Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Did Lester leave a mark?

The always interesting rockcritics,com blog asks if Lester Bangs really had much of an influence on anything to do with rock writing here. Interesting to see the first reply was a vote against imitators and in favour of Dave Marsh.

Lester was, of course, larger in death than he was in life and squandered much of his talent by boxing himself in as a self-defined record reviewer who was unable to branch into other things. Of course, when he was "on" he was really "on", but most people forget he wrote some tripe too that even his friends wouldn't sanction as publishable once he was gone.

On balance, he really was a great writer as much for the fact that he was idiosyncratic, self-revelatory and flawed - sometimes all at the same time. Obsessive rants about stuff that didn't count held attention as much as his so-called more insightful stuff (I'm thinking his Stooges rants and his railing against Lou, which were also self-deprecating self-character assassination jobs.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hey Hey, My My, MP3s Should One Day Die

Why do we put up with second-rate? That's exactly what MP3s are. Gnarly old Neil Young rightly says computer makers need to forget about MP3s and go for gold. And he's exactly right. MP3s devalue music by making it a too-easily trade-able commodity, plus they sound like shit.

All of the above said in the full knowledge that I have trawled blogs for interesting and obscure music (if I like a download, I buy it, OK?) and I do use MP3s for podcasting. Give me a lossless format anyday.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

GOD = Greatness

About that heading: This isn't a Papal blog. Just another exercise in remembering the great songs for those familiar with them and an eye-opener for those who aren't.

This is "My Pal" from GOD, the teenage band from Melbourne whose ranks included Tim Hemensley (Powder Monkeys, Bored!), Joel Silsbersher (Tendrils, Hoss), Matt Whittle (The Yes Men) and Sean Greenway (The Yes Men.) Sean and Tim have left the planet while Joel does great work with Hoss who recently graced Sydney for a couple of gigs. This one is probably GOD's greatest moment:

Soul Mover - The Solution

Some Swedish soul for you. Scott Morgan (Sonic's Rendeavous Band, The Rationals, The Hydromatics, Powertrane) fronts an all-star line-up with Nick Royale (Hellacopters) on drums and his bandmate Strings guesting on guitar.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mink Jaguar

They're sporting an extra guitarist and looking distinctly mod in this live in the studio effort. Sonically, it's a bit rough and ready but still gives you a flavour of why Mink Jaguar is a great night out and why they've attracted the interest of Little Steven and his Underground Radio Show in the USA.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Keep on Keepin' On - Johnny Casino & The Secrets

John Morrison produced the clip. Good news too - the band's in the studio working on another album.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Will the real Radovan Karadzic please stand up?

The arrest of alleged war criminal Radovan Karadzic leaves one question unanswered.

Why was he hiding out disguised as ex-MC5 manager John Sinclair?

The Pain, the pain: Dr Smith stalks Blondie drummer

Global news today that drummers are as fit as footballers will come as no shock to anyone that’s picked up a set of sticks for any band other than a laidback cocktail jazz outfit. University of Gloucestershire researchers hooked up some wires attached to machines that went “bing” to Blondie skinsman Clem Burke to measure oxygen consumption, calories burned, energy expended and heart rate. The grandly-name Clem Burke Project involved the drummer being followed around the gig circuit by someone named Dr Smith. Any Lost in Space fan knows Dr Smith was an accident waiting to happen so no wonder that would have an effect on heartbeat, as well as increasing general feelings of paranoia.

Fine drummer that he may still be, Clem Burke was briefly Elvis Ramone in a post-Marky version of the band of the same surname, and bootleg tapes of one of the few gigs he played showed he didn't fit in with Beating on The Brat. That would have been a job where fitness was a pre-requisite.

He is a rather better fit for ex-Flamin' Groovies frontman Chris Wilson and his band The Magic Christian who are poised to release a new album. Dave "Dogmeat" Laing's review of them at SXSW 2008 is here.

Even the Barry White CD hasn't worked

Can't pick up at a gig on a Saturday night? Check out the blog at (tagline" "just a guy trying to get laid") where Mike relates that he "can't remember the last female contact I had that didn't end with a woman giving me some change and telling me to drive to the second window".

I like the list of items that Mike's fans have sent him. The tally includes a Barry White CD, "Asian Dolls" Porno DVD, a black g-string and two sets of naked photos of women (allegedly sent by the ladies themselves.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Five years ago today, Tim Hemensley passed away

I can't help feeling that Australian music is a lesser place.

If Powder Monkeys were Tim's only contribution, that'd be enough, but there was plenty more in the shape of GOD and Bored! with whom he played for a while. There's some reader tributes to Tim from just after his death posted at the I-94 Bar here. Tim's father Kris runs an occasional retrospective of his writing here. The man's own words - and his sister's moving eulogy - probably say it better than anyone else can.

Don't pay top-shelf drink prices when you see a band

Sick of paying sky-high drink prices at gigs? read on:

Now you can turn an A cup in to double Ds AND sport your favorite beverage for yourself and your friends! We get it that some chicks just don’t want that pregnant look that comes with The Beerbelly. We developed The Winerack to “Fill Out” our product line if you will. The picture shown here is of our good friend Sue, who is not, no offense Sue, Well Endowed. Strap on the Winerack and Voila’ Sue’s giving Pamela Anderson a run for the money.

More on the Winerack and its male counterpart, The Beer Belly, here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Keeping in Toone

Hand-tooled works of art not production line stuff, is the promise of Toone Guitars. As long as the suckers stay in tune, I reply. At $US3000 up, they're not cheap and you'll wait six months or so before your order is filled. I have no reason to doubt they sound great even if the craftsman looks a lot like Kram from Spiderbait. More info here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Someone sent Ronnie Wood out to fill up

The results were not good:

Would you get pissed to get through lunch with Rod Stewart? Ronnie would.

By now everyone's heard about Ronnie Wood and his liking for a White Russian. Just two weeks ago he was apparently at lunch in London with ex-Faces singer Rod Stewart (which would drive anyone to drink) discussing a reunion of their old band. Keyboardist Ian McLagan has confirmed the Faces would do a reunion tour in 2008 but presumably that was before he knew his guitarist had fallen off the deep end.

You gotta wonder what the cocktail waitress two generations younger than him he ran away with to Ireland saw in ol' Ronnie. Reportedly consuming three bottles of Vodka a day, the only thing he could have given her would have been a stiff drink.If she was after cash she'd be disappointed. There's no way a bloke drinking that much piss could remember his PIN.

Happy 60th, Ron Asheton

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1948, everyone's favourite collector of Nazi war memorabilia, Ronald Frank Asheton continues to stand and deliver on guitar for the Stooges. Here's a composite from YouTube marking his days in The New Order:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm Through With White Dorks

YouTube is truly society's Great Leveller. Behaviour that would get your arm ripped from its socket and the useless limb used to beat you to a senseless bloody pulp by any self-respecting 'roids-raging bouncer scarcely raises an eyebrow on a Stockholm street - and attracts an online viewing audience of 14,000-plus. Cool Dirtbombs song, though, even if one of the commenters wanted the version from The Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit.

Which just goes to show you can't please evereyone.

Festivals are fun

Hey Gig Pigs: You thought Australia's Big Day Out was strange and the English Glastonbury Festival attracted the odd oddball? How about a guide to the World's Weirdest Festivals?

El Colacho Baby Jumping (Spain) by men in Elvis outfits and The Monkey Buffet Festival (Thailand) where small men in GW Bush masks pig out may not rock in the sense that you and I recognise, but they sure are out-there.

Tunarama (South Australia's tuna tossing celebration, something I've experienced through the line of working duty, believe it or not) even rates a mention. More here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Creative Ways To Waste Time On The Internerd part 524

Not rock and roll, I agree, but there are minutes of amusement in The Evil Clown Generator.

My Top Ten Beats Your Top Ten, Punk

Ultimate Guitar has posted their list of Punk Rock’s Mightiest Guitar Gods. God knows what I'm doing reading things like that online.

These lists by faceless writers are generally filler material or an excuse for Rolling Stone to print a nostalgia issue to exploit the ageing nature of the segment of their demographic that’s otherwise not hopelessly fixated by fashion. Provided you don't take them seriously, these lists aren't generally harmful to your health.

Here’s the Top 10 and the signature tunes that Ultimate Guitar thinks gives them deity status:

1. Lou Reed – Sister Ray
2. Johnny Thunders – Personality Crisis
3. Lenny Kaye – Radio Ethiopia
4. Johnny Ramone – Sheena is a Punk Rocker
5. Steve Jones – God Save the Queen
6. Mick Jones – I’m So Bored With The USA
7. Tom Verlaine/Richard Lloyd – Maquee Moon
8. Robert Quine – Blank Generation
9. Ricky Wilson – Rock Lobster
10. Billy Zoom – The Hungry Wolf

Rather than debate the issue pointlessly on an international scale - e.g. Lloyd is more punk than Verlaine, The B-52s were a trash '60s kitsch pastiche and not punk, ther L.A. X sucked - I thought I’d spend about 30 seconds to reel off an Australian list from the initial wave of “punk”.

If I’m out by a year or so or change my mind next week, shoot me. They’re in no special order either.

Leave your flames/remarks in comments:

Ed Kuepper (Saints) – I’m Stranded
Rowland S Howard (Boys Next Door/Birthday Party) – Shivers
Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) – New Race
Steve Lucas (X) – Degenerate Boy
Mark Taylor (Lipstick Killers) – Hindu Gods
Brad Shephard (Fun Things) – Savage
Chris Masuak (Radio Birdman) – Hangin’ On
Kim Salmon (Scientists) – Swampland
Ed Wreckage (Leftovers) – Cigarettes and Alcohol

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lester Bangs was a pig-fucker

The Internerd has a way of throwing your long-forgotten words back at you. Like this missive to Creem magazine from Ms P. Smith. Not that there's anything wrong with Keef or Bob-ee Dy-lan and good to see Lester took it in the spirit intended.

Devil's Disciple - Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls

It's a bit over a year since Australian guitar great Lobby Loyde died. It's worth recalling fellow Australian Recording Industry inductee Angry Anderson's tribute:

"More than anyone else, Lobby helped create the Australian guitar sound. Long before Angus (Young) or Billy Thorpe or the Angels or Rose Tattoo. Lobby inspired Australian bands to step forward and play as loud and aggressively as they could. People are still trying to copy it today".

Here's proof:

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

File under Rumour, Possibly True

It could be a crock (there's no source attributed) so don't get your hopes up just yet, but here's a tantalizing rumour that the world's best rockumentary, "A True Testimonial: The MC5", might be officially released.

"Kicks Just Keep Getting Harder to Find"

So what's the ex-singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders supposed to do other than open his own restaurant in Portland, Oregon? Hmmm, some mixed reviews in there but the song's still a goodie:

Monday, July 07, 2008

These don't come in heels

Detroit's Queen of pop art massacres, Niagara, has extended her striking artwork into a line of Vans footwear. The ex-Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival vocalist recently launched her line of Vans-commissioned art-on-sneakers in Los Angeles. More here.

If you missed Niagara fronting the Hitmen at their once-only February gig in Sydney, we might have news for you in the next few days.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

It's Official: Losing your mouth is a sign of being drunked

Australian bureaucrats who have nothing to do have devised a list of the 39 Signs of Drunkenness, no doubt to help the Nanny State wage its holy war via its campaign against binge drinking. Trouble is, the list probably does more harm than good when it includes "the inability to find one's mouth with one's drink" as one of the signs. I mean, that one has to be a good thing because it stops a drunk bingeing, right?

Anyway, this is as good an opportunity to plug the latest I-94 Bar podcast Drunk & Disorderly. Episode 15 is downloadable/streamable here or streamable from that thingie on the right of the blog.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

But wait, there's more...

Another I-94 Bar endorsed and sponsored event. "Beijing Blitz" refers to the fact that this is the same night as the Olympics opening ceremony. Since the Greeks invented that shit, Zeus says it won't be an issue. 

Just in case you haven't noticed

Legendary in death but now walking the earth again, The Visitors are playing a select series of Australian gigs in August and September, including their first-ever Melbourne show.

The Visitors arose from the ashes of Radio Birdman in 1978, providing a musical outlet for that band's guitarist-songwriter Deniz Tek, keyboard player Pip Hoyle and drummer Ron Keeley. The original lineup featured Radio Birdman sidekick Mark Sisto, on vocals and teen prodigy Steve Harris on bass

The band left behind a self-titled EP - drawn from demo's - that drew rabid reviews and now changes hands for $500 on eBay. The full sessions were later released on LP by Australian label Citadel, and remixed/remastered on CD by Red Eye / Polydor Records.

The Visitors returned in 2005 for shows in Newcastle and Sydney. Two more sightings occurred in February this year, including a Brisbane support to American punk-and-soul sensations The BellRays.

Tek, Hoyle and Sisto remain at the core of The Visitors with former Tumbleweed and Deniz Tek Group drummer Nik Rieth and ex ME-262 bassist (and teenage Visitors fan) Andy Newman now filling the engine room. Saxophonist Jack Shanley (Vindicator Smooth, Detroit Actual) is part of an expanded line-up.

To mark the Return to Earth Tour, the band's original long-out-of-print album will be re-issued on Citadel.

And in a special coupling, ex-Screaming Tribesmen band leader Mick Medew will join one of the bills with his Brisbane band, The Rumours, for his first appearance in the Harbour City in nine years. That show - Saturday, August 30 at The Empire in Annandale - will be the only city gig for The Visitors and The Rumours and will be opened by locals 25th Floor.

Ticketing details soon.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Now for the Aussie independent Top 50

Hot off the email:

Over three months the Australian Independent Record Labels Associaition (AIR) consulted musicians, songwriters, journalists, radio announcers and music industry folk in order to create a shortlist of 50 nominated albums. The resulting shortlist is a snapshot of our musical heritage. Five decades of independent music in Australia has influenced the social and cultural fabric of this country and others. We're proud to call them all independent and even more proud to call them Australian.

The Top 50 was presented to the music loving public for voting and after collating thousands of votes over the past month, here we announce the winners of our poll. The Greatest Australian Independent Albums of All Time, from one through to 50.

1. The Triffids - Born Sandy Devotional
2. The Saints - (I'm) Stranded/No Time
3. Hoodoo Gurus - Stoneage Romeos
4. The Go Betweens - Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express
5. Midnight Oil - Midnight Oil
6. The Avalanches - Since I Left You
7. Ed Kuepper - Honey Steels Gold
8. Radio Birdman - Radios Appear
9. Sunnyboys - Sunnyboys
10. AC/DC - Back In Black
11. Died Pretty - Doughboy Hollow
12. The Go Betweens - Before Hollywood
14. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call
15. Dirty Three - Horse Stories
16. AC/DC - Highway to Hell
17. The Drones - Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By
18. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Good Son
19. Silverchair - Diorama
20. The Whitlams - Eternal Nightcap
21. Ed Kuepper - Electrical Storm
22. The Birthday Party - Prayers On Fire
23. Gotye - Like Drawing Blood
24. The Laughing Clowns - Mr. Uddich Smuddich Goes to Town
25. The John Butler Trio - Sunrise Over Sea
26. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Let Love In
27. Flowers - Icehouse
28. The Go-Betweens - Send Me A Lullaby
29. Hilltop Hoods - The Hard Road
30. Magic Dirt - Friends In Danger
31. The Necks - Sex
32. X - X-Aspirations
33. Beasts of Bourbon - The Low Road
34. Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Eddy Current Suppression Ring
35. Mondo Rock - Chemistry
36. AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Cheap
37. Archie Roach - Charcoal Lane
38. Cosmic Psychos - Go the Hack
39. Cog - The New Normal
40. AC/DC - High Voltage
41. AC/DC - TNT
42. The Loved Ones - Magic Box
43. Died Pretty - Free Dirt
44. The Hard Ons - Yummy!
45. Tumbleweed - Tumbleweed
46. Snout - Circle High And Wide
47. Scientists - You Get What You Deserve
48. Jeff Lang - You Have To Dig Deep To Bury Daddy
49. Spencer P. Jones and The Last Gasp - Last Gasp
50. Kim Salmon and the Surrealists - Just Because You Can't See It. Doesn't Mean it Isn't There

AIR would especially like to thank everyone who left comments and suggestions. We received a lot of love from a lot of people and it made us feel great. We also received some vitriolic abuse which was hilarious, informative and occasionally downright insulting, but thanks for that too... Love it.

We won't mention any names, but anything by The Ramones and Nirvana wasn't in contention. Sorry. Midnight Oils 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 isn't independent and INXS's first two albums were indeed independent. AC/DC are independent and have been on the family owned Alberts record label since Angus Young actually belonged in his school uniform. General consensus says that Bon Scott was a far superior vocalist compared to Brian Jones but why has Back in Black smashed it's nearest AC/DC albums?

For those interested. Born Sandy Devotional recieved 10% more votes than The Saints - (I'm) Stranded. The top two were streets ahead of their nearest competition. Positions 3 to 13 were seperated by only 3 percentage points. In some cases the albums were seperated by one vote! Clearly the 1980's was a golden era for Australian music, with more than a third of the nominated albums being released in that decade and 7 of the top 10 coming from the 80's.

A lot of voting ran along state lines. Queenslanders love anything that Ed Kuepper has ever touched (although he's entered the top 50 with 2 bands and a solo artist, he's in the top 10 twice! He's pretty damned popular everywhere). Victorians dig Eddy Current Supression Ring... a lot. The Avalanches represented for the Dance/Electronic/Sample based acts coming in at an incredible 6th while the oldest album on the list, The Loved Ones - Magic Box, made 42nd.

Also, special mention should go to non - Australian fans of Australian music. Lime Spiders are big in Austria and Germany!

Also, please continue to help AIR support the Australian independent music by checking out the Independents Day 2008 Auction on eBay. We've received some generous donations in the lead up to July 4th, they're online now. Items include rare vinyl and CD's, signed merchandise, unlimited entry into some of Australia's premier music venues, recording time at Australia's best studios, mastering with our leading mastering engineers as well as vinyl pressing and CD manufacturing. Get yourself a bargain and some music history! All proceeds will be shared by AIR and Worldwide Independent Network an funnelled directly back into independent music.

See that my grave is kept clean

The international newswires are giving wide play to this story, generated by a South Australian funeral home:

While hymns will ring out in Sydney as the pope celebrates Catholic World Youth Day this month, Australians are increasingly choosing irreverent songs for their funerals, undertakers say.

Among popular rock songs played to say goodbye to friends and relatives are Highway to Hell by AC/DC and Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, leading funeral provider Centennial Park said in a statement.

Other offbeat choices include Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Monty Python, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead from The Wizard of Oz and Hit the Road Jack by Willie Nelson.

I'm leaning towards the Ramones' "Glad To See You Go" myself. Leave your own choice in comments, if you care.

"Night descends, daylight ends..."

Further to yesterday’s post about the 3rd Day of the Seventh Month and various events to do with that date including the passing of Doors singer Jim Morrison: Visitors vocalist (who doesn’t do a bad version of “Hyacinth House”), Radio Birdman alumnus and general conspiracy-theorist-about-town, Mark Sisto, points out that it was also the anniversary of the de-commissioning of the USS Bon Homme Richard, the aircraft carrier skippered by Jimbo’s dad, Admiral George Morrison, which makes it a doubly sad day for him. Admiral Morrison spoke at the ship's de-commissioning, 12 hours after his son's death and no doubt unaware of what had gone down in Paris.

While I knew that Morrison senior was, for many years, the US Navy’s youngest-ever admiral, I wasn’t aware his career may have been stymied by politics rather than his son’s psychedelic profile. Read more here.

This is the shit you need to know if you're doing serious business on the burgeoning trivia night circuit.

Rock the Casbah: Muslim punk rockers

Strange but true. Newsweek reports: "The Prophet Muhammad was all about smashing idols," says Michael Muhammad Knight, a Muslim convert whose 2003 novel "The Taqwacores" is a manifesto for the Muslim punk movement. "And what's more punk rock than that?" More here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

"The 3rd Day of the 7th Month is when we'll ride the highway..."

...this being International Hand of Law Day, as dictated by the late Radio Birdman.

It's also the day Jim Morrison took one bath too many (although there is an alternate version of the story)...

...and friends of Brian Jones rued not knowing CPR.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Iggy + Jet = Shite

Johnny O'Keefe was a seminal and colourful early Australian rock and roller. Originally a Johnny Ray impersonator, he rode to local fame with his co-written "Wild One", which years later was covered by Iggy Pop on his Bowie-esque, grossly over-produced commercial comeback album "Blah Blah Blah." Now the Pop has teamed with Australian band Jet to re-do the song to coincide with a major label marekting push to exploit - sorry, commemorate - J.O.K.'s recorded legacy.

If you want to watch it, the link is here. It's vile shit and I won't indulge Jet or Iggy by embedding the video. You'd think Ig would know better at his age.

"Why do people think Bob Dylan was a great lyricist? That creep couldn't even write doggerel"

So says Germaine Greer in The Guardian. It must have been a long time between headlines for Germaine, who suffers from a special condition. It's called Relevance Deprivation Syndrome. She has it bad. Not that I regularly read The Guardian, mind you. Regarding Ms Greer and the 70s: In short, the best thing Germaine did was Mick Farren - and apparently becasue they both had an Afro she thought he was the MC5's Rob Tyner.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Kid Rock and his musical dildo

Why should it be a surprise that arse clown Kid Rock prides a musical dildo someone sent him in the mail? Go figure.