The Fossil Records
When it comes to Australian music, I must admit to being pretty ignorant. I'm a huge fan of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (the best live band I've ever seen), and various associated acts like The Dirty Three and The Birthday Party, but after that I know next to nothing about alternative rock culture Down Under. Before starting this blog I had never heard of Hoodoo Gurus or their seminal 1984 album Stoneage Romeos. I think it is fair to say that I had been missing out.
Hoodoo Gurus formed in 1981 in Sydney, and their debut outing is an absolutely cracking blast of new wave, psychobilly and garage rock with some fantastic pop tunes. I have no idea why it isn't better known in Europe. It also has a stunning sleeve - a Day-Glo version of Ray Harryhausen's Allosaurus from the film One Million Years B.C., menacing a cowering cave-woman, while pterosaurs wheel through the sky.
Bizarrely, for the US and several other international releases, this wonderful cover art was replaced by bland images of stylised dinosaurs (by Donald Krieger). The band's frontman Dave Faulkner referred to this as "bad coffee table art, very anonymous and boring". I would agree, which is why I recommend buying the original Australian edition.
Stoneage Romeos takes its name from a short 1955 comedy film, Stone Age Romeos, featuring the slapstick team The Three Stooges. This takes me back to my childhood years, watching old black and white Stooges films on TV on Saturday mornings. In Stone Age Romeos, The Stooges aim to prove that cavemen still exist, and fake the evidence needed to do so.
The artwork for the original Australian release of Stoneage Romeos was designed by Yanni Stumbles, a Sydney-based artist who produced screen-prints in the early 1980s, before moving to move in the areas of management and production design in the music industry. You can read more about her, and see more examples of her work here.
Several singles were released from the album, including I Want You Back, which has an excellent music video, stuffed full of wonderfully crap stop-motion dinosaurs.
There's lots of other examples of fun dinosaur imagery associated with Hoodoo Gurus, including concert posters, a 2005 tribute album called Stoneage Cameos, and the cover of the 2010 album Purity of Essence.
If you want to buy the original release of Stoneage Romeos, you can find it on Discogs here. It comes highly recommended.