Sunday 23 June 2013

Jump Vision - Can't Get Used To You 7" Basilisk BAZ 004, 1980

If by choice or circumstance the subculture you swam in was Sydney mod revival, then we hope you have a good memory of the time. Mind you, if the purple hearts did do a number on your bonce, you can relive it all through the excellent Stark Raving Mod book and website. We say all that because the physical records (i.e. discs, 45s, singles) of the scene are, by and large, an underwhelming lot. This is typical of scenes which are backwards looking, and where the music isn't the prime aesthetic focus.

One particular example which slightly pre-dates the more formalised union jack/scooter scene is Jump Vision's only recording. Though commonly described as a soul/ska band, the prominent bass, echo and guitar effects on the A-side come across more as a slightly (more) anaemic Cure fronted by a pre-tantric Gordon Sumner. The Sting inflections aren't as obvious as on fellow scenesters The Personnel's effort, but still there. It's alright though. The flipside is a ska instrumental; you know by now we'll save you the few minutes.

The band were Richard Knott on bass, David Rowley on drums and Mark Bradridge on guitar. All shared vocals. Rowley ended up in the last line-up of The End, and all three went on to Watusi Now with Peter Mengede. Organ was provided by Russell Handley of Popular Mechanics.

Can't Get Used To You [Download]

Jump Vision collared, from Inner City Sound.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Frank Savage And The Citizens - Ordinary Persons Rock And Roll 7" Mambo 503, 1980

Usually we'd jump at the chance to be smart-arsed pricks about an apostrophe catastrophe, but in describing themselves as "ordinary persons rock and roll" we reckon Frank Savage and co. knew exactly what they were doing, pub rock being music made by ordinary people as much as it is music for ordinary people. Besides, you don't get to play in not one but two bands with Johnny Topper without being something of a smart arse yourself. Little Boy Lost is a decent Sports-a-like, but the punkier Helicopter is the real winner, its near-perfect 60 second length spoiled only by that same smart-arsed-ness - a jokey label plug tacked on at the song's end.

This is the best of the three records known to us on the Mambo label, the others being singles by (in descending order of listenability) Japanese Comix and the Dynamic Hepnotics.

Little Boy Lost [Download]

Helicopter [Download]

Sunday 9 June 2013

It Never Ends: The Victims - Television Addict 7" MX46813/4, 1978

It's time for an it-never-ends on one of the great worldwide punk records - The Victims' Television Addict / (I'm) Flipped Out Over You 7". Released in an edition of 1000 in early 1978, every copy of this is effectively in a unique sleeve. That's because each one is hand stamped with kids' block stamps. However, there's still a lot of room for variation with such a scheme. So, in the spirit of the Flipper Sex Bomb sleeve blog (or the definitely NOT safe for work Nubees blog), today we'll start giving visuals for some of the sleeve variants for this hallowed record.

Sometime in early '78 our boys, James Baker, Dave Flick and Rudolph Vee, sat around a table and started stamping sleeves. A combination of red, black and blue ink was used, and most sleeves contain some combination of all three. For us, the nicest ones  just have the band name on the front of the sleeve and the titles on the back. The red and black sleeve on top of the post, paired with the tricolour reverse to the left, is a nice example. Some copies, and these seem to show up in America, only have the band name on one side and are blank on the reverse.

Flick outlined the process in the liner notes to the Sleeping Dogs Lie album:
We used a children's toy rubber stamp set to label each of the paper sleeves individually. In fact, as we had only bought a couple of sets there weren't even enough letters to spell out the band's name and the song titles so we had to leave a couple of gaps and fill in the missing letters later (we also stamped those ones with a different colour).

A cool variation, perhaps from the start of the process, is the all black version seen to the right. Now is probably a good time to point you towards Ross Buncle's Perth Punk website. There you can read about James Baker and Rudolph Vee's pre-Victims exploits with The Geeks, where Buncle and Baker had written (I'm) Flipped Out Over You. Flick had previously played with high school bands and, while starting a university degree, had decided to see just how far he could get playing music. He had joined a blues band called The Beagles on keyboards and toured around Western Australia. Having proved to himself making a living was possible, and having heard the Ramones album, and liking it, he hooked up with Vee and Baker and the Victims were born.

The record really needs no introduction. We can't think of many people who don't rank it in the best three Australian punk records. If you haven't heard it, well, it's been booted thrice in the US (black printing on white sleeve, then on pink sleeve, then on yellow sleeve, all with large holes) and recently legitimately reissued by 1977 records in Japan. We won't even start on the various compilations with the two tracks, just get yourself to YouTube. For now we'll just show pictures of some other versions:
Many copies have the band name and one of the song titles on one side.
We love the spelling mistakes, part I...
...and part II.
Television ADD/ADHD. A particularly cool variation which came from James Baker - note the different typeface. Perhaps done as a test run - a literal proto-type.

To bring things to an end for today we have to cover the photo inserts. These are the little fuckers that send collectors spare. They appear either by themselves or in pairs in odd copies. So far we've been able to round up seven different ones which you can see below. Particularly cool (and hard to find!) is the band under a Live At CBGBs poster, but as always, we can't imagine not wanting to own all of them.

We'll be happy to add any sleeve variations, (or, god forbid, inserts), not pictured here if you want to send them to us at the usual address. Thanks to those who already contributed scans.

Sounds, 6 May 1978
All afflictions catered for: here, double vision

Sunday 2 June 2013

Leap In The Dark - Samurai 7" Sundown SUN 0087, 1984

It was about 10 years back - a heady time when people actually read music blogs - that Dave Lang coined the useful phrase "record-collector-rock". Back then, he used the concept to mean music that is "drool fodder for collector/obsessive dorks: you know, not the kind of music 'regular' folk buy" (or more succinctly, records that are "good to show off but not to listen to"). What he didn't anticipate was the emergence of "meta-record-collector-rock": music made by record collectors, released by record collectors, for a target audience largely made up of record collectors. It's not exactly news that there is overlap in the collector/musician Venn diagram, but that kind of closed cultural feedback loop is a relatively recent phenomenon, right? Hmm, what of the Australian punk collector who, in 1983, created a limited edition of his own band's record with a cover directly referencing the Victims' handpainted 7" EP? What could possibly be the point, other than to amuse said collector and appeal to the OCD of similarly afflicted obsessives? Three decades later, that party trick has worked a treat - the self-aware tribute is even tougher to find than the Victims' original.

We'll come to the Victims EP and its simulacrum in due course, but what intrigues us today is the "anti-meta-record-collector-rock" of the Leap In the Dark 7". Vocalist Mark Overett was a year-zero participant in the Brisbane punk scene, documenting future legends in real time in his fanzine, Fad. These days, Overett is a self-described "anoraky guy who collects Aussie punk records 1976-1981". We applaud the tightness of those parameters, but dig the recording dates of Overett's own work - December 1983 to January 1984! Talk about hiding your light under a bushel. Luckily for Mark, others find worth in music made outside the classic '76-'81 timeframe - Samurai is a neat, punky powerpop track, and yet another example of the endearing tweeness that pervades many a Brisbane record from the Go Betweens on. The EP's two remaining tracks sit at opposing extremes of the tweeness spectrum, and are less endearing as a result. Other band members were Wayne Harvey (drums), Bob Reeves (guitar), and Adrian Mengede (bass).

Samurai [Download]