Saturday, October 20, 2007


RANDOM NOTES...
There's a new issue of Distort fanzine out. I wrote about the rag here a short while ago, though the new issue is well worth picking up, as it stands as perhaps the only meat 'n' potatoes hardcore punk rock 'n' roll 'zine on the planet I would bother to waste precious minutes perusing. Writer/editor/publisher/head cheese Dan is one obnoxious bastard, and whilst I wouldn't agree with everything he says (the White Album rocks, the Beatles rocked, and George Harrison and John Lennon's first few solo albums beat anything Iggy's ever done since the Stooges called it quits back in '74), the musical bringing together of Lex Dev faves such as Roky, VU, Pere Ubu, Black Flag and Discharge under the banner of a printed fanzine in the year 2007 is cause for celebration, whether you realise it or not. More to the point, Distort is a punker zine about music. No vegan recipes, no street-protest photos from last month's rally. It's about tunes - not collecting records and the colour of your 10" - it's about how the beat makes you want to dance, kill, maim and/or destroy. I'm a little too content in my current state of tragically blissful existence to share Dan's anger towards the world, though I can dig on the vibe. He's trying to get this out once a month, so jump on the gravytrain now, coz if you're an insatiable zine dork such as myself, you'll be kicking yourself in years to come when the glory days of Distort zine become a myth. As Dan would say, nice work, fuckhead.
I witnessed a few live bands this Friday evening just passed. I decided to give DOA(!!!) a miss, especially so after hearing of the $30 entry fee and woeful line-up of support bands, and instead went down to the Old Bar to see the Ooga Boogas. The Oogas feature various deadbeat musical celebrities from Melbourne, mostly people I'm very friendly with, so take this review with a grain of salt (though if I thought they were useless, do you think I'd even bother writing this?), but they contain members of such illustrious outfits as Eddy Current Suppression Ring, The Sailors, The Onyas and Anal Birth, and in a musical sense have their shit wired very tight indeed. I saw them play whilst I was under the influence of alcohol - a lot of it - at the start of the year or thereabouts, and they struck me at the time as a band who lacked focus but had the potential for something great. Their sound was a mixture of Back From The Grave-influenced '60s garage beat-rock and sinewy, elongated Velvets-rock which sounded like it'd been directly lifted from The Feelies' Crazy Rhythms LP. Witnessing them two nights back, they've improved tenfold. My complaint w/ them the first time was that the shorter, more directly "rocking" tracks simply weren't that good, and were too faithfully "beat" sounding to move any loins outside of the moptop 'n' sharp-shoes retro crowd. I don't know if there's been a rethink, or if it was my sobriety that cut through, or perhaps it was their recent appearance at the Goner Festival in Memphis that's put a strut in their step, but the sound is now sharp as a knife, the short songs possess the necessary oomph and are over quick, and the longer tracks, where they hit an ace '69-Velvets groove, are where the goods are at. An ass-kicking rhythm section with one or two expressive but not overly flashy guitar players is all a good rock band needs. They have a 7" out on this label - a new imprint run by three members of the band - and if you've bothered reading this much of my nonsense there's a better-than-good chance you'll dig it.
After the 'Boogas there was Hand Hell, whom I kinda missed altogether, then a Perth band by the name of Bamodi. It was late and I was about to split until my compadre Richard ('Boogas bassplayer, by the way) noted to me that an old friend of ours, a "friend" whom neither of us had ever actually met but had been in touch with the both of us on and off for probably nearly 15 years when the printed word was all the go, was a member of the band. His name is Pedrag and it suddenly struck me that he had left a note on this very blog a month back that his band would soon be in town. Well, it'd only be the polite and civilised thing to stick around and at least catch a few songs, especially so since they came all the way from Perth for only a couple of shows. I mean, imagine it's 1980, you're in California and a bunch of barely post-pubescent punkers from DC by the name of the Teen Idles take the trouble of travelling from one coast to the other for a show or two and you pass it up! Well, OK, that's a different story, but stick around I did. And I'm glad I did. By the end of the third song I turned to Richard and gave a two-thumbs-up, Fonzie style. He then mimed a bit of keyboard action back to me, smirked and said, "I can see a bit of bloggin' going on over this one". Damn right! Here I am, hunched over a keyboard on a sunny day telling you about Bamodi! A three piece, they comprise of this: a shite-hot drummer whom I watched in envious awe as his arms spastically moved around the kit at the speed of light, his style hovering somewhere 'round a Joy Division/Rey Washam nexus; a tall, looming bassist - that's Pedrag - farting out basslines in a nonchalant manner not unlike Venom P. Stinger's Al Whateverhisnameis; and a singer/guitarist, small in stature but with a yelping, screaming voice that sounds alternately like a screaming child, a cat in pain and Rudimentary Peni's Nick Blinko. In fact, after the show I talked to Pedrag and let him know that the band reminded me of none other than Rudimentary Peni - frighteningly so, in fact - and that they must be influenced by them. He gave me a quizical look and just said something like, "They were linked up w/ CRASS, weren't they?". Whatever. Bamodi were a shock to the system, a goddamn musical force and an excellent way to finish the night. There ain't nothing on this earth like witnessing a band you have zero expectations for and promptly having any preconceptions of blasé been-there/done-that/seen-it-all-before BS thrown out the door as they blaze through a short, sharp set w/ nary a break in between. By show's end, I was gushing. As I am now. I was given a free CD for my troubles, some of which you can hear on that link above, and whilst it doesn't contain the absolute drive and nerve-shattering wall of sound of the live experience, it's something I'll be hanging onto. Nice bloody work, is all I can say...
Vinyl reissue label 4 Men With Beards is on a roll! Believe me, I have no real commercial interest in touting the label beyond getting people to spend their money on high-quality vinyl product. Besides myself being friendly w/ the guys who run the operation, and it kinda, well, being my job to sell the things, you could do far worse than spend your hard-earned bread on such 180-gm platters as... John Cale's Paris 1919, The Fugs' Tenderness Junction and It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest LPs, 3rd/Sister Lovers by Big Star, Chris Bell's I Am The Cosmos, Cluster's '71, Cluster and Eno's 1977 self-titled LP, Tim Buckley's Starsailor, the Flying Burrito Brothers' debut, Nico's Chelsea Girl and especially the Velvet Underground's VU and Another View, both of which I had never previously heard (figuring them to be simply collections of tracks I had elsewhere on the various VU boxes and bootlegs I already own) but am now kicking myself for only coming around to them at this sadly late stage of the game. Now that is a catalogue of hits. If you want a What-Am-I-Currently-Listening-To? list from moi, then "All Of The Above Mentioned" would suffice. That was a public announcement: no more, no less...
WAIT!... If you want comedy, do not go past the new-to-DVD flick, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, starring none other than... ta-da!... Henry Rollins! In this low-budget/low-rent/low-quality horror flick, Hank plays a retired sergeant on a Survivor-style reality TV show who's on the run from cannibalistic hillbillies. It's surprisingly nasty and gory, even making a hardened horrorhead such as myself flinch in certain scenes, though Hank gets an A for effort, if not for results. In all fairness, the guy was pretty OK, with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek throughout. The bonus element of the DVD has an unintentionally hilarious interview w/ Hank, in which they ask him, "What are you afraid of?". His answer? "Unemployment. Not having a job." Now, I can only assume they cut out the bit where he said, "... which is why I decided to appear in this piece-of-shit straight-to-DVD shot-on-digital-camera bargain-bin horror movie, so where's my fuckin' paycheck so I can get outta here!"

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

it's Predrag! or Pex, as most people call me in this part of the world. cheers for great write-up, it was awesome finally meeting you and Rigid!!!!

Anonymous said...

leon was cracking me up at gonerfest, a brand new guitar that didn't even come tuned, bruce

Bassta! Pex, a.k.a. Gramofonije Plocanovic said...

I managed to get some Rudimentary Peni EPs, but don't see many similarities. I'd say more very early Meat Puppets or Melt Banana...