Seas on Fire – East Coast Low (Crankinhaus Records)
The promise of their first recordings (an album and a promotional EP) has been realised and “Seas On Fire” showsEast Coast Low has the requisite rock and roll cojones to take on all comers.
A five-piece with most of its membership drawn from the matter-of-fact city of Newcastle, a couple of hours north of Sydney, East Coast Low is a product of its home-town: Nothing is overly dressed up and most of the songs get straight to the point, with no fucking around.
This is a well-travelled band. Grizzled, if you like. High rotation on the national youth network doesn’t beckon (though we all know they don’t program anything with a hint of ageism about them.) The Low formed in 2015 with members playing in Newy bands like The Fools and No Reason. The influences are myriad, although the ‘70s punk lineage is strong.
I Wish Life Could Be… - Swedish Magazines (Rubber Records)
Underground rock on Australia’s East Coast really needed a well-organised interstate exchange program in the 2000s.
Despite a smoothed-out Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney making long-haul road-trips safer and a flood of cheap airfares, the flow of bands between the two big smokes slowed, largely in part to Sydney’s declining number of live music venues.
After all, bands can’t do reciprocal deals to play in each other’s cities if one hometown has 20 venues and the other has four. If the balance had been more equitable and audiences less fragmented, it’s a fair bet that Melbourne’s Swedish Magazines would have household names across the nation in the mid-00s and not juist in Melbourne.
You’re Class, I’m Trash – The Monsters (Voodoo Rhythm)
Two weeks to write, a fortnight to record - cynics would doubt both claims - and the eighth album from these Swiss lunatics is testament to what you can achieve when you set out to annoy the living shit out of audiences.
“You’re Class, I’m Trash” is unadulterated fuzz guitar abrasion, a boil on the arse of commercially safe and bland music, with occasional diversions into sonic weirdness. And it sounds fucking great.
Redline EP – Sweet Justice (Eternal Music Group)
Hello Barflies! Well folks, The Farmhouse has been rocking these past few weeks. Los Angeles’ Sweet Justice have released the follow-up to their debut album - and it's only taken 18 years.
Why so long? Well, these boys are always busy, what with their other band the fabulous Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs (among other projects) keeping these fine musicians very busy.
Sweet Justice is a three-piece band featuring Frank Meyer (guitar and vocals), Bruce Duff (bad ass bass) and Mike Sessa on the skins (replacing original drummer Chris Markwood.) What as pedigree these blokes have. having worked with James Williamson (Iggy & the Stooges), Eddie Spaghetti, Jeff Dahl, ADZ and Wayne Kramer (MC5). So you know this ain’t no garbage or garage band I’m talking about.
Jimbo’s Clown Room - Pillbox (Yeah Right Records)
"I've been sold, been passed around, been abandoned when I was down..." - Chris Barry
The best record of the ‘90s is finally released on old time, rock ‘n’ roll, vintage style, black wax - I guess Rich Jones from MM and Black Halos had sumpthin’ ta do with it being re-released on vinyl - so high fives and thumbs up, and please everyone do buy a round for Rich Jwhen ya see 'im at the big rock show.
This sleek, snazzy version of the exemplary "Clown Room" even comes with a cuppla bonus (!!!) Pillbox tracks you're all gonna love, the seldom heard, "Come Back To The Planet" and "Down In Style", and a splendidly insightful LYRIC SHEET. I thought I knew all the words by heart, but some are even better than I remembered-dude's an underrated writer, as you'll see upon reading both the words to his songs and his liner notes that come with the record.
In addition, there’s a beautiful gatefold sleeve collage of old Pillbox live rock shots, and all your favorite songs like, "Sinister Urge", "Holly", "Get Hip" (my main jam since I was like 23 or somethin') , and "Come Up Heroin"!
Back For More – The On and Ons (Citadel)
Regular Barflies need no introduction to The On and Ons. They are Sydney’s finest power-pop exponents. Their catalogue of two prior albums and a mini-album since 2015 is as much a testament to the songwriting abilities of ex-Kings of the Sun and Screaming Tribesmen guitarist Glenn Morris as the grooves and harmonies provided by bandmates Brian Morris (drums) and Clyde Bramley.
You can judge the quality of a pop album by its earwig-ability and album opener “Vanishing Act” sticks in the brain like a dose of dopamine. Wrapped in a simple, uncluttered ‘60s sound with carefully arranged three-part harmonies, it’s punctuated by finger-clicks and Morris’s parrying guitar.