Gold Foil Fever - The Vibrajets (Off the Hip)
So much goodness over just five songs. Warm, fat guitars permeate this predominantly instrumental record like honeybees holed up in in an old hive.
The Vibrajets are Melbourne-based and include past or current members of The Stems, The Shimmys, The Futuras and The Breadmakers - which should tell you most of what you need to know. This 12-inch 45 is their second piece of recorded output, not so hot on the heels of a mono single four years ago. The Vibrajets sound owes its origins as much to the Chet Atkins as “Apache”.
The vintage sound of Sammy-lou Croissant and Julian Matthews’ guitars are all over rumbling opener “Greasy 186”, one of a brace of originals. The shaking cover of Long John Hunter’s “El Paso Rock” reeks of Tecate beer and Tequila chasers. Lick, sip, suck!
“Feed The Dog” b/w “Coming Back” – Bored! (Fantastic Mess Records)
Before the recent passing of principal member Dave Thomas, Bored! had probably faded somewhat from the collective underground music consciousness.
There was a collection of live material out on Spanish label Bang! that did address that but, being a mail order thing, it was probably only heard by diehard Australian fans. This posthumous, limited-edition single from committed boutique label Fantastic Mess rights this wrong and is a fine tribute to Dave.
Detroit Renaissance 79 - Matt Gimmick (HoZac Records)
The penny dropped somewhere on the Road to Damascus exit, just off I-94, but there was no need for a conversion. The revelation that this band Matt Gimmick was a by-product of The Punks, a Detroit outfit active in the mid-‘70s whose overlooked recordings have been posthumously released a coupla times over, sparked a run to the shelves to dig out their release. If you don't own a copy of The Punks' "The Most Powerful Music On Earth" CD, or subsequent re-releases on vinyl, your life is diminished.
The Punks were unashamedly in the thrall of the Stooges. If solo Iggy had sounded like The Punks we would have been spared “Party” and the Pop would have ended up a rich man much earlier in life for delivering what fans of his old band expected all along. Or so the fantasy goes, because for most of the '70s, nobody actually cared.
Rule My World b/w Phoenix - Datura4 (Alive Natural Sound)
Perth’s Datura4 grows in stature with each release and this single, issued in tandem with the latest album, kicks major sonic arse. “Rule My World” is a swaggering chunk of ‘70s raunch and only otherwise available on the CD version of “West Coast Highway Cosmic”. Warren Hall’s stuttering drum pattern summons the tune to life and Howard Smallman’s harp is the icing on the boogie cake. It's canny Dom Mariani pop with a ‘70s vibe.
The B side is exclusive to the 45 and is a suave instrumental, with some Bob Patient organ that’s cooler than a 1972 bottle of 4711 Ice Cologne on a February Perth aftwrnoon. Some wiry Mariani guitar lines take it out. There are just 300 numbered copies worldwide and you can find yours here if you’re in Australia, or here if you’re not.
Bad Bad Barrel of Monkeys - The Meanies b/w Goodbye Man - Glenn Richards + House of Bassinet - Snout (Fantastic Mess Records)
Just a stab in the dark here, but it’s likely that anything on a short-run seven-inch single by Melbourne institution, The Meanies, will sell out faster than toilet paper during a second wave of Coronavirus. So the parable at the outset is: Don’t snooze unless you want to lose.
This is the latest in a run of limited edition singles by The Meanies. The good news for fans is that it’s available today. The bad news is that it’s only one song, with the B side devoted to songs by related acts Glenn Richards (of Augie March) and Snout. Two guests on the flip is how the series runs so it shouldn't be a disappointment.
“Bad Bad Barrel of Monkeys” is catchier than the aforementioned Coronavirus with simple lyrics, a hooky refrain and a snaking guitar line. It’s instantly likeable. The B side plays at 33rpm and shudders into life with “Goodbye Man”, a steamy psych rocker preceded by a curious snatch of studio babbling. Glennn Richards plays everything. Snout’s “House of Bassinet” is swampy yet percussive pop and just as good, with subtle instrumentation and a rightfully credited whistling line. Buy it here.
It’s Coming After You EP - Thee Cha Cha Chas (Outtaspace/Hogwild)
It’s a barrage of rough and raucous rock and roll from this one-woman-one-man duo out of Melbourne. Four bracing songs on a seven-inch that sit comfortably in the garage-punk oeuvre without breaking down any barriers. Distortion and dual vocalising, done right.
Thee Cha Cha Chas are Lluis Fuzzhound (also of Intoxica and Midnight Woolf - guitar, drums and vocals) and Kylie Kooks (bass and vocals), and they’ve been carving a place on the Melbourne band scene for about five years. A big burst of touring over 2019-20 had the spreading their word further afield but with that not currently an option, this vinyl EP will do. The title track articulates these crazy times.