SONIC KICKS: Witch Hats

Sonic Kicks Witch Hats

Witch Hats have a few very good albums under the collective belt but their latest, Deliverance, is hands down the best thing they’ve done. It’s a blistering set of lurching rock ‘n’ roll and in our review we said “They’re firmly in the realm of The Clash, The Drones and The Gun Club yet they’ve dug their own hook-laden hole and decorated it with all manner of exceptional dark pop and bruised, gutter-punk blues.” They’re currently touring the album (dates below) and Kris Buscombe kindly took the time to answer our Sonic Kicks Q&A where he talks about Wide World Of Sports, arachnophobia, Bon Scott on the Titanic and the albums that shaped him musically.

  • Aug 19th @ Red Rattler Theatre, Marrickville
  • Aug 20th @ Trainspotters, Brisbane
  • Aug 27th @ The Tote, Melbourne

The first album I bought…

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Shaquille O’Neal – Shaq Diesel

 I used to record stuff off TV to VHS tape and nabbed a clip of Shaq Diesel’s lead single – ‘Shoot Pass Slam’ off seminal music show, Wild World of Sports.

It was 1992 and basketball was massive in Australia. I had baggy jeans and a teal coloured Charlotte Hornets jacket and a folder full of basketball cards. A brief and confused few years for me, just before I became a real man and got into rock and roll. But back in the heady days of ’92 it was just a Teac boom box and a whole album of basketball rap songs.

An album that soundtracked a relationship…

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Live – Throwing Copper

I used to go out with a woman named Kylie.  She worked at a slot car racing track where I was spending most of my afternoons. A scale model racing track. Big indoor circuit with 15cm long cars careering off in every direction. An arousing place.

Kylie was mad for Live’s Throwing Copper. I had to listen to it constantly.  It’s a horrible shit of a record. I don’t recommend it and if you’re an arachnophobe I don’t recommend Kylie either. She teased me and put spiders on my face once when I slept.

An album that inspired me to form a band…

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50 Million Clowns – First Class Experiment

I attended a Foo Fighters concert in ’98.  I don’t recall being a fan but my friends and I were Nirvana obsessives. They mobbed Dave Grohl as he crossed the busy highway directly in front of the Hobart Town Hall and chatted with him for a while. I missed out on this interaction – I was glued to my seat inside the hall having corrective ear surgery as three crumpled and shockingly plain looking men changed my life forever with the most atonally beautiful noise I’d ever come across. 50 Million Clowns and their album First Class Experiment re-wired my brain when I was 15. The fact they came from Hobart blew me out hunting headfirst into a small unique scene taking place right on my doorstep. This album holds up. It’s harsh and powerful rock with a thoroughly unique and individual darkness surrounding it.

An album that reminds me of my high school years…

Nirvana-Incesticide

Nirvana – Incesticide

I’d come across a poster of ‘Kurt Cobain 1967-1994’ some place and didn’t know who he was (the end of my Shaq era) and asked chef Raymond at my dad’s restaurant.  He lent me a CD of Nevermind. Great songs for a beginning guitarist.  I was a shy angst-ridden musical misfit in an extremely annoying high school getting up to a lot of mischief and smoking pot. I felt an intense connection to Kurt for a while as some kind of delayed grunge kid in the midst of an anti-establishment, regime change inside my body. ‘Aneurysm’ is their greatest song and closes this disc of rarities. I was kicked out of McCann’s Music store when they caught me hidden in the manuscript section, tablature scribbled in biro across my arms, Incesticide tablature book open on the floor.

An album I’d love to hear live and played in full…

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Every ‘band perform album’ gig I’ve attended has failed to please me. There’s too much excitement and spontaneity in a gig if I’m not aware of the set list in advance. It’s a fair-weather music fan’s thing.

To be a good sport I will say The Doors in 67 at the Whiskey doing their first self-titled album. Or Hendrix doing Axis Bold As Love, The Birthday Party doing Junkyard back in ’82, Dylan doing Blond On Blonde in 1955 or AC/DC with Bon Scott playing Surfer Rosa on the Titanic.

My favourite album cover art…

Hans Bellmer – La Bouch

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A guilty pleasure album…

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Most of my favourite music could fit in here.  Cheap Trick’s Heaven Tonight is pretty great.  Everyone I try to put onto it makes a gross face and I have to turn it off. I put on Aerosmith’s Rocks album at a party a while ago and got in trouble. Steely Dan’s Aja record. Dylan’s ’80s albums.

The last albums I bought…

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Dr. John – The Sun, Moon & Herbs and Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20

 

The next album I want to buy…

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The Aggravators – Dubbing At King Tubby s Vol. 1

I started getting into Dub music about a year ago.  It’s my favourite stuff to listen to at the moment and anything involving King Tubby is the greatest.

DS Favourite Reissues of 2013

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As the trend of deluxe, remastered, expanded, repackaged and newly compiled album reissues continues we were treated to some superb releases in 2013. From classic to more underground acts there was a veritable treasure trove for music nerds. Here are some of our favourites.

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The Band – Live at the Academy of Music 1971

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Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Co.

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Sly & the Family Stone – Higher!

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Nirvana – In Utero

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R.E.M. – Green

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The Clash – Sandinista

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The Clean – Vehicle

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Bob Dylan – Another Self Portrait

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Elvis Presley – Elvis at Stax

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The Cult – Electric Peace

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Mad Season – Above (Deluxe Edition)

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Country Soul Sisters Volume 2: Women in Country Music 1956-79

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Roky Erickson – Gremlins Have Pictures

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Studio One Ska Fever

NEWS: Universal announce ‘In Utero’ 20th Anniversary Reissue

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For many In Utero is their favourite Nirvana LP where the band carved out their most unique collection of songs and felt like they were developing into something truly special outside the hype and platitudes of press and mass appeal. Indeed their reaction to that and everything else that was happening in Cobain’s world ran deeply through the record.

Universal Music Enterprises will commemorate the 20th anniversary of n Utero with a multi-format release that spreads more than 70 remastered, remixed, rare, unreleased and live recordings over configurations ranging from a 3-CD/1-DVD Super Deluxe Edition to a standard digital/CD remaster of the original album. Material exclusive to the various versions of the In Utero 20th Anniversary reissue will include a veritable treasure trove of never-before-heard demos, B-sides, compilation tracks, and live material featuring the final touring lineup of Cobain, Novoselic, Grohl, and Pat Smear…including the long-awaited release of the complete “Live and Loud” show from Seattle’s Pier 48 on December 13, 1993. Additionally, a standalone single-disc DVD of the complete “Live And Loud” show along with several never-before-released bonus performances will also be released on September 24.

SONIC KICKS | BAD DREEMS

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Bad Dreems are one of the essential bands emerging out of the growing Adelaide scene with their lo-fi, melody-rich guitar songs. 2012 was a big year that saw them release the brilliant single Chills and before dropping Tomorrow Mountain with its darker and moodier undercurrent and the infectiously melancholic Too Old. We caught up with guitarist Alex Cameron to find out some of the albums that shaped his musical life so far.

 

The first album I bought – Nirvana | From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah

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The cool high school kids were either into Guns ‘N Roses or Nirvana. I took a punt and bought this because the ones that were into Nirvana seemed cooler. It was a good punt I guess. This is still my favourite Nirvana album. A lot of their studio recordings don’t really float my boat. I prefer the US punk bands that preceded them like Black Flag, The Minutemen and other SST bands, The Replacements and Husker Du.

 

The album that soundtracked a relationship – Bob Dylan | Blood On The Tracks

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If ever I feel down about this type of thing I always listen to this album. It has a song for every sort of broken heart. I think it is the Dylan album that offers the best glimpse behind the shades. Hard to pick favourites but I love Shelter From the Storm, If You See Her Say Hello and Idiot Wind – “You’re an idiot babe, it’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe”

 

The album that inspired me to form a band – Scott and Charlene’s Wedding | Para Vista Social Club 

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I moved back to Adelaide from Melbourne after 7 years. All my old friends had gone and I spent a long summer working in a hospital in an outer suburb, on the way to Snowtown. Sort of near Para Vista actually. I bought this album and listened to it ever morning and night on the drive there and back. It’s honest and unpretentious but really powerful songwriting and anyone that’s lived in Melbourne with little money and big hopes can relate to the subject matter. It reminded me of what I really liked about music so I found some new friends and we started a band. We did our first recordings with Jack Farley who recorded Para Vista Social Club along with heaps of amazing records out of Melbourne over the past few years. He’s best pals with Craig Dermody and they used to live in his warehouse together. Jack has big hands and a big heart.

 

The album that reminds you of my high school years – Patti Smith | Horses

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I was lucky to inherit my parents’ record collection as I got more and more into music. It got me into stuff like MC5, The Rolling Stones, Roxy Music and Tom Waits – and so all this music still reminds me of that time. The album that I probably played the most was Horses – I couldn’t believe that my dad was ever into anything so cool!

 

The album I’d love to hear live and played in full – Sea Scouts | Beacon of Hope

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I love the aura that surrounds this band. Despite their relative obscurity, everyone who knows them holds them in such high regard. Bird Blobs were also great, as well as Degreaser. As much as I would have liked to watch Sea Scouts I’m sure that the legacy is best kept alive by the recordings and grainy super 8 footage. My friend Darren Cross toured with Sea Scouts and he has awesome stories about Tim Evans’ homemade guitar and the amps that he made out of cardboard boxes to take on tour.

 

My favourite album cover art – Roxy Music | Country Life

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Another album from my parents’ collection. This appealed to me as a 15 year old (and still does) for obvious reasons.

 

My guilty pleasure album – Bruce Springsteen | Born To Run

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The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves, the magic rat, wrap your legs round these velvet rims, a real death waltz, show a little faith there’s magic in the night. It’s a town full of losers and i’m pulling out of here to win. THE BOSS!!

 

An album I loved but now have no idea why I bought it – Dylan & The Dead

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For completists only.

 

The last album I bought – Blank Realm | Go Easy – Woollen Kits | Four GirlsThe Mark of Cain | Songs of the Third and Fifth

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There is so much good music being put out on Australian independent labels like RIP Society, Bedroom Suck, Negative Guestlist and Chapter. Blank Realm’s album is awesome psych-pop with Berlin-era Bowie, Flying Nun and Fleetwood Mac influences. Woollen Kits write amazing garage guitar pop songs. I saw them supporting Home Blitz last year in Melbourne and they stole the show. The Mark of Cain are our heroes from Adelaide. Their new album is awesome. Mathematical outsider rage.

 

 

SONIC KICKS | Albums That Shaped Me

Ahead of the release of his long awaited debut album Breaking Hearts and Saving Souls on August 1st, Roland K Smith of Roland K Smith & the Sinners takes us through some of the albums that shaped his musical life. The band will be doing a run of dates to celebrate the release of the album, check the details at the end of this post…

The first album I bought…

It was my ninth birthday and I was allowed two choose two cassette tapes to accompany my brand new Sony Walkmen. I chose Blind Melon | Blind Melon and Michael JacksonDangerous. I listened to Dangerous to death. I knew every word to every song. I might have played Blind Melon twice.

An album that soundtracked a relationship…

I don’t want to give too much away here, but PrincePurple Rain was on heavy rotation when I started seeing the missus. That was about eight years ago and she’s still with me. Take the tip, gentlemen.

The album that inspired me to form a band…

Nirvana | Unplugged in New York. That was the album I was listening to when I started learning guitar at age ten and the album I revisited years later while I was forming my first band. It’s such a great collection of songs and Kurt sings them all so well.

The album that reminds me of my high school years…

Violent FemmesViolent Femmes was already twenty years old by the time I got my hands on it, but its honest musing on teenage life hit me like a ton of bricks. This was an example of hearing the right album at the right time.

An album I’d love to hear played in full live…

The Beatles | Please Please Me but by the Beatles in 1963 or whenever it was released (DS –  yep!). In this fantasy I’m eighteen years old in a sweaty, smokey pub in Hamburg, hammered on beer and surrounded by 1960s babes and then these guys rip into I Saw Her Standing There and Twist & Shout. Imagine how bat-shit-crazy that would be.

My favourite album artwork…

Bob Dylan | Bob Dylan. It’s a picture of Dylan at about nineteen years of age, holding a guitar and wearing a sailor cap, and it feels like the calm before the storm. He’s this cocky little kid looking straight into the camera with a cheeky grin that says “I’ve only ever written two songs, but I’m going to be the greatest songwriter of all-time.”

My guilty pleasure album…

Everclear | So Much For The Afterglow. I know they’re daggy, I know they’re a shitty second rate grunge band, but they still hold a prime position in my playlist. The songs are way too earnest, but they’re great pop tunes, and the guitars are masterfully over dubbed. I don’t think I’ve heard better production on a mainstream rock album.

An album I loved but now have no idea why I bought it…

Oh god, there would be tons… I have a habit of throwing out CDs as they reveal themselves to be shit. I think the first album I ever jettisoned was Pearl JamTen.

The last album I bought was…

Justin Townes Earle | Nothing’s Going To Change The Way You Feel About Me Now. Great record – really nice songs, performed really well. I’ve been into this guy since his first album and it’s been a pleasure watching him grow into one of the best musicians doing the rounds.

REVIEW: Nirvana | Live At The Paramount

Just got back from a screening of this as part of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind. It was definitely worth seeing it in the cinema to get that ‘in your face’ volume which is kind of essential for music like this. One of things that separates this concert film from others of the band is that it is the only one recorded on film – giving it a fantastic look with cameramen dashing franticly around the stage trying to capture the show. As  document of a band only months into the release of an album that has now sold over 30 million it is a fantastic look at what a mass of energy they could create out of a few chords, some grinding primal bass and an absolutely pummelling display of drumming from Dave Grohl. They cover most of Nevermind, some tracks from Bleach and a couple off the Incesticide comp but it all fits together perfectly. There weren’t really any lulls in the set other than the wayward finale of Endless, Nameless – but you kind of expect that from that track. Truly visceral stuff and a perfect reminder of what a great band they were when it came down to the music.

Setlist

Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam
Aneurysm
Drain You
School
Floyd The Barber
Smells Like Teen Spirit
About A Girl
Polly
Breed
Sliver
Love Buzz
Lithium
Been A Son
Negative Creep
On A Plain
Blew
Rape Me
Territorial Pissings
Endless, Nameless

WATCH: The trailer for the DVD release of 1991:The Year Punk Broke…

Finally one of the seminal documents of the early days of the 90s punk/grunge/garage rock boom gets a release on DVD – right on the 20th anniversary of its original issue. Featuring performances, footage, interviews with Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Babes in Toyland, The Ramones and Dinosaur Jr this is essential viewing.

All footage has been fully restored with audio re-synced and remastered in uncompressed PCM stereo under the supervision of Sonic Youth.

1991: The Year Punk Broke is also packed with 65 minutes of bonus material, including the previously unreleased featurette “(This Is Known As) The Blues Scale” featuring over 40 minutes of additional live footage of Sonic Youth performing “White Kross,” “Eric’s Trip,” “Chapel Hill” and “Inhuman” plus a rare Nirvana performance of “In Bloom.” Other extras include live rough cuts of “Mote” and “Flower,” the original movie trailer, and “Broken Punk” — a 2003 panel discussion Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Steve Shelley and Lee Ranaldo, Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis and Filmmaker Dave Markey.

NEWS: Details of Nirvana’s 20th Anniversary Nevermind release.

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Deluxe and Super Deluxe reissues of Nirvana’s Nevermind will be released on September 26th to mark the 20th anniversary of the record.

The 2CD Deluxe edition will contain a remastered cut of the original album plus B-sides as well as a CD featuring the Smart Studio Sessions, The Boombox Rehearsals and BBC Sessions.

The 4CD + DVD Super Deluxe edition will contain these two CDs, plus a CD of the previously unreleased The Devonshire Mixes and the previously unreleased Live At The Paramount Theatre from their 1991 Halloween gig in Seattle, footage of which will also be included on the DVD. The show is the only known Nirvana gig that was shot to film. The Deluxe edition will also be available on vinyl.

Only 10,000 copies of the Super Deluxe Version of the album will be released in North America, with another 30,000 for the rest of the world, including the UK.

The tracklistings are as below:

‘Nevermind’ – Deluxe Edition

CD One

Original Album
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
‘In Bloom’
‘Come As You Are’
‘Breed’
‘Lithium’
‘Polly’
‘Territorial Pissings’
‘Drain You’
‘Lounge Act’
‘Stay Away’
‘On A Plain’
‘Something In The Way’

The B-Sides
‘Even In His Youth’
‘Aneurysm’
‘Curmudgeon’
‘D-7’ live At The BBC
‘Been A Son’ live
‘School’ live
‘Drain You’ live
‘Sliver’ live
‘Polly’ live

CD Two

The Smart Studio Sessions
‘In Bloom’ previously unreleased
‘Immodium’ (Breed) previously unreleased
‘Lithium’ previously unreleased
‘Polly Previously’ unreleased mix
‘Pay To Play’
‘Here She Comes Now’
‘Dive’ previously unreleased
‘Sappy’ previously unreleased

The Boombox Rehearsals
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
‘Verse Chorus Verse’ previously unreleased
‘Territorial Pissings’ previously unreleased
‘Lounge Act’ previously unreleased
‘Come As You Are’
‘Old Age’ previously unreleased
‘Something In The Way’ previously unreleased
‘On A Plain’ previously unreleased

BBC Sessions
‘Drain You’ previously unreleased
‘Something In The Way’ previously unreleased

Super Deluxe Edition
CDs One And Two as above

CD Three

The Devonshire Mixes
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
‘In Bloom’
‘Come As You Are’
‘Breed’
‘Lithium’
‘Territorial Pissings’
‘Drain You’
‘Lounge Act’
‘Stay Away’
‘On A Plain’
‘Something In The Way’

CD Four

Live At The Paramount Theatre
‘Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam’
‘Aneurysm’
‘Drain You’
‘School’
‘Floyd The Barber’
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
‘About A Girl’
‘Polly’
‘Breed’
‘Sliver’
‘Love Buzz’
‘Lithium’
‘Been A Son’
‘Negative Creep’
‘On A Plain’
‘Blew’
‘Rape Me’
‘Territorial Pissings’
‘Endless, Nameless’

DVD

Live At The Paramount Theatre
‘Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam’
‘Aneurysm’
‘Drain You’
‘School’
‘Floyd The Barber’
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
‘About A Girl’
‘Polly’
‘Breed’
‘Sliver’
‘Love Buzz’
‘Lithium’
‘Been A Son’
‘Negative Creep’
‘On A Plain’
‘Blew’
‘Rape Me’
‘Territorial Pissings’
‘Endless, Nameless’

Music Videos
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
‘Come As You Are Music’
‘Lithium’
‘In Bloom’