If they weren’t really a duo from Holland, The Sensational Second Cousins would be double Dutch to most of us. Sorry, the puns should stop now. You don’t need them clogging this review. But they really are a duo and they do come from Holland.
The Sensational Second Cousins play stripped-back rockabilly with a punk edge, excessive reverb and a heap of humour. What’s more, the band members ARE second cousins. Hectic Henri (guitars/ and vocals) and Ravin' Jerk (stand up drums) take rock and roll back to its elemental roots and squeeze its throat. Hard.
Formed within a stone’s throw (sorry) of Stonehenge you might expect The Neighbourhood Strange to live up to the second-half of their name. They’re not playing music that’s weird as much as very good. It's moody, freakbeat pop with a dark streak.
This is the debut single for a band that’s only a year old but has purportedly played “hundreds” of gigs. Hmmm. Strip away that hype and you’ll hear A-side “The Neighbourhood Strange” as striking psych pop with driving organ and a surging beat. Guitarist Marcus Turner’s heady vocal sits at the centre of a swirl of colours. Great layered production and depth. The B-side is more downbeat but with a sweeping melody line that embeds itself from after one or two listens. We deserve to hear an album's worth.
Billy Childish is one of those artists who lives in a special and hallowed musical place. Loved or at least admired by mainstream music taste arbiters and demographic setters, these people sit firmly on the fringes and don’t give a flying fuck. They do things their own way and that’s why the rest of us love ‘em.
Billy’s been courted by the music aristocracy and has shrugged his shoulders. He lays it all out in the surging organ-tinged opener “A Song For Kylie Minogue”, right down to a request from Beck to collaborate musically. “As long as I get to sing it, boy, and you just play,” isn’t arrogance; it’s downright genius. Who doesn’t want to co-write with that Loser and make a million bucks? Billy Childish! You want to use me poetry, Kylie? "Go ahead, girl, it’s all for free".
It’s tempting to do as the marketing does and label Joeys Coop’s “Service Station Flowers” as an outlet for Died Pretty guitarist Brett Myers. His distinctive sound is all over this album, like sunscreen and a rash-shirt on a redhead in summer, but this really is a record that’s more than just a billboard with all-star billing for one.
Singer Mark Roxburgh conceived Joeys Coop a couple of years ago, after the implosion of the reformed Decline of the Reptiles, and his vision was simple: He wanted to play with people whose work he’d long admired and to find an outlet for his own songs (something that Decline clearly was not.)
“Nocturnal Koreans” is a five-star disc in anyone’s language. There’s a lot they don’t make clear, Wire, so I’ll say it: you play Wire as if there was a huge sign on the disc itself saying PLAY LOUD.
Also, “Nocturnal Koreans” is a record you can fuck to, over and over, with the windows open and the summer heat shrivelling your skin, or the sudden antarctic blasts skimming your bodies but you don’t stop, no, you don’t stop … then you wake up in the night, Wire still seducing you, and you’re chilled to the bone and profoundly disturbed…
Mod was a prominent part of underground music in Australia in the ‘80s - especially in Sydney and Melbourne. While their obsession with fashion was both a defining trait and a limiting factor, the mods had a great collective ear for what made British music great in the ’60s. The same goes for Adelaide band, The Sons of Mod.
Led by expat Pom Andrew McCulloch (lead guitar and vocals) and with ex-Ratcat bassist Amr Zaid in the ranks, The Sons Of Mod evoke the sounds of freakbeat, a retrospective term for music from the harder-edge of the original mod spectrum. Think The Move or The Creation as prime examples.
This is one of those “lost album” stories. It’s about a record - no, three vinyl LPs of recordings - by an obscure San Franciscan band that existed in the 1960s and ‘70s - and its body of work that was built, buried and all but forgotten for 40 years.
This is a time capsule of a band you probably never heard of. Uther Pendragon were as underground as they come. They arose out of the San Francisco Bay Area in 1966, played with the likes of Country Joe & The Fish and won local prominence. They recorded extensively for the next 10 years but didn’t release a thing. That's nada. Zilch.
They took on half a dozen different names and morphed from folkish rock into psychedelia and hard rock. They lived communally and played in an occult rock opera. The polar opposite of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, which threw a career lifeline to a gaggle of Aussie rock stars in the ‘70s.
Chris Masuak has a new film clip to accompany his brand new CD album, “Brujita” and you’re watching its world debut. Produced by Jonathan Sequiera of Cheap Music Videos, “Niagara” is an ode to the Detroit diva, artist and singer of Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival fame, Niagara Detroit.
If you’re in Australia you can score a copy of the album at Redeye Records and Utopia in Sydney or Off The Hip in Melbourne. You can buy a physical copy and/or a download at Bandcamp. Don't be a Birdbrain. Do it now!