Sunday, July 31, 2011

Batswing Saloon - Harold and Maude

Brisbane in the late 80s in a musical sense didn't have a terrible lot going for it. Clusters of bands featuring musicians from the early 80s and before soldiered on, or left defeated by the mid part of the decade. Those who stuck around made some brilliant cassettes and fewer made (cassette) albums. And then there's vinyl.

You have to remember that in the post-punk landscape of Brisbane that aside from Xero, no one put out a 12" record; Go-Betweens and Saints not included in this argument. Likewise with the Riptides. I'm speaking about the ones who stayed here, stuck it out (as in the fact they didn't move to Sydney) and did the odd tour of the southern capitals. And who did it independently. Lust in the Dust came out in 1982. The iconic 4zzz compilation LP State of Emergence appeared four years later and the He Dark Age album, The Dog's Breakfast was four years after that! What you have in the middle of that are cassette albums. Small runs for an audience and one for 4ZZZ's music library.

Talk about torrid times.

And so a awful lot of boring bands dominated Brisbane music during the mid to late 1980s and many of them released 45s to remind us of how dire it all was. Some dove in and did 12" EPs (Ironing Music spring to mind) but when you look at a discography of Brisbane independent music from 1978 to 1990, there wasn't a lot of vinyl commitment going on and reasonably-priced CD pressing was still a way's away. There were more than two, but less than three dozen or so independently-released 45s between 1978 and 1982 and then the momentum suddenly went pffft!!!

So when you look at singles released between 1983 and 1988 and speaking of bands outside of the punk-stroke-hardcore realm, there's only a handful of truly listenable titles that came out locally.

Yes, there was Bent Records who released bands like the Lemon Fabs on wax but I'm speaking of quality independent music here. Note how I didn't include any 4IP or FM 104 compilation LPs a paragraph or so back.

So among the piles of terrible releases (and let's face it folks, there were a lot of them!), here's a good one, and Batswing Saloon's sole release Harold and Maude/Split Level World displays the treble-laden Brisbane of the 1980s at its primitive best.

Sydney might've had Matrimony, but Brisbane had Batswing Saloon. A little less post-punk, but making up for it with a lot more twee.

Batswing Saloon were probably (okay, certainly) the first all-girl Brisbane band to put out a single, though Zero undoubtedly hold the mantle of being the first all-girl post-punk band at some early point. This came out sometime in early 1989 or maybe even late 1988, almost three years after they formed. It was produced by Ian Wadley who was at that time playing in the Holy Ghosts and Small World Experience; and who by this time was already a veteran in Brisbane indie music terms.

Drummer Sue Holman also played in Cut, a band featuring guitarist Eugene Carchesio of the Holy Ghosts and Steven Grainger of Closest Thing (a trio with Eugene). No one went on to do anything else, except Michelle Bowden who played in another all-girl band in the early 90s - Gravelrash. The band's original singer Anne Dellar was in Die Neuen.

Harold and Maude is the opening track from disc 2 of 4ZZZ's 25th anniversary CD, Behind the Banana Curtain.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wondrous Fair - Wondrous Fair

Brisbane’s Wondrous Fair began around 1986 and had lasted up until 1995. In nine or so years they chalked up the following releases: the cassettes ‘Wondrous Fair’ (C60), ‘Tidy Town’ (C90) and ‘Live All Over the Shop’ (C60). They also self-released a CD in 1994 called ‘Cosmological Clock’.

They appeared on all three SPILL label compilations (1 on cassette, and 2 and 3 on CD) as well as the 1986 4ZZZ compilation LP ‘State of Emergence’.

They wore outlandish costumes.

Members of the band were formerly of Tangled Shoelaces, Gobble Gobble and Clag to name three. The story of Tangled Shoelaces and the rest of what I call the Class of 1982 is to be continued for the readers of SSS.

They made a selection of videos. Most of them are on YouTube. Some of their songs were played by Dragster after the band and beforehand by Tangled Shoelaces.

This cassette came out in 1987. As the notes in the 7” sleeve suggest, they were recorded live. The now surnamed line-up from their debut album is:

Deborah Cavallaro – marimba, keyboards.

Rodney McAllister – drums, guitar.

Martin Mackerras – bass, clarinet.

Richard Hagen – keyboards.

Jeanette Gilfedder – viola, keyboards.

Michael Bouwman – saxophone.

Stephen Mackerras – guitar

Deborah played in the Sump, the Fair Muses and Dragster (to quickly name three) – she’s currently in the Golden Circles. Rodney was the drummer in the Sump when Jeffrey Wegener or a drum machine wasn’t or weren't keeping a beat. Richard had a tapeloop-heavy project called Wank Engine and did a curious radio show on 4zzz in the 90s called Winky Wanky Woo. Jeanette’s in Italy now, and I think Stephen’s in Japan. Michael plays in Not Pictured. And I’m not sure what Martin’s doing at the moment but he played in Puppenspiel in the early 1990s.

Enjoy it here

- Donat

Friday, July 29, 2011

This Five Minutes - Swing Between The Flags

This Five Minutes were one of the greta Brisbane bands
from the first half of the 80's. They played around all the
major venues, made it onto some Classic Brisbane
compilation albums from the era. Their single How? B/W
Reaction Time made it to 81 on the ZzZ hot hundred
in 83. This is a 6 track Cassette that the wonderful
Paislie has digitalized and shared with us.

Thanks Palisie!

Track List
01 - Sometimes (The Night Time)
02 - Complications
03 - No-one Deserves To
04 - Changes
05 - Wonderworld Arcade
06 - Lou in Green


Tony Moore: vocals, guitar
Tom McKeon: vocals, bass, vocoder/synth
Greg Gilbert (aka "Des Johnson"): drums

Other members included:
Guy Petersen: guitar, vocals
Greg Wadley: bass
Ian Wadley: trumpet
Pat Ridgewell: organ
Martin Mackerras: sax

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Matt Williamson - Little Songs Two

Matt has sent us another beautiful album of his wonderful folk songs,
Check out this for some truly fantastic music,
His stories of Australia, the music that evokes the landscape.
I do hope you'll make it up to Brisbane one day to play,
I'm thinking Woodford!
My wife loves your music to, she told me tell tell you
Thanks Matt

Now over to Matt

G'day bob.this is a recent compilation of little songs including
some instrumentals we have been doing. We did a couple of
shows with Kerrianne Cox. Try and catch one of her shows
if you can, music with a story and a class act.
Best regards matt and shaking hands.
ps. keep up the great work and love of good music and meaning.

Track List
01. Spiritual
02. Sooner Or Later
03. Old Black Man
04. Reprise
06. The Sprinter
07. Bad Cousin To Your Own Brother
08. Cup Of Tea
09. Jimmies Theme
10. Radio Heaven
11. All Over The Moon
14. Loaded Man With A Gun
15. Same Town
16. Captured
17. Get Outta Here!!
19. Shackled
20. Anthem
22. Told You So

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Some Subsonic Barflies History

“No frills” from the now defunct Brisbane Telegraph

Music supplement in the Courier Mail.

An article from Juke in August 87

the press release from the band to promote the single

a letter from 3PBS in Melbourne to the band asking when would we
tour Melbourne which we never did. The furtherest destination from
Brisbane that we played at was Toowoomba and Coolum

Mark has sent me some more fascinating Brisbane music history,
this time concerning the band Subsonic Barflies.
Their single was covered here earlier and its great to be able
to find more first hand recollections on the net.

Thanks Mark!

You had a review on the Subsonic Barflies single
“Questions” a couple of months ago.
Here are some press clippings, letters from radio
stations etc. on the band as further info for your
Before I do that just a bit of background on the band:
Myself (guitar) and Peter Greene (drums) played in
an early to mid-80s hardcorish punk band called
Death of a Nun.
(Which recorded some demos that I will get to
you some time soon, but that is another story.)
At the time I was working for Telecom and met
Tim Carseldine (also worked for Telecom),
guitarist with Prince of Weasels, along with Col
who played bass.
(Prince of Weasels had a couple of tracks on the
excellent “At his Fuhrer’s request” LP compilation.)

Tim and I both loved the twin guitars of the Dolls,
Heartbreakers, Flaming Groovies etc.
rather than the American hard core direction that
Death of a Nun was going.
So we split both our bands to form the Subsonic
Barflies and brought in Dave Chamberlain who
previously played drums in the Vampire Lovers
and recorded the drums on their most famous
single Buzzsaw Popstar.

Soon we were getting lots of gigs as local headline
or supporting some great OZ acts like X and
Celibate Rifles and fantastic international acts like
Johnny Thunders and Flaming Groovies
(whom we all idolised).
Any way to cut a long story short the band broke up
over the usual suspects:
sex drugs and rock and roll.
So here are some obscure archives from when people
played rock and roll for fun, before it became
corporatized and commoditised and people saw it just
as a career move.
The first article “No frills” is from the now defunct
Brisbane Telegraph and came out only after a month or
2 of playing.
The 2nd was from the music supplement in the Courier Mail.
More clips to follow.


An ad from what is I presume is Time off for a gig at the Crystal club

Another from the Ipswich Advertiser, 16 June 1987

An article from one of the University papers

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Presidents 11 and Lovs e blur

A couple of articles that Mark Birsky did for Brisbane Time off.
Readers of the SSS blog will no doubt heard of these two Brissy
legends, Presidents 11 and Lovs e blur.
Fantastic stuff thanks Mark!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fad, a Brisbane Fanzine

Mark has sent me a Brisbane fanzine from 1978 to
share, a true bit of Brisbane music history.
In the true spirit of do it yourself punk style
this is a cut and paste, photocopy fanzine.
It was a popular way of supporting the music
scene in many places, I have seen a few examples
from the English punk scene over the years.
Some great stuff in this fanzine!
Click on any pic to enlarge.

Over to Mark,
Thanks heaps Mark

Here is a Brisbane fanzine called Fad.
I would say that it was early to mid-78 as it states
that the Numbers and Go Betweens are soon to release
their singles.
You can see from page 2 that it was produced by Mark Overett,
who I presume is now owner of New Holland Pictures .