We Will Riot – Mr Flabio (Conquest Of Noise)

we-will-riotThis record is so smart it should have lifetime membership of Mensa, but its a cleverness that's never snobbish or intellectual. Mr Flabio sits back, tongue in cheek and pen at the ready, and takes aim at the directionless, the Interwebs generation and yes, you and me, with withering accuracy. This is melodic fuzz guitars played at stun volume and Mr Flabio’s sardonic barbs are meted out with sugar hits embedded in their pop hooks.

Let’s get this out of the way up front: “We Will Riot” is a grunge record. It’s just gone 2015 and someone is actually making a grunge record? What the fuck’s grunge anyway? You expected Silverchair with short hair? Nirvana wearing nursing home pyjamas?

Mudhoney says Kim Salmon invented it and who are we to argue? When you got down to it, grunge was really just a bunch of tuned-down metallised guitars and anguished punk rock vocals with shithouse dress sense. It got the major labels a little too excited and wiped the musical landscape clean for any other form of rock and roll – and not necessarily in a good way.

Outta Ammo - VeeBees (Ocker Records)

outta-ammoThis album stinks so much of stale beer that you’ll wonder if you hit your head on the footpath on a late-night bender and woke up in a homeless shelter It reeks of hops - and i don’t mean that nancy boy craft shit either. This is your stock standard, public bar piss. So fuck off if you want a cocktail.

Which should all be no surprise. It’s the fourth studio album in 15 years for the VeeBees and “Outta Ammo” is no great departure, sonically speaking, from its predecessors. It’s crude and dirty with a nod to Moorhead, the Tatts, Powder Monkeys and the Psychos. When you’re on a good thing, why not stick to it?

Aussie Yob Rock has been around since Thorpey plugged in and killed that tankful of fish to the sound of punters yelling “Suck more piss.” VeeBees bypass boogie and play it with an edge that betrays listening to lots of hardcore, especially Black Flag.

In Good Company - Fox Company (self released)

fox-companyI have a bad reputation as a reviewer.  Though 70 percent of my reviews are fanatically positive, I can be harsh on anyone I find not pulling their weight.  But, given the fact I have a collection of several thousand discs, I can’t be THAT fussy, can I?  Christ, all I generally ask is that you don’t scrape your knuckles on the floor.

Fox Company don’t really fit into my preferred choice of listening.  For me, they float uncomfortably close to the world of Guns ’n’ Roses.  But I also know that floating uncomfortably close to the world of Guns ’n’ Roses isn’t necessarily considered to be a bad thing by a huge chunk of people who listen to rock music and, in particular, that chunk of readers who view me as a cranky and crusty old relic.

Mark Steiner brings "Saudade" Down Under

steiner-headshotNorwegian musical troubadour Mark Steiner has had a ongoing love affair with Australia since 2008 when he first visited our shores, fulfilling a self-promise after hearing the music of Rowland S. Howard when he was a teen growing up in New York in the ‘80s. He’s now making his fourth trip Down Under, playing songs from his latest album, “Saudade”, in and around Melbourne in January.

A purveyor of melancholic lounge-noir compositions, Steiner’s commanding voice and dark, sinewy rhythms of electric guitar have been described as “the epitome of a booze-soaked evening in a dirty clandestine bar and an ashtray full of pain”

Lax Charisma of The Nice Folk on life as a musical underground outlaw

nice-folk-backA few weeks ago at the Factory Floor in Sydney, I caught The Nice Folk supporting Harry Howard and The NDE and The Holy Soul. 

The Nice Folk (for me) were a cross beyween early Captain Beefheart Magic Band and Pere Ubu. I wrote that they could "pull out a slow, sleazy blues song and switch to early Beasts of Bourbon-like sloppy and swampy excursions". What really struck me that night, however, was that they captured a spirit of an Australian music scene from a long time ago.

In the ’80s, pre-Nirvana, pre-Ratcat. pre-corporate festivals - and the boozed up smashed bogans with Southern Cross tatts thinking they are cool one day of the year going to the Big Day Out - there were bands like The Nice Folk. These bands knew they were never going to capture a place in the commercial charts. They were truly underground.

This let to music that was free from attempting to be accessible. It was about the band and music first and not getting them “Suck-cess”. Bands like the Laughing Clowns, Lubricated Goat, Box The Jesuit and the early Wet Taxis. Which is why I really liked The Nice Folk. They had a similar attitude and devotion to their music.

Box Set – Radio Birdman (Citadel Records)

birdman-box-set-coverReviewing the new Radio Birdman box set is an absolute poisoned chalice. You know I’m going to give it five bottles, right? It contains most of the great recordings by the greatest band to have sprung from these shores. Bar none.

I include everyone in that statement from the Easybeats through AC/DC and onto whatever crap that is currently passing itself off as popular music. Forget your Hoodoo Gurus and your Sunnyboys, your Birthday Party and your assorted Johnny Come Latelys. This band was Ground Zero and Year Zero. Accept no substitutes.

"Radio Birdman. Box Set. Seven CDs. One DVD. One hundred Aussie bucks. Five Bottles. Yay. It’s great."

And that has been the extent of the reviews of this thing. Nobody has wanted to prod it with a stick and turn it on its side. And with several good reasons. Radio Birdman have always put the fanatic into fans. No more surly beast has ever walked the earth than a Radio Birdman fan.

Run Yourself Ragged EP - Dan Brodie & The Grieving Widows (Fat Swine)

brodie-raggedYou all know who Dan Brodie is, right? He’s released several LPs and EPs and yeah. You need this lil’ gem in your collection.

Why? Apart from the songs, it’s a fine little story of r’n’r excess, consequences, surgical procedures and ends with a damn-the-consequences romp in sterling style. I’ll quickly add that the production on the EP is damn fine too - that’s Glen Hewer, and the mastering is raucous and clean: David Briggs.

Psychotropic - Los Tones (Off The Hip/Groovie Records)

psychotropicHere it is folks - this is the sound the “cool kids” make these days. “Cool kids” being what the wearers would dismissive as a totally pejorative term, but essentially being a title for whatever constitutes a “scene maker” in these musically fractured times. “Scene” being another pejorative word.

It’s hard to keep up with contemporary music once you pass a certain age - even when you’re consciously trying to cock an ear to what seeps out of cracks in the footpath and shuns daylight. Of course it’s a given that you shouldn’t pay attention to just about ANYTHING that makes it to commercial radio airwaves, but in this case "contemporary" means the underground shit, maaan. And Los Tones are under the commercial radar by any measure.

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