Sonics in the Soul - Buzzcocks (Cherry Red)
I'm gonna be as objective as I can. I loved the Buzzcocks. I mean, I'm not alone. Everyone loved them, didn't they?
Okay. I came in at the beginning, heard their journey, was delighted by their first two LPs, their singles, then ... that third LP which initially bewildered me, but I grew to love better than the other two. Except, of course, the compilation, “Singles Going Steady”.
Then, 42 years ago and five years after it all started (particularly with the “Spiral Scratch” EP, which unleashed the DIY independent music scene in the UK), came those three singles which sort of worked, but didn't quite. Something had changed. Because, you know, change happens.
Caveat Emptor - Slug (self released)
The northern New South Wales town of Lismore has been a magnet for people from Sydney’s ‘80s underground music scene and their Melbourne cousins. Or it was until successive floods wiped half of it off the map. Slug draws on this influx of tree changers for paret of its membership, and sounds like they brought some eroding bricks from the Hopetoun Hotel with them.
Slugs don’t move quickly so it should come as no surprise that the band’s debut long player is out decade or so into the band’s life cycle. “Caveat Emptor” is swampy, psychedelic-tinged rock and roll. Recorded live in a studio with minimal overdubs, It sounds more urgent than a bunch of old farts are entitled to be.
We Got A Right – The Golden Rat (Vicious Kitten Records)
What do you get when expat bi-coastal American underground star Mr Ratboy collides with Hiroshi The Golden Arm (aka Japan’s Johnny Thunders) in a Tokyo garage, each armed with the songs that pre-occupied their formative musical minds in the period spanning 1976-82? An absolutely killer album.
“We Got A Right” is a record that came about through necessity. Hiroshi The Golden Arm and Mr Ratboy first met in 1993 when the latter was a member of Jeff Dahl’s touring band. Fast forward a few years and Mr Ratboy is a resident of the Land of the Rising Sun and the pair strike up a musical partnership in the electro-trash outfit Ace Killers Union.
Le Cape Noir – The Ramalamas (Half a Cow)
This soundtrack to an imaginary ‘60s cult movie, or so the shtick goes, is really a collection of intriguing garage-swamp pop outbursts by enduring but low-key Sydney band. It’s the fifth long-player by The Ramalamas and their first on vinyl.
“Le Cape Noir” is a celebration of ADHD. It swings from surf-tinged rockers to garage pop and back to spy movie instrumental in the space of a few tracks. Its 16 (yes, 16!) songs are broken up by snatches of spoken word faux movie dialogue.
Sit back and let it wash over and you could be sitting in the Valhalla Cinema at Glebe watching a cult film, and ending the night stumbling out of the Sydney Trade Union Club at 4am.
Psycho-Acoustic Processor – Shark Arm (self released)
Don't argue, just get it, and make sure you catch them live.
The Iowa brothers make enough bloody racket for eight men. Even though you'd swear they were a four-piece on first listen. Bass, drums, vocals, guitar.
Three of these are played by Nathan Iowa, while Damian pounds the hapless skins. Their songs are a rumbling chaos shot through with ordered lightning and purple viscera.
Witness To The Crime – Gunfire Dance (Easy Action)
If you loved the Damned, Thee Hypnotics, Bounty Hunters, and Lords Of The New Church, be sure to order this gorgeous Gunfire Dance vinyl album from Easy Action and play the motherfucker as loud as you can.
It is a posthumous compilation and a thing of real beauty, designed by Dave Twist with liner notes by yours humbly, and features some really beautiful, seldom seen photos of our UK lads from back in the day.