5-6-7-8-9 - The Aints! (ABC Music/Universal)

5 6 7 8 9Also Sprach might have been the king of Eurodisco but Ed Kuepper reigns supreme as the Monarch of Re-invention. Of his contemporaries, only Kim Salmon comes close.

There was a modest risk in forming a third line-up of The Aints; the upside was that they'd pull crowds and make good cash, the other half of the equation being that it wouldn't take the legacy of the original band anywhere special. If you were a doubter, leave the room now...

Re-shaping un-recorded songs written for the original Saints was a masterstroke. So was Kuepper's selection of his band - the engine room of Paul Larsen-Loughhead and Peter Oxley was never going to be a dud - and his decision to colour the material with bold brass arrangements...that was inspired.

Vale Roky Erickson

 
Roky Erickson has passed away in Austin, Texas, at age 71. Enjoy this full show of Roky and The Explosives from 2007. 

This will get on your Goat

New archival footage of onetime Sydney ensemble Lubricated Goat has emerrged, to coincide with a US West Coast tour by onetime member Stu Spasm and his band The Art Gray Noizz Quintet. The clip of "He Moves in Mysterious Ways" was shot at Max’s, Petersham Inn in Sydney, in 1987 and features Spasm, bassist Guy Maddison (Monroe's Fur, Mudhoney) and late drummer Brett Ford (Kryptonics) and guitarist Peter Read (Thug). The Art Gray Noizz Quintet plays The Knock Out in San Francisco (June 8), Cafe Nela in Los Angeles (June 9), Turn Turn Turn in Portland  (June 10) and The Funhouse in Seattle (June 12.) 

 

Raining Treasures (Australian Indie Gold Covers Vol 1) – John Kennedy’s ’68 Comeback Special (MGM)

raining treasure1It’s a brilliant idea so why didn’t someone do it before?

What’s that? you say. Record a bunch of iconic, mostly Sydney, underground songs in a way that honours the originals but makes them their own – at least for a few minutes.

UK-born, Brisbane-bred John Kennedy became a fixture on Sydney inner-city scene in the 1980s after cutting his musical teeth in his hometown. His distinctive “urban western” songs, and his bands JFK and The Cuban Crisis and John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong, earned him a healthy niche in a city that back then was groaning with musical talent.

John Kennedy was always backed by excellent bands and inevitably joined his peers in spreading their versions of the word on the national touring circuit, before moving overseas for a time. He and various line-ups of his John Kennedy’s ‘68 Comeback Special have been kicking around the now skeletal Sydney scene (read: Inner-Western Delta) for the last decade or so.

Open Season - Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers (I-94 Bar Records)

open season review

Hello from the Dimboola Farmhouse, I-94 Bar barflies. Mick Medew is a legend, a Queensland Music hall of famer and Australian pub rock icon, and he absolutely nails it with his new album “Open Season” with his band the Mesmerisers.

The Mesmerisers? We have Lois Andrews bringing the bass and her beautiful backing vocals, and she is amazing. Michael Charles is on drums. Yes, that Michael Charles, drummer on Mick’s most famous Screaming Tribesmen EP, “Date with a Vampire”. The pair just nails it and make a fabulous rhythm section. 

Rounding things out on lead guitar is Brian Mann, also ex-Screaming Tribesmen and a gifted player who also doubles behind the recording board. He produced this album and it was mastered by Don Bartley. These gentlemen know how to get the sound down.

Stainless b/w Real Love? - Fast Cars (Method Music)

stainless fast carsA taste of the forthcoming new album, this double A-sided single single puts Fast Cars in a place of their own. It's elegiac dream pop with an edge and a long way removed from their mod and powerpop beginings.

Those Sussex Hotel days are long gone. The band is now a core duo of Sydney multi-instrumentalist Fabian Buyrne and UK-domiciled vocalist-guitarist Di Levi. The songs are children of the digital age, worked up in disparate studios and assembled across the Internet.

"Stainless" is pop song of sharp contrasts with sarcastic lyrics ("nothing sticks to you") elegantly rendered by Di Lev,i atop a bedrock of flint hard, buzzing guitars. There's plenty of space in the production.

"Real Love?" Is instantly sunny, thanks to chiming guitar, Di's lilting vocal and a lusher backing. Piano and a pulsing bass-line, buried deep in the soundscape, round things off nicely. It's a song about being alive while savouring your surroundings. Pop with a capital 'P'.

martiniratingmartiniratingmartinirating3/4 

Buy it

Taken By The Dream - Hugo Race Fatalists (Glitterhouse Records)

taken by the dream"Taken by the Dream" rates seven bottles. Two more than five because, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, I never think this man is going to surpass what has gone before. Hell, I mean, what man could? Like Mick Medew (see my last review) and Bob Dylan, Race is a lifer.

Is Hugo Race some sort of madman? I think of him as a fearless troubadour, the man on the tracks, vulnerable and determined.

To be honest, in this era of rabid conformity to stock characters (I use this last word loosely) and ephemeral goals clung to like bull mastiffs to intruder's gonads, yes, I reluctantly concede that Hugo Race is indeed some sort of madman. Hell, Jesus was mad as a brush. I mean, totally canary-cage.

Night Creature b/w Roll Over Lay Down - Deathwish (Fantastic Mess)

night creatureIt's a single by Deathwish, precursors of The Chosen Few (the Aussie punks - not Ron Asheton's early band) on new label Fantastic Mess, an independent spin-off of Buttercup Records. This recording is liver than you'll ever be, both sides from a gig in a hall in country Victoria in December 1976.

"Night Creature" is light on for lyrics but well-refined in its proto-punk intent; future Chosen Few engine room of Cal McAlpine (drums) and Ian Cunningham (bass) lock into a serious groove. The song hinges on a repeated guitar figure and sounds like Link Wray on Melbourne Bitter.

Status Quo never rowed my boat even before they sold out to the Red Right Hand of an Australian retail giant, but Deathwish's faithful rendition of what was then a Top 40 hit once more underlines that the considrable punch The Chosen Few packed didn't develop overnight.

Of course this one won't last long and naturally it comes in five editions. Drop Scotti a line at his label's online HQ to procure.

three1/2

Short Fuse. Australian Underground Music Compilation Volume 1 - Various Artists (Wreckless Enterprises)

short fuse1There’s a whiff of genius about the concept: Twelve bands on a seven-inch single. Not one song longer than a minute. Yeah, I hear ya. Sound on a vinyl single degrades the closer the grooves are crammed together. Hence, the brevity of the songs. And it’s punk rock. It’s not supposed to be audiophile.

Some of these bands you may know and others may be new. A compilation of this order is a public service, of sorts. It’s is a way to sample the unfamiliar and chase down their output if they row your boat. Musical democracy in action.

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