"Giant Lizards on High" b/w "Fresh Meat for Martyrs" - Blurt! (Sartorial)
"Insomnia" - Mark Steiner and his Problems b/w "Six Feet Under" - Mark Steiner and his Problems with Line Saus (Rabben Records)
"Urge" b/w "Milk and Metho"/"Crash"/"318" - The Nuclear Family (Urge Records/VS)
"Knife Edge" - The NJE b/w "Caesar" - Dear Thief (Sartorial)
Today I'm listening to a few singles (instead of cleaning the house for an inspection). Sorry, that's the small vinyls that play at 45rpm.
OK - "records" not “vinyls”.
Now, the beauty of singles is that they carry a stand-alone song, in a format which forces you to pay attention to that one song. For a low-level label or a low-level band - no matter what the rep, you're only as big as your last gig - the single is a signpost, a statement, a declaration of intent.
What a monster of a 45. Two songs of fuzzed-up,slamming ’60s goodness from Germany, wrapped up in a full and contemporary (although not overly so) sound.
Loveland is a vehicle for Lana Loveland, organist for the a lineup of The Music Machine and the now EU-based Fuzztones and the better half of that band’s Rudi Protudi, with whom she has recently birtheed a child. A prog rock lullaby this single is not.
“Stranger Charms” kicks off with a microsecond throb of Rudi Protudi's bass before a wall of crunching, insistent guitar from ex-Fuzztone Lenny Svilar arrives. The song sounds like a cross between the early versions of the Lime Spiders and The Stems. Lana Loveland’s clipped Germanic purr sits perfectly in the middle of the mix while Svilar’s guitar pans left and right.
The aptly-titled “Web of Sound” adds Lana’s pulsing keyboard to the mix and is a nasty slice of acidic punk. Protudi and drummer Oli Freidrich lock in and lay down a sonic bedrock for the other two to add colour. Ms Loveland has an agreeable and authoritative vocal. More serrated edge guitar takes the song out. Again, there are no surprises but so what when it's this great.
Get your mouse pointed at this link and order a copy. I'm off to find myself a copy of the Loveland album that pre-dates it.
It's double A-sided goodness from two of Australia’s best rock and roll bands, issued as a split-single to mark their shows together in Brisbane this weekend.
Melbourne’s Powerline Sneakers contribute “Miles of Love”, a harder-than-diamonds snarler from their “disasterpiece” long-player. Sly Faulkner’s soulful plea for his other half to come back is pitched against a background of his and John Nolan’s muscular guitars snaking in and out of each other’s pathways. Its lingering feedback outro is a signal to play it again.
Some Jerks have won a rep as Brisbane’s premier “surf garage rock” trio to see and “Star” is what you’d expect on the back of their “Strange Ways” LP. It sounds very ‘90s college radio (in a good way) without any false production veneer. It has an ethereal vocal and slinky bass-line from band-leader Vicki Watson and enough collective energy to light up the old Lang Park.
It’s the usual Buttercup deal (colour inserts, limited hand-numbered edition, this time just 300 copies.) Get it at the shows or drop the label a line.
Powerline Sneakers and Some Jerks play the Bearded Lady in Brisbane with Slumlawwd on Friday, August 31. Buy tickets here because Some Jerks shows there always sell out. Powerline Sneakers play an in-store at Sherpa Records in Brisbane on September 1.
They might have started as a jokey Stooges tribute act playing Tuesday nights at Cherry Bar while their other bands were on hiatus but Melbourne’s Prehistoric Douche sound just like the sort of garage-surf monster that most underground rocvk and roll scenes need. Sydney could sure do with them.
“Surfing Douche” starts out like a de-railed Lizard Train song, with a rumbling bottom end yielding to dual flick-knife guitars and banshee lyrics about going surfing. There’s a significant debt owed to the early Crusaders and The Freeloaders to these ears (your own results might vary) but whatever way you cut it, it’s seriously good. The ludicrous accapella Beach Boys breakdown just adds to the mayhem.
Nil to do with the Mamas and the Papas song, this is from the fab Fast Cars album “LAX” and it’s a lush, string-tinged brooder that’s a great calling card for the psychedelic long-player.
Remember albums? They were those things where a band put more than one idea into extended pieces of music (aka songs) that became a sum of a greater part. Fast Cars - once a Sydney mod band but these days vocalist Di Levi and multi-instrumentalist Fabian Byrne - sure do, and evoke more in these few minutes than a lifetime of downloads by Taylor Swift clones.
“California Dreaming” is part of a concept about ambition and star-making in a strange environment and place but you don’t need the back-story to appreciate the 45.
The flip is a brave take on the Russell Morris song of the same name. No marching jackboots but a heady sonic picture nonetheless. You’d hope Molly would appreciate it because it works all the same. It’s mastered a little quietly but you can compensate by playing it loud. Available as a 45 from here.
It’s a vinyl and CD single from the former drummer for French band The Thugs and it doesn’t muck around. Christopher Sourice sings in French but don’t let that stop you if you’re mono-lingual.
“La Crise” (“the crisis”) is built on chugging guitars, vamping keys and a dense rhythmic backbone. It’s like a “Too Tough To Die” Ramones song with the foot off the accelerator. Repetitive but powerful stuff with Sourice’s urgent vocal leading the charge
The flip side reminds me of The Trilobites in their “Venus In Leather” days of the early ‘80s (it must be that chorus) and once more it’s a song driven by chunky guitars, a heavy pop feel and a keyboards wash. Who says drummers should stay behind their kit? That's a Bandcamp below so you can try before you buy.