Aussie legends the HOODOO GURUS are to celebrate their 40th Anniversary with the screening of a new mini-documentary on New Year’s Eve, four decades to the day since they first decided to form a band.
The untitled 37-minute doc was put together by band frontman and founder Dave Faulkner from Zoom conversations with co-founders Kimble Rendall and Rod Radalj, who were at that fateful NYE party in Sydney, along with drummer James Baker who joined a few months later.
Veterans of the Perth punk scene, Faulkner and Baker had been in The Victims, while Radalj was in The Scientists. Relocating to Sydney, they hooked up with Rendall who’d been in the XL Capris. It would be nearly two years before the band, then known as Le Hoodoo Gurus, would release their debut single ‘Leilani’, by which time Rendall had left for a career in film.
“To mark the (anniversary of) the occasion I have put together a 37-minute documentary talking about that night we first got the idea of playing together and some other stories from the early days of the band, said Faulkner in a Facebook post. “I say ‘documentary’ but I’m using the term very loosely: it’s really just a couple of Zoom conversations I had with Kimble and Rod, firstly, and then James a week later (James was unable to join us all for the first one). I intercut those two Zoom chats together and tried to piece together the story of the band during those heady days of 1981 and ’82.
“It’s a bit long-winded in places but, hell, it’s free and it’s the unvarnished truth – or as best as we can remember it. I’m going to put it up on YouTube at around 10pm AEST (12 noon GMT). I’ll leave it up for 36 hours so that, wherever you are in the world, you can relive that New Year’s Eve with us from 40 years ago as we all get ready for the arrival of 2021.”
If you’ve been reading the latest edition of Vive Le Rock!, you’ll know by now that we’ve made THE PSYCHEDLIC FURS’ Made Of Rain our Album Of The Year.
The Vive Le Rock! team includes several ardent Furs-watchers, some of whom have been following the band since their earliest days, and the album has been unanimously greeted with approval since it first dropped onto the office Radiogram last spring. We reckoned it was a masterpiece at the time and we’re not going back on that now.
Since their beginnings in Surrey via Muswell Hill in ’77, the band have gone through several guises, from their Velvets-inspired self-titled 1980 debut, to the raised eyebrow art-punk of Talk Talk Talk and its to-die-for hit single ‘Pretty In Pink’, then courting the US market with the Todd Rundgren-produced Forever Now.
There have been blips along the way: some left-turns, right-turns and u-turns, ’til things went quiet after World Outside in 1991. There were two albums from spin-off band Love Spit Love and a solo album from Richard Butler. But there was always a sense of unfinished business…
The Furs reconvened in 2000, touring the hits, which seemed like a dream come true at the time. But so successful was the return that, from a fan’s view, new music seemed the logical next step. But dared we hope…?
Hope we did, and we were rewarded. Released in July through Cooking Vinyl, Made Of Rain is not so much a return to form as a new form, its lush, haunting, sometimes quite intense, soundscapes the work of an older, wiser band who, looking back on their career, recognise the best in themselves and build on it, making something greater.
“It’s awesome,” Richard Butler told us. “I am thrilled that the general reaction has been really good but when a magazine gives your release its Album Of The Year award, there is no greater accolade than that. It is just amazing!”
What a year it’s been! We may not have had any gigs, but there’s been no shortage of videos, particularly with Covid restrictions forcing bands to get more inventive.
Unsurprisingly, given all the political turmoil as well as the pandemic, there’s a lot of anger and frustration about, but there’s also a determination to make the most of a bad situation, and have fun while you still can, which is good advice for anybody. But make sure you wash your hands and wear a mask!
Anyway, here’s Vive Le Rock‘s top 20 videos for what it’s worth…
20. THE HEAT INC. – RAPTORS – Now this is how you do social distancing! This London-based multinational band took us all by surprised. From their debut 5-track EP, they’re a band to look out for in the New Year.
19. SPIZZENERGI – CHRISTMAS IN DENMARK STREET – A haunting lament to Soho from Spizz. London’s live music centre has been decimated by grasping developers this past decade, and this year has been a real kick in the balls. ‘Til things are brighter…
18. BABY SHAKES – SWEET’N’SOUR PART 2 – A marriage made in glam-pop heaven: NYC’s garage goddesses team up with a couple of Undertones to inject a little sweetness into our sour lives.
17. TABLE SCRAPS – DOOM GENERATION – Crikey! Don’t let the colourful video fool you: these feisty Brummies are back and boy! Are they cheesed off. A ‘War Pigs’ for the craft beer generation?
16. SVETLANAS – JUMP – One of our favourite bands from the past few years, this lot are on course for world domination, and once this itchy-scratchy track gets under your skin it will. Not. Leave. Check out the profile in the current mag.
15. PEDALJETS – DISASSOCIATION BLUES – Contemporaries of Hüsker Dü on the 80s Midwest circuit, these guys have been back a few years and always drop great vids. This was made when you could still go to gigs, obviously.
14. HOODOO GURUS – HUNG OUT TO DRY – These Aussies were just entering a phase of renewed activity when Covid struck. Another of their brilliant put-down songs, proof that they’ve still got humour and bile in equal measure.
13. FOLK DEVILS – MY SLUM SOULS – The perpetually belligerent West London post-punks returned this year with a new, crushingly relevant, EP. Proof, if it were needed, that they’ve still got plenty to be annoyed about.
12. SMALLTOWN TIGERS – FIVE THINGS – These Italian lasses had all their dates cancelled thanks to Covid, but it didn’t stop their debut album going ballistic! Expect big things next year, while you enjoy this souvenir of sunny Dalston and their first UK gig.
11. BAD COP BAD COP – SIMPLE GIRL – Great to see so many women knocking ’em out of the punk park, this L.A. bunch made our Top 3 Albums Of The Year with ‘The Ride’. Catch ’em when you can!
10. CULT FIGURES – LIGHTS OUT – Spawned on the same Solihull post-punk scene as the great Swell Maps, these guys have reconvened with a brand new album set for the New Year, from which this tasty morsel comes. They’re also skilled animators; a handy skill to have in the YouTube age.
9. PSYCHEDELIC FURS – COME ALL YE FAITHFUL – The post-punk legends’ comeback could’ve been derailed by Covid, had their first new album in nearly 30 years been so damn good. Read all about it in the current edition of Vive Le Rock!
8. BOB MOULD – AMERICAN CRISIS – Big bad Bob returned this year with ‘Blue Hearts’, a totally necessary, striking and relevant return to form. And as low budget lyric vids go, this nails you to the floor with the first sentence!
7. IDLES – WAR – Continuing the Bristol lineage (possibly) that brought us The Pop Group, Idles much anticipated third album ‘Ultra Mono’ continued their assault on popular culture. Read the feature in the latest mag.
6. VIAGRA BOYS WITH AMY TAYLOR – IN SPITE OF OURSELVES – Hugely respected Chicago songwriting legend John Prine was one of the first musical casualties of Covid. Teaming up with Amyl & The Sniffers’ Amy Taylor, Stockholm’s Viagra Boys deliver this unexpected, skronky but no less touching version of Prine’s quirky celebration of love in tribute.
5. AERIAL SALAD – ROMANCE – Second time lucky, Manchester’s Aerial Salad stole a lot of heart with sophomore album ‘Dirt Mall’, and this cheap but extraordinarily effective video. Looking forward to the sitcom.
4. CHUBBY AND THE GANG – ALL ALONG THE UXBRIDGE ROAD – Spiritual descendents, surely, of the Cockney Rejects, these West London roustabouts divined that what the world needed was a breakneck Oi/pub rock hybrid. Who knew? We’re certainly not knocking it!
3. MAID OF ACE – LIVE FAST OR DIE – Still doing it on their own terms, the sisters from Hastings have released a string of brilliant videos over the past couple of years. This one, though, hitched to a commendable punk call to arms, takes some beating.
2. JAZ COLEMAN & ONDREJ SMEYKAL – ON THE DAY THE EARTH WENT MAD – In this most apocalyptic of years, who do you call but the most apocalyptic of artists. The Killing Joke frontman teams up with Czech musician Smeykal for this near 8-minute state of the nation address cast against an explosive newsreel montage. Chilling.
BOB VYLAN – WE LIVE HERE – Crashing out of nowhere, this strident, raging punk/metal/rap crossover took no prisoners. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, but nor is it meant to be. Not for nothing is the album of the same name one of our Top 5 albums of the year.
BABY SHAKES finish the year on a high with another new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Really Really’ is a cover of an Undertones song written by drummer Billy Doherty, which was first heard on the B-side of the Derry legends’ second single ‘Get Over You’. It follows on from ‘Sweet’n’Sour Part 2′, written by Undertones’ guitarist Damian O’Neill, which was released this summer. The video was made under Covid conditions in repsonse to popular demand.
Both tracks were recorded at Small Town America Studios by Damian and Billy along with Billy’s nephew Stephen Mailey, with Mary, Judy and Claudia from the Shakes flying in from NYC to add their vocals.
“Billy’s tune ‘Really, Really’ has always been one of our favourite Undertones songs,” say the Shakes. “It made sense as a cover since it was originally the B-side to ‘Get Over You’ the song we covered at the start of our band that initially linked us up and wound up bringing us all back together years later. It’s almost like things came full circle. We had fun reimaging this song as a modern take on a 60’s girl group tune, Billy being the Phil Spectoresque force behind it.”
“I really, really love the new Baby Shakes version of ‘Really Really,” says Billy. “Working with them, Damian and my nephew Stephen Mailey was such a tonic. It was so wonderful, enjoyable and refreshing to be intoxicated with everyone’s enthusiasm. Yes, for me it was truly magical and I can’t wait to do it again.”
“It’s obvious that Baby Shakes live can shake any joint to its very core,” adds Damian. “They have a pop sensibility and general enthusiasm that could win over the most hardened critics. But it wasn’t until working with them that we discovered a steely determination that they were gonna nail these songs no matter what. They really worked hard to get it right and their humour and enthusiasm made it one of the most fun sessions we’ve ever done.”
‘Really Really’ and ‘Sweet’n’Sour Part 2’ are available through Dimple Discs on a limited edition 7-inch and as downloads here, if you’re in the UK, or here if you’re in the US.
Aussie rockers DEAD DIRTY DINOSAURS have unveiled a video for their new single.
An energising slab of post-punk pop, ‘Bad Timing’ is the band’s third single under their new deal with Golden Robot imprint Riot Records, following on from previous releases ‘Monica’ and ‘Revenge’.
Hailing from Brisbane, a city with a fantastic rock’n’roll pedigree, the Dinosaurs don’t give away a great deal about themselves, other than that they “met in the snow fields of Europe”, and that they’ve been tipped to open for Pixies when they come to town, just as soon as Covid allows.
Judging by the aptly-titled ‘Bad Timing’, though, their debut album will be well worth checking out. Whenever that happens.
2 TONE RECORDS is the subject of a new book covering all eras of the iconic label.
Founded in Coventry in 1979 by Jerry Dammers, 2 Tone quickly saw commercial success with The Specials, Madness and The Selecter (pictured), sparking a cultural explosion by putting ska and related music at the forefront of the post-punk era.
In 2 Tone – Before, During & After, author Lee Morris looks at the environment that paved the way for the label and the associated scene, focusing on each of the associated bands and artists in depth. Unlike other studies of the label, the book also examines the changes that took place following the initial ska boom, alighting on later acts like Scarborough soul-jazzers The Friday Club, Coventry lounge-ska band The Swinging Cats and legendary Norwich punk-funkers The Higsons.
Published by Media House Books, 2 Tone – Before, During & After is available now, price £9.99, here.
Read a new interview with Terry Edwards in the new edition of Vive Le Rock! out now!
Revered punk author Ian Glasper returns with a new book focusing on the current state of punk in the UK.
A contributor to Vive Le Rock‘s sister magazine Down For Life, Glasper is the author of such wholly essential works as Burning Britain, about the UK82 punk scene, Trapped In A Scene, which focuses on the 90s hardcore explosion, and the crucial The Day The Country Died, revisiting the UK’s early 80s fertile anarcho movement.
In The Scene That Would Not Die: Twenty Years Of Post-Millennial Punk In The UK, Glasper brings us right up to date, documenting a scene which has continued to thrive in adversity, via in-depth interviews with no fewer than 111 bands from turn of the century onwards, including Active Slaughter (pictured), Wonk Unit, The Menstrual Cramps, 51st State, 16 Guns, After The Massacre, Armoured Flu Unit, Bad Breeding, Borrowed Time, Dirtbox Disco, Filaments, Meinhof, The Pukes, The Restarts, Warwound and loads more.
Published by Earth Island Books, The Scene That Would Not Die is available to buy here.
KILLING JOKE members Jaz Coleman and Geordie Walker have collaborated with former JOY DIVISION and NEW ORDER bassist Peter Hook on a project called K÷.
The trio hooked up at Hook’s studio back in 1993, in what Coleman says “could be described as [a] spontaneous and magical” session. Retrieved from a recently rediscovered DAT cassette, the three tracks comprise the limited edition K÷93 10″ EP, set for release on 5 March.
“I think it surprised all of us,” he continues. “Peter encouraged the softer, lower tones of my voice. And then of course we emerged from the haze and went our separate ways… When you listen to this rare chemistry, you will understand why I’ve always felt this experience begs for a full opus magnum somewhere in the near future.”
“I think these tracks are great. I hope something else happens or at least we play them some time. I’ve missed you lads!,” Hook adds.
The K÷93 EP, t-shirts and mugs are available to pre-order here.
Essex gig promoters BLACK WAX have announced a new record label and their first release!
With several years in the business, Black Wax MD Adam Smith was involved in the running of legendary Essex venue, The Square in Harlow and also plays bass in both the NEWTOWN NEUROTICS and LOS PEPES. Starting a label seemed like the next logical step.
“A record label has been on the cards for a while, and with live music on hold, now is the time to launch the Black Wax Noise Division and end 2020 on a high,” he says.
Black Wax Noise Division’s inaugural release will be the Permanent Reduction EP by new London punk trio CHINESE JUNK, formed by members of The Griswalds, The Ulcers and The Unreleasables.
“I wanted to write and record songs and basically have another musical adventure but without spending any money, or at least very little, doing it,” explains bassist/vocalist Ben Nuthink. “All the songs were recorded in one short session in a practice room on an 8-track recorder and mixed and mastered by our friend for beer and pizza.”
Set for release in February 2021, the 4-track Permanent Reduction EP will be available on limited edition coloured or black vinyl and is available to pre-order here.
The FUTURAMA FESTIVAL, the legendary 80s new music event that makes its return next year, has announced a second wave of bands, topped by HEAVEN 17.
As previously announced, the festival, which took place over a number of years in the early 80s in Leeds, is being re-established in Liverpool over 3-4 April, with sponsorship from Vive Le Rock!
Heaven 17, will be playing an early years set encompassing material from 1979 to ’83, also including tracks from the original Human League, from whom Heaven 17 founders Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh splintered in 1980.
Other acts newly announced include Balaam & The Angel, Peter Bentham & The Dinner Ladies, Section 25, Chubby And The Gang, TV Priest, Genn, The Pleasure Dome, Ditz & Frauds, Dr Diablo & the Rodent Show, Feather Trade, The Gentle Scars, Three From Above, The Webb, Girls in Synthesis, Ist Ist, Dream Nails, Liines, Gravves, Klamp, Coughin Vicars and Deh-Yey.
They join the previously announced Peter Hook & The Light, Theatre Of Hate, Warmduscher, The Chameleons, The Blinders, The Lovely Eggs, Spizz Energi, Imperial Wax, Just Mustard, Membranes, Evil Blizzard, Sink Ya Teeth, John, Heavy Lungs, We Are Not Devo, DSM IV, Bob Vylan, Billy NoMates, Witch Fever, Tokky Horror, Pozi, Crows, St Agnes, LibraLibra, Courting, Crawlers and Joe & Shitboys.
Long-lost mod revivalists THE DIRECT HITS are a to have a compilation of rare tracks released in the new year.
Formed in Battersea in 1980, the trio released several singles and two full-length albums: 1984’s Blow Up for Television Personalities’ mainman Dan Treacy’s Whaam! label, followed by 1986’s House Of Secrets recorded with Sex Pistols’ producer Dave Goodman and released on their own Direct Records.
The Broadway Recording Sessions captures the band nearly two years before the release of their classic debut, bringing together 12 tracks recorded at the tiny Broadway Sound studio in Tooting, south-west London, providing a document of several of the first album tracks in an earlier, rawer, form.
Set for release on 26 February through Optic Nerve Recordings, The Broadway Recording Sessions is available to pre-order on CD and limited edition blue or black vinyl here.
Warsaw-based label Heavy Medication salutes the majesty of Ohio punk legends NEW BOMB TURKS with a new tribute album out in the New Year.
Defiled! A Heavy Medication Tribute to New Bomb Turks features at least 15 Turks covers from some of the best new punk, garage and action-rock bands around, including SMALLTOWN TIGERS (pictured), RANDY SAVAGES, HELL NATION ARMY, POISON HEART, HOWLIN’ THREADS and the sublimely named THE SATANIC OVERLORDS OF ROCK’N’ROLL.
Renowned for their high energy live shows, New Bomb Turks formed at Ohio State University in Columbus in 1990, going on to release ten albums and numerous singles through such leading punk and rock’n’roll labels such as Crypt, Epitaph, Gearhead and Sympathy For The Record Industry.
“We have been loving the Turks since their debut album Destroy Oh Boy! first piledrove our skulls in 1992,” say the guys at Heavy Medication. “Almost 30 years later, we’re still finding traces of the Turks’ flamethrower DNA in hundreds of other bands, so it’s in their honor we put together an international tribute of bands interpreting their songs, titled Defiled! A Heavy Medication Tribute to New Bomb Turks“.
The vinyl contains 15 tracks… Hell Nation Army – ‘Point A To Point Blank’ Poison Heart – ‘Snap Decision’ Aberration – ‘Rat Feelings’ Doojiman & The Exploders – ‘Automatic Teller’ Red Crap – ‘If I Only Could’ Randy Savages – ‘Leaving Town’ Howlin’ Threads – ‘Professional Againster’ Ville Fantome – ‘Born Toulouse-Lautrec’ Dog Toffee – ‘Id Slips In’ The Satanic Overlords Of Rock ‘N’ Roll – ‘Tattooed Apathetic Boys’ Smalltown Tigers – ‘Girl Can Help It’ Puffball – ‘Never Will’ Moron’s Morons – ‘Wine & Depression’ Jack Saint – ‘Grounded Ex-Patriot’ Tongue Action – ‘Telephone Numbrrr’
The CD version tacks on three bonus tracks… Flash House – ‘I’m Weak’ Hell Nation Army – ‘I Want My Baby… Dead ?!’ Jet Boys – ‘Killer’s Kiss’
Set for release in late February, Defiled! is available to pre-order on vinyl and CD here.
LAST GREAT DREAMERS herald their new live album with a video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Lunacy Lady’ is taken from the album Live At The Tivoli, recorded at the legendary venue in the North Wales town.
The album comprises a recording of a full live show for the benefit of the Mind mental health charity in October last year. Alongside ‘Lunacy Lady’ (taken from the 2014 album Crash Landing In Teenage Heaven), the album features another 16 stage favourites from across the band’s career, including ‘New Situation’, ‘Oblivion Kids’ and ‘Far From Home’.
“Wills at WW Audio has done a magnificent job on both the audio for the album and the ‘Lunacy Lady’ video,” says guitarist Slyder. “When I first saw it I was even more excited for the live album release, he sent us the first draught and there was really nothing we wanted to change, he’s got The Dreamers show down to a tee perfectly in this!”
Live At The Tivoli is available to pre-order through Amazon and the band’s webstore.
MICHAEL J SHEEHY has announced the release of a download-only single to benefit the Music Venue Trust.
The DREAM CITY FILM CLUB and MIRACULOUS MULE man has just released the acclaimed album Distance is the Soul of Beauty, his first solo album in over a decade.
This Friday 4 December he releases two new songs, ‘The Places We Used To Dance’, a lament to bygone days and long-closed venues, and ‘Baby, Baby, Baby (Can I Tell You Something?)’ through Lightning Archive Records.
“It was written a while ago…” says Sheehy about the A-side. “I had in mind The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town and the 12 Bar Club on Denmark Street, two places that will always mean so much to me. Recent events have really driven home just how important these places are and the sad reality is, if we lose them they won’t be replaced. We have to fight tooth and nail. Like many, I’m struggling right now, music is such an important part of my life both as an artist and a punter. The absence of live music has been pretty hard to take and the fact that so many venues are in danger of closing their doors for good is quite frankly, terrifying.”
The single is released exclusively through Bandcamp, who are currently waiving their fees on the first Friday of every month, so all proceeds from sales on that day will go directly to the Music Venue Trust, who’ve been doing so much to support struggling venues throughout the UK.