A double-dose of pop and punk fun

 
little murders ep
the fiction ep

Little Murders EP - Little Murders (Off The Hip)
Sweetness Brings The Light EP - The Fiction (Off the Hip)

It’s a crazy, mixed-up world where music-lovers buy things in every available format. This four-track vinyl EP comes direct from the “Dromana-Rama” CD album which is not available as an LP, so if you’re both a Little Murders fan and a vinyl fetishist, this is the only way to satisfy your habit.

“Memory Sky” is a superb opener but there’s also not a dud among the selections here. Which are: “Wait”, “Train” and “52 Bands”. The “Dromana-Rama” album has a lot of depth and grows with each listen, but something has to be said for assembling four of its best songs on a slice of black vinyl. If you don’t walk away from a listen thinking that power-pop-rock can't get any better, you have industrial deafness or your tastebuds have relocated to your back passage. 

Ups and Downs recall their best on new 45

the real world 45The Real World b/w Closer Still - Ups and Downs (Basketcase Records)

Two old songs given the re-recording treatment and issued on seven-inch vinyl. It’s well worth your time, energy and modest pocket money to seek and procure.  The A side (aka the Upside) was a cassette-only release from 1983, and it sounds just like the band did back then i.e. melodic and chiming. Urgent guitars, courtesy of John Flade and Peter Shaw, power the song with a great soulful vocal from Greg Atkinson. 

Flip it over when it’s done and the previously unreleased song “Closer Still” in freshly-recorded form switches the mood momentarily to subdued reflection, before breaking into a canter. The Sunnyboys-style harmonies and soulfulness again stand out.. Grab it digtlally hereor seek the physical product via your store of choice. Google won't let you down on that score.

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This Victimisation is smashingly essential

horror smash ep“Horror Smash EP” - The Victims (In The Red)

“Horror Smash” is four old songs re-recorded in two sessions over 2017 and ’18 by a tweaked version of The Victims. They were Perth’s (almost) first punk band and a launching pad, of sorts, for Dave Faulkner (nee Flick) of the Hoodoo Gurus and James Baker of the Scientists, Beasts of Bourbon et al. Hard-Ons bassist Ray Ahn is the new third wheel and this single - on blood-spattered clear vinyl - has come out on revered US label In The Red.

The first thing to say is that it sounds like The Victims. No airs and graces. No frills. Downstrokes and rawness. No solos. No backing vocals. Black humour lyrics. Strap yourself in and hope you make it to the end. At which point you’ll get up and flip the thing over. 

3D Blues - The Meanies b/w Never - You Am I/The Reason Why - Even (Fantastic Mess Records)

3 d bluesThirty years of The Meanies? Who woulda thunk? The last show of theirs’ I attended probably lasted 30 minutes. While the celebratory tour winds its way around Australia, boutique label Fantastic Mess has dropped this heavyweight Méaniee à Trois on us in a run of 300.

The A side keeps you guessing where it’s going with odd tempo changes. It's a fine slice of freakbeat that works its way into your head and up to a freak-out before skidding to a halt. It’s a long way removed from The Meanies’ early buzzsaw blasts and there are shades of Sun God Replica (Link’s other band) on a sunny day here.

Mary Mary b/w Don’t Bring Me Down - Love Minus Zero (Method Records)

mary saysJangling pop on one side and rocking power pop on the other.

Love Minus Zero were a Sydney band from the second half of the 1980s, active on both the Waterfont label and Green Fez, the Citadel spin-off. Their lineage came via mods Division 4, Suicidal Flowers and the (later) Bambalams.

Both cuts are on a forthcoming compilation of their output  - if you were on the ball, you might have caught their recent reformation show - and you’ll need to be quick if you cherish vinyl singles; as this is in a run of just 100.

“Mary Mary” gets positively Beatle-esque in its employment of a trumpet over its Rickenbacker jangle. Just like the label says, it cajoles rather than confronts and has a nice psychedelic edge. “Don’t Bring Me Down” is not the Animals song. A smudge of backward masked guitar announces the song itself, a stellar pop tune led by guitarist Dario Becego's melodic vocal. The guitars rock and Joe Genua’s drumming is right on the money, too. A gem.

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Buy it

Braindead (Resuscitated) b/w SurvivalsKills - The Scientists (In The Red)

Scientists 7 coverThis double A-sided single of new recordings from the reconstituted Scientists, released in time for their recent US tour, is all kinds of wonderful. You could spend hours ruminating about what lineup of the band was/is definitive but you’ll be hard to please if the current configuration of Salmon-Thewlis-Sujdovic-Cowie (nee Chock) doesn’t please. 

“Braindead” is an old song re-done and although it dates from a later period, it recalls the sound of the earlier “Blood Red River” with a steak of sustained feedback and fuzzy guitar counterpoint. Kim Salmon and Tony Thewlis sound like they’re having five kinds of fun and the relentless engine room lays down a simple but effective feel. Handclaps add a touch of groove that past productions sometimes sacrificed in pursuit of volume.

“SurvivalSkills” lands the band squarely back into the swamp as Salmon intones grimly over a cauldron of barely muted guitar. It’s more abstract and reminiscent of the 1980s band’s later explorations while in Europe, sans drum machine. “There’s always a cost,” Kim reminds us. In this instance, it’s well worth you putting down your heard-earned and making a beeline for the In The Red website. There's a 12" single with another 7" in the wings, both on the same label. 

Kim will be launching that one, a new split solo/Scientists single and his biography, "Nine Parts Water One Part Sand. Kim Salmon And The Formula For Grunge", at Memo Music Hall in St Kilda, Melbourne, on November 9.

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