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.

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.

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.

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.

Good Things - Graham Day and The Forefathers (Damaged Goods)

forefathers god thingsA re-issued collection of hits and misses from 2014 with extra tracks, “Good Things” is a revelation to these ears. 

That really shouldn’t be the case with two members of The Prisoners on board. Power abounds with this UK trio on their 15-track effort, which is out on the always great Damaged Goods label, which is the home of the so-called Medway Sound.

Medway, you say? It’s the name for a style of beat-garage based out of Kent that takes its lead from the Kinks, the early Pretty Things and a host of similar bands that walked the rough side of the street in the ‘60s. Billy Childish is its most famous son, or titular head. Long may he rule...

Bedouin of the Fitzroy Evening - Lonely Stretch (self released)

bedouin"Bedouin of the Fitzroy Evening" is the first album by Adelaide's Lonely Stretch.

You've probably heard of The Dunes, who are deservedly gaining increased amount of fame and favour. Lonely Stretch is, essentially, a side project spearheaded by Matt Reiner (guitar, 'programming', vox).

He's joined by the occasional Dune (Brett Walter, keys) and other likely  musicians such as Max Tulysewski (drums), the multi-talented Matt Hills (production, 'programming', bass and other guitars), and Romana Ashton (vox).