Under Attack of The Busymen – The Busymen (Swashbuckling Hobo)

under attackJust when you thought it was safe to go back into the psych ward, this sliver of shiny black vinyl arrives out of Brisbane’s sub-tropical humidity, stumbling around like a homeless man in a threadbare coat who's baring his arse for all the world to see.

The Busymen don’t seem to have been living up to their name in recent times because this 10-inch EP is their first release since the “Distort All Levels” album of 2007. Put that down to commitments with other bands or members being detained by the authorities for their own good. They’ve certainly made up for lost time.

Half-covers and half-originals, “Under Attack…” resonates with the brutal thump of a Force 5 hangover after an all-night pub crawl through the seedier haunts of their hometown’s party district of Fortitude Valley. The morning after just doesn’t come any fuzzier than this.

A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble (Exploding In Your Mind): The Wizards of Oz - Various Artists (Warner)

MonstrousPsychedelicBubbleCan you define psychedelica? Behind punk, it’s probably the most over-used term in the musical genre lexicon. That won’t change with this sprawling two-disc exploration of Australian psych, past and present.

Mixing ‘60s and ‘70s tracks with contemporary ones is an approach that could have gone horribly wrong.The wonder of this is how well the old tracks blend seamlessly with the new. Compilers Gaz Cobain (aka The Amorphous Androgynous) and Brian Dougans have done a splendid job of unearthing lost, forgotten and current nuggets and the mastering is great. It’s the fourth edition in a global series.

Radio Birdman live in 2014: Two perspectives

emmy-manning-wideEmmy Etie photo

The tour is almost over and the verdicts are in following a re-tooling of the line-up with the controversial omission of guitarist Chris Masuak. We present divergent views of the sold-out Australian run of Radio Birdman shows.

Go here to read an appraisal of the Adelaide gig by Robert Brokenmouth and here to read Edwin Garland's read-out on the band's two Melbourne gigs. You can leave comments on both reviews. Photos are by Emmy Etie and Kyleigh Pitcher. 

A Fistful of Desert Blues - Lydia Lunch and Cypress Grove (Rustblade)

fistfulThe cover - taken by Lydia Lunch - shows the ruins of an ancient desert city. Could be Jericho. Whether Jericho is in the Mid-East or the West of the USA makes little difference. We’re dealing with perennial humanity in a perilous place with a mythological backdrop. But, you know, the Israelis and the Palestinians are still killing each other, and as I say, it’s a big thing on a big, operatic stage with no solution and no apparent beginning, never mind end…

… and there are plenty of abandoned towns in Australia… it doesn’t take much, just a bit of intolerance and a bit of ignorance, and idealism for a hopeless, not very sensible cause…

If Footmen Tire You - The Bloody Hollies (Alive Naturalsound)

bloodyholliesjpgIf one of those great, booze-soaked rock and roll weekends like Garage Shock or the Las Vegas Shakedown were still a going concern (correct me if I'm wrong and one of them still is ) the Bloody Hollies would have been one of those bands that came in unheralded, blew everyone away and sold a ton at the merch table. And anyone who picked this album up would have been plenty satisfied 'cos it's 30 minutes of fire-breathin' punk fury.

Service Station Flowers - Joeys Coop (Citadel Records)

service station flowersIt’s tempting to do as the marketing does and label Joeys Coop’s “Service Station Flowers” as an outlet for Died Pretty guitarist Brett Myers. His distinctive sound is all over this album, like sunscreen and a rash-shirt on a redhead in summer, but this really is a record that’s more than just a billboard with all-star billing for one.

Singer Mark Roxburgh conceived Joeys Coop a couple of years ago, after the implosion of the reformed Decline of the Reptiles, and his vision was simple: He wanted to play with people whose work he’d long admired and to find an outlet for his own songs (something that Decline clearly was not.)

Nocturnal Koreans - Wire (Pink Flag)

nocturnal koreans“Nocturnal Koreans” is a five-star disc in anyone’s language. There’s a lot they don’t make clear, Wire, so I’ll say it: you play Wire as if there was a huge sign on the disc itself saying PLAY LOUD.

Also, “Nocturnal Koreans” is a record you can fuck to, over and over, with the windows open and the summer heat shrivelling your skin, or the sudden antarctic blasts skimming your bodies but you don’t stop, no, you don’t stop … then you wake up in the night, Wire still seducing you, and you’re chilled to the bone and profoundly disturbed…

We Baptize You In The Name of Mod - The Sons of Mod (Method Records and Music)

the sons of modMod was a prominent part of underground music in Australia in the ‘80s - especially in Sydney and Melbourne. While their obsession with fashion was both a defining trait and a limiting factor, the mods had a great collective ear for what made British music great in the ’60s. The same goes for Adelaide band, The Sons of Mod.

Led by expat Pom Andrew McCulloch (lead guitar and vocals) and with ex-Ratcat bassist Amr Zaid in the ranks, The Sons Of Mod evoke the sounds of freakbeat, a retrospective term for music from the harder-edge of the original mod spectrum. Think The Move or The Creation as prime examples.

San Franciscan Earthquake - Uther Pendragon (Guerssen)

sf earthquakeThis is one of those “lost album” stories. It’s about a record - no, three vinyl LPs of recordings - by an obscure San Franciscan band that existed in the 1960s and ‘70s - and its body of work that was built, buried and all but forgotten for 40 years.

This is a time capsule of a band you probably never heard of. Uther Pendragon were as underground as they come. They arose out of the San Francisco Bay Area in 1966, played with the likes of Country Joe & The Fish and won local prominence. They recorded extensively for the next 10 years but didn’t release a thing. That's nada. Zilch.

They took on half a dozen different names and morphed from folkish rock into psychedelia and hard rock. They lived communally and played in an occult rock opera. The polar opposite of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, which threw a career lifeline to a gaggle of Aussie rock stars in the ‘70s.