Sunday 26 May 2013

The End - My Confession 7" 13199, 1981

The Gap is a suburb in Western Brisbane named after the hole in its inhabitants' aesthetic sensibilities. It takes just one person to break the cycle and that person was Gap High student and guitarist, Brett Myers.
I used to play bass in high school bands. The End started in late 1979, I had just bought my first electric guitar.  I had a friend called Andrew Massey who was a bass player and he lived in my street. He came over and asked me if I wanted to join a band. I said as long as it wasn't with the guy down the road. I used to hear him playing Led Zeppelin songs!
The guy was drummer Colin Barwick, who with Massey on bass and Murray Davis on keyboards formed the first line-up of The End. Barwick was re-educated. Myers :
I wasn't into jamming, so to play anything I had to teach them all these Velvets songs. We played lots of parties, but we'd finish an average of about one song out of ten. It was a real thrash but it was coming from a different direction to everyone else. In those days no one was playing the sort of music I liked. If there had been another band playing it, I probably wouldn't have started.
In the end though, there was.
We used to do a lot of Stooges stuff as well, and New York Dolls. Then I saw the Fun Things and they were doing that stuff really well, so we stopped.
The new, "wimpy" End, started exploring space and dynamics rather than power. In most cases such a development would have us running fast in the other direction, but if there was one guitar player whose non-obvious choices we enjoyed the challenge of watching through the eighties, it was Mr Myers. The End took on Malcolm Cole on violin and keyboards, and swapped Massey for Johnathon Liekliter on bass. Their only single is a sometimes tentative, sometimes assured venture. We like its indirectness, though will champion their more powerful tracks like Birthday Boy, which saw release on a posthumous cassette that Citadel were due to issue on CD last decade before the arse wore out of the pants of the reissue market.

The End moved to Sydney and Myers got together with Ron Peno in Died Pretty. With Peno he could marry more direct rock and roll (and shred with the best of them, 2:42 on), with his more delicate sensibilities.

My Confession [Download]

White World [Download]

Thanks to X-change #4 (1981), and DNA #49 (1986) for the quotes.

October 2013 Update The long promised CD on Citadel is now out. It's not exactly the Hot cassette but it looks great, and Birthday Boy is disc 1 track 1. Buy it here.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Avalanche - Sweet Baby Brown Eyes 7" Bootleg BL-281, 1976

Along with such weighty topics as which of the 2013 fake Black Flags is the best (answer: this one), grillfat as a cultural touchstone is a subject close to our hearts, meaning that we're prone to running our mouths. It was on one of those grill-advised rants that we speculated that grillfat would be an unlikely candidate for KBD-style comp-age, given that grilldom is primarily the domain of the dollar bin ripper. So when we got wind of a boot being compiled from - where else? - The Boot, we thought we'd have to eat our words. Yes, contrary to predictions, Killed By Grillfat now exists (well, kinda. It's a Sharpie comp, so forgivably a few selections stray from the brief). But it turns out that even when we're wrong, we're right - at least half of the comp's track listing can be found languishing in dollar bins country-wide.

In that spirit, today we bring you a bang-for-your-buck grillfat knuckle-dragger, a relatively easy find for the tightwad digger. From their beginnings as the Bootleg Family Band, to their final single as Front Page and almost all of the Avalanche records in between, this band's output is uniformly turdly. The lone exception is Sweet Baby Brown Eyes, the second Avalanche single and a genuine butt-kicker. Lyrics about brown eyes are treacherous waters - was it really kicking that was on their minds? - but Avalanche navigate that minefield and emerge pretty much unscathed, leaving behind a song that is up there with the best of Fat Daddy and Taste in the Bootleg label discography.

The scuttlebutt is that other Killed By Grillfat comps are in the works, at least one of which promises to delve beyond the dollar bin into the realm of obscuro Australian hard rock mind-melters. Never have we so much looked forward to being 100% wrong.

Sweet Baby Brown Eyes [Download]

Sunday 12 May 2013

The Razor Gang - (All I Want For Xmas Is A) Neutron Bomb 7" RG 01, 1982

If you spend as much time as we do in the bins and crates then you're au fait with the basic tenets of quantum record theory. The bit which does our heads in is Schrödinger's Record Paradox, first posited by our learned colleagues over at the Corroseum. It goes like this: an unknown record found in the racks is simultaneously good and bad, until it is forced to collapse into one state or the other. We do this by putting them in our small hadron collider, a circular device where we smash industrial diamond at high speeds (45 rpm to be exact) against the vinyl, and study the results intently, looking particularly for evidence of the elusive punk particle.

So there I was, stood in The Pitt record shop in the 1990s. All of a sudden the Geiger counter in my toolbelt started going fucking ballistic. I took off my gas mask (this was a Bob Gould shop after all) and before me sat the record pictured above. Razor Gang. 1982. Crude sleeve. Military imagery. Neutron Bomb. Drawing of a razor blade. I added up the quantum probabilities in my head and easily cracked 100%. I could almost taste the Nobel Prize.

I quickly hotfooted it past the racks fronted by Danny Graham and Mopsie Beans 12"s (sadly I'm not joking), paid and rushed back to the collider, then based in Surry Hills.

Insert sad slide whistle...

To cut a long story short, my disappointment was such that until I recently pulled it out of the Wallaby Beat powerpop section, admittedly not the most visited part of the archive, this probably hadn't seen action round here for fifteen years.

With that much water under the bridge, the A-side is not too bad at all. Like the Mansons, the direct lyrics and vocals override an overly poppy backing. The "happy Hammond" does add something, though recent comparisons to The Go Betweens' People Say are gilding the turd. The flipside? Let's just say there is no New Wave section in our archive.

(All I Want For Xmas Is A) Neutron Bomb [Download]

Video Dreams [Download]

Sunday 5 May 2013

The Ash Band - Let's Go 7" Kanangra KAP-005, 1980

Cases of sexual mistaken identity aren't unheard of in the world of grillfat, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more clueless bunch of longhairs than Sydney's The Ash Band. Along with Sidewalk Teaser by U-Turn, Let's Go from The Ash Band's only single is our favourite grillfat tale about the world's oldest profession. The difference is that U-Turn know exactly what they're getting themselves into, while Ash Band vocalist Paul Flood is such a dope, he doesn't realise that his date expects a gratuity until after he drops his drawers. Amazing. He's got a pretty face, and it ain't going to hell - when he sings about "making whoopie", you know he's never made anything of the sort. Backing him are Danny McCarthy (drums), Dave Flood (bass), and Zac Zinic (guitar) who may or may not be Alex "Zac" Zytnic from the Sunsets/Tamam Shud/Blackfeather.

One of the more interesting threads to emerge from our posts here is the sheer number of (largely undocumented) records from Sydney's Western suburbs. Kanangra was a 24 track studio based in Westmead; it is perhaps best known for tracking the Numbers' Govt. Boy EP, although Wallaby Beat bottom feeders may also recognise the name from the Replicas 45. As a label, Kanangra's discography runs the gamut from suburban mystery bands to mystical singer-songwriter types to one-man-band Hammond organ lounge-dwellers. While later releases have the air of a genuine label about them, the earlier records seem to be drawn from the studio's client base who simply wished to delegate the drudgery of pressing their own records. Even taking that into account, it's a strange discography, peppered with oddball one-sided 12"s, and with packaging that ranges from the professional to the perfunctory. The sleeve for the Ash Band single - a nifty silver screen printed job - is certainly one of the better ones. It also doubles as a public health campaign up there with the federal government's plain packaging legislation. Never have cigarettes seemed less glamorous.

Let's Go [Download]