classic and rare Australian popular music from the 1950's, 1960's. 1970's and beyond..including rock and roll, pop, beat, rock, surf and progressive, plus contemporary artists, new releases, reviews and other fun stuff



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Do the Pop! The Australian Garage-Rock Sound 1976-87

For collectors of compilation albums, you can't go past this amazing collection of gems and rarities from the "other" side of pop. Over two decades before the White Stripes and the Hives made 'garage-rock' the new buzz-word, numerous Australian bands were cranking out a raw, high-energy music which had all the elements that the kids are hankering for today.

Isolation can breed some pretty amazing music and if you're looking for proof, look no further than this magnificent compilation chronicling 12 incredible years of the incomparable Oz garage/punk scene. Rarely is Australia's scene ever mentioned in the same breath as those of New York or London. Whereas New York's was art-centered and London's was fashion-centered, the Aussies put the music firmly up front and centre, right where it belongs. 

Although few of the bands which show up here may be familiar to the casual listener (the exceptions probably being Radio Birdman, The Saints, and The Celibate Rifles), you may find yourself scrambling to get your hands on everything you can by the rest. There's not a duff track to be found anywhere here and if songs like The Lime Spiders' "Slave Girl," The Fun Things' "Savage," The Screaming Tribesmen's "Igloo," or The Exploding White Mice's "Burning Red" don't put some lead in your pencil, you may want to have someone check you for a pulse. 50, count them, tracks that will certainly quench your thirst for a good dose of garage rock.

I remember having many of these as vinyl singles in my own collection which have now (sadly) moved on to other music aficionados. It's good to hear these again, they bring back some sweet memories.

Do the Pop Twice
(corrected links)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Like, Wow - Wipeout - Australian Pop of the 80's...various artists

Seeing the blog is heading away from the 70's a bit and more into the 80's era (with a few contemporary artists in between), thought it would be good to sample some great Aussie sounds from this decade. Artists on this 40 track compilation include Hoodoo Gurus,  Dragon, Little River Band, Big Pig, Sunnyboys, Models, Gangajang, Men At Work, Johnny Diesel, Jenny Morris, The Angels, James Reyne, The Models, The Saints, Mi-Sex, The Sports, James Freud, QED, Tim Finn, Mondo Rock, The Church, Jo Jo Zep and The Falcons, Mental As Anything, Kids In the Kitchen, Goanna, Pseudo Echo, Jimmy Barnes, Choirboys, Kids In the Kitchen and a few more.

This will hopefully keep you entertained over the holiday period whether you're having fun in the sun in the Southern hemisphere or chilling out in the more Northern parts of the globe.

Would just like to say thanks to all visitors, readers and contributors of the blog and for all your support and kind words. Enjoy the season and the music!


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Friday, December 16, 2016

Russell Morris picks up second ARIA for best Blues and Roots album

Legendary Australian singer-songwriter/musician, Russell Morris, recently picked up his second ARIA award for Best Blues and Roots Album, "Red Dirt, Red Heart".

Red Dirt, Red Heart is the third in a trilogy of blues-roots albums by Russell that have an Australian historical aspect in the songs. Russell calls them his labour of love and they have all been well received both critically and by his long-time fans and new admirers alike.

See the full article here:

Find our more on his WEBSITE:

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sydney musician and producer Mickey Kojak releases new single "Bones"

Mickey Kojak returns with his new single and b-side respectively titled 'Bones' and 'Together'.  The release is an uncompromising sleazy, low-slung club odyssey, styled with the tight rhythms and eclectic synths that have come to define the Kojak sound.

Listen to BONES and TOGETHER here

The release is the follow up to his debut 'Alone' EP released earlier this year, and featured the single 'Feel My Pain' which received high airplay rotation across Triple J and Australian FM radio. The record catapulted the young musician from bedroom producer to the main stage. Nationally touring alongside heavy hitters A-Track, What So Not and Hayden James, as well as outdoor festival slots at Splendour in the Grass and Groovin' the Moo, and racking up close to a million online streams on his ‘Alone' EP as well as a rinsing from Triple J.

'Bones' & 'Together' also mark a turning point in his work, having established himself as front man to his side-project The Tapes, Mickey brings his newly found skill set back to the mic on this release and we literally feel it in our bones on this A-side. Flip the record over and set your living room to strobe, ‘Together’ is a 7 minute rave, taking you on a historic journey through electronic music’s past and future.

See previous post about The Tapes on this blog HERE

..and investigate further below

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Birthday Party...Prayers On Fire and Junkyard...1981/82 albums

The Birthday Party, an Australian post-punk band, began under various names in Melbourne in 1973; formed by vocalist Nick Cave, guitarist Mick Harvey, drummer Phill Calvert, guitarist John Cocivera, bassist Brett Purcell, and saxophonist Chris Coyne —all of whom were students at Caulfield Grammar School. By 1978, following several membership changes, the band consisted of Cave, Harvey and Calvert with bassist Tracy Pew and guitarist Rowland S Howard. Under the name The Boys Next Door, the band released several singles and two studio albums, Door, Door in 1979 on Mushroom Records and The Birthday Party in 1980 on Missing Link Records.

Despite moderate success in Australia, The Boys Next Door relocated to London, England in 1980 and changed their name to The Birthday Party. In London, the band experienced underground critical success with a series of singles and two further studio albums, Prayers on Fire (1981) and Junkyard (1982); Junkyard was also a minor commercial success, peaking at number 72 on the UK Albums Chart upon its release.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Midnight Oil....Midnight Oil (1978) and Head Injuries (1979)

Midnight Oil

Midnight Oil (also known informally as "The Oils" to fans) originally performed as Farm from 1972 with drummer Rob Hirst, bass guitarist Andrew James and keyboard player/lead guitarist Jim Moginie. While vocalist Peter Garrett was studying at Australian National University in Canberra, he answered an advertisement for a spot in Farm,and by 1975 the band was touring the east coast. By late 1976, Garrett moved to Sydney to complete his law degree,and Farm changed its name to Midnight Oil by drawing the name out of a hat.

Important to their development was manager Gary Morris who was able to negotiate favorable contracts with tour promoters and record companies and frustrate rock journalists. Guitarist Martin Rotsey joined in 1977 and Midnight Oil, with Morris, established their own record label Powderworks, which released their debut eponymous album in November 1978, and their first single "Run by Night" followed in December. Founding bass guitarist James, forced to leave due to illness in 1980, was replaced by Peter Gifford. Gifford was himself replaced by Bones Hillman in 1987.Through a long and distinguished career, the band became known for its driving hard-rock sound, intense live performances and political activism, particularly in aid of anti-nuclear, environmentalist and indigenous causes.

Head Injuries

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gwyn Ashton, ex Adelaide (UK based) high-energy, blues performer, new album release

Gwyn Ashton, Chris Finnen and Peter Buelke's new album "Ragas, Jugs and Mojo Hands" is a beautifully crafted exotic blend of acoustic blues and world music, infused with an unmistakable Australian flavour.

Recorded in Noarlunga, South Australia, this foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ celebration of roots music will draw the listener in on a mesmerizing cross-continental sonic journey.

album sampler promo video

Ashton and Finnen, two kindred-spirit musicians, both inductees of the South Australian Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and friends for 35 years, join together for the first time on record. With Melbourne musician Peter Beulke on upright bass, they form a formidable partnership, evoking a tapestry of varied cultural influences, weaving the sounds of Indian, Arabic and African in traditions into the album. Recorded live, first or second take, this spontaneous session involved no rehearsal or pre-production.

Ashton has spent the past 30 years touring Australia and Europe, recording with some of the biggest names in blues and rock including musicians from Deep Purple, Robert Plant’s and Rory Gallagher’s bands and touring with artists such as Buddy Guy, Mick Taylor, Peter Green and many more. His contribution to this album includes material written on the road through Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK.

Find out more on WEBSITE HERE 

jamming with Kevin Borich

download FREE 6 minute album sampler HERE

December tour dates:

11 - Vic, St Kilda, Elwood Blues Club (solo)

12 - Vic, Frankston, Bar 12 (solo)

15 - NSW, Sydney, Frankie's Pizza (solo)

17 - NSW, Wollongong, Beaches (solo)

18 - NSW, Sydney, Lazybones (solo)

22 - Vic, St Kilda, Dog's Bar (solo)

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

INXS.....INXS (1980) and Underneath the Colours (1981) of a legendary band


INXS formed as The Farriss Brothers in 1977 in Sydney.They began playing covers in Western Australian pubs and clubs, occasionally playing some of their original music. Mainstays were main composer and keyboardist Andrew Farriss, drummer Jon Farriss, guitarists Tim Farriss and Kirk Pengilly, bassist Garry Gary Beers and main lyricist and vocalist Michael Hutchence. For twenty years, INXS was fronted by Hutchence, whose "sultry good looks" and magnetic stage presence made him the focal point of the band. Initially known for their new wave/pop style, the band later developed a harder pub rock style that included funk and dance elements.

The origins of the band began with Andrew Farriss convincing his fellow Davidson High School classmate, Michael Hutchence, to join his band, Doctor Dolphin. The band contained two other classmates, Kent Kerny and Neil Sanders and a bass player, Garry Beers and Geoff Kennely, from a nearby high school, Forest High School. In 1977, Tim Farriss, Andrew's older brother, invited Andrew, Hutchence and Beers to join him and his schoolmate Kirk Pengilly. Tim and Pengilly had been playing together since 1971 as either an acoustic duo, Kirk and Tim, or as a four-piece band called Guinness (named after their bass player's dog). Together with younger brother Jon Farriss they formed the Farriss Brothers, who consisted of Garry Beers on bass guitar, Andrew Farriss on keyboards, Jon Farriss on drums, Tim Farriss on lead guitar, Geoff Kennelly on drums, Michael Hutchence on lead vocals and Kirk Pengilly on guitar and saxophone.The band made their debut on 16 August 1977 at Whale Beach,40 km north of Sydney.

Underneath the Colours

Monday, October 3, 2016

Split Enz...Second Thoughts (1976) and Dizrythmia (1977)

Second Thoughts, released in 1976, was Split Enz' second album. It was recorded in London with Roxy Music's guitarist Phil Manzanera producing the album. Four of the songs on the album were reworked versions of songs from their 1975 debut album Mental Notes. Two other songs on the album had been first recorded during the Mental Notes sessions, but left off and re-recorded for Second Thoughts. There were two new songs, both written by Phil Judd, and a re-recording of an early Judd/Finn composition ("129"), which for the Second Thoughts version, was renamed "Matinee Idyll".

Dizrythmia, Split Enz' third album, released in 1977, was the first Split Enz album without co-founding members Phil Judd and Mike Chunn. Neil Finn and Nigel Griggs, the first being the younger brother of band leader Tim Finn, replaced them respectively. Meanwhile, Nigel's old friend and former band mate Malcolm Green took the place of Emlyn Crowther who also left around this time. The album was released domestically by Mushroom Records, and overseas by Chrysalis Records.

The single "My Mistake" was a hit in New Zealand and Australia, but failed to make much impact overseas. "Bold as Brass" was the second single. The album is regarded as the start of the band's breakthrough, and marked a shift from art rock to more pop-oriented songs.

The album's title comes from circadian dysrhythmia, more commonly known as jet lag. The back cover was originally intended as the front cover. Both were designed by Noel Crombie, who also designed the band's costumes.

Tim Finn coughs forty-four seconds into "Nice To Know", a feature erroneously left in the final mix. Both Tim Finn and Eddie Rayner were disappointed with the final mix of "Charlie" feeling that the vocals sounded very flat. Geoff Emerick, the engineer for the album thought it was a beautiful vocal however, so it stayed.

see previous post on Mental Notes
Split Enz on Wikipedia


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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cold Chisel...You're Thirteen EP 1977 and Live in Sydney 1978

Originally named Orange, Cold Chisel formed in Adelaide in 1973 as a heavy-metal cover-band comprising bassist Les Kaczmarek, keyboard player Don Walker, guitarist Ian Moss and drummer Steve Prestwich. Seventeen-year-old singer Jimmy Barnes joined in December 1973, taking leave from the band in 1975 for a brief stint as Bon Scott's replacement in Fraternity.

The group changed its name several times before settling on Cold Chisel in 1974 after writing a song with that title. Barnes' relationship with other band members was volatile; as a Scot he often came to blows with Liverpool-born Prestwich and he left the band several times. During these periods Moss would handle vocals until Barnes returned. Walker soon emerged as Cold Chisel's primary songwriter. Walker spent 1974 in Armidale, completing his studies, and in 1975 Kaczmarek left the band and was replaced by Phil Small. Barnes' older brother John Swan was a member of Cold Chisel around this time, providing backing vocals and percussion but after several violent incidents he was fired.

In May 1976, Cold Chisel relocated to Melbourne but found little success, moving on to Sydney in November. Six months later, in May 1977, Barnes announced he would quit Cold Chisel in order to join Swan in Feather, a hard-rocking blues band that had evolved from an earlier group called Blackfeather. A farewell performance in Sydney went so well that the singer changed his mind. The following month the Warner Music Group picked up Cold Chisel.

Full biography on Wikipedia HERE

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ted Mulry Gang....Here We Are and Struttin' from 1974/76

Ted Mulry first came to the attention of the music industry when he sent a demo of some of his own compositions to Albert Productions in Sydney. The company persuaded him to become a recording artist and he soon rose to fame as a solo singer/songwriter with his own composition, the pop ballad "Julia", which made the Australian charts in 1970. He followed that with "Falling in Love Again", a song by The Easybeats songwriting team Harry Vanda and George Young, which was a major hit in 1971.

After getting tired of being backed by different backing bands, in 1972 he switched from acoustic guitar to bass and formed his own band, Ted Mulry Gang, with guitarist Les Hall and drummer Herman Kovac.The band signed a recording deal with Albert Productions in 1974 and released their first album Here We Are. When that album didn't do as well as expected, the record company wanted Mulry to go back to singing solo. Ronnie Clayton told them to stick to it and brought in second guitarist Gary Dixon to complete the foursome. With his own band behind him he adopted a more hard rocking style.

Their first major hit, and the biggest of their career was the 1975 single "Jump in My Car" which spent 6 weeks at number one on the Australian singles charts in 1976. It was the second single released from the Here We Are album produced by Ted Albert at Alberts Studios. Over the next few years they achieved a string of hit singles including a rocked up version of the old jazz song, "Darktown Strutters' Ball", "Crazy", "Jamaica Rum" and "My Little Girl". Many of TMG's songs, including "Jump in My Car", were co-written with guitarist Les Hall. Their second album, "Struttin" was released in 1976.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Taste...Tickle Your Fancy and Knights of Love...Glam-Hard Rock from 1976/77

Taste were a glam/hard rock band that formed around 1975. The line-up consisted of Ken Murdoch ( Lead Vocals / Guitar), Joey Amenta (Guitar / Vocals), Michael Tortoni (Bass Guitar) and Virgil Donati (Drums). The boys paid their dues in pubs and "shitholes" until they got their lucky break and released their first album "Tickle Your Fancy" in 1976. They were an instant hit, especially with the younger music fans, and appeared regularly on Countdown and just about every other TV show of the time.

They supported international artists including Queen, on their second Australian tour, Suzi Quatro and The Sweet. They also performed alongside the who's who of Aussie rock including Sherbet, Kevin Borich, TMG, Skyhooks and Hush.

Their songwriting and musicianship were critically acclaimed, and their original 2 albums, "Tickle Your Fancy" and "Knights of Love" have become hard rock classics. Due to some bad management and not so good marketing, Taste never achieved the recognition they deserved, and split around 1977. They reformed in 2007 and released the album "Rock Dead".


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Friday, August 19, 2016

The Boys Next Door...Door, Door...1979 album..the origins of Nick Cave

The Boys Next Door (later changed to The Birthday Party) were an Australian post-punk band, active from 1978 to 1983. Despite limited commercial success their influence has been far-reaching, and they have been called "one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early 80's." The group's "bleak and noisy soundscapes" which drew irreverently on blues, free jazz and rockabilly, provided the setting for vocalist Nick Cave's disturbing tales of violence and perversion. 

The nucleus of the band first met at the private boys school Caulfield Grammar in suburban Melbourne, in the early seventies. A rock group was formed in 1973, with Nick Cave (vocals), Mick Harvey (guitar), and Phill Calvert (drums), with other students John Cocivera, Brett Purcell and Chris Coyne (on guitar, bass and saxophone respectively). The band played under various names at parties and school functions with a mixed repertoire of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, Alice Cooper and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, among others.

After their final school year in 1975 the band decided to continue as a four-piece group, with friend Tracy Pew picking up the bass. Greatly affected by the punk explosion of 1976, The Boys Next Door, as they were now called, began performing punk and proto-punk cover versions, such as "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Gloria", and a few original songs. The Boys' second guitarist, Rowland S. Howard, joined in 1978, and about this time, the group's sound changed dramatically. The addition of Howard's guitar was certainly a catalyst. 

The Boys Next Door's best known song, "Shivers", written by Howard, and first performed and recorded by his band The Young Charlatans, was banned by radio stations because of a reference to suicide. Their first album Door, Door was released in 1979.

After recordings and moderate success in Australia (including hundreds of live shows) they headed for London in 1980, changed their name to The Birthday Party and launched into a period of innovative and aggressive music-making.

See also:


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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Stiletto...Licence to Rage...1978 album

Stiletto formed in early 1976 and quickly gained a reputation of being a strong feminist band. At that point, their line-up included singer/songwriter JANIE CONWAY on guitar and vocals and Marney Sheehan on bass. Shortly after Chris Worrall joined the band", Janie left. 

They first appeared on vinyl in July 1977 when they provided the B-side, 'Nights In Parlour', to Red Symon's single "Only A Flipside'. Later in the year, they gained prominence with the release of the Oz Records compilation album, Debutantes, to which they contributed three songs. Their first wholly Stiletto single, 'Bluebirds', written by Andrew, was followed in August '78 by their debut album, 'Licence to Rage' — unfortunately to become their only LP. Two tracks from the album, 'Goodbye Johnny' and 'Woman In A Man's World' were released as a single (Oz label) in the same month.

In November it was announced that one of their songs, 'Women In Trouble', was to be used on a film soundtrack (other tracks by the band had been used previously on movies). This news was accompanied by some not so good tidings — they were dropped by their record company, EMI. Regrettably, this seemed to precipitate their dissolution. Chris Worrall left to join Paul Kelly and the Dots. He was replaced by CHRIS DYSON (ex-High Rise Bombers) and briefly the band seemed to rejuvenate, and even appeared as special guests on Elvis Costello's Melbourne show; but early in 1979 the final decision to split was made.

ANDREW BELL (guitar); 
JANE CLIFTON (vocals); 
CELESTE HOWDEN (bass, vocals); 
EDDIE VAN ROSENDAAL (drums, vocals); 
CHRIS WORRALL (guitar, vocals). 

(Chris had previously worked with Pelaco Bros, Captain Matchbox and Bleeding Hearts; Eddie, Jane and Andrew with Toads.)

"Half man, half woman! C'est Stiletto, one of Melbourne's few truly underground bands, burrowing upwards toward the light of wider recognition. Stiletto, whilst pretending to a certain cool, are closet flamboyant. Lots of colour and imagery, scrambled genders, and a sort of shivering toughness which has definite appeal. Constant revolving in the club 'n' pub circuit has polished this sharp little gem of a band until crikey they can really rock. There's been the odd line-up casualty, but always the replacements have been well selected, eventually beefing up the band." taken from...Pub Bands - An Ocassional Guide (Article by Jenny Brown, 'Bottom Line' Newspaper - March / April 1978, p12)

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