Saturday, September 21, 2013

Laissez-Fayre - Nekkid (2013 Demo)

Laissez-Fayre is a Brisbane girl/guy band project which is out to capitalize on nudism, vegetarianism, veganism, environmentalism, women's rights and equality and GBLT rights and equality to the Generation X, Y and Z target market.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Violent Soho - "Hungry Ghost"

Artist: Violent Soho

Label: I OH YOU Records

Distributor: Mushroom Records/Universal Music

Catalogue No: IOU32. UPC No: 934100402070-2

Release Date: 6 September, 2013

Producer: Bryce Moorhead

Purchase Album Here:

Recorded at: The Shed, Brisbane

Personnel: Luke Boerdam - Guitar and Vocals
Luke Henery - Bass
James Tidswell - Guitar and Vocals
Michael Richards - Drums

Genres: Grunge, Rock, Retro, 90's

Running Order:

1) Dope Calypso
2) Lowbrow
3) Covered In Chrome
4) Saramona Said
5) In The Aisle
6) Okay Cathedral
7) Fur Eyes
8) Gold Coast
9) Liars
10) Eight-fold
11) Hungry Ghost

Third albums are always considered the be the most difficult one of any recording artist's career as it is the one that usually makes or breaks them as a band, especially where becoming a household name. "Hungry Ghost" is no exception and with the media attention and airplay it's had could very well be the one that will take Violent Soho out of the indie ghetto and into the main league of Brisbands like Powderfinger, Custard, Savage Garden, and The Butterfly Effect before them.

Three years since their second eponymous album, "Hungry Ghost" has seen the band sign to Melbourne label I OH YOU Records, a division of the mighty Mushroom music emporium. Recorded by estwhile friend Bryce Moorhead in Brisbane, but mastered in the US, this album sees Violent Soho show signs of maturing with their sound whilst still holding on to the shards of retro grunge that made them great in the first place.

The album title originates from the Buddhist philosophy of people who spend their lives being driven to their emotional needs in an animalistic manner and only living for the moment. This especially pertains to consumerism and gluttony.

DOPE CALYPSO: The second video taken from the album, it's a simple take on frustration on the world not being the way that we may wish for it to be. Opening up with some phased guitar, it goes into a huge grungy chorus similar to Radiohead's "Creep" and Stiltskin's "Inside".

LOWBROW: More even paced song, which is supposed to be a rant about upper-class people who are about worshiping military war but are vicious animalistic people underneath their luxuriant and civilised exterior.

COVERED IN CHROME: Their second single from the album, it is a rueful number about wishing for the ideal working life of having a 9 - 5 career and empty promises similar to the American Dream of the 1950's whilst underneath many people live lives of cynical sexual desparation as evidenced by the line "A pussh is a piece of skin wrapped in pocket" whilst giving their power away to evil, corrupt religious and political leaders "Raised their arms to a leader outside. Praising the Devil they said 'Hell, fuck yeah!' The song could very well be a crowd favourite with the screaming "yeahyeahyeahyeah" line in the chorus.

SARAMONA SAID: Underneath the easy pace of this track with some nifty icy guitar licks, the song is about becoming unconnected and desensitised to the media and carnal passion using drugs as a form of escapism "cause I'm a free man" and living a leaderless life.

IN THE AISLE: The first single from the album featuring me riding a bike naked in the video, the song tears along at a breakneck speed with a solo rhythm guitar intro which the song is constructed around and finishing up with a great moshing guitar battle. The song relates to churches that ostracize people like me who think and behave on a different level to the masses and reprimanding the religious leaders for their callousness and superficiliaty with the chorus "Why does everything you say sound hollow?" This lyrics refer to an eccentric gentleman from Brisbane who haunts the Southside Tea Room in Stones Corner run by The Grates and always carries a cricket bat and his own tea bags which he asks the staff to boil for him rather than purchasing drinks at their place.

OKAY CATHEDRAL: From the album's most aggressive rocker to a grunge ballad, it is about the Tall Poppy syndrome that exists in our Australian culture and searching for one's own innate spirituality for strength and reassurance, hence the title. Beautiful arrangement which doesn't overplay itself and even the feedback towards the end is just as unobtrusive as the rest of the instruments.

FUR EYES: As I stated elsewhere, this should be released as the third single from the album and could most likely break the band into the Top 40 singles chart. It is the most radio-friendly pop orientated track on the album which could get good rotation on the Austereo networks as well as Triple J. Opening up with a gorgeous scintillating guitar riff reminiscent of Morrissey's 1991 hit "My Love Life" and Boerdam seriously contending with Billy Corgan in the vocal department, this song has nice dashings of tremelo fuzz guitar in the instrumental break and gorgeous backing vocals from James Tidswell that run throughout the track and form the outro.

GOLD COAST: Despite the title alluding to Australia's most popular tourist city, lyrically it is a much different affair and showcases Boerdam's electrifying sneering vocals to the hilt.

LIARS: Name-checking one of Brisbane's main southside roads Old Cleveland Road at the start, it's about living the life of a youngster in Brisbane in the middle of scorching summers and social class clashes "Smelt like fear with the rich kids and their parents". A good catchy track with some disorderly rhythm-less guitar crashing in various parts of it.

EIGHTFOLD: A pun on the word sevenfold, lyrically it is about people who dress to the nines to impress religious leaders in churches, and disavowing materialism and Pentecostal Christianity which includes speaking in tongues, the cult of egoism and nihilism of the preachers, wearing expensive designer clothes for worship services and eventually having to account for their behaviour. Another great rocking track sounding quite similar to "In The Aisle" and the Sex Pistols "Holidays in the Sun".

HUNGRY GHOST: The closing cut is a chilled out track which is about chilling out after a stressful day and regaining a sense of inner-peace and propriety from the world.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Purple Hearts - Louie Louie (1965)

Soundtrack Recordings - The Soundtrack label was the first Brisbane independent music label to be established in the 1960s. Operating out of a disused bakery at 20 Moncrief Road in Cannon Hill, it only had two officially known releases, one by Bobby Dean & The Worried Minds and the other by a doctor who made a "New Age" record to do with relaxation and meditation exercises. The Purple Hearts were Brisbane's premier R&B band of the 60's, led by ex-patriate Englishman Mick Hadley. They were known for their very tough, raw and primitive sound coupled with Hadley's boorish vocal style. They never officially released any records on Soundtrack, the four tracks they cut were released as acetates. The tracks found their way into the hands of one of my music fan friends Andrew Ainsworth, who has published the fanzines Ain't Got No Feeling, and Primitif Sounds. This is a great cover of Richard Berry's "Louie Louie", which is now available to listen to on YouTube at:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Melissa Western - Stepping Stone (EP)

Released: September 2010
Format: 6 track EP
Label: Independent

My sister Melissa recently made her commercial debut with a six-track EP called "Stepping Stone". Although a jazz singer for the most part, this veers a little from her path and into more contemporary pop, acid jazz and AOR but all the while retaining her musical sensibilities.


1) OLD MAN - Great opener to the EP, it's a good dose of 70's funky which fits in somewhere between Chicago's early material and the theme tune for The Love Boat. The happy and bouyant music is offset with sad and reflective lyrics about a man who lived a happy-go-lucky and reckless life as a youngster and going through self-recrimination in his later years. Has a good rocky guitar solo and some icy organ and a catchy chorus line. 5/5

2) GIVE IT TO ME - Slightly slower track with a more jiggly modern funk rhythm. Nice backing vocals, good funky bass and some Fender Rhodes piano playing topped off with some muted trumpet bits. 4/5

3) STILL NIGHT - Nice doowop number with a similar clinky piano sound similar to Percy Faith's "A Summer Place". Nice one to end an evening on the dancefloor, and has nice lyrics that describe a woman's longing for a guy. 4/5

4) HOLD ON - This track owes a lot to Bruce Hornsby & The Range "The Way It Is" and the Wilson Phillips song "Hold On". This is good radio friendly rock with great keyboard player and layered vocals in the chorus. 5/5

5) WASTED - Written during the days of her former band in the early 00's, it's a good mix of country rock with grunge pop in a similar vein to Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morrissette and Natalie Imbruglia. My personal favourite track, it has some mean biting guitars, moody organ playing and a caustic vocal delivery. 5/5

6) LESTER FINCHBERRY - The lyrics written by me, it is a fictitious tale of a man who never took a risk in his life and died in a sad and frustrated condition. Accompanied only by her husband Tnee on keyboards, it's a cocktail jazz ballad that sounds like they had been listening to Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and "Just The Way You Are" mixed in with some surrealistic noises of children at play interspersed here and there. 5/5

Overall score: 9/10

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shiraz Tilley - Demos

Artist: Shiraz Tilley
Label: Independent
Format: iTunes download
Release Date: November 2008

The bandwagon of sensitive female singer/songwriters from Brisbane that was started by Kate Miller-Heidke a few years ago keeps on rolling and producing more and more upcoming goods. One of the most promising of the crop is music and theatre student Shiraz Tilley (yes, Shiraz *is* her given birth name!). Born to music loving parents who have nurtured her creative growth, Shiraz is not your typical Brisbane chanteuse. She is multi-talented and plays guitar, keyboards, harmonica, djembe, flageolet, and sax on top of her singing and not afraid of demonstrating her instrumental versatility at her gigs which she and her parents organise rather than leaving it to the local industry moguls.
Her voice is just as captivating and classy as her looks, it is full of soul and passion for someone her age whilst most of her peers are doing plastic disposable dance pop or reality tv cover ballads.
If you like Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, Carole King, Carly Simon, Xavier Rudd, Bob Dylan and Crowded House then you'll get a very good idea of where she is headed with her music direction.
For an album that is modestly titled "Demos", this has a tight and polished production which is chock full of radio friendly tunes that sound just as much at home on 612 ABC Brisbane and Radio National as well as the likes of Triple M, Triple J and B-105.
Each song is a well crafted gem from the Eagle Eye Cherry-ish "Mellow Harmony", to the retrospective "Apple Tree", the feel good "All Together Now", the upbeat acoustic dance vibes of "Only A Step Away", and the dirgey "Among Us" which is right up there with Robbie Williams' "Angels" or "The Day You Went Away" to commemorate the passing of a friend or loved one - it starts off quiet before exploding into a power rock song reminiscent of a Meatloaf ballad with some nice horn riffs towards the end. Definitely one to release as a single in its own right. "Things Are Getting Better" has touches of Yael Naim's "New Soul" to it before going into a tune of its own. Shiraz is clearly a worldly young woman who has learned a number of hard life lessons and now telling the stories through her music.
This is highly edible, intelligent and first class contemporary rock that has the potential to do very well over here and overseas. Just like a bottle of wine that her namesake is, she's gonna get even better with age.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Artist: The Danger Bunnies
Format: CD EP
Released: April 18, 2010
Label: Self Released
Producer: Jeff Lovejoy
Recorded: Blackbox Studios, Brisbane

With the recent press attention this highschool girl dominated pop/rock band has been getting, everybody ought to love the Danger Bunnies. If the world becomes perfect within the next four years they will be even bigger and more memorable than Lady Gaga.
Formed whilst still in primary school in 2005 and led by guitarist/vocalist Indigo Keane, these teenage girls and guy drummer have delivered an EP that's full of cute, quirky but gutsy rock in a similar vein to previous bands I was a fan of like The Dream Poppies and Hot Liquid Sex. Open up with the sulky strutting bubblegum New Wave orientated rock of "Red Black & White" with it's yelled chorus and a gigantic thundering guitar and bass playing complete with some nice 60's garage-r0ck organ, the EP goes quickly into great melodic gems with "Grumpy" about the morning angst after a sleepover party, "Danger" has an urgent rushing sound about knowing where to stand your ground with the girls, whilst "Red Eyes" is about a sympathised allergy to cutesy furry animals. The EP softens up a bit towards the end with "Secret Admirer". In all, it shows a lot of promise for this band. With a good tight professional production courtesy of Brisrock maestro Jeff Lovejoy, and a good doting press it's a good indication that this band has much more to offer in the future. File somewhere next to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hole, and The White Stripes if you have any of their albums in your collection - the Danger Bunnies deserve such a slot.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chicks - "Security" (RCA) 1980

It's been a while since I logged into this site, but I've been having a bit of difficulty trying to transfer my vinyl to MP3 to share with others in cyberspace. Once this is done I promise I'll be sharing a bit more! :)

Anyway, this is an album that is by one of the most sadly underlooked and forgotten Brisbane bands of the late 70's - early 80's. They originally went by the name of "Chicks Incorporated" but later shortened it to just "Chicks". The band was unusual because they were originally an 8 piece all-girl instrumental/vocal band with a female drummer (Miriam Curtis) who also produced the album, and they originally featured only one male member called Chris Mitchell who played guitar. They were apparently a very sexy and photogenic band with two dancers, and got snapped up by RCA Records.

Unfortunately during their time with the label they underwent more lineup changes than hot dinners because they couldn't find competant musicians and evenutally ended up with 40% of the band being male musicians. Virtually nothing is known about the other musicians, except their first lead singer was Safanya who had previously done the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" in 1973, and their sax player was Pam Withnall (later with Sydney band The Party Girls and now a jazz saxophonist, but had left the band before they actually recorded). Some of the drumming was provided by Don Liebler who taught Miriam, and is now a lecturer at the Conservatorium in Brisbane.

It's a shame it wasn't a hit, because this is actually quite a decent and listenable album. Many of the songs on it were written either by legendary Brisbane songwriters David Bentley (who also wrote Python Lee Jackson's international smash "In A Broken Dream" with Rod Stewart on vocals), and the team of Laurie Stone and the late Peter Moscos.

The album opens up with a good bass driven reggae rock number called "Security" which name drops famous historical characters like Jesus, Napoleon and Nero. Nice guitar licks and a funky singalong chorus that quickly sticks in your head. It goes into their second single "Movie Star" which is a polemic about the illusory high-life in Hollywood, sounding slightly like Manfred Mann's Earth Band's hit "Blinded By The Light" but with more of a disco feel to it.
The third track "Two Of A Kind" is one of the best songs on the album with a very early 70's feel to it featuring a good electric piano hook and some free form guitar playing. Although written by David Bentley, at times it sounds a bit like R. D. Taylor's "Indiana Wants Me", and it has a freaky ending which sounds like they had chucked the synthesiser down a flight of stairs.
"Loaded Dice" has a more moody feel to it with some bloopy keyboards and a mechanical drumbeat.
Side 2 opens up with "I'm On Fire" which was their third single with a very fast frantic beat, climbing bass and some funky sax playing. This side tends to lose the pace with the next two tracks, but picks up with the final two called "Guys" and "Life's A Carnival" which has a more campy cabaret feel to it.

Outside of this album, their debut single "Jive To Stay Alive" (not included here for some odd reason) was used on the "Dat's Disco" compilation album on RCA featuring mostly international acts with more recognisable hits and also on the "Sandival" compilation available on most torrent sites. The only other track I have by them was "Stormy Nights" recorded specially for the "That's Queensland" compilation album specially released by radio station 4IP. This track veers away from the disco/funk approach and more into New Wave pop in a similar style to Devo's "Whip It" and Kim Wilde's "Kids In America".

In a twist of history repeating, I am also working on an updated version of this band called Laissez-Fayre whereby I am the only guitarist in the band and the rest of them are girls, though the songs have a slightly different approach to what Chicks produced.