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garage

  • mummies

    In typically random style, those Kings of Budget Rock, The Mummies, have announced an Australian gig.

    The mysterious Californians, who play their shows swathed in bandages, will visit Australia for the first time in 2016, with only one date announced so far: March 9 at Melbourne’s Max Watts. More news as it comes to hand.

     

  • swamped quick sixesSwamped – The Quick Sixes (Outtaspace)

    There’s an awkward charm to the sound of The Quick Sixes that’s hard to resist. Equal parts twang, space retro blues and garage shimmy, this Geelong quartet is a cross between Brisbane’s late, lamented Hewkawis, The Modern Lovers and Shutdown66 (but with better manners.)

    The Gee-troit Sound is long gone but if you think of The Quick Sixes as Barwon Heads Beat you can’t go wrong. It's surf music for the loveless and landlocked. It'll occasionally make you cry into your beer. It's sometime a little loose around the edges, but it's a load of fun. Variety is a by-word, too.

  • primal screamerI interviewed John "Joogs" Martin for a piece on his upcoming book last year. Following its appearance on Louder Than War, the website was contacted by representatives of Primal Scream's management to respectfully request that it was removed before legal proceedings were initiated.

    To be fair, the interview was helluva incendiary in parts as I'd basically given Joogs free rein to vent and some of the material (which he'd had pent up for 27-odd years) was vitriolic and, at times, verging on libellous. It was also very, very funny.

    At that point, Joogs (his nom de guerre was flipped by himself to Martin St. John during the PS early days) was looking for publishing for the book that he'd laboured over in his night shift job for several years. He'd actually hand-written it and part of the problem was finding someone to transcribe it all before it was touted around.

  • sonics adlThe Sonics, 2016-style, owning the stage in Adelaide. Nick Spaulding photo

    Opening support Juliette Seizuere & The Tremor Dolls had a lot to contend with in Adelaide tonight. First up, not enough punters in early, crowded stage (The Sonics’ Dusty brought his own kit from the States), a line-up re-arrangement (only the two guitarists remain), and singer-guitarist Shannon recently had an operation.

    This is the first time I've seen them - I have tried to catch them before but never managed it. I enjoyed them, they're kinda powerpop with surfin' girl-pop overtones. Yeah, you'll spot “influences” but as always, it's about the music and the delivery. I have feeling that in several gigs time and in a smaller venue, they will be a force to reckon with, so I'll have to see them again. I've heard the CD is good: it's on Off The Hip.

    Speaking of Off the Hip’s Mick Baty, and indeed of Loki Lockwood of Spooky Records, Subtract-S are the premier support band of choice these days. They're unsigned. They're great fun, have a swirling, varied sound and swap vocals between Sam the Bam and Tomway Army. They're always worth seeing, and many of us have travelled inordinate distances and gone to some inconvenience to dance at their feet. Doesn't take long. Get to a record company, boys, and get something out, those download cards are useful but won't make you money at a gig. The world awaits.

  • right now baby coverRight Now Baby – Thee Minks (self released)

    Philadelphia is a place that’s always punched above its weight. Bill Haley, Todd Rundgren, Hall and Oates (yikes) and Pink are among musical offspring of the City of Brotherly Love. And for the fourth year in a row, Philly has more homicides than New York City, a place four times its size, and currently ranks second on the USA per capita Murder League Table.

    So here’s a recommendation if you’re a fan of rough ‘n’ ready, no bullshit garage rock and roll: Look up Thee Minks. Hook into this album like there’s no next week. Go to their Bandcamp and plonk down your credit card number or Paypal handle. Do it right now, baby.  Thank you. You’ve been a great audience. I’ll grab my hat and coat.

  • thee rum covesIs it really a surprise in 2015 to hear rocking garage soul that has its origins in the UK played better than almost anyone else around by a band that comes from Auckland in New Zealand? Meet Thee Rum Coves.

    These guys (and girl) should be the toast of the summer festival circuit in Europe. They deserve to fill the vacuum left by the demise of The Jim Jones Revue. Thee Rum Coves have everything going for them for a shot at success in Europe…except geography. Not that this should matter.

  • primevalsThey're not supposed to make records this good anymore. The scenario's familiar: Eighties underground band with all the right roots re-animates and attempts to re-capture their past by pushing out a new album to the converted, right? We've seen it happen with ever-increasing frequency. Only this time it works.

  • beat man and the undergroundIt’s a Matter of Time – Reverend Beat-Man and The Underground (Voodoo Rhythm)

    And it’s a Matter of Taste whether you dig the Reverend. We at the Bar have a lot of time for the venerable High Priest of Trash Rock, whether it’s in his clerical guise or cloaked in his garage trash skronk identity as leader of The Monsters.

    This long player (available as a CD or LP) re-visits some old songs and goes in a few new directions, but is unmistakably the work of Switzerland’s most cuckoo garage/trash rock original. 

    The back story goes a little like this: Beat-Man was coaxed to spend a week in a remote Swiss Alps chalet to record with a hand-picked line-up of people he’d long admired. He chose Milan Slick (keys), drummer Beatrice Graf(of Ester Poly) and local rockabilly guitarist Benjamin Claus.The material was played live. What you hear are complete takes. No overdubs.

  • thee sweedersThee Sweeders - Thee Sweeders (Let’s Sweed Records)

    No idea if there’s a decent garage rock “scene” of any sorts in Annency, France. The French tend to do to rock and roll what Australia's backpacker killer Ivan Milat did to tourists, both using a place called a shallow grave, but if there is, it’s lucky to have Thee Sweeders as part of it. This release is six tracks on vinyl of fine, hard driving punk rock and roll.

    Comparisons are often odious and best avoided but let’s pause and consider a couple:

    The Murder City Devils gave equal prominence to keys and guitar and produced some of the best Stooges-in-the-garage skronk to come out of Seattle, Washington, in the wake of grunge in the ‘90s.Thee Sweeders peddle a similar style, with Oliv’s swirling electric piano mixing it with Cuibs’ chunky guitar. Sweeders vocalist Gilles approximates Spencer Moody’s uncivil yowl - and probably speaks better English.

  • those fucking boysIt’s said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. If it’s true, The Hip Priests deserve a lengthy rest in a luxury grade rock and roll rubber room. One with booze on tap, room service high-class hookers and a mound of coke. Praise the lord and pass the straight jackets.  

    These Pommy punks from Nottingham have been driving their sonic battering ram against the gates of mainstream acceptance for a decade now without breaching its defences. Fame and fortune have clearly evaded them but they make it obvious that they couldn’t give a fuck. 

  • tick tockIt’s been more than a few years between releases, if not drinks, for this long-established Brisbane outfit and the good news is that they haven’t polished their sound one iota.  

    The Busymen live in a world where the clock stopped working in 1965. They’re paying homage to the original bluesmen - with electricity and volume - and think the term “rhythm and blues” hasn’t been stolen. They’re the early Pretty Things with a hankering for cold Fourex instead of black bombers and warm pints. Guttural grunts and delay guitar speak louder than any words. 

    And then there’s Boston Bob on organ and voice. The secret weapon. His vocal stylisations are unique - never more than on the slightly out-of-phase yet hypnotic title track. A job offer from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a long way off. 

  • till death do us partyThe catchcry “No Squares Or Hippies” re-appears on the LP’s sleeve and it’s as apt as the “Play Loud” instruction on the back cover. Levitating Churches deal in a jagged, jarring blend of psych blues and hard rock on their second, vinyl only long player. Lovers of the flute or banjo need to seek their kicks elsewhere.

    A little less psych and more straight-ahead than its predecessor “Levitating Churches”, “Till Death..” shows a band whose feet remain planted firmly in the garage scene of the late ‘60s. If these guys dig Roky more than Iggy and that’s a truism rather than a criticism.

  • top of the food chain coverA conundrum for you: If douche is a word for “an obnoxious or contemptible person” why don’t these guys suck harder than a top-of-the-line Dyson vacuum cleaner near a split beanbag?

    The intent is obvious from the song titles and long before you first drop that stylus into the groove. The Douches want to wind music back to Flintstones days, stripping it bare until there’s just fuzz left on the bones. Thirty-somethings on drums, bass and two guitars. What you see in their artfully posed cover St Kilda Beach photo is what you hear.

    Zappa rhetorically asked if humour belonged in music and the answer’s right here. Eight songs and there’s a droll dad joke in most of them. What’s not to love about the “primordial cordial” chorus in the song of the same name, especially when it’s about going on a bender?

    Sonically speaking, Prehistoric Douche are Melbourne’s equivalent of Sydney’s Crusaders without masks and playing a little slower. The playground they’re both in is familiar but each brings something of their own to stand out from the rest of the kiddies.

  • tumbling heightsWelcome to the crazy world of acid trash/garage punk rock n roll  that’s populated by the wonderful Come ‘n Go.

    They’re busting guitar strings and spitting out no bullshit licks, throwing a bit of Swiss chic punk around like there is no tomorrow. In short, this album is very good.

    It’s on the Voodoo Rhythm label and production is handled by Markus Staehli (Roy and the Devils.) “Tumbling Heights” is the fourth offering from The Come ‘n Go, who formed in Biel/Bienne in Switzerland in 2001. These punks have had some line-up changes over the years, but seem to have settled on Marina (drums and vocals), Philippe (guitars and drums), Franz (guitar), Rob (bass), Alain (vocals, harmonica and keys) and Markus (noise.) Benu guests on guitar on “What It Is”.

  • stoneage hearts re issueThe best re-issues are a reminder of how great an album was the first time around. “Turn On With” is exactly that - 11 songs of prime garage pop, exhumed and revived after 15 years.

    The Stoneage Hearts started as a vehicle for drummer Mickster Baty (Finkers, Pyramidiacs, Crusaders) to play with some mates and collaborate on writing some spiffing tunes after he moved from Sydney to Melbourne. It was also the first CD on his own Off The Hip label and 160-plus releases later it’s still going strong. There have also been several incarnations of the band, with Dom Mariani a notable member. Another version of the band lives on today.

  • under attackJust when you thought it was safe to go back into the psych ward, this sliver of shiny black vinyl arrives out of Brisbane’s sub-tropical humidity, stumbling around like a homeless man in a threadbare coat who's baring his arse for all the world to see.

    The Busymen don’t seem to have been living up to their name in recent times because this 10-inch EP is their first release since the “Distort All Levels” album of 2007. Put that down to commitments with other bands or members being detained by the authorities for their own good. They’ve certainly made up for lost time.

    Half-covers and half-originals, “Under Attack…” resonates with the brutal thump of a Force 5 hangover after an all-night pub crawl through the seedier haunts of their hometown’s party district of Fortitude Valley. The morning after just doesn’t come any fuzzier than this.

  • voodoo eyeFormed in England in the summer of 1986, the WitchDoktors have gigged all over the UK and Europe, and have even chalked up a five-year residency at the wonderful 12bar Club in Soho. So they’re well-travelled veterans.

    They’ve recorded a dirty album of trashy, balls-to-the wall punk-garage rock ‘n’ roll, their fourth all up and their first since 2008’s acclaimed “3 Dollar Hooker”.

  • who is innocentTheir legacy was just two LPs and a stack of singles but Fixed Up’s punky and soulful garage rock touched people in their native France and all the way around to the other side of the world in Australia.

    A lot’s been made about the Sydney-Detroit connection, mainly through Radio Birdman and its now fading local musical legacy. The irrefutable fact was that Birdman and its associated influences ruled the Sydney roost in the early 1980s. As true as that was, you can make a strong case for the affinity between Australia and France being almost as important, once the Sydney underground scene started to diversify and expand. 

    The Franco-Ausstralian link was made when John Needham, chief of seminal Sydney label Citadel Records, started dealing with the likes of Sonics Records in France. Suddenly, there was a pipeline for Australian bands to have their music heard on the Continent - meaning outside the UK where the perpetually jaded music press briefly adopted Aussie arty pop, junkie rock and the swamp sound for a time. 

  • wolf-partyA compilation of 17 of the most bent, raucous and screwed up lo-fi musical artists from New Zealand? Sounds like a concept worth bottling and who better than Switzerland’s Voodoo Rhythm to bring it on?

  • mesacosaThis is an album awash with snarling, fuzzy guitars that sting sweaty skin like summer dragonflies and leak their business all over the place. The vocals are shout-sung in Spanglish to a tattoo of primal tub thumping. It’s self-described as the Stooges convening in a tequila bar - and that’ll do me.

    They came out of nowhere, got cold feet and went back there again but Eddy Current Supression Ring still casts a shadow over Melbourne’s bustling garage rock scene. Mesa Cosa mines the same rich vein of suburban humdrum for their lyrical themes, but it’s in the direction of Spanish madmen Wau Y Los Arrghs!!! that they most frequently nod their musical hat.