Punk, DIY, powerpop, grillfat, glam, NWOAHM from Australia 1975-1984.
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Little Bands 7" EMI Custom PRS-2675, 1980
Plenty of cities had a pick-up scene parallel to their more formalised band scenes. Vancouver's fuck bands for one example, and the messingly incestuous London DIY scene. In Melbourne the Primitive Calculators and Whirlywirld solved the venues' requirement of having to fill a certain number of minutes with support bands by mixing and matching members and swapping instruments. Add a loose rule that each band could only have three songs and only perform twice, and the Little Bands were born.
Pretty much the only contemporaneous document was this 7", issued with blank black labels in 1980. Later the scene extended to a regular night centred around the Champion Hotel in Fitzroy. A lynchpin of the scene was Alan Bamford, who organised and faithfully documented proceedings. Ronnie And The Rhythm Boys - Hey Joe
Absolutely brilliant one note feedback version with dual vocals and localised lyrics. A mix-tape favourite of ours. Stuart Grant and Denise Hilton (Primitive Calculators), Jules Taylor (Thrush and The Cunts).
Morpions - Point Blank Great distorted guitar over a monotone beat and distracted vocals. Short and to the point. Lee Smith (Bowie-esque guitarist-around-town, also played with early Lisa Gerrard bands), his girlfriend Wendy (Joy) Morrissey, and Stuart Grant (Primitive Calculators).
The Take - Summer A more straightahead song style here, but the guitar 'solo' is cool. Frank Lovece (Primitive Calculators), Marisa Stirpe (Thrush and The Cunts), Tom Hoy.
Too Fat To Fit Through The Door - Flintstones, Meet The Flintstones Tomfoolery (as you may have guessed), idiocy, directionless art. Lots of fun. Marcus Bergner (artist/filmmaker/poet), Marie Hoy and Ollie Olsen (see Forced Exposure #14 for a rundown), Michael Buckley, Stuart Grant and Dave Light (Primitive Calculators).
There are plenty of tapes from this scene still extant - the 2010 exhibition at the Potter Gallery in Melbourne temptingly had them under glass, so here's a gentle push to those with access to get them out there. After all, we've lived with the teasing listing of the unreleased No Sin Like Dancing double LP in Inner City Sound for nearly three decades now. Put us out of our misery.
In the meantime you can hear some of the later Champion Hotel era Little Bands on the Terse Tapes One Stop Shopping cassettes which are in most households. If you want to hear some Thrush and The Cunts (and if you don't, what are you doing here?) then check out Chapter Music's Primitive Calculators And Friends CD (which also includes this EP and some Prim Calcs throwaways). Or, go and see the concept live - it's still kicking on!
Finally, a bonus - more Ronnie And The Rhythm Boys from Fast Forward 007 cassette magazine:
Ronnie And The Rhythm Boys - I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
Think you know a lot about Australian records in the punk era? We promise to astonish you with stuff off everybody's radar. We apply quality control so our powerpop has power, our glam has prominent balls, our punk is spiky and our DIY is far, far out there. We'll also do it-never-ends exposés of sleeve variations and inserts you didn't know existed. Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.