Freshly baked and impossible to resist

the breadmakersThe Breadmakers - The Breadmakers (Soundflat Records)

The Breadmakers are a Melbourne institution in a town that has plenty of them. They’ve been peddling their authentic brand of rhythm and blues around the Victorian capital, its environs and various parts of the world since 1989, and their seventh album sounds as fresh as any of its six predecessors.

R&B. Everybody’s on the correct page regarding R&B, right? The term’s been appropriated by the global music machine in recent decades, and applied to bland, largely soul-less genre of soft pap that permeates the airwaves like an insidious virus.

Gimme some skin. The Bobby Lees are made for measure

skin suitSkin Suit - The Bobby Lees (Alive Naturalsound)

If you were on the cusp of releasing your first "real" record, had US and European tours booked and ran head-first into the current viral shit show, you'd feel like you'd been whacked around the head with the Unlucky Baseball Bat, wouldn't you? Such is the lot of a young band in The Age of The Phlegm Plague.

Upstate New Yorkers The Bobby Lees sound mightily pissed-off on "Skin Suit", but the album was recorded long before Covid-19 was kicking anybody's arse.

The Bobby Lees play snotty, raucous blues thrash with all the rough edges left intact. Little wonder that Jon Spencer produced "Skin Suit"  - the band's explosive blues sound is right up his alley.

Men are from Mars and Rough Trade is from Venus

rough trade from venusRough Trade From Venus - The Secret Buttons (self released)

Their third release, on which the West Australian trio unleashes six songs of dirt-encrusted sonic goodness, each delivered with the subtly of a MyGov website crash.

Remember that lame concoction of a "band" called Wolfmother? Cooked up to ride the global wave of so-called New Rock in the early 2000’s, they were as dangerous as eating a soufflé in the shower. They gave trios a bad name. No wonder they were originally named While Feather. The Secret Buttons are nothing like them.

Knuckle sandwich is on this menu

kebabAll I Wanted Was a Kebab - White Knuckle Fever (self released)

Strap yourself in. Or strap it on. It’s going to be that sort of ride.

White Knuckle Fever is Sydney duo Celia Curtis on vocals and Ross Johnston on guitar and everything else. Ross used to be 3kShort in Machine Gun Fellatio and Celia goes by the name Cruella, Lady of Steel, in macabre vaudeville act Circus Bizarre. So they should be easy to find if the cops issue a summons.

In live performance (remember that?) the duo supplements things with loops and the like. On recordings, they sound like a five-headed Hades houndog that's chewing on the scrotum of Satan. 

Fuzzed-up and French

nervous breakdown destination lonelyNervous Breakdown - Destination Lonely (Voodoo Rhythm)

There’s more fuzz on “Nervous Breakdown” than an ageing punnet of strawberries from the back of the fridge a month after their use-by date. The band responsible, Destination Lonely, is described as “three angry men from Toulouse”, and they sound more crankier than one of their countrymen at the end of a crash diet when they’re told by the baker that he's fresh out of baguettes.

Sometimes a large meal is best consumed in a couple of portions and that might be your best approach to “Nervous Breakdown”. It’s 17 tracks long and sometimes all that distortion and primal skronk becomes hard going - like on the 14-minute noise fest “Nervous Breakdown (big band)”. 

Highway Stars

Datura4 CosmicWest Coast Highway Cosmic - Datura4 (Alive Natural Sound) 

Four albums into the game and they’re still smoking - in the non-carcinogenic sense. Even though the title describes a well-traveled road between their two chosen recording studios in Western Australia, Datura4 is yet to hit a speed hump.

“West Coast Highway Cosmic” is a very different beast to its predecessors but nonetheless another prime achievement.  The addition of keyboardist Bob Patient to the core membership of Dom Mariani, bassist Stu Loasby and drummer Warren Hall has broadened the palette.