It's rare that you find a disc with which you can't find even insubstantial fault. The Dictators, live and amped-up, are simply one of the best things on this musical planet. If you had to come up with something to balance the lavish praise we and fellow Tators fan-atics are spouting about this, it might be that the contemporary tunes on "Viva" manage to sound exactly like their studio cousins. And that's supposed to be a bad thing?
Okay. True story; this. I’m in Red Eye Records, Sydney, cruising the racks. Trying to find that new audio kick. I chance upon this item. Surely, I have every damn thing the Dictators ever released. What is this thing? A cursory glance at the back cover says it came out in 2008. I reach for my mobile phone and jump to the I-94 Bar for the good word and there isn’t one to be had. There is no frigging review. Clearly, I had better rectify this situation.
The more I hear of Keith Urban and Kasey Chambers, the more it's apparent that they have nothing to do with what anyone should consider to be country music. They arei hospital strength disinfectant-treated confections, aberrations so far removed from the original form so as to be irrelevant. Their records are turds polished within an inch of their sorry lives for moronic masses wearing shit-eating grins. A snob's view? People like Dave Favours come along and you know your opinion counts.
Fucking brilliant. Primitive. Slightly awkward. Like bad early Nirvana, but with decent lyrics. Ugly, nasty stuff. But brilliant. Brave - particularly since this is an EP and no-one in Australia is buying fucking them now. So who are these idiots?
If I was Karen O, I’d worry about my Australian label publicist. An e-mail went around with a YouTube link to the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ single in a media release which basically told you there was a new album coming out and - most bizzarely - if you wanted to review it, you could listen to it streaming on national youth network Triple J's website.
Although the singer in the more famous band's favourite tipple doesn't extend much further than a glass of fine wine these days, there's something irresistible about the line describing Melbourne six-piece Mesa Cosa as "the Stooges walking into a tequila bar". Revelling in a critic's assessment that you're very good at losing your shit, sonically speaking, is one thing but on "Infernal Cakewalk" Mesa Cosa do a good job of proving the tag right.
Gothenburg isn't snowed-in for 11 months of the year but I have it on good authority that it gets pretty grey and grim for long chunks of time. It's a nice place but it's no Costa Rica, meteorologically speaking. Plus, beer is expensive. So what can a poor boy do but play in a (punk) rock and roll band? Apa State Mental obviously subscribe to that view - and play their music with enough energy to melt a medium-sized glacier.
The genius of this Malmo, Sweden, band is in their artfully sly dumbness. They might want you to think they have the collective I.Q. of a Miss Universe entrant dealing with 'open other end' on both extremities of a bottle, but their brief and weirdly bent tunes (average duration: under two minutes) hide knowing smiles that only strong anti-depressants and regular cognitive therapy from highly-trained medical professionals can bring.
Let's be blunt: The problem with being simplistic and sticking to a formula is that you can disappear up your own arse after a while. Sweden's Apa State Mental know this only too well and deftly manage to sidestep that problem by never sitting still and, er, probing new areas.
Members of sublime Danish '60s throwbacks Baby Woodrose make up two-thirds of Telstar Sound Drone, but that's where the resemblance ends. Recorded in a WWII bomb shelter, it mimics the sound of a psychedelic lava flow with each of its seven tracks seamlessly flowing into the next.