Sunday, May 27, 2007

Australia's finest no-wave boogie band

I was talking to a mate the other day about how despite all this InterNerd downloading hoo-haa apparently destroying the pope-musique industry, that I've still been buying heaps of music these days, albeit they are all remastered RE-ISSUES..My mate went on about how 'yeah that's because you're getting older and you know there's not much better ahead, so you listen to old shit to remind you of the 'good ole' days' or something.' I told him that's a piece of bullshit, I like 'contemporary' or 'new' bands like the Drones (OK, so they're quickly turning into the new fucking Paul Kelly band or something, but they had their moments as few years back) and James McCann's Dirty Skirt Band and the Eddy Current Suppression Rings and the Hate Rock Trio amongst a handful. Am I'm always checking out young bands to see if they're any good or trying anything different and fucked up. But they reality is the young bands are fucken shit that must be killed. None make music in their own image, they all have an image before they have a sound, and despite the fact that most of the young bands are really fucking adept at playing their instruments, none can actually 'play' and if they do, they sound exactly like the Kinks or Ac/DC or some other fucking shit. I then forced this friend to watch our hip video-clip show on the Telly – RAGE – and all these bands have video clips that are more expensive than the last 5 Werner Herzog movies, they all have that fucking real-drummer-playing-disco-beat sound with a singer that sounds like fucken the guy from fucken Spandau Ballet, and the 'indie' bands are basically just trying to get their stuff endorsed as product by the next season of 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy', and/or sound like B-grade Matador Records bands from the last I dunno 15 years. So I beat my mate in this particular argument, and basically told him that the cool thing about re-mastered re-issues is they sound better and are good value for money in today's expensive I-borrow-more-than-I-can-afford times...SO I start with my favourite re-issue of the minute...

X – At Home With You...Another totally fine and 'value for money' re-issue by OZ-rock re-issue kings AZTEC MUSIC...X – the AUSSIE ONE – in their day were something like the Australian version of Motorhead...They weren't quite punk (just like Motorhead weren't quite 'metal'), were always on the verge of being 'the next big thing', had a strong live following, and were probably the heaviest band of their time (and place)...I was lucky to see X in the middish 80s sorta twice. The first time I walked into the Seaview Ballroom and X had just finished. There were squashed beer cans, vomit and a well known (and dead)skatepunk junkie on the floor. The second time I saw them was at Melbourne University. X headlined a gig that featured Ed Kuepper, Venom P Stinger, and Nick Cave doing spoken word. Everyone had gone home by the time X took the stage. Ian Rilen kept fucking up all the songs. Cathy Green was in a shit mood. They played maybe 30 seconds of a song properly, but when the it, it all seemed to make sense..In those days Australia had a triumvirate of 'grunge' 3-piece bands well before hippie-rednecks from Seattle made it cool. There was the always rumoured killer 3-some gig featuring the Cosmic Psychos, Feedtime and X to be held at the Prince of Wales in St.Kilda, unfortunately it never happened.....Anyway their 'masterpiece' 'At home with you' has been released in a lurvely digipack with extensive liner notes and a great 'live' bonus CD...The quality here isn't much better than the album, though the songs have aged quite well, expect for throwaways like 'you say that you love me'..Everyone keeps trying to pin what 'X' sounded like. Sure they're as punk as you wanna be, they rock n' roll like the best of them, and they even have that pub-rock slobber with the horns and whatnot. Rilen's bass rolls like an alcoholic porno-star, Cathy Green remains truly under-rated as one of the HEAVIEST DUTY female drummer of all-time, and Steve Lucas had a great voice and primal scratch guitar style with classy chops. Put it all together and Aussie X's 'extremeness' made them one hellava great no-wave-boogie band.

The bonus CD was recorded live at the Prince of Wales Hotel, which in it's day was like Australia's version of Max's Kansas City, a place where junkies, fags, alcoholics, transsexuals, recently freed criminals and rock fans could see live music in a suitable decadent and free-think environment that just DOESN'T exist today, despite the great grunge-indie-liberal revolution of the 90s or whatever... The recording initially sounds flat as it was taken off a mixing desk, but once 'Degenerate Boy' kicks in, you'd check yr ears that it was done of the desk, as the remastered job has somehow transcended the general dullness of desk-recorded jobs. Absolutely killer is 'T.V Glue'. Lucas plays a truly transcendent sonic drone chord, loaded with overtones that has to be heard to be believed...

..and speaking of drones and overtones, some old-cunt called LOU REED has released a new album on some indie new-age/meditation label, designed for people to meditate to! Now what LOU has basically done is make a HARDCORE meditation record that will undoubtedly freak-out the Prozac-addicted yuppies that buy this shit. Titled HUDSON RIVER WIND MEDITATIONS, First track 'Move your heart' pulses like those alien-pods out of Luigi Cozzi's CONTAMINATION for about half an hour, while the second drone 'find your note' is basically an update of all that LaMonte Young/Tony Conrad/early Cluster drone. 'Hudson River Wind' sounds like an out-take from the ERASERHEAD soundtrack and closer 'Wind Coda' is just a lazy mish-mash of track 1 and 3 but for only 5 minutes. HUDSON RIVER WIND MEDITATIONS definitely ain't a new age record, nor is it like a true meditation record like Tony Scott's 'music for zen meditation', but it'll definitely work for people who read THE WIRE or the Forced Exposure catalogue, and that ain't no mean feat for an old cunt.

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