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.

Below The Belt - James Leg (Alive Naturalsounds)

below the beltThere’s a place where dirty blues, soul and gospel intersect that many aim for but few get near. That James Leg lands in the middle drop-zone with the precision of a BASE jumper on a million dollar bet says you most of what you need to know about his latest solo record.

James Leg - aka John Wesley Myers of the Black Diamond Heavies and The Immortal Lee County Killers - is the bona fide son of a preacher man from Port Arthur, Texas. Armed with a baritone that could knock down a brick wall from 20 paces and a Fender Rhodes, he’s unleashing his third solo album (the last with label mates Left Lane Cruiser in tow.) It’s in similar vein to what’s gone before, but this time with a touch more variety.

Mainline Honey - Babeez (Buttercup) & Rules No One - Broken Talent (Florida’s Dying)

babeez singleReissues of obscure 1970s and ‘80s worldwide punk rock are not uncommon.  It seems that not a week goes by that some little-known band from the era getting a reissue of their rare $600+ single.

Sadly, IMHFO, most of the bands were pretty ordinary at the best of times…lacking guts, originality, style or any other characteristics that can make olde time punk so great.  These two releases here are the minority. If you call yourself a punk grab these pronto.

broken talent

The Babeez 7” is brought to by Melbourne label Buttercup Records who have also issued titles by The Meanies, The Chosen Few and Deathwish. The Babeez were one of those great Melbourne punk bands from 1977 whose three-song single “Nobody Wants Me” is right up there with Razor, Rocks and The Leftovers in the Aussie ‘70s punk gold stakes.

This three-song single includes two early versions of songs from the first 45 and to hear them in this even more stripped down sound is a treat.  It sounds like a well-captured four-track recording. The guitars are not as prominent as the versions on the first 7” but it’s great to hear the vocals as clearly as this.

When Sharpies Ruled - A Vicious Selection – Various Artists (Festival/Warner Music)

sharpies coverDepending on which side of the footpath you were on in the Australian 1970s, Sharpies were either misunderstood working class rebels or teenage thugs and bullies.

One Sydney Sharpie who went by the name of Big Victor (name changed to protect the guilty) would wait at suburban railway stations looking for long-haired surfers with the intention of breaking their surf boards and, if need be, a bone or two in the process. The Sharpies in Melbourne may have been different.

This is their soundtrack - ironically of mostly long-haired bands. The only real sharpie bands would have been Lobby Loyde and the Colored Balls and Buster Brown, whose singer Angry Anderson was a sharp. Certainly, Billy Thorpe had a sharpie haircut for while. The music is Australian 1970s pre-punk heavy rock/glam and as a collection that's representative of this era, it is nothing short of excellent.

Powerglide High Octane Edition - Hydromatics (Easy Action)

powerglide re ishUK label Easy Action is launching into its three-legged re-issue campaign for trans-Atlantic super group the Hydromatics by leading off with the band’s next-to-last studio recording. And with good reason. “Powerglide” is the perfect meeting place of blue-collar Detroit rock and roll and blue-eyed soul.

“Powerglide” came out in 2001 but if you can remember blinking back then you probably missed it. No sooner had it landed in the racks then the Italian label that put it out went belly-up. Fourteen years later, the gap in the market for genuine, rocking soul with power is larger than ever, so it deserves to sell by the truckload.

Too Far Gone – Hard-Ons (Citadel)

too far goneThis lavish double CD package closes the lid on the first life of the Hard-Ons, nicely. Not in the literal sense of the term. Far from it. It's like a skateboard ride down a very rough track, a mix of disparate hardcore and metal songs that sits at odds with much of what came before. 

When the original album came out in mid-1993, nobody knew (but band members could sense) that it was the last recording by the Hard-Ons with their original line-up. That's the context and it now makes sense. 

It’s funny how records released in the past evoke specific memories when revisited years later. For me, this one doesn’t throw up much. I think I bought it well after it came out. It seems lots of fans shared that indifference.