Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Mix CDR

Get it here

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fuck the White Race

This compilation represents a certain time (1994) and place in Brisbane post-punk's collective cannon. If anything, it's an interesting curio of bands whose tracks don't wholly represent what their music is about. Nonetheless, it exists and that's what's important.

Adjusting things a little from the Brisbane music axis is Venom P Stinger, and even though this group's inclusion is a somewhat puzzling, their live track is a welcome addition. Likewise with fellow Melbournians Thou Gideon...

This (only) CD release from the MALIGNANT label offers some its stable acts - namely Noose, Strontium Dog, Mr Bastard, Grubbage, Slow Loris, Queer and Not From There.

Fuck the White Race also includes the rare mid-period Small World Experience, with an early version of Rounding the Bend featuring Gail Hargreaves on drums. Also representing the SPILL label is the Gatekeepers, with an alternate version of Silence - incorrectly tracked as Waterlogged.

Sadly, MALIGNANT's Monty Blomfield passed away not long after the release of this compilation and his family unjustly destroyed everything to do with the label's back catalogue - including this.

The Malignant Discography in brief...

v/a BURNING THE SUN cassette
THE INVISIBLE EMPIRE - An Unnatural Act cassette
STRONTIUM DOG - The Strontium Dog is Dead cassette
STRONTIUM DOG/NOOSE - Strawberry Rice Cake Man/Down 7"
QUEER - Queer vs Dead C 7" EP
STONTIUM DOG - Another Noise in a Different Kitchen cassette
NOT FROM THERE - Valid to 06/95 CD
SLOW LORIS - Strip Mining cassette
INVISIBLE EMPIRE - Jeezly Fishcakes cassette
MR BASTARD - Buggering with Bernard cassette

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Gatekeepers


Peter Jetnikoff - vocals, guitar
Greg Wadley - bass
Ian Wadley - drums

Another one of Brisbane's phantoms, the Gatekeepers. This band began around 1983, containing various former members of the Pits, the Swirl and the Dum Dums. Around this time, they released an 11 track cassette, Cosmic Street - of which two of its tracks appeared in the 1984 cassette compilation Leaving Home for the Party on the Roof.

The early line-up featured Greg Gilbert (aka Des Johnson) on drums, and Margo Hoyt on keyboard in addition to Peter Jetnikoff and Greg Wadley.

Fast forward to Melbourne in 1988, and the Gatekeepers exist as solely as a recording venture, releasing Indoors/Ogre/Silence in that year and a single Saturday/In This House in 1990. In addition to the cassette album and vinyl releases, the Gatekeepers appear on various SPILL cassette and CD compilations (Happy Still from SPILL Compilation One is a must-hear) well into the mid part of the decade, as well as a track on the Brisbane-based Malignant label collection Fuck the White Race from 1994.

This single was released on HWS (somewhat of a precursor to SPILL, who also provided a catalogue number to the first self-titled EP by Small World Experience.

In addition to the Gatekeepers, Peter Jetnikoff and Greg Wadley recorded many cassettes and CDs as the culture-jamming group, New Waver. Their lossy story can be found here.

Greg's brother Ian has played in a host of bands since the early 1980s, and his story can be seen over here.

Curiosity Shop

Judge and Jury
Scene of the Shame

Pat Ridgewell - vocals, guitar, organ
Noel Mengel - bass, vocals
Greg Wadley - drums

In Brisbane during the early 1980s, there was this slew of bands bursting forth onto the scene; from the bands who played at the Queen's Hotel in 1978, to the bands of the Silver Dollar in 1980, the 279 Club of 1981 and the Atcherly of 1982 and so on. Just as venues opened as quickly as they had closed in this golden era of Brisbane music (1978-1982), bands exploded and imploded at a rapid rate. During this time, the Go-Betweens released two albums recorded outside of town, Xero did a 12" 6-track mini LP, while other bands got as far as a cassette or a couple of singles. Some never made it outside of the Ann St practice rooms.

By 1983, the Go-Betweens had well and truly skipped town. The Pits (after a serious amount of shows in 1982) imploded. As so did Xero. The Dum Dums moved to Sydney to only break up shortly after, and Antic Frantic bettered that by heading off to London. Punk in Brisbane moved away from the '77 English model, and leaned more towards American Hardcore influences.

On the other side of the coin, Indie Pop's flag was being waved by the likes of Tangled Shoelaces, This Five Minutes and the newly formed Pits expatriates, the Gatekeepers. Adding to this small list of like-minded bands were Curiosity Shop.

Unlike the aforementioned, Curiosity Shop hailed from Toowoomba...

Whether or not this band is indicative of the Toowoomba Sound is anyone's guess. What's true is Curiosity Shop's lone 45rpm single from 1984 Judge and Jury/Scene of the Shame is a superb slice of indie pop, left abandoned by blogging music scholars until now.

Curiosity Shop were on the Cubbyhouse imprint. This label (created by archivist, film-maker, sound recordist and all-round DIY pop genius Peter Macpherson) also released numerous titles by the Pits, Tangled Shoelaces and This Five Minutes. And Cubbyhouse was also a fanzine running from 1982-84 - much like the life of the label.

The two notable members of this Toowoomba band are Pat Ridgewell and Noel Mengel. Ridgewell around this time played as an adjunct member of This Five Minutes, who by 1986 had mutated into Dog Fish Cat Bird. By the late 80s he played guitar in the Holy Ghosts, and from there he formed his own songwriting vehicle, Small World Experience - who still exist to this day, albeit hermetically. Noel Mengel on the other hand is now the senior music editor for the Courier Mail.

I found this single by chance in 1995, just after I had discovered Small World Experience. I have not seen it since.

Monday, August 23, 2010

XERO 4ZZZfm Live to Air at the Cement Box

Love and Anarchy
Behind the Chagall
24D Pelaco
Every Kiddy Gets a Prize
Crazy Eddie
Photo Tattoo
Just a Night at Another Party
Blue Lagoon
3 Squared
The Girls

Irena Luckus - voice, keyboard, guitar
John Willsteed - voice, keyboard, guitar, bass
Steven Pritchard - drums

This CD-R was originally released on the Ten of Cups label in the late 1990s. Apparently I was the only person who ever put an order in for this.

This 4ZZZfm live to air from July 1982 at the University of Queensland's Cement Box theatre sees Xero in one of their many line-ups which Brisbane post-punk outfit had from 1978 to 1983.

John Willsteed and Steven Pritchard from the Cement Box show. Photo by Peter Macpherson

Hated by certain scenes, and adored by others, Xero were one of the few bands who survived and played on through the swift changes of trends which Brisbane endured during the post-punk years (1978-'83). Xero (initially spelled as Zero, then Xiro among many others!) has a long and winding history, involving at least a baker's dozen worth of line-up changes and half as many styles. [More on that in another post on early Zero]

This set sees Xero play through a selection of originals mostly written from 1981 onward, with the oldest song in this set being 3 Squared, performed during their 1979/80 line-up which featured guitarist/vocalist Michael O'Connell, formerly of the Apartments and future Go-Between Lindy Morrison. Blue Lagoon was a song which later appeared in Willsteed's post Xero/ZIP outfit, Machines That Walk.

This particular line-up of Luckus, Willsteed and Pritchard first played in August 1981 in support of the Cure at the request of Robert Smith. Steven Pritchard formerly played with the Swell Guys among many other bands.

The band left behind two cassette EPs, Half the Profits and Religious Wars, and a 6 track 12"mini-LP Lust in the Dust. They also appeared on Fast Forward issue 006. Unofficially, there was a cassette floating about in the early 80s called What Xero Don't Know Won't Hurt Them Tape! featuring sessions from the two cassette EPs, and a single track cassette with their cover of Supernaut's I Like it Both Ways - Xero's submission to 4zzz's Tribute to Australian Rock.

In terms of the digital age, two tracks from Lust in the Dust appear on the essential Chapter Music release Can't Stop It! and 4ZZZfm's 25th anniversary compilation, Behind the Banana Curtain. Both of which at the time of writing are out of print.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Upside Down House - I Once Was, I Once Knew

Photo of Upside Down House in 1981, taken by Lisa Walker. From Clinton Walker's book Inner City Sound.

Australian Independent music journalist/champion Clinton Walker described Upside Down House in his book The Next Big Thing as,

"Of all the rightfully labeled 'Darlinghurst Bands', among them the Frontier Scouts, Upside Down House maintain the highest profile and deserve the most attention. The group was originally formed by bassist Ben Wallace-Crabbe after he left Laughing Clowns, and although that influence is residual, Upside Down House have evolved into something of a peculiar character. As shambolic as anything else, Upside Down House have a sort of medieval quality that's rich and enchanting."

Aside from this mention of the band by Walker in the book's postscript, precious little is known about this band; at least by me anyway. Here's what I do know...

Guitarist David Farrell originally played in the Brisbane punk band the Same 13 (ca. '78-'79), fronted by Ed Kuepper's younger brother Wolfgang. Farrell is of course the younger brother of Bob 'the Block' Farrell who was the original saxophonist of the Laughing Clowns; not to mention one of the Flat Top Four who sang backing vocals on the Saints rendition of Kissin' Cousins on side 2 of (I'm) Stranded.

Kathleen Stewart, David Farrell, Nick Burton, Fiona Macgregor
and Ben Wallace-Crabbe. Venue unknown. Photo by Bob King.

In 1978/'79, Ben Wallace-Crabbe played bass in a Melbourne band with drummer Jeffrey Wegener called the Love, alongside his cousin Dan Wallace-Crabbe. It was Wegener who suggested Dan join the Laughing Clowns he formed with Ed Kuepper, and thus appearing in the band's first line-up in 1979 - staying with the band until the early months of 1981. Ben plays on Laughing Clowns, Sometimes... the Fire Dance and Laughing Clowns 3.

Sadly, Ben committed suicide not long after Upside Down House recorded their vinyl debut.

Below - Ben with Bob Farrell from the first Laughing Clowns photoshoot in 1979, taken by Judith Dransfield-Kuepper.

Peter Shand - another former member of the Oxley Creek tearaways, the Same 13 had replaced Wallace-Crabbe by the time of recording their single, Salomé.

What else? Drummer Nick Burton and saxophonist Michael Braid were also originally from Brisbane. Vocalist Kathleen Stewart is a published novelist (see left ).

Discographically-speaking, Upside Down House only released only 2 titles in their short life; the EP Mauve Xylophone in 1982, and the 7" single Salomé two years after. Both came out on their own label, Mauve Xylophone (UDH01 and 02 respectively). A promotional video was made for Salomé, which I hope to post in the near future. Both of these titles are ridiculously hard to find copies of, and expensive when found.

Below - the EP Mauve Xylophone, emblazoned with a Polaroid image of Kathleen Stewart, taken by Joseph Borkowski.



The Wonderful Curse
The Massacre of Three Ballerinas
Quincy's Mauve Xylophone
Weird Dessert!


Maintenant and The Wonderful Curse also on the Ink Records compilation from 1984, Beyond the Southern Cross. This 2LP set is quite easy to come by from all good 2nd hand music retailers.

Fast Forward # 10 from March, 1982 features an early and almost English psych- folk rendition of The Wonderful Curse, titled on the compilation as What Poison!. The band were listed on the fabled cassette zine as With A Lie - a name they used for their first few shows; though the band played their maiden performance as Upside Down House.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Perfect Lovers - TDK Noise Rock!

The Perfect Lovers

Jamie - percussion
Rin - voice
Marek - guitar
Donat - kit drums
Adam - bass, tapes
Michael - synth

Playing in a carport in Warry St, Spring Hill with the Perfect Lovers in 2004. The honorable Graeme Cakebread would've recorded this set. I played a variety of instruments (mostly drums) with a variety of different line-ups from 1999 'til 2006. Everybody was skinny then. The band released numerous cassettes, CDs and a VHS video - few of which I actually have. I seem to take pride of other people's recorded output, but never my own.

Jamie did wonderful b&w collage posters and would undoubtedly have everything we recorded. This was his band and the rest of us were like Hitchcock's cattle.

We were the loudest band in Brisbane. Even louder (and uglier) than Misery. The Perfect Lovers more often than not had the plugged pulled for being too loud, if we didn't already blow up someone's PA. We smashed TV sets and equipment, some of us accidentally cut ourselves in the spirit of performance and performing.

We played at the IMA and the QCA. We played in an s&m dungeon in a Gay nightclub. And pink palaces; even a driveway too. Somewhere between 20 and 23 shows were performed; all locally - if you count Underwood. We had no songs and no idea of what we were going to play before our set started. We were a brave lot, but not as brave as our audience.

90s Brisbane outfit Tripod were certainly a heavy influence on the band, as were Throbbing Gristle, SPK and Belinda Carlisle.

Watch this space.


"I may not look like much by day, but at night I'm one hell of a Perfect Lover."

- Jamie Hume

The Same EP

Engineer - Scattered Order
Produced by Scattered Order and the Same

I really don't know a terrible lot about this Sydney quintet, though the M Squared site sheds a little more light than I'm able to provide. I first heard this at Ian Wadley's flat in 1996 or so, and subsequently found this record in Sydney not long after. I have not seen one since.

Like other inner-city Sydney bands around 1982/3 (Wildlife Documentaries, Upsidedown House, Kill the King, etc) the Same display a slight Laughing Clowns influence - trebly thin guitars, saxophone and swift melodic changes; especially on the instrumental This Week's World Outlook. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Qamili i Vogël - the Nightingale of Albanian Song

Mazllom Mejzini, Qamili i Vogël and Ismet Peja (sources unknown)

The story of Qamili i Vogël (Little Qamil) is obscured in depths of Yugoslavia's dark and repressive past - where the cultural and musical expression of minority groups made for a trying expressive experience.

Born in the southern urban centre of Gjakova in 1923, Qamil Muhaxhiri singlehandedly created a popular genre of ethnic music within the thin bounadaries of modern-day Kosovo and presented it to not only his people, but to the record buying public at large.

Qamili i Vogël composed, recorded a total of 80 original songs, many of which were initially released as EPs on the Jugoton label in the mid 1960s. His vinyl debut was the first for a Albanian artist to commit to tape for a state-owned recording company in Yugoslavia.

Second to his work as a singer and songwriter, Qamili i Vogël publish books of Albanian folk songs for the public to learn and perform; a concept which was previously unheard of at a time when Albanian was not recognized as a national language in Tito's Bratstvo i Jedinstvo - brotherhood and unity - of Yugoslavia.

Despite these historic firsts, his compositions today aren't copyrighted; his compositional credits are absent from interpreters of his work, and since his death in 1991, Qamili i Vogël's songwriting and compositional catalogue has not seen a serious reappraisal outside of poorly packaged and annotated bootleg cassettes and CDs drawing from his career-long association with the Zagreb-based label Jugoton.

Information on his discography is scattered and blurred, as is any biographical information. Though with the rising popularity of Youtube, many home-recorded videos from the 1970s, state television appearances and a snippet of a career biography have began to slowly appear on the video-sharing website in the past year.

This video offers an interesting biography on his life, detailing his work, starting as a singer for Albanian language radio shows in the fifties, and as a graphic artist for the Rilindja newspaper, amongst other insightful detail intertwined between dedicated music videos which would've been screened on Radio-Televizija Pristina in the 1980s.

And this is not to say that his musical legacy has been forgotten; many artists to this day do covers of his songs in both the recording and performing fields alike within Kosovo and the diaspora. His compositions have lent to a style of music named after his birthplace, Gjakovarë contempoarily spearheaded by the tenor, Xeni.

One particular purveyor of his songs is Ismet Peja, and like a Dardanian Sinatra, treats his arrangements and vocal inflections of what could be only described today as Kosovar standards with a great sense of respect for Qamili's melodies and deeply emotional phrasing.

Peja, along with Mazllom Mejzini (both pictured above) were frequent vocal collaborators who in turn held successful solo careers as vocalists. Qamili i Vogel also sang alongside Sofie Hyseni, Bajrush Doda, Hamide Sadiku and other revered Albanian folksingers of the sixties and seventies.

Qamili i Vogël's group, Hajdar Dushi in 1969
Back row: Sabah Bytyqi, Gongje Qaushi, Bardosh Rudi, Masar Peja
Front row: Mazllom Mejzini, Qamili i Vogël, Ismet Peja

This collection of 23 songs is one of those aforementioned CDs, which I purchased (after a great deal of fishing around various marketplaces) in his hometown in 2007. This set represents a balance of his early work; a minimalist orchestration of ethnic Albanian instruments with violin; and his later big-band orchestral work - adding clarinet, classical guitar, mandola, harmonium, piano accordion, and secondary male vocalists.

01. Hajro Plava dhe Hyseni Zajmi
02 Kënga e Rexhës
03 N'rimishë të Hollë
04 Lufta e Livoqit
05 Ku Po Knojnë Kto Dy Kumrija
06 Dil Njiherë Moj Vajzë e Bukur
07 Prej Shtëpisë Kur Jam Dalë
08 Sina Uba Kjo Punë e Verës
09 Jare Mos Më Shti Moj Me T'ba Be
10 Oh Fletët Tua Moj Drandofile
11 Pash Sytë e Mi Që I Kam në Ballë
12 Kënga e Ymer Rizes
13 Gonxhe Qeli Drandofili
14 Në Pranverë Lulja Në Behar
15 I Vujtun Jam Nëkët Jetë
16 Nagoi Drita Nbreg T'nji Prroni
17 Kënga e Vëlla e Motër Terbeshi
18 Për Herë T'pare Kur T'pash Moj Dije
19 Qofshë e Zezë Dile Proma
20 Kënga e Bajram Begut
21 Kënga e Tërmetit Të Dibres
22 Tridhjetë Ditë Ka Ramazani
23 Kënga e Trimave Gjkakovarë

Listen here

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Vëllezrit Gashi - Lavdi Dëshmorëve të Kombit

Vëllezrit Gashi - Lavdi Dëshmorëve të Kombit
Gashi Brothers - Glory to the Martyrs of the Nation

Vëllezrit Gashi are one of the few purveyors of Albanian Epic Poetry still being performed in the Drenica region of Kosova. This particular style of music is locally regarded as Këngë Burrash - men's songs.

The choice of musical instruments on this recording are a mixture of west and east - the piano accordion and violin, with the more typical Sharki (5 stringed lute), Qifteli (2 stringed lute) and Def (skinned tambourine). Line-ups of this sort are most common in the Drenica and Dukagjini regions, though many don't use the accordion as a melodic instrument for one reason or another.

The nature of Albanian epic poetry is a songster tradition that's brought down from generations through a telling of stories regarding the heroism against oppressive regimes from the Ottoman Empire though to the more recent Serbian antagonism in post-war Yugoslavia.

In previous posts, I have regarded this style of Kosovar music as Gangsta-Folk out of its sheer aggressive tone, and a subject matter which relates to war and survival in a threatening rural landscape. This 2007 CD is another example of Gangsta-Folk at its finest, though without the gunfire that's common in their live bootlegs of which are readily available in street markets throughout Kosova.


One Head's Guide to NZ Post-Punk Vol 1 CDR80

25 songs in under 80mins. Was making an attempt to not go for the obvious acts, or of the AK79 variety etc. The sad omissions will appear on Volume 2. 95% of these acts are from Christchurch, Dunedin or both. Oldest track here is the Vacuum from 1979 and most recent is Minus 2 from 2009. If you're hoping to find further works from any of these artists, then prepare to look hard and carry a healthy wallet, as many of the songs found here are from out of print albums or singles.

Quick liner notes:

THE VACUUM - early Bill Direen with Peter Stapleton and Stephen Cogle who make up part of THE VICTOR DIMISICH BAND and THE TERMINALS. Peter also played in SCORCHED EARTH POLICY and THE PIN GROUP with ROY MONTGOMERY, who in turn played in THE SHALLOWS with Mick Elborado who played in THE TERMINALS , MINUS 2 and SCORCHED EARTH POLICY who feature Brian Crook of THE TERMINALS and THE MAX BLOCK, as well as Mary Heney played in THE SHALLOWS, 25 CENTS, THE TERMINALS and THE VICTOR DIMISICH BAND. THE CLEAN features Robert Scott who once played in THE MAGICK HEADS and David Kilgour who formed a band called THE GREAT UNWASHED in the mid 80s, and STEPHEN in the later part of the decade. THE DEAD C features Bruce Russell who formed A HANDFUL OF DUST with ALASTAIR GALBRAITH of THE RIP and PLAGAL GRIND respectively. Robbie Muir played in both bands and PETER JEFFERIES from THIS KIND OF PUNISHMENT played in PLAGAL GRIND. THE ALPACA BROTHERS features a guest appearance by PETER GUTTERIDGE from SNAPPER and the GREAT UNWASHED.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Prewar Blues Mixtape Vol 1

Although it does contain a Bascom Lamar Lunsford tune recorded for Smithsonian Folkways in 1953 (thus not making this prewar in the strictest of sense), here's 27 handpicked tracks dating all the way back to 1898 with Cousins & DeMoss doing a reading of Who Broke the Lock?

The bulk of these recordings are from the mid 1920s to the early 30s - the golden era of recorded American folk music. And there's not just blues on this mix of course. I'm just throwing up a blanket term, really.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stars in the Sky

A classic slice of mid-70s power pop, courtesy of Dan and David Kessel under the moniker of Stars in the Sky. The Kessel brothers are the musical sons of Barney Kessel, the tasteful postwar jazz guitarist (Pete Townshend is a giant fan) who was a fine band leader and an in-demand L.A. session musician who famously played on the classic Brian Wilson productions of the mid-60s and was a member of Phil Spector's Wrecking Crew.

Rumour has it that Spector himself produced this record - but who's to say?

Notably, Dan and David played guitar on all of Phil Spector's sessions from John Lennon's 1974 Rock & Roll album onward excluding Spector's work with Starsailor.

As producers (using the names Dan Phillips and David Scott), they've worked with legendary artists with names like the Shangri-La's, the Ventures and American Spring to name a few. Sadly the bulk of these recordings have never surfaced, or are available on bootlegs.

A lot of the Kessels's work outside (and sometimes in) Spector's sphere involves the New York punk identity Blake Xolton (who in turn will get his name in lights in a future offering from this blog). It's been told that Xolton sings backing vocals on this 45.

Through the late 70s and early 80s they ran Martian Records, releasing 45s by Cheri Gage and the Wigs to name but two. In fact, Baby Hold On was released as the Martians on various Bomp! compilations, including Straight Out of Burbank.

The bottom line is the Kessels story is somewhat mysterious - hidden under veils of pseudonyms which are proving hard to get around. A Kesselography will follow once the paper trail's sorted.

What's most important is the music and their obvious respect and unfaltering admiration for Phil Spector's music, and you really can't argue with that.

Hear it.

Late April Mixtape

find it here

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Phantoms of Brisbane #1 - BIRDS OF TIN

BIRDS OF TIN (1981-1982)


Brisbane's post punk musical landscape is dotted with forgotten artists. Some get mentioned in reference books or in historical overviews, and others get left behind for one reason or another. Like many cities across Australia and the world, the direct influence of the punk and new wave scene of New York and London resonated strongly within the inner-city Brisbane music scene up until late 1982.

In the case of Brisbane, the Cure's 1980 tour and the Talking Heads tour a year earlier resonated among Brisbane musicians in the same way the Saints influenced a tiny pocket of groups to pick up their instuments and get out of the garage in '76. Subsequently, single guitar bands began popping up around town, and Birds of Tin are one of those bands.

Much like the Go-Betweens of 1980-82 and the Four Gods, Birds Of Tin explored unusual, jerky rhythms housed within well-written three minute pop songs; existing long enough to create a cassette EP housed in a 7" record sleeve.

Peter Loveday (guitar, vocals) and Michael Elliott (bass) played in Mute 44, a short-lived pop band who performed at such venues as the Silver Dollar and Pinocchio's around 1980. Loveday had previously played with The Supports, an early pop band who famously traveled on a double-decker bus alongside an infant Go-Betweens and friends up through the North Queensland coast in late 1978.

The Supports made up the basis of Antic Frantic, Loveday's post Birds Of Tin group who played a small handful of shows around Brisbane before relocating to London as Tiny Town, releasing a full-length LP a mini LP and a bunch of 45s. More about these groups in a future posting.

Loveday and Elliott with the addition of Four Gods drummer Keryn Henry played around town in early-to-mid 1981 as the Sea Bees, and with the addition of percussionist Tony Hayes became Birds of Tin. Their only release is a four track cassette, recorded by Repairs neé FX guitarist Colin Bloxsom. Artwork by Peter Loveday.

Same Both Sides

1. Slothy Tank
2. Think of the Future
3. Rain
4. Day at the Beach

Shortly after the cassette release, sound recorder and photographer Gerry Teekman captured the band at the Valley Practice Room in February 1982 featuring multiple takes of the following songs: Shed the Skin, Blasting Radio*, Absurd Overcoat, High Road Low Road, Dust, Slothy Tank, Day At The Beach, Pleasure In Parcels, Raindrop.

* A cover by the DIY English punks the Desperate Bicycles, from the album Remorse Code (Refill Records RR-6; February 1980) featuring former Supports drummer Geoffrey Titley who later returned to Australia to join Antic Frantic.

Below is a complete list of their known live performances:

05/06/81* AHEPA HALL El Salvador Benefit [with the Go-Betweens, Xero and Four Gods]
25/07/81 279 CLUB [with the Four Gods and the Hostages]
07/11/81 279 CLUB [with Systematics and Scattered Order]
04/12/81 AHEPA HALL El Salvador Benefit [with Xero and Party Ice]
10/01/82 NEW YORK HOTEL [with The Birthday Party and Xero]
05/02/82 CPA ROOMS Pregnancy Control Benefit [with Bix Pieces]

* as the Sea Bees

"The short-lived Birds of Tin created some excitement for a while. Rumoured to be "just like the Go-Betweens, only better," they did lend to credence to that band's theory that there is a "Brisbane sound" and that they (the Go-Betweens) are it. Unlike the Go-Betweens, however, Birds of Tin did not have any driving ambition or talent for self-promotion. Their talent lay simply in their musicianship and the quality of their writing, although faced with the problem of having to come up with a set of material quickly, they did sound a bit repetitive at times."

X-Change: A Fanzine about modern music, Brisband people and other nonsense, Issue 4.

Peter Loveday has since relocated to Spain, making wonderful solo albums. His music can be found here:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Verlaines - A review of Self-review and review of review

I can clearly see the issue at hand here. Critics pulling bands apart, and then band pulling apart the critic's review of a live show out of their anger over the reviewer's lack of understanding or scope. The Stranglers were a band who certainly loved to take their pound of flesh out on rock scribes, so it's good to see the Verlaines having a go at it as well.

Graeme's writing in print or in lyrical form has always fascinated me, and it's always great to see musicians go over someone else's body of work... but it's even more interesting when a review gets a rebuttal from the band themselves. I like it for scope; you read both sides of the story and go, "ahh fuck yes!" And for whatever reason, too.

In a previous post, I did have issues with the Verlaines more recent output. Nothing too huge, just a little delusion on my part. See, the thing is I like the Verlaines ca. '82-'89 more so than say '89 to now. That's not to say I don't enjoy their recent output. At the end of the day, I'm fucking grateful that they still exist - even if it's not a dream line-up or what-have-you. Gotta keep the fantasy and reality at different poles. I copped a beating from Darren Stedman about this, but I now consider myself redeemed. It all makes clear sense to me.

Hindsight's shown that the Verlaines are an evolving creature, and not a Flying Nun era jukebox. Are there that many people out there who've seen a recent show and thought to themselves on their way home, "shit, they didn't play Icarus Missed"? Probably not. Graeme's written a lot of rockers, ballads and chamber pop pieces - surely there's going to be a 100 odd songs that aren't going to make any given setlist.

Corporate Moronic has been out for over six months, and where's the harm in playing most of the album? I for one would like to hear how different a live version of Paratai Drive would be to that of the studio arrangement.

One of the odd moments of the rock critic's analysis of the show was how Graeme Downes was working the door at the venue. Why not? An audience member would be eyes glued to the band, so why not have Graeme eyeball and stamp every patron who comes in to see him?

Something tells me that the reviewer from Real Groove owned a copy of their "Greatest Hits" album (err... You're Just Too Obscure For Me FNCD476)and perhaps a promo copy of Corporate Moronic and set out to cover the events of a near 30 year old band. I guess it doesn't really work that way. Knowing who you're going to review helps. You don't need to know that Jane Dodd's played nothing but a Gibson Ripper bass, or who did the cover art for the Over the Moon record, but perhaps the understandings of a working band would help.

What I would really like to know is: what was the setlist?

The review in Real Groove
The review of the review in the Verlaines blog page

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jandek in Brisbane

I don't think in my wildest of rock 'n' roll dreams that I would ever see Jandek play - let alone in Brisbane. And I don't even remember how I found out about Jandek's music in the pre-internet daze, but I do recall buying his albums at Red Eye in the mid-90s. The record covers were striking; and the music itself reminded me of how I used to make cassette albums as an early teen with my guitar and whatever else I could find in my bedroom.

As I walked into the darkened cinema to see a selection of Other Film (including an amazing short by Tony and Beverly Conrad), the artist himself was standing there - wearing all-black, with a black cowboy-like hat to match. His face looked nervous and frozen.

With a Mosrite guitar flung over his shoulder, and an accompanyment by his Scottish rhythm section, Jandek gently strummed it with his fingers in a Pip Proud way. With a thick journal on his music stand which he took out of his neat leather bag, he sang his way - page by page. At times it sounded like he was talking to himself - thinking about the past, the future and everything in between. And at other times, it was as if he's standing right next to you, and talking about what's on his mind.

Jandek flipped pages for an hour and a half, while the sliding bass and Sunny Murray-like drumming followed the Texan's stream. No hello, and no goodbye to the 25 brave Brisbanites who came along to see him.