Live at Tully Hall – Lou Reed (Easy Action)

tully hallLou Reed’s much-maligned early ‘70s live backing band, The Tots, cop a bad wra

Maybe it’s because they weren’t the Velvets or the “Rock and Roll Animal” monster. No crime in that. Maybe it was the bass player’s white suits - like an early ‘70s version of double denim.

They were a bar band from Yonkers. They weren’t the best band to back Uncle Lou. Not by a long-shot. But they had a go.

After messing around with members of Yes and well-credentialed session guys in England to record his first two solo albums, Reed was ready to promote "Transformer". This was his "comeback" show in New York City. He'd emerged from a lay-off, much of which was spent working as a typist in the family business,

Witht the benefit of hindsight, The Tots were like a suit he bought off the rack. Not the most elegant fit, but they did the job for a year - until he wore them out/got bored and sacked them.

Kamikaze - Tokyo Beef (self released)

tokyo beef kamikazeDetroit rock? It never sounded so Australian as this Queensland band. Tokyo Beef slams out nine original songs on their second album and it reeks of Fourex pots and durries on a Gold Coast Saturday arvo down at the old Birdwatcher's Bar on Cavill Avenue.

The cover imagery is a Japanese Zero winging it past a burning wreck and it's apt enough. These songs are above mid-tempo punk rock with no safety net. Played live in the studio, theyy're first or second takes, for the most part. One guitar, bass, drums and a stand-and-deliver drawl.

Guitarist Punk (yep, that's his band name and for all I know it's the tag that his cellmate gave him) doesn't stand for subtlety and his tightly-coiled leads and sharp licks are all over these songs, free of overdubs.

Tombstone N Bones - Chicken Snake (Beast Records)

tombstone n bluesWe were in a diner eating breakfast in downtown New Orleans about 25 years ago, labouring through the aptly-named "Hungry Man’s Special" (eggs, toast, links, bacon, and enough salt to saturate the Mississippi Delta), when a couple of locals at an adjacent table heard our accents and started up a conversation.

“Where y’all from?” they asked. Geo-cultural introductions completed, the discussion strayed onto the social, economic and political idiosyncrasies of New Orleans.

“Y’all know why the roads are all so bad ‘round here,” we were asked rhetorically. “It’s ‘cause Washington said we couldn’t have any money for roads until we raised the drinking age to 21! So we said ‘Fuck you! We’d rather have our beer than decent roads!”

Lager Than Life - Squeeze The Pig (self released)

lager than lifeThe production veers towards the threadbare in parts but there's a lug-headed charm about this CD from a blokey band from Perth. "Lager Than Life" is the debut release for Squeeze The Pig. 

At eight tracks long it's too short to be an album and too long to be an EP. Let's stick with the tried and tested label "Mini Album" for the time being.

As if you hadn't guessed from the cover art, "Lager Than Life" is all about fast cars, motorcyles, beer, smokes and rock and roll. It's meat and potatoes and doesn't try to be anything that it isn't.

King Cobra - The Senior Service (Damaged Goods)

king cobraEffortlessly cool instrumental soundtrack music by a band drawn from the UK Medway scene. The Senior Service make epic songs.

If you don’t know the names Jon Barker (organ), Graham Day (guitar), Darryl Hartley (bass) and Wolf Howard (drums and percussion), you’ll know the bands they’ve played in, like Billy Childish and the Buff Medways, The Mighty Caesars and The Prisoners.

Hammond organ to the forefront, The Senior Service march to a drumbeat made familiar by predecessors like Booker T and the MGs. This is their second album and it could have filled the soundtracks of any number of spy movies, film noir thrillers or whimsical British dramas.

Carry On The Con - The Braves (Spooky Records)

COTCAnother day, another of those astonishing records from Melbourne label Spooky. The Braves, now on either their fourth or fifth LP, show no signs of that "running out of ideas" thing which so many bands suffer. On the contrary.

In fact, you might not like The Braves. Face it, you play what you're used to, or variations of it. Partly, I accept, because what's common on the mainstream formats is such awful rotten sludge, but partly because... you're all used to the ordinary.

Not my fault you no longer have an adventurous bone in your body, you old fart. And as for you young 'uns who haven't yet worked out that just because it's new doesn't mean it's any good...