coverT’was the night before Christmas – and all through our house – the creatures were indeed stirring – cos the blazing guitar sounds of France’s Juliette Jade Valduriez were ripping round the rockbrat walls ! Yes folks, I was not expecting the magic of Christmas to bring forth a rock n roll miracle like this – but indeed it did. A loyal Rockbrat reader alerted me to the fact that Juliette (an artist who has generated immense interest on YouTube – before then vanishing) had recently resurfaced ! But not only is Juliette back – she’s got a whole album’s worth or original material out and about ! Fantastique !

It’s no secret that we are fans of Juliette – in fact the previous blog posts we’ve penned about her still generate heavy stats. Before penning this review I re-watched some of her YouTube videos to get in the zone. Man, the tone and feel she has whilst wailing away on her solo’s still captivate me. I reckon it’s that tone and natural flair Valduriez has which is what had me hooked first time round. Make an effort to search our her videos on YouTube. Her take on Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ – viewed by millions by the way, always earns top marks, whilst her interpretation of Jake E. Lee’s fret work on Ozzy’s ‘Bark At The Moon’, just plain rocks.

I am not gonna speculate why Juliette – (now known as Juliette Jade) went AWOL. The fact that she is back and has finally released an album’s worth of original material – is all that matters. Released in late December – the digital-only album ‘Terrarium’ – is a gathering of 11 home demos which displays her vast musical talent. ‘Allegory’ is the album opener – no hidden meaning here folks  – just one very solid sounding track with a very distinguishable Valduriez (ooops Jade) sounding guitar solo at 1.30 – which damn-well brought a smile to my face. She really is back !

The slower paced ‘Room 7’ again has that Juliette-signature guitar sound all over it – no complaints here. Yet I gotta confess – after solely viewing her guitar playing online – it’s actually her pleasant sounding vocals which I am finding surprising ! Mellow, at times haunting – at times a little reminiscent of Lori Carson – very nice. Love it love it love it.
Diadème could be my favourite track on the album. Sung solely in French – it’s hauntingly beautiful with Jade’s appealing vocals and tasteful guitar solo – the key ingredients here. Wow.  Straight-down-the-line rock n roll is gonna win me over every time – which is why the tunes ‘Hélicoptère’ and the frenzied ‘Frozen Time’ – clocking in at a Ramones-like 2.18 gets the thumbs up from me. I dig it. The bar-chord heaviness of Hélicoptère would be great in the live environment, and contains some of Valduriez’ most potent soloing. ‘Killer’, for me is another album highlight with some powerful lyrics – and another blazing guitar solo. It’s captivating as it is eerie and ‘Killer’ is indeed something special – jostling with Diadème or ‘Hélicoptère’ as my choice album cut.

This girl can shred with the best of em – we know that – but if you are looking for an album’s worth of shredding, look elsewhere. Yes, the guitar work is etched all over the album, but it is far classier than your average guitar rock record and you will be pleasantly surprised. I’d go so far to say that ‘Terrarium’ is an album which sounds better and better upon each listen and is a remarkable debut. One omission here is ‘Lost Paradise’ –  one of Juliette’s original YouTube recordings which did not make the cut  – shame, as it’s had over two million views online and is stellar. Maybe if she gets picked up my a major, or large independent label – it can be included later. It’s too good a song to remain unreleased.

Final words on this review are courtesy of Rockbrat Reader Eddie_Lyons who – when summarizing Terrarium on Juliette’s bandcamp page – accurately concludes…it’s ‘a powerhouse of guitar-driven introversion, peppered with signature Valduriez solos. A perfect blend of lyrics with a haunting voice. An album that wouldn’t be out of place in a collection of the best of the late ’70s and early ’80s. A worthy debut, and worth the long, long wait! Bravo! Too difficult to choose a favourite from a quality collection’.

Folks this is a stunning – long-awaited debut which does not disappoint. I have once again put in an interview request which will hopefully come to fruition. Terrarium set me back 7 EUR and you can get it from https://juliettejade.bandcamp.com/

It is high time more people were made aware of one of France’s best kept secrets.

8521d6_ac1187ffe978438e9609187579ff7d28The sun has almost set on 2016, and one of the highlights of the year has been the reformation of the Ted Mulry Gang (TMG). The fact that TMG are playing out live, 40 years after their halcyon days is quite incredible – and something we should all be thankful for. Not just playing out though – for if you’ve seen them live on any of their handful of dates in the latter part of this year on their ‘This Ones For Ted’ tour – you will be all too aware that live, they are more than delivering the goods – and are killing it as a live unit. If you told me a few years back that TMG would be out and about playing live in 2016 sans Ted, I would have told you, “Not a snowball’s chance in hell, never in a million years”. Yet with Ted’s younger brother Steve Mulry out front – it all makes perfect sense.

I think the last time I saw TMG was at Promises at Sylvania, or somewhere in Sydney’s south in 1995 or 96 supporting Suzi Quatro. I remember thinking that Quatro was boring and TMG blew her away. Twenty years later, TMG are kicking major ass, and are one of the hottest live tickets doing the rounds right now.  Vocalist Steve Mulry  is certainly doing justice to the TMG material, and is singing his absolute heart out. I’m sure Ted is looking down on his brother and old band mates with a smiling nod of approval. Yep – they are more than doing justice to the TMG legacy – and with Steve out front – are adding to it. In fact, after seeing the band a couple of times on this current tour, I can say hand-on-heart that Steve is making the material well and truly his own. With Steve coming from a heavy rock background, TMG in 2016 are tougher sounding, more muscled up, and a tighter rocking unit. Part of that is due also to having rock solid Mark Evans of AC/DC on bass.

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TMG – carving it up at Dee Why RSL 9/12/16 – photo (c) D. Gray

It is short sighted to pigeonhole or stereotype TMG as a ‘Countdown band’ or a band known for only ‘that song’. For some people, I’m sure the revival or nostalgia tag is a reason that gets them along to see the band, yet take my word for it – TMG have a depth and quality to their songs that have seen their material endure incredibly well over time. It’s the aforementioned reason though, (a misguided opinion shared by the mainstream who see the band as a one hit 70s teen band), that has precluded TMG from being inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. It’s an injustice, and no doubt political, as to why TMG have not been inducted into the Hall Of Fame. It would be a just acknowledgement, yet at the end of the day who really cares. Who gives credence to this two-bit, self-serving organisation anyway? As someone who likes to think I know a little bit about rock ‘n’ roll, take my word for it instead when I tell you that TMG have several albums worth of memorable, original, catchy rock that has stood the test of time – and still sound killer. Great melodies, great choruses, great songs. Some of their best material in fact is off their last couple of albums, ‘Disturbing The Peace’ and ‘Locked In’.

Many of Australian biggest bands of the 70’s had a second bite of the cherry in the 90s (including John Paul Young via ‘Strictly Ballroom’ and Skyhooks in 1983 and 1990/91). Those that didn’t have this second run were given their dues as part of the Countdown concerts in the mid 2000s, with bands like Supernaut, Cheetah, Hush and of course Sherbet (arguably the biggest Australian band of the 70’s), reforming with both Clive Shakespeare and Harvey James on guitars. Ted’s passing in 2001 precluded TMG from taking part in the Countdown Concert series.  In the early part of the 90s though, TMG did do a bunch of shows and TV appearances a part of a short lived 70’s revival – including Hey Hey Its Saturday and 70’s themed nights. Yet to me, this early 1990’s revival of the Seventies music and culture, was more about having a swipe at the music and fashion of that period – and was taking the piss out of it. It was ‘daggy’, it was uncool – so that made it cool right?  Which really missed the point.  I dig Australian rock ‘n’ roll – it’s the best in the world. From AC/DC to Rose Tattoo, Skyhooks, The Angels, Screaming Jets, Screaming Tribesmen, Radio Birdman, Easybeats, Saints and all points in between – In my opinion, TMG are one of the best band’s this country has ever produced and in a just world, should have/could have been as big as AC/DC.

Mr Rockbrat and I have a connection with TMG rock n roll that still resonates to this day. I have fond memories of sitting in my brother’s bedroom playing the TMG Greatest Hits LP over and over again. Man, they sounded better than Slade, better than Quo. Listen to those killer riffs. A lot like AC/DC……AND they were a Sydney band, unlike Skyhooks or Taste (in those days friends, there was still a Sydney Melbourne rivalry). They lived in the suburb next to where I grew up. As kids, my brother and I used to see the TMG band truck everywhere (with Ronnie Roadie no doubt at the wheel). They were a hard rocking, hardworking band playing memorable, original hard edged rock n roll. What was not to like?

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Rare West German & US TMG LP’s

Yet let’s get back to the present. Highlights from the current TMG show are many. ‘My Little Girl’ ‘Crazy’ ‘Wanted Man’, ‘Heart Of Stone’, ‘Lazy Eyes’, and ‘I’m Free’ to name a few of the highlights. Les Hall, as well as being one of this country’s most underrated guitar players, also wrote many TMG staples that have gone on to become Oz rock standards – people forget that fact. To see Les spitting out blistering solos in 2016 at stage left is a sight (and sound) to savour.  To hear Gary Dixon run through spot-on acoustic versions of ‘Julia’ and ‘Falling In Love Again’ is another highlight of the show, reminding you just how great these songs are, what an outstanding songwriter Ted was, and what an appealing voice Gary possesses. As guitar players who have had a major impact on Australian rock ‘n’ roll – both Gary Dixon and Les Hall are deserving of way more respect. They are rock ‘n’ roll personified. Drummer Herm Kovac, the backbone of TMG, keeps the beat and hits hard as he always does – Mr Reliable behind the kit. It’s always a joy to see Herm belting out the songs and keeping time. Unrelenting, no frills. The band deliver a ball busting rendition of AC/DC’s ‘It’s a Long Way To The Top’ that sends shivers down your spine. This is as close as you are gonna get to the vintage AC/DC sound- and as I’ve said before, these guys are Australian hard rock royalty – and deserve all the successes and accolades owed to them – more in fact.

TMG have a lineage that is entwined with AC/DC and what became known as the “Albert sound”.  They are the only ‘Alberts Band’ out there today playing with any real conviction.  Consider also that in 2016, other seventies band  like Sherbet, Hush, the original Angels, original Tatts etc will never ever be back – with so many of their key members now having sadly passed on. The starkness that TMG are the ONLY band of this ilk still out there doing it – and doing it bloody well, cannot be understated. When I saw TMG last weekend, Angry Anderson got up and belted out ‘Bad Boy For Love’ as an encore. Does it get any cooler than that in 2016? I think not. Rock fans in Europe would kill to see this kind of event. (Way more needs to be done in Australia to honour the legacy of Australia’s great hard rock bands from the 70s, bands that are revered overseas. There exists an ambivalence amongst the music industry, Government’s and the population at large towards bands from this era of Oz rock. Melbourne has AC/DC Lane? And Sydney ? The HOME of AC/DC and the Young’s. Why is Chequers a Chinese owned massage parlour? Why can’t Chequers revert to a rock venue akin to Melbourne ‘Cherry Bar?  Where is the statue to Thorpie? To Tattoo’s legacy? The attitude, the apathy at large is pretty apparent. Yet I’ve digressed. These are issues for another time).

TMG in 2016 are one lean, hard rocking band firing on all cylinders – playing material from the 1970s that sounds relevant and vital, and one can only hope that this recharged line up of TMG enter the studio to release some new material. TMG in 2016 is not revivalism. This is not nostalgia. This is a kick ass rock ‘n’ roll band – the last of their kind. Get out there and see them whilst you can.  If you only see one show in 2017 –make it TMG. Satisfaction guaranteed.  Go to the band’s web site for details of upcoming shows in 2017.

Check out Episode 62 of the Australian Rock Show – An interview with Steve Mulry, Rick Lum from Hush and TMG fans conducted at the Ted Mulry Memorial Day 3/9/16 here

Check out Episode 42 of the Australian Rock Show – An interview with Ronald Clayton  – TMG’s long time roadie (you can meet Ronnie at any of the current TMG shows at the merch table). Listen here

Rockbrat Wonders – Why TMG Are not in the ARIA Hall Of Fame

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Nerd is the word …..

Are Talking Heads the most overrated band of all time ? They are certainly up there. I never understood Talking Heads. They were a band whom never spoke to me – and as a consequence, were a band I never had any time for. Nerds. Art school nerds. History as shown that they came up as part of the NYC punk scene and were a CBGB’s band – but they weren’t a Ramones/Dead Boys/Blondie CB’s band – no leather jackets and ripped jeans rock ‘n’ roll – Polo shirts and tucked in jeans – they were art school geeks with quirky lyrics, thinking music for listeners with Asperger’s – Arty farty crap. Nerd Rock. They came up through the punk period – but they weren’t a punk band. Art punk ? Punk bands of that period were bands like The Boys, The Lurkers, The Damned. Whenever I bought a punk compilation LP and Talking Heads were on it, I skipped the track.  Its arguable that had they come up as part of the UK punk scene, they would not have made it. According to Wikepedia, “Talking Heads helped to pioneer new wave music by integrating elements of punk, art rock, dance, pop and world music with avant-garde sensibilities and an anxious, clean-cut image.” Really? Who wrote that dross?  Their breakthrough song – “Psycho Killer”, was so at odds with everything else being released by their peers. Byrne’s annoying screech on the chorus ‘Run Run Away, I , I , I , ay” – is painful to listen through. I read a review once that called him a ‘Genius’? Genius ? Hardly. Even Byrne himself said in recent years that he was borderline Aspergers. Looking back, that’s pretty apparent. Which is neither good nor bad – just how it is, and not a

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The result of consulting Liberace for costume ideas…….ghastly.

criticism or judgment. A big deal was made of the fact that they had a female bass player – they became known for that. Who cares ? I think she originally was only in the band cos she was the girlfriend of David Byrne, she couldn’t play bass. Apparently, Byrne “unable to find a bass player in New York”, persuaded her to learn the bass. David Byrne was a complete nerd. He must have been intimated by his peers of that time – Joey Ramone, Stiv, Debbie Harry and the like. He had an awkward style, dressed like a nerd, and was geek personified. That they became big in the mid 80s was odd to me. Stop Making Sense? Not if they were the other option. Baggy suits, burning down the house. Just shows you what a shit time this was for music. As the late 70s and mid 80s rolled through, Talking Heads were all about African beats / disco funk. Ugh. In the mid 80s you couldn’t turn on MTV without having that Stop Making Sense nonsense forced down your throat. Songs like “And She Was” and “Wild Wild Life, ‘Burning Down The House’, were irritatingly given unnecessary exposure – and subsequently became hits – yet this was a time when the charts were filled with this kind of nonsense. Whenever I hear ‘Like Humans Do” or “Once in a lifetime”, I feel like puking. Looking back, that the band had major international success was an anomaly to me. They must have been tedious to see live. That David Byrne has had a sustained career and enjoyed an international profile doesn’t say much for peoples tastes. Same reason why people bought records by Simply Red or Phil Collins records I guess. Passé. That Talking Heads are also in the banal ‘Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame” says more about what a redundant organisation that truly is. Kudos to Steve Miller for calling them out for what they truly are. I’d love to know if others think I’m being somewhat harsh here. Prove me wrong! Maybe there are other overrated bands Ive missed……..

ragas-coverRajas, Jugs and Mojo Hands is the new album from the Australia’s best guitar player Gwyn Ashton (sorry Tommy, sorry Phil – I still love ya both) and is a collaborative effort between Gwyn, long-time friend and musical mentor Chris Finnen, and stalwart Peter Beulke on bass. Finnen has shared the stage with some of the world’s best, including Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Witherspoon, Roy Buchanan, Eric Burdon and Keb Mo. Is an introduction to the great Gwyn Ashton really necessary ? For those who weren’t paying attention the first time, Gwyn Ashton has spent the past 30 years touring Australia and Europe, recording with some of the biggest names in blues and rock including musicians from Deep Purple, Robert Plant’s and Rory Gallagher’s bands and touring with the likes of Buddy Guy, Mick Taylor, Peter Green and many more. Much of Gwyn’s material on this new album he wrote while on the road in Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK. How to describe Rajas, Jugs and Mojo Hands? If you are thinking down-the-line Delta or Chicago blues – think again.  Sure, there is evidence of that, but what sets this album apart is the way that Ashton and Finnen weave other musical sounds/influences into the mix – from Indian/Eastern, Arabic and African sounds – and all work amazingly well with the sound of dual National resonators. Throw in equal parts Ashton’s and Finnen’s unique Australian flavors, and you end up with a roots/blues cocktail like no other.  ‘I Can Feel That Mojo Working On Me’ is the ideal opener. Beyond catchy, tasteful slide, catchy chorus, with Indian/Eastern influences set to a Deep South blues groove – man can Gwyn Ashton write a tune. He sure has his mojo going on with this one. This song segues effortlessly into the second track, the all instrumental, Eastern influenced ‘Moravian Rhapsody’ – which is in many ways, a companion piece to the opening track, with the appealing slide resonator guitars up front and foremost. Super catchy, and would no doubt get the nod of approval from George Harrison. ‘Duchcov’, an ode to the Czech Republic town that sits at the foot of the Ore Mountains, is a strikingly atmospheric instrumental that scores big points –  highlighted by subtle playing, fingers delicately finessing strings, and melody galore.  Blues purists will love ‘Lonesome Road’ and ‘Givin Up The Church’, both great slabs of traditional blues played and sung the Finnen way – complete with a wry sense of humour. With its lyrical sexual innuendos, ‘Keep Your Oven Warm’ would no doubt bring a smile to the face of Blind Lemon Jefferson. Keep your jam tart sticky, so I can lick my fingers clean J. There’s an authenticity about all those old blues guys that does not diminish with time  – and that’s what so many people love about the blues. I’m here to tell you folks that Chris Finnen has that same blues authenticity in spades. The album closes with the Eastern sounding instrumental ‘Migration’, a glorious cacophony of sympathetic strings and slide guitar set with Shankar-like ambience. Top shelf. If I’m forced to pick, my personal fave is ‘Who’s That Knockin’, a sing along ditty with catchy chorus that reminds me a lot of ‘On The Beach’ era Neil Young. That’s a good thing folks!  What’s great about this album is that is that it was recorded over two evenings with no rehearsal or pre-production. Everything was recorded live, first or second take, on acoustic guitars and National resonators, with Ashton also on Weissenborn, and Finnen adding chumbush, darbuka, cajon, clay pot and banjo into the mix. Just goes to show you what happens when musical chemistry exists between truly great players. The result is surely one of the best blues/roots albums to come out of Australia in recent years. 10 out of 10. Buy it from Fab Tone Records, or head to Gwyn Ashton’s web site here. You can also check out the official promo video for the album here.

Episode 65 – L7 Interview

Posted: September 30, 2016 by rockbrat in Uncategorized

The mighty L7 – re-united and re-ignited hit Australia soon for a run of shows around the country.  On episode 65 of The Australian Rock Show we chat with Donita Sparks about the re-union, her memories of previous Aussie tours and much more ! Turn this one up loud !

Music by:

L7, Cosmic Psychos

Check out this episode!

Episode 64 – Airbourne Interview

Posted: September 23, 2016 by rockbrat in Uncategorized

The new album from Airbourne ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ is released today ! It’s loud, defiant and in-your-face – and an album which you definitely need to hear. On episode 64 of The Australian Rock Show, we chat with drummer Ryan O’Keeffe about the new album, crank some cool tunage and lots more. Play loud !

Music by:

Airbourne, The Poor

Check out this episode!

a0566583140_10.jpgMany albums by Australian hard rock/heavy metal bands of the early to mid-1980s are long out of print, and often fetch high prices on eBay and the collectors market. When these records were originally released, they were more often than not released on independent labels and in limited numbers, hence the reason why many titles have become scarce as hens teeth and fetch those high prices. There were albums by bands such as Surrender, Tough Luxury, Bengal Tigers, Blackjack, Axatak, Snake – and others I forget, that now go for good money. Scott Ginn’s ‘One Man Army’ was one kick ass album from 1986 that has been long out of print – until now. 30 years later, this underrated album of melodic Australian hard rock has been dusted off and digitally remastered and is now available again, and for the first time, in both CD and digital formats. I still have my original LP, but I gotta tell you, it sounds great to hear these songs given the digital treatment and a new lease of life. This album was every bit as good as material being released back then by prominent hard rock bands in the USA and Europe, yet due to geographic isolation and the fact that it was an independent  release, meant that it wasn’t heard by the masses that it should have. Songs such as ‘Torment In Tehran’, ‘One Hand Held High’, ‘Heartbeat City Blues’  and ‘Watching The Lines Go Down’ are all top shelf hard-rock oozing melody and hooks aplenty. The multi-talented Scott Ginn really was a one man army – as he played all the instruments, sang all the tunes, and produced and engineered the whole she-bang. He also has one of the best rock voices ever to come out of the antipodes. Fresh from his time with BOSS, this was his first solo release, and was recorded at his own Montreux Studios in Sydney, Australia. a3158733681_10.jpgFor this 30th Anniversary re-release he has remastered all the original album tracks and added two additional bonus tracks that were recorded around the same time as the album. A couple of years later, in the late 80s, Ginn put together a band called Rags N Riches, guys who had all been his touring band for the ‘One Man Army’ LP.  Rags N Riches were prominent on the Sydney scene during the late 80s / early 90s and had a solid following. They played a unique brand of rock ‘n’ roll they termed, ‘Rag ‘n’ Roll’ – a blend of commercial hard rock and hair metal with an emphasis on good songs, partying and having a good time. One single was released on coloured white vinyl “Dance Baby Dance w/ Money Can’t Change Your Mind”, which is long out of print. The band’s debut album ‘Shipwrecked Out In The Street” was recorded between 1990 and 1993 at  Montreux Studios but was never released. The band stopped performing after 1993, and the recorded archive of Rags N Riches material sat idle for many years. During 2015-2016 Ginn digitally remastered the original recordings and now, after more than 20 years this killer hard rock album has finally seen the light of day.  I saw Rags N Riches live on many occasions, and at that time was disappointed that an album of original songs never saw the light of day. I have memories of many of the bands tunes including ’Dance Baby Dance’, ‘Hotline’ and the title tune – and it’s great to finally hear these songs again after all these years. Scott Ginn is a guy we have a lot of time for here at Rockbrat HQ, and it goes without saying that both these albums are essential purchases. If you dig melodic hard rock – this stuff is right up your alley and highly recommended! Forget your next cup of coffee and buy a great album of original Australian hard rock. You can buy either CD for only $10 each, or the digital albums for only $5. Head over to https://mazz-xt.bandcamp.com/ for more information and you can also listen to sound samples as well. Australian rock n roll is and always has been, the best in the world – these albums will remind you why.