Wednesday, 25 June 2014

It never ends: Hitmen - I Want You, 1980

Hitmen's second 7", I Want You / Tell Tale Heart (WEA, 100129) sees them start the move from the perfect powerpop of the first 7" to the less interesting macho hard rock of the LPs. The band were nothing if not a great singles band however, and all the 45s are well worth getting. It was said at the time that the A-side, I Want You, was inspired by Kiss' 1979 hit I Was Made For Loving You. Hmm, we can't really hear it. Even down the decades that smells like Record Company bullshit, riding off the popularity of that year's hit. Further, we're pretty sure a man of taste like songwriter Warwick Gilbert would have ripped off prime era Kiss, like Deuce, Strutter or Cold Gin, if he was so inclined.

What is true though is that said Record Company were too cheap to stump up for a picture sleeve, so the band had some printed themselves and hand distributed them to at least the Sydney shops.

On the other hand, through WEA's worldwide reach, the single also got issued in Italy (WEA, Y 70005) as part of The Sound Of The 80s series. Both white label promos and coloured label stock copies exist.




There are mentions on the web of a German issue with the same catalogue number but we're dubious to the point of saying it doesn't exist.

What is maybe less known is the alternative version of I Want You which appeared on a K-Tel greatest hits LP called Squeezed Out later in 1980, alongside The Aliens, The Angels, The Reels and, um, Christie Allen. K-Tel mastering renders the song two seconds shorter but it's the same version with a different mix - louder rhythm guitar post-chorus (an improvement) and big '80s sounding drums (sad slide whistle).

I Want You (single version) [Download]


I Want You (Squeezed Out version) [Download]


Telltale Heart [Download]

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Wallaby Beat Live





On Saturday night May 24, the esteemed R.I.P Society label will be hosting a fifth birthday event, at the Sydney Opera House no less.

Bands playing are:

The Dead C / feedtime / Bed Wettin' Bad Boys / Woollen Kits / Native Cats / Rat Columns / Cured Pink / Holy Balm / Ghastly Spats / Housewives / Constant Mongrel / Half High

More details here.

We'll be playing Wallaby Beat discs between bands. Below is some highlights of Opera House shows in the '70s. We'll be trying to recreate the feel of The Angels getting clocked by bottles at the end of 1979 - read about it in Blood, Sweat And Beers.





Thursday, 6 March 2014

Finch - Out Of Control 7" Picture Records PRS 011, 1973

Finch covering The Eagles is borderline genius, but even better, their balls-out take on Out Of Control out-struts Strutter in the shameless Kiss-worship stakes - at least, it would do if it didn't precede the first Kiss LP by a whole year! The flip sees them bust out a rifftastic original that gets heavy when it needs to and swings nicely when it doesn't. The overall vibe leaves no doubt that Finch were no strangers to the bong, but alas, there are no overt weed references this time around - they were probably too buzzed on sugar and caffeine from winning the 1973 Pepsi Pop Poll (the first prize being this one-off deal with Picture Records. EMI Custom enthusiasts, note the unrelated catalogue prefix).

Things have been pretty quiet around here of late, and updates will continue to be sporadic over the next few months as we concentrate on the upcoming Ulsers 7" reissue and archival LP. More news about those soon.

Out Of Control [Download]


And She Sings [Download]

Saturday, 1 February 2014

C. C. C. - Welcome To Cordial Land LP Starlight, 1976

So what else was happening in Brisbane in 1976? Apart from the unusual score in the Grand Final, orthodoxy says not much and we’re pretty sure that this time it’s right. If you couldn’t stomach 4IP approved cover bands, country, bluegrass or blues then you’d have been making a beeline for Club ‘76 with the rest of the uplifting gourmandisers.

But what’s this? Coming out of the upper levels of the Penney’s Building at 210 Queen Street (now in the mall), the CCC Band released this obscure LP in yes, 1976.

We’ve long been dubious about a Brisbane Sound – a twee, thin shouldered, short-sleeved shirt and short-wearing light pop. Sure, post ’83 there was a bunch of bands that could be viewed as having taken the Go-Betweens ball and run with it (to use a completely non-apt sporting analogy) – Let's Go Naked, Leap In The Dark, Birds Of Tin, Antic Frantic, Dog Fish Cat Bird, Too Green For Summer, Tangled Shoelaces and others. But prior to that the sounds of Brisbane were way too varied for us to find much of a common denominator (world class punk rock aside).  The Striped Sunlight Sound of the first two Go-betweens always seemed a one-off.

CCC though, at least on parts of their LP, showcase a lethargic, sun-affected whimsy that makes us at least reconsider our stance. Songs about cordial, the Golden Circle cannery (which every Brisbane schoolchild visited at least once), lollies and other childhood signposts make us wonder if those mid-80s era bands were actually riffing off copies of this record found at op-shops rather than Send Me A Lullabye and Before Hollywood. Probably not.

Elsewhere on the album there’s some fairly dire electric blues, and some aimless jamming but the charming faux-innocence means it’s mostly likeable. Faux? Well, Eating Snakes is clearly about fellatio. We’ve picked our favourite tracks below. If we’re really stretching our long bow we could posit Lemon Tree, which appeared on the Left Of The Middle cassette, as early minimal synth.


We once thought CCC were one of those bands who had a Department of Education gig touring schools and playing shows. Doing it for the kids, literally. But we can’t actually find any evidence of that, or of anything really. For now P. Richardson, D. Brown, G. Peters and T. Mullooly remain obscure.

Captain Cordial Rock [Download]


Eating Snakes [Download]


Lemon Tree [Download]

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Pupils Of Love - Rock And Roll 7" Rock And Roll Records POL001, 1986

CON: Conventional wisdom is that the first Pupils of Love single came out in 1985. That's well past the golden age, however you choose to define it, and as such this record would probably be maligned by uptight collectors (like us!) if they weren't so busy ignoring it. Well, let's add to the annual incremental Legend penalty - it actually came out in 1986. Gasp!

PRO: A fellow by the name of Mark Taylor (we wish it was this one, but it's more likely to be this one) twiddles the knobs here, and manages to avoid most of the nasty studio pitfalls typical of the era. No gated reverb, no metallic guitars, no overt slickness making the whole thing sound anaemic. The fact that some reasonably astute people have mistaken this for a 1981 release (the year Rock 'n' Roll was written, according to the lyric sheet) says it all.

CON: A rock 'n' roll song about rock 'n' roll named Rock 'n' Roll (on Rock And Roll Records, no less) is about the most off-putting thing I can think of at the moment, and thanks to my Facebook feed I just accidentally viewed an uncensored pic of the Big Black "Headache Pack".

PRO: Rock 'n' Roll is great. Golden Memories ain't half-bad, either.

CON: Hound Dog. We made the executive decision that you don't need to hear it, but it is every bit as unnecessary as you imagine it to be - an unfortunate aesthetic choice, for sure. Pupils of Love had two later, easier-to-find 7"s (1987 and 1992) on which you can hear the sound of their aesthetic standards circling the drain ("Australia's only rock 'n' roll sex show". Um, no thanks!).

PRO: The front cover, which places a photo of the band over the Sex Pistols' Pretty Vacant 45, is an aesthetic triumph. The Thomas Pynchon reference also wins points ("Only pupils of love need be beautiful"), putting them in the company of esteemed Wallaby Beat favourites, the Guest Stars.

STATLER: Boo!

WALDORF: Boo!

STATLER: That was the worst thing I've ever heard!

WALDORF: It was terrible!

STATLER: Horrendous!

WALDORF: Well it wasn't that bad.

STATLER: Oh yeah?

WALDORF: Well, there were parts of it I liked!

STATLER: Well, I liked a lot of it.

WALDORF: Yeah, it was good actually.

STATLER: It was great!

WALDORF: It was wonderful!

STATLER: Yeah, bravo!

WALDORF: More!

STATLER: More!

Rock 'n' Roll [Download]


Golden Memories [Download]

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

3 Musketeers - The Drop 7" Ginsling, 1984


Hello all, here's this season's reindeer turd.

Context - U-Bombs and Nervous System related new wave who decided to get ugly for one song off their two 7"s.

Silent Night [Download]

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Coupe De Ville - Live At Leichhardt Hotel 7" Lost 13468, 1983

In the end there's not many Australian records that qualify as pub rock, by which we mean in the style of Dr Feelgood, Ducks Deluxe and Little Bob Story (all of whom had their vital records released in Australia). You could make a case that parts of the Carlton scene fit the bill, and you'd get some sympathy here. There's one or two Adelaide records and a couple from Sydney, which we'll get to in a moment, but the Australian concept of pub rock is generally beer fuelled dross which just makes us want to glass someone. 

Sydney spawned a couple of bands who fit our more refined view of pub rock - from early years there's the Mangrove Boogie Kings and the Model Husbands, and then there's this one, by Coupe De Ville. Recorded at Leichhardt Hotel, it's pub rock both literal and figurative. The two A-side tracks can be heard below. The original is a decent piece of revved up R&B, and the Flamin' Groovies cover is made unique by some pretty good sax by Pepper, Ted. Side B has a jazz instrumental and a lacklustre cover of Just A Little Bit. 

Coupe De Ville played around for a few years around from 1982 to 1984, making one tour to Melbourne and this one record. Bandleader was Cub Callaway who briefly appeared in the Chris Bailey Saints, and wrote and produced the first New Christs 7". The rest of the band was Brett Stevenson (vocals), Bruce Tindale (Maton guitar, later Decline Of The Reptiles), Phil Sommerville (bass, ex-Hitmen), Joe Breen (drums, later Bam Balams) and Ted and Charlie Pepper on sax and piano. Bailey produced and the record appeared on Lost Records, home of Paralytic Tonight Dublin Tomorrow and The Monkey Puzzle.

Coupe de Ville [Download]


Teenage Head [Download]


Coupe De Ville, a coupe, and a pub.
Melbourne tour poster.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Nitro - Blues In My Shoes 7" Warm & Genuine 2079 028, 1973

We're off to an inauspicious start with that title, inasmuch as blues in anything is seldom a good thing. The Warm & Genuine label, erstwhile home to Jon English, is another turn-off, not to mention the fact that the (Stephen) Housden credit you see on the label is the same fella from Little River Band. Yikes. That pedigree can be heard all over For Me Or For You, the weak flipside to Nitro's only single. Not so the A-side, a neat boogie/glam rocker with its titular 12-bar chug offset by a chorus that's no riff and all embellishment, and bonus nonsense lyrics about starchildren and stardust - the latter being a missed opportunity for the title, says us. Housden contributes some nice guitar work throughout, particularly as he starts to unclench from the last verse on, and the rhythm section of Mal Wakeford (drums) and Peter Deacon (bass) is suitably solid and understated. Housden and Wakeford's hard-rockin' side presumably sprang from their brief tenure in Rachette with a post-Easybeats/pre-solo Stevie Wright; sadly, there seem to be no recordings from that period. We wish the same could be said for later collaborations, investigation of which will require stronger stomachs than ours.

Blues In My Shoes [Download]


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Gestalt - √−1 7" Pyrrhic 001, 1982

We've made our feelings on Sydney's North Shore known before. We admit though that there was a pretty good punk scene up there that spawned some of our favourite records; oh, and Progression Cult too. There was other stuff as well, and the leafy bush around Church Point (almost as far North as Sydney stretches) produced a strange experimental record in 1982.

The 300 press was split equally amongst the three members. Each member's 100 copies has label and sleeve designed by that individual member. We haven't seen enough copies over the years to be sure how much variation thus ensued but the three we know of are pretty different. Anyway, as explained in the booklet which comes with some copies, the common denominators in each copy are the bandname Gestalt, the label and catalogue number (Pyrrhic 001) and the song titles: Adventures Of A Flea, Chained To The Floor, Of This Men Will Know Nothing and Latent Doings.

The packagings are labours of love - from the 1/2 inch thick piece of foam matting above to the found photography and art here, down to the hand altered blank white labels.

The care extends to the music - analog synths, electroacoustic tape manip and so on. We're no experts on this kind of thing though it's unpleasant enough, if lacking the kind of anti-social edge we could hang our coats on.

As to the protagonists - they're unnamed. How did they come to make music like this? John Blades in his memoir speaks of the importance of Double Jay in proselytising mutant sounds. M-Squared's first half dozen releases precede this and they had decent distribution, on the East coast at least. There's a probable M Squared connection, at least by communication - MxM gets a thanks, and the the Shane in the thanks list is Shane Fahey, Gordon is probably Gordon Renouf (Slugfuckers, Wild West, M Squared engineer), and so on. The recording wasn't done at M Squared though, but at the "now demolished Roscoe St residences" - most likely in Bondi (but perhaps in Newcastle), over Easter 1981.

Adventures Of A Flea [Download]


Chained To The Floor [Download]


Of This Men Will Know Nothing [Download]


Latent Doings [Download]


Another sleeve variation, front...
...and back.

It was cheap...

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Lightwell Jones - Magazine Scene 7" Tramp TRSP-0002, 1973(?)

Look, we know nothing about Lightwell Jones, but we have even less clue what they're on about with Magazine Scene, a succession of fluff headlines from women's lifestyle magazines set to an equally lightweight boogie backing. On planet Htrae this might be the theme to Bizarro Paper Giants, but back here on Earth the juxtaposition of manly grunting and lyrics about being single and pregnant is pretty damn awkward. In other words, it's pretty great. "It comes out on Tuesday with a free plastic cyclotron" - inspired free association, or a reference to the kind of plastic cyclotron given away by Creative Recording And Sound Services? Nah, in all likelihood they're describing one these doohickeys, which makes it all disappointingly mundane. I guess grillfat-lite about Women's Weekly is one of those things that's better if you don't think about it too much.

Magazine Scene [Download]


On the flip, Jeffery - whoever he is - shows his more serious side with stab at the more succinct end of West Coast psych rock. Not bad, but let's be honest, Tripsichord Music Box it ain't. Probably shoulda reserved side 2 for a sub-Quo boogie about Reader's Digest.

Christina [Download]