There’s always something to recommend Unbelievably Bad even if their tastes extend to the extreme end of the cultural scale (black metal, splatter movies, hardcore) compared to your average, probably older, I-94 Bar reader.
There’s not much in the ranting of Cannibal Corpse’s ex-frontman Chris Barnes or the chick from the so pretentious Circle Pit to trouble me, but on the other hand a lengthy chat with Ian Cunningham from Birdman fans The Chosen Few is alway going to be a worthy read. Issue 16 is a cracker with the other stand-out an interview with Ian “Bobsy” Millar, the last surviving link to Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls. It’s also timely with the “When Sharpies Ruled” compilation recently dropping.
Here’s a record that’s as unassuming as an undercover cop with agoraphobia in a grand final football crowd. You’ll only find a bare bones mention of it on the Internet because it buries rather than hides its bushel under a tree, but it’s superbly played and overflowing with easy rocking charm.
Anytime James is led by Michael Gibbons, once a member of Asteroid B612’s guitar arsenal in the early ‘90s and now living on the New South Wales Far North Coast. That’s about as far removed as you can get from the hard rocking pubs of Sydney’s northern beaches of 15 years ago, but then Gibbons is drawing inspiration from a wellspring that runs deeper than just Sydney via Detroit.
"This album is dedicated to a small club: the squatters of Campbell Buildings in 1979/80. Every year our numbers get fewer but the story lives on," writes Bob Short on the LP cover.
Yeah. Just like the 100 Club and the Sex Pistols, occupants of the Campbell Buildings in London now number in their mythological thousands.
Yeah right. Some pasts attract wanna-be’s like flying bugs to apricot jam, others … well, let’s just say you’d give some pasts a wide berth.
Sydney’s premier cowpunks, Spurs for Jesus, are marking their 21st year with a four-week run of free shows at regular haunt, The Botany View Hotel, in Newtown. Spurs will be spitting out three-sets on the first four Saturdays in October, from 5-8pm.
The gigs are going to be some of the last for guitarist Moose Morricone who’s moving to Queensland in December. Keen gig-goers may know his alter ego, Martin Martini, who used to grace the ranks of southern Sydney '80s faves The Trilobites.
Spurs have just released a split single with Deadwood 76 (reviewed here) and is rightly regarded as an iconic presence on the Sydney music scene.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the psych ward, this sliver of shiny black vinyl arrives out of Brisbane’s sub-tropical humidity, stumbling around like a homeless man in a threadbare coat who's baring his arse for all the world to see.
The Busymen don’t seem to have been living up to their name in recent times because this 10-inch EP is their first release since the “Distort All Levels” album of 2007. Put that down to commitments with other bands or members being detained by the authorities for their own good. They’ve certainly made up for lost time.
Half-covers and half-originals, “Under Attack…” resonates with the brutal thump of a Force 5 hangover after an all-night pub crawl through the seedier haunts of their hometown’s party district of Fortitude Valley. The morning after just doesn’t come any fuzzier than this.
Much of the fun of listening to music that most of the world doesn’t get is imagining where it could be be transplanted to. Fuzz-faced Melbourne quartet Spacejunk would sound perfect on a scuzzy Southern European garage punk festival bill under a June or July sun with cheap beer in front of wild-eyed speed freaks who know the words to every song. Europeans love this stuff even if half their own bands can’t play it.
Spacejunk rejoices in hot-wired, fuzzy punk rock and roll that’s barely anchored to the floor. Short, sharp songs tumble after each other in an onslaught. It’s crudely recorded with sound leaking all over the place. Fast and frantic, they sound like a cross between the (speedcore) Hard-Ons, the late Jed Whitey and The Meanies. What’s not to love?
This is an album awash with snarling, fuzzy guitars that sting sweaty skin like summer dragonflies and leak their business all over the place. The vocals are shout-sung in Spanglish to a tattoo of primal tub thumping. It’s self-described as the Stooges convening in a tequila bar - and that’ll do me.
They came out of nowhere, got cold feet and went back there again but Eddy Current Supression Ring still casts a shadow over Melbourne’s bustling garage rock scene. Mesa Cosa mines the same rich vein of suburban humdrum for their lyrical themes, but it’s in the direction of Spanish madmen Wau Y Los Arrghs!!! that they most frequently nod their musical hat.
Mighty little Melbourne label Buttercup has taken up the cause of split singles by some of its home city's finest that Infidelity Records was rolling out when they shut their doors. The concept is an A side from a headliner backed with a couple of bands covering the lead-off band on the flipside. Putting The Meanies, Digger & The Pussycats and The Double Agents on the same slab of seven-inch vinyl is an inspired idea.
The Meanies are as much a Melbourne institution as that odd football game they follow and the venerable Tote Hotel. Their song, “Gravity”, is a particularly sticky piece of ear wax with a catchy vocal line and sharp guitar solo. The vocal harmony fade out will have you reaching for the turntable tone arm to play it again, even if your name isn't Sam.
Flip the 45 over and the explosive cover of “Gangrenous” is typical of the musical hand grenades that duo Digger & The Pussycats have lobbed in pubs and cafes from Geelong to Lower Europe. Bratty and brilliant and at 1min43sec it’s over before you can get bored.
The other cover song by The Double Agents is (as far I know) posthumous and only a touch over a couple of minutes long, But what quality minutes they are. The groove on “Cock Rock Lips” sounds like The Sensational Alex Harvey Band hitting high-gear in their tour van on a boozy road trip through the wilds of St Kilda. Too good not to hear again.
Buttercup Records on the Web
This is bright folk-pop from a reformed New York City garage scene band that recorded but never released an album of new material a decade ago.
The Optic Nerve put out a couple of jangle-pop albums in the ‘80s (on Screaming Apple and Get Hip) and A side “Penelope Tuesday” is in the same folky vein. When Bobby Belfiore (lead vocals) and guitarist Tony Matura lock together harmonically, it’s sunny enough to make you reach for your sunglasses. Think of The Optic Nerve as the opposite of most of the wave of revival '60s garage rock. They owe more to The Charlatans than the Music Machine.
The flipside “Here To Stay” is more downbeat with Byrds-style vocalising and Bay Area six-string jangle that makes way for a nice tremolo lead break. It's like the early Haight-Ashbury got sold and transplanted to Brooklyn. You'll find a copy on State Records where all the best freakbeat and garage rock 45's live.
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State Records on the Web