Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's an Accadacca attack(a)

Not my schooner of Cooper’s but it seems to be bon (or Brian) apertif for most of the rest of the world: AC/DC have released their new single online and you can hear it here.

Sounds like everything else they’ve done since Bon Scott checked out and Brian Johnson landed the gig, but then that’s probably why so many people love ‘em. The Seedies surely are the Ramones for people who prefer denim jackets to leather ones.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Teh Internerd is a wiered plaice

Here's a scary thought: Someone out there paid for a domain, put some html together and is paying for for hosting. Here's what they got.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mr Wegener goes to Blogtown

Consummate drummer and an articulate correspondent, Jeffrey Wegener (pictured, right, with Ed Kuepper) is blogging on the legacy of the Laughing Clowns on the band's myspace. He writes:

"So there you go groovers - the Laughing Clowns are not at this point in time going to be put to bed. I can't forget about the band even if I wanted to. Too many people remind me. The spirits are still there - beautiful and funny, sad but often glorious.

"So from time to time I am going to write some stuff here, and I would love some feedback - whether on the Clowns or other related threads - e.g. the live music scene, the role of indie music, the global place of Australian music, etc. Could be about what just a good bloke I am. Or whether the comb-over really is to become the ultimate retro-nouveau tour de force fashion statement based on quantitative science, or did those Bad Seeds guys just set me up? And do you like my new jacaranda coloured suit?"

Sounds like something to follow. There's an earlier Ed interview by Chris Hollow (of Melbourne band The Sand Pebbles) there too. Read it here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tote doco looks ace

The forthcoming documentary on Melbourne's legendary Tote Hotel looks like a lot of fun:
The Tote Documentary - Sneak Peak Promo from Natalie van den Dungen on Vimeo.
More info on the myspace thingy.

What I Like About Jew

Menachem Herman is a thick-bearded, payot-sporting Hasidic man with guitar in hand, whose goal is to convert classic rock to Judaism. He believes in ‘giving good music a Jewish, positive significance.' More here.

Nah, can't be bothered looking for the YouTube.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Walter Lure speaks

Walter Lure played guitar with Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers and also as a session man on many Ramones records. Nowadays he's a stockbroker on Wall Street, occasionally gigging with his own band The Waldos. I tripped over a fine interview with the man here that looks to be reasonably recent. No sign of that live album he mentions on Nicotine yet but we'll let you know if and when it appears.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stooges Kill God

Kim Salmon once declared himself a god in "The Cockroach" and that was pretty cool. That Iggy's always thought himself immortal is no surprise, but the news is that he and the Ashetons have written a song called "God Is Dead". Maybe they've been listening to Dave Graney & Claire Moore who have a tune "Let's Kill God Again" on their latest album "We Wuz Curious" but I'm speculating. Read more here. Hope it's better than the tunes on "The Weirdness".

And I'm indebted to the stashdauber for spotting this one.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bob Seger is Michigan's Number One Musician

Yes, that's one of those provocative headlines designed to provoke outrage and flaming, just as I suspect Michigan live music website's Michigan Music Face Off was meant to be. In the end, Bob Seger triumphed over the MC5, Iggy/the Stooges and Alice. A bunch of flummery, really, but here it is for your brief amusement.

The Power of Radio

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mary Weiss still leads the pack

Miriam Linna (ex-Cramps member and High Priestess of Norton Records) and Billy Miller (co-conspirator at Norton) have a cool interview with ex-Shangri-Las vocalist and solo artist Mary Weiss here. A great read, as they say in the best journals.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Will Guitar Hero save rock and roll?

Has it really come to this? Hey, take help wherever you can find it. At least we still have the Dictators, who've broken their hiatus to play Spain. Here's an old-ish clip.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

World's Greatest Record Collection remains on sale

Talk about "Hi-Fidelity": The world's largest music collection - three million LPs and 300,000 CDs - remains available for purchase. Like many of us, owner Owner Paul Mawhinney got an edict from the Minister for War (aka Mrs Macwhinney.) He stayed, the story goes, but the collection went and moved to a massive, climate-controlled warehouse in Pittsburgh.

A record store operator, Mawhinney was a technical adviser on the movie "That Thing That You Do" and can't take a trick. An attempted sale on eBay in February fell over (the lodgement fee must have been a killer) and a 1997 offer for $US28m reportedly fell over when the company making the bid went bust.

You can view the collection here Thanks to Ben Castan for the tip.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Italy bans pirates

Italy has reportedly banned Swedish file sharing site The Pirate Bay and in typical fashion, the pirates have told people how to work around the filters. Read about it in their blog.

It's yet another shot in the war between file sharing sites and record companies. Interestingly, The Pirate Bay has 2.9m registered users. The record companies would have fewer friends.

Monday, August 18, 2008

U2 snooze, U loose

I consider Bono a knob so it was funny to see this reported today online:

Four songs from U2's upcoming album were leaked on to the internet after frontman Bono played them too loudly on his stereo at his villa in the south of France.

A U2 fanatic from the Netherlands who was holidaying in the village of Eze, on the French riviera, heard the new tracks being blared from Bono's window and decided to record them using his mobile phone.

The fan boasted about his find on the forum of U2 fansite, and members there advised him to publish the clips on YouTube.

They’ve been taken down but MP3s are still being shared around, the report said. But who’s bothering to listen?

Look, it’s only U2 and the fans are an undiscriminating lot but, come on, MP3s of music recorded on a mobile phone from outside a beachside hotel window? Give me a fucking break, please!

Visitors CD shipping next week

The re-mastered re-issue of the Visitors' one and only album is shipping from Citadel Records Mail Order late this week or early next. If you can imagine some of Deniz Tek's best song-writing transposed over form Radio Birdman and fused with a one-guitar-and-keyboard-band with a different singer, you'll know what to expect.

The band plays The Empire Hotel at Annandale in Sydney next Saturday with Mick Medew & The Rumours (Brisbane) and 25th Floor in support. A must-attend, I would think.

"Teenage Head" - Roy Loney & The Longshots

Ex-Flamin' Groovies singer with his hostshot band The Longshots. Roy's appeal is universal - if you look carefully you'll see that even Bob Denver (aka Gilligan) came out to this show to be part of the audience.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happy Deathday, Elvis

Today is the 26th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. The King was found next to his throne in his Memphis palace, the victim of excessive medication and a pre-Internet sedentary lifestyle.

It was only last week that an unknown bidder paid $US300,000 at auction for this jumpsuit worn by The King, which originally cost $10,0000 to make. That's some expensive fancy dress costume to wear to a party. Ya'all be careful with the punch.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fish 'n' Flush

Less cruel than the Siamese fighting fish in an iPod that they were selling a few months ago. You can procure one of these beauties here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More SRB to educate the masses

Another gem featuring Sonic's Rendezvous Band in their live element is now available, this time from UK label Easy Action. This is a double CD set left off the box set because it wouldn't fit. Reviews will appear at the I-94 Bar very soon. Grab a copy here.

Re-Book Him Danno

More scary news: Hollywood plans to re-make “Hawaii 5-O” and it will be themed around Steve McGarrett’s son Chris. The new version will be dubbed “Hawaii Five-O 2.0” and producer Ed Bernero has told Hollywood Reporter: "We will try to keep as much of the original as possible. I'm not trying to reinvent it." Hmmmm. We’ll see.

While that would normally be a cue to embed YouTube footage of “Aloha Steve and Danno” and another excuse to promote Radio Birdman, I’m opting instead for a link to a clip by “manualist” RA Wilson. Manualists apparently have something in common with primary school boys as they play farting sounds with their hands, but you have to admit that this is a pretty good rendition of the theme to the TV show.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Everrett's observation might be un-True

Longtime UK music press writer Everett True has moved to Brisbane and is blogging in The Guardian. Apart from mistakenly placing the national yewf broadcaster Triple Jay in Melbourne (maybe the Brisbane humidity got to him) he makes a strange observation in his first effort that the local street press is universally uncritical of acts it features.

I'll cut him some slack as some do run what amounts to unpaid advertorials, seemingly dictated by advertising spend, but applying that "uncritical" brush right across the board is a bit rich, especially as you're only sampling the output of one city (Brisbane.) And coming from the faddish UK music press - and being a longtime champion of some godawful and derivative grunge bands - also isn't much of a vantage point.

At least he manages to kick Savage Garden on the way through.

You can read some colourful reaction to True's comments at the always entertaining Mess & Noise forum.

Today in Rock History: The Kinks

On August 13, 1964, The Kinks reached the UK charts for the first time with "You Really Got Me". Personally, I prefer "All Day And All Of The Night" but this will do. This is the riff that launched a thousand garage bands.

High-energy doesn't get any better than this

The new “Live Masonic Auditorium” CD from Sonic’s Rendezvous Band is one of those things that’s hard to write objectively about so I won’t try. It’s a 36-minute gig from 1978where the legendary lost Michigan quartet was supporting the Ramones on one of their expeditions out of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and into the American heartland. To say SRB pulled out their best that night is an understatement. There’s not a clunker on this disc so it’s required listening for anyone into lean, high-energy, no bullshit rock and roll.

Yes, it was previously issued as part of the SRB box set on Easy Action so if you have that you’ve heard it already. This standalone is a slight sonic upgrade with nice packaging and also comes in limited edition vinyl. A nice place to start your education if you don’t know SRB. Grab a copy here or here.

There are no excuses if you're in Australia. Shock are distributing this one so make sure you hassle your Ma and Pa Record Shop if you don't know how to buy online.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ritchie film also features the Scientists

That Guy Ritchie film with Radio Birdman's "Do The Pop" on the soundtrack is also said to feature the music of the Scientists amongst a bunch of more mainstream international names. It's called "Rocknrolla" and you can see a trailer here. No sniff in it of the Australian soundtrack content though.

Rootin' for Rinty

Some phrases don't translate into other cultures. Hence this one will only make sense to Australians.

Monday, August 11, 2008

How the record rack lost its groove, SMH style

I don’t know if this treatise by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Bernard Zuel on the state of the music industry adds a lot to the debate (it’s largely stating the bleeding obvious, for much of the way) but it’s a fair read. It's probably being hanging around for a week or so as one of those "timedless readsw" that newspapers roll out only when they have space.

The real questions though are how the industry needs to change and if it’s adept enough to do so.

Two more things:

- Bernard writes about “low profile” independent bands not needing the music industry but scarcely goes near anything that's not high-profile folk-pop in his reviews. And indie as he may be technically speaking, you’d hardly call John Butler “low profile”, would you?

- The SMH wouldn't know rock if it bit them on the arse.

What We Do Is Secret

The Germs movie has opened in the USA to fairly positive reviews. There may be a worse movie than "What We Do Is Secret" but it's going to be hard to beat its awful rawness. according to one New York critic.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Do Emo's have motivation?

"The Loved One" - The Loved Ones

Led by British-born Gerry Humphries, Australia's The Loved Ones scored a hit in 1966 with "The Loved One". Don't mention the insipid INXS cover from the 1980s in the same breath.

Friday, August 08, 2008

"...and ate it with his bleeding hands"

Now, I swear I wasn't looking for this...

With legendary Radio Birdman spin-off The Visitors starting a run of shows with a freebie in Wollongong on Saturday night, this online story recalls the lyrics ("He killed a shark/And ate it with his bleeding hands") of their song "Brother John". It even namedrops its writer, Iceman (aka Dr Tek.)

"I Don't Mind" - The Hitmen

Tonight at Annandale Hotel, The Hitmen emerge from six months off to play this song among others.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Sound of One Kent Clapping

Kent "Toast" French holds a world record for speed clapping.

Lou's movie gets lukewarm welcome in UK

A concert film of Lou Reed and his contemporary band performing the "Berlin" album has debuted in the UK, getting mixed reviews. This one is by no means the worst of them (the Belfast Telegraph scored it two out of five) but it's a fair proposition that it'll make its way to DVD in quickish fashion.

Critical acclaim for live shows notwithstanding (I missed this in Sydney last summer but the praise was thick on the ground) there still doesn't seem to be a lot of commercial appeal in a story about two meth-heads making a mess of their lives in a grim if permissive central European city.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Crumbums do Melbourne

Sydney garage minimalists 3DTV - Richard Walsh on gtr, Rodney Todd on bass and veteran Alan Hislop on drums - have changed their names to The Crumbums and are doing three Melbourne shows to celebrate. More info and sounds at myspace, here's the promo clip to mark the occasion:

Pistols uber Holland

Rare TV footage of the Sex Pistols gigging in a Holland backwater has surfaced here. Embedding has been disabled so you'll have to click through via the link. You'll also find the subsequent parts of the footage.

Lindsay Hutton's always excellent Next Big Thing blog is the source.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ugly Things focus is Down Under

The amazing Ugly Things magazine due out in mid-August will focus on The Who and the Small Faces tour of Australia. Hopefully, a review of the Klondike's North 40 album will make the cut.

Stooges get robbed, send S.O.S.

Iggy and the Stooges need your help.

A rented 15-foot truck was ripped off from outside the Embassy Suite Hotel in Montreal, Canda, on August 4 with a fair chunk of the band's stage gear inside it. Bassist Mike Watt is posting an APB worldwide with a list of stolen equipment here. The band was in town for a couple of Canadian dates.

While we fans might hope the thief will drive the stolen truck into a too-low railway bridge (a la Rock Action back in Ann Arbor back the hazy '70s) that might damage the equipment, so let's settle for a swift apprehension and return of the gear.

Much to Love about this on DVD

I used to think the enigmatic Love were an over-rated West Coast band from the Summer of Love, a footnote to the '60s Los Angeles scene with a few OK tunes. That was years ago and "Forever Changes" in particular is now a fixture on the I-94 Bar sound system.

Caputuring a band coming apart at the seams and propped up by session players, it's simply a mind-blowing opus whose cinematic scope puts the like of the Beatles et al to shame. What a pity Love were so averse to touring. The late Arthur Lee preferred moping in his mansion in the Hollywood Hills, gorging himself on drugs. They should have been worldbeaters.

It seems there's a comprehensive documentary on the band looming on DVD and the review at Pop Matters makes it seem well worth tracking down.

Emo People Have Feelings Too

Shit like this feels so good, though...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Classic Album Covers Part 245 Ed Kuepper b**tleg

Courtesy of Prince Melon Records and hot on the heels of the spiffing "Ed Kuepper Live" CD selling at his Australian shows, here's a 2007 show for you to grab.

The lowdown from the Prince Melon Records myspace:

Well, in between the lavish cocaine parties with wild women in his jaucuzi, typical of the major label excesses we office juniors envy and aspire to [ luckily all of which are fully recoupable against artist royalties], Sir Alfonso [Prince Melon Records Head of In House Production] finally got around to applying his patented 'Hands Off Mastering Technique' to this live bootleg of Ed Kuepper and the Kowalski Collective. Recorded at the Judith wright Centre for the Arts, in November 2007 at the Brisbane launch of Ed's last studio album 'Jean Lee and the Yellow Dog' . The show started with a specially commisioned short film about Jean Lee done by Judi Dransfield Kuepper and Louise Bennet, which was followed by two sets of Ed and the Kowalski's doing the entire 'Jean Lee..' album as well as a number of older songs .

Last word on Tom Verlaine

Touring with his solo band and with an album of Jimi Hendrix covers in the wings, Richard Lloyd cast one more revealing comment into Cyberpace this week with this interview with a Kansas City blogger. Commenting on leaving Television:

Of course. We kept talking about recording for 12 years but nothing ever came of it and that's all Tom's fault. All he cared about was money. He wouldn't tour and lose money to build an audience. I have a great relationship with him personally, but he's only in it for himself, so, good luck to him.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Nothing Remotely To Do With Rock and Roll

But it's one helluva image.

Why Lloyd tuned out of Television

From Connect Savanah Online magazine comes a fascinating interview with ex-Television guitarist Richard Lloyd who left the band in May 2007 after 34 years (off-and-on) and on the verge of TV recording a new album. Here's Lloyd's quote on his relief at not having to work with Tom Verlaine anymore:

"... I’m free! I’m free from it and free from Tom. It hasn’t really been a band for many, many years.

"I feel like a group is something where you view the other people’s dreams and hopes as just as important as your own. But you know, Tom’s just not like that. I hate to put it in terms like that. You know, I really do love the guy. But working with him is like going to the dentist! He’s what’s called 'the crazy maker' for me, and after 34 years, I just can’t stand it anymore."

Stern to re-make Ramones classic

News from Variety magazine is that NY shock jock Howard Stern is planning a remake of the classic "Rock and Roll High School" movie. My question is: Why?

This is one of the best "worst" films ever made, a genuinely funny, uniquely awkward classic. Who can forget Dee Dee's well-honed speaking part ("!") and the fantastic live sequence by Our Heroes? A movie good enough to inspire the Exploding White Mice to name their band. And didn't Ron Howard's bro (Clint) go on to finer things?

No sense in fucking with something if it's not broke. Who would play the Ramones part? If you're lucky, you can pick up the DVD re-release of this gem for 10 bucks. I still haven't summoned up the courage to see the "Get Smart" re-make but I can't see how either can be an improvement on the original.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

"Full Pipe" by The Last of the Bad Men

Douglas Kerr's film clip cobbled together from various bits of live footage. If you don't already know, this is the band that includes the Godoy twins and Deniz Tek.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Learning To Love The Doors Again

Jim Morrison died - probably of a smack overdose, maybe of verbosity - in 1971. The Doors died for me in 1992 after three viewings of Oliver Stone’s movie.

I hate hype. I’m not so silly as to claim total immunity but pragmatic enough to know that when most of it washes over or passes me by, it makes me very happy. So I only ever partially bought into the ‘90s re-birth of the Doors, driven in equal parts by fanboy-turned-posthumous manager Danny Sugerman and ebullient but calculating keyboards man Ray Manzarek. The “No-one Here Gets Out Alive” bio was a great read, even if parts were fabricated to paper over gaps in memories or missing pieces.

In marketing it’s said that all brands have a limited life. When one is re-birthed or revitalized it’s called it a “line extension”. You don’t have to read the late Mr Sugerman’s vastly entertaining autobiography “Wonderland Avenue” to know he knew lots and lots about lines. But back to the subject…

I used to love the music of the Doors even if I found Jimbo’s poetic bent over-rated at times and guitarist Robby Krieger a bit of a one-trick pony. I had all their catalogue on vinyl. One of my housemates in the itinerant ‘80s share accommodation phase had a Jimbo fixation, playing the shit out of those LPs and tripping on whatever was at hand while quoting lyrics ad nauseum. A visit to Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris (Morrison’s resting place) was a must on an overseas trip where the prostrated, sobbing/stoned fans, graffiti and gifts confirmed how crazy the more extreme Doors fans really were.

The ‘90s rolled around and so did the movie. Band members dissed it for what it was – Hollywood fucking a dead rock star - but it opened the floodgates for all manner of cross-promotion, re-issues and re-invention. We had band member re-mixes, hand-picked and re-mastered best ofs, a band member hand-picked box set (one disc each) and of course a stream of books, with most of them not saying much. The Jim Morrison McHappy Meal never transpired (“nod off in the bath with a burger”) but I’m sure it was not through lack of trying.

The constant hype just got to me. I switched off. In the ‘00s, I avoided the tour by the remaining members. (Drummer John Densmore eventually did too – probably after he read Manzarek’s less than flattering comments about him in his own autobiography.) “Alive, She Cried” got some turntable time but I eventually shut the door on the Doors.

The door recently re-opened. A re-mastered version “LA Woman” that was a sonic upgrade gave it initial impetus. The bluesy rawness of this one meant it never entirely faded from view. The “Live in Hollywood” disc – culled from post-Miami shows at the Aquarius in LA – helped, even if Sugerman’s liner notes comparing Morrison to Nijinsky is compelling evidence that too many drugs really do fuck your brain. (I never speak ill of the dead but the word “necrophiliac” is somehow appropriate.)

A couple of months ago, I stumbled across the entire studio back catalogue on Rhino (this line extension is Bruce Botnick’s re-mixes from the master tapes) in a chain store for the bargain basement price of 10 bucks each. Digital slut that I am, I took the plunge.

Some of the re-mixes are superfluous and the bonus tracks on the first couple are dubious (outtakes of truncated versions or studio chatter are usually exactly that – outtakes) but I’m warming to some of the tweaks. A few specific observations:

- The mid-period “Morrison Hotel” is right up there with the band’s best. Can any band complain about having its first, last and middle albums rated as “excellent”. Thought not.

- As ravaged as his voice was by then, “LA Woman” is stronger for that fact. That the band says it had run out of songs by then and was making things up in the studio is not necessarily a negative either.

- Even with years of distance, the term “mute nostril agony” has never improved as a lyric.

- The penny has dropped: The reason for the “I see the bathroom is clear” line is because “LA Woman” was recorded in the band’s office with the shithouse set up as a vocal booth. D'oh.

- Did the flawed “The Soft Parade” really take nearly a year to make? Why?