Never To Be Released - Maximum Security (self released)

never to be releasedThis is a clever record. Meaning: just enough thought went into its recording and production to make it special. 

Two declarations up front. I know most the people involved with “Never To Be Released”, so there’s a slight degree of bias in their favour. Secondly, most music that passes for “punk rock” bores me shitless. 

It’s like the second wave of UK punk: Once the first rush of anger and spontaneity had subsided, it fell victim to fashion. Style over substance. Saying the same thing over and over got real old, real quick. Learning two chords and starting a band is fine but you need to educate yourself in what to do with them. The chords and the band, that is.

3 Cheers to Nothing - Trixie and the Trainwrecks (Voodoo Rhythm)

trixie"3 Cheers to Nothing" arrived in my box unannounced and unasked for. I put it on as I was driving (as I do) and nearly rear-ended a bus.

I can see the children looking behind them with little circles for eyes and big open mouths, horror written all over... and then there was the rest of the drive, complete with sirens (bloody things, they take ages to get rid of), driving on the wrong side of the footpath, and a few dents on the roof (bloody cyclists).

You should be familiar with her record company: they declare they stock "Music to Ruin any Party" (they don't, the only parties they'd ruin would be political ones), Voodoo Rhythm (the folk who bring you Bob Log III, Dead Brothers, Delaney Davidson, Pierre Omer, The Pussywarmers and (in Europe) Rocket Science) and a host of others ... so Voodoo Rhythm have form, as they say of old lags, and fine, fine taste.

A Thousand Endless Nights - Little Green Fairy (Closer Records)

a thousand endless nightsIt’s been five years such the last album and French garage-psychers Little Green Fairy are back with their strongest record to date. You may have never heard of this band but be assured that they hit the mark and worth you taking a risk on.

Little Green Fairy (it’s a brand of absinthe) come from Sette on France’s Mediterranean coast. That means they’re a long way from almosty anywhere else in French terms, but it also positions them in a pictureseque stopover for touring bands on their way to Italy. They've won a reputation as the local support-of-choice.

They’ve shared stages with an impressive list. Try the Saints, Radio Birdman The Jim Jones Revue, the New Christs, Hoodoo Gurus, Real Kids, The Hydromatics, The Bellrays, Sonny Vincent and Chris Bailey, among others. 

Sideways Changeling - The Electric Guitars (Volume Creep)

sideways changelingThe Electric Guitars are fucking extraordinary. I saw this outfit in Geelong and they deliberately mess with your expectations. Partly I spose it's 'cause there are so many fucking rock'n'roll bands. And these days, there's a big swing towards the manner of psychedelia (without the bad trips and foul behaviour) in the US and UK.

Yeah, so the Electric Guitars use wah-wah. But it's hardly a mannered thing - they use a lot of effects, and they ain't shy about it. This outfit don't need drugs to get your attention, instead they have carefully set-up songs and wield them like scalpels, chainsaws and bludgeons, sometimes all at once.

You think you know where you are with a band like this, you'll fall on your face. The second song alone ("Three Body Problem") is a case in point... you're sucked in, frankly, and after a while your sinuses are aching and your inner ear is rattling. If you have fillings, take them out before you listen.

Live at Tully Hall – Lou Reed (Easy Action)

tully hallLou Reed’s much-maligned early ‘70s live backing band, The Tots, cop a bad wra

Maybe it’s because they weren’t the Velvets or the “Rock and Roll Animal” monster. No crime in that. Maybe it was the bass player’s white suits - like an early ‘70s version of double denim.

They were a bar band from Yonkers. They weren’t the best band to back Uncle Lou. Not by a long-shot. But they had a go.

After messing around with members of Yes and well-credentialed session guys in England to record his first two solo albums, Reed was ready to promote "Transformer". This was his "comeback" show in New York City. He'd emerged from a lay-off, much of which was spent working as a typist in the family business,

Witht the benefit of hindsight, The Tots were like a suit he bought off the rack. Not the most elegant fit, but they did the job for a year - until he wore them out/got bored and sacked them.

Kamikaze - Tokyo Beef (self released)

tokyo beef kamikazeDetroit rock? It never sounded so Australian as this Queensland band. Tokyo Beef slams out nine original songs on their second album and it reeks of Fourex pots and durries on a Gold Coast Saturday arvo down at the old Birdwatcher's Bar on Cavill Avenue.

The cover imagery is a Japanese Zero winging it past a burning wreck and it's apt enough. These songs are above mid-tempo punk rock with no safety net. Played live in the studio, theyy're first or second takes, for the most part. One guitar, bass, drums and a stand-and-deliver drawl.

Guitarist Punk (yep, that's his band name and for all I know it's the tag that his cellmate gave him) doesn't stand for subtlety and his tightly-coiled leads and sharp licks are all over these songs, free of overdubs.

Tombstone N Bones - Chicken Snake (Beast Records)

tombstone n bluesWe were in a diner eating breakfast in downtown New Orleans about 25 years ago, labouring through the aptly-named "Hungry Man’s Special" (eggs, toast, links, bacon, and enough salt to saturate the Mississippi Delta), when a couple of locals at an adjacent table heard our accents and started up a conversation.

“Where y’all from?” they asked. Geo-cultural introductions completed, the discussion strayed onto the social, economic and political idiosyncrasies of New Orleans.

“Y’all know why the roads are all so bad ‘round here,” we were asked rhetorically. “It’s ‘cause Washington said we couldn’t have any money for roads until we raised the drinking age to 21! So we said ‘Fuck you! We’d rather have our beer than decent roads!”

Lager Than Life - Squeeze The Pig (self released)

lager than lifeThe production veers towards the threadbare in parts but there's a lug-headed charm about this CD from a blokey band from Perth. "Lager Than Life" is the debut release for Squeeze The Pig. 

At eight tracks long it's too short to be an album and too long to be an EP. Let's stick with the tried and tested label "Mini Album" for the time being.

As if you hadn't guessed from the cover art, "Lager Than Life" is all about fast cars, motorcyles, beer, smokes and rock and roll. It's meat and potatoes and doesn't try to be anything that it isn't.

King Cobra - The Senior Service (Damaged Goods)

king cobraEffortlessly cool instrumental soundtrack music by a band drawn from the UK Medway scene. The Senior Service make epic songs.

If you don’t know the names Jon Barker (organ), Graham Day (guitar), Darryl Hartley (bass) and Wolf Howard (drums and percussion), you’ll know the bands they’ve played in, like Billy Childish and the Buff Medways, The Mighty Caesars and The Prisoners.

Hammond organ to the forefront, The Senior Service march to a drumbeat made familiar by predecessors like Booker T and the MGs. This is their second album and it could have filled the soundtracks of any number of spy movies, film noir thrillers or whimsical British dramas.