Conceived somewhere between Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable, the Neighbours writing room and the half-back flank at VFL Park, Sand Pebbles have always been something of an enigma.
Befitting a band made up of record nerds who could discern seven separate strands of freak in every lost '60s beat, Sand Pebbles bestowed upon themselves the descriptor "flower punk"; the flower was the inspiring melody, punk the defiant attitude.
A lot of water’s passed under the Story Bridge since Brisbane’s Dr Bombay released their debut album “Dose” three years ago. Amicable line-up changes mean that just two original members, singer Gary Slater and guitarist Stewart De Lacy, remain.
What hasn’t altered is Slater’s grasp of what makes great songwriting. The ex-Voodoo Lust and latter-day Trilobites frontman came up with all 13 of the tracks on “Spit Your Out Like Revenue” - and there are some pearlers in the ranks.
Rock and roll isn’t dead - it’s just being ground into the carpet like so much stray cigarette ash by the powers of mediocrity and digital division. If you apply the vacuum hard enough and in the right places, you’ll still find it.
So point the nozzle of your Hoover (or Dyson, if you’re cashed up) in the direction of Glasgow, Scotland, and suck up as much of The Primevals as you can. Three decades into their existence (admittedly, with a break in the middle), these gnarly Scots are staking a claim for independence from the banal indifference that passes for mainstream radio rock, Jock.
Old heads from Brisbane’s Chinese Burns (not to be confused with Sydney band Chinese Burns Unit) and The Standing 8 Count populate this band, which has been kicking around the River City (does anyone even call it that?) for four years. The eponymous record (vinyl and download) is its first output and came out in 2015.
If you know the members’ previous bands you know the postcode in which “Eyes Ninety” resides. There are elements of its predecessors but its music stands alone. Wanna label it? Let’s call it “swampy punk rock”.
Get this, and get it good: If you’ve never heard Kraftwerk before, this stuff isn’t just rated five bottles out of five. This set, "3D - The Catalogue", is about 30 bottles out of five. Or a couple of kegs.
The first Kraftwerk record I ever heard was the single "Autobahn". I heard it on the radio, a surprise and rather freakish hit in 1975. Beyond that, I gave the band no more thought until I heard the LP "The Man Machine" at my mate Paul’s place, which prompted a continuous scurry around the second-hand record shops until I had everything I could find.
So, while a single a-side was supposed to get you up and interested, a B-side wasn’t. In fact, many bands - particularly mainstream bands - would plop dud choons on the B-side, convinced that no-one was listening.
Nope. The fans were listening. And boy, did some fans get annoyed with the shit they found there. Why would your favourite band slip you sludge on the B-side? You pay good money, you expect a decent track on the flip.
Smarter (and poorer) bands began to use the B-side to their advantage - slipping in a cracking live rendition of a familiar song, or a joke or experimental track. Hell, a record costs money to make, you don’t want to spend all that just to waste the space on the flip. Hence The Damned’s crackling rendition of “Help!”, the Beatles song performed with kettle drums at a million miles an hour. Brilliance.