Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Davey Page - "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen"


Artist: Davey Page
Label: Atlantic Records
Cat No: 100028
Year Of Release: 1975
Produced and Arranged by: Jeff Wilkes

Davey Page was an indigenous teen idol in Brisbane in the mid-70's, and he recorded this Neil Sedaka cover at the age of 13.  
He was also the second Brisbane musician to sign with the Atlantic label in Australia, the first being Marcie Jones as a solo act after Marcie & The Cookies disbanded.  Very sweet and pleasant cover, and he went on to release a glam rock single as the follow up "We Like Music Together".
Davey went on to become a well known and respected theatre star in Australia, before sadly passing away from cancer in 2016.  

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Veronicas - "Godzilla" (Album) - Sony Music (2021)

Album: Godzilla

Artist: The Veronicas

Label: Sony Music Australia 

Catalogue Number: 1943-988188-2

Release Date: 28 May, 2021


Six years after the release of their previous album "The Veronicas", Jessica and Lisa produced a concept album which was mostly about their alter egos as pop/rock icons and the trappings of fame.  The eclectic nature of the previous album was replaced with an experimental journey into synth-pop from the 80's and 90's.  

It topped the Australian iTunes chart the first day it was released, but quickly pipped by the new album by their labelmate P!nk. 


Godzilla: Opening with a guitar riff reminiscent of Hole's "Celebrity Skin", the title track contains a vibraphone riff and irregular drumbeat topped with Jess and Lisa's vocals and the chorus screamed out, which is about how they are perceived to be show-ponies by the music and entertainment industry rather than multi-dimensional human beings.  It was released as a single as a taster from the album, but did not chart.

Kaleidoscope: Contains a pounding digital piano intro before going into a somewhat overproduced pop track.  Although this track has become a favourite with their fanbase, I personally find the autotuned chorus and hooks unnecessary, it would sound better if this was a more basic acoustic rock number.

In My Blood: Released in 2016, it was a chart topper in Australia.  The song refers to finding love at first sight and the adulation of meeting somebody whom you feel you can instantly click with.  It has an anthemic dance vibe to it.  The song was helped to the top with a dramatic promo video.

In It To Win It: One of the most intriguing tracks on the album it has an early 60's pop drumbeat which is reminiscent of The Angels' hit "My Boyfriend's Back" combined with rapping and a siren-like keyboard riff and some heavily reverbed guitar scrubbing.  

High Score: Their experimentation with synth-pop has an 80's sounding harpsichord synth riff which gives way to their vocals and a dreamy soundscape.  

Stealing Cars: This song tells the tale of living in the inner-city suburbs amidst squalor and crime but keeping a sense of comradery in spite of what other people do to wile away their time and eventually getting tired of it to find a greater purpose in life.  

Supernatural Girl: A beautiful pop ballad, which sounds like early 90's Duran Duran and Johnny Hates Jazz.  

101: This is a poignant track about being able to live to be 101 years old, and the challenges to be able to sustain such a relationship.  The keyboard riff sounds similar to Donna Summer's "I Feel Love", but the song has a more modern feel to it.  

Catch Fire: A very beautiful and dramatic track, with some sitar playing and surf guitar interspersed with symphonic chords and unequalized vocals in the chorus.  The track is interesting for its lack of drums, and has whiffs of Enya, Sarah McLachlan and even Sparks recent material to it.

Silent: Featuring Travis Barker on it, it's a pleasant track with some buzzy guitars and strings and a powerful rousing chorus.

The Only High: This was the last song to chart for The Veronicas in 2016, it's a song about reminiscing about long lost partying days and finally looking to human love for natural highs and dependency as one matures.

Sugar Daddy: The closing track is another one which started life several years before this album came to date.  The subject matter is very much self explanatory - making oneself available for a wealthy man to treat them as a trophy girl.  It's also one of the most anticipated tracks from the band's fan base, who had been wanting an official release of it since 2013.  

9/10 

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Veronicas - "Godzilla" (Sony Music)

 "Godzilla" is the first single to be taken from the new album by The Veronicas titled "Godzilla".  Reuniting with their first ever producer Toby Gad, they've delivered a massive audio orgy of screamed out verses reminiscent of Shampoo and Dream Wife, a blistering sonic grungy guitar riff borrowed from Hole's "Celebrity Skin" and topped with some 80's keyboards looming over the soundscape.  

Just when I was fearing that The Veronicas were going to head down the dreaded dumper of pop and rock music with their last batch of EDM oriented singles failing to crack the Top 50, along comes this one where they both stick their middle fingers up to the Establishment saying "We're back motherfuckers, and this is what you all really wanted!!"

Sure, Jess and Lisa have matured over the last 10 years but the old wildness and sheer adrenaline inducing energy of their rock'n'roll days which endeared me to them is still intact.  

Definitely a must-have.  

5/5.  And extra kudos to the video where they're looking brazenly hawt in black vinyl bodysuits!







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)


Personnel:

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

Website: http://www.bluesarcadia.com


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.

5/5


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.

5/5

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

Line-up:

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.

5/5