Australian-born PENNY IKINGER is a world-renowned guitar ace, singer and songwriter, with an international reputation for her solo work. Highly regarded as a solo artist, she has also performed with musicians from the USA, Japan, France and Australia, to great acclaim and instant fandom.
Her debut solo album ELECTRA appeared in Top Ten lists (at #2 by critics from prestigious New York magazines The Village Voice and The Big Takeover) and numerous music publications in the USA, Europe, Canada and Australia. ELECTRA was released on CD worldwide through Career Records (USA) and on vinyl on Bang! Records (Spain).
Guitar virtuoso, fuzz queen, sonic chanteuse, primal mistress of pop – it’s hard to pin Penny Ikinger down in easy comparisons or simple terms. She has earned a stellar international reputation with touring rights in Japan, the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She is considered by the toughest of critics to be one of the World’s finest.
“All woman and all business – the Australian singer-guitarist – a graduate of the Radio Birdman school of axe warfare – unveils a fetching line of balladry here: black-hearted folk songs draped in fuzz, topped with a dark baby-doll whisper … imagine Nico channelling Sandy Denny in front of Blue Oyster Cult – and you’re close.” DAVID FRICKE, Senior Editor, Rolling Stone (USA)
Penny Ikinger breathes delicacy and fuzz into her swooping solo work with an ease that is terrifying and beautiful. Known for her mind-warping, note-bending dirty rock, she also switches tempo to deliver classic pop tunes with shades of light and dark in a rich sonic soundscape.
“…. with Ikinger’s aggressive white-noise cacophonies of guitar counter-pointed by the compelling coo of her voice, each song comes on like a siren’s call from the depths…” SOPHIE BEST, The Age (Australia)
“Incredibly cool femme fatale laid-back noise rock by Australian guitar beauty… Ikinger’s voice and amazing guitar work makes this one helluva solid piece of female rock …” LOWCUT MAGAZINE (Denmark)
ELECTRA was all breathy vocals and sonic guitar and her second solo album PENELOPE was a shift in style and tempo, with three-minute classic pop gems mix post-punk attack with swingin’ sixties attitude and 70’s guitar experimentation. PENELOPE included contributions from Australia’s favourite rock artists Deniz Tek, Ron Peno, Charlie Owen, Mark Ferrie, Dave Graney and Clare Moore. PENELOPE was released on the legendary Australian label Citadel Records.
Penny’s unique history and music was the subject of a documentary called ELECTRA: THE MUSIC OF PENNY IKINGER in which Penny is interviewed by Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls). Other musicians from Penny’s past including Kim Salmon, Charlie Owen, Deniz Tek, Clare Moore and Louis Tillett also appear in the film. ELECTRA: THE MUSIC OF PENNY IKINGER was directed by Rachael Lucas (Bondi Tsunami) and featured in the 2007 St Kilda Film Festival (Melbourne, Australia).
Penny Ikinger is well-known in Australia for her career as a guitarist with Wet Taxis and Louis Tillett. She has also performed and recorded with artists such as Kim Salmon, Deniz Tek, and Sacred Cowboys and her discography and touring history is extensive.
“Toe-nail polish and noise guitar. Sexy silvery sandals and breathy, twisting and turning vocals. I bet they stare at her guitar and worship at her feet back in her native Australia…” SALLY GREEN, Mohair Sweets (USA)
“Stunning … dense with thick, distorted chords and swampy moans, but with graceful, delicate moments as well, the disc is primal, raw and gut-wrenching…” SHAWN CONNER, Georgia Straight (Canada)
Double A side single ‘Gin No Suzu’ and ‘Ride On Cowboy’ was launched at the Andoaingo Rock Festival in Spain in June 2017 as a taster of the album.
“The thing that Ikinger has always been a master of is using re-conceptualizations as she maintains that undeniable voice. A voice that is as sultry as it is airy, haunting, and potent that has always drawn me in. Seemingly hanging on the edge…Timeless, and intricate.” Global Texan Chronicles 2017
Penny Ikinger released her third solo album “Tokyo” on Kerosene Records (Japan) in July 2018 and Off The Hip Records (Australia) in September 2018. This album was recorded with Japanese musicians from the Tokyo underground rock scene including Masami Kawaguchi (guitar), Louis Inage (bass) and Keiichi Sakai (drums) – “The Silver Bells”. This project was generously supported by The Australia-Japan Foundation. The material for this album was composed by Penny Ikinger and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman), who also played guitar and harmonica on the album. Penny Ikinger launched her “Tokyo” album with The Silver Bells in Tokyo and Melbourne at Melbourne Museum’s Nocturnal event in 2018.
“Tokyo” is superb, with overdriven, reverb-drenched guitars, dramatic wild-west vignettes…songs about silhouettes and shadows” – CHRIS MINERAL CBD News ((Australia) 2018
“Penny’s accomplished singing, unconventional guitar playing, folkish song structure and willingness to take risks make this a great album” – THE BARMAN, I-94 Bar (Australia) 2018.
In the beginning Penny Ikinger played guitar in the fabulous Wet Taxis, the start of a long and fruitful collaboration with Sydney piano legend Louis Tillett. The Taxis played their own vibrant interpretation of sixties psychedelic punk. They released the album From The Archives and singles including the sublime Sailor’s Dream and toured throughout Australia.
‘guitars melt, a nightmare crawls out of the grooves and drools into your ears’ – Juke Magazine, Melbourne Australia
Following up this success Ikinger continued to play and record with Tillett as he launched his solo career – her spacious guitar behind Tillett’s punchy blues and soul offerings displaying her brilliant ability to compliment songwriters. They toured throughout Australia and Europe.
‘Ikinger tearing soft aggressive waves over the surface of the sound’ – Drum Media, Sydney Australia
In between dates with Tillett, Ikinger has lent her sizzling sounds to several acts.One, KINGS OF THE WORLD with ex Saint Janine Hall.
‘her playing is aggressive but subliminally so …tough and deep’ – Honi Soit, Sydney Australia
Shifting her base from Sydney to Melbourne Ikinger joined band Red Dress with Cathy Green from Oz punk originals X. They released the album Tight:
‘classic guitar driven pop with a tough, no nonsense sensuality’ – Drum Media, Sydney Australia
It wasn’t long before the legendary kings of Melbourne rock, the Sacred Cowboys introduced the powerful melodic edge of Ikinger’s electric guitar to their mud splattered mayhem. Check out the album Things to Come. ‘sultry and ultra cool’ Other recording dates followed – including Kim Salmon & the Surrealists’ on YOU GOTTA LET ME DO MY THING and Tex Perkins’ FAR BE IT FROM ME.
Linking up with Caroline Kennedy just from THE PLUMS and soon for DEADSTAR they created SALON BABY, her ability to enrich songs in demand again.
‘slide glanced seduction …wall-of-noise guitar fury … eerie harmonics/atmospherics … pout and swagger’ – Beat Magazine, Melbourne Australia
“After playing guitar for so long I didn’t have any role models for becoming a singer/songwriter at this stage”. “But it was the same when I started – there were no female guitarist’s around, I started doing solo gigs and then got a band together. When I played my own stuff it seemed like everything I’d played in the past found its way into the music.”
Ikinger develops a song out of a fleeting moment and creates a story around this, often tinged with an atmosphere of foreboding. Layer by layer she builds on a simple song structure, at times grinding out an ancient sounding riff. Her lyrics & voice create an evocative landscape. Ikinger has always been choosy about what she plays. “I don’t like clutter. I like to cut to the core.” A young punter at a gig said: “She combines dark and beautiful poetry with really weird guitar.” ‘a fiery blend, the sulphurous blast of a match before it settles into the long burn … leaves you hovering between despair and desire.’ Ashley Crawford.
In 2001 Penny Ikinger commenced recording her debut solo album Electraat Hothouse, Melbourne, Australia. Working on a clash of melody and discordance Ikinger said: “I want it to feel like a Fellini film”
In Nov 2001 Penny released her debut solo EP “Songs from the Deep” to critical acclaim. The three track EP also featured an appearance by long time musical colleague Louis Tillett who contributed piano and deep as the ocean backing vocals on the song “Sponge Diver”. This dark and evocative EP received national and international airplay
“combining a dangerously seductive voice with a guitar she makes sound so alive it breathes” – Fred E Gostein, City Search, 30 Oct 2001
“weaving together noise and narrative in the air in front of your eyes…word pictures; stories in sound…” – John McPharlin, i 94 bar, Nov 2001
“deliciously skewed stuff.” – Martin Jones, InPress, 5th Dec 2001
In May 2002 her video for the song “Kathleen” (from “Songs from the Deep”) was a finalist at the SoundKilda Film Festival (Melbourne, Australia). Emerging film maker Rachael Lucas captures the essence of Ikinger’s unique sound visually in a midday martini of beads, bubbles, fur and fender feedback.
July 2002 saw the completion of her debut solo album Electra and by the end of the year she had signed with Career Records (USA). Based in Montana this label is the progeny of Radio Birdman guitar legend Deniz Tek. Electra was released in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia in September 2003. It scored a rave review from David Fricke, Senior Editor of American Rolling Stone and critics in the USA, Canada and Australia placedElectra in their Top Ten Albums of 2003.
Here’s what they had to say:
“Incredibly cool femme fatale laid-back noise rock by Australian guitar beauty … Ikinger’s voice and amazing guitar work makes this one helluva solid piece of female rock…”– Lowcut *****(Denmark) Top 5 Albums 2003 (International)
“Toe-nail polish and noise guitar. Sexy, silvery sandals and breathy, twisting and turning vocals. I bet they stare at her guitar and worship at her feet back in her native Australia…” – Sally Green, Mohair Sweets (USA) Oct – Nov 2003
A fabulous album loaded with cool and seductive songs … Ikinger’s guitar is noisy and abrasive and provides a nifty counterpoint to her sultry and subdued vocals…Highly recommended“ – Steve Gardner, The Big Takeover Magazine (NYC, USA)
“Penny Ikinger is ready to take America by storm… It is the closest any female-hell, any humanhas come to replicating the virtuostic majesty of Hendrix. Upstairs, I’m sure the big guy is smiling…” – Jeff Penczak, Fakejazz (USA) 24 Oct 2003
“… with Ikinger’s aggressive white-noise cacophonies of guitar counterpointed by the compelling coo of her voice, each song comes on like a …siren’s call from the depths…” – Sophie Best, The Age (Australia) 5 Dec 2003 ****
“…it’s like she’s harnessed the concentrated energy of a thunderstorm … and it’s straining to explode as she performs all kinds of unnatural acts and inventions with her instrument…” – Dream Magazine (USA) 2004
“Stunning…Dense with thick, distorted chords and swampy moans, but with graceful, delicate moments as well, the disc is primal, raw, and gut-wrenching…”- Shawn Conner, Georgia Straight, (Vancouver, Canada) 22 April 2004
She toured America to promote her album Electra in May/April 2004 as part of the Career Records “Mini Van of Stars ” entourage. She also toured Australia and New Zealand.
In 2005 she joined Scientist/Surrealist Kim Salmon’s band SALMON as a member of his six(!) guitar lineup.
In 2006 her Electra album was released on vinyl by Bang! Records (Spain) and Ikinger toured Europe and also played shows in Tokyo, Japan in 2008.
Her E.P.Fragile was released in 2009 and promoted by tours of Europe and Australia. The title track was Critic’s Choice as Song of the Year in French magazine Rock and Folk.:
“She is a timeless guitar goddess… quite lysergically brilliant…” – Drum Media (Australia) 2009
In 2010 she released her second solo album Penelope on Citadel Records…