The Lipstick Killers have a special place in the late seventies music scene – a brash attitude laden band that inspired many, but had a chequered career of their own. They were an integral part of the late ‘70s post-Radio Birdman Sydney indie scene before gigging with the likes of the Gun Club and the Flesh Eaters in Los Angeles where they crashed and burned in 1981.
While they only ever had one formal release – the single ‘Hindu Gods of Love’ produced by Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek – they amassed a huge collection of unreleased studio and live recordings, and Grown Up Wrong! Records have announced the release of ‘Strange Flash – Studio and Live 1979-81’ – an anthology of everything ever captured on tape by the band, taken from the original masters. The anthology will be released on 25 June 2021.
The Lipstick Killers’ enigmatic and high-energy sound – heavily inspired by the Stooges and the ‘60s psychedelic punk sounds of bands like the Thirteenth Floor Elevators and the Chocolate Watchband – bridged the gap between Radio Birdman and subsequent Sydney groups like the Sunnyboys (whose first-ever show was opening for the Lipstick Killers), Lime Spiders, Hoodoo Gurus and Psychotic Turnbuckles. Circle Jerks and original Black Flag frontman Keith Morris, having witnessed a couple of their LA shows, later described them as “easily one of the greatest live bands I’ve witnessed in my 65 yrs. on this planet “.
Strange Flash will be available in two formats. The double-LP includes the original 1979 single, the posthumous “Sockman/Pensioner Pie’ 45 plus additional studio masters from the same ’78 session, an unreleased album length 1980 demo session recorded by Australian guitar god Lobby Loyde, and the near-complete LA show that comprised the original live album “Mesmerizer” (taken from the original cassette that went in the mixing desk!), adding a number of additional tunes but losing a couple that one band member wasn’t really happy with. The set features liner notes by Ugly Things magazine and Grown Up Wrong! Records’ Dave Laing, some killer pix and flyers and repro’s of the stunning Lipstick Killers posters designed by highly collectable Sydney poster artist John Foy, alongside the previously mentioned Byron Coley piece.
The double-CD includes also this and more, including a near complete live show recorded in Adelaide in 1978, some of which was released on a handmade cassette by members of the band in the mid-‘80s (likely in very low double-digit or possibly even single-digit quantities) and a couple of the tracks of which appeared on a very limited run 45 also released by the band in later years. But a good chunk of it has never been heard, and it is wild. Additionally, the CD edition also includes the revered “Wild Weekend”/”Horizontal Action” 45 released in 1978 by the band that the Lipstick Killers formed out of, the Psycho-Surgeons, as well as a couple of 1976 rehearsal recordings from the Psychos’ very early days, which were released on a seriously limited edition 45 on Blank Records a number of years ago. The double-CD includes all the liners notes, images and repro’s that are included with the double-LP and adds further notes by Steve Lorkin of ‘80s Sydney zine 48 Crash fame, more clippings, including a ripper feature by Darcy Condon from Sydney’s RAM magazine, and loads more images, including some Psycho-Surgeons goodies.
You will be able to order the anthology soon through Grown Up Wrong! Records here.