THE DIRTY EARTH - The Dirty Earth (self released)
The Dirty Earth is a Sydney band that cites the MC5 as a precursor among others but to be blunt, right now their sound is more Maroubra Seals Club than Grande Ballroom.
The Dirty Earth coalesced around the core of soulful singer Mandy Newtown and an engine room of Greg Refeld and Jim Allison in mid 2011, under the name Bottle Rocket. After a personnel re-shuffle (the I-94 Bar's occasional writer Earl O'Neill was originally onboard) guitarists Raf Iacurto (ex-Thumlock) and Scott Campbell joined.
Here's the European edition of the twice-repressed album from Melbourne band Bits of Shit. The message is simple: If you haven't nailed a copy of the Australian version on Homeless, there's still hope.
LOST MY HEAD FOR DRINK - Bloodloss (Dirty Knobby/SubPop)
Fourteen years old by now, "Lost My Head for Drink" sounds both ahead of its time and retro, and has an elusive timeless quality. Who else puts out such a fabulous mixture of mellow tunes and stifling ferocity? Rock discovered parallel with caustic, free-flying jazz? This version of Bloodloss is its own genre. Simple as that.
No? Look, you know that famous American painting Nighthawks at the Diner? Well, this LP is like that, but more real, more gritty, less smooth but a lot more emotional and substantially more fucking elegant. Ennui and boredom be buggered, in "Lost My Head for Drink", Bloodloss have a classic LP.
If Alive Naturalsound putting out a live album of their current roster sounds indulgent, then so be it. LA-based French expat Patrick Boissel's label has built a stunning back catalogue that presaged and launched today's back-to-basics garage blues-soul scene, harking backwards but always looking forwards.
RENT PARTY - The Waldos (Jungle Records)
I ain't owned that beautiful Nina Antonia book about Johnny Thunders for years-poor people can't have nice things - ya always have to sell it all to eat and smoke. "Everything is in the pawnshop", you dig? But all those swanky Heartbreakers photographs are etched forever in my mind.
This is bass-heavy punk rock from Sydney with an initial "we're-drinking-cans-at-the-football-on-the-hill-so-sing-along-with-us" flavour. This is five, short and sharp songs with names like "No Logo Is A Joke" and "You Want It" so you might suspect that it's all politically incorrect. Of course, first impressions are often wrong. It's punk rock with a left-of-centre social bent.
Super Best Friends (wasn't that a South Park episoide?) have already had the Triple Jay thumbs-up - but don't hold that against them. They knock around with Children Collide and Violent Soho so it's going to work as punk rock for the generation that can't remember last Friday night, let alone the Sex Pistols.
Guitarist Johnny Barrington sings in a broader-than-Sydney-Heads accent without sounding like he's bunging it on( like those worse than awful Australian hip hop acts.) Matt Roberts' bass sound hand playing s more pliable than the GDP of a small West African country and Adam Bridges' fluid drumming kicks things along nicely.
There's a lot of crunch in the guitars and a whole bunch of shouting. Blips of sythn run through "Karma Karma" so it's not just rote punk. The songs are catchy with choruses and drop-outs. All in all, perfect festival fodder. I can hear the kids at the next Splendour In The Grass singing away to "You Want It" or the scathingly anti-xenophobic "The Bleachers."
Fast, furious and fun - and a step above most of the latest wave of what passes for punk rock, Super Best Friends might lyrically fly over the heads of some the people who pick up on them but that's not going to stop anyone having a good time. - The Barman