Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Devil's Kitchen 2013 - It's going to be massive!

The Devil’s Kitchen Music Festival started in 2005 and quickly became a staple in the Australian kick arse live music scene. Showcasing loads of Australian stoner, doom and sludge bands amongst other styles. Drawing along the way massive international headliner Winnebago Deal (UK) and Aussie acts like Rollerball, Cockfight Shootout, Giants of Science and loads more.

2013 is set to be the biggest yet! I am so damn excited I have already stopped wearing pants!

Check out below for quotes from some of the bands playing the fest, the dates and complete line ups and a few clips from some of the hottest bands in the world!

Devil’s Kitchen is also in the latest issue of HEAVY Mag and a Q&A with founder Skye Bird is also about to hit HEAVY online very soon.

Devil's Kitchen Music Festival online.

I asked some of the bands on the different line ups one question...
What are you most looking forward to when you play DK13?

Matt Young - vocals – King Parrot:
“I'm looking forward to outdoing Mikey from Mammoth Mammoth's stage antics. I heard he is going nude, so I'm going to skin myself.”

Bones – drums – Mammoth Mammoth:
“This whole Festival will be more awesome than Gods's tits! Our intention is to create so much good-time-murder-fuzz that a hole appears in the sky and God and Satan take turns fucking that hole! Failing that, seeing if Mikey will put his head through the beer garden window again.”

Andy Simpson - bassist / guitarist (depending what day of the week it is...) and vocalist – Don Fernando:
“Really looking forward to rubbing our balls all over Liam Cuffley's drum stool.”

Liam Cuffley - drums - My Left Boot:
"I'm looking forward to rubbing my balls on the same areas of my drum stool that Don Fernando have rubbed theirs on, only harder. Whilst also seeing a good percentage of my favourite bands all in one place."

Jon Russo – guitarist - Chainsaw Hookers:
“Chainsaw Hookers are keen as to play The Tote with a group of Australia's finest hard rock bands, gonna party on down in Hellbourne town!”

Nathan Smith – bass / vocals - BMX RAY (DK13 Artist!):
“Tearing The Tote a new clacker with a great line up of bands. We are even more excited than big Kev!”

Raul Sanchez  - vocals / guitar - River Of Snakes:
“We are looking forward to actually playing the show and spending large with our tonnes of $$.. Fuck yeah!!”

Clair Sargent – vocals – The Sure Fire Midnights:
“Getting to see some rad bands I've heard but haven't seen live before and catching up with Squiz from King Parrot... he's a national treasure...”

Tal Wallace – singer / guitarist - The Smokestack Orchestra:
"I am looking forward to seeing Giants of Science front man Ben Salter take off his sensitive folk hat and pull on his unwashed t-shirt of rock and roll. It will also be great to catch up with old friends like Richie, Ralph Malph and the Fonz."

James Hilan – guitar / vocals – Slow Riots:
“We are most looking forward to [our manager/DK promoter] David Norris's inevitable stress-induced heart attack... hopefully it happens during the show and not before.”

Dan Roberts – guitar – Dead End Kings:
“Honestly just being invited! We don't get out to people's places much and to get to play in someones ACTUAL kitchen..... what its not a real kitchen??? Fuck! Well we're looking forward to making music cakes and pies up on stage and outdoing those pesky STONE FOX lads! They think they're so cool!”

Malcolm McDowell - guitar - We Are Gamma:
"I heard there is nudity."

Full line up and dates:

Sat 5th Jan
The Tote
Sat 12th Jan
The Bald Faced Stag
Sat 19th Jan
The Beetle Bar
King Parrot
Mammoth Mammoth
Chainsaw Hookers (WA)
Wicked City
Kids Of Zoo
River Of Snakes
My Left Boot
The Sure Fire Midnights (WA)
Don Fernando
We Are Gamma

$27 + BF
$30 on the door.
Nunchukka Superfly
King Parrot (VIC)
Chainsaw Hookers (WA)
Wicked City (VIC)
Mother Mars
The Sure Fire Midnights (WA)
Adrift For Days
We Are Gamma (VIC)
The Bloody Kids
Battle Pope
Witch Fight

$25 + BF
$30 on the door.
Giants Of Science
The Blackwater Fever
King Parrot (VIC)
The Smokestack Orchestra
Death Valley Nights
Dead End Kings
Slow Riots
Sons Of The Soil
The Stone Fox

$25 + BF
$30 on the door.

All tickets will be sold through oztix online soon... stay tuned... 

King Parrot - Epileptic Butcher

Mammoth Mammoth - Hell's Likely

Chainsaw Hookers - Never Sleep Again

River Of Snakes - Bad Blood

Melbourne Poster.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BLACK SPACE RIDERS - Light Is The New Black.

I wrote a review of this album some time ago. "Where is it then?" I hear you ask... it didn't quite make it out into the 'real' world so I thought I would kind of review it again. I decided I would open a bottle of Southern, crank some tunes and pull a few random words out of my head...


Crank up your stereo, dip your joint in acid and light it up baby… German heavy psych rockers Black Space Riders have released their second full length release Light Is The New Black. The album is full of warmth and oozes heavy grooves with some mind bending psychedelics.

It starts off with Creature of No Light. A cruisier tune that is drenched in more fuzz than a porn set from the 70’s. Enough said.

Sun vs Moon starts out slow and builds. It’s somber and dark and feels like it’s painting the back drop to a Lynch film. The vocals are thick and rich like that of a story teller… as the instruments build and reel you in the vocals add another great layer and when they scream, you bleed. This is one my favourite tracks on the album, everything just sits so well and plays out like it should. The guitars kick arse and I fuckin love the solo.

Track 3, Digging Down, is reminiscent of AIC in the start, the fuzz and wah but again those vocals make you stop and listen “Dig, dig it down. Dig, dig it down…” Black Space Riders sound is built around hypnotic guitars and grooves. There are all sorts of elements at play here like hard rock, stoner and psych but the more I listen to it the more I can hear classic metal punching through. Yeah the solos may be wah’ed up Cantrell but the vibes and delivery is just guts and attitude.

The track that nails it completely is I Am Fire. This is 'I want to skull a bottle of bourbon and smash it against my fuckin head' good. I Am Fire is made to be exploding out of the speakers in your car as you’re screaming down the highway setting the roadside alight and melting the faces off those you pass… Every album needs this track on it. Without one of these you’ll just be flippin burgers for the rest of your life.

Seems Bowie was dropping ‘ludes when he recorded this song… Steady and hypnotic, dark and bright, We Used To Live In Light is thickly textured and full of atmosphere. Layers of visuals blending and bending and man that little bit of fuzzed out and chunky guitar that comes in at about 4:20 is pure sex.

Next up Lost (Return Into The Void) is for those of you that can’t hold on, that can’t keep up and that need a break to fall back down into your bean bag and chill the hell out. Written on the tip of an acid blotter… “everything is lost… here”.

You know what… I am up to track 6… I have proved two things… 1. I can count. 2. You should go and buy this album. There is still lots more to write about but why should I tell you now if the butler did it or who ran off and lived happily ever after. You need to discover this album for yourself. Black Space Riders have served up an awesome album that follows so many paths and travels in and out of so many sounds that it's always fresh and exciting… as I am typing this I am listening to track 7… it’s extremely cool! Go get the album and let me know what you think...

BLACK SPACE RIDERS - Light Is The New Black is available now on CD and also a kick arse gatefold CD / LP set that also features a bonus track.

Site // Facebook // Myspace //

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

DEAD, Hotel Wrecking City Traders, Spider Goat Canyon.

Rather than stay in and watch reruns of NCIS, I thought I would better spend my time repenting my sins against humanity by way of kick arse music.

I headed down to the trying ever so hard to be street poster free streets of Northcote for my hit of Monday Night Mass.

Three bands on the bill. Three bands playing a night well below their weight. And I mean weighty in terms of depth, emotion, ferocity, originality and raw fuckin talent.

DEAD, Hotel Wrecking City Traders and Spider Goat Canyon all on one line up together is well worth it.

I haven’t seen Spider Goat Canyon for a while. Deryck's pounding tribal, repetitive beats and crashing cymbals. Atmospheric and ethereal guitars, air raid chaos, apocalyptic, six string farrrrrrrrocity from Steve, mesmerising. Josh's bass in the last song was so disruptive, destructive and distorted. He was going so nuts he ripped the lead right out of the pedal. They are masters of subtle change in emotion. The build is so gentle that you don’t even realise you have reached the summit and circled the stratosphere and then they crash you right back down into the their volcano. Spider Goat Canyon are three solo beasts annihilating the stage though working as one.

One thing I have really dig about Hotel Wrecking City Traders is that they always have a nice loose jam feel whenever I see them play. There can be enough crazy in this two man band for a 10 piece or it can have a cruisier groove, but they always make it seem natural, effortless and it flows from within.

It's like when they play you're not hearing the music from the outside the instruments, the person, you're hearing it from inside of the strings, the sticks, the journey from above Ben's head as they fly through the air to the buzz of Toby's guitar, then come crashing down on the skins, shuddering up through his arms to his heart. That vibration is felt throughout the room before it's heard.

HWCT are fuckin mesmerising, chaotic and beautiful. 25 minutes non stop and then half a breath before sliding into another. No one is sure... is it another song or the same? It's like an open plan kitchen and lounge. One room but not. Separate but sharing the same space. 42 minutes. One piece then peace... though noise soothes the soul.
It started with some cymbal taps and then the bass rumbles in with some feedback. DEAD have begun.

Those that know me know that my passion for music can lead me to get very carried away. I can fall in and out of love with a band easily and when I fall in I jump in wholeheartedly. They would also know that since I first saw DEAD I have been addicted. Jem and Jace are mind blowing at what they do and it's truly evident when you see them on stage. From Jace's jaw dropping string belting vein popping blood curdling chaos through to Jem's need to tape his drums down so they don't run away from the sheer terror they face from each and every beating he delivers. Every set they serve up a feast of only main's and it's scolding hot and set to burn every fuckin time! They are a bulldozing freight train.

I notice the base is dirtier, it has more grunt, like it's been through hell and back just to bring you every note, every chord. Jace has a new pedal, it sounds awesome.

I did appreciate Jem's effort to dress nicely for Monday Night Mass and wear long pants instead of his drumming shorts. Of which it seems there revolves numerous rumours including that they're never washed and that they are in fact made from the skin of Triple J listeners. Unfortunately these are unsubstantiated at this time. Though he did procede to take off his shirt at which time I think Jace realised his Hard-Ons Venom spoof T emblazoned with Goofy in a pentagram was just too much for the old ladies at Mass and he followed suit...

The set finished with some amazing cymbal control fading out to Jace whispering "Everybody shed a tear"... well, admittedly it was pretty moving.

One thing that came out of Monday Night Mass is that I would love to hear a collaboration between DEAD and HWCT. Can you imagine the carnage? The chaos? The beauty? DEAD TRADERS! Bring it on!!

Hotel Wrecking City Traders
Spider Goat Canyon
Northcote Social Club
FB event

Photo's once again courtesy of my not-so-high-quality uber-unreliable iPhone.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kyuss' 'Blues For The Red Sun' 20th Anniversary Celebration.

Kicking back on my bed in my haze filled room. Scanning through the posters on my ceiling, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Butthole Surfers, Syd Barrett, Jane's Addiction, Magic Dirt, all smiling down on me. I can feel the bass rumble up through the floorboards, it's vibrating throughout the depths of my soul. My blown out body gazing out into the universe as Kyuss fills the space and carries me away....

I have had so many days and so many nights of Kyuss... 50 Million Year Trips that open my eyes wide and expand my mind. There is nothing else, there is only one Kyuss. 

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Blue For The Red Sun, Kyuss' second release under their shortened moniker, The Cherry Bar opened its doors to the psychedelic love of Matt Sonic & The High Times with guest vocalist Chappy from My Left Boot... but before we get to that...

Battle Axe Howlers, a mixture of lads from Anglesea and Sunbury opened the night. The last and only time I saw them was when they opened for the mighty Mammoth Mammoth and they rocked. I was keen to see how they were a year later... and they fuckin blew everyone away. Some tight as riffs and killer songs really impressed but it was the spitting silhouette image of Brant Bjork mixed with the Aussie pub rock'n'raspy vocals of John Garcia of singer Diesel that was the stand out. Battle Axe Howlers were the perfect openers for the night. Awesome.

James Young, co-owner of the bar, got up to introduce the tribute to a completely packed to the roof Cherry... the punters were pumped and the band already had smiles on their faces. The energy was almost like we were seeing Kyuss back in the day. I have been to a few tribute nights but this was something special....

The guitars started softly... the volume rose slowly throughout the room... then fuckin BOOM!!! 'Thumb' kicked in wholeheartedly and it was fuckin on!!! When a band covers an iconic song it can be a scary feat to try and pull off. Fans know every nuance, every bend, every yeah. Matt Sonic & The High Times had only rehearsed this album four times but they fuckin nailed it. Two guitars as well gave it so much punch! Guest vocalist Chappy from My Left Boot may very well have been under the most pressure. All the Kyuss members sounds and style are so well known but that distinctive Garcia vocal is pretty damn impressive. Chappy sounded like he'd be singing those songs for years, he did it more than proud.

You would expect it not to be 100% perfect Kyuss as no one can do that, not even Kyuss Lives (insert fiery fueled argument between rivalling Kyuss / Kyuss Lives factions) but the band were right onto every part of it, they played from their heart, with smiles on their faces at times as they felt the love beaming back at them from the room. This was a tribute of the highest honour as they really did fuckin nail it. How many times should I say that?!! The sound, the vibe, the groove, it was all fuckin immense. All we can now hope for is that the Cherry and the band hook up again for tributes to Sky Valley & Circus...

Battle Axe Howlers: I don't know their song names but every song just kept getting better... can't wait to see them again and be able to grab something from them on vinyl. Good shit guys!

Matt Sonic & The High Times with Chappy: Thumb, Freedom Run, Allen's Wrench, well all of it! Interesting watching Chappy trying to deal with the mic lead tangled with the dude's dreads at the front during Mondo Generator... he kept head banging more and more and it just kept getting tangled! A special mention to Red (Cherry sound) who celebrated his 40th Birthday by way of singing Thong Song up on stage! You rocked the shit out of that song Red! Thanx dude! Happy Birthday!

Well done to all involved in the night.  "YEAH!!!"

Matt Sonic & The High Times
My Left Boot
Battle Axe Howlers
Cherry Bar
FB event for the night...

oh yeah, photo's courtesy of my iPhone... please forgive them!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


After taking some time off from reviewing due to reasons you wouldn’t give a shit about, I am so far behind now that it’s easier just to assume a new identity as an illegal immigrant and become a fruit picker in the Hunter Valley.

Unfortunately the fruit picking season for idiot savants hasn’t started so I am now forced to try and catch back up somehow. Keeping up the natural order of progression, I picked up one of the latest CD’s I received first from a Melbourne band. This EP comes highly recommended, but really, in this day and age when people are still buying Nickelback albums what the hell does that mean anyway.

I don’t know if it’s relevant to let you know that Drifter’s HEAD EP was recorded by the one and only Jason PC of Blood Duster fame at his Goatsound studio, or if it will have the same impact to let you tree hugging hermaphrodites know that the cover and insert is printed on recycled stock, but as a reviewer it’s my job to let you know the important things. Although I might as well be mouthing off about a Unida and Sasquatch gig in Palm Springs that’s only 3 dollars or some seemingly unrelated topic like how schools are getting rid of books in favour of using readers and eBooks for the kids.

It’s all somehow related, the future, the past… what’s coming and what’s been. And just like you Drifter simply don’t seem to care about what style of music they deliver and have made a blistering release that can’t be genre-fied or labeled other than in the category of ‘HELL YEAH!’. I can’t figure out if they are way ahead of their time or so far behind. For me their songs scream 80’s and early 90’s kick arse pub rock and like a dart to the head of your ex I fuckin love it. I wanna ring up my mates and get down to the local and rack up a game of pool. But these guys are no rip off, they aren’t even close. They are the real deal. This might have been recorded back then and only just released. How the fuck would you know? Dan’s mullet is testament to that! They are so right in there that they probably gave birth to the Cosmic Psycho’s while shotgunning VB’s at a cattle muster.

Some bands hate being compared to others, well I’m not comparing. If I was I’d be saying they were like a beer hat with room for a six pack and not a fuckin pink tennis visor. So rather than ramble on like some pastel coloured denim jeans and fedora wearing hipster fresh off a teenage internet show, I’m going to mention a whole lot of bands that might just not make any sense but if you like, you’d dig Drifter cause they make ya wanna shag ya misses in the back of ya ute at the local footy. It’s that’s fuckin good.

Cosmic Psychos
Violent Femmes
The Godfathers
Radio Birdman
The Screaming Tribesmen
Celibate Rifles
The 3Ds
Magic Dirt
NoMeansNo w/ Jello Biafra
Proton Energy Pills
Psychotic Turnbuckles

SST stuff... Alternative Tentacles, Red Eye, Waterfront, Sub Pop.
Whatever. Shut up I am just listing stuff now to fill space. Watch this.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH - LP Launch and new clip!

Melbourne murder fuzz legends Mammoth Mammoth are set to launch their next LP, HELL'S LIKELY, at the Cherry Bar this Friday the 1st June!

Joining them will be Los Amigos and The Fog.

Hell's Likely will be released on CD and a kick arse limited edition gatefold LP, currently available for pre-order now on their site and selling through fast!

Check out the clip from the title track off the LP below released today !!!

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH: Site // Facebook

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mike Vallely interview. From the vault...

I was going through some old back-up disc's looking for an old review I'd done and came across this interview I did with Mike V. It as originally posted on my column I had on the Roadrunner Records site Metalshop, the site long since dead. Mike is such a kick arse skater and all round legend. I have had the opportunity to watch him skate and interview him a few times. The photo pictured below I originally took in about 1999 during the Black Label vs Deca Australian tour and got him to sign when I caught up with him again during the 2003 tour. I thought I would bring this interview out fromt he vault and dust off for you to read. It was quickly edited and really needs to be properly done... here it is in all it's rough glory...

Mike V interview.
Instore - Highpoint Shopping Centre, Melbourne.
27th April 2003.

US Pro skater Mike Vallely is one of the most focused individuals in the world. His honesty and direct approach have gained him followers and rivals. His intense attitude and style have earned him his tough guy reputation. From his never give up approach until it hurts to walk all the way through to his new video “Mike V’s Greatest Hits” showing that reputation in all its fist to face glory. Whether you are watching him skate, seeing him on the road with his spoken word tours or with his punk band Mike V & The Rats, one thing you have to admit is that Mike V always does ‘Stand Strong’.

I caught up with Mike during a recent visit to Australia at an instore at Highpoint Shopping Centre in Melbourne. As I approached him he was talking to some young skaters about a symbol they had drawn on their boards that morning. He was talking… they were stoked!

In the past you have been described as the Henry Rollins of skating, how would you describe yourself?

Well, I don’t know how I’d describe myself. I just am who I am. I see why someone might say that. I mean, when I was 14 years old I saw Black Flag play and it had a very profound impact on me. And that same show I picked up a poetry book that Henry Rollins had done and that had an even further impact on me. I reckon that as an individual he’s someone that’s had a great impact on my life at a very important time. And his work ethic and his approach to things I think, that you can find that in what I do and in my skating. I think I’ve definitely made my own path as well; I don’t really like to think that him or any other influences have overwhelmed my own output. You know I think I’ve got my own thing going for sure.

Before I was just watching you with the kids with the symbol they had drawn on their board and you were just talking to them, not pushing your ideas but just sort of having a chat and also listening to them. How Rollins is a role model for you how does it feel to be a role model for kids and how they look up to you?

Oh, well, you know I don’t really necessarily look at it like that. Pretty much across the board I interact with people the way I feel is important to. I mean a lot of times I will be talking to kids and they’ll go oh man that was a really good speech, no that wasn’t a speech, that was a conversation. I reckon that most people don’t even converse anymore, there’s really no communication between people and so looking at his board and seeing a swastika, whether I was Mike Vallely the professional skateboarder or me just hanging around I would perhaps say something because that’s who I am. So I interact, I really interact with people the way that I wished someone would’ve interacted with me when I was younger and as with other adults, it’s really do unto others as you would have them do unto you sort of thing. I think there’s just a proper way to handle yourself.

Things would be a lot better in the world.

Yeah, you know I do recognise the fact that obviously they know who I am, they’re aware of who I am and they want to converse, they want to talk and I’m totally open to it. I love the fact that those doors are already blown open, that you can get right into it with somebody because of the fact that they know who I am. I’m able to just jump right into a conversation. I have some common ground, I have some shared experience with these people, you know and I never met them before.

You’ve been skating for 19 years, how’d you first get into it?

Just really through Punk Rock music. I got into Punk Rock music and at the time skateboarding really went hand in hand with it and my buddies pretty much told me I had to get a skateboard. You know I got into the Punk scene and they’re like well you gotta get a skateboard too, so I got a skateboard too cause it’s just kinda part of the uniform but then I also saw Thrasher magazine and I stumbled across Bones Brigade Video Show video and I was just hooked on it and it became more important to me. Well I wouldn’t say more important than the music but just as or equally as important to me in a different way.

I saw your spoken word a few years ago, you spoke alot about music, how it changed your life, why do you think it had such an impact?

Well, who hasn’t been affected by music! It’s everything to us. You know, the human experience – music’s a part of it. I don’t know why, I don’t know, I think there’s something about really being able to really arr…

About expression…

Expression and the emotion that you can put into it. It’s just such a great way of communicating. You know songs have been handed down for generations and generations, stories and I think the song writing and music has really kind of captured that and enables people to communicate in a different way and a real broad way. Ideally I think that the music is something that helps people relate to each other and brings everyone together.

You also have a band going now, Mike V & The Rats, how’s it going and how did you get that started?

The guys in the band pretty much got us started and they rang me up. And they said hey we got this tape we want you to listen to and if you like it we want you to sing for our band. It’s an opportunity that I’d been pursuing for many years but had never really panned out, didn’t hook up the right people or whatever…

Kind of the next step to the poetry?

Yeah well the spoken word and the poetry was always… everything I’ve ever written was intended to be a song. I just never had that ability or that avenue to walk down. You know I didn’t have a band, so I figured I’d just go out and read the things (snickers). So these guys rang me up and they said hey here’s the tape, check it out, if you like it and so, I put the tape in, the first couple of chords I heard I was sold on it. I was yeah for sure and so it just kinda happened. But the guitar player for the band, he works at Accel Wheels so he’s somebody that you know I was working with and I knew that he had other bands and he’d been into the Punk scene for a while. The fact that he decided that he wanted to work with me, I was really stoked because he’s actually…

( At this point Mike’s family had come back into the store with some photos of them in a photo booth in hand and wanted to show Mike. Mike’s wife and eldest daughter thought they were pretty funny and were keen to show him what they’d been up to… )

…But he was somebody that I had known that he had been in a lot of different really good bands and I hinted around a few times (and said) “Hey man if you’re ever gonna do something let me know” but then when it actually kinda happened I was actually really happy, really glad for the opportunity and it’s something that we take very serious. You know, a lot of people kind of talked to me about it or thinking it’s just some sort of novelty or act but no, it’s very serious to us, very real.

Are you playing lots of gigs with the band then?

We’ve been really lucky. We’ve played lots of really good shows with pretty decent and / or popular bands. Luckily I’ve been able to use the fact that a lot of people in these bands know who I am and they invite us to be on the gig without ever hearing us, just cause it’s me. So we get in there and then we get a chance to just go out and do our thing and it’s been awesome.

Are you going to bring the band out here or are you coming out again to do a spoken word tour?

Yeah, we’ve been talkin’ about it. I imagine in the next, within the next year the band will have come down and I’ll probably have come down again on a spoken tour.

When you’re going for a skate what do you do to get pumped, before a demo for example where you go nuts. Do you listen to a particular band?

Well before a demo I try to listen to some uplifting music but yeah mostly stuff that’s pretty heavy, pretty loud, pretty aggressive, and it’s always different but probably the most consistent thing would be Rollins Band. And then beyond that I don’t know, you know, like on this tour I don’t really (listen to music), cause I’m travelling with my family I haven’t really listened to any music or anything I just rely on the fact that here we are, it’s time to go. But I do try to, I do. I think music’s important to get you pumped up and get you amped and get you in a certain state of mind, you know, get focussed but it’s not everything. This tour I haven’t, like I said, I haven’t had the headphones on. You can’t really have the headphones on when you are travelling with the family but when I travel solo it’s headphones right up until the second that I’m gonna skate, you know…

Get pumped…

Yeah, I just like to, I take it serious you know. It’s like… the older I get the more so, the more I have to take it serious because it used to be easy to go out and skate. Now the body hurts so bad and I need that extra motivation, I need to really feel like I’m going through a process. It’s not so easy anymore as just standing on the thing and going you know. For me it’s like I wanna deliver, I wanna do the best I can every step of the way. I do all these… I have all these different rituals I go through just to put on a demo but some of it is probably corny and unnecessary but you know getting your own self mentally prepared for what you’re doing.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense…

Yeah, I mean I know that if I went to see a demo or I’m gonna see a show I expect the person that’s skating or putting on that show to give it their all. So it’s important to me that I feel like I’m doing everything I can to deliver.

And now with your board company too, you have your hands sort of everywhere at the moment. What made you want to get that started, was it the freedom?

Yeah, the opportunity arose and I’m just not the kind of guy that can just ride for somebody else. I started skateboarding cause I wanted to do my own thing and this is just a natural progression of that idea. And having the opportunity and being able to do it with a really good company this time around. You know, I’ve done other companies in the past but they were always gambles and there’s really not a whole lot of gambling with this particular version of doing my company. So I’m pretty excited about that. You know, right now I’m involved in it but at the same time, the skate industry’s kinda down, the economy’s down, and when that happens, you know, it really becomes about the dollar and it becomes about can you make money – can you not make money so I kinda backed off with the board company right now to let the people that worry about the dollars and cents run the board company because I’m more interested in those time periods when there’s a little bit more creative freedom. And my overall goal with the board company is to have that kind of creative freedom. But right now it’s really not, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, you know we’re in a mall.

Skateboards are sold in malls now. It’s kind of a different scene so I try and put my energy where I feel it could be most effective. And that’s why say going to do a demo, I think I’d rather put my creative energy into that, I’d rather put my all my effort into those kinds of things as compared to say working on board graphics or advertisings because that doesn’t really speak to me right now. There’s a time and a place for that though I mean. I’m very much interested in the artistic aspect of the boards and what’s being said on the boards and what’s being said in the ad’s but I just feel like that right now, this season of my life, I need to focus more on the actual one on one type of interaction. And on top of all that I’ve found with the band I’ve got a million things going on, so the long way around to say that yes the board company is very important to me, it’s something that I’m going to be very involved in, I have been very involved in but right now I’ve just left it to be what it is. Because right now it’s just about supply and demand and I’m not interested in supply and demand.

You’ve had the elephant graphic on everything right back to when you first started, what’s the symbolism of the elephant for you?

Yeah. Initially it started just out of seeing a National Geographic program about elephants when it was time for me to come up with a board graphic. I just saw this special about elephants and it just talked about how you know this beautiful peaceful creature, this largest land mammal was endangered. It was being poached for its tusks. I didn’t understand how that could happen and so initially the elephant was on my skateboard… for me it was a reminder of how beautiful and of how ugly the world can be at the same time. And I guess that was the idea then and I think through the years it just came to symbolise something more to me. And now with the board company I think it’s you know this idea of ... well I don’t know if it’s for me to say…

Can I say, I see it as strength, you know “stand strong”…

Yeah it’s about that and it’s about enduring. I mean you know I think there’s a lot there. I think there’s a lot of story there but you know I think it’s open to interpretation. I don’t know if it’s for me to really (say)… I have my own ideas but they might sound a little silly actually spoken you know…

Mike Vallely: Tumblr // Elephant Brand Skateboards

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

R.A.I.G. - The Re-Stoned, Without God, El Hijo de la Aurora, Vespero

It seems I should try to get through my pile of things to review at a more speedy pace and in an orderly fashion. Instead I tend to put everything on top of one another like a rubbish bin in a work lunch room. Everyone just keeps gently placing rubbish on top turning it into a giant Christmas tree of filth until one bit falls and then that person has to empty it. Unlike that situation I don't empty my reviews pile, I just seem to grab the one that falls on the floor which tends to always be the latest. I made the grown up decision to pick everything up, re-sort it and put it all back nicely organised. Aren't you proud of me! You couldn't give a shit, I see... and well fair enough I guess!

Which brings me to why I didn't review these CD's earlier? I remember getting the parcel and cranking them for a while and then they managed to somehow secure themselves at the bottom of said pile waiting to get out in the world reviewed and be set free. I have now revisited these tunes and I'm rather stoked to be listening to them again....

"R.A.I.G. or 'Russian Association of Independent Genres' is an independent international record label based in Moscow since 2002. It is created by musicians and for musicians, operates on behalf of the member-artists and has complete control over the releases."

R.A.I.G.'s aim is to release music that otherwise usually wouldn't get a chance and believe in creating a complete experience including amazing artwork. They put the profits back into the label and by doing this increase the number of bands released.

This is an awesome association and they have some great bands on their roster. They not so recently sent me three CD's to review:

The Re-Stoned - Revealed Gravitation
(Moscow, Russia - 2010)

I have to say I’ve been lucky enough to be listening to some kick arse music of late. As soon as I put this CD on this was up there as one of them.

I can just see Ozzy and Iommi out in the alleyway next to the club, smoking a few jays before The Re-Stoned hit the stage. Blown out and cruisily headbanging down the front from the first strum.

Just straight up 70’s riffage and psychedelic rock. Plug it in, turn it up and get fully blown out!

The Re-Stoned are an instrumental three-piece, except for the odd Russian spoken samples and band growls… it’s tripped out, riffed up rock at it’s best. There’s probably room for another guitar, but I really dig that there isn’t. Like some of their 70’s counterparts, there’s space amongst the sound. Just enough distortion to kick arse but not too much to drown anything out. You can hear every snare hit, symbol crash and bass line. They get such an awesome groove going, meandering through hard rock, stoner, doom and psychedelic genres to bring you Revealed Gravitation.

It’s not a new style or anything that different to what you may have heard before but it's so well put together that you just can’t wait to hear what’s coming up next. Head swaying groove going from beginning to end. Such a smooth sound and awesome vibe!

Without God - Lambs To The Slaughter
(Moscow, Russia - 2011)

As you would imagine from the bands name and title of the CD this is from the heavier side of town. Sludged out stoner, the album opens with a laid back track The Rot. 7 mins and 58 seconds of thick and crusty groove. I really dig the level of fuzz and the string taps on the pickups in this song, it gives a unique feel to the riff.

When you listen to this, actually also to other bands from R.A.I.G.'s catalogue, it blows you away how awesome they all are and until semi recently for me, completely unheard of. This album is still available through the site for only $11! Insane!

Like The Re-Stoned, you can hear elements of Sabbath, which is evident in most heavy bands anyway though I also hear others that probably wouldn't stand out to most usually, like KISS and Monster Magnet. It may be that I am deliriously tired and sick right now, but I can hear it in the song writing style.

This band features an great set of muso's all holding their own. During Space Weed the drumming really grabbed my attention, especially when hitting the bell of the cymbal and such an awesome solo.

They wander with ease through the sludgier and stoner sounds as well as jumping head first into the chaos of some 80's inspired thrash and speed metal grooves. I can't pick a stand out track but Homeless has all these elements and more. A great example of kick arse song writing and the importance, for me anyway, of a killer groove in heavier songs.

 I think if I continue on I will tell you how awesome every track is... Crossroads / Eat The Shit has the most amazing and haunting build into the song... seriously, just fuckin buy it!

El Hijo de la Aurora - Wicca
(Lima, Peru - 2011)

"And now if you dare, look into the hypnotic eyes!"

Such a perfect intro to what is El Hijo de la Aurora. The first track starts out trippy but it's actually quite a spacious and heavy rockin number. They've hit the nail on the head with their description on Facebook... "Experimental / 70's Doom". I have no idea what's being sung and it could be something horrendous that my neighbour did to a goat but it is actually pretty cool to only have the music to focus on. The lack of English allows the vocal to become another instrument.

There seems to be a dark element in all these releases. Wicca really seems to draw upon this, clearly with it's name, but also the raw and emotional style of playing and Spanish vocal delivery summons up something tribal from the depths of one's self. You can't help but feel you are aiding in someone's spiritual awakening at an alter made of Marshall stacks and covered in blood. Some people may not dig this description and even though I don't bow down to Satan and sacrifice goats, if you don't like it then you're on the wrong blog anyway... this I think is my favourite release of the three.

El Hijo de la Aurora really do take you on an emotional and visual ride. I'd love to see them live! I imagine not really being able to see through the smoke machine's fog rolling across the moors and back lit silhouettes throwing devil horns with each power chord.... and that's what any sort of metal is all about!!!

I would also strongly suggest that you check out Russian outfit Vespero. Their latest release is beyond fuckin amazing! Released in April, the sound and the effort that they've put into the packaging is incredible!

Taken from the R.A.I.G. site:
"The 4th VESPERO's official album, "Subkraut: U-Boats Willkommen Hier" is a conceptual framework for six instrumental kraut-rock songs which are inspired by Russian Futurism of the early 20th century, German musical underground of the 70's, modern American fiction writers, as well as mysteries of the Great Ocean still not completely explained by mankind."

This release is limited to 500 units with only 50 of them being released as pictured to the left. An amazingly handcrafted "Seebar" edition that "In addition to the disc and navigation map of a basic edition, it contains a full color oversized booklet and postcards, special set of vintage photographs, hand-crafted replicas of U-Boat pennant, crew member dog-tag and cuff-title."

All the above releases are available through R.A.I.G.
Take some time and check out all the bands in the catalogue.

R.A.I.G.: Site // Facebook
The Re-Stoned: Site // Facebook
Without God: Site // Facebook
El Hijo de la Aurora: Site // Facebook
Vespero: Site // Facebook



MAMMOTH MAMMOTH are set to release Volume III, HELL'S LIKELY! Officially released June 1 at a gig at Melbourne's Cherry Bar with Los Amigos and The Fog.

I managed to get my hands on the CD release last night and I have to say that this album packs more punch than a Frazier vs Ali fight!

The LP will be available on the night if there are any left as the pre-orders are going nuts! SO GET IN QUICK!!!

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH Pre-order available NOW.
Facebook Event for the Cherry Launch!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Why would you run off and join the circus when you can join the PONCHO ARMY!

I have come across this little gem by Wollongong based graphic designer, Trina Collins, who runs Poncho Army.

Trina designs for a range of mediums in a number of styles, including stencil art, visual art, posters & album layouts, illustration, web design, branding & logos and loads more.

As the Poncho Army Facebook page states the inspiration comes from:
'...the terra firma of post-punk and the guts of rock’n'roll tunes, music is the solid base for most of her art. "There is always usually a song in my head when I create a piece of work. If I didn’t have music I would most likely not be producing art… the 2 go hand-in-hand for me”.'

That sounds as sweet as this Shonen Knife print looks!

I was stoked to find it for a couple of reasons...
1. Shonen Knife
2. It looks awesome!
3. My wife loves babushka's.
4. Was stoked that after reading the date is from September 2010, there are still a few left! & for only $15 plus shipping! "Are you fucking mad?" Sometimes... but I didn't set the pricing! I have already placed an order and thought I would share this awesomeness with the rest of the world!

Limited edition of 75 with #1 - 36 signed and numbered. It measures 620mm x 490mm.
Who know's what numbers are left but get on it quick!

For more info on Poncho Army or ordering one of these little gems, check out the Facebook page!

oh GOD!!! Z-Man's latest vinyl release!!!

Vinyl hornbags and lovers of kick arse music get set for this sexy beast out Friday 18th May, 2012! Z-Man Records have done a beautiful thing for us all... releasing the complete studio recordings of Melbourne rock royalty GOD!

180gram thick as bricks vinyl for you audiophiles, this double gatefold LP will sell out quicker than John Farnham being offered another comeback tour!

"How the hell do I order it?" you ask...

Check out Z-Man Records: Site // Facebook
or Matty Whittle's eBay store...

To find out more about the band...
GOD: Facebook // Wikipedia

 The complete studio recordings, include My Pal, Rock Is Hell, For Lovers Only and 2 rare cover versions.

Headin' For The Id
Golly Wolly Golly Wolly Hoo Hoo Ha
Snake Charmer
Talkin' Rude On The Telephone
Blistered Mind
She's Hungry

Bone Dry
The Day They Buried Hemensley
Life's So Hard
Love You To Death

My Pal
A Man Without A Woman Is Like A Nun Without A Jackhammer
Rockin' Marky
Human Abbreviation
Magic Crayfus
Meat Cleaver Boy

Chockablock Rock 'n' Roll (Unabridged Version)
Rok Zombi
Worm Sweat
Tommy The Toilet
Real Cool Time (STOOGES)
Strutter (KISS)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I've found religion in Melbourne’s holy land; Saint Jude live at The Tote!

I have a wide and varied taste in music but to be honest when I hear bands being described as Alt or Garage Country it kind of creeps me out a little. It just makes me want to steer clear of them and not even try to give them a listen. I don't know why. Though I'm not overly a country music fan, or really a fan at all, I know that these genre's aren't the typical thigh slapping sheep sheering redneck kind of hay bale country but still, something in me shivers and I run away. So that said...

I had only heard a few songs online from Saint Jude but was hooked. Such a great vibe and for that to come through over the internet means that there is going to be something really special happening when you see the live machine in action.

I was psyched to go see Saint Jude's LP launch and thought I might check out a bit of the main support online too before heading off... I read on Rich Davies and the Devil's Union Facebook page that they describe themselves genre-wise as "Alt Country, Folk, Indie & Old Style Rocknroll"! Crap, what am I getting myself in for? I listened to 'Heavy Red' and changed my mind. Great song! This is going to be a pretty interesting night!

I wandered in to the Tote band room, I'd missed Eaten By Dogs but from those around heard they were pretty damn good. Saint Jude were there to launch their debut LP and it was sitting on the merch desk in all it's glory. Heavy matte card gatefold, three limited edition coloured vinyls of 300 including swirl.... it was like foreplay; standing there and holding her in my hands... come on, buy me you bastard and take me home!

The White Stripes were on to keep us entertained as Rich Davies and the Devil's Union set up... keyboard, fiddle, drums, guitar, bass, pedal steel... the stage was filling up and it was like watching her get dressed before seeing her strip right in front of my eyes.

They started with a violin pluck and some beautiful finger picking. For a moment I thought I was in Young Guns and hearing Blaze Of Glory done by the band that Jon Bon Jovi ripped his idea from. Now Mr Lawyer & Sons, I'm not saying that Jon Bon stole his idea, but clearly the Devil's Union were the real deal and you don't wanna be no card shark amongst this lot or they'll drag ya yella ass out into the alley and cut ya from ear to ear.

"Well ladies and fuckin gentlemen..." Rich Davies greets the room after the first. He's a man that looks like he's been to the bar a few too many times but he controls that guitar like a Madame keeps tight reign of her wenches... caresses her, let's her know he's proud and then slaps her across the face and makes her go back into the room for more!

Such a great band with such an amazing vibe. You could take any of them away from the rest of the band and listen to them alone and be impressed, when all together your brain just goes what the fuck is this and how do they write it? Superbly crafted songs dragged up from the depths of the soul and spewed forth upon the audience. There's a hint of twang, some dirty rock'n'roll, some sweet arse fiddle playing and loads of emotion.

As Rich seems to expel some personal demons and lead us down the righteous path of truth... "I don't believe in any Jesus, I don’t believe in kings...", like an arrow taking a shot at those not paying enough attention out flies a fiddle bow and lands on the floor*. The room was taken by the song but seemingly the Devil's Union didn't think quite enough and as if to heckle us at the end of the song out came a glass! Fuck, the Devil wants to take us down right now!!

Moments of thunder and fire bled through our veins as well as moments of only hearing the speakers hum.... the band stalled and the vocals tore the rooms collective soul from it's feet. The subtleties of pain could be heard echoing throughout the nearby streets as Rich sang alone, the instruments stopped and he bled out until dead...

"This happens to be a ballad but it's one of the greatest songs ever written so I feel so inclined..." introduced us to a cover of Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game'. It's hard enough to cover anyone else's songs when they're well known but especially a song so unique and loved. It was like Rich Davies and the Devil's Union originally penned this song too. It was breathtaking and left everyone frozen and tingling with emotion. The Tote echoed the's room heart break when it seemed the PA blew!

I had to leave for a moment and when I got back in there's Rich shirtless, sweaty and spent, staggering through the crowd up to the merch table at the back whilst still singing, grabbing some CD's and heading back through the packed crowd presumably handing out his release. Once back up on the stage he's down on his knees and leaning across the foldback speakers, his shirt hanging off the end of the fallen mic stand... vocally bleeding into the front row, writhing and living, heartbroken and loving... the band providing the soundtrack to tonight. What a fuckin awesome set!

The house music kicks back in and it just isn't happening for The Tote this evening... there seems to be sound issues constantly and this time the speakers are crackling like a bastard and the vinyl is skipping more than a playground in a school  yard.

Keeping with tonight's theme of trying to fit as many musicians in as tiny a space as possible, Saint Jude start filling the stage... Korg and another keyboard, drums, bass, cigar box-like guitar, and the sexiest Italia Modulo electric... guitar porn at its best!

This is who I really came for tonight, it was the night of their very soon to be illustrious launch, but how the hell do you top the last set? With style...

With a gospel style country like opener I was already finding it difficult thinking how I would describe their sound other than fuckin awesome! Keys like they've come from a southern hallelujah style church, some steady and slow bass and with some smooth as dirty guitar and vocals that Jack White could only dream of writing for himself in hell when seeking retribution.

It was getting harder to see in the room, though there was no smoke machine... it was from the dusty roads of back water Mississippi and you could feel the heat rising from Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil! It's the Tote Delta Blues!

Though it has to also be said that Saint Jude have a style all unto their own; sound, clothing, vibe. I'd only previously heard a few songs of theirs online, but they have this way of getting deep deep inside you, filling you with the emotion they're playing with and making the room move as one. Dancing united, punters had smiles from wall to wall and glasses were being downed as all cheered and loved and sang and even cried when it was in order. Sung with so much emotion from the bowels of the heart and amplified from the depth of the earth, I found myself staring in amazement at times at how truly stunning this was!

You also can't help but truly love a band where one of it's member's, singer / guitarist Brooke, has 'Deadwood' written the length of his guitar strap. I should've asked the story behind it but didn't. I like to think he's great great granddaddy used to be the fiddle player at Al Swearengen's Gem Theater; playing the soundtrack to the drinking, gambling and debauchery that happened in one of the wildest saloons in the territory!

Hang on... I sometimes get lost in my own thoughts and that's exactly where Saint Jude take you, off into another world. One second you feel the rhythms of almost tribal like drum beats vibrating up through the floorboards and the next taken to the First Church Of Springfeld with Reverend Lovejoy looking on disapprovingly as it sounds like Bart is sitting up behind the keys and about to break out into In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida!

The moons were certainly aligned for the night; great venue, full house, few drinks and some of Melbourne's finest blessing us and creating that perfect gig.

Rich Davies and the Devil's Union debut is out now through Gretson Records.

Saint Jude's debut LP is out now through Cobra Snake Necktie Records. Remember it's limited to 300 copies in 3 colours including a beautiful swirl.... so get in quick!

* No punters were harmed by fiddle bows during the process of this set.

Saint Jude: Site // Facebook
Rich Davies and the Devil's Union: Site // Facebook

Cobra Snake Necktie Records: Site // Facebook
Gretson Records: Site // Facebook