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: 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!



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]

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Trans 262 7" EMI Custom 13174, 1981

I've been revisiting this for a week now and I'm still not sure that Kill City To New Values Through An Australian Lens was a suitable thesis topic for these guys, or anyone, to have tackled. Mine the motherlode, I say. Still, I'm hard pressed to think of any other band who engaged in such mimickry of the Ig's post Stooges work so more power to them. 

Trans 262 started as ME 262, named after a song on the Blue Öyster Cult's Secret Treaties LP. You can hear a 1980 demo, Gonna Die, on Do The Pop! Redux Part One. There you'll also find a complete summary of their existence which we'll summarise here: in the thrall of Radio Birdman (the elephant in the room we won't mention) they were born and played around. For reasons not obvious they were seen in competition to MEO245 so changed their name to Trans 262, also using The Ruse for a while. In 1981 they recorded this EP with Sherbet guitarist Clive Shakespeare. Seems they were disappointed with the result and didn't last much longer. Members went on to The Chosen Few (not that one), Decline Of The Reptiles, Howling Commandos, Rattlesnake Shake, Naked Lunch, The Screaming Tribesmen and The Fishermen. They reunited in 1987, as ME 262 again, to record I Got Nothing (natch) for Hard To Beat, AuGoGo's Stooges tribute double LP.

Band members were Tony Gibson - guitar and harmonies, Ally "Pink" Marr - drums and perversion, Andy Newman - bass and keyboards, Mark Roxburgh - vocals and wanking.

Don't Hold Me Down [Download]

Never Ending [Download]

Ice Trip [Download]

Happy [Download]

A variety of sleeve colours exist, this black and white one is unusual.
Warning: The "Wanking" credit role does not appear to match the credit list

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Dave Warner - Half Time At The Football 12" no label DW-1-A/B, 1981

Being the first punk band in Perth is like being the guy who invented planking - sure, you might've been first, but who gives a shit? Still, that hasn't stopped the mantle of Perth's First Punks being bitterly (and publicly) contested. Dave Warner has no time for such trivialities, announcing that his first band, Pus, was not only Perth's but Australia's first punk band, treading the boards at future Perth punk haunt the Governor Broome Hotel as early as 1974. Putting aside the tiresome argument of "first", the fact that Pus took primary influence from The Fugs and felt gazumped by Skyhooks' shtick suggests that Pus was one of those pre-Punk bands that was punk in intent rather than sound. That's never been of much use to us, being people who listen to music with our ears and all. Given that no Pus recordings seem to have survived, in this case we can't even do that.

The closest we get is Dave Warner's first single (Suburban Boy/Donna, EMI Custom PRS-2499), recorded in the UK at Spaceward Studios and self-released in 1976 under the name From The Suburbs. Suburban Boy was a Pus song, and though this version is less polished than the recording we all know as Warner's first release for Mushroom in 1978, the differences are pretty superficial. It isn't punk, but it does establish the parameters for Warner's subsequent work - tales of football and suburban ennui, delivered with a broad (Western) Australian accent. Those themes were also carried through in the label artwork of his next pre-Mushroom single (Summer '78/Australian Heat, Bicton BR-001, 1978), which also hints at the Perth cultural references that would come to characterise his songs, Bicton being the East Fremantle suburb where Warner grew up. The self-applied genre tag "suburban rock" encapsulates those elements, but if you want to know what Dave really thought of punk, go no further than his song of the same name.

The Mushroom releases by Dave Warner's From The Suburbs litter dollar bins from coast-to-coast, so exploring those records is easy and cheap (go and do it!). What brings us here today is a timely re-examination of the post-Mushroom, self-released Half Time At The Football 12" - timely in that Warner, like me, would be grinning from ear-to-ear after the Fremantle Dockers' preliminary final win over Sydney on Saturday night, sending Freo to the AFL grand final for the first time. If I was to really twist the blade, I'd add that half time was about the point when Sydney Swans supporters could have switched off their TVs (sorry, Professor). A live favourite and something of a career constant, Half Time At The Football is quintessential Warner, bringing to the table all of his usual thematic concerns but with a relentless, sloppy two-chord attack that would sit much more comfortably among Spaceward's credits than the '76 recordings.

Half Time At The Football [Download]

We can't leave before tying up the last of Warner's punk-era self-released records, especially given today's theme. To your right, you will see the East Fremantle Sharks' team song, released in 1979 with a blue-and-white label to echo that club's colours - that year saw East Freo defeat the South Fremantle Bulldogs to take out the WAFL premiership. Warner gets a songwriting credit and his voice is allegedly on the recording somewhere, but who can tell with the boofheads from the '79 Sharks caterwauling over the top? No sound files on this one - hell will freeze over before the East Freo team song appears on this blog. Carn the Bulldogs in 2014, and go the Dockers!