glam - The I-94 Bar
No matter that this band of Englishmen have had more band names than Spinal Tap. "13th Floor Renegades" is arresting glam-pop rock and hookier than a cashed-up weekend angler's tackle box.
Do you like Cheap Trick? Never really got 'em myself but "13th Floor Renegades" is what they'd sound like if "Dream Police" hadn't been an overdone, ear-wig of a hit in Australia while I had my head in the local variant of Detroit rock and punk.
Originally called Silver Hearts, then Last Great Dreamers, Jet and then Jet City, before breaking up and reforming (twice) as Last Great Dreamers, the band sprang from the '90s Soho metal scene. These days, they're firmly built on the songwriting axis of Marc Valentine (vocals and guitar) and guitarist Slyder.
"There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in..." (Cohen)
One of the most exuberant and enlivening, new, modern bands I've discovered in what seems like forever, ElectraJets, is led by an Englishman named Jeff Ward and a Canadian named Cynthia Ross. You might be hip to those names from the B-Girls, Gunfire Dance or New York Junk, but the forthcoming full-length album, "Transatlantic Tales", is by their Gotham band, ElectraJets.
It's a rocket through time and space, pulsating with an irresistible beat and likely to appeal to fans of Detroit protest music, Julian Cope's Black Sheep and "Cut The Crap" busking. There's something here for fans of Pretty Things or Blue Cheer, so beautiful it hurts Love & Rockets-style nocturnal pop, '60s prog, '70s glitter, Marc Bolan, Bowie and the Stones.
I told an old pal how awed I am by the ElectraJets' extremely formidable rhythm section, who have a total mastery of that boot boy stompin' 70s' Slade/Leader Of The Gang/Bo Didddley beat, that makes you wanna get out of your sad old man chair and dance in front of the mirror. It's down the rabbit hole rock 'n' roll, with many varying moods, genres, textures and layers - from delicate memories to volcanic eruptions, bruised romanticism and rooftop hymns. It's far-flung and forward thinking, neon hued and cinematic, and it will make you involuntarily want to move your body.
So it’s goodbye from them. After 12 years of playing gin places, late-night dives and boltholes all around Australia, a US tour, two EPs and two albums, with one final lap of honour, Sydney's Hell City Glamours will be no more. “Deux” is the farewell long-player and it’s a pretty good way to go out.
Don’t judge a book by its cover or a band by its promo shot. They might look like wholefood bearded hipsters in their publicity materrial but even less than a considered listen to their third album “Law And Order” reveals there’s a quirky glam-pop heart beating within.
Ulysses hails from Bath in the middle of England’s West. Now, putting to one side generic Australian jokes that we love so much about Poms and soap, these blokes have been soaking in a tub of diverse influences. The bio cites The Cars, Thin Lizzy (especially), Alvin Stardust (check the label name - ha!), Hot Chocolate (huh?) and Supergrass (of course) but that’s just a start. You could toss in Alice Cooper, The Sweet, The Glitter Band - and a few dozen others.
There’s a case to be made for not messing with the tried and tested formula of two sharp-edged guitars, a raucous singer and an energetic engine room and Welsh band The Sick Livers knows it only too well.
If you thought South Wales was only good for rugby union, Harry Secombe and massed male choirs, think again. The Sick Livers add glam punk (“glunk”) to the list in emphatic style. “Motors, Women, Drugs, Booze & Killing” doesn’t break any fresh ground in terms of musical style or lyrical content - but don’t let that deter you if you prefer your cocktails served in the gutter without extraneous fruit or little paper umbrellas.
These five gnarly Welshmen won’t win any beauty contests but latch onto three chords like a starving Pembroke Corgi chomping down on a Glamorgan sausage after a five-day fast. They name-check Turbonegro (and especially fair call) and Backyard Babies in their bio and even some bloke called Glen Matlock likes ‘em. No, that doesn’t mean they sound like the Beatles, smart arse.
Italy’s best kept secret since the Bellini cocktail with Peroni chaser has an Australian record label. In an age of Fake News, this is significant Good News. It means there’s one fewer reason (like overseas postage) for Aussies not to pay attention.
So let's catch up with the rest of the world: Giuda play irresistible songs that marry all the best parts of glam rock to punk. That’s the simple story. Handclaps mixed with hooks… nasty, gravel rash chords…rifferama that’s sharper than a Rome pickpocket’s reflexes.
This book completely beggars belief. Top marks and way, way beyond. It’s also utterly brilliant as well as being compelling reading. It’ll have you ranging your emotions from laughter to sorrow and is so well researched (Nina doesn’t bother much with academic references as her books come mostly from her own interviews and experience) and put together … words completely fail me.
If you’ve read any of Antonia’s other books (on the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders and The Only Ones) and enjoyed her style and intelligence … The Prettiest Star is so far ahead that it may as well be the best fiction you’ve ever read, except it’s all true.
I can’t believe that you’ll recall Brett Smiley. He had one hit, “Va Va Va Voom”, in the UK in 1974, at the height of that bizarre post-6ts glam and pop period where decent songs were generally in short supply in the charts. Oh dear, much like now? Really? I’m shocked.