Sunday, January 30, 2011

BODYSNATCHERS Frantic/Mystery- 540 Record Reissue

BODYSNATCHERS Frantic/Mystery- 540 Records - 540 019- 7"

The volatile music streaming out of the underground scenes of Britain and the US in the late seventies presented a lot of possibilities to young burgeoning musicians. Along with the sonic assault anthems of The Sex Pistols and The Ramones, there were variants of these themes in the other worldly works of bands like Wire, The Fall and their ilk This was strange and intense noise that had never been created before, but did have some reference to previous purveyors of ‘art-rock’ like The Velvet Underground etc. It was as if a new language was being spoken made up from many other dialects. Brisbane band from the time,The Bodysnatchers, heard a kindred spirit. This is a re-issue of their one and only single on Savage Music.

Formed in early 1978 and lead by Rod McLeod on guitar, drum machine and vocals (with his brother Gavin McLeod on bass and school friend John Hunter on drums) the band were a short lived studio based outfit. Rod and Gavin were card carrying members of two other local punk outfits The Young Identities and Just Urbain. When the opportunity arose for a cheap and nasty recording session, the 3 piece decided to fill in the last remaining time slot by cramming in 2 short sharp songs that didn’t quite fit in with the sounds arising from the rest of the Brisbane music scene. Drawing on the likes of the Gang of Four, A side ‘Frantic’ was a re-write of a Just Urbain song while its flipside ‘Mystery’ is a sped up/hacked up cover of the Velvets ‘Venus in Furs’. The record has a jarring sound with the vocals more whispered than yelped, while the vintage drum machine drone adds an additional spectral quality. Above and beyond that, it still has the trademark bass heavy, non production values much loved by the rest of the Savage Music family. Released as a 300 limited edition with photo copied cover in 1979, its sound stands as the odd, stumbling step-kid of the label and the band was never to be seen or heard of again. Frantic mystery indeed!

YOUNG IDENTITIES - Positive Thinking- 540 Records Reissue

YOUNG IDENTITIES - Positive Thinking- 540 Records - 540 018- 7"

When you were a kid, did you ever have that crazed urge to put your hand into an open fire or maybe ride your bike into the path of an oncoming bus? Well, it was with a similar mindless obsession that a gang of adolescent misfits from Brisbane Australia formed a punk band in 1978 called The Young Identities.

Teenage rebellion has had many forms over the last five decades, but the ‘punk explosion’ of the mid seventies was clearly a case of blatant mold breaking. It was In that time of unbridled mayhem the brothers McLeod (Clayton,Gavin and Rod) along with cohorts Dave Robinson and Paul Murray needed some sort of outlet from the mind-numbing tedium of their suburban existence. Typical of teens at the time (when time was typically too much of what you had) listening to outsider music was a major part of their lives. The Dolls and The Stooges were godheads, but reproducing that kind of noise seemed above their meage and limited talents. Cue The Saints, The Ramones and The Leftovers. Suddenly there was more to amuse these freaks than under-aged drinking and tearing around on dragsters!

The band quickly congealed like a pimple. Being far too young to get gigs at the local pubs and clubs run by quasi mafia figures and stoner hippies, they perform their raucous routine for their peers at parties and practice rooms. It’s soon decided that if this much fun is so cheap and easy, why not make a record! To make this unlikely dream possible The Young Identities (along with fellow reprobates Just Urbain and The Bodysnatchers) form Savage Music, their own haphazard independent label and book the cheapest recording studios in town. For around $300, all three bands slam down the tunes that would feature on the first 3 Savage Music releases. The Young Identities limited edition 45 boasts 3 tracks and a hand printed cover. It hits the shops in early 1979 but hardly anyone in sleepy old Brisbane really cared much for what a bunch of spotty brats from the backwaters had to say and sales of the record reflected this apathy.

Today, after over 30 years, the first Young Identities EP is a much sort after collectors item and has become associated with what is lovingly described as ‘Snot Rock’. Loud, unruly and without pretense. The ages of the band members at the time range from 13 to 17. They were too young to vote and too na├»ve to care. But they sure could make a wild teenage racket!

So, like some bizarre neglected virgin at the mouth of some mythical volcano, here is their first tortured offering!

JUST URBAIN - Burning - 540 Records Reissue

JUST URBAIN - Burning - 540 Records - 540 017 - 7"

One of the greatest bands ever to come from the early Australian punk scene which is why they made the number 36 spot on Johan Kugelberg's top 100 DIY 45's.A bunch of guys, all to varying degrees somewhat disengaged from mainstream culture & wanting something different. A bunch of guys living in a then non connected world but willing to make the effort to do something beyond go to the footie or go to the pub, like buy the NME, hang out at the local import shop come together through mutual musical interests & form a band. It took some monthsand some membership movement but on an unremembered date in '78 JUST URBAIN (& The Young Identities) 'arrived'. Yeah I think I saw that movie also! Anyway we did gigs, had fun in the practice room & for various reasons were involved with the 2nd Leftovers recording as well as the issue of their EP. So what do you know we take it to the next level in '79--Just Urbain, Young Identities & The Bodysnatchers go into a recording studio & spend an afternoon & a few hundred dollars recording 3 singles & behold not only do we have some singles but our own label is born. Fantastic stuff although it didn't really improve our standing in the local scene. Not that we cared. I wouldn't say we had a lot of attitude but we had enough. You had to make the effort to find us as we weren't looking for you."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The End Interview from X-CHANGE Fanzine 1981

The End Interview from X-CHANGE Fanzine issue 4
written by Ian Gray interviewing Brett Myers, Colin Barwick and Jonathon Leikliter. Long before the move to Sydney and Died Pretty

Brisbane early 80's Fanzine x-change

I came across this great pile of old Brisbane zines from my ex-promoter friend Dave Darling recently and thought it might be cool to put it up a few articles on my blog.
X-change was a hand numbered black and white photocopied brisbane punk zine(I use that term lightly because it doesn't really discriminate to punk rock's modern bounderies ). It's very DIY and punk rock in approach and writing but some of the bands are more arty/new wave/etc. It has a lot of local content with reviews of interesting intersate/overseas releases. X-change is the brainchild of Ian Gray. Ian feel free to get in contact if you have any problems with me sharing this.