Peripherique - Mass Spectrometer (Ghostjogger)

mass specIf I told you this was worth four bottles, and probably more, you’d probably go out and get it. If I told you the truth, which is that I’ll still be turning this little ripper on in 20 years time if I’m spared, it’s a six bottle disc and you can’t live without this one … what will you do? Look. Dave Graney would dig this. I reckon Ed Kuepper would too. And Ed Clayton Jones, Hugo Race, Charlie Marshall and a host of others.

Imagine. It’s the early 1980s, and you live in New Zealand, far, far from the tumbling new wave and alternative bands falling out of everywhere. There’s a New Zealand scene which you love, but which almost everyone outside the country is ignorant of: indeed, the question many New Zealanders get asked is, “What language do you speak?”

Brokenhearted on the Nullarbor - The Systemaddicts (Off The Hip)

brokenhearted nullaborFirst an apology: it’s taken me ages to find the time to write this down, but “Brokenhearted” is a constant in the car, revving us all up when we … er. Go to the shops. Go to the beach. Go visit me mum. You know.

Oh yeah. What a fabulous band the Systemaddicts are. One of Adelaide's best. Yeah, you’ll hear fragments of Birdman in them, you’ll hear the big brassy sound of The Saints (especially their third album) but most of all you’ll hear the urgency and freshness that you got from some of those early ‘60s British explosion outfits. Vim, verve, smarts and relevance.

All Through Paradise - The Braves (Spooky Records)

all through paradiseYou might not get it first listen. You almost certainly will if you see them.

Remember when you used to follow a local band? Thought the world of them, and they took you all over the city, into dark corners you’d never normally go? Pubs filled with sad, bitter old men?

Everywhere The Braves go around Melbourne, there’s a crew of their fans who follow them. So even out in the tedium of the bored burbs, when The Braves play, the dancefloor is filled with dancing shapes. And the locals get it, and join in. And when The Braves go back, there’s more people.

The Winter Journey - Julitha Ryan (self released)

the winter journey“The Winter Journey” has been such a difficult album to review. Why? Well, I can’t concentrate on typing, I keep falling into it and staying there, hypnotised. It’s just bloody wonderful. I’ve tried with pen and paper, same thing. Just dragged in. Fabulous, really.

Seven bottles, Barman. This is the second of Julitha’s solo albums, hopefully of many more. Her first LP, “The Lucky Girl” I responded immediately to and “The Winter Journey” does the same. Sure, if you’re expecting a wall of guitars, you might pause when you get a wall of … Julitha’s delicate voice. But then everything else kicks in: piano, organ, guitars, pedal steel, synthesizers, strings, brass section, and oh, yes, her all male choir (The Wall of Men) used to intensely powerful effect.

Let It Slide - Mark Porkchop Holder (Alive Natural Sounds)

let it slide porkchopHard to comprehend that this is Mark Porkchop Holder’s debut album. He’s a founding and former member of the blues-stomping raunch machine, Black Diamond Heavies, and that should tell you something straight away, even before you play a single track.

“Let It Slide” is roadhouse blues - no, not those “Roadhouse Blues” with the drunken clown out front singing about mute nostril agony. I mean the shit you might hear in little bars when you get off the interstate highways in Tennessee or Louisiana. Best served with a corn dog side dish, grits and catfish fried in possum sweat. As featured on "Man versus Food".

Heath Green and the Makeshifters - Heath Green and the Makeshifters (Alive Natural Sound)

heath green cdIt’s just a theory so bear with it: As music’s once essential ingredients like passion and energy become even more diluted, those who still want to practice rock and roll as it used to be known will be forced right back into their past.

The ‘70s will become Rock’s Golden Age, even if the ‘60s were better, simply because that was the time when mass media first took a real grip and force-fed culture to the populace. Rock and roll will become more reactionary, tougher and more comfortable within its own leathery skin.

The meek will have already inherited the earth and occupied portable electronic devices and the digital channels. The only contestable ground will be bars and clubs where earthy, honest rock and roll will make a vinyl-like resurgence among a small but devoted following, and select newcomers (aka bored Milllennials.) Which is where someone like Heath Green comes in.

Musk Hill - The Baudelaires (Off The Hip)

musk hillAnother day, another great and surreal psych band from south of the NSW-Victoria border. The Baudelaires have a string of singles under their belt (via Colourtone Records) and this is their full-length debut (on Off The Hip, of course.)

Mr Everywhere, Mikey Young (Eddy Suppression Ring), recorded this with The Baudelaires in a three-day session at a house on the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria. The songs burn slowly, for the most part, with a magnificence all their own. They aren’t in any hurry but they arrive at their destination.

Coleum Versus - Jim Dickson (Citadel Records)

coelum versusHe mighr be embarassed by it being said, but Jim Dixon is the Grand Old Bass Man of Sydney’s rock and roll scene.

Since dropping in as a member of raw Brisbane band The Survivors at the tail end of the ‘70s to relocating and driving the bottom end for The Passengers and many more, he’s been as much a fixture as cold beer and sticky carpets.

Active duty in London with the Barracudas and then back home to play with the likes of Louis Tillett, Penny Ikinger, the New Christs, the Deniz Tek Group and Radio Birdman, Gentleman Jim is omnipresent as both player and punter. Along the way he’s supplemented his music by working in a record store, running his own curry kitchen and, more lately, bussing tourists around Greater Sydney’s natural wonders.

Intergalactic Sex Tourists - The Sex Organs (Voodoo Rhythm)

sex organsIt’s all so obvious and so much more childish than Parliamentary Question Time, but how can you resist a male-female duo called The Sex Organs who dress like they’re named with songs like “Lubrication” and “I Wanna Be a Pussy”? Oh, you can? If you have sufficient taste to push back, you can leave now.

Drummer Jackie and guitarist Bone formed The Sex Organs in 2014 to play European festivals and quickly recorded a single, “Fuck The Human Race”, in Amsterdam’s red light district. They come (pun intended) from somewhere in Europe. This is their debut album and of course it’s on Voodoo Rhythm,  the people who peddle “songs to ruin any party”. Or orgy.