Sleight of Hand – River of Snakes (self released)
The fuzz pedal is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th Century - and Melbourne’s River of Snakes sound like they have shares in it. Let’s hope that canny investment buys the three members a mansion each in the exotic locations of their choice.
The band has been around for a decade. The commercial music world may have moved in a wholly different direction since then, but their sound has stayed firmly rooted in the share-house, college radio universe of the ‘90s…a time when guitars were king and punk - or whatever you wanted to call it - briefly looked like it might drive a stake through the heart of blandness. Of course, that ridiculous but romantic notion was not to be…
The Trap - Velatine (Spooky Records)
Store Atmospherics - Velatine (Spooky Records)
Well, pop tarts, you're all wondering what the fuck to do during lockdown (apart from fucking, fighting, boozing and drugging), so here I am to sprinkle sparkles of hope and joy...
This is my first and probably last music review for 2021. So this will be short, but sweet.
As I may have reflected, we live in a golden age of music, where the vast majority of what is popular is unbelievably smug and gittish.
Unlike, to take one label by way of example, Spooky Records (sometime home of such mainstays as The Beasts of Bourbon, 6 Ft Hick, Sun God Replica, Shifting Sands, The Braves, Spencer P. Jones, Brian Henry Hooper, Lost Talk, Harry Howard and the NDE, and a host more), whose releases are exciting, curious, intriguing and often downright addictive.
Swamped – The Quick Sixes (Outtaspace)
There’s an awkward charm to the sound of The Quick Sixes that’s hard to resist. Equal parts twang, space retro blues and garage shimmy, this Geelong quartet is a cross between Brisbane’s late, lamented Hewkawis, The Modern Lovers and Shutdown66 (but with better manners.)
The Gee-troit Sound is long gone but if you think of The Quick Sixes as Barwon Heads Beat you can’t go wrong. It's surf music for the loveless and landlocked. It'll occasionally make you cry into your beer. It's sometime a little loose around the edges, but it's a load of fun. Variety is a by-word, too.
Bogan Rd – The Monaros (self-released)
Hello I-94 Barflies. The Monaros’ “Bogan Rd” is the latest release from Warnambool’s hardest working band. Shit, this must be their seventh or eighth long-player and it’s chock-a-block full of humour and wit.
Just listen to “Parma”. It’s a classic tune about, well, a Chicken Parmigiana. “Ring A Root’,”Kick It Long” and “Dunlop Volleys” are all so bloody Australian. This is a CD to get drunk to, stoned to and maybe not get fucked to – although the track “King Brown” is kind of sexy.
Rock'n'Roll Undead – Mad3 (Rock'n'Roll Kingdom)
Upon the Dentigire - 2yago: (Zygeltigit)]
These albums by Japanese bands Mad3 and 2yago were pressed into my hands by one, Paul Slater, who runs the 3D Radio show ”'It's Always Rock'n'Roll” out of Adelaide on Monday nights (and whose adverts occasionally send him to Facebook Jail.) Paul is one of those music nutters who often knows the people who make the music, and has travelled overseas (France, Japan, UK) just for the bands (rather than the touristy T-shirts, towels and gastro).
Mad3 is built around guitar hero Eddie Legend (I-94 Bar readers will know him from the 188.8.131.52s) and are simply incredible. They're one big, bad, really sharp and clever rock'n'roll rollercoaster road trip - you're dragged kicking and squealing into a comic-character world of underground surfer/phantom/doom guitar noir. Play very fucking loud. Eddie has an incredible guitar sound.
Sound of Sydney Volume 4 - Various Artists (Method Records and Music)
What is “the sound of Sydney”? It’s a rhetorical question, if not an outright non sequitur.
If you asked 20 different people, you’d get as many different answers. Someone young might say it’s Triple J - which would be laughable but it’s, you know, it is somebody’s reality. You can fight media fragmentation but it’s like yelling at a cloud. Boomer.
“Sound of Sydney” was a series of compilation albums- appearing in 1983, ’84 and ’86 - and the work of Method Records’ Fabian Byrne, of mod-pop band Fast Cars. They were fine records - and very diverse and that in itself was reflective of what was going on in the underground.