Since, I was recently taken back by Suzie Stapleton’s compelling performance at the Bitter Sweet Kicks album launch Prince in St Kilda on Anzac Day, I did some searching. I found Suzie’s hypnotic and dark EP, “Obadi Diablo”, and it’s been on heavy airplay for more than two weeks. I contacted Ms Stapleton and requested a copy of her self-released debut EP of a few years back. Again, I was not to be disappointed.
rock - The I-94 Bar
Just coming off a scorching Los Chicos’ set on a cruise in Sydney Harbour and looking like a man who had just met God, I hit the concession desk and picked up a copy of this disc. I showed it to The Barman and asked him if he’d reviewed it yet. He had but suggested I did too. So this means a bit of an experiment in reviewing. Without reading the Barman’s review, how different will our opinions be?
Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly bass player, chatterbox and all-round nice guy, Ray Ahn, has been telling entertaining yarns on his Facebook feed for eons.
They've irrevent, rollicking tales that have taken on a life of their own lately, generating a big following and constant comments to the effect that Ray should write a book.
He's done the next best thing and is putting his stories into a blog. You can read it here.
Fucking brilliant. Primitive. Slightly awkward. Like bad early Nirvana, but with decent lyrics. Ugly, nasty stuff. But brilliant. Brave - particularly since this is an EP and no-one in Australia is buying fucking them now. So who are these idiots?
Tamam Shud back on stage at Byron Bay's Great Northgern Hotel. Al Heeney photo
The Northern New South Wales Australian coastline has changed dramatically over the last 50 years.
Remember the pilgrimage of holiday time, with caravans lined up on the Pacific Highway…the tribe of kids in the backseat of the Kingwood (or Ford Falcons) bellowing out of boredom on the inteminable drive north? Then there was the weekend pilgrimage of surfers with their Sandman panel vans. Followed, of course, by the night drive back to work to Monday. It was a long trip back down to Sydney with car headlights on high beam, dodging speeding semi-trailers with speed-driven truckies, in-between stopovers at the Oak Milk Bar or the Big Banana.
Dotted along the NSW coast, from Hornsby to the Gold Coast, are memories. Of stop-overs at Frangipani-lined caravan parks, or pitstops at the homes of relatives. Memories marked by places like Foster, Nambucca Heads, Coffs and Byron. Sleepy little towns that were bursting at the seams on long weekends and Chrissie holidays.
It seems a lifetime ago when the two great outposts of Sydney rock and roll were its northern and southern beaches. They were feeder tributaries to the inner-city and spawned bands like the Celibate Rifles and the Trilobites, to name just a couple.
The venues that were their spawning grounds have long closed down, the bands willing to play their own music thin on the ground. Only a hardy few are still willing to take a risk and make the swim up-stream.
Been on a Humble Pie trip for a bit around the I-94 Bar and it struck me that the less pastoral and more excessive they became, the better those guys got. This Mississippi-via-Memphis trio Dirty Streets is coming from the same place and despite their album's misnomer of a title (there's no sign of rolling fields and English countryside here) they purvey a fine line in swaggering rock.
Episode 2 of Bob Short's Complete History of Rock 'n' Roll podcast is live for your listening pleasure.
It's an all-Australian affair. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Make sure you wrap yourself in an Australian flag and run around like you're at the Big Day Out.
Episode 11 of Bob Short's Complete History of Rock and Roll podcast is live now. It's an eclectic collection of stuff you need in your collection.
Bob is back and he's going all original on us.
Bob presents a special podcast to mark Record Store Day and Easter while saluting the ladies. Click the More link to see the tracklist.
“Songs Radio Birdman may not have taught us but probably reminded us were pretty damn cool...” - Bob Short's History of Rock and Roll Episode 5.
You know the Ramones are bubblegium? Got a problem with that? Bob Short tells you to get over it in Episode 7 of his Complete History of Rock and Roll.
This album title should be filed under the Don't Try This At Home Kiddies label. Everyone knows cheap booze + cheaper speed = a killer hangover. Played at volume, the amphetamine rush of The X Rays is likely to have the same effect. This is English gutter-punk, turned up to 11.
There's nothing subtle about these 26 songs. Each one is cranked out at extreme volume and pace. The effect is as bracing as it is tiring. The attack is incessant and bruising, the product of too many beer-soaked nights spent on heaving stages in Europe, supporting the likes of New Bomb Turks, Gas Huffer, The Motards and anyone else who'd have 'em. All but one song is the product of 10 singles issued in the '90s, the closing "Drinkin' For My Baby" being from a recent session by the reformed X-Rays. That last one is a keeper, by the way.
You know what to expect but you might not anticipate the sole cover, a take on the Saints' sublime "Erotic Neurotic", to be as distorted (or good) as it is. "Recording quality varies from cruddy to better than OK. Audiophiles, The X-Rays are not.
A third of the songs are presaged by a blast of white noise feedback. The rest simply lurch out of the speakers at you, unannounced and reaching for your throat. With titles like "Arrogant Fucked Up Shit", "Drahstrip Killer", "2 Bit Whore" and "PCP", it's punk rock in the Killed By Death genre, which if you don't know is the seamy under current that erupted all over the US of A without the straight edge affectations or extreme violence of hardcore.
Look, you're might have to be in the mood to be belted around the ears like this. There's precious little in the way of a saving grace like a melody line or a slow song. This is raw and insistent music to get blasted with. Judged on that basis, it works a treat. - The Barman
Look, it's a punk rock record with some funny little new wave songs thrown in. You were expecting prog rock? It's also a bedroom album by Dean Agostino, one-half of Digger and The Pussycats, so that should tell you right there that it's pretty fucking good, OK? DIY rules!
Rising from the ashes of trio Hy-Test, BRUCE! (capital letters compulsory) is a band from the once-industrial musical nursery of Wollongong, south of Sydney, that plays skull-crushing guitar rock with occasionally complex arrangements. This EP showcases four of their simpler tunes delivered to mostly damaging effect.
Paying attention? This album by a band from local serial killer capital Adelaide that hardly anyone outside Australia will have heard of celebrates obscene volume, filthy guitar sounds and a blaring bottom end. For these reasons alone, you should love it.
Members of sublime Danish '60s throwbacks Baby Woodrose make up two-thirds of Telstar Sound Drone, but that's where the resemblance ends. Recorded in a WWII bomb shelter, it mimics the sound of a psychedelic lava flow with each of its seven tracks seamlessly flowing into the next.