Friday, October 31, 2008

Revolution? What Revolution?

The Rock and Roll Hall of Lame is opening a Manhattan "Annex" to stage exhibitions. First cab off the rank is something called "Revolution Rock" featuring The Clash. Sponsors include Bloomingdales and BestBuy. Rock commodified? Naaaah...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

An alternative to Guitar Hero

Accordion Hero. A polka fan's dream.

40 years ago today

The MC5 recorded "Kick Out the Jams".

Johnny Casino & The Secrets podcasted

That's a new podcast on the interface at right and it's featuring Johnny talking about his new album and spinning a few fave tunes. It's streamable or you can download it/subsribe to it here. Did I mention that almost certainly The Best Album I've Heard All Year?

Nate suffers stroke

There's been surprising little news about the fact that soul-pioneer-turned-garage-meister Nathaniel Mayer has suffered a series of strokes and finds himself confined to a nursing home.

Meyer had a series of comebacks in the last decade, culminating in a stunning album on Total Energy/Alive, "Why Don't You Give It To Me?" Mayer is backed by a contemporary cast of underground folks - Matthew Smith of Outrageous Cherry, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Dave Shettler of SSM/The Sights - and it's a classic, a ball of skeletal feedback, raspy vocals and dark creepiness.

The I-94 Bar review is here and you can download an MP3 here. Considering Mayer had his first hit in 1962 ("Village of Love") we should be thankful that he could have been bothered recording, let along delivering something as great as this album.

There'll be a benefit show in November.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Received in the e-mail

It's from Detroit's First Lady of Punk, Niagara, and her beau, Colonel Galaxy.

Christies auction house goes punk

Purveyors of fine art go down-market and flog off punk memorabilia? Anything to turn a buck, the Christies spokesman seems to be saying here. I doubt, however, that even Yoko would fork out $200,000 for the late John Lennon's, er, organ.

Leaving Percy at home

The stories about Led Zeppelin touring without Robert Plant have received prime exposure today.

This suggests endless possibilities:

- Maybe the MC3 have a spare lead vocalist who's surplus to requirements (Evan, are you there?)
- They could call it Aluminium Zeppelin
- This will be a double-headed tour with The Doors of the 21st Century
- Maybe the new singer will be unearthed via a really lame reality TV show

The bottom line is that the new group might actually be listenable. Call me a heretic but I find Plant's preening prescence and overblown hysterics about as appealing as sipping a chai latte with Jimmy Barnes.

Stooges treasure ahead?

Rumours abound of a soundboard quality "Funhouse"-era Stooges show in someone's pipeline for commercial release. Could this snippet on UK label Easy Action's website be related? It's not soemthing we've chased down but either way it's good news:

The Stooges have now finished stooging around the world so we at easy action HQ await news from the band regarding possible work on newly acquired stooges tapes...mindblowing stuff i assure you !! Also Sir Pop 's second box set will be with us at the end of October we think you're gonna like it !...alot!

"Where the Faces Shine" Vol 2

Not all Iggy is good Iggy. The guy's solo career is littered with ill-considered chapters. But when the Pop fails, at least he's interesting, and the latest installment in UK label Easy Action's archival series "Where The Faces Shine" looks to contain more ups than downs.

We're looking at six CDs, a DVD and (if you get in quick) another live CD drawn from a gig on the 1988 Australian tour. The first two CDs are from the "Zombie Birdhouse" period. Not Ig's greatest album, granted, but the shows had an air of desperation about them which is often a plus.

Next up, there's a disc of demo's and other odds and sods (the "Repo Man" song among them) from the Steve Jones collaborations. Some of these demo's have been out there for a while but it's another collection that completists will love.

A 1986 "Blah Blah Blah" tour show spans two discs. Here's where Iggy picked himself up off the floor. The live material I've heard from the time has a lot more fire in the belly than the clean, Bowie-fied album.

The final CD is the Whisky-a-Go-Go "Instinct" tour warm-up/showcase. If it's in decent sound quality, it's going to be well worth hearing. This show was documeted in bass player Alvin's Gibbs' excellent tour diary book, "Neighborhood Threat".

The DVD is culled from TV appearances of the same vintage. My memory of the tour is of a professional but sometimes compelling band. The bonus Adelaide CD is said to be aurally rough and ready but also worth hearing.

I haven't laid ears on the full box set yet but a review will appear at the I-94 Bar.
Orders are being taken here where you can also view the full track lists.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Having fun with Fugazi

On a speaking tour that consists of extended Q & A sessions, Fugazi mainman Ian Mackaye is still has to deal with the straight edge question after all these years. The LA Times has more here. Still, I wouldn't turn up with a six-pack.

Recession down to Acca Dacca

Blame the global financial crisis on AC/DC. Not that it means Angus isn't laughing all the way to the bank, it's just that stashing the dosh under the matress might be a safer bet.

Deluxe Pretty

One of the most eagerly-anticipated re-issues for this year has to be Died Pretty's staggering full-length debut "Free Dirt".

Aztec Music is planning to give it the luxury make-over with a pile of demo's, live-to-air tracks and both sides of the "Stoneage Cindarella" single making up a double-disc package. It's much the same way that Citadel treated the "Doughboy Hollow" re-birthing (a copy of which you'd be mad not to procure here.)

Roughly coinciding with the re-issue, there will be two gigs by Died Pretty - the already sold-out Homebake festival in Sydney on December 6 and the E.G. Awards at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda on December 4.

Full info on the Aztec re-issue here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wide Open Road

Australian radio network Triple Jay is running a series that attempts to define the character of Australian music.

"Wide Open Road" hould be a blast judging by the look of the heavy-duty Shockwave website they've put up, from where you can download interview snippets and presumably full episodes.

Let's hope it steers away from the "let's re-write history and push certain commercial interests" that some TV-to-DVD efforts have followed in recent times.

KOTJ gig spawns CD

That Detroit area concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of the recording of "Kick Out The Jams" is becoming a bigger deal, with a double CD of MC5 material by new bands. Read more here.

Great Ways To Party (part one)

Why not make your next soiree a Titanic Party? Book this baby and see the crappy animation here.

Tay Zonday: When "stain" rhymes with "pain"

A work colleague heard this as a backing track for the weather report on Australia's national yewf radio station Triple Jay. Ignoramuses that some of us are Down Under, we find that he's had multiple-million views on YouTube (and probably makes a zillion bucks from the annoying cross-promotion ads on the clip.)

He also writes nonsensical lyrics like this:

Chocolate stain
Dealing drugs across the states
Chocolate stain
And you wonder why the police dont hesitate

Chocolate stain
Everything handed right to you
Chocolate stain
College and money until our nation gets a clue

Chocolate stain
Do us all a favor and act like a human being
Chocolate stain
Or you belong with all the other apes in a tree

Bob Dylan he ain't.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Damned tour US with new album

Surely punk rock's most enduring survivors (putting aside the Buzzcocks), The Damned are hitting the road on a US tour in support of their first album in seven years. Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible are the originals this time. More here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fan letter from Johnny Rotten, 40 years on

There's a fascinating insight into John Lydon's post-Pistols state of mind that's been posted by fan Martin Smyth at the unofficial Pistols site. Honest and optimistic, you can read it in situ here.

DIY publishing's biggest problem

If you're starting a zine (and who isn't?) here's a great guide to naming it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hitmen pare back tour

News from the Hitmen camp:

For immediate release


Venue closures in Canberra and Brisbane and singer Johnny Kannis' ongoing heart condition have resulted in some dates being cut from the Hitmen's "Monkey's Gone Wild" Tour. Refunds will be available from point-of-sale.

The Hitmen will still do two Sydney gigs with Devilrock Four and The Southern Preachers at Mona Vale Hotel on November 21 and Caringbah Bizzos on November 22.

They’ll also play one Gold Coast show at The Coolangatta Hotel on November 28 with
Mick Medew & The Rumours and Suzy Loves Dick, before their lead singer undergoes more tests and some enforced rest.

Be assured that plans are afoot to tackle Melbourne and add some other places as soon as Zeus receives the all-clear.

Details on a live album with Detroit punk rock diva Niagara soon...and she will be back in Australia to tour in tandem with the Hitmen in early '09.

I-94 Bar goes M.I.A.

OK, I screwed up a change of hosting and the thing went down for a day. Mea culpa. Reminds me of this.

Hank pulls his punch (slightly)

I try to keep politics out of my rock and roll wherever possible, but Henry Rollins sort of transcends being called a music-maker these days. His thoughts on John McCain might surprise:

“He’s a very likeable guy, he’s very affable and has a sense of humour. You see why people like him. I like him, I just don’t want him to be President.”

Rollins was never going to endorse John McCain but did you think he he might have gone in harder? More here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When the joke's on you

Nothing to do with rock and roll but funny if you're not the guy reading the news.

Deltra Goodrem = Celine Dion

The often witty and usually biting Jack Marx of the Sydney Daily Telegraph's otherwise puerile online offering tells you why the manufactured Deltra Goodrem could be on your dartboard here.

Let's face it, plastic music does stink. And yes, I know it's Delta Goodrem but ever since Australian TV's turkey-necked Mr Ubiquitous Eddie Maguire fucked up her name at a Logies night, the moniker's been permanently altered around these parts.

A Triple Album Got Murdered; Crawdaddy disagrees

Crawdaddy online has gone all moist over the Clash's "Sandinista". Please don't make me laugh.

This was an overblown and limp piece of excess iand if Somebody should have been Murdered I'd have nominated the putz who hauled in a children's choir to contribute. Major Fail. Two bottles of Rolling Rock outta five.

Flame me in the comments section if you disagree (you especially Bucko.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Visitors -"She Used To Know My Name"

Another clip from Carol who was at the Empire gig in August. This is a new tune.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back to Back Masking

I luvz Satanic messages in popular songs played backwards mainly because of the nut jobs making dire warnings about them, so this site appeals in a practical sense. No more dragging out vinyl (if you own some of these abominations) and fucking up your stylus by manually spinning your Marantz turntable in the opposite direction.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stayin' Alive and Another One Bites The Dust

The Bee Gees and Queen as lifesavers? Strange but apparently true.

The Visitors: Living World, The Empire Hotel, Sydney August 30, 2008

Nice job Carol!

It's Only Rock and Roll - Rob Tyner

Warning: Cheesy and excessive guitar lick content. From Rob's 1990 album "Blood Brothers."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mick Medew and The Rumours join the I-94 Bar Records label

Australian label I-94 Bar Records is delighted to announce the signing of Brisbane band Mick Medew & The Rumours.

The Rumours have been an off-and-on concern in their hometown for five years, scoring some choice supports but only recently landing themselves in the studio to cut their debut album.

Featuring one half of The Screaming Tribesmen and two guys who should have been there all along, The Rumours are everything you remember and hold dear about good rock 'n' roll guitar music: hooks, chops and melody.

Vocalist-guitarist Mick Medew is one of Brisbane's underground rock and roll elder statesmen with a history spanning the internationally-signed Tribesmen, seminal legends The 31st and more recently The Bluebirds.

Guitarist Ash Geary was a member of latter-day Tribesmen line-ups and '90s blues-rockers The Lost Boys and also plays with Brisbane-via-The Bowery gutter punks JJ Speedball.

The engine room is manned by Paul Hawker on bass and newcomer Adam Cole on drums.

Their as yet untitled album is being recorded at Black Box Studios in Brisbane under the production hand of friend Jeff Lovejoy and is scheduled for release in late 2008 or early '09.

The Rumours' sound isn't a million miles away from that of the Screaming Tribesmen - Mick's distinctive vocal and the well-honed twin-guitar Medew-Geary crunch inevitably make it so - but there's a little more more room to move in the songs.

Citing a long list of influences including MC5, Thin Lizzy, Roky Erickson, Blue Oyster Cult, the New York Dolls, David Bowie, The Dictators and Manitoba's Wild Kingdom, The Rumours recall all those touchstones but apply their own take.

Mick Medew & The Rumours join Klondike's North 40 (featuring Hitmen and ex-Radio Birdman guitarist Chris Masuak) on I-94 Bar Records.

They'll support the Hitmen on selected dates of that band's "Monkeys Gone Wild" national tour with gigs at Coolangatta Hotel on the Gold Coast on November 28 and The Living Room in Brisbane on November 29.

More information:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You have until October 20 to send Ringo your soiled undies

There always seemed to be a few kangaroos loose in his top paddock, but is Ringo off the piss and lining up for a spot on the BBC program Grumpy Old Men? He didn't specify what wouldn't be signed so there's some marketing management lecture notes, a Punxie & the Poison Pens T-shirt and a box of old newspapers he can have.

'70s punk survivor Alan Vega is 70

As if anyone needed reminding that punk's first flourish of youth was a long, long time ago, seminal synth-and-angst agitator Alan Vega turned 70 in June. Of course he's very lucky to have gotten that far, given the liking he and Suicide co-member Martin Rev's had of crowd-baiting in their heyday.

Anyway, there's some limited edition tribute vinyl rolling out to mark the Vega milepost (with Brooooce Springsteen contributing) and an interview freshly online at a Jewish publication here which reveals CBGB was "just one big Synagogue".

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Interview Didn't Start Well

As host Big Al got wasted, things went even further downhill.

The panty liner on the forehead is a nice touch, don't you think? The song is a clue to why they were on a label called Limp Records. Peanuts McGhee, where are you today?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hard-ons - All Set To Go (1987)

This might dust a few cobwebs out of a few folks' memories. Who was there the night the crowd brought down the PA stack at the Sutho Royal and the venue banned the Hard-ons because a girl broke her arm? Or did I imagine it?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Soft Cock Rock

I heard a leaked copy of the new Tex Perkins and His Ladyboyz contract-breaker a month ago and didn't think that much of it but I'm warming to the concept after watching the infomercial. You have to wonder though after watching Charlie and Joel in that double guitar solo.

Mini Kiss Were Made For Loving You

Does the real thing exist any more or is it a hologram? Mini Kiss is way better anyway. They even play their own instruments!

MiniRockerz video "I was made for lovin' you"

Spare me the Gene Simmons sex tape.

Here's Mini Kiss on St Paddy's Day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Eastern Dark remembered

The Eastern Dark has been on high-rotation yesterday, as part of an effort to get into finishing some liner notes for a bunch of Australian music from the same time and place. I can’t help noting that this band was head and shoulders above anything else of its kind.

If it’s going to be power/punk-pop, it needs three essential ingredients.
The first of these is melody – preferably in shovel-loads. That’s a no-brainer and sometimes I despair that people don’t get this. The Ramones had melody to burn and knew, maybe instinctively, that this was at the core of all great music, which was especially crucial when they stripped it back to basics.

You also need power, some rough edges to make the ride more interesting. Then there’s a less definable element loosely described as character. This comes from themes (sex and death are often recurrent) and some sort of conviction that a band or artist isn’t putting you on, even if living in someone else’s shoes in a lyrical sense.

Technical things like dynamics and tension are important, but it’s the melody, power and character combined that make powerpop/pop-punk music memorable.

The Eastern Dark was really the vehicle for James Darroch, ex-Celibate Rifles bassist and member of a handful of other unrecorded and short-lived Sydney bands like Slaughterhouse Five. He wrote great songs (“Pretty Pictures” was his) but the Rifles weren’t big enough for three leaders, so Darroch took his leave. The Eastern Dark came about (as great bands often do) when three sympathetic players entered each others’ orbits. James Darroch sang and played guitar. Melodic bassist/back-up vocaliser Bill Gibson and un-tutoured drumming powerhouse Geoff Milne were more than just the other pieces of a puzzle, but it has to be said that James occupied the driving seat. Amazing music resulted.

That they only released one single (“Julie Is a Junkie” b/w “Johnny And Dee Dee”) when they were around is tragic enough, but that a road accident claimed James Darroch’s life is the real loss.

The Ramonic single was excellent and it’s probably an achievement that it sounded as good as it did, given stories of near insurmountable problems with the studio where it was recorded. But the posthumous “Long Live The New Flesh” EP was a jaw-dropper, especially the soaring “Walking”, the bittersweet rollercoaster “I Don’t Need The Reasons” (maybe their best song) and the simmering resignation of “It’s Over”.

There was obviously a massive emotional investment in Darroch’s tunes that tell stories of loss, lies and anger and this recording underlines that the forced demise of The Eastern Dark was indeed monumental.

While I kick myself for not seeing them more often live, buy, beg, borrow, steal or download "New Flesh" or the out-of-print Half a Cow compilation “Where Are All the Single Girls” which appends most of the live “Girls On The Beach (With Cars)” live double LP.

Just for the hell of it, here's the only known footage of the band shot at Sydney's Caringbah Inn (I wuz there.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Gabba Gabba Pray

With surefire "hits" like "Blitzkrieg Church", "Nazareth Affair" and "Beat on The Beast", the members of Chapel Hill's Christian Ramones (that'd be Matty, Markey, Lukey and Johnny) are surely bound for hell. Check the comments and you'll see the Bruddas' ex-road manager Monte Melnick is a fan. More here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Clash conveyer belt keeps flowing

Psst, Clash fans: Coming down the pipeline: A live at Shea Stadium CD, a live DVD presumably culled from other shows and a book on The Clash by The Clash (i.e. a transcript of a previously issued documentary.)

Is too much Clash barely enough? Ex-drummer Topper Headon doesn't think so and tells Billboard as much here. Interesting read.

Personally, the last live compilation Clash CD was a bit of a snore and even the deluxe edition of "London Calling" with the demos appended wasn't essential as the songs in their formative stages were exactly that. I'd settle for a complete, killer live gig - which the Shea Stadium clearly isn't, judging from Topper's assessment and the footage that's surfaced to date.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I like this a lot

But my sense of humour is weird.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

BDO kids playing silly buggers. Do the owners know?

There’s some funny stuff going down at the forum to promote the Big Day Out live music caravan that traipses around Australia and New Zealand every summer. Apparently, discussion threads mentioning other festivals have been taken down by moderators. One of the first rules of online forums is let the moderation be light and even-handed, but the discussion that persists points to a heavy brand of paranoia.

Fuck knows why a behemoth like the BDO would want to shoot down commentary on other fests when many of them are run by promoters who share acts and they sell out in five minutes anyway. Do the people in charge know what’s going on? Have a look for yourself here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

This explains a lot

Click to enlarge.

And aliens killed JFK

Expat American Mark Sisto (singer for the Visitors and numerous other bands of his own creation) loves a good conspiracy and tugged my coat to a video on YouTube allegedly showing the stockpiling of hundreds of thousands of plastic coffins in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s rumoured to be the precursor to a catastrophic event of the US Government’s instigation, the end game being you need to have somewhere to stash the bodies.

(Come to think about it, didn't Mark already sing about this in the Visitors' song "Disperse"?)

Ever willing to fuel such fires, Mick Farren (of the Deviants and the Pink Fairies and also the author of a fantastic autobiography covering his time in the UK underground of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s called “Give the Anarchist a Cigarette”) has penned a dissertation for LA City Beat. It's not short on the wonderful Farren invective.

Personally, I think the coffins are actually mega-sized compost bins to accommodate output from the enormous servings that US fast food outlet dish up.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Think smart, invest in beer

The following is just in from Dutch punk rock funnyman Tony Slug of the Hydromatics and Nitwitz, among others:

If you had purchased $1,000.00 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago you would have $49.00 left.

With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1,000.00.

With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5.00 left.

But, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of beer one year ago, drank all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have $214.00 cash !!!!!

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

Keep On Rockin' in the Expensive, Not Free, World

I like the sentiment behind this opinion piece on the price of supporting arena rock, even if I don't always practice what the lady preaches. Nice thought (pity no staffer on the SMH came up with it.)

I like Neil but left it too late to buy tix. I have an aversion to the barn that is the Sydney Entertainment Centre and sitting in a seat near the roof. He's also playing the Big Day Out (headlining, no less) but I'm reluctant to endure that. I did hear BDO promoter Ken West on radio the other day talking about the decision to book Neil and had to laugh that he said it took a while for the Greendale Tour to slide from the memory.

Altamont wasn't the Stones' show

So says their Australia-based ex-road manager Sam Cutler (pictured above with Mick Jagger) in a new book that promises to be a fascinating read.

"There's a lot of rubbish written about the Rolling Stones, especially the thing at Altamont, that we hired the Hells Angels ... and it was the Rolling Stone's free concert which it wasn't," Cutler says.

"It's kind of enter rock and roll mythology that we organised the concert, which we didn't.

"That we were responsible for what went down, which in part we were, but only in part. I wanted to write my version of the truth."

Read some more here.

When guitar shop employees attack

Click to enlarge

Kick Out the Guitar Hero 3, Motherfuckers

Now Brother Wayne's joined Motorhead and the Pistols in selling a re-recorded song to the makers of the Guitar Hero computer game. "Kick Out the Jams" is coming to a games store near you. While the usual low-level comments about selling-out will no doubt come from predictable sources, I'd just settle to hear his latest solo album which is said to be a return to his jazzy/spoken word stylings.

And in word just in, there's a good interview with Kramer here that throws more light on the forthcoming album.

So what's with the Grande Ballroom movie trailer?

I suppose I should be grateful that this is available as a teaser on YouTube, but the spelling mistakes in the superimposed graphics and the apparent absence of interviews with the members of Grande notables like the Stooges, the Rationals and The Up doesn’t fill me with too much positivism.

No details on how, when or if it’s coming out. We live in hope.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Let's (not) party with Rolling Stone Australia

Excuse me for being underwhelmed by the news that the Australian version of Rolling Stone is re-launching following the sale of its licence to publishing house Australian Consolidated Press. The news is so big that US founder and longtime major label act suckarse Jann Wenner is out here to celebrate at a party featuring Powderfinger (snooze) and one of the Finns (whose first name I conveniently forget.) Wake me up when it’s over.

The “new” Rolling Stone Australia will be coming off a low base. What was once a mildly counter-cultural, music-centric magazine is crammed with fashion ads and transparently feeble editorial stabs at being “cutting edge”. Sub-mainstream musical content is almost accidental and the over-priced rag feels like a brand extension of the Idol franchise.

Perversely it has no online presence – something that’s usually a given these days when you look at their target demographic. The former publishers even let the domain be parked with some on-seller/squatter. I suppose I could be wrong and it's a lame attempt to turn a dollar. Either way, it shows what little regard they had for their masthead.

So Jann, hope you have a good time at the party, pal. Here's to another 20 years of mediocrity.

Saints, Clowns on ATP Australia bill

The All Tomorrow's Parties is coming to Australia in January with performances by the reformed Kuepper-Bailey Saints and the Laughing Clowns among the highlights. Nick Cave is curator and will play the three-part festival with his Bad Seeds. Full line-ups are to be announced but the acts already unveiled include Spiritualized, Robert Forster and Rowland S Howland. Sydney Harbour's Cockatoo Island, Brisbane and Mt Buller, Victoria, will be the venues. Details here.

Is there a place for Extra Place?

It was the alley where the classic cover shot for the Ramones' first album was taken by Roberta Bayley. It backs onto the rear of what used to be CBGB's postage-stamp backyard, where an abandoned car used to sit. Just like the famous punk fleapit, it's now at risk according to this piece in the NY Times.