Fu Manchu. A band who, along with the likes of Nebula, MonsterMagnet and Kyuss set the scene for the scores of stoner bands who followed in their wake, and have never themselves dropped a beat with their own output. And with barely a lineup change this millennium, they sound as solid as fuck, too.
With this latest blast of sonic mayhem, Clone Of The Universe, we see Fu Manchu crack open the Holy Riff Bible and write a new chapter. No mean feat for a band who have been cranking out behemoth riffs for over thirty fucking years. Clone is their twelfth album, and is right up there with the classic Fu records like Eatin’ Dust and California Crossing. Continue reading →
The opening of doors into The Croxton’s band room is a little bit later than anticipated (probably due to VIP’s meeting with the headliners taking double time for selfies) but we fill it at a steady pace. The thirstier punters begin the soon-to-be never-ending queue for grog in an excited frenzy, others choose their spot within the room.
Our first act of the evening are Melbourne’s four-piece band, Bukowski. Their choice of name doesn’t necessarily suit their style of music – presumably an ode to Charles, wasn’t Bukowski more of a classical man?– but it seems to be irrelevant as we applaud their set, indulging in the local talent. These guys are one of the upcoming acts that we should watch, so it was a shame their set had to be shortened due to the late starting time. They leave us in a state of awe and appreciation for being there, and we progress into patiently waiting for what’s to come. Continue reading →
Before Shame even landed in Australia, they had a hell of a reputation but with enough secrecy to still have some surprises up their sleeves. They have been heavily lauded in the British and American music press, they tore Glastonbury apart last year and punched Laneway Festival so hard it was coughing up blood, so when they landed at The Tote the energy of the band and the crowd was salacious, you could feel the condensation just dripping from the ceiling.
Lead singer Charlie Steen hulked about the stage staring down the crowd, you felt like he was going to attack at any point, but this is all stage persona.
When they burst into the single ‘The Lick’ and the opening lyric is “So in the past week I’ve made several trips to the gynaecologists”, you know the boys tongues are firmly planted in their cheek, they wear their influences heavily on their sleeves, The Fall, Eddy Current. Steen has the Mark E Smith’s venomous lyric spit combined with Brenden Huntley’s manic dance moves. The song ‘Friction’ with it’s heavy chiming guitars flogs the crowd around the head and induces aural comas. The entire pub is transfixed, a bomb could have gone off and the crowd wouldn’t have noticed in the slightest, that’s how enigmatic they were. Continue reading →
There is a quote by the infamous and supposed anonymous UK-based graffiti artist Banksy that states: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” – this in retrospect, operates as a very suiting theme for what transpired at this event. The South Australian summer had certainly exposed its true colours providing sauna-like conditions, which was quite the opposite from both touring bands’ current home weather statuses (UK and Canada respectively). Landing on a Tuesday evening was also more of a predicament in terms of attendance, with spectator numbers being best described as dozens initially. However, art, more specifically punk music was never about “comfort”; truthfully it is more likened to rebellion, the underground and discomposure. So essentially these “conditions” as it were, surmised to an accommodating scenario. Continue reading →
After thirty odd years playing music, with the heavily influential Kyuss through Slo Burn, Unida and Hermano as well as a couple of solo projects, John Garcia, is well known to those into stoner / desert rock. His vocal style is often imitated (or at least attempted!), and the musical output is of a consistently high quality as well. Garcia is about to tour Australia in acoustic mode for the first time, and will be playing selections from his entire back catalogue. I recently spoke with John to get a run-down on what’s in store for the tour.
El Jefe – What’s your inspiration for choosing the songs you want to tackle acoustically, and how do you decide what might work best?
John Garcia – Well, to start with, I dig the challenge of doing things in a totally different way and to keep moving forward musically. Some songs like ‘Green Machine’, which work well with a full band can be much harder to do acoustically, so there is the challenge to make it work with just a guitar which is really cool. ‘Gardenia’ as well, is much harder to do this way, so it means I have to keep pushing the boundaries musically. ‘El Rodeo’ is just a rad song, and really fun to play, and with a tune like ‘Space Cadet’, I get to change a couple of the things with the vocals I didn’t like with the original. Continue reading →
When Californian Skies are forecast to meet Australian shores: an interview with Unwritten Law’s Scott Russo.
As Scott Russo answers the phone, he’s having several other conversations with those in the lounge room. It’s 1pm in San Francisco and the people from immigration have arrived an hour early to complete his paper work for Unwritten Law’s upcoming tour of Australia. After an initially jolted introduction, we settle into the exchange of questions and stories related to the bands future, past and present.
With the frontman’s paperwork currently in process, we nostalgic punters Down Under have a lot to be excited for. With the beginning of their scheduled tour dates quickly approaching, we know that we can anticipate their 1998 self titled album AKA The Black Album in full, but what else?! Despite the fact that I may be considerably too young to be an old-school fan, I couldn’t hold back my excitement when it came to asking Scott, “So, what can you expect? Well, we’re gonna play the Black Record from front to back, the first song to the last song, and then we are gonna break down that set and play additions.” Continue reading →
Switchblade Jesus are a heavy-duty bunch of motherfuckers hailing from Texas. Their ST debut has had plenty of airplay in the El Jefe homestead. Mrs El Jefe also particularly dig’s their catchy, dirty stoner rock!
Fuzz Evil are from nearby Arizona, and as the name applies, are a fuzzed-out band with a love of…fuzz. The Glitterbones 7 inch was a great intro to this mob too.
So FE and SJ have joined forces for The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter VII release, out now through Ripple Music, with each band contributing 3-4 songs each and all of scorched earth proportion.
Rather than fuck around with niceties, Switchblade Jesus instead chose to launch a vicious punch to the side of the head with ‘Snakes And Lions’. A growling menace of a song, with a filthy wah-fest intro to one of their trademark riffs. Great drumming too! Continue reading →
For the 4th Punks Against Poverty show I wanted to do something special and made it a Christmas show. I actually hate Christmas but I figure homeless people probably hate it more than me so why not try to put a happy spin on a shitty situation that’s still happening in the world.
I enlisted some of Perth’s coolest kids to pretend not to be Grinchier than me and sing Christmas songs, there was some resistance but they did it and nobody died. Grant Larseny took this one step further by actually writing a song for it! It’s a great song about Christmas in Australia and I think we can all identify with it on some level. It’s available for download on Bandcamp so definitely check it out!
New band Triggered covered Tim Minchin’s ‘White Wine In The Sun’, Incomplete covered Kevin Bloody Wilson, Joanie Get Angry sang ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ and I’m gutted I missed it I really wanted to see what they did with a Disney song, Blindspot sang about 8 White Boomers and lastly Benny Mayhem sang The Pogues ‘Fairytale Of New York’. I had a playlist of random Christmas songs to play inbetween and despite not hearing half of the songs (it didn’t get paused while the bands played) The Wiggles ‘Felice Navidad’ played and I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Yes I played The Wiggles at a punk show. Continue reading →
Stoner rock power trio Borracho have had a busy 12 months; releasing two full-length LP’s in this period and they’ve backed up the excellent Atacama with Riffography, and it’s yet another grease and dirt road trip from hell.
Soundwise, Borracho are a gutsy and powerful unit, heavy on both grooves and distortion. And they know when to pull back as well as when to drop the clutch and hammer the riff home too. Supremely cohesive songwriting coupled with their playing always makes for a great album as well.
Riffography opens with the ball-tearing ‘Rectify’, and is quickly backed up with ‘Circulos Concentricos’, a re-recording of ‘Concentric Circles’ from their 2011 debut, Splitting Skies, and given a Spanish facelift and a great mangled guitar attack. Continue reading →
Every time I head off to a show or a photoshoot I have this mini panic attack where I’m 100% convinced I’ve forgotten something important, only I haven’t. Tonight I spent an hour travelling to a show just to discover I left my camera battery on the kitchen counter. Of all the nights I choose tonight to screw up and I have all the regrets. ALL. THE. REGRETS. So I decided I’ve give reviewing another shot so I could feel less guilty for having a door spot. I know right, what’s wrong with me?
First up for tonight was The Shakeys. This is the third time I’ve seen them this week and in total contrast to the other nights this room didn’t have too many people there to see the opening act. This didn’t stop the band putting on one hell of a performance though. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen The Shakeys do a half-assed performance! Claire is a badass front woman and full of attitude. They started their set off with ‘Don’t Make Me Crawl’, and during their next song ‘Pink Demon’ people started getting off their seats and moving closer to the stage. They mentioned opening for Marky Ramone on Tuesday night and how he insisted they do a couple of covers. They decided they loved the songs and kept them in their set. Quite literally, it’s the same set as Tuesday night. This just made my job tonight so much easier. I can’t say that for the other bands though. During their final song ‘Drinkin Till Dawn’, they were joined on stage by members of The Beehives GoGo Dancers who danced up a storm. I’ve now decided The Shakeys need gogo dancers at every show! My opinion matters and everyone should listen to me. Continue reading →