Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pathway to Financial Oblivion

That's what they call indie record labels. Nevertheless, I-94 Bar Records is a happening thang and the first release, "Switchblade Summer" by New York punk luminary Sonny Vincent, is about a month away.

More info if you're curious here and we done created one of those myspace thingies too. There's even a song to download.

Of all the useless things...

...this takes the cake. A guitar the size of several bloodcells and you can only play it with a beam of light. No word on how you tune the fucker (I find it hard enough to do that with a full-sized one) and its tone sounds like shit.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pssst...wanna copy of the World's Most Expensive Record?

By now you may have heard about the discovery of a Velvet Underground acetate for 75c that almost fetched $US25,000 on eBay. Far be it for me to interfere with the delicate balance of the collector scum free market but you can download MP3s of said acetate here.

The Drum on Murray (2)

Further to an earlier post, Murray Engleheart has found a Sydney street press home, thanks to Drum Media's competitor The Brag. It seems his new Remedy column kicks off this week. Meanwhile, you can read a guest piece from Murray for the I-94 bar here where he interviews New York Doll David Johansen.

Monday, March 26, 2007

? and the Mysterians benefit

Back in January, the Michigan home of ? (as in "Question Mark") of the Mysterians fame ("96 Tears") burned down. Everything he owned, including most of his precious Yorkshire terriers, perished. Anyway, there's a benefit organised for Detroit at the end of March. You can also donate dollars via Paypal here.

Hate Corporate Rock?

So does David Schultz. He lists his 10 ten moments in same for Earvolution online zine here John Fogerty, the Stones, Neil Young and Woodstock 99 all rate mentions.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Open Up And Blog

If you're interested in the Stooges you could do much worse than check out the just-published Ig-biog "Open Up And Bleed" by Mojo writer Paul Trynka. This is probably the ultimate Stoogebook, if extracts are any indication. Try this from the Observer for size:

The opening night at Max's Kansas City in New York was packed, with old friends like Lenny Kaye, Alice Cooper and rock writer Lisa Robinson in attendance, and a huge queue outside the club. There were problems with the PA, which meant Iggy's voice was swamped by the huge wall of sound generated by the rented guitar amplifiers, and James's guitar was occasionally out of tune, but the band was magnificent. Bob Czaykowski - Nite Bob - was hired for the Max's shows to look after the amplifier backline; his job was to get 'the clang': the ringing, physically brutal noise that would help beat the audience into submission.

In the confined space, the New York crowd was transfixed with both excitement and fear, for as Bebe Buell, the Ford Agency model and celebrated girlfriend of Todd Rundgren, points out, 'There was that element of danger, because everybody had heard about his antics on stage.' The second night, the club was again jammed, and as Iggy walked over the tables and chairs, glaring at the crowd, one chair either wobbled, or was pulled from under him; he slipped and fell onto a table top full of glasses, which shattered under his weight. As Iggy got up again, Nite Bob saw cuts on his chest and chin, and a puncture wound by one of his ribs; as Iggy staggered to the side and crashed into him, Bob noticed his own shirt was covered in blood and shouted, 'Let's pull it. Let's stop it, man. You can't do this!'

Iggy kept singing, the blood dripping down his chest. He discovered that if he pulled his left arm back, blood would spurt out in a continuous stream. 'It was horrible, like a Roman arena,' says Wayne County, Max's DJ who later became an unlikely punk star. Nite Bob recalls, 'We had this saying that a piece of Gaffa tape will fix anything, but he was bleeding so bad the tape wouldn't even stick.'

More here and we'll post a review at the I-94 Bar when a copy lands, but for now you can also while away lots of time checking out Paul's blog. He takes you behind the scenes with some intriguing snippets, plus pictures of the people and places he found on the research trail.

God knows we need a new Stooges/Pop bio after some of the crap that's been foisted on us as same. Ig's own outrageous elaborations are still available in his self-penned (ghosted) "I Need More". There's a snide Joe Ambrose bio tome that's obsessed with which team his Igness bats for, to the point of obsession, it has to be said. Then there's the fan-written "The Complete Iggy Pop" by Richard Adams, which is a commendable collection of record reviews probably best read by collector scum (very handy when sorting through the miles of multiple-titled bootlegs.) I did hear Per Nilsen is updating his twice published Pop book ("The Wild One: The True Story of Iggy Pop") so that's another to look forward to.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Return of X (2)

Here's Steve Lucas on the eve of the first X gig in Sydney last week, talking about the band's heyday at places like the Civic, the Unicorn and the Astra. Another vid from Cazzam.

Speaking of X, the I-94 Bar's review of the two-night Sando stand is live here and the news is the band (Lucas-Green-Volkman) will return to Sydney in May. Jot down May 17 and 19 at the Excelsior in Surry Hills and check back here for news of when pre-sale tickets are available 'cos it will sell out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dimi Dero Inc (2)

Courtesy of YouTuber Cazzam here's footage of Dimi Dero Inc at the Surry Hills Excelsior last Thursday night. This is "Cut" from their album "Sisyphus, Window Cleaning" on Off the Hip. It's from the angstier end of their set list - and if you only half like it you'd be mad not to make a beeline for the Annandale to see them support the Drones next Saturday night.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Busy fortnight as BellRays, X, Dimi Dero Inc and Penny Ikinger hit town

Some housekeeping:

Caught the BellRays at the Gaelic Club in Sydney two Fridays ago. Much expectation in the air after their only headlining gig of their Australian tour (as supports ro Radio Birdman) at Annandale last year and it has to be said that they didn't scale those same dizzy heights. Maybe that Annandale show was a high mark (it's certainly one of the best gigs I've seen ina decade.) They were great last Friday-week but also seemed a little tired. Maybe they were holding a little back for the festival gig at Summer Plains in Victoria the next night. The set was paced and didn't have the same building dynamics.

That said, they were still mighty formidable although a few people passed comment, post-gig, that the songs got a little samey towards the end. I was up front for most of it which isn't the best place to evaluate the sound and the lines between what they played and what I thought they played were blurred after constant exposure to their albums in the week preceding.

No shortage in dynamics in the sets last week by French tourists to Australia, Dimi Dero Inc. A four piece led by the charismatic Dimi Dero (vocals and guitar), they turned in a stinging headliner at the Excelsior in Surry Hills last Thursday night and played an even betetr support to X at the Sando on Saturday evening. These guys play brooding, dark music that's rockier in the flesh than on their excellent "Sisyphus, Window Cleaning" album (Off the Hip). More about both shows at the I-94 Bar in the next few days but the Dimis are doing a national tour with the Drones. Dates below. Catch 'em if you can.

There were also wonderful sets by Penny Ikinger (with Dimi himself on drums and Vinz from Dimi Dero Inc on bass) on two of thbese nights. Penny toured Europe last year with Dimi and Vinz, did an Excelsior set on Thursday and supported X on the Friday. Penny has about 20 songs ready to record and they sure sounded fine on both nights.

And if you're wondering, the two-night stand by the reformed X at the Sando on Friday and Saturday was excellent. More on this one very soon too.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

For Those Who Don't Hate The Beatles

Here's something you don't see often - an online video of the Beatles in full flight in Japan in 1966. Downloadable too, but at half-an-hour in duration it comes to 200MB or so.

Online Videos by

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mr Thomas' Final Solution

Viacom's legal battle with YouTube over fan-posted filmclips calls to mind a lengthy and entertaining policy document that David Thomas and the floating cast that is Pere Ubu have posted on the Web. It covers tours, intellectual property rights, band hirings and firings and promotions.

Pere Ubu's policy on audience recordings is pretty well "don't ask and we won't turn you down", but they draw the line at commercial exploitation without payment (understandably) and always appreciate a copy. As far as YouTube goes:

"There is nothing to prevent a fan from seeking our permission to post. There is a methodology for accomplishing this. We are freely available via email. The issue is permission, not money, not appreciation, not harm or benefit. It is politeness, respect, and appreciation for the fact that we are entitled to have absolute control of our own art. The beginning and end of the issue is Permission. When you want to use somebody's property you ask."

Fair call. The rest of the policy speil makes entertaining reading. For example, if you're a record store owner organising an in-store appearance (and Pere Ubu never do 'em, only Mr Thomas), you sure have to jump through a lot of hoops. Playing Pere Ubu songs ia a no no:

"The record store MUST NOT play any Pere Ubu recordings for the duration of Mr Thomas' visit. It is simply too embarrassing, draws undue attention to his presence & most importantly forces him to withdraw into a protective shell of weird uncommunicativeness. This is not desirable."

Pity the record company rep that doesn't comply with this:

"Immediately on arrival introduce Mr Thomas to as many people as possible, pointing out interesting facts & aiding the flow of conversation. Do not let Mr Thomas stand around like a lemon.

"IN-STORE ONLY: As soon as possible Mr Thomas must be guided to a chair from which he may play his accordion & dominate the immediate space in an absolutist manner.

"Mr Thomas should not be referred to as "Dave" or touched in an overly familiar way. His name is "David." Shaking hands is all the physical contact that should be needed."

Best of all is Pere Ubu's policy on promoters wanting to run giveaways:

"I never like them cuz I hate giving stuff away so it depends on whether the promotional advantage is worth promoting a welfare-state mentality within the populace of the USA. That's a decision I leave to you... along with its karmic load. Long ago we determined what trivia questions are to be used for Pere Ubu giveaways. Choose one:

* Name two of General Lee's corps commanders at Gettysburg.
* Quote one of Henry David Thoreau's aphorisms.
* Name the author of this line: 'Then I saw the Congo, creeping through the black, cutting through the forest with a golden track'."

Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What's the Drum on Murray going M.I.A.?

Life's tough in the Byzantine world of the Sydney street press where rival publications are scrambling for the same, limited revenue base.

On the one hand you have The Brag, the free weekly that's as much dance music and social scene picture parade as gig guide, a sort of "all things to all comers". On the other hand, you have Drum Media, the venerable giveaway that was a breakaway from the (defunct) On The Street, with more of a focus on rock and roll.

The Brag's a brash newcomer but making leaps and strides. The Drum's been more Sydney-centric, more consistent and focussed - as you might expect of a paper that's been around longer. You presume it knows its market. In return, it's had a loyal audience that's stuck.

Shock news of this and most other weeks is that Drum Media and 18-year-contributor Murray Engleheart, whose Remedy column was the best-read section by the paper's rock and roll market, have parted ways.

Remedy had been straddling the bases of punk, garage, hard rock and metal for more time than most can remember, seeing out all manner of passing fads and dutifully reporting on the music that the mainstream press ignores. It was "old school" in much of its content, in as much as the bands it often covered were superannuants like Radio Birdman, the Stooges, AC/DC. the MC5 and so on, but there was always room for the latest names in hard rock.

Believe it or not, it might take something special to push mortgage belt wage slaves off their comfy chairs and inspire them to drag their sad and sorry, chiropractic-maintained bones to a live gig, but it does happen. They still buy albums and go to shows, the later subject to babysitter availability . The one place they (we) could always go to keep the hearing aids to the ground was Remedy.

Remedy was a Real Rock and Roll oasis against the increasingly vacuous, Paris and Brittney-dominated world of prefab, Aussie Idol icons, et al.

Seems to me that in a competitive market you play to your strengths and if one of them is a guy with nearly three decades experience in these things, you're silly not to hold onto him.

Remedy (the name's from a Rose Tattoo tune, if you have to ask) limps on, albeit as a pure heavy metal column. Voice your feelings to

All Tomorrow's Haircuts

Pinched this from Lindsay Hutton's always excellent Next Big Thing blog. It's US indie popsters Angel Corpus Christi paying homage to gnarly old Lou Reed's ever-changing hairstyle. Lou must have the second-most discussed follicle action in New York City - Donald Trump aside - and the song vaguely resonates with righteous Velvets drone. Lou's mullet circa "Magic & Loss" still draws a snigger around these parts.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunnyboys get a virtual home, at last

It's been a while but the Sunnyboys finally have a virtual home to call their own - or at least Jeremy Oxley can, as I believe it's principally the doing of he and a neighbour. There are some new compositions - classical in nature, Jeremy's ditched rock and roll, it seems - and some other content. Thanks to expat Aussie in Sweden, Darren Mevissen, for the tip.

Of course, when I label this their "official" webspace that doesn't mean to snub the formidable Kids in Dust myspace corner, itself a pretty comprehensive work. Plenty of fan club detritus to look at, but the Youtube clips embedded curiously look to have gone belly-up and migrated to the other site. Here's one that wasn't claimed - it's ex-Sunnyboys bass player Peter Oxley demonstrating how he makes pizzas at his wood-fired restaurant in Newtown, Wedgetail.
The Sunnyboys were arguably the best power-pop band to come out of Australia in the last 25 years. Pity we won't see them again, 'cos a reformation seems highly unlikely.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hating the Beatles

I know the Mops Tops have their fans but I was over them by 2nd grade. The Stones always rocked my boat more, and the same goes for the the Monkees, who had their own TV show, what's more. In my defence, I was six-years-old.

Obviously these guys have a more extreme take on all things Beatle. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, you know the rest. Their website includes a link to BitTorrent a copy but I couldn't find any seeds. Guess I'll have to make do with an ebay copy to hear "Day Reaper", "Bomb Together" and "You've Got to Hide Your Hate Away", Kthough $US24 plus postage seems pretty hefty.

Allegations that it's all a plot by Paul McCartney's estranged wife Heather Mills don't have a leg to stand on.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hydromatics armed with a Rifle

Exciting news hinted at here a few weeks ago: Celibate Rifles guitarist Kent Steedman has signed on as part of a re-vamped Hydromatics line-up.

Don't know the Hydromatics? Shame. They're the trans-Atlantic band headed by Scott Morgan (Powertrane, Scots Pirates, The Rationals, Sonic's Rendezvous Band) and Dutch raconteur Tony Slug (The Nitwitz, BGK, Loveslug.) If you wanna hear a tune, go herefor "Dangerous".

On the kit is Ries Doms. Another Dutchman, Theo Brouwer, is the long-serving man on bass. Kent's addition makes the latest Hydros a fearsome three-headed guitar monster. And of course, vocalists don't get any better than Scott.

Their studio albums "Parts Unknown" and "Powerglide" are perfect examples of devastatingly hard, but soulful, rock and roll. They also gave the first proper studio treatment to some of the great songs of Sonic's Rendezvous Band. A live vinyl EP was thought to be their swansong.

The band will rehearse and write in Amsterdam for a week before recording in Cologne after that with things expected to be wrapped up by the end of March. A European tour will happen after that. If only someone could talk them into coming to Australia...

My mail is that the Rifles will be active again, mid-year, doing some Australian dates with a re-constituted Cosmic Psychos line-up. No word on the replacement for Robbie Watts (R.I.P.) but it's good to see the Psychos continue.

And in Radio Birdman news just to hand...

The MC5's Dennis Thompson has pulled out of the band's North American tour, due to family reasons, and none other than Russell Hopkinson is back to do the job he did so well over the last two years.

Not much more need be said...

...even if the Gay-Lick Club is a Tooheys venue.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Don't buy CDs? I thought that's what people are already doing.

Campaigns to boycott various countries, suppliers and industries are weird things, usually more symbolic than effective and often having unintended side effects. Take this one by a lobby group calling itself Don't Buy CDs. I share their hatred of copy protected discs, not so much because they make some duplication impossible but because they often end up with a one-second gap in the first track on various CD players. My Mac still rips most of the ones I've tried anyway.

There are other broader issues here, mostly to do with who's grinding the organ (record companies) and who's the monkey (artists) and why is it earning peanuts? My humble opinion is that MP3s sound like shit and their downloading and trading commodifies and cheapens the value of music. Live, lossless peer-to-peer file-sharing is another matter as it's mostly fans picking up warts and all gig recordings.

The bottom line here is that if no-one buys CDs, what company's going to invest money in emerging bands? This isn't rocket science.

Enjoy the Don't Buy CDs cartoon (below) from the folks at, even if I think they've ripped off Fred Negro.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Who are you calling useless?

I bumped into this on a website where it was listed as a useless item. It's called the Little Wizzer and it's based on a famous statue in Europe.

(If you're a bit slow on the uptake, it is, of course a liquor decanter.)

I'm here to tell you I used to own one of these in my single days, living in share houses with people who not so much resembled the cast from TV's The Young Ones, as acted as a template for them.

This little bugger worked fine and we never had a problem getting on the piss with him.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mark and Chase: Eclectic excursions into musical back pages

Remiss of me not to pen a review for the Mark Sisto's Detroit Actual gig at the Excelsior Hotel in Surry Hills a couple of months ago, I know. But other factors got in the way. So treat this, not so much as a review of that show, but a preview of what's coming up when the Marquis and Friends returns to the same venue on Thursday, March 16. Except predicting what they might do next is fraught with danger.
Mark, who you may know as Radio Birdman's Minister for Defence and back-up singer or vocalist for the post-Birdman band the Visitors, has been fronting a band called Vindicator Electro. Only, when they play laid-back stuff, they're Vindicator Smooth. Members include Radio Birdman's Chris "Klondike" Masuak (on drums but back on guitar), Ged Corben (Lime Spiders), Steve Lucas (X) and Jon Schofield (Paul Kelly, Hell to Pay and dozens of others), but it's more a floating collective than a permanent line-up.

Last outing, the gig started with a set by KLINK - not the Colonel from Hogan's heroes but principally Madeleine Chase, of '80s Sydney band The Skolars - and friends, who had dual membership of Detroit Actual. This was the "nightclub trip" - Madeleine and Mark dueting at times, on cruisy, loungey stuff. Chase plays Julie London, Sisto is cast as Scott Walker. No Corben, Schofield or Lucas on board this time, but Jack Stewart Shanley was adeptly cool on sax and a session guy Calvin Welch (an actual Michigan native who's played with Earth, Wind & Fire and Jackie Orszaczky, among others) sat in on drums and - stunned us with his mastery of the traps. Props to the consumate bass skills of Andy Newman (ME-262), the constant in these fluid line-ups.

Next came a KLINK set of the rockier stuff - "Detroit Actual" - with some country and blues excursions. Not so much actual Detroit songs (although "Get Ready" obviously hails from Motown) but a diverse selection, something like Detroiters would have grown up listening to on the radio in the '60s. Cue surprise guests with Birdmen Deniz Tek and Pip Hoyle joining bandmate Klondike.
We gratefully cop the Tek-penned "Pushing the Broom" (replete with ringing Masuak country licks), Visitors tunes "Brother John" and "Sad TV" (the former with a fucked up tempo - but whadya expect when it was played on a whim?), and a Tek solo vocal with dance moves on Guy Clark's "Desperadoes Waiting For A Train".

Take note: Deniz was seen playing a Strat.

Mark's own "Atoms Action" gets an airing with Chase harmonies. If anything, the set's a bit light on for the stuff he did with his '90s band Manifestations and those Vindicator songs of a more recent vintage, but this can change on the night.
All very eclectic, which is what a lot of Sydney rock and roll isn't. It drew well too, even though the show fell on the same night as the Big Day Out (which I suppose wasn't the same demographic.)

Anyway, you can listen to a couple of songs here and if you want to show up at the Excelsior on the 15th you ought to know that it's being billed as "Showdown at the Lazy K". And it will be supporting either Penny Ikinger Inc or French band Dimi Dero Inc (or maybe both) so be early. Plus Electra Jean (a French duo) will be opening up. I don't really know what Mark and Chase are going to do (Johnny Halliday, the French Elvis? Serge Gainsborough?) but it will be fun.

How To Be a Music Snob

It's difficult being a Music Snob. Admit it. You're one too if you're reading this.

I stumbled across an online opinion piece at a website called Love is Wonderful where a guy called Kevin Schlauch opines thus:

"They walk (or limp) among us like regular people, although they are anything but. They secretly meet at night to attend concerts of bands you've never heard of, or to listen to records (not CDs) that you never knew existed. Normally they can be spotted in record shops and campus radio booths and are easily recognized with their clothes that fit one size too tight, boney knees, and headphones that separate them from the rest of the world. They are music elitists, or snobs if you will, and their club is for members only. Although becoming one takes years worth of dateless nights, you can bullshit your way into their fraternity by following my simple rules."

You can find the whole piece here.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Tiger By The Tail's "Summertime at the Beach"

You may have read about this one on TJ Honeysuckle's Last Tram Home blog. I know summer ended in Australia a few days ago but I don't give a rat's arse and neither do Tiger By The Tail, I guess. They're Dave Thomas from Bored!'s "other band" and if you're wondering about the "cops on the beach theme" of the clip, it's all to do with some absurd riot in Sydney a year ago.

I've only been lucky enough to catch TBTT live once and they're pretty damn fine; a little less direct than Bored!, quite different from everyone else in a Dinosaur Jr sort of way. I haven't caught up with the new album ("Unitshifter") yet but there's a glowing review here.

Oh here's to my sweet Satan

Always wanted to check out those secret Satanic messages in popular recordings and were too afraid you'd fuck up your Eagles and Led Zep vinyl by playing them backwards? Here's confirmation that everything those wacky American religious fundamentalists warned us about in the '70s and '80s was true...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

New Stooges album

A more in-depth I-94 Bar review is here. A few listens down the track and nothing's changing.