What the papers have said about Two Fisted Art. In 2003.

Two Fisted Art
W Minc WMINCD027

THE MOODISTS emerged from Adelaide in South Australia at the end of the 1970s, and headed via Melbourne to London. Here they joined fellow antipodeans the Go-Betweens, the Scientists and Nick Cave in a living hell of bad drugs, bad weather and bad cooking. At the end of the 1980s they went home empty-handed, despite critical acclaim and a fearsome live presence. Two Fisted Art, a Best Of supplemented by a superb bonus live CD, proves the Moodists the equal of any of their post-punk peers in the unfettered noise stakes, but maybe Dave Graney's elliptical, epic, witty, self-mythologising lyrics and histrionic, golden wolverine growl made too many intellectual demands on the indie-rock fans of the mid-1980s. If the Moodists are an unknown quantity, you now have the enviable pleasure of discovering them for the first time.
Stewart Lee , Sunday Times UK, May 2003

The Moodists rehearsl room 2003

Moodists, Sand Pebbles
The Tote, Friday 14/2/03

Getting an early start to this gig was competing with the jaw-dropping Michael Jackson doco on the TV at home for many, but the crowd built up steadily during the Sand Pebbles set. First song was a kind-of instrumental punctuated by minimal vocals, followed by the e-bow guitar and dexterous bass of their almost-hit cover of nutcase supreme Julian Cope’s Out Of My Mind On Dope And Speed,but with the crazy Hawkwind-esque flange production of the recorded version sadly absent. Other songs were carried off with classy aplomb by the hard-to-pigeonhole sort-of-rock band that’s not trying to be just glamorous or flavour-of-the-month fashionable (although if one were to compare their sound a little to Gomez or Coldplay it wouldn’t be the insult it may initially appear, with the la la la of the final song touching on Morrison/Camilleri/De Ville territory), leaving some punters looking bemused, others converted. (Have a listen to their Eastern Terrace CD to be further confounded.)
(Momentary whinge- back in the day, high-hand held camcorders were the thing of daydream not the view-blockers that plague almost every gig now.) Moodists were here again after an extended break to launch the collection, Two Fisted Art. Bassist Chris Walsh laid down a rock-solid rumble thudthudthud grind-groove like a construction site in your chest during Frankie’s Negative, Chad’s Car and Double Life (at one point pile-driving the instrument into the floor), basis and grounding for the spiky sonic spider crawling on a swampy grungy (in the old-school sense) to funky spaghetti western guitar excursions of latter-day Dirty 3-er Mick Turner and the very dapper besuited ‘Handsome’ Steve Miller, with drummer Clare Moore meshing these musical elements together (look out for her all-girl supergroup, The Chico Molls). And the always-interesting Dave Graney. What IS he wearing? Love him or hate him, there is no doubt his fashion sense is second-to-none. Tonight’s sartorial offering was an astounding leather ensemble enclosing a skin-tight black see-through bodyshirt. The ostentatious flutter of jewellery, particularly the ‘Dave’ knuckleduster ring, deserves mention too. Then there’s the surrealistic banter (he encouraged people to buy a CD to play in their coffin while being buried - it’s much funnier the way he told it) and amusing regaling of band and audience between songs (“the comedy festival starts in two months, pal”), and the skewed storytelling of the songs themselves (spiritual father of The Fauves’ Coxy maybe?). “I’m gonna play a song off our new album. We recorded it yesterday” before the bumpy careening Chevrolet Rise, Runaway and (my favourites) Six Dead Birds and Gone Dead. If you only knew Graney’s smoother ‘solo’ material, the sound alone would be an eye-opener: it’s not easy listening, a bit challenging, very ‘Melbourne early ‘80s even, but worth thumbing down a ride in the mysterious sleek dark saloon with the slightly odd-looking stranger driving. Who knows what world you’ll end up in. Intriguing. “It’s the only show we’re doing for this 17 years, so… see you later.”

The Moodists
Two Fisted Art (1980-1986)
W Minc Records

My first encounter with Dave Graney was in his Coral Snakes guise in around 1991 at the Hopetoun Hotel in Sydney. He was in lonesome prairie acoustic mode, with a handle bar moustache and a zen-like stage demeanor. Lush and laid-back, it sounded as though Graney had a whammy bar fixed permanently to his voice and run through the PA. The pubs at this stage were being bludgeoned mercilessly with 'all thrash-no chat'. It was a revelation witnessing rambling narratives dropped among wistful songs about love n' loss and Graney's continuing dialogue with show business. The 'Snakes were wonderfully out of step with the impending wave of grunge breaking over the scene and it's what endeared him to many during those meandering, intimate shows.
Rewind to the late seventies - from humble beginnings in Adelaide and Melbourne The Moodists soon realised better things may have been on offer overseas. Not wanting to remain humble they jetted off for London like many of their contemporaries (Go-Betweens, Triffids, Birthday Party). They spent most of their career in the UK trying to make a fist of it and despite the notoriously fickle English press lumping them in with other visiting Australians (because they all sound the same) and their seemingly hand to mouth existence, managed a not insignificant output in a relatively short period of time, cutting two albums and a handful of mini albums and singles.
The first disc contains studio recordings and the second comprises live material recorded at gigs in Australia and the UK from 1983-85. There's a kind of beauty through repetition in their most impressive stuff, whether it's the heated "Some Kinda Jones" or the knife-edge "Boss Shitkicker" and the relentless rumble of "The Disciple's Know". No matter how many times you revisit these tracks, they'll leave you with the sensation they could fall apart at any moment, truly compelling listening.
The insistent muscle of the rhythm section over a scathing guitar, alongside Graney's rich vocalising were all vital ingredients, not to mention the intuitive power of Clare Moore's drumming. Also in the band was Mick Turner (currently Dirty Three and Tren Brothers) and The Moodists' sound engineer Victor Van Vugt (now residing in New York) whose credits include Beth Orton, PJ Harvey and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.
The second disc captures The Moodists live in all their blistering menace. "Enough Legs to Live On" is unrelenting, anchored by a huge bass sound that'll have you wishing you could've been present to feel it in the pit of your stomach. A true mess of dark stuff pervades "Bullet Train", the perfect vehicle for Graney's impassioned vocals backed by an ever-present brutal rhythm and a nasty layer of chicken-scratch guitar. Although largely ignored in Australia during their existence, The Moodists' influence can't be denied; this here punter can hear their attack echoed in the moody urgency and lurching bass of nineties band Crow and current Sydneysiders, the confronting Bluebottle Kiss.
Excellent liner notes penned by David Nicholls (responsible for the engrossing Go Betweens book of 1997) accompany the release.
Nicholls recalls a humorous meeting with the band for the first issue of his fanzine Distant Violins and a vivid account of witnessing the band's live intensity on several occasions.
A great overview of a truly unique and influential band - the response to the Two Fisted Art retrospective has been such that they've decided to reform for a small run of shows in Australia, which will be essential viewing for original fans. It will also be of particular interest to those like myself who, though not old enough to have witnessed the band at the time, have been both entertained and intrigued by this guy Graney and his impressive output and performances following The Moodists.
Brian Stradbrook luna kafe magazine

This twin CD set reveals the earlier, unpolished side of the only musician who ever successfully mergeed irony with cool- Dave Graney. Fronting the Moodists, Graney is inswampland-all very 80's and very Melbourne, but not even remotely dated. The Birthday Party meet the Velvet Underground on Chevrolet Rise, while the Disciples Know twists the standard Bo Diddley shuffle into something altogether darker and dirtier. Elsewhere it feels a bit like Kim Salmon in a Surrealist mood. The first disc comprises of 19 studio tracks- the second is live, beer soaked and equally sublime. Revered in 80's London and pretty much ignored here, the Moodists are essential listening to anyone vaguely interested in Australia's underground past.

Annette Basile , Juice , May 2003.

The Moodists /The morose /The sullen /The sulky / are still holding out/ to be reckoned with.
Time for rehabilitation/ rediscovery/ recognition . In the mid-1980’s, The Moodists were an obscure small rock band from Australia which made as much noise as a drag-racing track. But they were understood by few. After some years of disconsolate performances at pubs in Melbourne and Sydney, they moved to London to make a rock career. Just as bad there. For some years, they were certainly a part of a well-publicized mini-wave of Australian underground rock (remember The Birthday
Party, Hunters & Collectors, The Triffids ?), but The Moodists were even there, the most challenging and difficult to place. Nothing of what they recorded has been available on cd. They were quietly forgotten. Up until now, that is. For with the double cd, ”Two fisted art” an Australian company has collected their best on a cd and a disc with live material. And, extraordinarily, this is still wearing well.
The Moodists play an existential big-city blues, smelling of (sweaty ?) leather, with a rumbling bass at the centre. But it has nothing to do with funk – it
rather drives its way forward like a ploughshare through clay. At the same time, Clare Moore follows a proud line of uncompromising female rock drummers (back to Velvet Underground’s Maureen Tucker). Dave Graney sings with an intense, desperate voice of sleeplessness, burning cars and snorting ajax. There is a feet-on-the-ground feeling in the chaos which means that it never becomes affected or arty. This is only a gang of Australian cowboys standing indifferent in the middle of the end of the world.
The live cd adds nothing, really, but the track from the lp ”Thirsty’s calling” and the mini-album ”Double life” are something of the strongest recorded during the 1980’s.
Magnus Säll (Dagens Nyheter , swedish daily paper. Translated by Steve Millers uncle Vic)

Two Fisted Art. The Moodists
Tales From The Australian Underground

In the years after punk ifs possible that the only band that ever hit you harder than the Moodists were soulmates and Melboume/London drinking buddies, the Birthday Party. With the Moodists, distorted blues and mutated rock plugged into a shockingly licentious bass and assaulted you constantly. Guitars would forgo scraping across your eyeballs only to pick at you until you gave in or ran out wearing the scars of a thousand cuts to your skin/cerebellum/psyche.
These songs weren't easy; they weren't pleasant, but they reeked of immersion in the Beefheart end of garage punk and the darker depths of country, and the conventions of both forms can be discerned under the pounding. Over it all, Dave Graney's voice could squeal and rail but it was at its most lethal when low and growling, as if pitched to meld with Clare Moore's taut drums.
Over the two discs of this historical record/compilation (one disc is of studio recordings; the other is live recordings and some appropriately oneeyed fan finer notes) you can see that apart from the Birthday Party there were connections with arthouse groups such as The Fall and Laughing Clowns. And in the obscure but grandly stated lyrics of Graney, there's a literary style that would blossom in his solo work.
I have to admit never really getting past the visceral with the but they left a serious mark on the '80s underground and outfits such as Thug and the Scientists.
All three of them, and more than 40 more, are captured in their sweaty, short and direct glory on Tales From The Australian Underground.
Though suffering for coming after last year's double of underground reissues (Do The Pop and Born Out Of Time) and sharing many of the same names, Tales differs by concentrating on the singles, particularly the early singles. This means there's a roughness here that is bracing and exciting. There are the expected (Radio Birdman, X, the Eastern Dark), the unexpected (Numbers, the wonderful Pel Mel and Makers Of The Dead Travel Fast) and the lovely (Triffids, Lighthouse Keepers) to balance out the raucous.
Bernard Zuel, Sydney Morning Herald


Here be an interview with Chris Walsh in 2003

An interview with the Moodists in 2003.


David Graney tries to explain where the songs were comin' from , here....

what they did live in 2004