"There is nothing to win by this kind of an outcry..." -Richard Hell
"Everything is really hard, if you ain't got that credit card." -Iggy Pop
Old grape popsicles don't expire, they just get freezer burnt.
Back in my bespangled youth, there was no Internet and no downloadable sound files you could carry around in your hand-held Orwell gadget. We had, like, Walkman's and a couple of cassettes, if we were lucky, you know? If we got real enterprising, we'd spring for all those big batteries to power up our boom boxes, with all the band stickers on it, but it costs a lot to keep those machines blaring, especially if you hung out with a ragamuffin lot of heavy metal kids, Stooges heads, and ersatz break-dancers.
Rock 'n' roll sounds still mostly came on collectible black platters with colorful picture sleeves, but you had to send cash away for it in the mail, relying on the honor of scuzzy rascals, and every so often, you might get chumped. 'Had to figure, somebody must be awful hard up, to rip off their own fans. There was no Pay-Pal, you just paid your pals.
The Lonelyhearts popped out of Sydney’s western suburbs in 1979 and burned, briefly and brightly, before slipping away. Their their first 45, “Last Kiss” b/w “Ambition” is as one of the great lost Oz power-pop gems of its time.
They had two lives, resurfacing towards the end of the decade, but The Lonelyhearts’ recorded legacy (three full singles) was scant for a band of their quality. And that’s why Melbourne’s canny boutique label, Buttercup Records, is seeking to make amends.
Make sure you read until the end. Let’s talk vinyl first:
The A side of this is where the voice (and guitar, for the most part) of X goes back to the ‘60s to show off his sentimental side. Steve Lucas pulled together a capable combo in Levi Franco (drums), Ryan MaCay (bass) and Herbie Mayhem (piano) to play his songs a couple of years ago, so strap yourself in.
“Ever So Lovely” is an ode to Mrs Lucas (hi Joey!), set to raunchy guitars and set off by Steve’s warm but chipped-at-the-edges vocal. Shades of A.R.M., his fabulous Oz Rock project of 20 years ago, here but not as excessive and fixed in the now.
A slice of fuzztone thicker than hand-sliced artisan bread and bossy chick vocals fuel both sides of this snarler 45 from French band The Missing Souls. Vocalist-bassist Zaza Sharpe lives up to her surname on the A side, a cover of a song by The Teardrops that's recorded live to eight-track, with guitarist and co-vocalist Little Big Ian chipping in.
A cover song also graces the B side (“Alligator” was by American frat-punkers The US Four) and it’s powered by a storming, dance-worthy beat and a neat duet between Zaza and and Little Big Ian. Soulful and fiery as hell, if this is indicative of The Missing Soul’s output on French label Dangerous Skylab (two singles and an LP) then you and me both need to hear it.
State Records on the Web
Wrong Turn is a duo-grown-into-a-trio from Melbourne that puts the primal back into rock and roll. Two albums in, this single is the first new recording to make it into the record racks since the band became a three-piece and it hits the bullseye, right in the fucking centre.
Wrong Turn is Ian Wettehall’s band and what his c.v. (The Philisteins, The Freeloaders, The Lords of Gravity, Seminal Rats, Stoneage Hearts) doesn’t tell you isn’t worth knowing.
Don’t let the jokey cover art fool you. The A side comes over like Chuck Berry on 11, telling a story about a man called Johnny Collingwood who never left home. It’s seriously raw and sounds like it was recorded in a toilet. There’s enough fuzz in the guitar to rattle your fillings loose, the vocals growl and the engine room of Myles Gallagher (drums) and Pip McMullan (bass) deliver appropriate crash-and-wallop with powerful fills.
Flip it over and “Baby No Good” hits you in the solar plexus with equal effect. Vocally, there’s a touch of Hasil Adkins in the scream-and-stutter, reverb-soaked chorus (“B-b-b-b-b-b-baby no good!”) while the band sounds even trashier than pn the A. It's all recorded in glorious mono so you know it kicks like a mule. Score this gem at the band’s shows or hit them up on Facebook.
After half a dozen albums you’d expect these Swedish veterans to be good at this thing called Garage Pop and they don’t let anybody down on this meaty four-song EP. It’s catchy, rough-edged pop with twin-guitars.
Dee Rangers are firmly stuck in the 1980s but that’s a positive around these parts. Sweden, the US West Coast, the UK and Australia were all hot spots back for garage rock with distinct ‘60s overtones back then and this release reminds you as much.
Prime cut “I Want You” is straight out of Burbank with a surging organ line, gritty guitars and an impassioned vocal all hanging off a catchy hook. Pers Nystrom announces Utte Petterson’s lead-break with a howl before we’re dropped back into the chorus. Killer stuff.