Carla Lippis is a live grenade with lungs, and she’s back in Australia to unleash her new sound with MONDO PSYCHO: an avant garde descent into rock ‘n’ roll purgatory helmed by ‘the Satanic Liza Minelli’.
To be released on June 23, Carla’s debut album, MONDO PSYCHO, will be given the initiation it deserves with a powerful, hypnotic and pulsating live show that will hit Hobart’s Dark Mofo (June 7 – sold out), Melbourne’s Stay Gold (June 23) and Adelaide’s The Governor Hindmarsh (July 1).
Led by the relentless Swans-meets-Diamanda Galas art punk of first single, You Will Be Happy (available to listen to now on Bandcamp), MONDO PSYCHO is a ferocious nod to the riot girl howl of the 90s, the chaotic post-punk of The Birthday Party and the insolence of X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene for this long-awaited debut album.
“I’ve waited my entire life to make this album,” Carla says. “This is my life, my rage, my frustrations, my demons, and my inspirations, all on the record I wanted to record, and had to record. It might have taken me 40 years to release an album, but it took me 40 years for a reason.”
The Adelaide-born singer fled London in 2020 as COVID-19 began to rip through London and venue closures disrupted her career as a West End singer.
Through the haze of isolation and unemployment, Carla, along with her guitarist husband Geoff Crowther and keyboardist and sound designer Duncan Campbell, began to write the songs that make up her new apocalyptic rock release MONDO PSYCHO.
Being inspired to release something against the grain is something that is important to Carla as a woman approaching middle age: “As a late bloomer in music I’ve constantly been told ‘you’re too old to foster industry backing’, because few in the industry here want to take a risk on an artist that isn’t young, impressionable and easily manipulated into fulfilling the commercial interest of others.”
In a career ranging from singing in sequins to nightclub crowds in London’s West End to touring Europe fronting the cinematic sounds of Italian post-folk group Sacri Cuori, Carla has performed, collaborated and shared the stage with the likes of Calexico, Marc Ribot (right-hand guitarist for Mr Tom Waits), She & Him’s M. Ward and ex-Bad Seed Hugo Race.
She has released music in a range of guises from the alt-country ballads of ‘The Martial Hearts’ to the minimalist punk riffs of ‘The Rules’, or the 60s Italo Pop of ‘Baby Carla.’
The MONDO PSYCHO stage show evokes a live phantasmagoria, with pulsing melodic synths and grinding guitars washing over a wave of visceral vocal rage; and yet, there are moments of surprising intimacy and vulnerability.
The current Carla Lippis band lineup consists of some of Adelaide’s most dextrous musicians: ‘Shaolin Afronauts’ afro-futurist band leader Ross McHenry on bass and Matriarch Moog; celebrated film sound designer Duncan Campbell on synths; sound effects and piano; Glaswegian-born avant noise specialist, Geoff Crowther on guitar; NYC-based Angus Mason on drums; and the aptly named Django Rowe on second guitar.
“We live in a country that holds sport above art – being in a band is our team sport. Some go to footy practice, we go to band practice. Striving together as a team towards the common goal of transforming our anger into art.”
For her forthcoming album, Carla set out to evolve beyond the horizon of hardcore, to a place where she could unleash her furious manifesto. Filled with the rage of betrayal, it was her choice to either psychically implode, or to explode on stage. She has chosen the latter.
Carla also works as a composer and performer with various Australian dance and theatre companies, notably Windmill Theatre, Restless Dance Theatre and Opera South Australia.
Album out on June 23 through Bandcamp, Spotify and Apple Music
Photo credit: Kerrie Geier
Carla Lippis + MONDO PSYCHO tour
1 July 2023
The Gov, Hindmarsh