LULU'S MAY 2022 NEWSLETTER
Here is the May 2022 Newsletter and Calendar, emailed at the start of the month to our mailing list and physically available free in store.
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Huge one for you this month!! The last few weeks have been a wild time for both local releases and international arrivals. Some quick housekeeping first though!
From May 1st Lulu’s will be moving to our new winter hours of Weds-Sun, 12-5. Taking a step back from 7 days a week will give as a much needed chance to rest and also fine tune the shop, keeping it feeling always fresh and at its best. So much love to everyone who comes to visit - hopefully us taking a weekend on Mondays and Tuesdays won’t mess with those plans too much!
This week saw a huge box of new international punk and hardcore from the inimitable La Vida Es Un Mus. They’ve hooked us up with not only restocks of 2021 highlight Algara but also brand nu missives from NYC’s Straw Man Army (already sold out oops.... we’ll get more don’t worry), Fatamorgana, The Chisel, Barrera, Quarantine plus an incredible reissue of Rudimentary Peni’s Death Church and a bunch of other goodies.
Add to this long-awaited local releases from Romero, Vacuum, Horse Macgyver, Aarti Jadu, The Blinds, and Romancy and - as you can see - this month is stacked. There’s so much we would have loved to write about this month but I’m literally struggling to fit what we’ve already got, so instead you’ll just have to come in and I can tell you all about how sick the new Hybrid Man 12” is.
In other exciting news we have a new Lulu’s design from the incredible Coco Star that’s been in the works for ages now and we’re so excited to finally share with you! Clear out some space in your wardrobe because these are soooooo fresh.
As always, come hang at the shop; bring in your demo, zine, chapbook - whatever! We wanna know what you’ve been up to, and happy to help facilitate projects in any way we can.
Look after each other, rug up, and we’ll see you next month.
FATAMORGANA – “AHORA AQUI, TODAVIA NO” LP
La Vida Es Un Mus
Fatamorgana have graced us with quite the trip on their latest album, a tweaked blend of bubbly, blipping queer disco traxxx revelling in electronic whimsy while the yang presents a more self-serious post cyber punk probably not intended for daylight hours.. The result is a dance record that you’d be inclined to sway to and fro with your eyes closed tightly in the night while your left feet are getting unconsciously footloose, causing some sort of mischief unbeknown to the rest of you. Some of the retro Nu Wave leads are almost sweet to the point of aggression, and some are simply beautiful for the sake of beauty as art, but when those bass lines make their presence felt it’s thick like mud, anchoring itself deep into subterranea for your pleasure. It’s dense with rhythm. This record makes me imagine that I’m somebody else, living a double life as a frequenter of some punks-on-film type club with the only colours being neon and smoke and one that we don’t have a word for in our language, existing in the world of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. And I love it there.
ROMERO - “TURN IT ON!” LP
Cool Death Records
After two years of what we can all agree are best left to the annals of fucking time, we’re certainly in need of some positive developments. Melbourne troublemakers Romero have answered the call, significantly upgrading their recorded output with their new LP “Turn It On!”, serving up ten tracks of punk swooned power pop forged from heartbreak and a desire to create a sound that represents the anticipation of tomorrow, rather than dwelling in the past.
There’s a rich history of having your head blown clean off by a 45 that comes and goes in what feels like a heartbeat. Flipping a piece of plastic for the umpteenth time, you might wonder “how long till I get more?” Maybe it’s a flash in the pan, just another great record relegated to the pile of bands that could have been.
Luckily, Romero have bucked the trend, because relatively soon after blowing some aforementioned heads off with their ‘Honey/Neapolitan’ 45, they’re returning with about as DEBUT an LP as you can get.
By that I mean, it kicks the bloody doors in. No swirling ominous intro, no burying the lead, instead careening into the opener ‘Talk About It’, offering everything all at once. It takes roughly thirty seconds to acclimatise to some seriously first class pop sensibilities, setting the tone for a record that compels you to feel. And feel you will, whether it’s stopped at the lights, screaming “If you’re halfway out the door”, rosy-cheeked from being caught in the act by the driver beside you, or pin-balling around your house to “Honey” as you prepare for a night in a city that expects the world of you.
Romero have certainly taken a more-is-more approach, forgoing any cerebral side roads and thundering down the highway in an 18 wheel power pop tanker. Every track swings for the fences. The band knows there’s no point being coy when the vocals clip the tape like they’re wailing on a Stax record. Reminiscent of the early Stiff catalogue, the rest of the band charge urgently on the beat, essentially hardening out the softer elements of a group that has a big, big heart. If you had to boil it down, it’s a punk record with hard power pop leanings. But the amalgamation of genres is simply a byproduct of what’s really going on: five friends making music that effectively conveys how they feel playing together, and a triumphant exorcism of the last two years.
To be sure, we’ve all been through the grinder. Starved of contact and context, we’re slowly relearning how to talk, flirt, and function in the street, desperately seeking out some levity. If their first two singles were stolen glances at the bar where you wonder what could’ve been, this LP is that perfect first date where everything clicks and you get the feeling you’re standing at the precipice of something truly special.
LOU REED - "SO IN LOVE" CS
The Velvet Underground’s final masterpiece ‘Loaded’ was as much a reference to the drugs the band liked to indulge in as much as it was a reference to its beginnings.
After their third self-titled effort got them dropped from MGM, they signed with Atlantic’s subsidiary Cotillion who demanded an ‘album loaded with hits’ and warned their career was over if they failed to hit the charts. With no other option Lou Reed rose to the challenge determined to conquer the good old U.S of A.
During the sessions Doug Yule’s increased presence, Cotillion’s editing of tracks, production disputes and the substitution of Maureen Tucker with Yule’s brother Billy led to Lou Reed’s departure from the VU in August 1970 three months before its release.
Despite being well received by critics, ‘Loaded’ was another commercial flop - too straightforward rock and roll for the small cult following devoted to the bands early works and out of step with an American youth culture hung up on the Summer of Love.
Reed reportedly suffered a breakdown after his final days in the VU, returned to his parents house in Long Island to work as a typist for his father’s accounting firm and spent a long two years contemplating whether to pack it in altogether which brings us to this incredible document.
These are the first known recordings of a post Velvet Underground Lou Reed.
Details of this tapes origins or how it made its way into the public domain are scarce but these solo acoustic demos are believed to be recorded over the autumn and winter of 1970 on a personal tape recorder in either his bedroom at Long Island or Richard and Lisa Robinson’s apartment - a rock-groupie journalist couple who would let Reed crash at their apartment in the city in exchange for a performance they could record.
Comprised of lost VU tracks that wouldn’t see proper release until the mid 80’s as well as demos of works in progress that would surface on his next four solo LPs (‘Lou Reed’, ’Transformer’, ‘Berlin’ and ‘Sally Can’t Dance’), ‘So In Love’ is rare insight into a future icons working process.
Shining through the constant tape hiss and distortion is an absolute masterclass in song-writing and rhythm guitar from an artist at the top of their game and a career on the rocks. Perhaps one of its biggest revelations is just how much incredible material he had up his sleeve at this point in time.
Highlights include lost VU era tracks ‘I Can’t Stand It’, ‘Walk It and Talk It’ as well as future solo career classics ‘Lisa Says’, ‘Kill Your Sons’,’Looking Through the Eyes of Hate (Oh Jim)’ and title track ’So In Love’ - a song that only appears on this release but stands up there with some of his greatest work.
The performances sway from tentative and vulnerable to fearless and back again with an untouchable level of swagger amidst uncertainty - the fidelity and noise creating an almost hypnotic level of ambience and making this a Lou Reed document like no other.
This is the beginning of Reed’s great American novel.
JIM MCCULLOUGH - “GLUE FACTORY” BOOK
I lived with Jim in his time as an undertaker. He’d work 6pm til 6am. I’d catch him on my way out to work in the morning. He’d be wired and completely shellshocked from everything he’d seen the night before - gathering pieces of bodies from train suicides, the indescribable stench of finding a dead body in a hoarders house that no one knew was there. We lived at the intersection of Gilbert & Murray Rd in Preston - an arterial thoroughfare for giant trucks and masses of traffic. Along with a tram stop on our doorstep to boot. All he wanted was sleep and he couldn’t usually get it. I think it sent him a little mad, but he loved it. He found pride in doing work that no one else wanted to. This was all a while ago now, and he hasn’t talked about his experience much - equally for mental and legal reasons. This collection of paintings represents his first public reckoning with what he saw. “I did this job for 5 years. At the time I didn’t really know how to make paintings about what I was seeing. Many years later and no longer working in the field, I’ve had time to reflect on my experiences… The 47 scenarios depict scenes of situations before I arrived to do my part.”
Any time narration comes into play, we must ask that dreadful question about "truth". Who does it belong to? What about the role of poetic license, artistic liberties, tall tales, pork pies, a dash of imagination here or a sprinkling of embellishment there? Can you afford to take the audience for a ride? (Can you afford not to?) Jim's works inside Glue Factory deal with these notions playfully and dutifully.
Sculpting forms with loose strokes and maximizing expression through minimal spectrums of colour is what McCullough excels at. The ability to jump between muted and loud is a strength he employs judiciously. Being a subject matter that is so heavy and real, sometimes it's helpful to have a teaspoon of sugar to swallow it down. Sometimes you're staring at a cheap shag carpet, homeground of narcotic habits. Sometimes you’re looking at a road, a lighthouse, a train platform, or a cheap local shop. Are they selling smack from a room out the back or do they just sell magazines and ice creams? I wonder if Jim asked those same questions. He is certainly aware that Australiana is a fascinating web where grit and ugliness is only a hop, skip and a jump away from the sun kissed idyllicism of a Little Aths carnival. The guy who dresses up as Santa Claus sporting boardies to dole out prezzies to children around Christmas might just be the same bloke who buried a fella out bush. Buzzing flies are ubiquitous in this land, whether it’s a gang of them following you around in the backyard or an even bigger gang of them rocking up to the body before Jim, and the recurring character of ‘Fly’ spread throughout the book is genius.
But it is not all doom and gloom. The colourful spectrum of human life and experience is well represented in Glue Factory with works like ‘Hells Angels’ and ‘The Smoker’ exuding a cool bravado that makes you wanna be them while ‘Baby Bath’ and ‘Swimming’ are tender beyond words. It is no small feat to have struck so many powerful and wonderfully human nerves in this collection of work. Jim’s combinations of palette and technique are amongst his strongest to date, each painting breathing the truth (whether the “real” truth or just his truth) to life and to art.
A picture tells a thousand words and I've nearly reached my word count. This wonderful book is a glimpse into life starting at the end and working backwards, an immense accomplishment for an artist making their name one worth keeping an eye on.
THE BLINDS - "ENDLESS FASCINATION" 7"
Pet Moth Records
The debut 7" by The Blinds is a corker. The sound on this recording is thicker and creamier than that of their live shows and it's an interesting addition to their already fascinating blend. Having spent time in a slew of Melbourne bands of all sorts the one thing that binds them together is undying dedication to the riff. Easy on the ears when they need to be, you can hear hints of perennial favourites Eddy Current Suppression Ring and The Clean with Lachie's mostly easy-going singing, Fuj's creative guitar talent and Cal's I'm-Gonna-Walk-All-Over-You bass playing, but this is no ordinary band and The Blinds are more inclined to bond over Prog Rock and Death Metal with their Peronis while they're out disrespecting the wood. The result is music more reminiscent of Total Control or Constant Mongrel at their most staunch. That is, before they revert back to a pop hook to get your toes a tappin'. Their idiosyncrasies give them a distinction of their own, managing to be complex but endlessly listenable, and they've made this three-song EP feel more than just that. I'm sure I will listen to it at least eight times today. How many will you do?
PAISH - "POP MONSIEUR VOL. 1" CS
Cease & Desist Records
NFTs, total war, environmental collapse.We are living in new, embarrassing times. But Paish is less interested in the grandiose, miserable sweep of the long durée. Rather, Pop Monsieur is about the indignities of living blankly in the shadow of a world-system going down the tubes. It is an ode to keeping the lid on the silent scream, to blotting out an internal monologue that compulsively finds its way back to the “Danger Zone.” It is sonic testimony to Man’s capacity to politely, toe-tappingly, lose his mind on a public bus.
UK-born, Melbourne-based Paish takes his musical cues from the best of the Auld Worlde’s post-punk patrimony. Guitars recall Orange Juice’s wiry, funkish jangling with a dash of Women’s icy, modish complexity thrown in for good measure. The keys are weird and garish, all 1980s analogue drifting by way of Saâda Bonair or Gina X Performance, while the thuggish, synthetic insistence of Human League’s android rhythms provide the backdrop for Paish’s signature lobotomised baritone.
In the pantheon of low-frequency, low-serotonin crooners, Paish is an up-and-comer. Paish artfully combines Stephen Merritt’s (The Magnetic Fields) word-perfect ironising with the ambient misery of Dave Berman’s happier moments (The Silver Jews). The antipodean influence makes itself known through Paish’s remonstrations with the Australian state, a half sun-bleached, half sun-sick disposition, and an affinity for discomfiting lyrical realism that recalls the sharpest, funniest lines on Alex Cameron’s early records.
Paish is, at heart, an inveterate sentimentalist with razor-sharp pop instincts. It’s easy listening, really, if you don’t listen too hard. Dig beneath the surface, though, and there’s something else lurking. Like a middle-aged man with a basement full of hand painted miniatures, Paish manages to be both sweet and unsavoury at the same time. Isolation, intimacy, deindustrialisation, hors d’oeuvres, broken supply chains, broken hearts. Paish’s deadpan, SSRI-fried delivery leaves us wondering what he really thinks about his subjects. And by the same token, we are forced to question what we really think about them, too. Ambivalence is half the fun, and Paish has used it to create a wonderful pop record that will quicken the pulse of irony poisoned dopamine burnouts, post-punk aficionados, and mass transit enthusiasts everywhere.
THE NEUROS - “THE NEUROS” 7”
Shipping Steel Records
On their debut 7” The Neuros have captured the lightning emblematic of the late 70’s LA Punk scene and downed it with some long hair of the early 70’s Michigan rock dogs, a pairing made in the cellar of heaven. I mean, who isn’t totally up for hearing some seedy xeroxed Fred Sonic Smith heat after the bridge? And speaking of heat, Freya brings it to the table - able to weave her subtle sleaze crooning and punching one-two-three hooks with expert restraint and release. Sometimes an old sound comes back along at the right time and this combination is ripe for potential, The Neuros being self anointed messiahs returning to this mortal plane the Dangerhouse punk chunk and if you know what’s good for you, you don’t wanna miss the second coming. Thanks be to The Neuros.
ALGARA - “ABSORTOS EN EL TEDIO ETERNO” LP
La Vida Es Un Mus
Here are some words from Algara. Translated into English by our friend P.C. Followed by some humble words from Algara FC’s Secretary of Smashing State.
Una Cosa Más Sin Sentido Alguno / One More Pointless Thing
It was the Chinese | Who knows - Your guess is as good as mine | Maybe the Japanese | Or perhaps the Russians
New world order | New normality | All against all | This is the end
Another meaningless thing | Used to make the same old man rich
It was the Kurdish | Who knows | Maybe the Belarusians | Or perhaps the Palestinians
New world order | New normality | All against all | This is the end
Algara are the punk band to listen to these days. They are a group beyond good and bad. They are better. I am sure they believe in the right to repair. I am sure they believe in burning buildings which house vulgar establishments that no longer serve the human need. I am sure they believe in loving thy neighbourhood. I am sure they believe in celebration and in dancing. I am sure they believe in essence. Algara are wise guys and would be wise to listen to the music that Algara makes. You would be even more wise to do so very loudly, to let yourself be inebriated by the grand ecstasy of rhythm, spending loud night bringing the taste of wine to your lips and offering the same to your neighbours, shaking all over, quivering just so that your soul awakes and joins you again in matrimony, the chymical wedding. A gun is a gun. A gun and a song is two guns.
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