The Angels - Take a Long Line
Buzzsaw Oz Rock at its finest. The Angels were pretty consistent live performers too. There was always a tonne of energy and Doc was pretty stage savvy. I recall seeing them once at Parramatta where they had five desk lamps hanging from the roof. When it came to a solo the lights went down except for one the lamps which focused on their non-moving lead guitarist. Doc Neeson went up and down hitting the lamps which swung back and forth. Great effect, which was cheap as hell too.
There are plenty of good Angels songs like; After The Rain, Shadow Boxer, Mersaiilles, I Ain't The One, Coming Down etc. They were the punk end of the Oz Rock spectrum back when I was a westie teen in the far north western suburbs of Sydney. The rockers played AC/DC and the pop-lovers Midnight Oil. I think The Angels stand the test of time better than either of those other two despite having the least success of any of them.
Mudhoney - In 'N' Out of Grace
This was the first vinyl record I bought from Waterfront Records in the wastelands of Sydney near Central Station. What a kick-arse EP. I had never heard anything like it. Neither had most of the world, it went on to be the basis for grunge and the maintream break out of the Seattle Sound. Added bonus was that Mudhoney toured Australia quite regularly. I saw them at local legendary spots like the Phoenician or the Lansdowne. Talk about energy.
One of the funniest things I saw was at the Phenonician. It has three stories and I was the second one, so had a bulls eye view of the stage. Mudhoney was well into their set and the crowd had been pumped by a performace of the Meanies prior. There was slam dancing, stage diving etc going on. When suddenly this bloke, must have been 320 pounds, came running across the stage. He sort of loped rather than run. He then leapt about two rows into the slam-dancers. it was like watching dominoes fall. He left a wake that stretched about fifteen deep into the slam dancers. The band was laughing at it, it happened in slow motion in front of them.
I can also recall another time when I was the ground floor at the Phoenician and someone threw a full beer bottle down from one of the upper levels. It hit a girl not far behind us, kind of like that scene in Trainspotting. Another time at the Lansdowne after Mudhoney finished playing, the crowd was still hyped up, but the pub kicked everyone out. So people started climbing up the Lansdowne, getting on the balcony and then running back down to climb it again. Danger, danger, danger.
Mudhoney have plenty of other good songs like; Here Comes Sickness, A Thousand Forms of Mind, You Got It and Blinding Sun. Another benefit of Mudhoney was that their songs were pretty consistent. Another one I love listening to is Underride which was an E side on the single EP for In The Blood. Let's get the fuck out of here man!
You Am I - She Digs Her
Back in the early 90s Sydney was developing a pop sound. There were starting to be break-out bands like Ratcat and the Hummingbirds which played and recorded diligently locally before getting picked up by radio. It was helped by JJJ expanding its coverage from the inner-city to the western suburbs, Newcastle and Wollongong. This was just prior to JJJ going national.
The pick of the Sydney's bands at the time was You Am I. They started off as smart-arses with a rocky sound. It was great to watch the band develop into the quintessential Sydney pop/rock band. Their performances were always great, even back when no-one knew who they were and they played in the Sandringham for free. With each album Tim Rogers developed into a better song-writer and a stunning story-teller. They released some EPs and then the album Sound As Ever. Which was a bit of a muddy mix. Then Hi Fi Way came out. What an album!
There are plenty of great rock, pop and folk songs on the album. My pick would be She Digs Her. It constantly ends up on my playlists. It is classic You Am I music with a great little story which changes with each listening. I am sticking to the impression that it is a woman looking after her AA sister and feeling trapped by the life.
I recall seeing You Am I in Newcastle once. The place was pretty small and cramped, and a bouncer was standing up on the stage near the bass guitarist - Andy. An aggro band would have got angry at the bouncer and spat at them, or ridiculed them infront of the crowd. Andy stepped over the fellow and asked his name. The bloke said somethign to him. Andy then came to the mic and said with a grin on his face, "Hey folks, do you reckon John here is cramping my style?" There was some laughter from the crowd, but no-one yelled out stuff like get off the stage bouncer. No aggro at all. The bouncer went a bit red but was grinning at the same time. He got down a couple of minutes later and Andy thanked him. Typical You Am I style.
Ratcat - Go Go
The pop explosion that went from underground cool to teenage passe in twelve months. The band did not deserve it. They were a great band in the Buzzcocks tradition who wrote dark lovesick pop songs with fuzz guitar. They never professed to be anything more than a throw-away band - how they can be accused of selling out is pretty obtuse.
That being said the hysteria over them when the released the Tingles EP was bizarre. Radio played it to death and it was not even a very good song. They then released the Blind Love album, which was excellent. Racing is still on my playlists and Don't Go Now is a classic pop song. Great music.
Ratcat's best album was This Nightmare. It had Simon Day's unusual cartoon artwork, which oddly enough I saw reproduced on the wall of a Rooty Hill nightclub (wtf?). The stand out song on the album was the little pop ditty - Go Go;
Can't stand still
Can't say no
Gotta go back
Yeh I gotta go
In the western suburbs speed was known as goey. There are several drug references in the album, Killing Joke for instance.
Single Gun Theory - Fall
This is just great music. It mixes electronica with eastern sounds. Nothing sounded like it at the time, not much sounds like it now. Closest thing I have heard to it since is mns's mix of ana's MFCIII. The ABC would play a video music program late called Rage at night on the weekends. It was not unusual for us to come home tanked to the eyeballs and watch Rage until our eyes glazed over. One of the cosntant pics on the show was Single Gun Theory's Fall. This is just classy music. Beautiful in sound and a constant favourite of mine. Other stand out songs are From a Million Miles and Surrender.
Songs Which Also Ran
Also in the all-time faves;
- Treepeople - Big Mouth Strikes Again
- Janes Addiction - Been Caught Stealing
- Dinosaur Jr - Freak Scene
- Lemonheads - Half The Time
- The Cruel Sea - The Honeymoon is Over
- The Cars - Tonight She Comes
- The Meanies - Gangrenous
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