• crusty-seamenClocking in at eight songs, it's a mini-album or an EP, but the brevity of "Crusty Seamen" won't be a problem if you play it back to back a few times. It might be the best 30 minutes you've spent since you pushed Aunt Maude into the pool and sat on the side with your foot on her head. Meatbeaters take a piece of four-by-two to rock's flabby arse on "Crusty Seamen" and smack it into next week.

  • vaginabilliesIn spite of their name, The Vaginabillies don't play cuntry rock - most of the time. What they do commit to disc defies easy categorisation. Think of this album as the rantings of that drug-damaged cousin from the disowned side of the family at the Christmas party late at night after someone cracks your best bottle of whisky. He's never on the invitation list because it's never pretty.

    The Vaginabillies are fronted by Andrew Leavold, formerly the operator of Brisbane's best and only emporium of trash culture videos and DVDs. He's currently raising money to finish a movie about Weng Weng, the two-foot-nine tall James Bond of the Philippines. He's surrounded by a band that's as comfortable swapping musical styles as some senior Catholic clerics are slipping into drag. In other words, if you let these guys put their tongue in a cheek, make sure it's not your own.

    "Wide World Of Water Sports" sets some sort of pace from the outset, rolling out of the speakers like heavy psych rock with its fly undone and its paisley shirt hanging out. There's a corrupted Donovan cover ("Atlantis") that could only end up as a singalong, played live. I'm betting another showstopper is "Welcome To Prison", a cautionary ode to life behind bars. Lyrics like "Say hello to the warden/Say goodbye to the cherry you've been hoarding" are there because that's how The Vaginabillies roll, punk. They even lapse into "Let It Be" - just to make sure you're listening.

    If you're a lyrics person, you should experience love at first slight (sic) when you wrap your lugs around "Hot Monkey Woman", a country-fried garage stomp that expresses carnal passion for somebody's mother:

    I was sitting in a trailer
    That's when I saw your mum
    She was swinging from the ceiling
    I swear I almost come

    You'd swear parts of "Le Donkey Punch" have been swiped from "Rhinestone Cowboy" - until the girl vocals, brass and flute (!) kick in. Glenn Campbell never did come to grips with songs about being loved from behind. The country-soul of "Dachau Baby" proves The Vaginabillies have a doing to upset almost everybody.

    Is that Dragon's "Rain" being put through the mulcher? Yes indeed and hearing guitarist Robert Lee churn the chords like a mechanical wheat thresher should put the current greatest hits incarnation of that band to shame.


  • screaminsteviesaustraliaOne man's Mantovani is another man's "Theme From M*A*S*H*" so I just want it known that Bob Short's review below is a tad harsh. "Just Want To Be Friends" isn't as good as "Four Flights Up" but it ain't a pile of steaming donkey turd either.

  • mama fruitBrisbane institution Screamin' Stevie announces the opening title track of his fourth album in as many years with a trademark "Heeyyyy." There's a blues-rock vibe running through this album that'll hit the spot with old fans and pique the interest of the curious potential new ones.

  • prehistoricscoverIt's a brave band that bandies around the tag "Detroit Rock" these days - especially when they come from Sydney. Most Michigan music types have not the faintest idea that their state capital's name was commandeered by one of their own expats Downunder in the '70s and has since been applied to any Aussie rock and roll band with the slightest hint of guitar aggression and Motor City attitude. On the other hand, many Sydney music types now treat the whole thing with disdain and say it's all in the past.