Live PBS 106.7FM - No Fixed Address (No Fixed Address)

no fixed address liveSaw this unexpectedly in Streetlight Records in Adelaide and instantly snaffled it.

No Fixed Address (or NFA, as the Social Security acronym had it) was what every itinerant/traveller/boho put down as their address when they turned up in a strange town and went to lodge their form. Meant they weren't entitled to rent assistance. 

The reason this release only gets its beer bottle rating is for the songs - not the memories. Certainly not for the sound - whoever did this was either having difficulties or not paying attention. The bass doesn't dominate like a liquid hot night in Adelaide, somehow to the fore and in the background at the same time; the guitar seems cleaner than I remember it, the pace seems slightly faster (though that could be time playing tricks) and, perhaps Veronica Rankine wasn't playing that night as I can't hear her sax.

Past Masters Volume 1 - The Bils (self released)

the bilsGoing in with open ears and no expectations, this unassuming album is a revelation. It launched with little fanfare and was spoken about online but was unheard by these ears until after a copy was pressed into my hands backstage at a gig. 

Somebody said it was country. A little. It's copped a flogging on the CD player. It’s mostly warm and breezy blues-pop, from a husband and wife duo, one of whom you might know in their other guise. 

The Bils are Bil and Michelle Bilson. They play everything between them (guitars, bass, keys and drums) and share vocals. Bil’s other gig is drumming with reincarnated Australian power-pop legends the Sunnyboys. He also played with The (Sunnyboys-related) Sparklers and the gloriously acid punk Doctor Stone. Can’t confess to knowing Michelle’s musical pedigree but it doesn’t much matter. The back story’s not as important as what's going on at the front-of-house.

Tendrils - Joel Silbersher & Charlie Owen (Sorcerer Records)

tendrilsAs ethereal and otherworldly as when it came out on CD in 1995, “Tendrils” continues to defy easy categorisation on LP.

It was the first album for the pairing of Joel Silbersher (Hoss, GOD et al) and Charlie Owen (New Christs, Beasts of Bourbon and, again, many more) and married seemingly disparate guitar approaches to restrained vocals against an background of minimal percussion.

By then, Joel and Charlie were two of the so-called underground’s best-known players. Owen was - and still is - a consummate guitar player’s player and had had national success with the Beasts; Silbersher was the diminutive and cocky ex-GOD rocker whose current band, Hoss, seemed poised for much bigger things. He should be internationally lauded to thsi day. Putting them together in a studio was always going to produce something interesting.

Symbol/Signal - Lost Talk (Spooky Records)

lost talk LPHoly fucking god. WHAT THE FUCKING SHIT IS THIS?

Relentless, deafening, well-structured jabbing, poking scratching rock'n'roll. It's bestial. It's feral. “Symbol/Signal” is not remotely predictable. And it's not so much “these young people have something to say” as 

“THIS FUCKING WON'T FUCKING WAIT!” 

(Cue: multiple series of detonations). 

Full Support of the Board – The Toss (self released)

full supportElbows flying, kicking goals and full of humour, The Toss have been around for 10 years, five studio albums and two live records. “Full Support of The Board” is their sixth effort.

This is a record for Australian Football lovers everywhere; it’s full of wit and riffs. There are anthems on this, just waiting for a good drunken session of singing along.

Waltzing Matilda: Love Has Gone Away - Lou Reed (Easy Action)

waltzing matildaIf you don’t love Lou’s “Street Hassle” you’re deaf or a miscreant. Or both. 

Like most Reed albums, it’s flawed. The sound is muddy. Lou was fixated with a process called binaural recording at that stage and unless you’re blessed with binaural ears, the result is sonically awkward. The occasional song, too, is misguided (I’m looking at you, “I Wanna Be Black”.) 

It’s Lou stripped of glam make-up and back on the mean streets. Edgy as fuck. Grimy and grim, speckled with self-loathing, it tells stories like only Reed can. It’s one of his greatest works in a confused and often confusing catalogue. 

“Waltzing Matilda” is the album of the 1978 US tour to promote said album and it’s a live radio broadcast, spread over two CDs. Allowing for its origins - those radio tapes are usually compressed to the shit - it packs an aural wallop. Reed’s band is first class. 

Flipped Out Kicks - Flipped Out Kicks (Flipped Out Kicks)

flipped out kicksPut this on.

Why? Well, apart from the fun of watching your girlfriend immediately leap to her feet or drop what she's holding and begin to gyrate wildly (the Frug, possibly), this is more-or-less genuine '60s guitar-based garage punk. 

Well, it's noisy r'n'b actually, but who's taking notes? You're too busy bopping. There's bags of talent and energy here. Up front we have Tim Knuckey (who wrote two originals) on vocals, guitar and harp, and Jonathan "Gretsch" Adams on guitar and vocals, who wrote two more.

Knuckey you may recall from the Wet Taxis and rockabilly outfit Satellite 5; Adams (or Gretsch) from his rockabilly outfit The Wasted Ones. Looks like they planned this breakout from Quiffville for a long time.

The Fall: New Facts Emerge & The Fall: Singles 1978-2016 - The Fall (Cherry Red)

newfactsemerge thefallR.I.P. Mark E. Smith, 1957-2018

"New Facts Emerge" came out in late July last year; the singles box (Seven discs! Eight hours!) came out four months later; they're my Christmas present from me to me. 

"New Facts Emerge" - it merits seven bottles, if not eight. Bludgeoning, bruising, then it takes you on a short cruise: bloody hell this is good. It also grows on you with repeat listenings. However - and this is critical - while many long-term Fall fans seem contemptuous of the band's turn to powerful cranking rock, most Fall fans would find it difficult to come up with a Top 10 of the band's best 10 songs - you won't have that problem much with Judas Priest, or Alice Cooper, will you?

 

 

Brown Sauce - Flash House (Gods Candy Records)

brown sauceFlash House are from London and play thrashy but articulate gutter punk. The Scandis and various bands from Australia and the American Midwest perfected this style in the early ’90s. They just weren’t as hirsute.

Sometimes you wonder why the English didn’t achieve more prominence in the trash-punk field while grunge was cutting a swathe, but they were buried under all that Britpop nonsense. Fuck me, I mean, Oasis were less a band than a series of Beatles songs masquerading as headlines. Flash House and their ilk are making up for lost time.

In these times of limited attention spans and information overload, every band needs a tagline. A way to be noticed. Flash House’s is: “Rock ’n’ roll dystopia. Fast songs played by slow minds”. It fits like a thumb in your bum.