Melbourne’s Baby 8 has delivered a smashing album full of songs about drinking, drugging and horrific nights out. It cuts straight to the bone. No love songs here, folks; just pure “boobs-to-the-wall” rock ‘n’ roll with some punk-pop thrown in.
“We Hate Each Other But We Hate You More” just kicks from the first track, “Nights Want to Kill“, which is the single. And what a cracker song it is.
Rachel Lendvay (vocals) shines throughout. Katie Dixon (Powder Line Sneakers) on guitar, Maureen Gearon (NQR) on bass with Matty Whittle (ex-GOD) on drums round out this powerful rock band.
Pull up a chair, crack a beer and let’s have a bet. Bukowski would. There are short odds on offer, my friend, that Beechwood is your new favourite band - even if you haven’t heard them yet.
Bukowzki was from the other side of the USA, as this trio from Brooklyn, NYC, the buzz on whom is substantial but not undeserved. It’s picked up momentum to move past a dull roar, even in these times of fragmented public communication. A recent European tour left the French, in particular, in raptures. See here for proof.
You ever read Bukowski? Full of extremes, for sure, but also littered with patches of light and shade. Much like the sound of Beechwood. It isn’t easily categorised; there are so many stylistic threads coming together that you’ll die trying. A sometimes languid flow of vaguely ‘60s pop and psych elements runs right through it. Concise songs full of variety but somehow linked together.
First time I laid my tired eyes on the impactful, dark, visually striking, elemental art work of Hieronymous Bogs, I knew he had come to some of the same conclusions about life and death as I had.
Like a candle flickering in the dark, his prophetic folkart, found object assemblages, and iconic religious alters are invested with a compassion and humility one seldom sees, nowadays. His multimedia sculptures and paintings are filled with visceral, primordial, intimate terror and sadness, gratitude and grace, and his music has that same kind of rawness and naked vulnerability, beat poet bravery, and Cohen like melancholy.
If you see him in his big hat, hitch-hiking on the side of the lonesome highway, with a crow on his shoulder and bluebirds nesting in his beard, pick him up, and he will humbly regale you with vividly spun, purplish tales of poignant observations and quiet awakenings.
Louder than War gives this album from Ed Blaney, the onetime latter-day member of The Fall, a rating of nine-out-of-ten, but sod that, it's a seven bottler out of five if I ever heard one.
Sass, bounce, beat, humour (of the kind that warms those mysterious cockles on a winter's night), well-crafted songs somewhere between pop, rock and wiggle yer butt, all the while dragging your sorry ageing carcass onto the dancefloor. Except for a couple of quiet ones, but you'll be listening hard to those. Sucked in? Deep inside!
Right, let me get my breath back. You don't hear much of the kind of pop made in “the ‘60s” anymore, do you? Well, alright, it's not the ‘60s anymore, that's one reason. And another is ... the music industry lost its innocence long, long ago, but found it again in the '60s, or appeared to.
Once upon a time, a review of the first album from Lubricated Goat could have used the line: “There’s something here to offend everyone” and left it at that. In these days of live-streamed jihadi beheadings, jaded millennials and older people with permanent confected outrage, however, you have to do better than that.
Most people will recall The Goat from their appearance on the Australian national broadcaster, nude and lip-synching a song called “In The Raw”. Yes, they flashed their wedding tackle. A media meltdown followed.
Of course the raison d’etre was to outrage. To go to a Lubricated Goat show in Sydney in the late ‘80s at Max’s Petersham Inn or The Evil Star you had to be severely disconnected from the rest of society, chasing the band’s offer of free beer for turning up naked or on smack.
The website says that NQR is the "new band for Kristian Brenchley (from New York City’s WOMAN and Degreaser, the latter with fellow ex-pat Tim Evans), Denis Leadbeater (S-Bahn) and Maureen Gearon (Baby 8) with the indomitable Ruth McIver (C**ting Daughters) very much out front and centre on vocals."
It comes as a six-track cassette or CD.
The title track opens and it's a kick in the guts, just over two-and-a-half minutes of bitter pop stuffed into a woodchipper.
And the singer gets out:
No more conversation
No more chaperones