Melbourne-via-Perth power-poppers The Golden Rail have released this as a taster to their forthcoming album. With a cv that includes playing with Header, The Rainyard, The Jangle Band, DM3, The Palisades, and Showbag, you could suspect it’s going to be good - and it is.
“Oh My!” Is lilting jangle-pop with with a sweet chorus reminiscent of a Robert Forster song. Written by the band’s creative core of Jeff Baker and Ian Freeman, it sounds like it dropped right out of the sky during paisley pop’s mid-‘80s heyday...right after the Go Betweens had seeded the clouds.
The advice doesn’t come often around here but when it does, it’s always free. So here’s a dose: If you see a record with The Dahlmanns’ name on it and you’re into powerpop, buy it. The same goes for Andy Shernoff (but you probably knew that already). This one has both so how can you go wrong?
The Dahlmanns are wife-and-husband, Line Dahlman and Andre Dahlmann, plus a bunch of other Norwegian Dahlmanns, currently Otto, Jan Erik, Magnus, and Pål. Shernoff is the songwriting genius behind The Dictators (R.I.P.) and his own solo work. Andy wrote both songs and duets with Line on the A side.
Punk turned Americana country bluesman Peter Blast occupies a musical space vacated by Nikki Sudden and contested by a string of similar-minded outriders. This two-song CD single gives a glimpse of why the others are mostly pretenders.
He might look like his late friend Johnny Thunders’ Chicago cousin and Blast shares his plaintive vocal stylings, but the soulful music he makes is all his own. “Population Zero” is sparse, country blues dressed in a skeletal arrangement and spooky lap slide. Herein lies the Nikki Sudden comparison.
Imagine if the West Coast Flower Power era had happened, not in the City by the Bay but in the middle of England. Within spitting distance of Stonehenge. Only it wasn’t so trippy-dippy and folkish, and had a nasty streak to its sound. Cue: The Neighbourhood Strange and this, their second double A-sided single.
UK-born, American-based Dan Melchoir is a longtime Holly Golightly and Billy Childish collaborator and his old band, The Broke Revue, had a string of albums out on Sympathy for The Record Industry and In The Red.
He’s not as prolific as Childish but he’s not far off. How he got to record in Queensland with two members of Australia’s Ooga Boogas (Richard Stanley and Perl Bystrom) is unclear. I'm willing to bet it came of paths crossing at one of those underground gatherings in the US like Gonerfest.
Members of this early ‘80s Brisbane band went on to Subsonic Barflies and Splatterheads. Taking their cue from American hardcore, Death of a Nun put down these tracks as demos in 1984-85 and Swashbuckling Hobo has exhumed them - or, in the label’s own words, “reached deep beyond the S-bend”.
This single is very much of its time - an era of repression and extreme prejudice against any music that vaguely resembled punk (whatever that is) and “Brisbane” reflects that. It's two-paced (like the Gabba wicket used to be) and would have passed for sophisticated songwriting in the scene of the time. My guess is that somebody was listening to Minutemen.