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KURT COBAIN ALERT! Three Fall books reviewed

you can drumThe Rise, The Fall and The Rise - Brix Smith Start (Faber)
The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall - Steve Hanley and Olivia Piekarski (Route)
You Can Drum But You Can't Hide - Simon Wolstencroft (Route)

Yep, You read the headline correctly. I'm serious. Cobain was such a fan of The Fall he tried to get on their tour bus and travel with them. 

The Fall refused.

There's an absence in our culture. You may not have noticed. It's like some necessary abscess has been entirely excised from our cultural body. We needed that pain, that savagery, to tell us what we are, what we shouldn't be, and to remind us that we can be more than what we are. 

This article is all about Mark E. Smith. Because his personality, his drive and charisma shoved a certain rock'n'roll band forward through barrier after barrier... 

Carry On The Con - The Braves (Spooky Records)

COTCAnother day, another of those astonishing records from Melbourne label Spooky. The Braves, now on either their fourth or fifth LP, show no signs of that "running out of ideas" thing which so many bands suffer. On the contrary.

In fact, you might not like The Braves. Face it, you play what you're used to, or variations of it. Partly, I accept, because what's common on the mainstream formats is such awful rotten sludge, but partly because... you're all used to the ordinary.

Not my fault you no longer have an adventurous bone in your body, you old fart. And as for you young 'uns who haven't yet worked out that just because it's new doesn't mean it's any good...

Live PBS 106.7FM - No Fixed Address (No Fixed Address)

no fixed address liveSaw this unexpectedly in Streetlight Records in Adelaide and instantly snaffled it.

No Fixed Address (or NFA, as the Social Security acronym had it) was what every itinerant/traveller/boho put down as their address when they turned up in a strange town and went to lodge their form. Meant they weren't entitled to rent assistance. 

The reason this release only gets its beer bottle rating is for the songs - not the memories. Certainly not for the sound - whoever did this was either having difficulties or not paying attention. The bass doesn't dominate like a liquid hot night in Adelaide, somehow to the fore and in the background at the same time; the guitar seems cleaner than I remember it, the pace seems slightly faster (though that could be time playing tricks) and, perhaps Veronica Rankine wasn't playing that night as I can't hear her sax.

The Aints! aren't just the flowers in your dustibin

flowersJohnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers famously played “rent parties” at the turn of the ‘70s when they’d finished living in the UK and were back home in New York City.

What proportion of the proceeds from their sporadic gigs went towards keeping a roof over their heads was purely speculative. There were other activities to feed and audience members used to throw loaded syringes onto the stage.

Things were a world removed at the Manning Bar in Sydney on Friday night, where the audience threw two bouquets of flowers at Ed Kuepper.

We’re drawing a very long bow here, I know. This was the first leg of a modest two-city run (the next one in Melbourne on March 23) by Ed’s band The Aints. Chances are, the most popular drug in the room was Lipitor. The objective here is not to pay the rent – shit, Ed Kuepper now has a Brisbane park named after him so he can always live on a bench there - but to fund new recordings.

If that’s not exciting news, you’re in the wrong bar.

Melbourne musicians rally behind Brian

brian hooper benefitLegendary Australian alternative rock and blues bassist, Brian Henry Hooper, was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer late last year. 

Brian's illness has devastated his many friends in the Australian music industry, who are rallying to support him and his family.

Hooper is a member of the Beasts of Bourbon, and has played with Kim Salmon and the Surrealists, The Voyeurs and in his own bands. 

The Beasts of Bourbon will re-form to headline a benefit to help their bandmate at The Prince Bandroom, St Kilda, on Friday, June 13. Tickets are selliong here.  Also on the bill are Kim Salmon and the Scientists, Adalita, Gareth Liddiard, Mick Harvey, Rosie Westbrook with further artists to be announced over the coming weeks. 

It's not the first time misfortune has knocked Brian down. After a freak balcony fall in 2004, doctors said he would never walk again. They were wrong.

Now, Brian faces the toughest fight of all to get back up again. You can also support Brian at GoFundMe


Bowl me over! The Johnnys are back.

johnnys bowlo webAfter seven years, thousands of kilometres and innumerable demolished backstage riders, The Johnnys were Australia’s indisputable, rough riding champions of cowpunk.

Fresh from two gigs in New Zealand, The Johnnys – Graham Hood (bass and vocals), Slim Doherty (guitar) and Billy Pommer (drums) - will play their first Australian show in two years, headlining Marrickville Bowling Club on Friday, April 13.

They’ll be joined by The Four Stooges (Australia’s only Stooges homage band), Maximum Security (launching their debut album) and Bob Short & The Light Brigade.

The Johnnys formed in Sydney in 1982 when bass guitarist Graham Hood tried out for the Hoodoo Gurus after quitting the Allniters. He met Hoodoo Gurus' guitarist Roddy Ray'da and, with drummer Billy Pommer, they formed The Johnnys, playing their first show at Palms Disco on Oxford Street in Sydney.

New Zealand-born Spencer P. Jones joined on guitar and the four-piece released their single "I Think You're Cute" in October on Regular Records. Ray'da left and the band signed with independent label Green Records before joining major imprint Mushroom.

Past Masters Volume 1 - The Bils (self released)

the bilsGoing in with open ears and no expectations, this unassuming album is a revelation. It launched with little fanfare and was spoken about online but was unheard by these ears until after a copy was pressed into my hands backstage at a gig. 

Somebody said it was country. A little. It's copped a flogging on the CD player. It’s mostly warm and breezy blues-pop, from a husband and wife duo, one of whom you might know in their other guise. 

The Bils are Bil and Michelle Bilson. They play everything between them (guitars, bass, keys and drums) and share vocals. Bil’s other gig is drumming with reincarnated Australian power-pop legends the Sunnyboys. He also played with The (Sunnyboys-related) Sparklers and the gloriously acid punk Doctor Stone. Can’t confess to knowing Michelle’s musical pedigree but it doesn’t much matter. The back story’s not as important as what's going on at the front-of-house.

50 years on, the jams are being kicked out again

mc50 logoWayne Kramer is marking the 50th anniversary of the MC5's “Kick Out The Jams” album with a world tour under the banner of “MC50”.

Joining Kramer will be Brendan Canty (Fugazi), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Doug Pinnick (King's X), and Marcus Durant (ZenGuerrilla). Each night the band will perform “Kick Out The Jams” in full, followed by a rotating encore built from later MC5 material.

Some European festival dates, including Spain’s Azkena Festival ,have been announced but only one US show – September 27 at the Fillmore Detroit - has been released. Watch this space.

Tendrils - Joel Silbersher & Charlie Owen (Sorcerer Records)

tendrilsAs ethereal and otherworldly as when it came out on CD in 1995, “Tendrils” continues to defy easy categorisation on LP.

It was the first album for the pairing of Joel Silbersher (Hoss, GOD et al) and Charlie Owen (New Christs, Beasts of Bourbon and, again, many more) and married seemingly disparate guitar approaches to restrained vocals against an background of minimal percussion.

By then, Joel and Charlie were two of the so-called underground’s best-known players. Owen was - and still is - a consummate guitar player’s player and had had national success with the Beasts; Silbersher was the diminutive and cocky ex-GOD rocker whose current band, Hoss, seemed poised for much bigger things. He should be internationally lauded to thsi day. Putting them together in a studio was always going to produce something interesting.

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