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  • sunny sideof stage

    And so the return, and rise, of the Sunnyboys continues. If you said they could top this one, you’d need to back it up.

    They billed themselves as Kids in Dust when they stepped back onto a stage for the first time in 21 years at the Dig It Up festival in Sydney on April 24, 2012. The nom de plume was supposedly to avoid performance anxiety or to ramp down expectations, maybe both. It didn’t matter; any tentativeness was swamped by a roomful of love.

    Nor were there any misgivings in evidence at the same packed venue, the Enmore Theatre, last Saturday night. Just an irresistible king-tide of energy and good spirit.

  • surrenderThe Lonelyhearts popped out of Sydney’s western suburbs in 1979 and burned, briefly and brightly, before slipping away. Their their first 45, “Last Kiss” b/w “Ambition” is as one of the great lost Oz power-pop gems of its time.

    They had two lives, resurfacing towards the end of the decade, but The Lonelyhearts’ recorded legacy (three full singles) was scant for a band of their quality. And that’s why Melbourne’s canny boutique label, Buttercup Records, is seeking to make amends.

  • patti horses slSteve Lorkin photo

    More than a decade ago, I was sitting in a Sydney pub with a beer after a Bob Dylan concert. I was amidst Dylan fans, including Jenny Kee, the ’60s fashion icon, “OZ” magazine figure and Buddhist. Jenny is a deep thinker and was peeling back layers on the Dylan show we had both witnessed. She turned to me in mid-conversation and asked a question I won’t forget.

    
“Do you think Dylan is deeply spiritual and has soul consciousness on stage?”

    My answer after much thought was: “I can’t answer that, as I believe Bob lived many lifetimes and always felt he was guarded on that level, except in his born-again phase. That said, his songs are from the heart and mostly from his mind.” 

    Jenny responded. “I saw Lou Reed last year. I believe he does, as he is on that journey.”

    “I can’t say that about Bob or even Lou Reed. But after seeing Patti Smith live, I believe she does and that it comes from a very deep realm, in fact one could call it soul consciousness.”  

    That was my answer all those years ago that night in Haymarket. I've always believed Patti is indeed a special performer.

  • It’s 40 years since Sydney mod band Division 4 released their “On The Beat” EP, and to celebrate they have got together to record a new single “Let Her Go”.Division 4 are Kieren Fitzpatrick (ex-Love Minus Zero) on guitar and vocals, Brad Fitzpatrick (ex-Bam Balams, Gigantic and Rob Younger’s ‘60s band Nanker Phelge) on lead guitar, Mark Jago (ex-Stig Can’t Clap) on bass and vocals, and David Rowley (ex-Jump Vision and Watusi Now) on drums who replaces original drummer Joe Genoa. The new single was written by Kieren and Mark. Mark also mixed and produced the song and directed and edited the video.

  • BUFFS SHUD WEBIt’s a pairing of the music of two legendary Australian underground legends, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Sydney in 46 years: Tamam Shud and Buffalo Revisited are playing a double-headliner show at the Bald Faced Stag Hotel in Leichhardt on Friday, September 9.

    Regarded as Australia’s true progressive, surf and psychedelic music pioneers, Tamam Shud recently celebrated 45 years with the release of a new album, “Eight Years of Moonlight”.

    Buffalo is held in the same high regard and was recently lauded as the Australian “inventors of heavy metal” by UK magazine Classic Rock, which said they’d paved the way for scores of hard rock and stoner acts.

    Forming in 1971 and releasing five albums in six years, Buffalo dissolved after making their mark as a live act despite a lack of commecial radio acceptance. They’d left a potent legacy before bass player Peter Wells went on to form Rose Tattoo.

    Archetypal bad boys, Buffalo’s early albums “Dead Forever”, “Volcanic Rock” and “Only Want You For Your Body” have been reissued numerous times and original copies change hands for hundreds of dollars in collector circles. 

    A year ago, following constant approaches from fans, Dave Tice assembled a line-up to re-visit the original band’s legacy. They’ve since played a handful of select gigs, including a 40th birthday celebration for iconic Brisbane radio station 4ZZZ.

  • The vinyl revival will suddenly become more accesible if you’re an Australian band looking to press an album or single.

    With just one local pressing plant (Zenith in Melbourne) capable of a substantial run, Australian bands have been starved of choice with the cost of having a record manufactured offshore compounded by shipping costs. A new plant is set to open in Sydney’s inner-western mid-year, according to the facility’s manager Vincent Chen.

  • SpencerPJonesByCarbieWarbieSydney’s music community is rallying to get behind much-loved rocker Spencer P Jones in an hour of need.

    Spencer is battling serious illness and fund-raisers have been popping up all over Australia. Sydney is responding with its own show, The Axeman’s Benefit, on Friday, June 24 at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville.

    Died Pretty is headlining a heavyweight bill which will include Spencer’s old band The Johnnys (with guest vocalists), the Hoodoo Gurus (playing a mini-set), home-grown garage up-starts Straight Arrows and psych-punk veterans Young Docteurs.  The Johnnys will close the night.

    The killer line-up will be augmented by a bevy of guest musicians including Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil), Simon Day (Ratcat), Jack Ladder, Murray Cook, MC Anthony Morgan, Jason Walker, Peter Fenton (Crow) and Kane Dyson (Spurs For Jesus.) FBi’s Jack Shit will be lending his DJ talents.

    All of the acts have played alongside or recorded with Spencer in some capacity.  Died Pretty is fresh from a summer of sold-out A Day On The Green and club shows and is re-convening especially for Spencer.

    Although his career has been mainly under the mainstream music radar, Spencer P Jones has been a tremendously influential figure in Australia.

    Arriving in Australia from New Zealand in 1976, Spencer came to prominence with hard-drinking cowpunks the Johnnys and then inner-Sydney swamp supergroup the Beasts of Bourbon, he’s also played with the Gun Club, Renee Geyer, Chris Bailey, Rowland S Howard, Nick Cave and Paul Kelly.

    In recent years he’s been recording and playing with his own solo bands as well as members of The Scientists and The Drones.

    Tickets for The Axeman’s Benefit went on sale last  night and are here. A substantial number have gone already so don't delay.

  • stepfordsIt’s shaping as a Blink And You Might Miss It Moment: Star-studded Sydney band The Stepfords are reforming "for one night only" on April 11.

    The gig will coincide with New York-based singer Monica McMahon being in Australia and guitarist Jon Schofield (ex-Paul Kelly & The Messengers) celebrating his 60th birthday.

    The Bat and Ball Hotel in Redfern is the venue and fittingly so - it was one of The Stepfords' favourite haunts.

    With a line-up of McMahon, Schofield, Jim Bowman (ex-Ed Kuepper), Clyde Bramley (ex-Hoodoo Gurus) on bass and Iain Shedden (ex-Saints) on drums, The Stepfords were a staple on the inner-Sydney scene of the ‘90s.

  • room 101 single cvrConcrete Box b/w Crazy For You – Room 101 (Lost in Pyrmont Records)

    This particular Room 101 were the first band to use the name that I'm aware of; there is now a chat show (dear God), a band from Lansing (Michigan) and a post-hip-hop outfit from Nuh Zuhlund, which explains why this band's bandcamp addy is https://room1011.bandcamp.com/

    "Concrete Box" is a slice of simple, socially-observant venom articulately snapped out, with zipping twin guitars in sharp sync with bass and drums, with a lyrical trajectory perfect for the physically active lead singer. Granted the pop world had moved on somewhat from guitars (so the industry thought at the time)  but the crowds in Sydney thronged to hammering bands like Room 101. Given some of the rather woeful "punker" type bands which appeared each Sunday night on 'Countdown', Room 101 would've cheered you up no end. 

  • television row

    Enmore Theatre, Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    Restraint is not often a by-word around these parts but let’s at least try to keep some perspective. A visit to Australia by Television seemed unlikely, if not an absurd proposition, just a few years ago. The band was scarcely active, Richard Lloyd having had long flown the coop, and Tom Verlaine had let a label issue two mothballed solo records that were barely promoted. It seemed if the TV hadn’t been turned off it was in storage and in danger of being forgotten.

  • thedirtyearthThe Dirty Earth is a Sydney band that cites the MC5 as a precursor among others but to be blunt, right now their sound is more Maroubra Seals Club than Grande Ballroom.

  • hellmen unlimitedThe quick version? Fourteen tracks. The cover doesn’t lie. Wall-to-wall guitars. Rocks harder than a Manly ferry on a cross-Sydney Harbour run in a 40-knot gale. The long version? Read on…

    “The Fantastic Sounds of” has the blessing of Dave “Spliff” Hopkins, their mercurial guitarist, and frontman Ben Brown, whose stellar “surfing dead” artwork has not only adorned their past and present releases but those of Massappeal, Red Kross and Bored! They were the core of the band. Hopkins now lives in WEstern Australia and plays in Purple Urchin, while Brown is still a stellar artist.  

    The Hellmenn sprang from the loins of the Sydney musical underground in the halcyon late ‘80s, rolling out a long-player and numerous EPs and singles until grunge, random breath testing, poker machines and venue licensing red tape sucked the marrow out of the local live scene in the early ‘90s. The Hellmenn were proud products of the city’s Northern Beaches - the place that spawned Midnight Oil, Asteroid B612, the Celibate Rifles, to name some notables. There were many more.

  • Sydney band, The Hadron Colliders, will launch their debut EP, “Measuring the Space between Us All” at the iconic Petersham Bowling Club in their home city on Sunday, February 22 from 5pm with an all-ages gig.

    Containing members from ‘80s and ‘90s bands The Last Metro and The Catherine Wheel, The Hadron Colliders have built up a reputation for their dynamic live performances which has been further enhanced by the release of their debut EP.

    The EP, recorded at Damien Gerard Studios with Russell Pilling (The Church, The Vines, Died Pretty) has been described as “...soulful, gentle indie pop... fragile, constructed melodies and (a) sort of melancholy sweetness”.  Our own Robert Brokenmouth said "Measuring the Space Between Us All" was “...sexy... a crushing, lovely boat trip down a brooding romance-laden river”.

    Joining the band will be Canberra’s Positive Feedback Loop and Nature Strip Duo (a stripped down version of the inimitable The Nature Strip). Entry is $10 tickets at the door), with kids free.

  • lonelyhearts lpIf you have a single bone in your body that resonates to the sound of powerful, guitar-powered pop-rock with melody and smarts, take a plunge on this deluxe LP package before it sells out. 

    Rock and roll is littered with stories about “the one that got away”. The Lonelyhearts, more than most Australian bands from the teeming, dizzy time that was Sydney in the ‘80s, can genuinely lay claim to the title. 

  • tmoc 2022

    The Mark Of Cain - the band dubbed least likely in their high school year book - return to Australian stages this August in celebration of being the South Australian Music Awards' most recent inductee into the SA Music Hall Of Fame. 
     
    TMOC join previous recipients like Jim Keays, Masters Apprentices, Glenn Shorrock, Cold Chisel, Archie Roach, Bart Willoughby, Sarah McLeod and The Zoot
    The band will accept the award at a simple ceremony on August 19 at The Gov in Adelaids prior to taking the stage for a full career spanning set.

    The Mark Of Cain will also play shows in Sydney, Melbourne this August under the banner “A Different Kind Of Tension”, a nod to legendary UK proto-punks Buzzcocks and their influential third album of the same name:

  • the promised landThere is some nasty ’n’ dirty, gravel-based blues-rock ’n’ roll coming out of Sydney and nobody is doing it better than The Hollerin Sluggers. This powerhouse trio from the Northern Beaches is fucking grooving. They have all the awesome songs and guitar riffs you'll need to have you jumping around.

    “The Promised Land” is a must for blues and rock enthusiasts alike. It’s a “must have” if you like slide guitar, open tuning, gritty vocals and no over-production. That’s what they recorded and that’s what you get here and - fucking hell - I can’t stop playing this.

    From the first track, it’s a throwback to the great early ‘70s guitar bands. “Come Over” is the opener and what a rocker! The band is Owen Mancell (guitar and vocals), powerhouse drummer Andy Thor and Tim Cramer on bass. They’ve only been together a couple of years and this is their first album.

  • Expectations are one thing. Outcomes are another. The Scientists reformation (as in 35th anniversary of the original line-up) show at Sydney’s Factory Theatre failed to deliver for any number of reasons.

  • Stems 2018 bw lanscape

    The Stems, Perth's most popular and iconic 80s garage rock band, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the release of their classic debut album "At First Sight Violets are Blue" with a successful all Australian capital cities tour in November 2017. To coincide with the tour, "At First Sight Violets are Blue" was reissued as a limited edition tour CD.

    The tour garnered enough interest in Europe for Spain’’s Fuzzville Festival to make an offer for them to appear at the festival. More shows naturally followed and the band are now set to embark for a three week European tour over April/May which will cover Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and the UK. 

    The UK leg includes a show at London's historic 100 Club.

  • Sunnyboys photo by Emmy Etie

    Photos by Emmy Etie

    Enmore Theatre - March 29, 2014

    Richard Burgman was adamant when he bounced up to the microphone before a note was played and declared that the Sydney show would be the Sunnyboys' last. Who could blame him if he meant their final gig ever rather than the end of the tour. Informed sources say it's not the case and that the Sunnyboys will live on.

  • victims lastLegendary '70s Perth punk group The Victims - who introduced the world to both Dave Faulkner and his original drumming partner in the Hoodoo GurusJames Baker – will say a final farewell with shows in Melbourne and Sydney in early December. 

    The announcement follows the release of a new and final Victims single "Girls Don't Go For Punks"/"Victim", on esteemed Los Angeles label In The Red.

    Since regrouping in late 2014 with uber  fan Ray Ahn of the Hard-Ons on bass, The Victims have released two vinyl records (an E.P. and the new single), as well as an anthology of their '70s classics, all on In The Re. They have also played a handful of shows on the Australian East and West both coasts. But now the time has come to say goodbye. 

    A Perth farewell show, played in front of hundreds of heaving fans at the Rosemount back in June, was so great that plans were put into effect straight away to get the group over to Sydney and Melbourne. It just wouldn't have been fair to fans in both cities otherwise - including a new generation of '70s punk loving kids who need to see what the fuss is all about. 

    The Victims play Brunswick Ballroom in Melbourne on Friday December 1,and the Crowbar in Sydney on Dec 2. And then they're done. Joining the band in both cities will be Wollongong's fantastic Chimers.

    THE VICTIMS - LAST SHOWS
    with special guests Chimers
    DEC

    1 – The Brunswick Ballroom
    Melbourne
    w/ Lice Trays
    Tix on sale now
    2 – Crowbar, Sydney
    Tix on sale now

     

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