Negativity - The Scientists (In the Red)
Holy crap. First Scientists long-player since 1987.
You know, I'm old enough to remember when I first heard powerpop. And I also remember the first time I heard the Scientists' first single, which I thought was rather bloody wonderful. I was lucky enough to always hear Scientists' records before purchase and every record they put out, no exceptions, had to be in my collection.
We were often startled, because you never quite knew what the hell was going on in this band. It was like they had these ... bees in their bonnets, and took delight in shoving them into people's faces, much to their alarm. Once they'd got used to the bees, of course, the band found (or invented) wasps.
Dishee! - Hugo Race (Helixed Recordings & Films)
"Dishee!" is Hugo Race's umpteenth studio LP - I think the veteran guitarist has stopped counting (if he ever did). Race came up to considerable notoriety in The Wreckery in the 1980s in Melbourne (and Sydney).
On the Allmusic website, Mark Deming describes The Wreckery as "One of the more important bands on the Australian post-punk scene of the 1980s, Melbourne's The Wreckery played dark, atmospheric music informed by the blues and the same sort of chemical and cultural obsessions as their contemporaries Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds".
There's a lot more to Hugo Race; he's been involved in many recording projects; Dirt Music and The True Spirit spring to mind. Also, by dint of relentless touring and recording all over the world, he has built up a considerable overseas following. He also cannot keep himself still, creatively speaking; just recently he's played sizable gigs with The True Spirit, and a Doors' "LA Woman" tribute show. And there's a new one on the horizon...
Spooky Bootleg Tapes Volume 2 – Various Artists (Spooky Records)
Bats get a bad rap. They’re part of nature and humans – some of the stupider members of the human race, at least – feel an idiotic desire to tame nature. Nature will always win; unlike humans, nature plays the long game.
There’s a local politician whose electorate covers the poor, marginalised and disenfranchised inner-eastern Melbourne suburbs where the local population can barely rub two four-wheel drives, a private school education and an annual ski trip together. He doesn’t like bats, probably since he had an involuntary bowel movement after reading “Dracula” at school.
He wants the bats out of the trees in Kew. Dirty, filthy, disease-ridden pests, he reckons. Plus, they might have conspired to unleash COVID on the world, working in cahoots with devious foreign governments, copies of Mao’s “Little Red Book” stashed under their wings…
I Won't Bend For You - Brian Henry Hooper (Bang! Records/Incubator)
First, it's a damn good LP, the kind you put on repeat all day when it lands in the letterbox. Second, it's so damn moving you'll find yourself tearing up in decades to come. Third, there are songs here which you'll put on at parties and have people scampering up, eyes wide, 'Who THE FUCK is this? It's brilliant!'
This has been a difficult last few years. The stupidvirus has not, of course, helped, but as far as I'm concerned it's just a gentle reminder of what awaits us all, one way or another. One dilemma which confronts some of us is - how best to remember the creative? A novelist, well; in George Macdonald Fraser's case, because he'd left the manuscript in a very prominent place, his family arranged for his very first book to be published. In a musician's case - what have they left for us?
Songs from a Haunted Ballroom - Skids (Cleopatra)
Glam via Bowie, Roxy, Ultravox! and original punk, this LP is intense.
I don't like cover bands as a rule. Very few get close to improving or mimicking the original (even if they did write the original). And as for the Australian series “Like a Version' - what a rubbish gimmick.
In case you didn't know, The Skids reformed in Scotland more or less as a fun thing a few years ago, and in 2018 released a new LP ("Burning Cities" on No Bad Records) which I also have ordered from my long-suffering record shop.
Can’t Wait To Be Fine – We Hate You Please Die (Buttercup Records)
Don’t attempt to pigeonhole this band. It won’t do you any good. We Hate You Please Die play what you could broadly term lo-fi garage rock, but that’s where the preconceptions end.
There’s a whimsical fragility to these 12 songs that make them odd and compelling. There’s also sharp musical ability and some keen song-writring.
“Can’t Wait To Be Fine” is the second long-player for the two girls/two guys band from Rouen in France (their first “Kids Are Lo-Fi” came out in 2018) and it’s evidently a kick against the twjn pricks of brainwashing and society’s demands to confirm.