Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Down And Out - Track previews

Recorded: March - June 1966
Personnel: Tim West - Rhythm Guitar and Vocals
                  Stuart West - Bass
                  Graham Vincent - Lead Guitar
                  John Jurss - Drums

Some more recordings from The Down And Out have resurfaced recently.  John Jurss had arranged to have them recorded with 4BC at their studio in Wharf Street during March to June 1966.

The tracks were: "One Day", "Down Man" and "It Ain't Right".  The production and musicianship is pretty tight but with a good rawness and energy to it.  "One Day" has 60's punk elements to it, whilst "Down Man" features some close-knit harmonies to it and some stops and starts to it similar to "Rain" by The Beatles.  "It Ain't Right" has a fast, aggressive guitar riff which runs right through the song and half-talked, half-sung vocals with some good harmonies in the chorus and a guitar solo reminiscent of Dave Davies' playing.

These tracks will be available online shortly.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Blues Arcadia - Self Titled (Independent)


Alan Boyle - Vocals
Jeremy Klysz - Bass
Chris Harvey - Guitar
Parmis Rose - Keyboards
Steve Robin - Drums

Additional musicians:
Brad Esbensen - Trumpet
Shaun Ballagh - Tenor Saxophone
Joseph Roberts - Baritone Saxophone

Produced, engineered, mastered and mixed by: Mike Wild


Blues Arcadia is a relatively new Brisbane band, but it is quickly establishing itself as a favourite on the live music scene, particularly at the Royal Mail Hotel in Goodna.

Led by charismatic and photogenic Irish singer Alan Boyle, this is a fresh and upbeat CD which contains some good soulful and playing from each and every player on here.  Showcasing guitarist Chris Harvey's twangy guitar riffs and keyboard player Parmis Rose's boogie runs, the album is sure to get people on the dancefloor.

Standout tracks are the ballad "Here Comes The Rain", the 70's funk inspired "Operator Please", the brass led "Miss Lonely" and the closing cut "Rockin' Chair" which sounds like The Beatles "Day Tripper" with it's beat and brass build-up towards the chorus.

Definitely looking forward to future releases from these guys, they deserve to be signed up.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Various Artists - "Kaptain Kavemen From Brisbane"

Artist: Various
Genres: 60's R&B, Rock'n'roll, Garage Rock, MOR
Label: Soundtrack Productions
Catalogue Number: STR-90,001
Producers: Andrew Ainsworth and Greg Cuffe
Artwork: Andrew Ainsworth

Track Listing:

Side 1
1. Geoff, Tony & Bob Ad - (The Down & Out)
2. I'm Not Talking - (The Down & Out)
3. Got My Mojo Working - (Jim Diamond & The Lancers)
4. Take A Look Around - (Bobby Dean & The Worried Minds)
5. Down And Out - (The Down & Out)
6. Good Morning Little School Girl - (Johnny B. Goode & The Feelgoods)
7. Purple Haze - (Thursday's Children)

Side 2
1. Nine Times Out Of Ten - (Jim Diamond & The Lancers)
2. Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut - (The Southtown Moods)
3. Tell Me (What's Going On) - (Bobby Dean & The Worried Minds)
4. There's No Use - (The Leather Souls)
5. E Too D - (The Chelsea Set) 
6. I'll Wait And See - (The Down & Out)
7. The Old Oak Tree - (Unknown)

Soundtrack Productions was widely reputed to be Brisbane's first ever independent record label. Originally established in 1965, its offices and studios were located on Moncrief Road in Cannon Hill which was originally the site of a bakery.  Soundtrack was more noted for providing a recording service for musicians rather than being a prolific label.  Indeed, during the time of its tenancy it released only a handful of records, the rest being demo recordings to send to radio stations.  The most famous of its demos came from boisterous R&B band The Purple Hearts who made a couple which eventually were commercially released on CD in 2007.

In 2014, whilst researching the history of Brisbane rock and pop music, I suggested to my 60's loving music kindred spirit Andrew Ainsworth that we get our heads together to revive the label to bring a lot of obscure local artists to contemporary pop and rock music awareness.  He agreed to do so, and the next three years were a labour of love between himself and Gold Coast music retailer Greg Cuffe in unearthing a goldmine of rare recordings which only got a few plays on the commercial radio stations of the time like 4BC and 4KQ.  

R&B band The Down & Out take up much of the limelight in this album with some good primitive vibes, whilst Bobby Dean & The Worried Minds adopted a more moderate guitar rock approach with their single "Take A Look Around" b/w "Tell Me (What's Going On)".

Thursday's Children do a vigorous and urgent cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and The Southern Moods cover of "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" is right up there with the cover that The Missing Links did, but still keeping their own identity on it.

The album closes off with an unknown act doing what is one of the strongest tracks on the album "The Old Oak Tree", and signalling there is more to come from the vaults from a lot of yet to be identified acts.

This album was recorded in mono and minimally remastered from the original recordings so there are some audio issues for people who are used to clean digitised sound.  It has also been released in orange and splatter coloured vinyl as well as the default black, and the latter were given a minimal release mainly for the artists involved in the original recordings.

If you are a 60's music bookworm, then come and add to your collection with this album, and I suspect the general rock music fan who listens to Little Steven's radio show on Triple M as well as Nowhere To Run on 4ZZZ will love it too.

Stay tuned for more releases from this label.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Some Jerks - "Strange Ways"

Artist: Some Jerks
Genres: 60's surf pop, 90's indie girl rock
Label: Twelveyes Records
Catalog Number: 07930-52118334
Producer: Donovan Miller
Overdubs & Mixing: Darek Mudge
Mastering: Bryce Moorhead


Victoria Watson: Vocals and Bass Guitar
Will O'Brien: Vocals and Guitar
Simon Walker: Drums

Taking a couple of years in the making, Some Jerks are one of Brisbane's hippest rising bands.  Led by photogenic and inveterate rock'n'roll chanteuse Victoria Watson (formerly of The Genies, The Aampirellas, The Fondells and Kewpie Doll) and guitarist Will O'Brien with Watson's husband Simon Walker on drums, this is a truly delightful album drenched every much in 60's surf pop mixed in with a bit of Merseybeat sounds as well as nods to 90's girl acts like The Breeders and fellow Brisbane 90's girl-orientated act Dream Poppies.

Opening up with the jaunty alternative fuzz rock vibe of "Napoleon", the track rattles on at a tremendous speed with Watson's urgent vocals and O'Brien's harmonies.  "The Hunter" was one of my favourite songs and videos from 2016 which opens with Watson's chugging bass and some cool twangy guitar stabs before it goes into an early 60's rock'n'roll inspired track.

The album's title track continues in the 60's R&R genre with a haunting guitar riff and equally spine-chilling lyrics and a rousing chorus mixed in with some divine angelic backing vocals that closes the track similar to fellow Brisbane band Violent Soho's "Fur Eyes".

Slayer's "Raining Blood" gets a look-in on here given the SJ treatment as an instrumental and showcases the band's stylish musical badge-wearing together with their tight professionalism as a band.  You can just picture the surfers and skater boys and girls going right off to this track out on the waterfronts.

"Rabbit Hand" is the shortest track on the album, lasting only 40 seconds but is highly enjoyable with it's mosh-pit vibe along with "18 Years".

The closer track "Dreaming" is a cover of a Blondie song from their fourth album "Eat To The Beat". Some Jerks do the track proud by giving it a more 60's vibe than the New Wave one that the original version had.

Definitely go out and get a copy of this album regardless of what musical genre you belong to.  It brings a welcome smile back to the indie rock music scene and is the perfect modern rock'n'roll album you can listen to without getting distracted from your other musical appetites.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cheeky Velvet - "The Adventures Of Velvet (EP)"

Artist: Cheeky Velvet
Released: October 2015

Cheeky Velvet (aka Jackie Boccaccio) is a Brisbane pop singer who has been on the local scene for a couple of years, and issued her debut EP last October.  However, it's only over the past week I've been aware of her after she released the video to the song "Hickey".

It's not often that you get modern aspiring pop stars seeking to reach out to a variety of generations other than the rap, R&B and reality music fodder and having fun at the same time.  With Boccaccio's first EP, she sounds like she has had a Friday night slumber party with the girls and raided her parent's secret record collection whilst sloshing down a load of goon and party mix candy.

Opening up with an obvious pastiche of Toni Basil's "Mickey" called "Hickey", the song brings a welcome smile to any Generation X-er who misses the times when MTV was genuinely enjoyable. Her voice sounds like a combination of Blondie and Kim Wilde with it's pleasant cool and collected sexiness minus Wilde's nasal tones.

"Velvet World" has nice stringy synths which could have come from a Yamaha DX-7 and a cheap drum machine, whilst "Crazy For You" tells the story of a shameless girl willing to do anything to get attention from the man she wants with some chopping air guitar riffs and a searing guitar solo that you can't get out of your head.  "Bittersweet" is more clubby and contains very 80's-ish arpeggio synth riffs and a thumping bass drum beat.

"Toy Boy" rocks and tells of every girl's frustration of having to live with an immature, co-dependent man-child and seeking a more immature and interdependent man.  You can just see Wendy James from Transvision Vamp and Rancine doing this number.

The closing cut "Placebo" sees her slow down to a slinky jazz pop number containing some nice sax solos and cocktail piano playing, and I'm taken back to remembering Kiley Gaffney's cover of The Buzzcock's "Orgasm Addict".

If you like your pop cheesy, cheeky and with an un-selfconscious silly smile then by all means check out this EP.  She sounds like she is going to go onto great things in the future if she builds up on her reputation with her wild and camp live shows delivered with humour and panache.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Veronicas - "In My Blood"

After their previous single "Cruel" just bubbled under the Australian Top 50 last year, The Veronicas have surprised their fans and critics by posing nude covered in body paint and glitter for the teaser video for this single as a means of embracing their bodies and sexuality, as well as fighting back against the trolls on Twitter and their Facebook fan page who have teased and bullied them over their weight and body shape.

Fans of 90's house music, especially that of Urban Cookie Collective and Kylie Minogue will take to this one easily.  Good pulsating beats, jiggly keyboard riffs and lyrics telling the story of how Jess met the current love of her life.

For someone who was young in the 1990s, this song is a grower for me.  Unlike many of the pop/dance music in the top 40 charts, The Veronicas don't need auto-tune or other technical wizardry to pull of great songs.  They could do this as an acoustic guitar only number and it'll still sound good.

Definitely worth a number of listens.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

RAWR Vanity - "RAWR Vanity"

Artist: RAWR Vanity
Label: Self-published
Catalogue Number: N/A
Release Date: 7 December 2015
Produced, Mixed & Mastered by: Wacey Coates except "California Dreaming" produced, recorded and mixed by Ric Parker

Wacey Coates: Guitar and Vocals
Jesse Simo-swer: Bass and Vocals
Matt O'Reilly: Guitar and Vocals
Carly Sinn: Drums

Track Listing:

1) Jealous
2) California Dreaming
3) Blue Jean Baby
4) Sleepless
5) Not This Time
6) Brand New
7) What You Live For

Three years since the release of their debut album "Allerton Place", Brisbane quartet RAWR Vanity have experienced a couple of significant changes in their musical career. Now adopting the DIY approach to production and distribution of their material, they have also dropped the synths and programming which played a major part in their previous album to becoming a harder rocking band with just guitars, bass and drums as well as Wacey and Jesse swapping instrumental roles for both recording and live work.

The album loses none of the sheen of its predecessor and opens up with a mosh pit anthem-to-be "Jealous" that has an infectious bass and guitar line and soaring harmonies in the verses leading up to the rousing chorus. The sprightly "California Dreaming" is their envisioning their recent successful American tour, and has nods to the Go-Betweens 1988 hit "Was There Anything I Could Do?"

"Blue Jean Baby" starts out as a gentle guitar ballad and builds up to an anthemic lighter-waving rocker which deserves airplay on Triple M and Triple J, "Sleepless" showcases a great interweaving of vocals between Jesse, Matt and Wacey in the verses and some fine guitar solos. "Brand New" is a fast paced rocker in a similar vein to The Ramones and The Buzzcocks with some good bass breaks in it, and a lyric line about entering a new relationship where the other party has to pull their weight in doing their fair share in making it work. The closing cut "What You Live For" contains a dreamy slide guitar intro and similar feel to The Cranberries "Dreams" with Wacey and Jesse sharing vocal duties.

This album is great radio-friendly rock that is well produced and not too gratuitous or over-angsty in its delivery.