Friday, March 14, 2008

Inner City Sound: Punk and Post-Punk in Australia, 1976 – 1985 (Verse Chorus Press, 2005): Clinton Walker. Arguably the most important “punk scene,” to emerge after N.Y.C. and London, was the scene that emerged from down under Australia way. Of course, qualitatively, it is some pretty funky math that arrives on an answer wherein country (continent, even) equals city. The Australian scene such as it was does not look so hot once we take into consideration: the Birthday Party were from Melbourne; the Scientists from Perth; the Saints from Brisbane; and Radio Birdman from Sydney. Crime and the City Solution also came out of Sydney but those clever gents bucked the southern hemisphere first chance they got and settled into a life in London, much as the Bad Seeds would later settle upon Berlin. Nevertheless, all these brilliant and fierce rock bands found their sound in Australia, and the best print source of information I know about is this handsome collection of articles, photos, discographies and reprinted interviews from the vintage Aussie fanzine called Pulp. In addition to the beloved bands already mentioned there are features on the Boys Next Door (proto-Birthday Party), the Laughing Clowns, the Go Betweens, Hunters and Collectors, the Triffids and information on dozens of other bands that might otherwise be forgotten. This is one of only a few music books I recommend without hesitation.