriors steeped in ramalama-fa-fa-fa and the Stooges, on the other an esoteric bunch of people making sounds with synthesisers and other assorted machines. Picket lines were established and few crossed them, unless by accident or if no-one was looking.

  • shonen knife sydneyCraig Norman photo. 

    Shonen Knife
    New South Wales Art Gallery, Sydney
    Wednesday, November 7, 2019

    In which we discuss the topic "can art be fun?".

    Most young New South Welsh men and women encounter the Art Gallery of New South Wales but once on school excursion.  Packed off in buses to pay respect the big historical back drops and listen as the dead beat teacher saw the modern stuff and hear them proclaim they could have done that.

    Of course they didn't.  They wouldn't be teaching mongrels like us if they could.

  •  

    painPain! b/w  Wheels on Fire - Smitty & B Goode (Evil Tone)

     Been a long time since they rock and rolled in person. Sydney trio Smitty & B Goodeisn’t the most prolific act in terms of releases, but they’ve put enforced time off to good use with this power-packed 45. “Pain!” inflicts more pleasure than its title suggests, flipping mild self-loathing on its head. Anger is an energy and Smitty’s assertive vocal and downstroke guitar is set against a fierce sonic brew, “turning gasoiine into a symphony of sound.” Tight as a fish’s, as they say. Flip it over for more of the same garage grit goodness. Carly’s sunny bass-tone suits the up-tempo mood. Succinct and catchy, it’s a short tun of 200 copies so grab yours here while you still can.

    martiniratingmartiniratingmartiniratingmartinirating

  • sonic garage space travelsSpace Travels – Sonic Garage (self released)

    It’s a a couple of years since Circus Chaplains from Sydney’s Northern Beaches fell by the wayside after the passing of Luke Lovelock,but his bandmates Phil Van Rooyen (Dr Fruitworld, Panadolls, Chickenstones) and Peter Bourke aren’t ones for standing still.

    They’ve gone on to a new band with ex-Mushroom Planet bassist Pete Trifunovic, drummer Ronny Welsh and pianist Russell Parkhouse (ex-Riptides).

    Sonic Garagerecorded their album at Zen Studios in Sydney in these odd COVID times and it’s a wonderful, ragged and righteous collection of songs that recalls familiar Harbour City high energy rock reference points.

  • It must be the season for re-issues from the Sydney underground. Spanish label Guerssen, which specialises in long buried gems, is issuing an album of the music of Australian punk/post-punk band Voigt/465.

    The band existed from 1976-79 and stood apart from much of the guitar-dominated Sydney underground scene. Influenced by the likes of Can, Brian Eno and Perl Ubu, Voigt/465 recorded one album, “Slights Unspoken”, as they were about to break-up. Members went on to Pel Mel and Wild West.

  • stainless fast carsA taste of the forthcoming new album, this double A-sided single single puts Fast Cars in a place of their own. It's elegiac dream pop with an edge and a long way removed from their mod and powerpop beginings.

    Those Sussex Hotel days are long gone. The band is now a core duo of Sydney multi-instrumentalist Fabian Buyrne and UK-domiciled vocalist-guitarist Di Levi. The songs are children of the digital age, worked up in disparate studios and assembled across the Internet.

    "Stainless" is pop song of sharp contrasts with sarcastic lyrics ("nothing sticks to you") elegantly rendered by Di Lev,i atop a bedrock of flint hard, buzzing guitars. There's plenty of space in the production.

    "Real Love?" Is instantly sunny, thanks to chiming guitar, Di's lilting vocal and a lusher backing. Piano and a pulsing bass-line, buried deep in the soundscape, round things off nicely. It's a song about being alive while savouring your surroundings. Pop with a capital 'P'.

    martiniratingmartiniratingmartinirating3/4 

    Buy it


  • Sydney's finest purveyors of glam alt-rock, Starcrazy, are back with a hard hitting, hard rock rendition of ABBA's, “S.O.S”' and have given I-94 Bar first look at the brand new music video, which is due for release on streaming channels tomorrow. You can pre-save it here.

    You can catch the band live at The Lady Hampshire in Sydney on Saturday, September 23 along with local up and comers, MayeflowerThe Polymics and DEDPAN. Tickets are here.

    In only a few years since forming, Starcrazy have sold out multiple electrifying shows, released two independant EPs, received ongoing radio airplay from Alice Cooper, opened for world class artists (such as The Animals, Faster Pussycat, Wednesday 13Chris Klondike Masuak and Hard-Ons), and even performed on national television!

    Lead singer, Marcus Fraser, says of the new single:" We've always been into anything 70's and decided to incorporate a rocked up version of ‘SOS’ into our live set. 

    “It took a little patience learning the three-part vocal harmonies and transposing the piano part to guitar but audiences have been super responsive so we decided to record it in the studio. It's really fun putting our own spin on a classic pop tune. 

    “We added a completely new backing vocal part in the last chorus written by our bassist, Jack Barratt."

    The music video was filmed and directed by John Flaws and edited by their very own, Jack Barratt. It pays homage to the original ABBA video from 1975 with crazy spinning camera effects and unique mirrored close ups of the band members.

     

  • jake burnsDuring these past few weeks there has been a stream of classic 1977 UK punks band bands floating through, or announced to play in, Sin City, aka Sydney.  Names like Buzzcocks and The Stranglers have been something of a call-to-arms. And now a band that has less of a profile locally, Stiff Little Fingers, is playing.

    Stiff Little Fingers emerged out of Belfast in 1977 as a bunch of teenagers playing in a punk band in a city with its soul ripped apart. It was a hard place but one that still had heart. Anyone who looks at news footage at the time knows Belfast was a warzone.

    I remember a great uncle telling me first-hand stories of how brutal the city really was. Daily body searches by the English soldiers, ruthless gangs that murdered you for your religion and children that were bashed within an inch of their lives after school for walking down the wrong street.  Entrenched generational anger and hatred ran deep on both sides.

  • storm the gatesWhat a long way this Sydney band has come in a few years – and not just geographically speaking.

    The Prehistorics have done the European touring thing a couple of times now, returning home to relative indifference. Main-man Brendan Sequiera was planning to relocate to France but red tape and lukewarm day job prospects have put that plan on the backburner.

    What he and his band have delivered with their fourth long-player is an album of world-class, melodic but hard-hitting rock and roll. It will go down a storm offshore and - all things being equal - should make an audience closer to home sit up and listen as well.

Page 4 of 6