The last couple of years have been a bonusburger for Stooge aficionados who just have to own every last artifact (which presumably you are if you're reading this). Easy Action brought us live documentation of the original Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Alexander unit (the deluxe "Popped" and pristine "A Thousand Lights"), as well as the seldom-heard Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Williamson-Recca lineup ("You Want My Action") and even James Williamson's waters-testing stand with his guitar tech's y'allternative band the Careless Hearts. Rhino contributed recordings of the hitherto undocumented Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Cheatham-Zettner configuration "(Have Some Fun: Live At Ungano's"). "Kill City" got the whole reissue-and-revisionist-history treatment. Even Williamson's reform school band, the Coba Seas, have a release.
This one's just for the fans. By which I mean, if you're new to the Stooges, don't buy this record. Instead, buy "Fun House", then "The Stooges", then "Raw Power".
Here's an album with more faces than the Devonshire Street tunnel has buskers at Xmas rush hour. It's the first full LP for Sydney's Dunhill Blues and Multiple Personality Disorder rarely sounded so much fun.
You think those Powderfinger guys suddenly became Australia's hardest-working band during their farewell tour? Meh, Think again. The Dunhill Blues play miniscule stages by comparison, but their work ethic makes that of those safety-first blowhards look positively non-existent.
Not to labour the point, but we live in troubled times. Terms like "hardest working band in Australia" are an irrelevance, a relic of the days when Oz Rock ruled our roost and beer barns were places of worship that were embedded in every town and suburb across this wide, brown land. Bands could, and did, play as many as eight shows in a week. Then it all faded away.
In spite of their name, The Vaginabillies don't play cuntry rock - most of the time. What they do commit to disc defies easy categorisation. Think of this album as the rantings of that drug-damaged cousin from the disowned side of the family at the Christmas party late at night after someone cracks your best bottle of whisky. He's never on the invitation list because it's never pretty.
The Vaginabillies are fronted by Andrew Leavold, formerly the operator of Brisbane's best and only emporium of trash culture videos and DVDs. He's currently raising money to finish a movie about Weng Weng, the two-foot-nine tall James Bond of the Philippines. He's surrounded by a band that's as comfortable swapping musical styles as some senior Catholic clerics are slipping into drag. In other words, if you let these guys put their tongue in a cheek, make sure it's not your own.
"Wide World Of Water Sports" sets some sort of pace from the outset, rolling out of the speakers like heavy psych rock with its fly undone and its paisley shirt hanging out. There's a corrupted Donovan cover ("Atlantis") that could only end up as a singalong, played live. I'm betting another showstopper is "Welcome To Prison", a cautionary ode to life behind bars. Lyrics like "Say hello to the warden/Say goodbye to the cherry you've been hoarding" are there because that's how The Vaginabillies roll, punk. They even lapse into "Let It Be" - just to make sure you're listening.
If you're a lyrics person, you should experience love at first slight (sic) when you wrap your lugs around "Hot Monkey Woman", a country-fried garage stomp that expresses carnal passion for somebody's mother:
I was sitting in a trailer
That's when I saw your mum
She was swinging from the ceiling
I swear I almost come
You'd swear parts of "Le Donkey Punch" have been swiped from "Rhinestone Cowboy" - until the girl vocals, brass and flute (!) kick in. Glenn Campbell never did come to grips with songs about being loved from behind. The country-soul of "Dachau Baby" proves The Vaginabillies have a doing to upset almost everybody.
Is that Dragon's "Rain" being put through the mulcher? Yes indeed and hearing guitarist Robert Lee churn the chords like a mechanical wheat thresher should put the current greatest hits incarnation of that band to shame.
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