Powerglide High Octane Edition - Hydromatics (Easy Action)

powerglide re ishUK label Easy Action is launching into its three-legged re-issue campaign for trans-Atlantic super group the Hydromatics by leading off with the band’s next-to-last studio recording. And with good reason. “Powerglide” is the perfect meeting place of blue-collar Detroit rock and roll and blue-eyed soul.

“Powerglide” came out in 2001 but if you can remember blinking back then you probably missed it. No sooner had it landed in the racks then the Italian label that put it out went belly-up. Fourteen years later, the gap in the market for genuine, rocking soul with power is larger than ever, so it deserves to sell by the truckload.

Too Far Gone – Hard-Ons (Citadel)

too far goneThis lavish double CD package closes the lid on the first life of the Hard-Ons, nicely. Not in the literal sense of the term. Far from it. It's like a skateboard ride down a very rough track, a mix of disparate hardcore and metal songs that sits at odds with much of what came before. 

When the original album came out in mid-1993, nobody knew (but band members could sense) that it was the last recording by the Hard-Ons with their original line-up. That's the context and it now makes sense. 

It’s funny how records released in the past evoke specific memories when revisited years later. For me, this one doesn’t throw up much. I think I bought it well after it came out. It seems lots of fans shared that indifference.

Flashback: Buffalo one of Australia's best

buffalo portraitFrom 1970-76, Buffalo were undoubtedly one of Australia’s greatest high-energy, rock and roll bands. They were a great example of four musicians whose combined musical chemistry created devastating results.

Their five original albums (on the great Vertigo label) sell for massive amounts of money on eBay. Decent condition copies are practically hard to come by, as most of Buffalo’s original 1970’s fanbase were drugged/drunken freaks who trashed those albums at their hippy parties.

After the band broke up Pete Wells put together Rose Tattoo, Dave Tice based himself in England where he joined great R & B/pub rock combo The Count Bishops.

First published in November 2005

Age Against The Machine – Jim Keays (Purple Haze)

age againstThis album’s the second and final chapter for a project that had modest enough aspirations. Jim Keays just wanted to strip things back and rock out on covers of obscure and semi-obscure songs.

He and his crack band not only sound like they had a great time but produced a killer recording in “Age Against The Machine”, the follow-up to 2012’s “Dirty Dirty” set of garage rock covers.

Frenzy! The 50th Anniversary Collection – Normie Rowe (Festival)

normierowe frenzyWe don’t have pop stars in Australia any more. In their place, we have reality TV-manufactured, milksop product whose fame is carefully designed to meet a demographical need and is disposable as the songs somebody else writes for them. Just as the tag “R & B” has been diluted beyond recognition, these people aren’t pop stars in the true sense of the term.

You might know him for an infamous TV fist fight with a shock jock (and, hey, that was almost one lifetime ago) but back in the 1960s, Normie Rowe was one of Australia’s first bona fide pop stars. There was no need to manufacture stars back then – the media certainly was complicit but they largely just appeared – and the good looking Rowe inspired teen adulation on the back of a string of national hits.

Joey Pinter - Joey Pinter (self released)

joey pinterThere are few survivors from when New York City’s rock and roll world revolved around a few seedy nightspots in a now unrecognisably gentrified district called The Lower East Side who are still musically  active. Joey Pinter is one of them, making spirited, raw guitar music on their own terms, and this is his debut solo album.

Transplanted to Los Angeles and now living in Chicago, Pinter is best known as Walter Lure’s guitar foil in his killer post-Heartbreakers outfit, The Waldos. These guys should have been huge but labels kept their distance and Walter had a career in stockbroking that clipped their touring wings. Their solitary album, "Rent Party", was recently re-issued and kicks arse.

Pinter played in a host of other NYC bands, most notably with Max’s Kansas City regulars The Knots whose solitary 45 “Heartbreaker” b/w “Action” is highly collectable. So he has lots of form.

It’s The On and Ons Calling - The On and Ons (Citadel)

on and ons callingA couple of listens in and it’s evident why Paul Collins recruited the core of this band to back him on his Australian tours. The On and Ons play classic guitar pop in the mould of The Plimsouls, the Flamin’ Groovies in their Beatles-besotted era and Collins’ own The Beat.

This is a band that walks down the pop side of the street. If lineage counts, The On and Ons start with a considerable advantage over many others. The members’ rap sheets include the early Hoodoo Gurus, the latter-day Screaming Tribesmen, Kings of the Sun, The Barbarellas and The Stems. To paraphrase Lou: Their powerpop day beats your year.

Age Against the Machine - Jim Keays (Purple Haze) & No But It’s True - Hugo Race (Rough Velvet Records)

no but its trueage againstHeads up: Get your wallet out. Both of ‘em belong in your collection and should be playing on your battered lil machine right now. I’m going to give both FIVE BOTTLES, and that means…the review is irrelevant. 

But you want your entertainment anyway, don’t you? The Voice and The X-Factor can only “discover” what fits a format. And that format is, for the most part, bereft of meaning. The jokey aspect of Eurovision Song doo-dah means that brilliance can sneak in, because the format is to “make a splash” as well as fit the format. Keays and Race load their music with meaning, relevance and immediacy.

It’s Too Young To Die Now - Andrew Mueller (Pan Macmillan)

its too lateIf there was a formula for a famous rock musician, it sorta goes like this: “An outsider kid, akin to the Holden Caulfield character with a copy of "Catcher in the Rye" in his hip pocket. With either a military father, or better still a clergyman.

“He moves around a lot, from town to town, because of his father’s occupation. He buys vinyl and buys even more vinyl.  He purchases a guitar, learns a few chords and then finds other folk who fit into the formula of rock musician. He forms a band and writes an amazingly significant song, or songs, and for one week is the spokesman of a generation, appearing in Melody Maker or Rolling Stone.” 

Of course if fate does not serve him well, the prospective rock musician just ends up in his 40’s as the geek who's brought into the local pub by his mates because he’s the one who’ll get all the music triva questions right.

But if this formula was applied to a music geek who can write - and I mean really can write - they travel the world and theur byline appewars in some of the most important rock magazines on the planet.

Welcome to the world of Sydney-raised Andrew Mueller.

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