(Various Australian Artists 1984-86)
In the aftermath of a recent posting of Adelaide bands from the 80's, here is another compilation of Aussie bands released on Method Records, this time from Sydney. The last in a series called 'Sound Of Sydney', Vol 3 showcases some of the well known and not so well known bands that played the Sydney pub circuit in the early 80's. Names such as Paul Kelly, The Rockmelons and X are familiar to many Aussie rock enthusiasts today while others on this compilation faded into oblivion as quickly as they appeared.
One regret I have with this album (which I picked up from a garage sale) is the missing bonus single that came with the album (see sticker on front cover) and there is no indication as to which band supplied the Mystery Single.
Appendum: Since making this post , I have learn't that the Mystery Single varied from album to album, and consisted of singles released by Method Records at that time, that were probably taken from surplus stock
The range of musical styles on this compilation ranges from new wave, punk, surf-pop to ska. I have managed to source some info on each band but struggled to locate pictures for each. Some photos were taken from the inner sleeve, and are of poor quality.
Songwriter singer Paul Kelly captures Australia in his songs the way Bruce Springsteen or Ray Davies of the Kinks have encapsulated their homelands, and he does it with the musical energy and diversity of Elvis Costello. Kelly was born in Adelaide in 1955. After school he wandered around Australian for a few years, working odd jobs, writing poetry, and thinking about a career as a short story writer. Somewhere along the line, already in his late teens, he picked up a guitar. Kelly made his public debut singing the Australian folk song "Streets of Forbes" to a Hobart audience in 1974, and two years later, he moved to Melbourne to join R&B pub band the High Rise Bombers. With a large lineup and three songwriters, the band's splintering was inevitable, Kelly forming his own group, Paul Kelly and the Dots.
Kelly immediately established himself as his peers' favorite songwriter. On nights off, Melbourne's musicians went to see him. He also had a big fan at Mushroom Records. One of the company's PR people locked herself in a room, refusing to come out until Mushroom signed Paul Kelly & the Dots. The result was two roots rock albums, Talk and Manila, that Kelly himself was never completely happy with, for he was a perfectionist. By late 1984, Kelly had broken up the Dots and moved to Sydney, where he recorded a defining solo album called 'Post'. The featured single on this compilation "From St.Kilda to Kings Cross" first appeared on the LP.
Without a record contract and no real idea how the album was going to be released, Post was recorded over two weeks on a shoestring budget, delivering the essence of Paul Kelly in a loosely structured song cycle signposting Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney place names the way Springsteen speaks of New Jersey. On the strength of that album, Mushroom picked up Kelly's contract again, and the singer formed a new group, Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls (a reference to Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side").
In September 1986, Kelly's songwriting skills spilled over four sides of the 14-song double album Gossip. Recorded in just a month, the classic Australian rock album attained gold sales and produced the hit singles "Darling It Hurts" and "Before Too Long." The album included three re-recorded songs from Post. Gossip was also the record that introduced Kelly to American audiences when it was released by A&M Records in July 1987, edited down to a 15-song single album. In the meantime, the group returned to the studio to record a collection of 14 new Kelly originals for its second Australian album, Under the Sun. To avoid misunderstandings, the group changed its name to Paul Kelly & the Messengers with the release of July 1989's 'So Much Water, So Close to Home' album. The new album was produced by Scott Litt of R.E.M. notoriety and its songs were colored by American influences and experiences. After one more album, Comedy, Kelly decided the group had gone as far as it could, and to avoid the risk of repeating themselves, he dissolved the Messengers with a farewell tour.
Band members were: Madeline Chase (Vocals), Matthew Myerscough (Guitar and vocals), Stuart Cook (Drums), David Seeney (Guitar, harmonica), Cameron Bennell (Bass) and Cameron Wright (Keyboards)
Formed in 1981, Australia's Skolars started life as a ska band but soon evolved into a more broadly-based guitar-pop outfit. They played and recorded throughout the 1980's & released a string of singles, along with their 1986 mini-album 'Next to the Oyster'
Madeline Chase was their lead singer, they toured extensively throughout Australia and played in the inner city of Sydney’s most established venues, they were supported by radio airplay and were regular features on the independent charts, receiving promising reviews from Sounds U.K. and Rolling Stone magazines, described as power–pop the band moved from ballads to more up beat dance songs that were melodic and catchy.
The following extract was taken from a newspaper article by Mark Carey, entitled 'Skolars - Pearls By Chance' (thanks to Skolars Facebook page)
1986 has been a good year for the Skolars - probably their best. After the single "No Room For Happiness" and their contribution to this compilation and another called 'On The waterfront', they have released their five-track mini-album on the waterfront label, making it their third release for the year.
Next To The Oyster' combines the gentle, melodic pop which the Skolars have refined over the years with a confidence and resonance under-achieved on previous efforts. It may be that more than anything, it is for want of ambition that recognition has escaped them in the past.
"I think we've always had the ambition", counters guitarist and songwriter Matthew Myerscough. "Now it's more the application and the organisation, having good management and benefiting from our experiences over the past few years".
The past five years, in fact - during which the Skolars have worn off their initial status as inner-city ska favourites, undergone breakup and reformation, more personal changes, too many gigs to remember and a handful of Indie singles, later to emerge this year as one of the city's brightest pop hopes.......
.......Undoubtedly, "No Room To Happiness" - that haunting tale of domestic violence released earlier this year on Method (records) - was a step in the right direction. And so unusual for a band to write a 'political' song that doesn't simply mouth the predictable cliches of Reagan, Russia and impending destruction, when 'home is where the heartache is'. "It's funny you should say that", say Matthew. "It shouldn't be unusual. Basically the music came first and it had a country feel, so I felt it needed lyrics that matched. If you listen to Tommy Wynette and people like that, that's what they sing about." "Broken homes, broken hearts", adds Madaleine......
The band is still active today with all original band members (see YouTube clip)
The Double O's
The Double O's (Darlings of the Northern Beaches) band members were:
Louise Beckett (vocals), Ian Harding (lead guitar), Hayden Horne (rhythm guitar), Dave Stoneman (bass), Ronnie Welsh (drums) later, replaced by Scott McRae, Meg Brainsky (keyboards)
Lead singer of the Double O's, Louise Beckett, has sung and toured professionally with cover bands, original bands and duos, in a wide range of musical styles. She has performed in, and choreographed, corporate cabaret and theatre restaurant shows, and written and recorded corporate jingles as well as her own songs.
Louise started singing at family functions at a very young age when her father, a singer and jazz musician, would drag her up to entertain the extended family. Louise studied jazz and
classical dancing and then in her teenage years, began learning to play the guitar and would spend her time writing poetry and song lyrics.
At 19, Louise started singing in her first band, “The Double O’s”, playing mostly original “surf rock and reggae” style music. The Double O’s developed a huge following around Sydney’s northern beaches and toured regularly up and down the eastern seaboard of NSW and QLD.
The Double O’s released one E.P and two singles.
The most notable “We Can Overcome”, was selected to be on this compilation "Sound of Sydney Volume 3” alongside artists such as Paul Kelly, The Rockmelons and The Skolars.
Following the break up of the Double O’s, half of the band went on to form “The Gold Tops”, a 60’s and R'n'B cover band. The Gold Tops played extensively throughout Sydney’s alternate / cult venues of the time.
The following is an extract by the Double O's taken from the linear notes on this compilation album
The DOUBLE O's are one of Sydney's underground bands who only show their heads in town in between touring the east coast of Australia.
This song is one of our more down to earth compositions and was written by Louise and Ian and isn't cut to change the world but maybe make people think more.
Because I liked the track "We Can Overcome", I have chosen to include their earlier single "He's Not There / Standover " as the extra Mystery Single for this post. Sounding a little like the B52's, the Double O's sing catchy '60s-inflected pop with overtones of fun, carefree surf-music, with the era's prevalent garage influences and an essence of Ska.
Thanks to Bristolboy at My Lifes a Jigsaw for this early single
Happy Hate Me Nots
Band members were: Paul Berwick (Guitar, Vocals), Peter Lennon (bass), Tim McKay (guitar), Mark Nicholson (Drums)
The Happy Hate Me Nots emerged from the Sydney indie garage punk scene in the mid 1980's.
Much loved stalwarts of the late 80s, Sydney pub scene, at one point it seemed that the Happy Hate Me Nots were destined for success outside Australia. Graduating from Sydney’s legendary Waterfront Records, the band signed a deal with San Francisco’s Rough Trade Records and had their first album, “Out” released in the US. Unfortunately things didn’t work out. They released a final EP and essentially ceased activity until late 2006 when the band reformed for a sold out show at Sydney’s Annandale Hotel. Coinciding with this was the release of an anthology, The Good That’s Been Done. With a sound that borrowed from the power pop scene, the band was also inspired by Bob Marley and the heavier aspects of Australian rock and roll.
The roots of the Happy Hate Me Nots lie in Positive Hatred, a Civic Hotel era Sydney punk band, who performed their Clash and Stiff Little Fingers inspired originals to a bunch of third generation punks looking for kicks. Following the demise of that band, Paul Berwick and Positive Hatred drummer Neil Toddie, joined up with pals Peter Lennon (bass) and Tim McKay (guitar) in 1983, to form hi-energy pop band the Happy Hate Me Nots. Toddie would later leave and be replaced by future Toys Went Beserk drummer Mark Nicholson. Nicholson and Lennon would both depart in 1986, replaced by Mick Searson (drums) and Christian Houllemare, formerly bassist for French band Bad Brains - no, not the US crossover hardcore-reggae group - not long after he had relocated to Australia.
Drawing influence from The Jam, The Sound, The Clash and a variety of other mod, punk and post-punk influences, the Happy Hate Me Nots would then produce a succession of passionate power pop recordings including the classics Salt Sour & Brighton, Don't Move Too Far and Praise For Fortune, all released on the burgeoning Waterfront record label, home to contemporaries The Eastern Dark, Ups & Downs, Hard-Ons and Ratcat.
The band's only full-length album 'Out' was released in August 1988 and the Happy Hate Me Nots found their first (and only) American release via influential independent label Rough Trade around the same time. A restructure within that label at their San Francisco base, however, reduced the likelihood of a planned US tour, which unfortunately slowed the band's momentum. A final single "I Could See It Coming" and then mini-album 'A Place to Live' would follow in 1991, before what can only be called a premature retirement took place.
The Hate Me Nots had shaped their sound in the mid 80's period when a new rock beast was growing worldwide but had yet to become embraced by a more mainstream audience. The resulting 'Indie Crossover' which helped the success of bands like The Hummingbirds, Ratcat and You Am I, had not yet occurred, but the The Hate Me Nots were part of the Australian contribution to that magic moment. We can now pay respect to these innovators by giving them a presence in today's market.
Band members: Ian Rilen (Bass), Steve Lucas (Guitar, Vocals), Cathy Green (Drums)
X was an Australian punk rock band, formed in Sydney in 1977 and led by the late Ian Rilen. The band has split and reformed several times. Although X has had several members, its sound has been defined by two distinctive elements: Rilen's basslines and Steve Lucas's guitar. Drummer Cathy Green has also been a frequent member of the band since 1984.
Rilen was also a founding member of bluesy hard rockers Rose Tattoo. During X's first hiatus (1980–83), he formed the post punk outfit Sardine v, with his then wife, Stephanie Rilen. As of 2004, Rilen had settled on a fairly stable line up of his current project, Ian Rilen and the Love Addicts, who included Cathy Green on bass. The band have also issued a CD, "Passion Boots & Bruises."
Hailing from Sydney, Australia, punk rockers X labored through a quintessential punk existence; banned from playing venues, harassed by the police, and suffering through several lineup changes -- including the untimely death of guitarist Ian Krahe -- they eventually achieved legendary status after years of performing. Formed by bassist Ian Rilen, who had left Rose Tattoo in 1977, X initially started life as Evil Rumours. Composed of vocalist Steve Lucas, guitarist Ian Krahe, and drummers Steve Cafiero and Eddie Fisher, they began playing Sydney punk rock hangouts before the unfortunate death of Krahe, who died in his sleep in May 1978. Only three demo tracks survive with Krahe's work which were later released on the 1985 Aberrant punk compilation Why March When You Can Riot? Geoff Holmes took up Krahe's duties only to be replaced by Peter Coutanche in early 1979. He left soon after, and the band, now a three-piece, released the single "I Don't Wanna Go Out" before their raw and aggressive debut "X-Aspirations" album in 1980. Coutanche rejoined the band, but by mid-1980, X had called it quits.
They reformed in mid-1983 with Rilen, Lucas, and Cafiero and released a cover of John Lennon's "Mother" in November 1984 before relocating to Melbourne where Cathy Green replaced Cafiero. In early 1985, X released their second album, 'At Home With You', a more polished affair than their first apocalyptic effort. The next five years saw the band's live reputation grow and they were often joined on stage by bluesman Chris Wilson. Their third single, a cover of Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby," was released in July 1987. Their third album, And More (1989), was dedicated to Steve Cafiero, who had died in December 1988.
The group disbanded for a second time, but the X legend would not die and U.S. label Amphetamine Reptile released X-Aspirations to the North American market in 1993, spurring Rilen and Lucas to revive X with new drummer Stefan Berg. X continued playing on an irregular basis with Cathy Green and supported the Damned during their Australian tour in April 1997.
The featured track "All Over Now" comes from their 2nd album 'At Home With You' which was released in 1985. X never really went away and were last sighted in 1999, doing a support to Rose Tattoo in Sydney followed by a brief run of Melbourne dates, and then returning back to Sydney in 2010 (see poster above).
By the way, if you are wondering, X-means never having to say goodbye. Aztec Records have released some of their earlier live material on the CD "X-Purts. The 1977 Recordings"
The Amazing Woolloomooloosers
Band members were Rockin Peter Ward (Vocals), Missy Chic (Vocals), Bruce Belmondo (Guitar), Dave Bong (Drums), Keith Claringbold III (Bass), Leslie Hammond (Keyboards) and Michael Shye (Guitar).
During the early 80's The Amazing Woolloomooloosers became one of the more popular bands working the inner city circuit in Sydney. Basically a sixties influenced covers band with the ability to do more original material, the Woolies stood out partly because they included more than a few Australian classics in their repertoire and they knew that Elvis was the one and only King. and sowed the required respect. "You Stole My Love" came from four demos the band recorded at Trackdown Studios in October, 1985.
This band’s only single released in 1986 was “Come On Down To My Boat” which was a cover of the 1967 hit by Every Mother’s Son. The band reformed in 1989 to do a few shows.
For their one and only single "Come On Down To My Boat", see OzzieMusicman
Band members were: Yukiko Davis (Vocals), Paul Howarth (Bass), Glen Beaton (Drums), Wayne Daniels (Guitar, Vocals), Pat Maloney (Keyboards)
Shikira developed out of a band from Southern Sydney, Triple Entente and Camras en Paris. Triple Entente released a 4 track E.P 'Whispers To The World' in 1984 and it was one of the best independent releases of that year. Track titles were "Images For Real", "Lolita", "Just A Whisper" and "Girl in the Chapel." Shikira was a five-piece band and had a modern pop-funk sound. Wayne Daniels, the band's songwriter was one of Sydney's most underrated songwriters. "Through The Fire" / " "Let You Go" was released as a single by Method Records in March, 1986
Band members were: Bryon Jones (keyboards), Sandi Chick (Vocals), John Kenny (Vocals), Peter Blakely (Vocals), Ray Medhurst (Keyboards), Geoffrey Stapleton (keyboards, Guitar), Vincent Dale (keyboards), Jonathon Jones (Keyboards), Stephen Allkins (Bass), Peter Kennard (Guitar, Percussion).
Rockmelons, often referred to as the Rockies, are an Australian Pop/Dance/R&B/Soul group formed in 1983 in Sydney. They are based around Bryon Jones, his brother Jonathon Jones and Raymond Medhurst.
They had two Top Five hit singles in the early 1990s with "Ain't No Sunshine" and "That Word (L.O.V.E.)", both sung by Deni Hines who joined late in the piece.
If there's any justice in the music world, some of it must lie in the runaway success enjoyed this year by Sydney's most credible pop-funk band, The Rockmelons.
After continually being told they were "too black" to ever be popular in Australia, their debut LP 'Tales of the City', not only became the number one LP in Sydney, but achieved the position within the first week of release. In six weeks, the record had "gone gold". Sales stand at around the 40,000 mark.
Heavily influenced by crack US funk outfits like The Gap Band (whose Burn Rubber On Me bassline they admit stealing for the track Money Talks) and Zapp, the album, on the quasi-independent Truetone label, showcases the by-now familiar Rockmelons brand of spring-heeled dancefloor pop. And despite a certain sameness in parts, it stands up well against its nearest peer - an English white soul generally turned predictable and insipid.
Heavily featured is the band's most obvious trademark, the vocoder, the electronic voice distorter most commonly associated with one of their heroes, Zapp's Roger Troutman, though they say they started using the device in their early days simply because none of them could sing.
Since the days when they were just a party band, some of the country's finest singers have been associated with them: Sandi Chick, on their debut single, "Time Out (For Serious Fun)" - featured here, Peter Blakeley, now signed to Capitol Records in the US, and current lead singer John Kenny. Not to mention Wendy Matthews, one of their two part-time female singers who sings the lead on the album's Curtis Mayfield composition, Jump.
Surprisingly, the only Australian band they claim any affinity with is The Reels - "they have a bizarreness, a genuinely fresh approach to what they do,"said Jones. Nevertheless, the Rockmelons' success, like that of Big Pig, can be seen as part of a shift in consciousness in local audiences in recent years, a challenge to the old music industry shibboleth (still widely clung to) about Australians only liking guitar-based rock'n'roll.
The Rockmelons' commercial breakthrough came with their version of the Al Green song Rhymes, which, though stonewalled by radio in the early stages, entered the singles charts on the back of club and TV play.
Band Members were Prue Rheuben (Vocal), Tracey Allen (Keyboards, Vocals), Anthony Perrott (Guitar), Glen Pattison (Drums), Fabian Byrne (Bass)
Sydney Synth Pop band initially but moved to a more traditional guitar based sound.
After releasing their first single in 1984 "All Of This Is New" their drummer left just when live work and promotion was producing results. Some five months and three drummers later a new drummer settled in. During this break they recorded the featured single "If You Believe In Love" at Paradise Studios with David Price. Straight after this and probably due to too many late night sessions, two members contracted glandular fever which put the whole band on hold for two more months. At the end of this period the band then discovered their booking agency had dropped them. However, Fiction Romance still continued on and finally released another single in 1988 called "Troubled World" and their debut album on Method records called 'Marching Orders', perhaps being a dig at their old booking agency!
When Fiction Romance finally called it a day, Prue Rheuben went on to sing with Lunar Sea Boatmen in the mid 1990’s. From there she went on to join the Forsberg Foundation who played around the pub circuit in Sydney up until recently, but now sings with an acoustic cover band called The Locals, with Jamie Forsberg and Ian Purdie who were also previous members of the Lunar Sea Boatmen.
Single Gun Theory
Single Gun Theory was an Australian band formed in 1986 and were made up of Jacqui Hunt (vocals), Pete Rivett-Carnac and Kath Power (samplers / keyboards). They had a typical early 80's synthesizer sound - synth sampling, drum machines and beautiful ethereal female vocals. The trio, originally based in Sydney, released their debut album 'Exorcise This Wasteland' in 1987 on the Canadian label Nettwerk Productions, and featured the single "Raise My Soul" (see cover below).
'Like Stars In My Hands' followed in 1991 and was inspired by Pete and Jacqui's travels through India, Kashmir, Turkey and south-east Asia. Critically acclaimed worldwide, the album achieved Top 40 success in Australia and became one of the top ten dance albums of 1992. The album established a strong and eclectic fan base, including musician David Byrne and Australian film director Peter Weir.
Single Gun Theory then composed the soundtrack to Kriv Stenders' award-winning documentary film Motherland. Their music also appeared in the feature films The Heartbreak Kid and Reckless Kelly; and they wrote the theme music for ABC-TV's national arts program Review and SBS-TV's Nomad. They contributed music to numerous other film and video projects and also remixed artists for Sony Music Australia and other established labels.
'Flow, River Of My Soul' followed in 1994, "Flow" won the band thousands of new fans around the world and earned ARIA nominations for best independent album and best dance album.
In 2000, the band completed the score for the Samantha Lang film, The Monkey's Mask, receiving an APRA nomination for best soundtrack album. Since then, Pete and Kath have both started families, and in 2002 Pete moved to Singapore with his wife and two young daughters. At present the band is not actively working together. Pete is involved in various projects unrelated to Single Gun Theory, including production and co-writing with other artists.
Band members were: Alex(ander) Macdonald (guitar, vocals), Glenn Blackley (bass), David Welch (keyboards) and Lance Muir (drums, vocals).
Formed out of Sydney's neo-psychadelic 'Surprise Surprise' in the mid 1980's in Sydney, The Surprise played 1960's British Invasion pop covers, as well as quirky originals in a Christian vein.
Formed in 1983, Surprise Surprise was a mod-pop-ska band and were sometimes referred to as 'The Surprise'.
The band released three 7" singles. "Sounds of Now" (1983), "Anguished Heart" (Apr 1985), and "Cried All My Tears" (Feb 1986). They also released a cassette-only album 'Welcome to the Snake Village' in 1985. The band's later members included Alexander MacDonald (vocals, guitar, spoons), David Welch (keyboards, sequencing, backing vocals), Allan Dowthwaite (drums, percussion, sequencing, backing vocals), Charlie Lee (bass, 1986-89), Mal Kiely (bass, sequencing, backing vocals, 1989-91), Lisa Parsons (vocals), Catherine Ryan (vocals).
Band members were: Mark Easton (Vocals, Guitar), Con Murphy (Bass), Tony Cardinal (drums), Jonathan Purcell (Guitar)
Soggy Porridge was formed in 1982, out of the ashes of punk bands The Kelpies and Suicide Squad. Soggy Porridge were at the forefront of the Australian post-punk movement. After recording a demo the first single "How can I tell you" was released after only a hand full of gigs, it was critically acclaimed and picked up major airplay on triple J. In 1983, "Slurp Track" was released a 5 track EP, the band was also included on triple J's live at the wireless! Guitarist Paul Spooner passed away and it took 8 months to find new guitarist Jonothan Purcell, which gave the band a new sound!
In 1984, a demo was recorded but never released! In 1985, "Call my name" was released but failed to make any impact, even though it was far superior to anything the band had done before, In 1986, "Pull it all down" was recorded but never released! the band split and Mark went on to form the Candy Harlots! All unreleased demos, singles and the complete live at the wireless sessions are to be released on a new CD called 'Broken Romance' on Plastic Donut records in Dec 2006.
.This post consists of FLAC and MP3 rip (320kps) taken from my vinyl copy and includes full album artwork (thanks to Bob at stripedsunlight.blogspot for his front cover scan, as my copy was torn). In fact, if you want to get hold of the first two volumes, you'll find them on Bob's blog Vol.1 - Vol.2). Select photos of all bands on this compilation are also included. I have also included two of the mystery bonus singles that came with this compilation - Double O's "He's Not There / Standover" and Tuesday Piranha's "Stop All You're Talking / Telephone Disease" (thanks to Dave Hulme for the later).
01 - From St.Kilda To Kings Cross (Paul Kelly)
02 - No Room For Happiness (The Skolars)
03 - We Can Overcome (The Double O's)
04 - What Did They Say (Happy Hate Me Nots)
05 - All Over Now (X)
06 - You Stole My Love (The Amazing Woolloomooloosers)
07 - Through The Fire (Shikira)
08 - Time Out For Serious Fun (The Rockmelons)
09 - If You Believe In Love (Fiction Romance)
10 - Raise My Soul (Single Gun Theory)
11 - Cried All My Tears (Surprise Surprise)
12 - Call My Name (Soggy Porridge)
13 - He's Not There (The Double O's)
14 - Standover (The Double O's)
15 - Stop All Your Talking, You're A Bore (Tuesday Piranha)
16 - Telephone Disease (Tuesday Piranha)
Sound Of Sydney MP3 Link (126Mb) New Link 02/09/2015
Sound Of Sydney FLACs (312Mb) New Link 20/010/2015