Love is Dead - Snatches of Pink (8th House Records)
This dude, Michael Rank, from Chapel Hill should be a big star by now, but you know how the sickeningly sucks shit, corporate muzak-biz only promotes sold soul, formulaic garbage pop, nowadays. His outstandingly funky solo CDs and various wild and sensual rocknroll bands (Snatches Of Pink, Clarissa and Stag) have made summa the most under-rated and soulful rocknroll of our generation.
He's a farmer, a father, a badass guitar player, a ballet dancer, and one of my favorite rocknroll vocalists, with a voice that is sometimes reminiscent of Jakob Dylan's whispery folkish croon, or naked and vulnerable as Curtis Mayfield or D'Angelo, or as dirty-beautiful, get-down raunchy, first take, Marlboro belligerent and untamed as Bryan Small or Alice Cooper. He's one of Murkkka's only remaining rockers who can sit at the same end of the bar as most of our Australian brethren.
Starbirth/Stardeath - Hugo Race and the True Spirit (Gusstaff Records)
Hugo Race: Troubadour, manic perpetuum mobile and musical engine, was fortunate enough to be in his home town of Melbourne while the global pandemic unfolded, trapping him in a world he never made. Gigs were cancelled around the world, his plans spun away...and he turned inward.
Then, outward. Even after the first few songs, it seems clear that Hugo is looking for some sort of reinvention, a crossing of a Rubicon. "Starbirth/ Stardeath" definitely marks a new phase.
Alright, for the uninitiated, I could cite Race's lengthy rep: noted spark in Melbourne's late 1970s and early '80s underground; former Bad Seed (on what is arguably Nick Cave's most sonically extreme album); leader of The Wreckery, and his own True Spirit; writer of books, soundtracks, and songs for other people and songs for us...but that tells you little.
Eleven Women - Steve Kilbey (Foghorn)
COVID’s pervasive impact forced Steve Kilbey to suspend the piecemeal process of assembling another Church album and instead make a solo record. It was done on the fly and from the ground up.
Equipped with a loose but strong batch of songs, a modest budget delivered by PayPal from intimate online shows and willing collaborators in guitarist-bassist Gareth Koch, Roger Mason from the very borning Icehouse on keys and Barton Price (of the Models, Sardine v, Flaming Hands et al) on drums, Kilbey and His Winged Heels delivered “Eleven Women” in just three days.
Living Up The Coast – Space Boozzies (Outtaspace Records)
Short, sharp guitar bursts tempered by occasional sax and lots of singalong choruses. These Space Boozzies have their punky garage sound nailed on “Living Up The Coast”, their second long player in eight months, and it’s now tighter and harder.
The 12 songs here reek of irreverence, stale beer and stained footy shorts – as befits a band from the New South Wales Central Coast.
For those not in the know, The Coast is a place just an hour north of Sydney’s festrering rat race where the backyard barbecues burn brightly most weekends and the living is relatively easy - even when welfare dependence is high.
FMR008 - Fleshen Fella (Fantastic Mess Records)
This band was formerly known as Fleshlight, comprises four actors and played live (in drag) at the Gasometer in Melbourne precisely once before recording this bunch of songs, sans overdubs, and promptly disappearing.
This is a seven-inch EP of five songs on a boutique label.
Spoiler alert: There's much more to this story but don't read on if you want the mystery to be preserved...
Stoneage Scomeos - The BotBots (Outtaspace/Wreckless Enterprises)
This really shouldn’t work. A couple of rehearsals and one gig that was truncated for excessive swearing. A by-the-seat-of-the-pants recording session fuelled by beer in a terrace house-cum-studio, four months later. Seven songs in nine minutes. Punk rock, eh?
The buzz of blowflies announces “Engadine Maccas”, a 52-second treatise about an alleged bout of Prime Ministerial diarrhoea in a southern Sydney fast food joint. Apocryphal or not, you don't need to wear brown corduroys to know the song's as funny as fuck. The makers of Imodium need to license it for an ad.
Gold Foil Fever - The Vibrajets (Off the Hip)
So much goodness over just five songs. Warm, fat guitars permeate this predominantly instrumental record like honeybees holed up in in an old hive.
The Vibrajets are Melbourne-based and include past or current members of The Stems, The Shimmys, The Futuras and The Breadmakers - which should tell you most of what you need to know. This 12-inch 45 is their second piece of recorded output, not so hot on the heels of a mono single four years ago. The Vibrajets sound owes its origins as much to the Chet Atkins as “Apache”.
The vintage sound of Sammy-lou Croissant and Julian Matthews’ guitars are all over rumbling opener “Greasy 186”, one of a brace of originals. The shaking cover of Long John Hunter’s “El Paso Rock” reeks of Tecate beer and Tequila chasers. Lick, sip, suck!
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