Full Circle - Arctic Circles (Buttercup Records)
With a scant recorded legacy, it would be easy to forget Arctic Circles, a ‘60s-inspired band that kicked around Melbourne’s underground music scene in the second half of the 1980’s. A 45 (“Angel” b/w “My Baby Said That”) and a mini-LP, “Time”, was the sum total until a posthumous live seven-inch on Buttercup Records in 2014.
Six years later, Buttercup has upped the ante with “Full Circle”, a vinyl compilation of Arctic Circles’ entire output, supplemented by live tracks and a bonus CD of demo’s and live cuts. It’s in a limited run of 200 copies.
Australia’s national capital isn’t exactly known for its crop of present day garage bands, so Space Party is a pleasant surprise.
They might even be Canberra’s only garage band, except their PR sheet helpfully says that they recruited their singer from another outfit called Okinawa Girls, so that means there are at least two.
(Before any public servants send thoughtfully composed emails of complaint, it’s been many years since I lived in Canberra so I’m possibly talking through my arse. The place does have at least two regular live venues and a cool community radio station in 2XX, so there are signs of rock and roll life amongst the roundabouts and grim Stalinist architecture.)
Melbourne’s Arctic Circles might be a relative blip on the continuum of the Australian underground scene of the 1980s with a recorded legacy totalling just a rash of compilation appearances, a single and an EP, but those who saw them or have their records swear by them. This cracker of a 45 adds another desirable entry to the discography.
Issued to pay tribute to late drummer Anders Nielsen who passed away in August 2014 at age 50, it was recorded live at the band’s first show (by its original line-up, naturally enough) at the legendary Seaview Balltoom in St Kilda in 1984 and bristles with roughshod beat-pop brilliance.