tokyo - The I-94 Bar
Penny with her Japanese band the Silver Bells at her "Tokyo" album launch at Melbourne Museum. Pic by Gary Hallenan
Album: “What Would I Know”, Brian Henry Hooper (Bang! Records)
This posthumous album release is startling in its beauty, rawness and poignancy. Songs about romantic and filial love and songs about death are delivered in Brian’s signature kicking against the pricks style.
Mick Harvey's production appears to form a bridge between the states of life and death. This leaves the listener unsure whether our bard has in fact crossed the River Styx to Hades; while the instruments, like bellows, breathe life into a raging fire. Are they all bellowing from the Underworld or are their feet still firmly planted in the land of the living?
Like Orpheus, the musician, poet and prophet (armed with an electric golden lyre and a distortion pedal) performing in front of Hades, God of the Underworld (clad in a black leather jacket), in the hope of retrieving his ill-fated bride Eurydice, Brian Henry Hooper sings songs to make gods weep.
Penny Ikinger’s third solo album, “Tokyo”, is on the way in Australia with launch shows in Melbourne and Sydney.
“Tokyo” is an international collaboration with guitarist Deniz Tek from Radio Birdman and musicians from the Japanese psychedelic rock underground.
“Tokyo” was released on Kerosene Records in Japan when Penny Ikinger performed in the Japanese capital with local band The Silver Bells last month. The Silver Bells will also back her at the Australian Tokyo album launch at Melbourne Museum’s Nocturnal on Friday, September 7.
Penny Ikinger “Tokyo” album launch dates
Friday 7 September - Nocturnal at Melbourne Museum with The Silver Bells, Taipan Tiger Girls, The Pink Tiles & Adalita (DJ set)
Friday 22 September - The Union Hotel, Newtown, solo with The Maladies
Sunday, 23 September – The Golden Barley Hotel, Enmore (solo)
Penny Ikinger is heading to Europe for some exclusive shows in France and Spain to promote her latest album "Tokyo"in March 2019. Penny will perform in France with musicians Dimi Dero (drums) and Vinz Guilluy (bass). They will also hit the studio with Jim Diamond (The Dirtbombs) as producer to record a new brand new track. She will perform solo in Basque Country (Spain).
Recorded in Japan, "Tokyo" is Ikinger’s third solo album and is an international collaboration with legendary guitarist and songwriter Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) and musicians from the Tokyo psychedelic rock underground. "Tokyo" was released on Kerosene Records (Japan) and Off The Hip Records (Australia) and launched in Tokyo and in Melbourne (at Melbourne Museum’s Nocturnal) by Penny Ikinger with her Japanese band The Silver Bells featuring, Masami Kawaguchi on guitar.
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.
The night before the Woy Woy storm: Penny Ikinger at Marrickville Bowling Club.
After 150 days, the rain stopped. There was sunshine and it was a Sydney long weekend. Not sure how many built arks and were still floating along while I was driving north on the Pacific Highway to the coastal town of Woy Woy this sunny Sunday afternoon - on a tankful of $2.30 a litre petrol with just enough change to buy a chocolate milk.
The Link and Pin Café at Woy Woy has evolved into the coolest gig - and who would thought the birthplace of Spike Millikan would be a new home away from home for veterans of the Sydney Trade Union Club and Hopetoun Hotel?
And why not? It’s a 90-minute trip by train, road or by ferry across water. It is an adventure that many Sydneysiders are taking to see that anyone from local metal bands, to alternative darlings to Chad Morgan. The venue even launched the new line-up of the Hard-Ons. There is a vibe here and it’s run by hardcore music fans.