Showing posts with label Sydney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sydney. 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.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Heyday - The Church

Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock Part V

The Church - Heyday (1985)
Quite the befitting title right here. Cherished among fans of The Church, Heyday's full of great tunes like Already Yesterday, Myrrh, Tristesse, Columbus and the blistering live favourite Tantalized. On Night Of Light and Youth Worshipper they reach Forever Changes levels of sophistication with fabulous horn and string arrangements. The Church made the 80s version of the 60s awesome, hang on that's not really fair is it? Although this is probably their most 60s inspired set, it's those shirts that make you jump the gun to such stupid conclusions. There was a lot of 70s, 80s and future Church idiosyncrasies at play here too......... It was most definitely 80s music though, you know like The Smiths were an 80s band. They may have had influences from other eras but just because it didn't sound like Nik Kershaw doesn't mean it wasn't quintessential 80s music!..... er.....that goes for both bands. Still you can get out your pointy shoes and paisley shirts and relive this classic LP. Funnily enough I had a paisley shirt on today, and straight black jeans but unfortunately I don't own a pair of pointy shoes any longer, I had to just go with me brown suede boots. I'm sure Marty Willson Piper would have been proud of my outfit though as would Steve Kilbey, I reckon.

They were the coolest. No doubt. This makes you wanna roll a joint and enjoy your life.

In the classic tradition of AC/DC, playing on the back of a truck for your film clip. Priceless!

This video is sound and vision perfection, doncha reckon?

*A fucking phenomenal live version of Tantalized here. Talk about kickin out the jams, wow!
**I've written about Heyday before here.
***Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock series is taken from the HIGH CULTure website.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Individuals - Sunnyboys

The original 1982 cover. Hilarious.
After last year's reissue of The Sunnyboys debut self-titled LP which was expanded with an entire disc of demos comes their 1982 follow up Individuals. This is not a reissue of the record that Mushroom released in 1982 though. These are actually the original mixes from NZ that the band were very happy with and thought, with a bit of slight adjustment, would be issued as their second LP. That didn't happen. Like the first record this was produced by Australian rock legend Lobby Loyde of Purple Hearts Coloured Balls fame and strangely recorded in New Zealand, then mixed in LA? So my understanding is that these versions, presented here for the first time, are pre Lobby running off to LA with the tapes, probably at the request of Mushroom head honcho Michael Gudinski. I guess that reasoning would have been to keep the band far from the product Mushroom were trying to mould to make the most money for Mushroom ie. not respecting the artists one iota. When I saw the 2013 documentary The Sunny Boy on Jeremy Oxley's life he kept saying his music was taken away from him. I assumed he was talking about the 3rd rather shite (unlistenable as I recall) Sunnyboys LP Get Some Fun but no this 'LA debacle' must have been what he was talking about.

While many rate their first album as their best, I think Individuals is my favorite. I spent a lot of time in the early to mid to late 80s with this record. This LP is perhaps a bit darker than the first but it has always stuck with me. Throughout the 90s I had one side of a C-90 with Individuals on it which was taped on my dad's 80s Marantz Hi-Fi from the original vinyl. My older brother Patrick brought this classic into my life. As I've mentioned before on this blog Sydney was the place to be for rock in the mid/late 70s through the entire 80s pretty much. Music was everywhere and there were legions of great bands giving it their best shot. If you didn't like a band it didn't matter there was another one playing in the pub on the next corner that you'd probably like. Feel Presents Pty Ltd have changed the original Mushroom Records track listing slightly, probably to reflect the original vision of what Individuals should have been. This Is Real has been moved from the opening track to the last which makes perfect sense. Pain originally the b-side to the This Is Real 7" has been added as the second last track. a new cover has been created too, which I guess is fair enough as this is kind of a new product. I'd say Peter Oxley designed it. He used to do all their ace posters and stuff. I'm really quite fond of it, surprisingly, as I usually hate it when they change covers, see reissues by the The Go-Betweens and Dave Graney's Coral Snakes. That 1982 Individuals record cover was an iconic gatefold affair which was integral, I thought though, to the entire package. This gatefold captivated me like no other during my adolescence.

It was funny, amazing, bizarre and perhaps a little cheesy. An iconic album cover all the same.
Then there were the tunes in a post-punk power-pop vein but they were much more than that label could ever do them justice. Man what tunes they were. One wonders whether The Sunnyboys music could have ever translated outside of Australia, it should have as it was a great lively breath of fresh air and paradoxically timeless and of its time. The Sunnyboys were blessed with incredible pop smarts that were performed by one hell of an exciting unit. There was something quintessentially Australian about this band though. This music could only have come out of Sydney. If music as specific as Dunedin's (NZ) 80s guitar pop can be so revered worldwide, I can't see why this can't. I guess it was kind of mod pop into psych informed by the likes of 70s Aussie legends like Radio Birdman. As previously noted, elsewhere, singer, songwriter and guitarist Jeremy Oxley despite being quite sporty and even a champion surfer as a teen was quite a troubled guy. He was only 19, I think, when Individuals was recorded. His lyrics were mature way beyond his years and delved into his confused world. Like Ian Curtis, Jeremy Oxley placed serious lyrical content amongst exhilarating songs creating a weird but defiant juxtaposition. Like on I'm Not Satisfied, one of the most boisterous and upbeat songs here, the lyrics are about self hate and frustration but you want to sing that tune with joyous abandon. That's the Sunnyboys spirit and the secret to their magic. They're never sooky, I wouldn't be writing about them if they were.

On re-listening to Individuals (well sort of) it's a lot more subdued and experimental, compared to the 1981 debut, than I remember but its still full of rockin youthful exuberance. What is striking though is the spectacular tunefulness and idiosyncratic lyric that's singing from Jeremy. Jeremy is so charismatic its breathtaking. Sometimes I just can't believe the inventive melodies he came up with. Then we've got the backing vocals which are fucking great and crucial to this LP's classic status, they're beautifully arranged. The superlative guitar playing was the best thing to come out of Australia since Deniz Tek and, funnily enough their producer, Lobby Loyde (who obviously had a great ear for these things and must have seen Jeremy Oxley as some kind of successor).

The title tune which now opens the record remains a classic universal tale of urban alienation of not fitting in where you're not from and other lonely individuals who might be the same. It's also a sledge against those so eager to fit in. Sunny Day is so good, so Sydney, such cool backing vocals, one of the best tunes on the record and should have been a number 1 smash! Interestingly I've heard the band refer to this as a hippie song but I'm pretty sure its about drinking and violence amongst other things. Leaf On a Tree is an anomaly in the band's oeuvre. I guess it always reminded me of a Ringo Starr tune from say the White Album. This is the only explicit reference to an influence that I can ever recall on any Sunnyboys tune. Back then bands weren't so reverential or record collection rock. Groups had the capacity to come up with their own sound and it was inherent that things got pushed forward. You Need A friend is a garage-psych-pop number about not being able to conform thus making it hard to make friends. Jeremy Oxley was many years later diagnosed with schizophrenia so this confused, frustrating tale is palpable. I have a minor quibble here, one of my favorite musical passages of the Mushroom version of this song was the spooky fade back in where Jeremy sounds like an alien who needs a friend but doesn't have the capability to get one, this sadly is not part of the version included here. That used to scare the shit out of me as a child. I think I was 11 when I first heard this LP. No Love Around is so melodic and rockin, I'm left mesmerised and dazzled! Oh yeah they had excellent explosive guitar bits that were awesome. I never knew who was playing which part, whether it was Peter Burgman or Jeremy Oxley doing the cool sections, but who cares? In Colour of Love there's another amazingly unhinged guitar break that just pops outside of your speakers (way, way fucking better than the Mushroom version). This is one of their coolest songs that's got kind of a funky bass (Jeremy's older bro Peter Oxley on bass), with this weird reverbed guitar twang that's tantalisingly serpentine plus really delightful cavernous tom tom fills and then Jeremy Oxley inundates you with his glorious melodies that go unexpected places.

It's easy to read into Oxley's lyrics in hindsight and they feel way more heartbreaking now because he didn't know what the fuck was going on. Back then though you just thought of it as melancholy universal trials of youth that we all had to undergo before we found our place in the world. As youths we didn't realise some of us would never get to that place where we were led to believe we would one day belong. Time honoured themes of being lost, problems communicating, not having friends, lost love, social ineptitude and loneliness now take on extra poignancy here. Despite not knowing he was schizophrenic in 1982 he articulated his frustration, confusion and mental anguish unbelievably well. Let's face it, a songwriter extraordinaire he is, and his candid vulnerability makes him just that little bit more endearing.

Other noticeable differences from this alternative version include more prominent 12 string guitars, a warmer sound generally (not as thin), some weird percussive moments and rougher/better vocals from Jeremy. Individuals peaked at 23 on the national chart. The first single taken from the album You Need A Friend just scrapped into the top 40 reaching 38. This Is Real the following 7" remains a classic live Sunnyboys tune and here by the sounds it remains in its original Mushroom form (can't read the liner notes though to see if that's mentioned or not because the print is ridiculously miniature and my spex were eaten by a certain dog I own). I don't even think This Is Real made the national chart at all, that's fucking absurd! It should be an Australian anthem on a par with Cold Chisel's Khe Sahn.

The Sunnyboys Individuals: Once a near classic, now absolute classic. Totally recommended.

Loving the new album sleeve for the 2015 reissue.

Volatile - Lime Spiders

My current theme tune. The lyrics here perfectly encapsulate my current mental state particularly after a migraine that's lasted over 24 hours. This is the 3rd in the series of Space Debris Theme Tunes. Here's the first and the other one.

*Quick note on Lime Spiders: They were a classic 80s garage band but by this point in 88 their attraction to metal with perhaps an eye to commercial crossover started to seep through. Cool bands started to admit their love for the great AC/DC. Great tune.


As is this. I guess this is their most famous tune which was a massive underground hit and it's a bewdy. This is a version from 1984 but I'm sure there was a demo of this kicking around a lot earlier and played on the likes of 3RRR in Melbourne. Correct me if I'm wrong. They had other great tunes too.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Australia Day Part 3

I wanted the original version of Rock n Roll Is Where I Hide from the Dave Graney & The Coral Snakes LP The Soft'n'Sexy Sound but it's not on the youtubes but this is a pretty bloody good version though. It's the title track of a 2011 cd Graney released of reworkings of classic Coral Snakes tunes but with a different band, I mean apart from his Mrs and himself that is. I also wanted to put up Morrison Floorshow from the same LP but that's not available either. Anyway enjoy this one. Dave's an Australian showbiz maverick. My mother in law once described him as a bit like George Melly. Compliment or put down? I've never heard Melly's music but I have his book Revolt Into Style and that's a brilliant pioneering work of music writing.

This is from Sunnyboys self-titled debut LP from 1981 that was in my best reissues of 2014. Sunnyboys was produced by the legendary Lobby Loyde of Coloured Balls fame. This tune, along with most of the others on the record, takes on a whole new significance when you've seen the documentary 'The Sunnyboy' about singer/songwriter and guitarist Jeremy Oxley and his mental health issues. He's a sweet guy though, when you get down to it.

I could post the whole album but this one is particularly fine. Sydney was such an exciting place in the late 70s and through the 80s for all sorts of music. Apparently there was music on every corner and in every pub and a lot of it was free or like a dollar, so I've been told. The Sunnyboys LP peaked 13 on the national charts and was the 67th biggest selling album in Australia in 1981. It came in just below The Beach Boys Greatest Hits which is rather fitting as Oxley and Wilson both had siblings in their bands, had troubles with life, were both recluses at certain stages and both were possibly geniuses.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Australia Day

Australian garage classic. The Missing Links Wild About You from 1965 was their 3rd single.  Weird & wild. The Saints covered this on their first LP and there was a great rock book that used this title too. Sydney rocked.

More deranged garage from Sydney in the mid 60s. You're Drivin Me Insane was the 2nd single from The Missing Links. This has gotta be one of the greatest songs ever.

From the 2nd Saints album Eternally Yours (1978). Alright. Let's Shoot the professor. Yeah!

From The Saints 3rd LP Prehistoric Sounds released in late 1978. Rowland S Howard used to cover this live with his band These Immortal Souls

The haunting sound of urban summer in Australia. Even though this song is particularly about Brisbane under the Police State of Sir Joh in the 70s it has a universal sound of a lethargic, irritating, paranoid and unrelenting Australian summer. 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Laughing Clowns - New Bully In The Town

Drummage: A Reprise

New Bully In Town
Laughing Clowns

The drums on this track are the hook, the...fuck let's face it they are the whole song. How did I miss the post-punk drummer of all post-punk drummers in the original Drummage blog conference/party started by Mr Simon Reynolds at the end of last year? Listening to the Ghost Of An Ideal Wife LP from 1985 the other other day New Bully In The Town stopped me in my tracks while I was doing the er... dishes. The drummage swings like mad and blew my mind and not for the first time. You could put more than half of the Clowns catalogue on here but this'll do for now. According to Ed Kuepper this is a humorous song influenced by 2 old songs. One was an old hillbilly instrumental and the other a 1920s blues track. Laughing Clowns 2 main players were Ed on guitar & vox and the incredible Jeffery Wegener on the drums with a revolving line up of other instrumentalists. Wegener even once played in a later/near the end line up of The Birthday Party, after Phil Calvert was no longer required, for some final live dates in Europe. Wegener even played in an early version of The Saints. If I recall this correctly early on at Laughing Clowns shows Wegener and his Kit would be front and centre of the stage. That's how important/integral Jeffery was to the band.

*Writing about drumming is really hard particularly if you're not a drummer. I had a few lessons at school in grades 5 & 6. I even once had to fill in at a rehearsal for my brothers band. I was in year 7 and they were all  form 6ers doing their HSC (year 12). Eventually though they got fed up as I really couldn't keep time. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Buffalo - Freedom

One More For ANZAC Day

9 minutes of slow burning hard rocking boogie oz rock stylee from 1971. I can smell the booze, smoke & exhaust from here. Taken from the classic LP Volcanic Rock. Rock on Sydney!

The Eastern Dark


The Eastern Dark
Julie Is a Junkie
Wow I cant believe how great this is every time I hear it. I can't put my finger on what it is about this tune. From 1985 this is their only 7" before singer/guitarist James Darroch died in a car crash en route from Sydney to Melbourne for a tour. There was an EP recorded prior to his untimely death released posthumously. What could have been? More mid 80s gold from when Sydney was the place to be.

Monday, 28 January 2013

The Church - She Never Said

One last one for Australia Day. This is taken from Countdown in 1981. Countdown was Australia's version of TOTP sort of. Everyone watched it every Sunday night. Anyway this episode was shown recently on Rage and boy did The Church not fit. I guess they never fitted anywhere as was stated in their Hall Of Fame anouncement. On this edition of Countdown were a whole lot of very bad and thin sounding synth-pop performers. So when the Church go into this weird dark post punk psychedelia that was at once a throwback and futuristic they stuck out like a sore thumb. It was a surprise to see this performance I'd never seen before and in that context all the more interesting and powerful.

The Atlantics

More classics for Australia Day. The Atlantics Come On. I love the clip but it's obviously mimed. I'd like to have seen a live version from this era.

Here's a band I've mentioned before Kahvas Jute and their great progressive hard rock classic Parade Of Fools. This is a proto-stoner epic from 1971.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Surf influenced Drummage

Simon Reynolds is still bangin on about drums so here's a couple more. Well it's pretty hard to get heard behind the twin guitar attack of Masuak and Tek but here's some great drumming to go with those surf guitars. Ron Keeley with the sticks.

Then there is this which was all about the drums. Loved it the first time I heard it which was on the Countdown awards cica 84/85. This was power surf drummage! Mark Kingsmall on the skins.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Nostalgia and INXS

Putting up that INXS track the other day I had no qualms about. For me they are in a position where I have no perspective on them. Having liked them from a preteen to my late teens. If I was introduced to them today what would I think? I have no idea. On paper it looks like I'd probably not like them but who knows? When I listen back to them now which is not very often, a little look on the youtubes now and again, I'm not even sure if I like them. I think I do though. I know the songs off by heart, there's memories, period charm, history, nostalgia, perverse pleasure and just plain pleasure all tied up in those songs. It's a bit hard separating it all.

I guess the biggest thing though with these songs is the you. The younger you. The less cynical you(er..I was always pretty cynical). The less tired you. The future you. The you you were going to be. The you that you never were. The possibilities of you. So these songs are pregnant with all of your hopes, dreams and excitement for the future and when you hear them that all rushes back usually in a good way. So whether you are getting off on that vibe or just a top tune it's hard to say. In the end does it really matter? It is interesting though

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Church - Heyday

It was the Heyday for those shirts.

So this is the fourth Church LP, which also means it was their fourth classic in a row. What a winning streak they had going in the 80s. Heyday was then followed up with Starfish another classic. The winning streak was then interrupted by the follow up to Starfish. Anyway I'm talking about Heyday because of those recent Scott Walker posts. It is an impeccably produced record with great songs and arrangements. It was Scott walker's main man Peter Walsh at the desk. This is the sound of 80s Australia in the best possible sense. I could bang on about the coolest sounding lyrics ever, the dual guitar interplay of Koppes and Wilson-Piper and the wonderfully intuitive drumming of Ploog. Also saying Ploog is great. Richard Ploog the coolest rock drummer ever! Anyway you've probably heard all that before what I want to highlight is the production and arrangements and how well Walsh and the Church got it so so right.

Night of Light
The strings and horns are arranged here by both Steve Kilbey and Peter Walsh. Can you believe this wasn't even a single. Incredible arrangements, so mesmerising up there with the strings and horns on Forever Changes.

Youth Worshipper
Horns and strings by SK alone this time. Some really weird and unexpected changes in this track. It starts off all nice and jangley then goes down some strange paths. Those horns are so fucking cool the whole thing still amazes me to this day. A high water mark in a career already filled with peaks. These are two of my favourite tunes from this classic album. I wonder why The Church never worked with Peter Walsh again? It's not like the results weren't outstanding or anything.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sun Araw - The Inner Treaty

Bondi - Last Sunday. Spent most of this trip ill in the Hotel room
with a tummy bug! Great! Fantastic pic by The Mrs though!
When I got back and started to feel a little better this was waiting for me. This being the only glimmer of happy in my life in the last 4 days.

It's his slickest yet most stripped back recording so far. I have only listened to it twice but I have to say it has a Compass Point/Adrian Belew vibe, maybe an influence from his time spent in the Caribbean recently or just listening to Talking Heads/Lizzy Mercier Descloux records. A bit weird after 5 or 6 LPs where it's been hard to pinpoint the slippery Sun Araw that now I can say something like that. Is it the stripping of the hypnogogic fog that's revealing or is it just a new direction/coincidence?

*Blogger spellcheck offers an alternative spelling to hypnogogic - Spongecake!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

More Hard Ons

Sad news I just noticed. Blackie from The Hard Ons was assaulted by a couple of teens while doing his other job ie. driving a taxi. His skull was fractured but apparently he's on the mend.

*These 2 are classics not on the new reissue but there's 4 more reissues on the way.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Hard Ons


Been listenin' to The Hard Ons Smell My Finger deluxe edition today. Which covers 1984-1987 including the early singles, Smell My Finger and Hot For Your Love Baby LPs reissued by Citadel

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Second Langauage
My Favorite Sydney via Canberra band of all time!

The 3Ds
In Outer Space!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


The Chills
The Great Escape

The Sunnyboys
I Need A Friend

I think this was recorded in NZ.
This song used to scare me when I was little.
Lobby Lyoyde production.
Fuck Yeah!


SK in fine form, so are the rest of the band, brilliant!
Tantalized-The Church
Yee Haa!

The Church - Fly
Is this an official film clip?

fuck yeah Ripple!

The Church
My favourite Sydney via Canberra & Liverpool band of all time!

The Chills
Heavenly Pop Hit!

The Verlaines
You know I think they were the weirdest band on Flying Nun!
I just find them a bit strange,
Not in a contrived way.