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Follow The Sun - Various Artists (Mexican Summer)

follow the sunQuestion: Who is this compilation of 20 songs of Australian folk obscurities of the 1970s for? Answer: Head to your nearest record collectors fair.

These are mythical gatherings, full of badly-dressed people with body odour problems who are entirely bereft of social graces. They clamber over each other, poring through crates and boxes while entirely oblivious to the other’s existence. They wear T-shirts commemorating concerts that nobody went to or that occurred before they were born. Or so the cliche goes.

Heartbreaker - Badass Mother Fuzzers (Pitshark)

badass mother fuzzersBadass Mother Fuzzers (BMF hereafter) is a trio from the French city of Toulouse, the name of which always brings to mind a famous Johnny Thunders throwaway line about being “born too loose”.

Musically, BMF is a much different kettle of fish but it’s a fair bet they’d appreciate the play on words being applied to their place-of-origin. They sound like they’ve been trying to corrupt Toulouse for years. “Heartbreaker” is more Hip Priests or Zeke than “Live At The Speakeasy”, but the intention is the same: Hit ‘em hard and hit ‘em again.

It’s About…Love - The Lonely Dogs (self released)

thelonelydogs loveAnd it’s about rock and roll. Eleven tracks of it from a French four-piece from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in the country’s south-east.

Many people say French garage bands can’t cut it because they weren’t brought up on rock and roll and lack that attack and swing that sorts the great bands out from the pretenders. There’s no rock without roll.

That might be true for many of them but there are exceptions to the rule. As rock and roll is pushed further down the cultural mine-shaft, the really good ones struggle up into the daylight. Which is what The Lonely Dogs have done.

Brat Farrar III - Brat Farrar (Off The Hip)

brat farrar iiiIt’s his third minimally-titled, full-length offering and Brat Farrar has toned down the electro sounds and gone straight for the throat with guitars at warp speed. It’s more raw, edgy and melodic punk-cum-stoner rock with a true DIY spirit shining through.

Brat (aka Sam Agostino) was half of Digger and The Pussycats and a third of Kamakaze Trio. He might bill himself as a bedroom musician but he’s still to be seen performing in his home city of Melbourne and in Europe, where Digger and The Pussycats had carved out a fan-base. Farrar is nothing if not prolific, churning out a dozen releases in varying formats, and plays everything on his records.

Stinkwhistle - Fear and Loathing (EC Productions)

stinkwhistleBiased? No, I'm not biased. Why do you ask? See, Adelaide's Fear and Loathing (aka FAL) is the band everyone should see, experience or endure, at least four times in their lives.

First gig: At the sight of a bunch of late 40-somethings making what they sometimes call music and what everyone else calls punishment, you will feel an uncontrollable urge to get extremely drunk. You will not remember getting home.

Second gig: Still hungover from last time, you turn up because you've realised that you didn't quite take it all in, and they've got this hypnotic scrunch about them. By now you're tapping your toe, occasionally jiggling along gingerly. You find yourself buying the band numerous jugs of pale ale. You find yourself driving home at midday, fairly certain you're going in the right direction.

Debbie and Patti in a Tale of Two Dieties

blondie dean ertlBlondie and her session men plus Clem Burke (obscured).   Dean Ertl photo

I come at this review as a fan.  Since 1976 (earlier if you count the Dolls and the Velvets), I have been enamoured of that New York New Wave sound.  It's a broad church.  Suicide could thrash synthesizers and Television could probe the stratosphere with spiralling lead guitar lines.  The Ramones could make dumb look smart.

The Talking Heads sounded nothing like the Heartbreakers.  The Fast sounded nothing link Mink DeVille.  But the scene was still recognisable as a whole.

Blondie lived in the spotlight of eternal summer despite spending a lifetime dodging sun rays.   You could be walking through the Lower East Side, see a boy you liked and say hello.  Even if you found yourself charged with solicitation, everything would be all right because you are young, beautiful and in love.

Crowd Surfing With The Molting Vulures: The Best Of - Molting Vultures (Off The Hip)

molting vulturesNo less than Psychotic Turnbuckles elder statesman The Grand Wizard provided the good oil about this Adelaide band, who remain largely unheard outside their home town and more enlightened parts of Melbourne.

You might be surprised, then, to hear that The Molting Vultures have been going since 2004 and have four albums under their belts. “Crowd Surfing” picks the eyes out of the albums and presents them on one disc, with a couple of newly-recorded songs thrown in.

Glory Days of Aussie Pub Rock Vol 2 - Various Artists (Festival)

glory days vol 2Another 90 Oz Rock songs for 20 bucks. Can’t go wrong, eh?

This is Festival’s second “Glory Days” offering and it’s inevitably subject to some “mainstreaming”. There’s more chart action and a sprinkling of what might be regarded as lesser-known tracks or rarities, although you could argue they’re skewed from a Melbourne perspective. It's the lesser-known cuts that make this collection tolerable. 

A Sunny Afternoon looms with Sydney's The Smart Folk

 
Here's a preview of the new EP by Sydney's mod-inspired band The Smart Folk. They'll launch "A Sunny Afternoon At The Zoo" at Marrickville Bowling Club on Sunday, April 18 with special guesrts The OzSkas (ex-Allniters) and powerpopppers Ther Blue Rinse Set. You;; find the Facebook event here

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