Saturday, August 17, 2019

Obituary - Damien Lovelock

On Saturday 3 August 2019, Damien Lovelock - best known as the vocalist of Australian band CELIBATE RIFLES - passed away at his home on the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia. He was aged 65. The cause of death was cancer.
Lovelock was born Damien Richard Lovelock on 21 May 1954 in Amersham, England, the son of Australians Joan Wilton (a Jazz singer) and Bill Lovelock (a television producer and musician). The marriage dissolved when Bill moved to New York while Joan returned to Sydney with Damien ,who was still but an infant.
Following the move to Australia, Damo (as he became known) joined a band named STREET NOISE. At the age of 26, he answered a ‘Vocalist Required’ notice and joined both Dave Morris and Kent Steedman in 1980 to form the band that became recognised as CELIBATE RIFLES - a band which started as a high-energy Garage Punk band and matured into a streamlined Alt. Rock band that retained that high-energy feel of the earlier years. Although Lovelock was ten years older than the rest of the band, he had no problem matching their energy.
Following the self-released EP, ‘But Jacques, The Fish?’, the band was signed to Hot Records for the release of the 1983 debut album, ‘Sideroxylon’. Following the album’s release Lovelock started a side-project with the acoustic NO DANCE which featured members of Australian luminaries NEW CHRISTS and DIED PRETTY and released a single in 1984 entitled ‘Carnival Of Souls’.
While Lovelock returned and remained the frontman of CELIBATE RIFLES through nine studio album, two live albums, a flurry of EPs, compilation albums, a video album (which included five solo Locklock tracks) and several international tours, he continued with solo projects. In June 1988 Lovelock released his debut solo album, ‘It's a Wig Wig Wig Wig World’, which was followed by the single, ‘Disco Inferno’, in April 1990. His second solo album, ‘Fishgrass’, was released in December 1991 following a single, ‘The Dalai Lama’, the previous October.
Lovelock had an interesting life outside music also, being a fan’s-perspective commentator on the Sunday afternoon sports programme The World Game that aired on SBS in Australia. In the 2000s, he was a regular member of the football panel on Sky News in Australia and also co-hosted ABC Radio Grandstand for a short period.  Another programme he co-hosted was Football Fever on Sky Sports Radio, the final episodes of which aired in March 2010.
Continuing the sports theme, he wrote two books about soccer (plus a cookery book!), was also a known Yoga instructor in Newport, Sydney (and was proficient to such an extent he was hired by the likes of Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and the NSW State of Origin team) and had a love of Southampton FC.
Lovelock is survived by his son, Luke. 

I discovered the CELIBATE RIFLES quite late on - somewhere around 15 years ago after I’d already made the move to New Zealand.  I had heard of the band often but crossing paths only occurred on the purchase of ‘Blind Ear’, a late 80s album but one which impressed me enough to search out more. It was also this album which features my favourite CELIBATE RIFLES song - and one very fitting to be an epitaph for Lovelock - ‘Wonderful Life’. For those curious to hear the band, a great place to start is the 23-track compilation, ‘Platters Du Jour’, which collects all of the band’s early singles. Grab it and enjoy.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Year-end Recommendations 2018

2018 was a rather interesting and bountiful year in terms of good records. In fact, my Top Three albums all came from totally unexpected sources, with two of the bands being totally new to me, and the other not having released a record in five years or so.  Even taking the Top Ten out of matters, there was still a lot of good gear - and especially when you consider some of the releases I still haven't heard like the new albums by both THE DAMNED and THE DWARVES to name but two, and the TOYS THAT KILL/ IRON CHIC split. 
Also discovered Dirt Cult Records this year. The Portland label hasn't put out a bad release from the multitude I've heard and there is great variation among them too. Genuinely inspiring stuff. Great people to deal with too.
There were some stunning compilation boxsets released too with Cherry Red in particular pulling out all the stops on their ever-continuing run of thoroughly enjoyable collections. The Damaged Goods 30th Anniversary double set is also essential - varied sounds, all special.
Live events were restricted to older acts - THE STRANGLERS, RUTS DC, PETE MURPHY playing BAUHAUS and BOB DYLAN! RUTS DC was easily the highlight, although DYLAN was surprisingly satisfying and among the top three times I've seen him (and that's a few!). No apologies for the fact that that's not very 'Punk Rock'; if that's a problem for you then that really is your problem - not mine.
2018 was also the first year in many during which I never made an overseas trip, so no overseas gigs or record cratedigging experienced!
And of course, there were the sad passings of some legends - Pete Shelley and Steve Soto being the two most notable.  Both massive loses from two gents that gave us so much.
Anyway - 2018 Top Sounds as follows...

ALBUMS
1. CLEVELAND STEAMERS - Best Record Ever {Smog Veil}
2=. SKEPTIC?- Hornet’s Nest {DIY}
2=. SONGS FOR SNAKES - Crystal Vapour Figure {Timid Crusher}
4. SWINGIN’ UTTERS - Peace And Love {Fat Wreck}
5. NEIGHBORHOOD BRATS - Claw Marks {Dirt Cult}
6. CASTRO - Infidelity {Boss Tuneage}
7. NIGHT BIRDS - Roll Credits {Fat Wreck}
8. FUCKED UP - Dose Your Dreams {Merge}
9. FUTURE VIRGINS - Doomsday Raga {Recess}
10. ABOLITIONIST - The Instant {DIY}
Other contenders: YOUTH AVOIDERS - Relentless {Destructure}, CLOWN SOUNDS - Preacher Maker {Recess}, RUBELLA BALLET - Danger Of Death {Overground}, PRETTY FLOWERS - Why Trains Crash, HARD FEELINGS - Side Ways, RADON - More Of Their Lies {Dirt Cult}, LAST GANG - Keep Them Counting {Fat Wreck}, D.O.A - Fight Back {Sudden Death}, SPOILERS - Roundabouts, NATTERERS - Head In A Threatening Attitude {Boss Tuneage}, BAD SPORTS - Constant Stimulation, MIND SPIDERS - Furies {Dirtnap}, DOWN AND OUTS - Double Negative {DIY}, SHADRACKS - The Shadracks {Damaged Goods}, ADOLESCENTS - Cropduster {Concrete Jungle}, THE HOLDOUT - The Things That Brought Us Here {Grafton}

SINGLES
1. CHARACTER ACTOR - s/t {Dirt Cult}
2. VANILLA POD - Goodbye My Love... {Brassneck}
3. NUMBER ONES, The - Another Side Of The Number Ones {Sorry State}
4. CASTRO - Personal EP {Boss Tuneage}
5. HARD SKIN - Not Messing Around {JT Classics}
6. BLANKZ- White Baby {Slope}
7. CORNER BOYS - Love Tourist {Dirt Cult}
8. ABOLITIONIST - The Pinnacle EP {DIY}
9. CHAIN WHIP - s/t {Dirt Cult}
10. BOMBPOPS - Dear Beer {Fat Wreck}
Other contenders: FAZ WALTZ - Julie {Spaghetty Town}, THE LURKERS - Electrical Guitar {Damaged Goods}

RE-ISSUES/ COMPILATIONS
1. VARIOUS - Burning Britain {Cherry Red}
2. PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED - The Public Image Is Rotten {Virgin}
3. NEW YORK DOLLS - Personality Crisis {Cherry Red}
4. THE JAM - 1977 {Polydor}
5. JOE STRUMMER - 001 {Ignition}
6. VARIOUS - Damaged Goods 1988/2018 {Damaged Goods}
7. MARKED MEN - On The Other Side {Dirtnap}
8. REDD KROSS - Hot Issue / Teen Babes From Monsanto {Merge}
9. MOVING TARGETS - The Other Side: Demos And Sessions Expanded {Boss Tuneage}
10. JILTED JOHN - True Love Stories {Boss Tuneage}
Other contenders: HERESY - Face Up To It! {Boss Tuneage}, LAWRENCE ARMS - We Are The Champions Of The World {Fat Wreck}, REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN - That Was Just A Noise 2004 - 2018 {TNS}