Tuesday 24 September 2019

Turning Round On The Turntable : the Sorels, Mark Sultan, Terry, Pscience


The Italian label Surfin’Ki Rec. x keeps on browsing the sweet galaxy of the glamy rock’n’roll girls’ bands (Baby Shakesthe Pale LipsNathalie SweetLucy & the Rats...), walking on the steps of the late 90’s shift made by the label Sympathy For the Record Industry (the Eyelinersthe Fondas…). The Italian guys co-releases, alongside with the brand new Canadian label Reta Rec. x , this first single of the 3-piece band the Sorels x .

A beautiful start for this Canadian all-girls’ band with the A-side hit She’s In The Gang. A Chuck Berry-like guitar introduction, a catchy rhythmic section, a warm bluesy voice, a well-appropriate riff on the piano and a song that ends up with a punky explosion full of jovial punchy girly choirs (hou houhou hou - I love that !!) worthy of bands such as the Peeps or the Bobbyteens
The tempo slows down a bit on the more glamy B-side, School Girl Blues. A less catchy song on my side, but it reveales the full talent of the front singer with her bluesy voice. The little sisters of the compulsory Detroit Cobras ?

The design of the whole thing (candies, jewels, kitten and pink instruments on the cover, the blue-marshmallow color of the vinyl, the sweet-pink lettering of the band’s name…) adds a loving girly rock’n’roll touch.

MARK SULTAN - I’m A Filthy Rat - SP - SLOVENLY REC - 2019

I have ever felt a particular moving kindness for this guy, Mark Pepe, and his musical universe. That’s why I broke the bank to make him tour La Reunion Island a few years ago and why every new record is a happy event at home.

He’s the kind of artist which is both gifted and productive. He always played in awesome bands, worked with the best of the best of the noughties’ garage scene and explored so many kinds of garage niches : garage punk, psyche, rock’n’roll, 60’s beat, 70’s glam, 77 punk, blues, soul and even gospel… Let’s mention, among the others, the Canadian Spaceshits and Sexareenos in the late 90’s, the King Khan & BBQ show marvelous duo, the Almighty Defenders with the Black Lips or the Ding-Dongs duo with Bloodshot Bill... Not forgetting , above all, his numerous solo records as BBQ or Mark Sultan x

The restless, international punk Pete released this new record on his label Slovenly Rec. x , adding Mark Sultan to his giant catalog. The two songs laying on this single were recorded during the 2017 Let Me Out LP session (by the way, check this awesome Animals-like hit taken from the LP: Everybody Knows x). An album that was released back in 2018 by the British label Dirty Water Rec. x
Not a huge surprise as some of the tracks had that Medway sound (Graham Daythe Masonics…) we could also find here on the B-side Heart Attack x. A cheerful, highly pulsed song that immediately launched my 10 years old daughter in a crazy jerk dance and made her say :it could be the soundtrack of those old movies in which long-hair girls with boots and skirts danced just any old way. A delightful notice that perfectly fitted the atmosphere of this great tune. And yes, she killed me the next second with a launch of K-Pop missiles… 
The A-side, I’m A Filthy Rats x , was a haunting mid-tempo R’n’B song, with lingering-in-the-head 60’s organ riffs and pretty high vocals, where we could check once again Mark Sultan’s continuous hard work on the tones and octaves. Did he still eat his whales’ nose sandwich to help ? That’s the right season for them in my area !

TERRY - Who’s Terry ? - EP - UPSET ! THE RHYTHM - 2019

Who’s Terry ? x 
The name of the band and the cowboys’ hats worn as a trade mark could make us think about another American folk band. In fact, the 2 guys and 2 girls in Terry x are deeply involved in the Melbourne post-punk scene as they play in many renown local bands : UV RaceTotal ControlConstant MongrelPrimo!

Heady gimmicks on guitar, innocent 80’s sound on the synthesizer, repetitive bass lines, sharp but casual tempo, nonchalant female vocals and detached choirs… Let’s say we’ve got here a highly melodious and pretty cool 4-songs ep vinyl.
Spud, with its floating psyche touch, nags the uprising, conservative Aussie Minister of Immigration, the catchy Bizzo & Tophat seems to be an answer to their Melbourne fellows in the Shifters. The tempo speeds up a bit on Eggs, a tune full of harmonics and noise effects, while the delicious Drawn for Days delves into some Parsnip-like sugar pop.

Once again, Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring) on the mastering and the London-based label Upset! The Rhythm x give us another great dive in this stunning, vivid Melbourne’s scene.


What does the in Pscience x stand for ? Or is this name a contraction between Psychology and Science ? I fucking don’t know, but everything goes wrong for sure! The 9 stressful songs on this LP gives a report of the worst things nowadays science can offer to the world : toxic substances, plastic surgery, atomic countdown, human upgrating programs, creeping eugenics, radiation exposure, water quality, consumption, human entropy… Damned shitty world! This end-of-a-civilisation atmosphere won’t arrange my depressive state of mind. But let’s keep on pretending things can change and try to believe in all those Clean-Up Days, hummerbird’s tales and other bullshits. I owe this at least to my children.

Whatever ! Robert Watson Craig III (the fabulous Buck Biloxi and the FucksGiorgio MurdererLSDOGS) keeps on going his way in the New Orleans punk scene. He joined 3 Louisianan bad girls involved in Trampoline Team (the new Hozac Rec noisy-punk fav), Black Abba (tough lo-fi punk) and thee Tsunamis (powerpop) and has played the drums for them since. Minimalist punk, short songs, simple and effective guitar play, punchy bass lines, straightforward keyboard’s gimmicks, punctuated and warm girly vocals… Some kind of urgency that echoes the oppressive lyrics.

Sarah (Pelican Wow Wow Rec., amazing label !), the synthesizer girl, released the vinyl on her own label Space Taker Sound x. A minimalist front cover and a beautiful colored inner-sleeve complete what seems to be a synth-punk must-have LP.

Thursday 12 September 2019

Exhibition : Lyon, Capitale du Rock. 1978 - 1983.

Ville Morte. Wanna talk about the Warrior Kids and Marseille ? Not this time ! Ville Morte x is in fact a nice little information sheet listing the best rock gigs in the city of Lyon. A pretty appropriate name that perfectly fitted this summer holidays time as there was absolutely nothing to check around. The reunification with my friends quickly ended with daily touring of the best pubs in the city (Trokson, Ground Zero…). Specific mention to the Look Bar, with its worthy Lyonnais connexion film noir atmosphere, its deadly White Russian and its outer-space bartender playing deeply worn vinyls of Chuck Berry, Joe Cocker and Georges Brassens.

Exhibition : Lyon, Capitale du Rock. 1978 - 1983.

However, there was this awesome summer exhibition (15th of May to the 21th of September) in the town library: Lyon, Capitale du Rock 1978 - 1983 x

We found there an impressive collection of flyers, posters, tickets, video footages and testimonies, audio listenings, instruments, scene costumes and vinyls of the local bands which brought delight to the Lyonnais rock’n’roll youth in the late 70’s : the Starshooter 77-punkers, the Stooges-like Electric Callas, the Ganafoul hardrockers, the Factory glamy rockers, the funky one in Killdozer or the Carte de Séjour Clashy punks. Each band had its own huge billboard full of informations. The exhibition also strongly focused on the band Marie et les Garçons.They were pretty well-known for their 77 punk hit Je vais t’ébranler un peu x, before they moved on to a more disco-punk sound. 

We also followed, step by step, the ephemera story of the Rock’n’Roll Mops gigs’ place: the beginning of the Lyon’s 1978 punk explosion, the growth of this compulsory place for any famous rock band, and the final sabotage by the cultural services of the City Hall which gave a good hand to bring the adventure to an end. A time when rock’n’roll was still un-aseptic, rebel and scary for the bourgeois. 
The first part of the exhibition ended in a cosy, tiny video room with pleasant footages of the famous Nuits Rock à Fourvière festival x on the 29th of July 1978 : StarshooterGanafoulBijouTéléphoneLittle Bob Story and Marie et les Garçons played there in front of an explosive audience (5000 people). Anthological moment when the disco-punk performance of Marie et les Garçons was welcomed by a heavy rain of beers’ tins thrown by bikers white-hotted by Ganafoul. They were literally saved by the backup of the Starshooter and Bijou members on stage. 

We then discovered this moving local arty-punk scene which opened on the stage of the ENTPE ingeenering school for many prestigious early 80’s new-wave/post-punk bands such as the CureTuxedomoonEdith NylonTaxi GirlOrchestral Manoeuvre and even Iggy Pop. The leading Lyonnais bands were African Corps (Kleenex style post-punk), Raison Pure (dandy-punk), Tintin Reporter (B52’s-like rock) or Malevitch Design Theory (arty-punk). Peaceful student atmosphere contrasting with the previous rock episode of course but awesome discoveries !

The exhibition ended with a nice retrospective of unknown but gifted bands : les Illuminés du 08 DécembreDeux (re-released in 2010 on Minimal Wave Rec.), les Rotters (re-issued on Cameleon Rec. in 2016), FragileSafetyles DivinesTales… and a little layout dealing with some local activists of some radio libre or fanzines. On the top of that, the visitors could leave the place with the pockets full of take-away facsimile tickets of the Rockn’roll Mops shows. A really nice attention !

So, it was a luxuriant and fascinating exhibition. I’ve ever been fond of such exhibits and conferences dealing with the punk & rock scenes in some spotted towns : Reims with the crew of the No Government fanzine a few years ago, Toulouse with the Nineteen team two years ago, the one in the Castle of the Brittany’s Dukes in Nantes last summer, Bordeaux with the "St"wave (StalagStilletosStrychnineStandardsSTO) last winter. Which city will take up the challenge of a new one ? 

Movie : Daniel Darc, Pieces of My Life

As a link with this Lyonnais saga, let’s mention the moving documentary :Daniel Darc, Pieces of My Life, filmed by his close friend Marc Dufaud. Not really the kind of movies that could be found on Reunion Island (perhaps a future Maudit Tangue Picture Show session?), so I was pretty glad to check it in Lyon at the Comoedia, an Art et Essais independent cinema.

This movie was dedicated to the life, the musical carreer and the death of Daniel Darc. He was the singer in the famous French new-wave band Taxi Girl (Chercher le Garçon x was their greatest hit). A pretty iconic band, part of that early 80’s French period of Les Jeunes Gens Modernes, a gifted bunch of young surrealist artists and musicians - some kind of modern Comtes of Lautreamont. Most of them crashed into drugs and AIDS. 

Daniel Darc kept on rocking with a solo career. Mainly made with many downs. An accursed poet with a pretty sad life fully filled with unhappy loves, depressive loneliness, continuous fragility, strong drugs’ addictions, hepatisis, deseases, prison, body decadence and unanswered questionnings about his family, his Jewish religion... He finally won a full acknowledgement at the end of his life with some FM rock songs and Bashung-like albums.

Nijinsky x (released in 1994 on Bondage Rec. - Play me Sexy, yeah!) has ever been my favourite tune of the guy - a mid-tempo haunting song with an intense tone in the voice, stunning lyrics, great hovering choirs, catchy clear guitar riffs and such a charming bassist ! He recorded it with the rock band the Pure Sins in the early 90’s. A period during which he really looked fine and seemed to feel good and happy at last. Sadly, a commercial failure followed by a long, unpleasant fall.

This wasn’t a really jovial movie. But it allowed me to glue together all the pieces I had about his life : the Taxi Girl hits, the Nijinsky period, the elusive moment I bumped into this zombie-looking-like guy in the Parisian Born Bad's Keller street, his come-back and his death on the rock’n’roll altar.

Pictures of the exhibition.