Alaska Sun

By Chris Mineral
The sound of the 150 active volcanoes on the Jupiter moon Io is the sound of Warped.
Magma in constant steady flow on a distant lunar surface. Supreme sludgy stoner-rock.
Warped are Rockin’ Lightnin’ Ben Watkins (guitar, vocals), Cris Wilson, the perennial anchor on the drums and Sammy Crawford in the pocket, kicking goals on the bass guitar.
Lady Luck is with Warped again and they are celebrating the fact that after all these years their new album Bolt From The Blue (Conquest of Noise Records) shows with its seven great rockin’ tunes that Warped remain awesome.
Warped were around when Powder Monkeys, Bored and Magic Dirt were travelling up the highway and over the Westgate to rock Melbourne. Up in the daylight again, Swervedriver-esque guitar drive is evident in the Warped sound. Warped have picked the trifecta with Bolt From The Blue cranking up their brilliant white hot noise. They hate slow songs.
Amyl And The Sniffers played a scorching, searing rock and roll set at the Respect The Rock radio show on Triple R on Thursday, July 12, hosted by the awesome Nicole Tadpole. Mega-fun.
A set list – Westgate/ Theme from Club X/ Mandalay/ Pushbike/ Loser/ Sniff … Things are getting rowdy for this band, they are in a peak period, super excited to be overseas and playing shows in Europe in August.
Amyl And The Sniffers play short, fast bedroom rock (their music is recorded in a share house that the band lives in together). It is real loose rock and roll and they hope no one cares how well they play.
They recorded their debut EP, the limited edition Giddyup cassette in one day. Caltex Cowgirl is a superb catchy song that was the result of a jam session.
The rhythm section of Bryce Wilson (drums) and Kevin Romer (bass guitar) is total rock solidity. Guitarist Dec Martens is pure adrenalised nitrous oxide in the tank. There’s a rich mixture of Radio Birdman, New Christs, Ian Moss, Pete Wells, Ed Kuepper approach to his playing.
Singer Amy Taylor is a dynamite pocket rocket, full of beans and verve, platinum blonde hair with a lust for life, 112.5 per cent amped up, switched on and Go!
Amyl And The Sniffers are the kind of band who believe they can pick the winner of the next Melbourne Cup.
It Records has announced that an album is approaching from the Melbourne musical trio ATOM. Comprising Harry Howard (Crime And The City Solution, These Immortal Souls, NDE), Ben Hepworth (REPAIRS), Edwina Preston (NDE, Duet) is a musical project that could go places.
Hepworth (synths, keyboards) gives Howard (guitar, vocals) and Preston (synths, keyboards) the springboard to soar into outer space. Highlight of their rare, recent gig at The Curtin on June 1 ,at The Primitive Calculators album launch was their song I Used To Win. Ironic, because It Records are backing a winner with ATOM.
There is a hint of Alan Vega to the vocal delivery of Harry Howard. He has got that deadpan New York down-at-heel drawl happening. Preston and Hepworth augment the very smooth, solid guitar sounds that Howard generates. There is real cohesion here.
I Used To Win is one kind of a response to Royal Trux’s You’re Gonna Lose from their Thank You (Drag City) album. I Used To Win gets better the more you hear it.
Kudos to Sophia Brous for making NYC’s Exo-Tech ensemble come to Melbourne. Walking along Flinders Lane I happened to hear the magnificent sounds of Exo-Tech performing a sound check for a show near St Pauls Cathedral, under an archway.
Check Alaska Sun, Sophia Brous sang, or at least that was my imagination. The improvised music at the soundcheck was like a theme from a late night 1950s film noir TV show on CBS. The best soundcheck I have ever heard from world class musicians, on a rainy, windy, wintry day.
Exo-Tech, performing a soundcheck in the round were: Sophia Brous, voice; Benjamin Lazar Davis, synths, bass; Jeremy Gustin, drums; Dave Harrington, guitar; Yuka Honda, electronics, synthesisers; Kimbra, voice; Danny Meyer, saxophone; Cleek Schrey, hardinger fiddle and the Spencer Zahn, playing the bass.
This was part of the National Gallery of Victoria music performance component of its MoMA show. The day before Exo-Tech played the State Theatre. Total sublimation. They traverse many genres of music, jazz, film music, disco, Blondie, Kraftwerk, Stockhausen, Phillip Glass, Michael Gira. Brilliant. People up and down Flinders Lane were craning their necks and enjoying the ambiance created by these superb musos. A special treat.
Congratulations to the magnificent Shame File Records for reaching its 100th release, the SHAM100 the Clinton Green and Ernie Althoff Blindfold Test CD/digital. It includes two tracks from a live performance of Autumnal Sounds from Bayswater North. Available from the Shame File Music website.
Gigs/ Shows
Sunday Arvos in August, Blues Sessions, Cherry Bar, ACDC Lane
Pojama People , Chris Pearson, 3PBS , Wednesday, 10pm
Xavier Rudd, Forum Theatre, August 24
The Charlatans (UK) ,170 Russell St, Sunday, August 26
Stylin’, Ennio Styles, 3RRR, Fridays, noon
Rocky Horror Picture Show, Her Majesty’s Theatre, until August 26

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