It’s a truism that many bands from Europe rock but don’t rock and roll. It’s not their fault, of course, it’s just a matter of cultural conditioning. Rock and roll is not their first musical language and the “high art” the place is steeped in suffocates that "low art", like any other form of musical expression, into submission.
So when you find a Continental band that “gets it”, you better latch on to them, tight.
Some of us are (ahem) old enough to remember a French band called Fixed Uo, who were on Sydney’s Citadel label, and made it to Australia to play and record in the mid 1980s. Rob Younger and Jim Dickson produced an album for them. Soulful garage rock was their stock in trade. They “got it”.
Pigeons don’t belong in holes.
In other words, just as soon as you peg Off The Hip as Australia’s home for “Thee Garage Rock Sound” exclusively, they throw another curve ball like this here Brown Spirits CD.
Brown Spirits are from Melbourne and are an instrumental trio made-up of Tim Wold, Agostino Soldati and Andre Fazio, whose collective curriculum vitae includes bands like Mod Vigil, Kids of Zoo, Deep Street Soul, Russian Roulettes, Go-Set and Legends of Motorsport.
To the best of my knowledge (and I’ve heard most of them), Brown Spirits sound nothing like any of the above.
Bleak, industrial blues. That’s what you’ll immerse yourself in on this six-track EP. It’s one part Suicide, one part Delta blues, and fuck any compact with the Devil - if that was a soul left behind at the negotiating table in return for a bus ticket to the crossroads, it sounds like it’s being picked over by vultures.
Written on the road and recorded with minimal affectations, it’s a collaboration between Anglo-Italo blues rocker Stiv Cantarelli and studio collaborator Roberto Villa. And a drum machine.
We’re not claiming to be a “hip” or “cutting edge” forum at the I-94 Bar but here’s the conundrum: No-one other than the readership of similarly backward-looking but worthy publications like Mojo or Shindig is going to know about The Galileo 7. And that’s shit.
At the risk of sounding like a haughty communications lecturer talking to a bunch of undergrads, the more media fragments, the more isolationist its bubbles become. Which means, dear Barflies, that YOU have to dig deeper to find stuff that’s not disposable, commodified or bland.
The Galileo 7 is none of the above.
If you are just surfin' around the net on the lookout for this week's dime-a-dozen Richie Rich, aggression free, smiley-faced, redundant, Ramones tribute band with the obligatory Lewis leather apparel and Betty Page hair-do's, this might not really be your thing. But if your chakras are open to some really far-out psychedelic, cosmic consciousness, vibrating at a higher frequency, maan, this might be your new trip-room soundtrack.
Junkyard Prog, Freak-Jazz, Magic Mushroom instrumentals from other solar systems, other dimensions, other times. Kooky, Otherworldly, Stoner-Pop reminiscent of the Hendrix Experience, Blue Cheer, MC5 jams, King Crimson, solo Steve Vai records, it has an interplanetary sensibility, this guy obviously still communicates telepathically with Sun Ra, and Captain Beefheart, and Brian Eno and Lee Scratch Perry, ya know what I'm sayin'?
Urban Guerillas have been around since Noah was in a nappy, forming in Adelaide before moving to Sydney and plying their brand of stick-it-to-the-man-and-his-system, agit-rock around the pubs and clubs. They’ve been pumping out records like nobody’s business and this EP is the latest in a long line.
Whether you’re into politically flavoured music is a matter for yourself - the MC5 thought it was a great idea for all of five minutes but Mao wouldn't buy them muscle cars - but it’s the raison d’etre for these guys, and you have to admire their resolve to stay at it.
Not to be confused with the late ‘70s Grand Hotel scene punk band of the same name, Urban Guerillas made a name for themselves on the back of an anti-imperialism song called “Here Come The Americans”, and they’re still singing about similar things today. How’d they miss out on a Midnight Oil support?