• First review of the album for James Williamson & The Pink Hearts

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

Hit and Run b/w 45 Minutes - P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. (Doomtown Sounds)

hit-and-runIf the Scandi-Rock-meets-punk thing is over somebody forgot to tell P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. And just as well. This one presses a boot to the windpipe and doesn’t let the victim up until he’s out of air and long done squirming.

There’s something timeless/placeless about this stuff but the fact the single was recorded in Sweden had me convinced P.R.O.B.LE.M.S. were another hair, denim and leather outfit off that country’s esteemed production line. I was impressed to find out they’re from somewhere that’s arguably even more isolated (Portland, Oregon) and that their ranks contain Pierced Arrows and Poison Idea members. As do most bands from Portland, Oregon. 

Love On The Run b/w Corporate Girl + They Took My Baby From Me - The Strawberry Teardrop (Perfect Pitch)

love-on-the-runThe Strawberry Teardrop takes off where Steve Lucas’ fab Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence from the early ‘00s left off. It’s a pared-down studio line-up - a trio with Lucas handling vocals, bass and guitar, helped out by drummer Levin Franco and percussionist Herbie Mayhem - but the single’s ’60s garage-psych origins are patently obvious.

A side “Love On The Run” couples a knowing Lucas vocal to a basic rocker that plods a little and takes a while to get out of second gear. Perhaps this one could have done with some extra trimmings. B side lead-off “Corporate Girl” switches the mood to fuzz guitar snarl with chunky chording and a straight-up backbeat pushing Lucas’ ready-for-the-weekend vocal to the front. More than a little bit of alright.

Living & Loving In The USA b/w All That I Want (Is You) - Steve Lucas (Perfect Pitch)

living-and-lovingOnetime X howler Steve Lucas returns to the record store racks with a couple of seven-inch singles, this first one under his own name. If you’re hoping for “Hate City” you’re fresh outta luck.

“Living & Loving In The USA” is a double-headed ode to marital bliss that could have been called “Where We Went On Our Honeymoon”. It's the (true) story of two people eloping. Clean guitar, sweet backing vox from Mrs Lucas (aka the very rocking Joey Bedlam from Dollsquad) and all done without a hint of fuzz or distortion. It’s rocking mid-tempo pop with bongos, a hint of Tex-Mex and a great and heartfelt vocal from Mr Lucas.

Ronnie Wood b/w Fuck The Clowns - Dunhill Blues (Outtaspace)

ronnie-woodThey’ve discarded the keys and horns and are now going around live as a four-piece, but Sydney's Dunhill Blues have lost none of their musty garage charm. “Ronnie Wood” is a jagged guitar figure that's (as far we can make out) a homage to the wayward Stone. 

"Ronnie Wood" has a meat and potatoes sound with minimal overdubs and just some buried handclaps and female back-up vocals lightening the attack. Scrappy and fun.

Poor Old Man - Captain Spud and the Nifty Keens (Spudland)

spud-art-nifty-keensThis Captain Spud chap, with his mildly alarming synthetic-bop is in the alternative charts down here in Adelaide with this CD single. This could mean anything. What it actually means is that Spud has done it again.

While I believe that men like this should be surging up the charts, exposing the dross and bogus aspects of the entertainment industry, the reality is that gorgeous little tunes like this, with its toyland-‘60s-musical aspect placed in a modern context … don’t.

Measuring the Space Between Us All - The Hadron Colliders (Interstellar Records)

measuring-hadronFlashback: I remember the first time I heard REM. Paul had just bought their first LP and we sat in his little bedroom, listening with something akin to amazement.

Now, I mention REM’s first LP because it was one of those exclamation mark moments, similar to “Measuring the Space” by inner-western Sydney band The Hadron Colliders.

My response to hearing this was immediate and positive, and I’ve now spun “Measuring the Space”…over and over.

Crossroads b/w Oh Well - Deniz Tek (Career Records)

crossroadsHe never lets the grass grow under his boots so it’s no surprise to see another Deniz Tek single drop. Such things are essential, really, if you want to make money on the road in Europe and these two tracks were taken from a early sessions for a forthcoming Tek album. 

“Crossroads” is a back-to-basics slice of chunky riff-a-rama that wouldn’t have been out of place on the Doctor’s “Outside” album back in his major label spin-off days. Its immediate and stripped-back production doesn’t sound as dense as that record but it’s coming from a similar Birdmanesque place. There's no fresh ground broken but most will feel there probably doesn't need to be. 

True Believer - Michael Cullen (Speartackle)

true-believerWell, this is a first, I think. This is a four bottle CD, and I really do dislike it. However, I disliked it a lot less after the second listen, and by now (fourth spin) it’s beginning to grow on me.

Michael Cullen’s last CD, 2011’s “Love Transmitter”, I am unfamiliar with, but it seems all who heard it loved it. This fact, plus the quality of “True Believer” (I can see shedloads of you shelling out to hold it in your hands, then scampering out to see the man in the flesh) gives me pause.

“True Believer” takes us through loves lost and almost won, via European streets and Melbourne alleys, dashed hopes and determined belief and - a certain contempt amid the vulnerability.

Rev - Reverend Horton Heat (Victory Records)

revThere’s a lot of ‘50s revival acts and actors out there. And, I suspect for most, it’s just a bit of harmless narcissism. But the Rev…?

Have you ever stood in a jammed-in-crowded room and suddenly felt a large hand grip your balls and give them a playful squeeze? And there’s no-one around who looks like it was them..?

“Rev”, The Rev’s umpteenth LP, is full-tilt, in ya face, grabs your privates, smart, sassy, intelligent rock’n’roll from the old school.

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