Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pssst...Sonic's Rendezvous Band boxes going cheap

You've heard how wonderful the "Sonic's Rendezvous Band" box set is - six CDs of mostly unreleased stuff from one of the most underrated bands ever to walk the earth. Right? Well, they're going for $A76 a pop in Scott Morgan's online shop (postage and packaging included.) That's 50 bucks less than some shops were selling them for in Sydney a few months ago. Too good to be true. The box is $US55 if you live in the USA. Tell Scott I sent you.

Speaking of things City Slang-related, there are solid rumblings that the Hydromatics (the SRB-flavoured, trans-Atlantic, European-based rock and roll machine) will be cranking up again for recordings and shows. No confirmation yet but Scott Morgan, Dutch madman Tony Slug and a certain Aussie guitarist look like being on board.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sir David & Lady Clare Keep It Unreal

Time for a break for all things Stooges and Dolls. The Barmaid and I caught Dave Graney and Clare Moore last Friday-week, at the Spanish Club in Sydney. The occasion was the local launch of their fine album, "Keepin' It Unreal" (on Reverberation).

I lost touch with Sir David's output in the late-ish '90s - his breakthrough album "Night of the Wolverine" and the follow-up, "You Wanna Be There But You Don't Wanna Travel" (the Big Rock Production Album) were played to death in these parts - but I've since caught up. "The Soft and Sexy Sound" always had some of the most biting songs Dave's written. "The Devil Drives" deserved more attention than I gave it and even the re-configured band of "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" works a treat, in retrospect.

Dave's songwriting is every bit as good as it was when he was in the thrall of a major label, but he's framing it in all sorts of ways other than your stock-standard, rock band guitar-and-keys. The latest configuration is Dave on acoustic guitar, Stu Thomas on big, thick bass and Clare on vibraphones and harmonies. It's languid, sometimes laid-back and pretty fetching when the trio re-interprets the expansive Graney back catalogue. Is it rock and roll? I'm not sure what the fuck is, but I do know that Dave's unique phrasing and always intriguing lyrics inevitably makes it a weird and wonderful ride, no matter what musical kaliedoscope it's being channelled through.

There were some rock and roll moments when the gig was shifted from the band room (which apparently had an issue with its entertainment license) and the Spanish guitar player of 11 years residency was displaced - only to be called back to fill in when Stu Thomas' flight from Melbourne was delayed. He got there in the end. The band lost its door deal - it's a bit hard to charge diners in a restaurant - so bemused tourists and punters there for the show got more than tapas and sangria for the price of their meal. It was all good.

Dolls confirm Australia-NZ dates



Sat 24-Mar AUCKLAND ST JAMES (2,200) (headlining)

Mon 26-Mar MELBOURNE HI FI BAR (950) (headlining)

Wed 28-Mar SYDNEY THE METRO (1,200) (headlining)

Thu 29-Mar BRISBANE TIVOLI (1,200) (headlining)

Sat 31-Mar SYDNEY V FESTIVAL ** (35,000)

Sun 1-Apr GOLD COAST V FESTIVAL ** (25,000)

Tue 3-Apr ADELAIDE MEMORIAL DRIVE ** (10,000) w/ Pixies, Jarvis Cocker and Phoenix

Wed 4-Apr MELBOURNE MYER MUSIC BOWL ** (13,000) w/ Pixies, Jarvis Cocker and Phoenix

Sunday, February 25, 2007

New Stooges album

A leaked copy of the new Stooges album, "The Weirdness", fell off the back of a virtual truck over the weekend. First impressions are that it's very ordinary. I badly wanted this to be a masterwork, maybe approaching the brilliance of "Funhouse". It's not to be. There'll be a full review at the I-94 Bar in due course but here's a quick and dirty take:

Ordinary songs, ordinary production. Steve Albini has a rep for giving a band their heads in the studio and being hands-off, but this is ridiculous. Rock Action's drums are drier than a dead dingo's donger but Watt's bass rumble is MIA. When Ron Asheton launches into those characteristic wah-wah solos (all too rarely), the guitar's compressed tighter than a Scotsman's wallet or buried. To be really blunt, Iggy's vocals are the weakest thing about the album. Apart from the songs. Lyrical observations on the ordinariness of everyday life, they end up sounding like a dumbed-down parody, sung by a Rolls Royce driving leathery old guy. "My dick is turning into a tree", indeed.

Friday, February 16, 2007

New York Dolls Down Under

You heard it here second. The New York Dolls (or remnants thereof) are heading to Australia as part of the Michael Coppel-Richard Branson V Festival series. And before you ask (a.) my source is impeccable and (b.) sideshows are unlikely.

So it looks like you can make a beeline for Sydney (March 31), the Gold Coast (April 1) or Melbourne (April 3 and 4 - not sure what night the Dolls will be on) if you want to see them. Along with Gnarls Barkley, Groove Armada and Pet Shop Boys. That's one strange line-up. Headliners are The Pixies, who will probably be tolerable if you like being reminded of the soundtrack to every second party in Sydney in the '80s but you can keep the rest of that lot. And it ain't cheap at $120 a ticket ($110 for each Melbourne date.)

As to the question whether the Dolls would be worth seeing, grab a copy of the DVD of their reformation shows (with the soon-to-be-departed Killer Kane) and the answer will be self-evident. The studio album was respectable in a metally, David JoHo-dominated way but it's the live action where it's happening.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Don't be a Stooge and not sign this

There's a string of live Stooges dates being locked in all over the USA right now, but if you're Australian here's a more pressing reason to let your mouse do the walking and show we're interested in a return engagement. Click here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

You know what I hate?

You're on your second-last day at your place of employment - a very serious, blue-chip multi-national - having landed a big fat redundancy package to make years of kicking (against some gold-plated pricks, in a few instances) just all that more bearable. You hang a huge Ramones poster (you've left it in your will for your assistant) on your office's external wall, in a final act of defiant non-conformity. A Director walks past, taps his hand on the poster, pokes his head into your office and says: "You know - their first album was THE best ever."

At least he wasn't cluelessly wearing one of their T-shirts.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Drunk & Disorderly Episode 2

Podcast number two is live here

Girl I Love - Stoneage Romeos (Lost in Spice - Action Records)
Kent’s Theme - Kent Steedman & The Tubular Greens (Live at Gruta 77 - Dock thru Reverberation Records)
Surf Left Alright - The DangerMen (The Dark Place - Merenoise Records)
Cool Ice Cream - Eddy Current Suppression Ring (Dropkick Records)
One Way Street - Dirty Burds (Hellbound Honeys vol 1 - Off the Hip)
Hollywood - Kevin K (Hollywood - Full Breach Kicks)
See No Evil - Peter Blast (Pure Organic Junk - Poptown Records)
Sha la La - The Boobytraps (Hellbound Honeys vol 1 - Off the Hip)
Rock and Roll Star - Sour Jazz (Acetate Records)
Conquest - Bored! (Self Titled EP/Take It Out On You & More - re-issue - Afterburn Records)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sneak peek of "The Weirdness"

Yeah, it's been a long time betweeen posts but the pace will pick up from here, I can assure you.

First up, have a listen to "My Idea Of Fun" from the forthcoming Stooges album "The Weirdness" at the band's official myspace. If you've been paying attention you'll recognise the tune from the Skydog live release "Telluric Chaos". It's OK with all-too-obvious nihilstic lyrics but there's better to follow, I hear. At least the production is suitably raw and in your face. Expect the album in early March.

Next, go jump into the band-approved website for Sonic's Rendezvous Band, the legendary Michigan band from the late '70s/early '80s. There's a message board if you like that stuff, and a growing collection of photos, handbills and articles.

If you were wondering about that often-threatened Hitmen reunion, you can glean the line-up from a quick perusal of their new myspace site. The principals say the shows are happening, if only the person writing the liners for the CD re-issues (chockful of bonus tracks) would pull his finger out, the world would be happy.

That's all for now.