I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground & Nico – Various Artists (Verve)
Tribute albums usually have their fair share of lowlights bordering on the "what the fucks". Worst still, their highlights usually rank at a mere meh. At best, someone will pull off a single worthy take of something and rescue the whole project from being a waste of time.
The first Velvet Underground album is now an unquestioned classic seen as a cornerstone of modern rock. It does this because of, not in spite of, its "dangerous" themes and avant-garde sound. Even the "pretty" songs seem to arrive from another world, twisted by low-fi audio recording.
Sir George Martin was not at the mixing desk. And that is why the first Velvet Underground album rules. Oh, that and genius players and songwriting. That didn't hurt.
Unconditional Loop – Ekranoplans (LedaTape Organisation)
One of the enduring paradoxes of the past 18 months has been the adherence of certain apparently progressive communities to the discourse of compliance.
For communities that see their antecedents in rebellion, hedonism, nihilism and two-fingered defiance in the face of state intervention, cleaving to the rhetoric of "doing the right thing" is worthy of lengthy academic analysis – even more so when the impact of compliance on the very existence of fringe communities is thrown into the mix. Still, the discourse of 60s radicals is polluted with self-serving assertions of piety, so it’s nothing new.
Compliance is a necessary thread in social fabric, but it’s not an ends in itself, nor is its practice an invitation to prance around wearing the thin cloak of moral piety. Because no society ever progresses without judicious acts of non-compliance, compliance is a behavioural instinct that must always been second guessed.
Unfortunately, in the current warped political climate, libertarian protestations of ‘freedom’ – itself a nebulously defined and ideologically charged term rarely understood by its cheerleaders – have been become the rambling tropes of wingnut conspiracy theorists and renegade elected officials who wouldn’t know their Derrida from their derriere.
So where does that leave Melbopurne’s Ekranoplans? Bent, most likely, but in a good way.
Racket Du Jour - The Prehistorics (Sonic Artillery Records)
The fifth album from Australia's The Prehistorics and it's a real return de force!!
From the first note of the first track “Circus Maximus”, I knew that I was in for a rockin’ good time with this album, as I quickly ran back to the stereo to turn up the volume a little bit more. And, by the time I get to the third track “Scene Queen” and its awesome riffage, I’m yet again turning it up just a bit more. This track would make a great single.
“Caveman” brings on some fun dynamics, the time signature changes from the engine room of producer Michael Carpenter, playing both drums and bass, is almost hypnotic.
Space Travels - Sonic Garage (self-released)
Welt – I Am Duckeye (self-released)
Sydney's Sonic Garage have produced a fine rock'n'roll album. Victoria's I Am Duckeye have produced a brutal, beautiful fucking monster. The fiorst bvand is from Sydney, the latter from Melbourne.
There are similarities to both records - Sonic Garage dedicate their album to Luke Lovelock. Duckeye dedicate theirs to one, Matt Browne. And both have striking covers; Sonic Garage show us Saxon Wyatt's bonnet art (it's got that 1970s and Eric Von Daniken vibe which all Hyundai cars should have), while Duckeye found a roadkilled bird which had then been half-painted over by a careless road-line marker.
Their back cover is very boganista - a bunch of beery customers you can barely see as most of a very smashed guitar goes sailing over someone's adjoining breezer block wall.
Sex Punk Power – Grindhouse (self released)
Grindhouse – Melbourne’s most sexy band (their words, not mine) - have released their fifth album. Fuck, this band has been busy. That’s five albums, numerous singles and a couple of split singles. And gig after gig, here in Australia and in Europe .All since forming in 2014.
“Sex Punk Power” is just a really good album with plenty of garage rock to keep you, well, drinking VB after VB.
Grindhouse is fronted by Mick “Two Fingers” Simpson on vocals, guitar, grunts and groans. He’s accompanied by Rick Audsley on guitar, Adrian Cummins on bass and Neil Matthews on drums. They’ve also called on the fabulous talents of Shannon Cannon from Juliette Seizure & The Tremor-Dolls on vocals and guitar.
Live at the Forest- The Rip Offs (Ladymann)
Elektrosphincter - Geezergosis (self-released)
Red Desert Rain - The Systemaddicts (self-released)
The Rip Offs are made of: Sarah, guitar & vocals; Hermann, bass and standing stillish; and Michael, drums and expressions.
(The Barman wishes me to tell you that I know them all and love them dearly. Needless to say this CD wouldn't appear on here if I thought it were not up to snuff. Oh, and, erm. Probably adults only, OK?)
I saw them at a recent gig at the Grace in Adelaide, supporting Fear and Loathing (1980- present); they're damned forceful and completely intoxicating. And - their two covers are bloody good.