It’s Psychological - Happy Times (Swashbuckling Hobo)

happy times LPIt could be as the title says and allude to obsession, but “It’s Psychological” also proves you can make an entire LP from songs about U-boats and shit food and come out winning.

Maybe it’s something in the sub-tropical water or the inexplicably-labelled local beer (that’d be Fourex to you and me) but Brisbane’s small underground rock scene is teeming. HITS are the heavyweights, Mick Medew is the elder statesman, but there’s plenty more happening if you use a coin to rub the panel on the scratch lottery ticket and look underneath.

The Outskirts of Your Heart - Pat Todd & The Rank Outsiders (Hound Gawd! Records)

outskirts of your heartYou might think of it as just another European label re-issuing an American artist’s old work on vinyl - a smart commercial move because nobody in Europe buys albums on CD - if they can help it.But you should consider Hound Dawg Records' engineering the re-appearance of the first record for Pat Todd’s post-Lazy Cowgirls outfit as a public service. Here’s why:

Unknown Compelling Force - Fortress of Narzod (Chief Designer Records)

UnknownCompellingForceNothing succeeds like excess and this trio from Melbourne has the concept truly nailed on this seven-track EP, their second release. Studio leakage, a seething fuzz attack and enough strange aural samples to keep it weird, Fortress of Narzod actually turns over new turf in a well-ploughed paddock.

Nailing their colours to the mast of a boat occupied by bands like Sabbath, MC5, Union Carbide Productions and Dead Meadow, Fortress of Narzod comes across as an Antipodean, suburban version of all of the above. No war pigs or bustles in hedgerows here, Fortress of Narzod draws as much inspiration from Michael Moorcock sci-fi novels and video games as doom-laden minor chords.

A Big Bad Beautiful Noise - The Godfathers (Godfathers Recordings)

big bad beautiful noiseIt shouldn’t come as a surprise that a record by the re-constituted Godfathers rocks like a motherfucker. There’s plenty of YouTube evidence of recent gigs in packed Pommy pubs to show as much - as you can see for yourself, above. 

The real ear-opener comes when you slip an advance copy of the new disc into the player and hear how fresh and true to the sound of the original band that they manage to be.

The Godfathers were built around brothers Peter and Chris Coyne (vocals and bass respectively) when they formed in 1986 and, for a time, they did bigger business in the USA than at home in the UK, where their brand of hard-riffing rhythm ’n’ rock-blues was distinctly on the nose.

Juggling Prayers - Circus Chaplains (Circus Chaplains)

juggling prayersClassic release from a Sydney band. Also a classic example of a band pulling in multiple different directions, which makes for a broader variety of approaches to their songs.

We’ve all seen bands where this doesn’t work - because it’s damned hard to juggle everyone’s creative juices - but with “Juggling Prayers” we have one of those fine CDs which, once it’s finished and begins to replay, you don’t turn off, you just let it repeat.

Manhattan Project - Kevin K (MVD/Real Kool Kat)

manhattan projectA bunch of New York City’s rock and roll past and present recently gathered in Manhattan to celebrate and play the music of Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers.

Led by the eternally cool Walter Lure, who was assisted by Blondie drummer Clem Burke, ex-Lower East Side resident and MC5 member Wayne Kramer, Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson and a bunch of guest vocalists, the band played four sold-out shows. And they were reportedly underwhelming.

Tingalingin’ - The Lincolns (The Lincolns)

TingalinginThe Lincolns are sharp, smart and write damn fine, modern songs, play with punch and verve, and crowds come out of the undergrowth wherever they play (I’m guessing they’d pull in the middle of the Simpson Desert), and most of the crowd get all gussied up and dance till the pompadours collapse like upset bowls of black pasta.

The Lincolns tour around the country; barely a weekend goes by without another sell-out Lincolns gig somewhere. They work hard at day jobs, too, so the band is their release; yet they drive to every gig and there’s more than 140 songs in their repertoire. Yes, really. And they live in Adelaide. And, their overseas tours have been extremely successful, and there’s another one sorted out for 2017.

Antarctica - Marilyn Rose and the Thorns (In the Vault Records)

antarcticaThis album is worth four bottles. Possibly more. I’ll know in a year’s time, when I’ve finished listening to it. “Antarctica” is a sleeper, and it’ll get you in the end. Probably at night, it feels stronger at night. Lex from Seedy Jesus did the cover, and it’s a beauty, really smart.

And, yes, I’m going to repeat myself: the world is currently awash with brilliant music, much of it - like “Antarctica” - very strong and remarkably commercial. Given the airplay and the backing, "Antarctica" should be in thousands of homes around the world; certainly the USA would like this outfit. That said, I’ve not yet seen Melbourne’s Marilyn Rose and the Thorns - but I’ll rectify that as soon as I can.

A Place Called Bad - The Scientists (Numero Group)

a place called badBarman, how many bottles can I get away with putting on this? If you’re a literalist, it’s five. Because you can’t go over 100 percent, by definition, can you?

Can you, fuck! Eight bottles, Barman. (ED: Go home, Robert, you're drunk!) This is a special, wonderful box set. Long overdue.