Saturday, 31 December 2011

Vulture Street Drum and Fife

In March 1993 I went to a show at Omniscient Gallery in Woolloongabba, a short lived art space opposite the legendary cricket oval.  It was in a damp cellar on a stuffy Brisbane summer night, a thick blanket of smoke hovering over the room, mixing with the odour of mould. It was suffocating. On stage were two guys calling themselves Two Poor Boys (The Invisible Empire in duo mode), one playing big blues chords while the other hammered away at a fuzz-boxed slide mandolin. I was an instant fan.

I'd just heard their first cassette, "An Unnatural Act", that had been lent to me by a new acquaintance, Ian Wadley. I'd been over to Ian's house in Highgate Hill the week before where he flatted with Pat Ridgewell, mastermind behind Small World Experience.  I remember pumpkins growing wild down the gully behind the house. Pat was cutting and pasting covers for the SWE 7' ep when I walked in. They grated beetroot and carrot onto toast with avocado for lunch. Strange the things you remember.

I walked out of the house with copies of three life changing sides under my arm: the SWE single, the DNE LP '47 Songs Humans Shouldn't Sing' and the aforementioned 'An Unnatural Act' cassette. Up until that point I'd lived in blissful ignorance of a true Brisbane underground. The music coming out of Port Chalmers had been the centre of my universe. It was a pivotal moment.

An Unnatural cassette cover
Simon Ellaby and David MacKinnon had recorded An Unnatural Act in 1990, drunkenly banging around David's one bedroom flat in a fog induced by excess consumption of 'super charged' port (cask port mixed alternatively with gin or brandy).  Third member Dina Bojic wisely gave the lads a wide berth as they overloaded the cassette player of David's trusty 3 in 1 stereo, four fuzzboxes in series doing the job nicely.  The results were a righteous racket, and quite unlike anything I'd heard before (or since).

At the time I mistook An Unnatural Act for a noise album, my misreading aided by the sonic limitations of my own playback device - a one-speaker bedside clock/cassette deck capable of making Mozart sound like Merzbow.  I somehow missed what seems so obvious now - that it was first and foremost a blues album. That said, let's be clear - it was some seriously weird sounding shit.  Those parts with mad laughter in them - yeah, that's real.   

The aforementioned DNE record (and later SWE's "Shelf Life"cd) were recorded at the house you see in the photo above on the corner of Vulture and Browning Streets in West End. So was the landmark third Invisible Empire album "Blondes Chew More Gum". The house got renovated about 10 years ago and these days is a solicitor's office. Back in the day it was a share house and practice space for several bands, including the Empire (later renamed The Lost Domain) and The Holy Ghosts.

From the Two Poor Boys cassette
By the time The Lost Domain were jamming at the Vulture St house, the trio had expanded into a glorious rockin' five piece with three drummers. Simon recounts clearing the pipes at Vulture St:

"I used to have a large white vinyl covered valve amp built by BJ amps out at Ipswich which he modelled on the old Fender Super amp used by Muddy Waters. BJ put in a volume boost foot switch which basically instantly quadrupled the volume. I remember playing my little acoustic mandolin with a bridge pick-up through 2 or 3 fuzz boxes in the ghost house room, feeling the dodgy old floorboards shake – there were holes in those boards which you could lose a small child down – then I’d hit the switch and I could feel the wind blow out from the amp speaker, then I’d have another drink."

The brethren also used to commune at Sheriff St, Spring Hill - not too far from the hallowed turf of Lang Park. Says brother Frank:

"Sheriff St backed onto The Windmill Fine Food Cafe – open 24 hours, all the food in the hot box at least that old too – we knew someone who knew someone who shared a house there, and off the side of that room was a large walk-in wardrobe, and into that space on a blistering Brisbane summer day we squeezed 3 guitarists, 3 drummers, and a 4 track and we recorded The New South instrumental track. 
Days later I went round to Dave’s to record the vocal overdub. He had the title as usual and I had the name of a girl, a vague idea and a six pack. Dave set everything up, and then went to take a leak, and when he came back I said I was ready and we cut the vocal in one take."

The Lost Domain - The New South by Kindlingrecords

The New South ended up on "Blondes Chew More Gum", lovingly assembled at the time by Shytone chief executive David Mackinnon, aka John Henry Calvinist, in his signature VHS box with inlaid cassette cases and booklets crammed with artwork, essays and mischievous false histories of the band. The Shytone cassettes were Dave's labour of love. I think he only made about 10 copies of each release - stamp numbered. Including the incredible double compilation cassette The Dead Set. Lordy, did they look and sound a treat.

Kindling House collection.
With the cassettes never really in existence, full marks go to the capital folks at Negative Guest List for their leap of faith in dropping "Blondes" onto two glorious slabs of wax enshrined in a deluxe gatefold adorned with gig flyers and a killer essay by Newcastle's favourite son, Jon Dale.

You can support a good cause and purchase a copy from NGL hereRumour has it that NGL are also going to give "An Unnatural Act" the reissue treatment in mid 2012. We loves them yes we do.

Ian Wadley's flyer for the same show.

Epilogue: A couple of years ago local swedish dub master Bo Stalhman (see Lingonberry Jam post) contacted me to say he had a bag of cassettes someone had given him that looked like old Lost Domain recordings. We arranged a lunch rendezvous and when he arrived Bo dropped an old airline bag on the table with about 70 cassettes in it.  Sure enough, it was every early recording the band had made - all there with Dave's neat pencil notes on each one. 

To my delight one of the first cassettes I pulled out was the Omniscient Gallery show from '93 - my introduction to 'the family'.  The cover below of "Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On" is from the show, and was included in the band's second cassette "Jeezly Fishcakes" in '92.  I've lost my copy of Jeezly, so have taken this version straight from the live cassette. As such it won't feature Dave's damaged "recorded in a pre-war tin shed" mastering that no doubt graced the Jeezly track. That is to say, it's not as good as Dave's version, but it's kinda closer to what I heard that night. I trust you enjoy.

The Lost Domain - Pillow by Kindlingrecords

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Logical Ascent



Images: Leighton Craig, Nov 2011

Saturday, 17 December 2011

In the Hour Before The World, Return to the Strangeness We Know

28 November 2011: double shot espresso + The Age of Electronicus + Yoko + Coopers Sparkling Ale + super sandwich + Franklins Lab jam + Bribie Island beach walk + the dogs (Spencer, Photon and Tara) + End of the World sunset + Fish and Chips + Spacemen 3 drive home = The Key to the Locked Gate of the Unattainable Presidency of Universal Space (aka a fine way to spend a day off work)

Primitive Motion - Return to the Strangeness We Know by Kindlingrecords

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Velocity Acts Alone

Primitive Motion's two-part email talk fest with Ray Cummings has been published online by Baltimore based web magazine Splice Today: "...something akin to ancient melodies of the future, the sonic equivalent of idiot savant cave etchings, a sound that feels distant and near all at once."

Read part one here and part two here.

There's also a lengthy Primitive Motion chin wag with Edmund Xavier in Issue 30 of everyone's new favourite cut and pastey Negative Guest List.

What else me peeps?  Here's a little clip of Primitive Motion playing at the Bridge Club on 7 December. Our farewell to the loaned euphonium. Filmed by Jon Adams, backstage visuals by Leif Gifford, dancing man Michael Zukicki.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

An Arc of a Great Circle

"A geodesic on a sphere is an arc of a great circle, a great circle being a circle on a sphere whose plane passes through the centre of the sphere."  - Buckminster Fuller

The Tropical Dome, Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, Brisbane, 28 Sept 2011. Photographs by Patrida Blake.

Monday, 10 October 2011


                                     Black Circle       Yellow Line       Green Square       There are no Colours
                                     of Your Eye        of Your Soul      of Your Mind        Like Yours


Lyric: Sandra Selig
Photograph: Geodesic Dome, Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha - Patrida Blake

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Light Must be Some Kind of Wise Cloth in Front of Your Eyes

Primitive Motion
Certain Materials 7' ep (Soft Abuse)
Edn of 300 with download code

"This duo is an offshoot of Brisbane's Deadnotes, and while they have some similarities to that outfit's stumbling gait, their approach is way diff. Electronics, male/female voices and echo-up-the-wazoo make me think of a certain strain of San Francisco post-punk aesthetic of the very early 1980s.  But the label's reference to the Door and The Window is accurate as well. Very diffuse, non-anti-hippy pop-weirdness. With flute! "
Byron Coley, The Wire

"Four wraithlike emanations emerge from down under, with Leighton Craig and Sandra Selig shunting disposable snippets of flayed cosmology around a well-ventilated garrison. A Straight Line hotfoots it along a decomposed drum machine rumba before stumbling over the disembodied sales spiel of countless perfume counter assassins. Elsewhere, Your Eyes revels in its solemn after-the- apocalypse vibe, a high church manoeuvre remonstrating with a severe case of the doldrums."
Spencer Grady, Record Collector

Certain Materials (includes postage)

Blog title courtesy Sandra
Diffract Being!

Monday, 12 September 2011

The Point is No Point

The Ledge! and Sandy Selig at Deadshits Festival, Nov 2010
Over the past two years The Deadnotes + The Legend! have recorded well in excess of 100 songs. "Why?", you might reasonably ask of this seemingly pointless exercise. Good question. No answer.

While it's taken us too long to whittle the first notch in the discography post, the timber was finally splintered a few months ago with an appearance on the '78 Ltd compilation cd released on Thick Syrup Records from Little Rock, Arkansas.  

And indeed we are honoured to share disc space with some of our faves - Jad Fair, Mike Watt, Julie Cafritz et al. Ye Gods! Without whom...

Doin it for the young folks at I Used to Skate Once, 24 June 2010
Our contribution,"Real Bad Man", has been a mainstay of live sets over the past year or so.  Here is a live version of said song (not the comp. track) recorded at The Zoo in March 2011 when we supported The (still righteously boss) Clean. 

If you were up the road that night at the Best Coast show, the folly of your probable youth is excused, and forgiveness flows to you good friend. That said, probs for the best if you kindly exit this blog now.

The Deadnotes + The Legend! - Real Bad Man (live) by Kindlingrecords

While I'm on a roll, plans are still afoot for the Room is Nowhere 7' ep on Soft Abuse.

This 5 track single is to my mind amongst the best material we've recorded. Hells bells, we even overdubbed a couple of parts. Sell outs! Jad Fair cover art, mindless expletives, double sax attack - well, could you ask for more in seven inches of punk rock?  And if you did, what would be the point? I put it to you once again - there is no point.

Will keep you posted on release date.

The Deadnotes +The Legend! - The Point is No Point by Kindlingrecords

w/ Burrundi Cloud CEO, Edmund Xavier
Woa! Back again. Just like the carton of Coopers Sparkling Ale I'm currently investigating, this post knows no end.

Here is a gratuitous shot of a Deadnote with a Teenage Panzerkorps member only moments before the ceremonial destruction of the last known copies of The Legend!'s legendary 80s eps - lest they one day fall into the hands of an undeserving Nirvana fan.

Have another track. Unrelated to the aforementioned eps. What would be the point in that?

  The Deadnotes + The Legend! - Spectacles by Kindlingrecords

A real bad man at the Troubadour, 21 Oct 2009
And to round things out, here's a completely meaningless list of The Deadnotes + The Legend! shows:

28 Aug 2009 - Step Inn w/ Kitchens Floor, Alps of NSW, Whyte Lightning
30 Aug 2009 - Disembraining Machine w/ Yout Dem, Craft Bandits, Cured Pink
2 Oct 2009 - Step Inn w/ Vivian Girls, Novia   Scotia, Feathers
21 Oct 2009 - Troubadour w/ Michael Beach, Kitchens Floor, Blank Realm
5 Nov 2009 - IMA - Orange Trumpet launch

The figure on the left has never been seen
before or since carrying band gear. The
figure on the right is a ghost. 
7 Nov 2009 - Cubby Hole w/ The Stabs, Witch Hats, Loomer
21 Feb 2010 - Disembraining Machine w/ Robert Curgenven, Yout Dem, Tom Hall
20 March 2010 - Cubby Hole w/ Kitchens Floor, The Thin Kids
24 April 2010 - Troubadour w/ The Bats, Greg Brady and The Anchors
24 June 2010 - The Zoo w/ Songs, Per Purpose, Community
3 Sept 2010 - Burst City w/ Feathers, Slug Guts, Blank Realm, Fabulous Diamonds
5 Nov 2010 - Woodlands w/ Blank Realm, Bitch Prefect, Teen Ax, Cured Pink
10 March 2011 - The Zoo w/ The Clean, Blank Realm

To be continued...

Thank you and goodnight.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Neanderthal Pulsewave

Primitive Motion's first album out now on beautiful pro-dubbed/printed cassette (with download) from our Minneapolis cousin, Soft Abuse. Numbered edition of 100. Overseas maties order cassette here, Australian and Kiwi family push this button:

Cassette SOLD OUT

"Primitive Motion, a.k.a. caveman rumba a.k.a. neanderthal pulsewave... By Arc or Chord is crude music & virtuoso magic, lazy mood pieces with stratospheric trajectory. I'm grasping at scratchy Thick Pigeon singles  & lost Here & Now sessions for some kind of reference point, but it's already all there in the band name. Male & female vocals careen haphazardly over cyclopean beats, drenched casio & emotive euphonium at the fertile intersection of post-punk, kraut-communal & art-school stoned." - Glenn Donaldson.

Poem Mask: Different Bird, Same Tree; and World Behind the Great Mirror

Also available on Kindling cdr in a numbered edition of 47 - different artwork to the cassette, same tracks. Different bird, same tree. Lovingly printed on 300gsm watercolour card, with a signed/numbered Sandra Selig cut-poem insert (1 of the 2 opposite).  You need.
Small cache just unearthed! Last few copies:

Includes Postage


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Kindling Archives Vol. 2 - Die Tote Notizen















Public interest posting of lost band from the overlooked downtown Wooloongabba warehouse scene. Circa unknown. DTN joined dots from the striped sunlight sound to the lower east side (of Brisbane). Track taken from the not-really-existent "Skeleton" cassette

Die Toten Zeichen - Skeleton by Kindlingrecords

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Solar Dynamics Observatory

 Solar jams


The Deadnotes

12 July 2011

    Catch Me I'm on Fire
     See My Feet Burn
                My Face is Made of Dust
                My Feet are Made of Clay

                                    Catch Me on I'm Fire
                                    I'm Blazing Your Trail
                                                   My Dust is in the Air
                                                   My Dust is Everywhere

                                                                   World Upside Down

Recorded at the  Solar Dynamics Observatory

The Deadnotes - Catch Me I'm On Fire by Kindlingrecords

The Deadnotes - Into the Sun by Kindlingrecords

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Light Falls Together

Light Falls Together
Light Falls Apart

Images - "Voyage Through Life",  Leighton Craig,   August 2011
Words - Eugene  Carchesio