Showing posts with label The Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Church. Show all posts

Friday, 10 March 2017

The Church Heyday Tour

These pictures were taken in the US on 25/4/86 at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. I love the 2 I've blown up extra large and this last one.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

What's On The Hi-Fi Part $?

DJ Extreme - 1994 Jungle Volume 10
I can't seem to get out of 90s zones. This is a cracker of a mix. I've been working my way through DJ Extreme's mixes at Hardscore. Listened to all his 92 and 93 hardcore mixes and now I've reached Volume 10 of his 94 Jungle mixes. This is a fabulous trip into the 90s. We've got funky drummers, half-time bass lines, divas, ragga muffins, chipmunk traces, r&b dudes, sinister synth stabs, washes of ambience, drum splatters and just plain mental bass. This mix is worth it for the array of bass lines alone. You tend to forget that in amongst the euphoria of 90s hardcore a darkness lurked just as much. This mix contains big names like Dillinja, Ed Rush, Doc Scott and DJ Phantasy as well as 2nd and 3rd level playaz. Jungle was so good in 94 the B, C & D grade artists are fucking great too. The quality went deep and the beat science rewards were endless. Volume 10 isn't relentless with the beats, space has it's place here as well. Sometimes you think the darkness is going to envelope the whole set and the drums are going to conk out. That never happens though until the end, I guess. Big Ups to the Extreme.

DJ Extreme - 1994 Jungle Volume 9
Here's another DJ Extreme mix which is a bewdy too. This mix starts out with gold ie. DJ Dextrous & Rapid's Rapid. The House Crew, Tango, Marvellous Cain, Dillinja and D'Cruze all pop their heads up in this ace mix. I can't get enough of this shit and let me tell you there is a bounty of it at Hardscore. Time-stretching, remnants of hip hop, traces of 70s reggae, Ragga, Rave sirens, Amens, House, ethereal lulls, elastic booming bass, dubbed out divas, cymbal splashes, bleeps, mini ponds of euphoria, occasional swells of thick bass goo that leap into the drum n bass future and much more feature here. What's amazing is how different Volume 9 is from Volume 10 which is a testament to the genre's flexibility and breadth of vision and probably why the Hardcore Continuum would continue on for another decade before running out of steam. "They played that bloody Jungle music all night!" And why wouldn't you with choice tracks such as these.

The Church - Hologram Of Baal
Ever since Reynolds posted those Go-Betweens & Church film clips a week or two ago it has been hard to get out of these Aussie zones. You might have noticed I was/am quite the Church fan. I seem to have lost 1996's Magician Among The Spirits so I gave this another listen and wow what an underrated little gem this is. By 1998 they had probably lost at least half of their 80s fan base but that didn't mean they weren't still making legendary music. By this stage of the game we'd all ditched the paisley shirts and pointy shoes long ago but The Church continued on their merry way making druggy journeys into sound. I guess their only contemporaries at the time were Mercury Rev (a friend once described Yerself Is Steam as The Church meets Butthole Surfers), The Flaming Lips and Spiritualized. The Kranky label had been releasing psychedelic space rock for a while too by this stage but the Church weren't following trends. They just did what they did best and made one of their best LPs while they were at it. Hologram Of Baal is The Churchiest of 90s Church LPs. It solidified their 90s experimentalism while containing all of what made them great in the 80s making this an album of consolidation for the band. This LP is like a Church progress report of where they had come from, where they had been and where they were going. More gold.

Now this is a state of the art rap mixtape 2015 style. With most mixtapes you can usually tell which region of America it's coming from ie. Drill & Bop (Chicago), Ratchet (California) trap/weird (Atlanta/The South) etc. but Bricc Baby Shitro throws them all onto this mixtape making it hard to tell where he's emanated from. It makes sense then that he's from LA but now hanging out in Atlanta. Even though Bricc Baby's got a handful of producers here, the mixtape remains pretty cohesive. Having Young Thug on your mixtape is a blessing and a curse. Thugga will give your recording a higher profile but he's most certainly going to upstage you no matter who you are. That puts the starpower of Young Thug into perspective ie. no one in the rap game can come close to him and this has been the case since his 2013 classic 1017 Thug. Anyway this is a genre mixtape that considers the state of where hip hop is in 2015. You may not like having this plethora of rap sounds all in one place but it's almost definitive of the year or at least the decade in which it was made.

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.

Seance - The Church

Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock Part IV

Séance from 1983 is the third Church album and, like their two previous LPs, it's a classic. This time they get Nick Launay to produce. This is a strange combination to be sure and some fans were shocked by the studio affects, particularly the drum sounds, on this recording.  About half of the record is studio trickery, strings and keyboards added to their usual dual guitar interplay. The other half is fairly true to their trippy jangling live sound. Séance is a moody and atmospheric affair. Steve Kilbey travels darker terrain than usual, which is fine because there isn't a bad tune to be found here at all.

*Track 5 Travel By Thought here.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Blurred Crusade - The Church

Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock Part III

The second Church album is where they really hit their stride. Steve Kilbey (singer, songwriter, bass player & slide guitarist) even describes it as ‘an unimaginable leap forward.’ The LP title says it all. It’s a Blurred Crusade. The production here is warm and puts The Church into a lush soft focus. What’s striking listening back to it today is how much keyboard action there is, pianos, harpsichord, hammond and even a Celeste, all played by Kilbey. Nick Ward was replaced by the phenomenal Richard Ploog on drums. Ploog freed up the band to be more spacious and fluid. So began the classic line-up of The Church which continued for the next 8 years. This LP hit the top 10 in 1982 and went double gold in Australia. It opened with the definitive Church song Almost With You, a top forty hit which had a fabulous spanish guitar lead break by Peter Koppes (lead guitar, backing vocals, tubular bells & percussion) very 1982. When You Were Mine was next and what a rocking epic it was. Marty Willson-Piper (electric, acoustic & 12 string guitars) describes it as ‘a snarling beast.’ The guitars here are metallic and driving while the keyboards are eerie and cold. Willson-Piper sings lead vocals on Field Of Mars despite the lyrics being written by Kilbey. This is a wicked haunted trip, complete with the usual jangle, bent lead breaks, otherworldly keyboards and even some bells to top it off. Apparently it’s about a graveyard where a deceased friend of Kilbey’s resides. God that’s just the first three tunes. We’ve got rockin toe tappers (A Fire Burns), almost cosmic country sweetness (Don’t Look Back), sumptuous romantic janglers (To Be In Your Eyes), Hallucinogenic psych outs (An Interlude), mysterious lullabies (Secret Corners) and 12 string workouts (Just For You). Then there’s the all time classic 8 minute epic You Took which contains the lyric that would become the album title and the best way to describe this song. You Took is a band at the peak of their powers resulting in an astonishing display of rock dynamics. While The Church had a few things in common with LA’s Paisley Underground like a love for psychedelia, The Byrds, The Velvets, 12 string guitars etc. they were much more than that. The Church also loved the pop end of prog, recent British music of the time like John Foxx (solo & with Ultravox), Be Bop Deluxe (?), Gary Numan, quite possibly the entire history rock and god knows what else. Most of all The Church were an incredibly distinct unit whose intangible chemistry could never be replicated so their music was always original, never mere pastiche. Glorious.    

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Antipodean Space Debris II

I thought we'd have a little Church trip with some of their most epic tunes through the ages. This is from the first record Of Skins & Heart (1981). I suppose then this is their first epic. I still love a very lot (sic).

I've never seen this video in my life. Anyway this is the biggest epic on their epic laden 2nd LP The Blurred Crusade (1982). Still a live killer to this day.

This is from the 3rd LP Seance (1983) and would be their most experimental tune up to that point in time. Still very fucking cool

Trance Ending was actually a b-side to Columbus a single off Heyday (1985). Great middle eastern trip out. Nice.

One of the great things about The Church was their album opening tracks and this is one of their greatest. You have to keep in mind these guys were on major labels throughout the 80s and they really didn't give a fuck about trends. They had top 40 singles in Australia and America so that was a problem for Indie people but The Church were also doing their own thing alienating them most of the time from the mainstream. They really didn't fit anywhere making them true cult outsiders. They also inspired a legion of groups who were obviously enamoured by their talent and artistic vision not to mention their fashion sense. You could never recreate that unique synergy though and those acolytes must have soon realised being as effortlessly cool as The Church wasn't quite as easy as they made it look. Starfish (1988) was their 5th classic in a row and their most popular and successful LP of their career. It even went gold in the US.

Let's forget about album number 6 shall we, Seve Kilbey's been trying to ever since 1990. Here's another great opening tune this time to their 7th album Priest=Aura from 1992. Kilbey claims this LP to be the true follow up to Starfish. If it had been perhaps they would have been as big as their contemporary The Cure, in The USA at least. America is still their bread and butter though as well as Australia. Having said that they were quite a cult band throughout pockets of Europe during the 80s and remain so to this day. Funnily enough I think after Johnny Marr and Stephen Patrick Morrissey had a meeting and decided to form The Smiths they went out that night to a Church concert. I reckon you can tell Marr must have loved their guitars and was influenced by them. Priest=Aura was probably their last consistently excellent LP until 98's Hologram Of Baal and their recent classic Untitled #23 (2009).

With this opening 1994's Sometime, Anywhere I thought we were in for an absolute killer album. The LP was ok but contained a couple of naff tunes and was perhaps a little long. It did have many other excellent songs though but this is the most memorable one for me. 

Another choice LP opener this time for their 9th album Magician Among The Spirits from 1996. Jesus I've forgotten how good this is, must dig out the cd. Surely this is the only place to you'll hear Jeff Kennett, Ida Lupino and Milli Vanilli mentioned in the same song. I always thought Kilbey said Alan Moulder (the legendary engineer/producer of JAMC, MBV, The Boo Radleys etc.) at the end of this tune but disappointingly the youtube uploader reckons it's Alan Muller* whoever he is? This is a phenomenal trippy spaced out improv (shhh!) psych jam. Steve's answer to Madonna's Vogue, doncha reckon?

*Uh huh, Alan Muller painted this! Great painting of SK. He must have painted the cover for SK's 4th solo LP Remindlessness (1990) as well. Actually looking at them together now it's the same picture just zoomed in, I think, maybe....

More on this classic double LP in a future blog post.

Antipodean Space Debris - A CardrossManiac2 Tangent

Hardly Baked has a few clips here of The Church & The Go-Betweens. Steve Kilbey is not only a brilliant songwriter/musician but he's a massive music fan. He loved The Go-Betweens so much he coerced Grant McLennan into collaborating with him on the Jack Frost project. This was recorded, after The Go-Betweens had broken up, in 89 or 90. Number 11 is the tune that stuck with me most from their debut LP. Anyway see below to see how much of a fanboy SK was and still is of Australian rock.

Of course as pointed out in this speech by a heckling ex manager Kilbey wasn't always a card. He was quite renowned for being a sullen bastard in the 80s. So much so that after Kilbey did a poetry reading in Melbourne one night I refused to get my book of his poetry signed in case he was not particularly nice. I think his drug change up from pot & heroin to uppers has made his true personality come to the fore. He's become an all round entertainer. This is a guy who wouldn't appear on Australia's most popular 80s variety show Hey Hey It's Saturday. Now I reckon he'd love to be part of that show's dodgy repartee. As Julia Zemiro points out, at the end of this crazy off the cuff speech, he really could host his own show. This is the best speech I've ever heard without a doubt and I fucking hate awards shows and speeches in general. It's true gold like many Church albums. He's a national treasure and we are blessed by his continuing fabulousness.

I mean here's some evidence right here. The Church released one of their best songs ever Space Saviour in 2009 like 30 after they started.

Kilbey loved The Triffids too. I once saw The Triffids 5 or 6 years back in Melbourne obviously sans one Dave McComb but they had a bunch of guests taking over vocal duties. The highlight of the show was when Steve Kilbey came out with no guitar, just a mike, in a sleeveless truckers shirt and made four Triffids classics his own. By that I mean 10 times better than the originals. The peak was when he did an incredibly intense version of Field Of Glass, one of the most memorable live rock moments in my life. So incredible this was that my wife wife can't listen to The Triffids anymore because Steve changed those songs forever. Of course he's the coolest guy on the planet so that's totally understandable.

This is the original which was recorded at the BBC in November 84 for a Peel Session.... I think. Overwrought to the max. Weirdly this could almost be a Bad Seeds tune from 1994. The late Dave McComb was a Nick Cave fan and at the same time Mick Harvey was a Triffids fan. Then of course in the 90s The Bad Seeds gained ex-Triffids bass player Martyn P Casey who remains an integral part of that band to this day.

To complete the circle here we've got the late Grant McLennan introducing The Triffids Raining Pleasure on Rage circa 1999. Which was kinda weird as we were led to believe that The Triffids and The Go-Betweens were arch enemies in the 80s. That was probably a media beat up but a good story none the less Now this tune is evocative of Antipodean space.

So many classic Forster lines in this one - " it's not my cup of thrills"

Spring Hill Fair is definitely The Go-Betweens LP I've played the most and is my favourite, I don't get why it isn't everybody else's. I mean the first four Go-Betweens LPs (Send Me A Lullaby, Before Hollywood, Spring Hill Fair and Liberty Belle And The Black diamond Express) are pure fucking gold aren't they? While the last 2 (in their original 80s stint) Tallulah & 16 Lover Lane are quite patchy and in 16 Lovers Lane's case way overrated. I mean it got it's own episode on *Australian Classic Albums??
*Perhaps more on that absurd and problematic show another time.

I remember hearing an interview with drummer Lindy Morrison who was Robert Forster's romantic partner up to this point in time. Anyway when she first heard this tune she knew it was his way of saying goodbye to their relationship. Only Forster could be hilarious, scathing and so fucking poignant at the same time. What a bittersweet song if there ever was one. 

All of this is reminiscent of my brother and I sitting around listening this record and the joy it brought us. Of course Forster was a funny bastard with great comic delivery. He was just as funny when he was serious as well. Forster was also a sterling songwriter. Then there was Grant who we thought was funny too but for different reasons. He seemed a little too earnest, over confident, serious and very uncool. There was no denying Grant's gift for songwriting though. The juxtaposition between these two personalities was strange and sort of comic as well. I guess they complimented each other though. Later on in my life I met them both and they were absolute gentlemen as you would imagine.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Where To Begin

There's been a stack of new things recently that I just haven't got around to listening to yet. There's been a batch of new releases from the west country noise farmers doing their mad cow diseased electronics and gumboot industrial ie. IX-Tab, Kemper Norton, Howlround, Ekoplekz but I think I've missed Hacker Farm's tape as it sold out before I even heard about it. Plus there's more on the way soon from their hauntological cousins The Advisory Circle and I assume the usual season's greetings from Moon Wiring Club. Some very old faves have been busy too The Church, Einsturzende Neubauten (must admit haven't listened to a new record of theirs since Ende Neu) and Scott Walker (no I haven't listened to it yet! Perhaps tonight's the night). Some slightly younger old faves Fennesz and Vladislav Delay (remember Multila?, he was also Luomo) have new records too. When the hell will I listen to all these? Mike Fresh, Vell, Future, Cheif Keef, Salva, Lil Boosie, King Louie and many others have new mixtapes over in the trap/ratchet zones. Then we've got Beatking Presents Houston Vs Everybody which is a compilation featuring Houston's finest plus Beatking's Club God 4 is on its way too! I can't wait for the new Kevin Gates album The Luca Brasi Story II which is also coming soon.

I've only just got around to listening to The Interweb Halloween bonanza of mixes. There were two from Death Waltz which I managed to download but I think you can only stream them now. They are both as you would expect excellent. Andy Votel from Finders Keepers put in a sterling effort as well with his Histoire Dhorreur Mix. I don't know if you can still download that but have a search. Then there was something a bit different over at Blog To The Old School. They usually do a darkside jungle mix at Halloween but this year they put together a compilation of recent jungle on the dark tip. Check it out if you get the chance, although they seem to be offline presently.

What Have I been listening to then you may well ask? Ariel Pink's Pom Pom is pretty hard to get off the hi-fi, i-pod etc. But when I do get it off I'm trying to figure out what the hell the attraction to Gucci Mane is. I've got a selection of like 10 of his recommended best mixtapes and I'm giving them a go. I have to say I don't think it's going well for me and Gucci so far. I can't really understand what he's saying but the beats are stellar. He only registered on my musical map after seeing Spring Breakers. Then I only listened to him this year because of his collaborations with Young Thug. These mixtapes with Mane & Thug were not a patch on Young Thug's 2013 mixtape 1017 Thug or Young Thug's brilliant 2014 collaboration with Bloody Jay Black Portland or even his more recent collaboration with Rich Homie Quan & Birdman as part of The Rich Gang whose mixtape Tha Tour I've previously posted about. I'm wondering if Gucci should stick to acting but that might be a bit hard as he's doing some time for assault and firearm charges. The only one that's stood out so far is The Movie 2: The Sequel released in 2012. This could be due to it's guests though Snoop, Trey Songs, Nicki Minaj, Waka Flacka and Shawty Lo. There are choice beats and many hooks though. We'll see, although I might retire that project for a bit to catch up on what's going on now.

"Spring Break...." Gucci Mane.
Now I have had a few listens to IX-Tab's R.O.C. (get it here) and it's sounding pretty good to these ears so far. More thoughts on this later. One track has a sample of a hypnotist/meditation guru and I swear it's put me to sleep three times, sure I've been in bed and on painkillerz but....

The only other thing I've given a quick listen to is Vell's Stay Down To Come Up. Don't know much about him except he's a young chap from Oakland and he's doin some fine ratchet. He's got Mustard on the beat on 5 trax here as well as YP Spoelestra on a handful of tunes. So he's in good hands. His rap delivery is occasionally a little too close to Jay-Z but he sings as well giving him enough originality to get by. Perhaps this is what 10 Summers should have been. YP is on an unbelievable roll at the moment. So Vell is definitely a rising star, whether he can transcend his influences or not time will tell. Stay Down To Come up will be getting more air time round here as opposed to Salva's highly rated Peacemaker which left me cold. Can't understand the fuss about that one but who cares?, I suppose.

Monday, 29 September 2014

New Ariel Pink

Just noticed this was released. It's taken from his new album Pom Pom. Sounds like The Byrds or an 80s jingle jangle facsimile. Not sure if that's a good thing or not yet. Slightly reminiscent of The Church at their 80s best, musically anyway.  Both Ariel Pink and Steve Kilbey are complete vocal and wordsmith talents incomparable to anyone really.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Beaches - She Beats

When I write about an artist I usually try to evoke the sounds, ideas and feelings through words and not list influences. This is getting harder by the second particularly as we are now very late in the (rock) epoch.  I'm only a couple of listens in but I'm really diggin' She Beats. It's a guitar record. It's not really breaking any new ground but who is? My ears just love hearing those guitars and the melodies. They've definitely done stellar research*. Beaches belong the lineage of The Velvets/Stooges/Kraut/Hawkwind axis, the Paisley Underground, 80s Sydney Rock (The Church, Died Pretty) 80s into early 90s Flying Nun, Proto-Shoegaze (ie. Loop et al.) Shoegaze, 90s Kranky and  instrumental groups from the USA like Pell Mell & Cul-De-Sac and the more recent Yawning Man/Ten East. I have to say though with Beaches It feels more organic than that. This musical melting pot  has been brewing in their DNA for some time and can't help but ooze out of them when they plug in and play. As opposed to a group like Savages who seem to be mixing and matching influences like trying on clothes. IE. 'Does my Wire match my Siouxsie? Does my Banshee look big in this?'

Beaches still haven't captured the immensity of their live sound on tape and one wonders if they ever will. Someone should give them hundreds of thousands of dollars so they can create their very own Tusk or Starfish. They must be special if I'm willing to let a track like Granite Snake get past me as I swore a couple of years ago that if I heard another band being influenced by Neu (Neu are one of my all time favourite bands but does that mean every 2nd band should rip em off) I would smash the radio in. But Granite Snake blows my fucking mind, it's incredible  Who'd have thought we'd be listening to a band in 2013 that reminded us of Opal, The Pale Saints or the 3Ds? Possibly the best record of its ilk since Yawning Man's excellent Vista Point from 2007 (yeah yeah I know Vista Point is a compilation of records made in 2005, whatever).

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.

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.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Buying LPs In The Old Days

First of all you had news of a record coming out sometimes many months before. You'd usually pre-order it. You would probably go into the record shop to see if had arrived yet. Then once I had the vinyl I would take it home and play it full bore on dad's Marrantz Hi-Fi. The vinyl would then be put onto a tape so I could listen to it in my bedroom as I didn't have my own turntable, just a crappy mono tape recorder. Which is featured in this video at the 2.55 minute mark.

Anyway I had it for many years till I saved up for an upgrade. Which I believe was some kind of Panasonic ghetto blaster. None of this double tape deck shit so I couldn't even dub other tapes. But hey it had detachable speakers. Wow - the spaciality of stereo.

Then there was the records. You'd put so much time and thought into your purchase so the odds of it being the goods was in your favour. Through those teenage years LPs went, I think from around $10.99 to $17.99 so that was a lot of money and you didn't want to waste it. So if an album sounded rubbish on first listen, you would give it another go. Then you would give it another go, then another and another up till at least 20 times. Usually the biggest disappointments were bands with a previously great track records so you didn't give a second thought about laying out the dollars for their new record. An example of this was The Models follow up to Out of Mind, Out of Sight which was Models Media. I really really wanted it to be good and probably played it over 25 times before I had to concede it was rubbishola! $16.99 down the drain.

Hoodoo Gurus 3rd LP Blow your Cool did have some great tracks (that Models one had about none) on it but over half was shite. So the endurance of putting up with that other half got annoying in the end. Should have known as the previous record Mars Needs Guitars was only 50% classic. I guess now you would just uncheck the shite songs on i-tunes. This is what I did with that Salem album King Night a couple of years ago. I love about 50-60% of the tracks that I kept checked and couldn't give a fuck about the unchecked ones.

With some groups you knew when to get off the fan wagon instinctively or if the first single off the forthcoming LP was lame. Thus no more INXS post Kick or Midnight Oil post Blue Sky Mining. Hey I was young & impressionable. Probably could have got off earlier with those two groups.

Then there were times when the investment music policy paid off. Take The Triffids final LP The Black Swan which I thought was the worst piece of crap I'd ever laid my ears on. Especially after the over the top, over produced and over budget classic Calenture. These days I'd just delete the file after maybe one or two listens in but due to my investment I played it many times. It is now one of my favourite LPs of all time.

I don't hate Strangeways Here We come by The Smiths but that would have been in the recycle bin straight away. Giving it the investment time made me like it more. Still I find it inferior to the rest of the catalogue, the runt of the litter. Still a good record mind you.

Royal Trux Twin Infinitives is a later example (not really in the timeframe of ths article anyhow) which was on CD but I paid good money at import prices for it. At first maybe for a year and I'm no stranger to noise I found it perplexing and annoying. I would come back to it intermittently after months at a time. Then one day years later it made perfect sense. The perfect noise.

My investment listening music policy couldn't help records which were no good. Jesus & The Mary Chain's Automatic had 2 great singles Head On & the real beauty Blues From A Gun. The rest of the LP however...Gold Afternoon Fix The Church's follow up to the classic Starfish couldn't be helped by repeated listenings. That Petrol Emotion's Chemicrazy very bad indeed.

Maybe recent albums by Black Dice, Maria Minerva and Laurel Halo would perhaps have benefited from the investment policy. James Ferraro's Bodyguard project got a fair airing around here but me no likey so goodbye!

I have touched on this before in a previous post. These are different times and we may now miss out on some things but you know what it's inconsequential as there is so much other stuff out there. Why would I care? No use wasting your time! You don't have that much.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Scott Walker - Bish Bosch

Farmer In The City
From Tilt
Be warned if you've never heard this prepare to
have your mind blown. Surely one of the
greatest songs of the 20th century.

"I'll punch a donkey in the streets of Galway" 
Jolson & Jones
From The Drift

It's all happening now. Scott Walker has a new LP out 5 years early. I'm still processing/getting used to The Drift. Geez man give me some time. He must be going through a creative period I mean The Drift was only released in 2006, The one before that Tilt was '95 and if memory serves Climate of The Hunter was like 1984. Slow down man you'll give yourself a heart attack! Anyway I've had a quick listen to Bish Bosch and well it's what you would expect. How do I describe that? I'll get back to you on that. There did seem to be little cracks of light here and there. One track almost had a groove happening. Another had a little Bossa Nova/Tropicalia/Samba? interlude going on. Hang on am I sure? Diehards don't be disheartened these were very brief moments if they happened at all. It's the usual esoteric Walker walking into a future like no other. Some choice lyrics are 'Nothing clears a room like the removal of a brain' and another where he compares himself to a 'Wildflower Garden, an English Garden'. There are even some rock like textures on Phrasing with 70s metallic riffs popping up randomly amongst other little surreal psych bits.  One track Pilgrim has this great percussive backing while he he sings about a room full of mice and blowing bullfrogs with a straw. Then he sings about staring into the bullfrogs eyes before they burst, you know the usual kind of of lyrics for a song. On The Day The "Conducator" Died (An Xmas Song) the final track, the backing could be Slint on really strong painkillers with sleigh bells for percussion and then there is a mini Jingle Bells riff on the bells right at the end   I love these people who get more hardcore and don't become complacent and boring in their old age. It's definitely worth aspiring to this being an awkward renegade who doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks. I can imagine him now in his old age still drinking a truckload in the company of sophisticated women with maybe a little something else on the side to get himself going/not going, know what I mean. Or I can see him as being a quiet, solitary, studious and creative man in his abode occasionally going for a walk in the park. Maybe he's somewhere in between which could explain a few things.

Havin' a little sip old skool stylee.

Scott has a secret weapon in Peter Walsh his producer who also accompanied Walker on production duties for Pulp's  underrated but tremendous final LP We Love Life.  Walsh has been with him since The Climate Of The Hunter. If I have this right he also produced one of the greatest Church LPs ever Heyday from 1985. That was such a beautifully produced record that it is much to my amazement they never used him again. I always thought Heyday was produced by The Apartments Peter Milton Walsh until today. Anyway i thought both Peters were the same Peter so it made no difference to me. Maybe Peter Milton Walsh should get Peter Walsh to produce the next Apartments LP.

Boy Child from Scott 4
Couldn't resist some old School Scott from '69.
Who else was doing shit like this back then?

Sunday, 29 July 2012


Ok I was gettin a Sunday burger and chips with the Mrs today and there in the magazine racks for your perusal was another fuckin' list. This time it was The Rolling Stone top 50 alternative records of the 90s and I'm pretty sure it was you know the Australian version. What kind of Australian version has 3 Australian records in its top 50??? What does alternative mean and who gives a crap?! Anyway I've got list fatigue suffice to say no Rowland S, Dave G, Nick C, Spiderbait, The Moles, The Church, The Chills, The 3Ds, Kim Salmon etc.....I've got list fatigue and can't waste any more energy on complaining that twits run magazines and fuck knows who buys them! Even bigger twits I suspect. You am I turned up of course they obviously like chugging! Anyway my burger was fantastic mustard and pickles with like home made chips with a touch of salt and rosemary. Yum! Well worth it. The Mrs had a lovely satay & coriander burger, apparently v nice. Will be making return visit for sure. I'll bring my own reading materials though next time, I don't need to get angry/bored at Sunday lunch.

Not actual burger that I ate but v similar looking
Rolling Stone Australia what a fucking joke!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Dad where's Barbara Anne?
Dad surf's not up on this one is it?

I didn't really envisage this blog being so retro when I began it. The first posts, which were about the previous years new releases with only a mention of 4 archival releases, were more along the lines of what I thought it would be. Anyway I'm not gonna get hung up on it. You could write a whole book on the subject, which Simon Reynolds did last year. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in un/popular culture and where it's going, or should I say where it's been? In fact I think he could turn it into a trilogy at least.

Anyway retro has been with us for a long time and hey it ain't goin anywhere. Apart from my Dad's records: Elvis, Little Richard, Everly Bros, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, The Animals, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, The Beatles & The Rolling Stones, I first remember it with '50's revival stuff in the '80's which I didn't care much for. Then I guess it was the increased presence of bands like Creedence, The Beach Boys and The Doors on '80's radio and TV promoted hits packages. I never heard a proper LP from those bands until much later.

Then there was the scene with new wave neo-psych bands like The Church and The Sunnyboys. Those groups had some modernism though. It was the next batch of Australian groups who really were fully retro: The Hoodoo Gurus, The Stems et al. They were bloody good though. Once the '80's had passed, the then current '60's revivalists like Even, The Badloves, You Am I etc. didn't seem so great. In fact they seemed shit..... er.....which is what they were.  I remember writing an email asking whether you could have a revival of an '80's '60's revival in the '00's? This was actually starting to happen in Australia at the time. This is where it started to get weird ie. a revival of a revival. Maybe it will go on forever ad nauseum ..................................aaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!

The best Australian 60s band of the 80s

The '60's was always with us on the TV. Get Smart, I Dream Of Jeanie, Bewitched, Gilligan's Island and Batman were on constant repeat forever. Then there was The Munsters and the Aadams Family; probably not as repeated as much. The Flinstones and The Jetsons were always on too. I don't even know when they were made, '60's I guess. The British TV of the '70's never seemed to go away either. Fawlty Towers, Are You Bing Served?, On the Buses, Benny Hill, Dad's Army, George & Mildred, The Good Life, The Goodies etc. So I guess Australians have always experienced this time warp. Is this what they mean by atemporality or do I need to read Retromania again?

My Favourite book of 2011

Cupcake anyone?
What about a frog in a pond?
You could wash it all down with a Blue Lagoon!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


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.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Miserable/Funny Songwriters

I was going to bang on about New Zealand music and why the 80s to about 91-92 were a golden era etc. and not just the popular Flying Nun bands but the weirder ones plus xpressway etc.  Another time perhaps or maybe look elsewhere on the net for such information.  I remember a pretty good article on Flying Nun at the Stylus Website. There is also a good doco on the youtubes about Flying Nun RecordsPopwatch fanzine once had a terrific piece on the xpressway label. 

I was thinkin' about funny singers and songwriters.  It used to be, people would say 'Nick Cave was a bit dour.' and not see the funny side in the 80s into 90s, but now he's almost a fully fledged comedian so people are comin' round to the idea.  There also used to be "How can you listen to The Smiths? They just moan!" Of course as soon as anyone said this you knew that they hadn't truly listened to the band.  Morrissey was fucking hilarious!  Those Smiths albums still make me laugh.  Leonard Cohen too, what a laugh he was. Then there was the more obvious funny dudes like Robert Forster, Mark E Smith and Dave Graney. As well as hardcore like Flipper and Angry Samoans.

I had another category as well where it all seemed so serious surely they were havin' a laugh.  Maybe they were, maybe they weren't.  It didn't matter to me I thought they were a laugh a minute.  First example being Swans.  The darkness, the impotence, the serious delivery, the sickness etc. what a hoot!  Michael Gira possibly the funniest man on the planet.  Jarboe a bit funny too.  Joy Division were funny.  Add in Ian Curtis's dancing you got yourself a good time.  Primitive Calculators were great fun to me and my little sister when I was in my early teens.  Still one of the good time bands for me.  It turns out in recent interviews that indeed they had great senses of humour.  Einsturzende Neubauten with their crumbling architecture, wanting the world to end, the harshness, the screaming the mental illness etc. all good comedy fare.  Liabach, pretty funny as well.  Rollins too but I had to love the music as well so I don't know if he counts.

Funny songwriter or just a funny guy?

Anyway the whole reason I was thinkin' about this was because I was listening to The Drones for the first time in years and wondering where Gareth Liddiard fitted into this.  Sure on the telly he's a funny guy (RockQuiz a couple of times) but do I find his songs funny? I'm still not sure.  Steve Kilbey a recently hilarious dude was something nobody saw coming, well not from The Church's music anyway.  He might have always been a private card but I like the idea of him flowering late with his comedic prowess.  Gettin' loose in his old age.

Maybe all of this says more about me than anything else. Who knows?  Any thoughts out there ?

**That's a great painting of Gareth Liddiard (from The Drones)  from last years Archibald Prize Exhibition, which I managed to catch in The Yarra Valley.  That painting was also one of the strongest in the competition.

Monday, 23 January 2012

big ups to the Bondi possie!



Both of these songs became staples on 3MA in the early Eighties, thank God!
Sometimes regional radio had it's charms!
Like when they played 'This Charming Man'
for my friend's birthday on 3MA.
The Smiths
Hearing that at 8 in the morning was fuckn' priceless!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

best song ever

The Church

According to my computer this was my most played song of 2011.  This really is the best ever (along with about 40 other Church tunes) song.   Thirty years later it still sounds grouse!