Friday, March 27, 2009

Hear me DJ, buy me beer

The Midwife of Australian rock and roll

That's Roddy Raydalj, ex-Scientists, Le Hoodoo Gurus, Johnnys, Dubrovniks and anything else that was worthwhile in the Australian musical underworld of the '70s and '80s. Patrick Emery has a superb interview with the man here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Won't Get Fooled Again? We'll see.

There are a number of dilemmas thrown up by the imminent arrival of the long-awaited Neil Young Archives box set. Even if you're not a fan of the man and his music, bear with me because some of these issues go right to the heart of how recorded music is traded generally.

If you haven't caught up, Youngy has been working on a series of incredibly comprehensive archival recordings and ephemera for a hundred years. Christ was playing fullback for the South Sydney Rabbitohs when he started. Rumour is they were even winning, it was so long ago. The first installment, covering his career (Neil's - not Christ's) from 1963-72, will be released on June 2. There are three versions of this 10-disc monster - Blu-Ray, DVD and CD - and they'll retail for $300, $200 and $100 bucks respectively (that's American dollars so expect to pay 40 percent more in Australia.)

The recommended Blu-Ray version will carry much more material, be heavily interactive, be tied to a book and become "the gift that keeps giving" by pushing free material your way via the Internerd, whenever Neil finds another dusty suitcase in the garage with all his old harmonicas and Playboys.

The DVD will have audiovisual content and superior sound quality to the CDs. The CD box will be CDs (but you probably knew that already).

The whole project was unveiled at a special panel discussion at the SXSW music festival last week and there's a slick website that includes a personal pop-up message from Neil himself, telling you why you have to have the Blu-Ray version. If you pre-order for any format other than CD, he (or more likely one of his helpers) will send you a bonus Blu-Ray disc.

If you don't have a Blu-Ray player, Neil helpfully tells you to ask an electrical goods retailer to let you use one of theirs' and then you'll have to buy one.

If you are a Blu-Ray owner (PlayStation 3 will work too) you'll also get a jukebox 45 by the Squires (Young's schooldays band). I'm not sure a salesman will demonstrate that on a turntable but you can always ask.

Industry comment from the likes of Chicago journalist Jim Derogatis is that this package is the way of the future, that CDs will be dead in five years and that massive, one-off legacy box sets provide the only viable lifeline for the few Ma and Pa music shops that still survive the download onslaught.

I appreciate all that. Ditto Neil's opinion that Blu-Ray is far superior in the audio quality it can deliver and the interactivity is a given. I like the fact Young's a techno geek and always trying new things. But I have issues.

Firstly, I am sick to the back teeth of the global giants trying to shove new audio and audio-visual formats down my throat. I remember the Beta vs VHS farce of the '80s (Beta won.) I resisted the switch from vinyl to CD until it was inevitable and have been appalled time and time again with the criminally negligent way the uncaring big companies mastered music for the new format.

Yes, I've also been sucked into re-purchasing the same music over and over, re-packaged with bonus tracks and outtakes that more often than not weren't worth hearing (hence why they were left off the original albums).

But SACD? As redundant as eight-track tapes. 5.1 remixes are a wank unless you've shelled out big bucks for a top-end home theatre system. I have a cheapie because I watch little TV.

So if no-one trusts the big music conglomerates and lots of people are taking pleasure in watching them squirm under the relentless march of downloading (as much as it's at the expense of music-makers), do you have to wonder why?

Then there's the side issue that of the the 10 discs in the Neil CD box set, three have already been released. Warners should have made it clear they were integral to the bigger project and although the other seven CDs will be available individually, I'll bet the economics of that play heavily in favour of the record company, as usual.

I hope (and suspect) Neil Young's commitment to a new format that brings unprecedented quality to his fans is genuine. From a selfish perspective, it sure beats him tinkering with toy trains.

Part of me wants to embrace the Neil Young Archives and their almost irresistible marriage to Blu-Ray, but the buying into the whole thing at the optimum level involves a lot more than a one-off purchase. There are another four volumes planned and once critical momentum is achieved, it's certain other artists will be pushed over to the new platform.

Deep down, I don't want to see that much control over fandom put back into the hands of capricious, uncaring brokers of music as a commodity (and I don't mean Neil). It's that simple.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Elvis is Everywhere

Seen one Elvis, seen 'em all. Not quite. Everything's bigger in Texas and Ken Shimamoto contributes this clip of Extreme Elvis:

Well that's alright, Mamma

I did attend an Elvis party last weekend so this is appropriate.

From Las Vegas (where else?) comes news that Big Elvis (aka impersonator Pete Vallee) is offering to take a DNA test to prove his is indeed a direct descendant of The Big Prez. Judge for yourself.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blowin' in the Wind

Bob Dylan's toilet is infringing human rights. It took fly-overs by news helicopters to bring the story to the viewing public in all its graphic glory. No shit. More here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Band will spend their winnings "immorally"

Good news on the weekend. Melbourne darlings Eddy Current Suppression Ring won the indie music prize.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Doors doco: When You're Strange

There have almost been too many of these but another one is previewed here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Lipstick On Your Collar" - The Saints

Been digging that limited edition Live in Brisbane 2007 CD by the Saints, so here's something to remember them by in their time in London 30 years earlier. It reminds me that I liked Slovenly Chris Bailey better than today's Lord Byron Chris Bailey.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Brisbane bands

Why this doesn't rate a repeat screening on free-to-air TV is beyond me.

It gets a bit into hair product from here biut, hey, it was 1988:

Probably only right the Go-Between dominate the last part.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brisbane Bands documentary c1988

Plenty more where this came from. Funny to see some of the principals looking so young. And, wow, live Leftovers footage!

Tangled Shoelaces?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hopefully, it's not just Cauze THEY Say So

From the Please Kill Me Mailing list comes news of the Two York Dolls' new album. The studio reunion record was this side of OK, the live show that came to Australia a lot of fun if light on for the classics.

The jury's out on this one but we can live in hope it doesn't suck as bad as the Stooges' "The Weirdness" which is the benchmark for dreck :

Legendary rockers NEW YORK DOLLS will release their new album, "Cause I Sez So", on May 5 via the Atco label (which has been specially re-launched) through Warner Brothers.

After working together on the NEW YORK DOLLS' influential debut in 1973, the group reunited this winter with producer Todd Rundgren to record the new LP at Rundgren's studio on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

"Cause I Sez So" features 11 original compositions and a new version of "Trash", which was on the band's 1973 debut album. "It was amazing working with Todd again, and I think we were able to evoke the special sound of our first album and drag it by the hair into the present," says frontman David Johansen.

Prior to the album's release, the NEW YORK DOLLS — David Johansen (vocals); Sylvain Sylvain (guitar); Steve Conte (guitar); Brian Delaney (drums); and Sami Yaffa (bass) — will appear at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music conference and festival in Austin, Texas.

The NEW YORK DOLLS swaggered onto the New York music scene in the early '70s, influencing a generation with its subversive mix of high-decibel rock and high-heeled androgyny. The original band recorded a pair of milestone records — "New York Dolls" (1973) and "Too Much Too Soon" (1974) — before breaking up in 1977. The surviving members reformed the group in 2004 to much acclaim, but soon lost bassist Arthur Kane to leukemia. Two years later, Johansen and Sylvain reunited again to record the NEW YORK DOLLS' third studio album, "One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This".

"Cause I Sez So" track listing:

01. Cause I Sez So
02. Muddy Bones
03. Better Than
04. Lonely So Long
05. My World
06. Ridiculous
07. Temptation To Exist
08. Making Rain
09. Drowning
10. Nobody Got No Bizness
11. Trash
12. Exorcism Of Despair

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Wanna Be Your Dog

Hiawatha Bailey of the Cult Heroes joins Scott Morgan and Powertrane for a run through of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" from the Ron Asheton Tribute at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor recently.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Of a kind, but Iggy's playing things close to his chest. Rolling Stone USA has some info here.

Rolling Stooges

No idea where I found this so apologies for not being able to give credit where it's due, but it's too good not to share.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taking a dump with John Mayer

What a profoundly deep thinker American soft-cock rocker John Mayer is. Tell me I'm wrong after you read this. No wonder his music is shit.

"At First Sight" - The Stems

A reminder why they held in such high esteem. About time for some new shows, methinks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

MC5 drummer Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson

...has a blog here and it's a damn fine read.

This montage clip emanates from there:

Party down with Colonel Parker

The Barman is going to an Elvis-themed party in a couple of weeks. With so many would-be Presleys in the house, I'm thinking the only choice of costume (apart from going as Priscilla) is Colonel Tom Parker.

It's a little-known factoid that the real reason Elvis never toured outside the US (apart from some 1957 shows in Canada which had an open border then) was that his manager wasn't a legitimate American citizen and might have been deported had he applied for a passport.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fake Nick Cave on Twitter

Let's be brutally honest. Twitter is mostly pointless nonsense, but it is occasionally throwing up glints of comedic wit. Here's a few from the supposed tweeting of Nick Cave:

"Hoping to premiere my new lingerie line, Get Ready For Love, at my half-birthday party later this month. Sending out invitations."

"At the shoot for the Meow Mix commercial. If I hear the director say 'release the cats!' one more time and wink at me meaningfully, I'll cry"

"Just realized Ed Kuepper is not Chris Bailey. What have I done?"

"Testing March menu at Murder Salads. "Plain Cold Herring"? Disconcerted"

"Getting ready for my first acupuncture appointment. I need to be rid of Mick's hurtful energy."

Gems like these here.

More banal stuff form the Barman here.

Festival Thoughtz

Anyone wonder why so many Gen-Xers (presumably, even in the middle of a Global Financial Crisis) with money to spend shy away from festivals? Because they're too much hard work.

If you agree, this write-up on an atypical Aussie festival outside Melbourne and its sister event by the erudite Patrick Donovan might make interesting reading. Festivals treating people like adults? Nah, can't be right.

Booting Things Up on a Monday

No better way to start the working week. This is a little-known line-up and I'll let YouTune poster WizardofLivonia tell the story:

Destroy All Monsters after the psychedelic era featuring a more standard line-up with the only original DAM member Niagara on vocals, Ron Asheton of The Stooges on guitar, Mike Davis of the MC5 on bass, Bill Frank of NonFiction on drums, and Charley Tysklind of the Blue Front Persuaders on Sax. Rest in peace Ron and Charley

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ron Asheton Tribute Night

That's Ron's schoolmate Scott Morgan and his band Powertrane making the running on "1969" and ex-Stooges roadie Hiawatha Bailey (of the Cult Heroes) on "Down On The Street".

Happy Birthday Mickey Dolenz

Born on this day in 1945.

Locals say goodbye to Ron

Nice wrap=up of the Ann Arbor Ron Asheton tribute night here.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Brighton Port Authority (aka Puppetry of the Pop) some sort of Fat Boy Slim project and Ig is a guest. That's about all I know. Someone out there can join the dots after they see this clip from YouTube.

New Zimm

His follow-up to "Modern Times" is evidently in the bag and imminent. The Barmaid will be excited.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Barman is Blipping

I'm on here if that means anything to you. As you were if it doesn't.

Angry Young Man

I'm in debt to Ken Shimamoto for the heads-up on Neil Young attacking his record label for pulling all YouTube material promoting, sorry infringing, his and their copyright. Go get 'em Youngy!

More at his official website where (surprise, surprise) his archival box set looks to be delayed (again.) The other bad news is that it appears to now be coming out on BlueRay only. Fuck that for a joke. Although I did say that about CDs back in the '80s.

Great Moments in Rock Interviews

Ray Charles meets Norman Gunston.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

New Saints live album hits the spot

Just in from Sydney retailer Mojo Music is news of a live Saints reformation album. I'd heard whispers about this but it's slipped out almost unannounced. I wasn't at the Pig City show in Brisbane but I've heard it and it's a damn fine gig.

On July 14th 2007, 6,000 people celebrated the band and their legacy in a concert called “Pig City – Brisbane’s Historic Soundtrack”. The show came about after author Andrew Stafford was approached to transform his book on the history of Brisbane music, Pig City, into a festival. Stafford says the set lived up to lofty expectations. "They ripped into" Swing for the Crime", and like most of the people in the place, I just couldn't believe it was happening," he said. "When they hit the horn solo, I died. And went to heaven."

Chris Bailey, Ed Kuepper and Ivor Hay walked on stage to thunderous applause as a thank you and the band repaid the faith with a set that nailed your head to the back wall. This was not a nostalgia show, this was a band playing at the peak of their powers and showing what made them so relevant and so inspiring to a world of bands from The Go-betweens to Birthday Party to The Hives.

From the first strains of “Swing For The Crime”, through “I’m Stranded”, “Know Your Product””Messing With The Kid” and finishing off with their unique version of “River Deep Mountain High", this was the Saints fulfilling their promise in front of an adoring crowd. As Ivor Hay said “We had unfinished business and Pig City was the way to do it”. Originally only available for sale at The Stranded and All Tomorrow's Parties shows, it's now been repressed as a one off retail version of only 1600 copies. Buy now or miss out.

Click here to hit up Mojo Music for a copy.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Nobody Knows - Destroy All Monsters

R.I.P. James Darroch

On the anniversary of the passing of James Darroch in 1986 (thanks Bill for the heads-up) here's some footage from November 1985 at Caringbah Inn:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Drool over some new TSOOL

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives have a new album, "Communion", out this week and their website has been re-vamped. Hope it gets some major push around the place. The parts I've heard sound up to the usual TSOOL standard. Here's a taste - "Second Life Relay":

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Return of the I-94 Bar Podcast

It has a new hosting service so re-direct your Podcatcher or go here. Includes The Kits, Simon Chainsaw, Mazinga, the Booby Traps, the Lipstick Killers and Kevin K.

Warning, Will Robinson: Lost In Space content ahead

Will Robinson - sorry, Billy Mumy - has an album out. "Circular" is said to be melodic country rock with at least one tune a politically-loaded rant of the recent Dubbya era. Maybe that song should have been called "This Does Not Compute".

Judging by his discography, this is the 10th album for Billy and you can buy some of them or obtain more info here. Post-"Lost in Space", he's carved out a successful acting career and his two children have done similarly well in the same business.

On a slightly related child-star/trash TV note, Eddie Munster (Butch Patrick) owns a Grateful Dead tour bus.