Strange Birds - Giant Moths (self released)

giant moths EPA 30-minute EP. Four songs. Melbourne band. Bring ‘em to your town. However…caveat emptor, baby.

The Giant Moths ain’t for everybody. They are, frankly, a little peculiar, and rather endearing. I’ve heard this EP quite a few times since it was thrust into my hands, and I tell you now, not only is it a grower as well as an immediate smacker, you’ll seek out Giant Moths to see them live not just once, but over and over.

I’m sure the band would not be happy if I were to imply that the band is Andrea Scarlett’s baby - and I suspect that the rhythm section described on the back cover, the lynchpin of the outfit, would be at great pains to protest.

Spine 96 - Spine 96 (Off the Hip)

spine 96What a great cover! I mean, what a fucking great cover! And the inside is really interesting too. Now for the music. 14 songs of it.

I had no idea what to expect other than it’s on Off the Hip, and that apparently there’s a Green Circles connection, they’re from Adelaide, and this was recorded 20 years ago and there will be no reformation, no live gigs. There’s also no bio, no lyric sheet, no other info bar a negative-style image of the band, so … if I get these lyrics wrong, blame the band. Bastards. 

So you’d better dig it ‘cos this is all there is.

Original 7” Tracks /Demos LP - ME 262/Trans 262 (Buttercup Records)

me 262Most serious musicians would have an aneurysm if someone wanted to release recordings from their callow youth. They’ll tell you they’ve been hidden in a sock drawer for 40 years for good reason, and that demo recordings are just that. 

Of course, people with OCD, completists and the truly curious and/or obsessed - and any or all of these descriptors could apply to most of us - vehemently disagree. This release from the amazing Buttercup Records label in Melbourne satisfies our shared jones. 

The Stanleys - The Stanleys (Off The Hip)

the stanleys lpLet’s resist the cliched temptation to wax lyrical about something something mysterious in the water content in Perth, Australia, producing peerless pop-rock music. It’s been done to death and Swan Lager was more likely the culprit. 

The Stanleys (or the two principals) hail from that most isolated of state capital cities but make music that could have come from anywhere on the globe where there’s a love of harmonies, big guitars and sharp hooks. 

Here’s a band that, for once, has done things the other way round. Meaning, they’ve played hundreds of shows since 2011 but have only released their debut album now. This is not the done thing in these times of manufactured pop and inspid TV talent shows. 

New Feeling - The Favourites (Reckless Records)

new feelingSounding every bit like a band born out of time, The Favourites have released their debut album - 40 years after they expired. 

Throw your mind back to 1977-79 (pretend, if you weren’t born) and think about the music de jour in the UK. Punk? Ska? New Wave? It sure wasn’t Power Pop. What was around used the descriptor New Wave and was at the mercy of the notoriously fickle UK music media. So-called provincial bands (not based in London) had their work cut out. 

The Favourites grew out of two Nottingham bands, the DTs and Plummet Airlines, the latter signed to Stiff Records. Their two-and-a-bit-year existence was peppered by recording sessions and live work, and they shared stages with Squeeze, The Rich Kids and The Only Ones. 

Electric Trails From Nowhere - The Golden Rail (Off The Hip)

electric trailsHere’s the thing with pop music - at least for me and probably for many of you, too. First impressions count for a lot; I'm impatient. And the initial take-out from a spin of “Electric Trails From Nowhere” was how grown up the music sounded. 

For two reasons. As the bio says, “Electric Trails” is the output of a 30-year songwriting partnership between Ian Freeman and Jeff Baker, the Melbourne-via-Perth principal members of The Golden Rail. The other factor is that The Golden Rail sounds like none of the music that passes for “contemporary pop” in 2017.