Sublime - Charlie Marshall and The Curious Minds (Charlie Marshall) & Silver/Lead - Wire (Pinkflag)

sublimeWire do enjoy their titles. “Akin to A Bell is a Cup (Until it is Struck)”, “Silver/ Lead” hints at alchemical alteration of roles and realities. What if what we assumed was one thing, wasn’t really that at all…

Being from Melbourne, Charlie Marshall is more direct. He says exactly what he means. “Sublime” is his view of the machinery of the universe and our world - that stuff up out there, and that stuff all around us down here. What if what we assumed was one thing, wasn’t really that at all... 

silver lead wire

Both “Sublime” and “Silver/ Lead” are magical. Both reach out and touch your heartstrings, both have a confident sensuality about them. Both wield lyrics like conversation: we discuss all manner of things, how we’ve changed our world, what it is, and our place in it. All this without being either preachy or boring; falling into both “Sublime” and “Silver/ Lead” is in like one of those enlightening conversations in a pub without an argument. Although both Sare in many ways rather different, they beat as two hearts. Both belong in your collection.

On Air - Queen (Virgin/EMI/BBC)

Queen On AirThe Barman didn’t want me to write this review, or submit it, or publish it. What is it about Queen, Barman? 

“Over-arranged, over-played and over-compensating for the fact that, at least initially, nobody liked them.”

Well, that last is true. But I think we can all name bands that nobody liked initially who became megafauna. Anything else spring to mind?

“Sure. Overblown pompous crap.”

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.