A taste of the forthcoming new album, this double A-sided single single puts Fast Cars in a place of their own. It's elegiac dream pop with an edge and a long way removed from their mod and powerpop beginings.
Those Sussex Hotel days are long gone. The band is now a core duo of Sydney multi-instrumentalist Fabian Buyrne and UK-domiciled vocalist-guitarist Di Levi. The songs are children of the digital age, worked up in disparate studios and assembled across the Internet.
"Stainless" is pop song of sharp contrasts with sarcastic lyrics ("nothing sticks to you") elegantly rendered by Di Lev,i atop a bedrock of flint hard, buzzing guitars. There's plenty of space in the production.
"Real Love?" Is instantly sunny, thanks to chiming guitar, Di's lilting vocal and a lusher backing. Piano and a pulsing bass-line, buried deep in the soundscape, round things off nicely. It's a song about being alive while savouring your surroundings. Pop with a capital 'P'.
There’s a whiff of genius about the concept: Twelve bands on a seven-inch single. Not one song longer than a minute. Yeah, I hear ya. Sound on a vinyl single degrades the closer the grooves are crammed together. Hence, the brevity of the songs. And it’s punk rock. It’s not supposed to be audiophile.
Some of these bands you may know and others may be new. A compilation of this order is a public service, of sorts. It’s is a way to sample the unfamiliar and chase down their output if they row your boat. Musical democracy in action.
If you’ve spent any time in Wollongong, you’ll know it as Sydney’s less pretentious cousin. Much of the music from the onetime steelworks city is the same way. So here’s cheers to The Leftards, your new favourite punk band.
As a bunch of older dudes from shop-soiled local bands like Bulldoze All Bowlos and The Dark Clouds,The Leftards have no compunction winding things back to the late ‘70s when everybody knew rap was crap and techno was a college where mechanics went to do a trade. This is the second Leftards seven-inch release and puts four inspired songs on a vinyl single.
Buzzy, fuzzy guitars, nagging and damaged vocals, yob humour and social commentary all sit side by side. The sound is a little shambolic - like a loose version of the Misfits - but nobody's shooting for AOR airplay.
Jeff who? Ex-guitarist with Jason and The Scorchers - not the classical jazz guy from Orgegon and certainly not that twat Jack Johnson. This is a blistering four-song single, more abrasive than broken glass in your shaving cream and deliciously low fidelity. The songs, though…
Johnson recorded this with a bunch of players in Brazil with the bass player over-dubbing his parts for two songs from London. Swashbuckling Hobo (from Brisbane) put it out. If you appreciate blues-rock that sounds like it’s been filtered through a gutter, this should live on your turntable.
Only “Call of Submission” sounds much like the output of his onetime band, with a subdued vocal and just a touch of Crazy Horse peeking through its dense wall of sound. “Believe In You” is a monstrous “Raw Power” outtake with acrid lyrics (“Hey girl, fuck with me/Your love is such liability”) and a chord sequence that twists like “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” in the grip of a muscle spasm. If the production wasn’t so early Husker Du, this would be an enlightened radio hit.
What did your Sydney sound like in 1978? The Professors did their best to define it for their own tight coterie of followers after Radio Birdman left for Europe to seek world domination, by sounding like this.
Graduates of the infamous Oxford Funhouse, they took their lead from its most notable tenants bysetting up their own venue at The Royal Oak pub in Chippendale, They adopted their name from Chris Bailey's nickname for their singer - and the Saints repaid them with some namedropping in "KNow Your Product." The rest is history aka some photos and a caption in a Clinton Walker book
These two songs are from a demo tape that was exhumed by singer Stephen Vineberg and spruced up by engineer Barry McGuirk just a year ago. It’s been packaged in a gatefold cover by the folks at Buttercup and issued in a range of colours. Just as you’d expect.
There was a pop band inside late ‘70s Melbourne punks News (aka Babeez) and it was desperately trying to break out - just like the creature in "Alien". Molly might not to have wanted to touch them with a barge pole, but here’s the irrefutable evidence of their pop tendencies, thanks to the inventive folks, Scotti and John, at Buttercup Records.
The A side is a melodic punker - a demo, no less - that motors along on two guitars and Gavin Quinn’s sing-song/singalong melody line. "Lemme Alone"could have easily stood up as a 45 in its own right back in the day, but of course Australian punk bands weren’t as prolific as today’s laptop musicians and YouTube heroes.
The flip is another demo - a piano version of the previously released Babeez track “Nobody Wants Me” revived from baked, quarter-inch tape. It’s a starkly bitter-sweet ode to finality that you can take any way you want - and it's distinctly “un-punk” in its delivery if you’re into cliches. Essential, really.
Go here before they run out. The 45 comes in the usual range of limited edition Buttercup variants.