Showing posts with label Primitive Calculators. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Primitive Calculators. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Australian Post-Punk Update

I used to write about music quite a lot here on me blog and Australian Post-Punk was a favourite topic of mine. The real stuff, I mean, that happened in the late 70s and early 80s. None of this faux shit from the last 20 years. Anyway there has been some activity over at Jonny Zchivago's legendary Blog Die or DIY? with some posts of stuff that's never been reissued since those olden days ie. Philip Brophy's Tsk Tsk Tsk. I've never been able to find their records in physical form or in a file format. So go here to find the Venitian Rendezvous EP, Nice Noise EP, Caprice EP and Spaces LP.

While you are over at Jonny's site don't forget to check out some other choice Antipodean post-punk. He has posted a bunch of Sydney stuff including a stack of seminal compilations on the Terse Tapes label, a coupla things from the M Squared label, some primo Slugfuckers, a Negative Reaction tape and miscellaneous Systematics releases.

There's also some other seminal Melbourne experimental post-punk but those records have been reissued in the last few years so you've probably got those Essendon Airport, Asphixiation and Primitive Calculators LPs/cds.

Speaking of The Primitive Calculators they have released a new LP On Drugs and it's here.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Melbourne IV - Primitive Calculators/Whirlywirld/The Little Bands...

Is this the best song ever to come out of Melbourne? It doesn't get any better! 
'I had a boyfriend, his head was ugly.....'

But hang on...This is surely the best version of Hey Joe ever recorded. Fucking brutal!
"I'm gonna head through Gippsland, down to Omeo,
I'm gonna go where a man can be free!
Ain't gonna hang from no Coolabah tree!
Ain't nobody gonna make no Tom Dooley outta me!
Ain't nobody gonna push too hard on me!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Ooga Boogas - Ooga Boogas

I was gonna write a review of Ooga Boogas by Ooga Boogas. But who cares about reviews anymore especially when they're writen about rock albums right? How passe!

Circle Of Trust starts off the LP in an uncharacteristically Wire-esque fashion but the drummer in Wire was never this fuckin good. This is the best Melbourne rhythm section since The Birthday Party and you know what they're probably better! Who cares right? rock is dead.

Archie & Me is next and well it's kinda close to my heart with lyrics like "We'll be pretty sore by the time we hit Red Cliffs. So we'll get Big Lizzie rollin again." Mentions of red sunsets and swaggys. Then there's "When we get downtime, When we get downsized, When we get out." Having lived just outside Red Cliffs as a child and planning a move back to the Sunraysia area I was shocked to hear those words. It was like did they just say what I think they said? Fuck yeah they know where its at. This song was speaking directly to me and urging me to use it as a manifesto or at least a theme tune for the big move from the big smoke, that doesn't want us, to the land of red sunsets where property prices aren't so offensive. I know this song is a fantasy and a pretty silly one at that but for me and the Mrs it's where we hang our hat, song or no song.

That drummer is fuckin cookin. This is real rock drumming like fuckin better than John Bonham. How does he get that sound like like he's a caveman bangin on the earth the most primordial beat ever. This beat is cavernous, it's gigantic. You gotta turn this right up and let your inner caveman/cavewoman out. And I've just realised they're called Ooga Boogas a very unPC nod to old ideas and visions native primitives. The funny thing is at the same time Ooga Boogas personify the urbane, the suburban, the hipster, the loser and the castrated.

FYI's next and this is some swingin noirish urban tale from the underworld with talk of coming back to the real world. Then Leon goes into this "fa fa fa for your information.." in a mock cockney tone and why wouldn't he? It's another nod to Wire but at the same time so Australian considering the cadence of the previous line.

Oogie Boogie is precisely what it purports to be. It's a fucking glam stomp with beats like axes to heads and filthy guitar licks that are loose and taut at the same time.

Mind Reader is a tale of male/female relationships and Stackpole is bringin the comedy in a voice occasionally reminiscent of Rob Forster of The GoBetweens. It's an urban, male & Australian voice and it concerns his condition. He's pissin off his woman obviously but he's not willing to see the clear as day reasons for this and snaps arguing back defensively "I can't read your fucking mind!" But this was a song about ice-creams right? That's what you thought!

It's a sign is a giddy love song about when everything's going good and you're happy and you're lovin it and you're proud you're not fucking up and your confidence is breakin through and it's about sex and your Mrs actually liking you and she's not puttin her knickers back on for a while and it's halcyon days and it's salad days and it's days of wine and fucking roses!

Sex In The Chill Zone is a creepy strut through what could be a dream or some kind of suburban spa party or just maybe being drug fucked and fucked at the same time. It's so damn hazy it's unclear.

Studio Of My Mind....and we're in Chrome territory or is it like a tribute to Whirlyworld or Primitive Calculators. I'm put in a very Melbourne soundworld but it could be San Francisco or Sheffield in 1979 or Iggy in Berlin. Then I'm thinkin this is definitely a nod to Ollie Olsen and a tune he did with NO, a forgotten late 80s Melbourne electronic rock band. They had a song about feeling "like a walking TV camera." Parallelling this tunes depersonalisation experience of being "locked in the studio of my mind." It's cold, scary and disturbing.

Ecstasy.... and then there's a country twang and your thinkin its The Captain by Kasey Chambers. Then you think that's fucked up having Chrome and Chambers conjured in your mind within the same minute on the same record and in this same sentence. The tune continues on with its strung out Sticky Fingers. It's a love song or a lament, probably for the drug and you're feeling the waste which is palpable in Stackpole's voice.

A Night To Remember....and it's a relief, it's good times. It's dancing into the void and spitting in the face of of it all with a laugh and a smile. The joy is put back into the meaninglessness and... it's a rock record!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

2012 - A Look Back Part III

Best Internet Mixtapes/DJ Mixes 2012

Panabrite - Lunar Atrium Mix
Synthesiser vistas from his extensive Library music collection.
Mark Van Hoen - Pontone Mix #87
Electronic pop 101.
Ix Tab - Pontone Mix #95
The roots and traces of The Bregnut Tree.
K-Punk - Pontone Mix #91
4th world musical travels.
Evol - Fact Mix #330
Dara - Blog To The Old Scool Mix
The ultimate 'ardcore 91 mix.

*A lot of time in 2012 I was putting together my own ultimate mixtapes of 'ardcore, Breakbeat, Darkside, Jungle and Ambient Jungle. So maybe I wasn't into other peoples mixes as much. I must admit my Acieeed! mix and Miami Bass mix haven't really got off the ground yet.

Re/Discovered, Not Reissued In 2012
  • Lou Reed - Coney Island Baby
  • Dave Graney - Knock Yourself Out/Hashish/We Wuz Curious
  • Stereolab - 91-97 Catalogue
  • Pulp - Intro/His n Hers/Different Class/We Love Life
  • Cybotron - Clear
  • The Black Dog - Book Of Dogma
  • Primitive Calculators - Primitive Calculators/Primitive Calculators & Friends 1979-82
  • Laughing Clowns - Cruel But Fair (3CD)
  • Omni Trio - Vols 1-5
  • Jacob's Optical Stairway - S/T
  • A Guy Called Gerald - Black Secret Technology
  • 4 Hero - Parallel Universe/The Early Plates
  • Various - Reinforced Presents: Callin For Reinforcements & The Definition of Hardcore
  • 2 Bad Mice/Kaotic Chemistry - Everything
  • Various - Hardcore Leaders Of The New School
  • Various - Torque - No U Turn Comp
  • Wagon Christ - Throbbing Pouch
  • The Wu-Tang Clan  - Group & Solo LPs 93-96
  • Snoop Dog - Doggystyle
  • Michael Hoenig & Manuel Gottching  - Early Water
  • Ilitch - 10 Suicides
  • Patrick Vian - Bruits Et Temps Analogues
  • And every second track released on The Hardcore Continuum from like 90- 95. There I finally said it!
*I did end up listening to that Kendrick Lamar LP. Bit of a downer I thought, not bad and sonically pretty cool though.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


*Pre-Fab Hearts by The Reels was a single for Polygram in 1979 and it was the follow up to their debut single. So Quasimodo's Dream was 2 years after that and their 2nd LP, with Beautifull being the 3rd. Right!

**Alan Lamb was the experimental telephone wires guy and had this record Primal Image. There might be another one but I don't have that.

***Wasn't there a cricketer called Alan Lamb in the 80s?

****Thought I'd mention Ariel Pink again just to say that perhaps Mature Themes is better than Before Today, just maybe.

*****Probably the last issue of Smash Hits I ever bought was this one with Michael Hutchence on the cover and it was a special on the filming of Dogs In Space. Anyway I remember there was a little article on the little bands scene. Then thought 'what there's more people like The Primitive Calculators? That's fucking mental!!' Suffice to say first time I ever heard of Too Fat To Fit Through The Door and Thrush & The Cunts. The later turning up in the movie singing diseases. This was in Smash Hits. I wish I still had that copy, I remember holding onto it for a while. It didn't end up in the incinerator with the rest of The Countdowns & Smash Hits. Although some articles were removed before their fiery death only to die somewhere else later on.

******How about incinerators and that we used to just burn everything!

******* "a rats toss bag" was a Malcolm Blight tongue.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Primitive Calculators - Primitive Calculators

Glaring Omissions III

"We were suburban filth from Springvale"
Stuart Grant

Glaring Omissions started as a series of records that deserved to be in The Top 100 Australian albums book and the Age's Top 50 Australian Albums list. This is the 3rd installment with perhaps another 4 or 5 to come. This record came into my life as a teenager living in er....Cardross. For those who don't know that's like 15 KMs out of Mildura and over 600 ks from Melbourne. My bro was living in Melbourne and would often bring back strange and interesting things for me. This was pre JJJ National Radio/ pre internet etc. This record probably reached me pre Rage era perhaps. BeatBox and Rock Arena were probably the only 2 shows on tv at the time where you could hear the weirrd, wonderful and independent. So sometime in the mid to late 80s I first heard The Primitive Calculators. The LP also came with a postcard and a 7" single and was recorded in 1979 in a Melbourne pub. Many years after leaving home I asked my Dad where were the records I left behind? he said I gave them to the op shop. Anyway I still had a Sony C90 tape of it in some kind of working order until that reissue on Chapter came along in the 00s.

Me and my little sister used to put it on and go what the fuck is this? It was so anti social and noisy we thought it was hilarious and a bit frightening. Were they for real we wondered. Or were they just havin' a laugh. The music was a harsh onslaught of electroncly fucked with guitar, 2 keyboards and drum machines with what seemed like no regard for recording technique or er.. melody. Were there really people like this living in Melbourne? It was great music for a teenager because it was so obnoxious and fuckin funny. Mum didn't like hearing that one comin out of the bedroom.  Anyway over time it seemed to never leave me and never get old. It sounds just as great now as it did over 25 years ago. This was no fuckin' Clash record. This was beyond punk, what punk should have been, sonic violence for the demented. So over time I have noticed the chaos is more controlled than I used to think and just maybe there were some great pop songs hidden in there somewhere. It is not a record I expected to still be diggin at my age. I think I love it more than ever actually!

So maybe they are pop songs. Stuart says he saw the band as an Australian Boogie band in the vein of The Purple Hearts, The Throb, Chain and Billy Thorpe. It starts to make a lot of sense they were an electronic version of a one chord Aussie boogie band with a bit of Stockhausen chucked in. My favorite track from the album bake in the sun was so funny and had great lyrics. These are some I randomly recall probably not in the right order. This could be our national anthem.

I'm bake in the sun
I wanna spend my life down by the sea
I wanna shrivel up
I wanna smell some seaweed
I wanna peice of cake
I wanna go home
I wanna revolution
I don't wanna do another days work in my life
I want some food from the kiosk

"If their intention was to be hated then they certainly acheived that.....on a personal level as well"
Rowland S Howard (Guitar/Saxaphone/Vocals in The Birthday Party)

Back cover to Primitve Calculators LP

"Nothing else in Melbourne influenced us. We were such obnoxious little shits, we didn't give anybody a chance to like us" Stuart from Primitve Calculators.

Stuart Grant (guitar and vocals) in the We're Livin On Dog Food doco and RadioNational's Hindsight: Do That Dance radio show has been incredibly insightful and articulate about what circumstances, theories and attitudes shaped the band and that entire Melbourne Post-Punk scene. He really enjoyed the idea of punk and the fact it was saying something truly antisocial. He thought the anger and disillusionment of it just seemed right. He thought with the Ramones arriving there was a strong sense that his culture had arrived. Stuart aknowledges the legacy of the Whitlam Government and their making the dole liveable with my favorite quote of his."The State Paid us to Reject it!"

Stuart is eminently quotable. I could quote him all day but here is one last one that sums up the bands ethos.
"What we realised when we started using the drum machine and we got electronic (was that) we sounded much nastier. We started to actually try and make music that would hurt people. Making the sounds as brutal and horrible as possible. Making the drumbeats as repetitive and fast as possible and tried to get it ugly"

I Can't Stop It-The Primitive Calculators
Their one and only film clip I think.

"The Primitive Calculators were a completely unreal band and there's no 2 ways about it! Live and on record."
 Quote from Natioal Treasure Philip Brophy.

*One cool thing I've just noticed that I'd forgotten is that this record was recorded at Hearts in North Carlton where my brother's band did some gigs and even my old band played there once,

**Here is where to download that podacast Do That Dance about the Melbourne Post-Punk scene.

***Many quotes taken from Richard Lowenstein's doco We're Livin' On Dogfood. Thanks Dick I'm sure you won't mind anarchy and all that.