One of Melbourne's best acts, James McCann and The New Vindictives, will play their first show in Sydney, as support to the New Christs, at Marrickville Bowling Club on July 15. Tickets for the gig are here.
They'll bring with them the CD version of their their new album "Gotta Lotta Move - Boom!" (Beast Records for vinyl, Off The Hip for CD). This is "Sheena Says", the second video single from it.
JAMES McCANN SCAG, New Vindictives, Dirty Skirt Band, Spencer P Jones, Selfish Gene, Gutterville Splendour 6, The Drones, Nunchukka Superfly, Harpoon Melbourne, Australia
Here's some music i picked up in 2020 that made my year a little more fun! But first, some news.
I've resumed work on the James McCann & The New Vindictives album produced by Rob Younger at SoundPark Studios, Melbourne. We should be doing the finished mix with Rob in February. We are happy to announce James McCann & the New Vindictives with guest Claire Birchall at the Tote Hotel, Melbourne, on Saturday, March 20.
I've recently finished production work on Voluimer One of the double vinyl Spencer P Jones Tribute Album, which i co-produced with Spencer himself over the last six years. To be released on French label Beast Records, it will feature Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, Adalita, The Drones, Chris Bailey, Violent Femmes, Jim Moginie, Alejandro Escovedo and many more!
OK, in no particular order - and probably not 10 of them either
Råttens Krater “URRAH!” (Conquest Of Noise) Stoked to release this gem. Slightly demented noisy punk rock from Sweden. Thankfully none of these blokes are parading fucking mullets. You can hear plenty of different influences from The Misfits, The Wipers to The Hives
Marvelous Mark “Buzzin’” (Drunken Sailor) A bunch of unreleased demos & ep’s combined to make this great album from ex Marvelous Darlings guitarist. He’s a power pop writing machine. This is no pedestrian piss poor pop effort, which I see plenty of. Plenty of 90’s influence going on here from Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub to Big Star.
The Cowboys “Volume 4” (Drunken Sailor) Killer lo-fi garage punks from Indiana. There’s some real bangers on this one. A total grower. All kinds of shit going on here from The DK’s, Thee Mighty Caesars to Devo. Make your own mind up.
The Celebrity Roadie informs The Barman that he can't go out in public like that. As usual, he's ignored. Kyleigh Pitcher photo.
This is a Top Ten of two parts. First, live gigs, and second, albums. You know. Second part, different from the first.The rule of not reviewing my own gigs goes right out the door from the get-go. Got an issue with that? See you in the carpark...
Chris Masuak and the Sydney City Wave Riders: This was a sensational run of shows- a mini-tour in and around Sydney because that’s all that time allowed - by Klondike and his crack band of Tony Bambach (bass) and Stuart Wilson (drums). Great players, top blokes. Armed with a killer setlist drawing on most of Chris’s back catalogue, the guys fired from the get go. Many of the versions surpassed the originals with Maz playing two guitar parts, as few people can. The shows blew away much of the skullduggery and malakarey involved with certain ghosts from the recent past.
HITS at Marrickville Bowlo You can’t keep playing the same old songs or you’ll get staid and there’s no sign of HITS doing that just yet. Members are now scattered the length of the East Coast so it can’t be easy getting together…or maybe that’s a blessing in disguise because it keeps things fresh. They continue to be THE Aussie band to follow.
The podcasts are coming thick and fast now. Episode 32 of Drunk and Disorderly is live, with music from Donald Trump, The Damned, Flamin ‘ Groovies, Sator, The Hellacopters, The Godfathers, The Volcanics, Dion Lunadon, James McCann and The New Vindictives, Leadfinger, P76, X, The Hip Priests and The Dream Syndicate.
Dave Kettley and Rob Younger marshalling the New Christs at Marrickville Bowlo on Saturday night..
Sydney, you’re such a contrary beast with this live music thing. And you fucking know it.
A year ago, this same bill of the New Christs and Melbourne’s James McCann and The New Vindictives pulled close to a full room at Marrickville Bowlo. This Saturday night, the place isn’t empty by any means but the head count is much lower.
Was it the cold weather? HTFU! It’s winter. Maybe a spot of fatigue with great rock and roll shows seemingly happening weekly? For sure, we’ve been spoilt. It was also the third New Christs appearance in these parts in as many months. if you were one of the waverers that stayed home, it really was your loss.
The first benefit show for Leadfinger leader Stewart Cunningham has been announced and it boasts a star-studded line-up.
Hoss is headlining the September 14 show at The Tote Hotel in Melbourne. They'll be joined by supergroup The Draught Dodgers, Swedish Magazines, Powerline Sneakers, Wrong Turn, Matty Whittle (ex-GOD) and the Melwayholics, James McCann and Adalita.
Tickets are available hereand there's a GoFundMe pagerunning for people unable to make it to the show. Organiser James McCann says there will be a stack of prize packs of music and merchandise being raffled on the night.
Cunningham, whose past bands include Asteroid B612, Brother Brick, Proton Energy Pills and Yes-Men, is fighting lung cancer.
About 12 months ago, we made a bold resolution. “When things open up again, we’re going out as much as we can, just so we’ve enjoyed life before everything shuts down again.” (The immediate reaction amongst friends to our reference to the likelihood of further lockdowns was nervous incredulity.)
When venues opened up in late 2020, so we stayed true to our declaration, indulging as much live music as domestic logistics and financial realities would permit, preferably younger bands.
I’d seen Foggy Notion a few times before the world shut down, initially at the behest of James McCann back in early January 2018.
On what would have been his 65th birthday, the late Spencer P Jones has been paid tribute by way of a double LP of his own songs played by some of his friends. French label Beast Records and Melbourne imprint Spooky Records have released “All The Way With SPJ Vol 1” as a unique international tribute to the New Zealand-born, Australian rock'n'roll cult hero and underground icon.
Spencer died on 21 August 2018 at the age of 61 and was a noted guitarist and singer-songwriter, known for his work with the Beasts of Bourbon and the Johnnys as well as wider associations with artists including Rowland S. Howard and the Drones.
An EP with a generous serving of guests, “Of The Sea” is nothing if not true to Howling Threads’ Detroit-via-Darlinghurst musical roots. Which sits just fine around these parts.
If you don’t know already, Howlin’ Threads is a trio whose members are located in and around Canberra and Wollongong. Dylan Thomas (guitar and vocals) and drummer Adam Fermo were in notable Newcastle band The Fools in the ‘90s while bassist Matt Houstonwas briefly in Tumbleweed.
A couple of historical reference points: Ken Russell, director of the cinematic version of The Who’s Tommy, lurching excitedly toward politico-cultural polemic. “Townshend, The Who, Roger Daltrey, Entwistle, Moon could rise this country out of its decadent, ambient state more than Wilson and those crappy people could ever hope to achieve.” The second, Old Grey Whistle Test host Bob Harris, his sanctimonious attitude almost as dominant as his pearly white teeth, dismissing The New York Dolls as “mock rock’”.
I first caught Jackson Briggs and the Heaters last year at the Yarra Hotel in Melbourne’s Abbotsford. A tiny band room out the back, the full complement of band members unable to squeeze onto the notional stage.
Driving riffs, one guitarist secreted on the right-hand side of stage, weaving elegant licks like a artisan putting the finishing touches on a roughly hewn rock’n’roll tapestry. James McCann had encouraged me to get along and see them, and I knew why.
James McCann leads his New Vindictives through a set in Sydney.
Before he was hanging out with The Drones in Perth, or touring through Europe with his own bands, James McCann cut his teeth playing in a local band in regional Western Australia. It was a baptism of fire, an experience that instilled in McCann a resilience that’s benefited him ever since.
“There’d be bikers, surfers, shearers, hippies, all mixing into one crowd, and fuckin’ getting’ shitfaced,” McCann says. “It could go real good, or it could go south really quickly. Heavy stuff would be happening, and you’d be up there watching. You had to hold your own.
"So by the time we got to Perth, playing was a walk in the park! The whole of my music career since then has been easy, crowd-wise.”
McCann grew up in the Western Australian town of Albany, 400 kilometres south-east of Perth. McCann’s father had moved from Scotland to Australia in the 1950s. After marrying a local woman in Sydney, where McCann’s elder sister was born, the McCanns moved back to Scotland, where James and his younger sister were born.
Schadenfreud is a German term that translates loosely to "watching Collingwood lose".
OK, maybe that’s too harsh: anti-Collingwood (that’s the Australian rules football team for those born above the Barassi Line in Australia, and any of the Bar’s overseas readers) sentiment is tied up with class-based bias, and a lingering resentment at the club’s rampant success back in the day. The modern Collingwood team is great to watch, and would have been a worth winner, had the battle-hardened Weagles not worn the Pies down.
The prospect of heading to The Tote, nestled in the edge of the old Collingwood flat, on a night of Magpie disappointment, was potentially worrying. In the end, the Pies fans were thin on the street, no doubt drowning sorrows in some other sporting bar.
Sometimes you get all philosophical. The penny dropped on Saturday night, after a succession of $14 jugs of beer with a mate, that the New Christs are probably the band that I’ve experienced live for the longest number of years.
Of course there have been so many line-ups that a statement like that becomes very elastic. But the wrist stamps don’t lie...
And they go right back to 1984 when a loose and limber Rob Younger bounded onto the stage of Sydney’s Capital Theatre, fronting the band’s first live incarnation, in support of Iggy Pop.
That line-up of Chris Masuak, Tony Robertson, Mark Kingsmill and Kent Steedman (the Rifle later to be subbed by a Spider, Richard Jakimyszyn) might have been equalled by the “Distemper” one (Charlie Owen, Jim Dickson and Louis Burdett/Nick Fisher) but never bettered. The former had a brutal edge, the latter a bluesier, expansive feel with jazzy inflections.
The current configuration of Dickson, Paul Larsen, Dave Kettley and Brent Williams measures up nicely in the history of the New Christs, probably sitting at level-pegging with the late-‘90s line-ups. They’ve all served up differing sounds and brought something different to the stage, with the one constant being Younger’s undeniable presence and bitter-sour song-writing.
“Emotional Jihad” and “Word Salad” are terms that others have used down the years to describe Younger’s lyrical vision. You can’t do much better than that.
The New Christs are playing their last gigs for some time, with Rob Younger going back on active duty with Radio Birdman, and they’re going out with a flurry that includes two interstate gigs.
Friday, July 6 finds them fronting up for two sets at Beaches Hotel at Thirroul in New South Wales for free. On Saturday, July 7 they’ll return to the scene of their Marrickville Bowling Club triumph with James McCann and the New Vindictives almost a year ago with precisely the same bill.
On Saturday, July 14 they’ll play a rare Melbourne show at the Cherry Bar, again with James McCann and the New Vindictives plus Penny Ikinger. And Saturday, July 21 finds them headlining the Fly By Night Musos Club in Fremantle, Western Australia, with The Volcanics and The Shakeys supporting. This will be the New Christs' first-ever WA show.
Tamara, Richard and Stacey on-stage at the Tote. Matthias Baratheon O'Meara photo
It has now been six years since was lining up at the Excelsior Hotel in Sydney when Jim Dickson (New Christs and Radio Birdman bass-player) told me about this band from Brisbane that I had to check out. Knowing Jim for three decades from his time selling Indian food down at Max’s in the late ’80s, I had never heard him express how blown away he was by a local band.
It’s 25 HITS gigs later for me. I’ve been seeing them from a time when only about five of us living outside their home of BrisVegas were convinced that they could be the greatest exponents of dirty, street-level rock ’n’ roll in this country.
Nowadays, HITS are the band on everyone’s lips. That’s why I am flying down from Sydney to to see my favourite Aussie band to play The Tote in Melbourne, not long before they’re due to embark on their second tour of Europe.
Nudity – Nudity Is God’s Creation– I ordered this through Richie Ramone’s Strangeworld Records on the basis of the name and a brief musical snippet alone. A re-release of a double album of choice cuts from 2005-2010, a smattering of Pagans-ish punk rock, Detroit garage, fuzzed out psychedelia and raga frenzies. My favourite vinyl purchase for 2021. The neighbours are still processing it.
Foggy Notion –great live band, great songs, talented players. By my count, we’ve seen them 10 times this year, with at least four shows cancelled due to you-know-what. New album out digitally, physical copy due March 2022.
Melbourne's James McCann is one of Australia's iunderrated rock and roll talents. This is "I Can Control Your Mind" from the forthcoming album "Gotta Lotta Move-Boom" (Beast Records vinyl/Off The Hip CD) co written with Penny Ikinger. and was shot on location at Nighthawks in Coliingwood, Melbourne. Say James: "Penny plays the Pennycaster and sings on it too. Working with Penny is an honour and a joy. She is the real deal."