Sunday 3 October 2010

Sunday Painters - I'm A Car Crash 7" Terminal 003, 1981

Over three 7"s Sunday Painters hit all the touchpoints of international DIY, 1980 style. Each is quite different: the first is rambling non-songs - sometimes engaging, sometimes not, as goes with that territory. The second leads with a fucked up version of Rebel Rebel, followed by Part Two, a polemic lecture on rock music, and a 10 minute rehearsal room dirge. It's all interesting and deserving of your attention, but we feel they hit their peak on this, their third 7".

I'm A Car Crash is a fierce art punker - driven by drum machine and dirty guitar, underpinned with interesting savant clarinet, and finally here the band sound like they get up off the couch and deliver an involved, attacking (dual) vocal. We particularly like the "uuuuhhhhaahhhhuh" bit at 1:16.

Of course we're wrong too. The other tracks on this one are comparatively weak - take Let's Be Moderne: a twee, shooting-fish-in-a-barrel attack on easy targets like Mi-Sex and Stuart Coupe (at the time journalist for national music mags); at least on Part Two they turned the spotlight on themselves and the dichotomy between their own disdain for rock music and the fact that in the end they too are a rock band. Whatever, I'm A Car Crash is one for the ages.

Still, we're right as well. A lot of the first LP, recorded over late 1981 and early 1982, successfully continues the approach of this song: Paths Of Glory, Flesh, and holy shit, check out the frantic 1:01 of Emotion Sickness. Ditto the Surface Paradise side of the Fourth Annual Report LP (recorded 1983, released 1985).

Sorry to tease with these descriptions but there's a full retrospective forthcoming and we aren't gonna step on their toes. So here's a taster to whet your appetite:

I'm A Car Crash

I'm A Car Crash came in an edition of 250. There are three different sleeves but in a handy sop to collector scum teeth gnashing, all three versions come with each copy, phew. Here are the others:

Check the full discography at their website. There are also three live cassettes advertised on the first LP booklet, along with one by sister band the Art Throbs, and a "Wollongong incest" tape of interrelated side projects.

... and they blame home taping!

Update: June 2015

From Michael Train, driving force behind the excellent Sunday Painters reissues on What's Your Rupture? records:

Last week we lost one of the great diy musicians - Dennis Kennedy, bassist for The Sunday Painters, the early-'80s band from Wollongong. Dennis had been working as an IT consultant in Singapore. Although he had been struggling with diabetes, his death was unexpected.

Dennis was a brilliant, footloose, charismatic, garrulous fellow whose passions were worn proudly, so he had stories galore, whether from his punk and activist days in Wollongong, or from his wanderings across the US and Canada. He’d hung out with rock royalty (his brother was a Moody Blues roadie), met Celine Dion, and chatted up Lady Gaga. He was charming.

His music remains powerful. He played fiercely and beautifully; he could deliver the rock-solid repetition crucial to post punk (see the live version of “In My Dreams” on YouTube), go slack on the loungey “Be Objective,” or put the band into overdrive on “Emotion Sickness,” maybe the quickest bit of industrial ferocity to come out of punk. He helped write “Flesh” and “Love Factory,” two of the finest art-punk songs ever. And he is missed.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, that retrospective inching along is me (unless there's another one I don't know about...always possible). Slowly but surely. So thanks for getting some blog-hype out there, but (as you allude to) it'd be great to hold some of it closer to the vest for now, then maybe do another song or two when the time comes.

We'll have to agree to disagree about Moderne, I guess...


Dangerbird said...

i run a blog on the history of the wollongong scene. Check it at

I'm hoping to do a Sunday Painters feature in the near future. Michael, perhaps I can time it with the retrospective release.

Please get in touch.

Everyone else, check the blog for some cool shit.

BTW... love your work Wallaby Beat.


Dangerbird said...

oops... typo in the above web address.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the original master reels are getting transferred up in Sydney even now. Has taken a while, but should be worth it. Tentative plan is a best-of cd, followed by an LP of the singles, then, should all go well, some reproductions of the albums. With bonus downloads as we go, like their fantastic live set on 2MBS, and the Sedition Festival material. Will keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

Work proceeds on the reissue. Remastering done. Now on to graphics. Should be a double cd and a few LPs, plus downloads. Posted this song from their Sedition Festival performance. Thirty years ago. More in notes on the You Tube page.

Anonymous said...