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Speaks Evil – Giuda (Conquest of Noise)

giuda speaks evilItaly’s best kept secret since the Bellini cocktail with Peroni chaser has an Australian record label. In an age of Fake News, this is significant Good News. It means there’s one fewer reason (like overseas postage) for Aussies not to pay attention.

So let's catch up with the rest of the world: Giuda play irresistible songs that marry all the best parts of glam rock to punk. That’s the simple story. Handclaps mixed with hooks… nasty, gravel rash chords…rifferama that’s sharper than a Rome pickpocket’s reflexes.

Hate The Blues, Personal Frequency & Ballads of Chessells&Shooter b/w Only Happy - The Dope Smoking Morons (self released)

dope smokling moronsAustralia has, and always will have, a thriving underground music scene. It’s the DIY attitude towards garage/punk rock that endures for many of us, and I’m pleased  to say Ronnie Dap’s The Dope Smoking Morons’ three releases on Bandcamp are keeping the old eight-track-tape machine, no-computers ethos alive and kicking.

Recorded at Dap’s Melbourne home, this nine-song collection of recordings (spread over three titles) is primitive in its sound with very little production, apart from a few overdubs (necessary when the man doubles up on guitar, drums and bass.) Ronnie also has a crack at the singing.

Claw Machine Wizard - Left Lane Cruiser (Alive Natural Sounds)

claw machine wizardUS label Alive Natural Sound have released the seventh album by the wonderful Left Lane Cruiser and to use a descriptor that no American will understand, “Claw Machine Wizard” is a ripper.

Indiana born and breed, this duo of Freddy J Evans (guitar-vocals) and Pete Rio (drums) brings the band back to what founding member Freddy has always seen as its place: two-piece blues /rock. Boy, does it work.

The Lonelyhearts - The Lonelyhearts (Buttercup Records)

lonelyhearts lpIf you have a single bone in your body that resonates to the sound of powerful, guitar-powered pop-rock with melody and smarts, take a plunge on this deluxe LP package before it sells out. 

Rock and roll is littered with stories about “the one that got away”. The Lonelyhearts, more than most Australian bands from the teeming, dizzy time that was Sydney in the ‘80s, can genuinely lay claim to the title. 

A Sunny Afternoon At The Zoo - The Smart Folk (Studio 57 Recordings)

sunny afternoon at the zooThere’s no hiding the mod influence on this six-track CD from a bunch of Sydney veterans. It’s beat pop with a bright disposition that sometimes sounds like Paul Weller on happy pills.

TSF began life as a duo, playing acoustic covers under the name The Mayday Dreamers. By accident, design or both, they grew two more members over the next three years and took on their new moniker. This is their first release.

Like the band's story, the songs are relatively uncomplicated but well constructed. Folk traits are evident and pop harmonies abound. Peter Kowal’s pleasant vocal carries most of the songs, with fellow guitarist Chris Newton singing earthier lead on a couple. Keith Claringbold (bass) and Pete Iacono (drums) are much better than workmanlike, down there in the engine room.

Back in Byron with Tamam Shud - four decades later

shud byron2Tamam Shud back on stage at Byron Bay's Great Northgern Hotel.   Al Heeney photo

The Northern New South Wales Australian coastline has changed dramatically over the last 50 years.

Remember the pilgrimage of holiday time, with caravans lined up on the Pacific Highway…the tribe of kids in the backseat of the Kingwood (or Ford Falcons) bellowing out of boredom on the inteminable drive north? Then there was the weekend pilgrimage of surfers with their Sandman panel vans. Followed, of course, by the night drive back to work to Monday. It was a long trip back down to Sydney with car headlights on high beam, dodging speeding semi-trailers with speed-driven truckies, in-between stopovers at the Oak Milk Bar or the Big Banana.

Dotted along the NSW coast, from Hornsby to the Gold Coast, are memories. Of stop-overs at Frangipani-lined caravan parks, or pitstops at the homes of relatives. Memories marked by places like Foster, Nambucca Heads, Coffs and Byron. Sleepy little towns that were bursting at the seams on long weekends and Chrissie holidays.

#1 Fan - The Pink Tiles (self released)

number one fanMelbourne’s reputation for throwing up more unique bands than Sydney could ever dream of goes from strength to strength on the back of The Pink Tiles. Their second LP is an unabashed mix of girl pop with garage rock and cheap, synth-y sass goodness.

It took the first spin of a promo burn on a road trip to show that The Pink Tiles stood out from the pack. Some proper listens since then have cemented “#1 Fan” as top-shelf pop. The soundtrack to sunny days in a beer garden or on the back porch.

The Pink Tiles kicked off as a bedroom project and grew into the Melbourne pub scene, adding members as they went. There are six members and Ex-Rocket Science guitarist Paul Maybury is one of them. He produced “#1 Fan” at his own studio and it’s drenched in reverb, with its sharp edges left intact.

Dangerous - Sugarchild (MGM), Get Bye Good High - Papaya Fuzz (Burning Sound) and Bigger than Life - Jack Lee (Alive Naturalsounds Records)

sugarchild dangerousOne of these CDs bored me pissless, but I’m going to give it four-and-a-half bottles. One of these is a seven bottle disc, the other is also four-and-a-half bottles and (I thought) a damn sight more enjoyable.

Nothing exists in isolation. We all develop differently, in different ways, from the same stimulus. One man is a banker, another, a thief.

Musicians are popularly both isolated and part of the crowd. Some might as well open their own bank ("Elton’s Bank’) while others we suspect nick the washing off clotheslines and have garage sales every Saturday and Sunday morning to make ends meet. (No, I won’t snitch).

Arrow Pierce My Heart - The Bonnevilles (Alive Naturalsound Records)

bonnevilles aliveDirty-ass R&B twisted into their own nasty, digging thing. 

It's awarded five bottles of beer. Maybe more. I’m too busy listening and dancing and making the car dodge those gigantic Woollies trucks.

Fuck this is fun. There’s only two of the buggers, a drummer and a guitarist and yeah, I know. The White fucking Stripes. Boy they were over-rated, weren’t they? Yeah. They were. But The Bonnevilles are the genuine crumbly biscuit, all warm and fuzzy from the hearth. Hearth?

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