Kasumuen Records - The I-94 Bar

…disasterpiece – Powerline Sneakers (Kasumuen Records)

powerline sneakers albumThere’s a beautiful, sleazy rock and roll feel to “…disasterpiece” that’s refreshingly hard to pin down. From the rumbling and seedy “Dream Feature” to the girl-group-on-steroids swagger of “Don’t Shit Me Now”, and even more Spectoresque glow of “Spectre” (ha!), it’s an avalanche of hard-boiled hard Rock Action.

That Powerline Sneakers rock like motherfuckers should come as no surprise, given the pedigree of the players. Lead guitarist John Nolan was in the Powder Monkeys and Bored!. Sly Faulkner, on vocals and guitar, fronted the Splatterheads, who were well regarded even if I never got into ‘em. Bassist Katie Dixon was in Ripe and Mark Hurst pounded the tubs for The Yes-Men and Gutternsipes.

Burnt Trees in The Snow – Fraudband and Donovan’s Brain (Kasumuen/Career)

burnt trees in the snowAn unlikely pairing or a reckless act of inspiration? The contrasts on this split LP couldn’t be more obvious, but somehow the partnership works brilliantly.

Fraudband is an Australian duo (drums and guitar) that plays stark and evocative instrumentals, while Donovan’s Brain is a long-running American collective with roots in psychedelic West Coast and paisley pop. This LP, which you can buy on either side of the Pacific, gives each a toehold in the other’s musical market. As is often the way in these digital times, the vinyl comes with a download code for six extra tracks, all of them as good as the 10 LP cuts.

Half the Fraudband contribution comes from a CD release called “Blinkered vision and blurred horizons”, the rest of which ended up on a Bevis Frond split album. The Donovan’s Brain stuff is drawn from a seemingly bottomless well of material, pieced together by leader Ron Sanchez.

Hogs, chickens and horses

scarth hogNot As Bad As It Could've Been - Scarth Hog (self-released)
Mystery Train - Chickenstones: (Crankinhaus Records)
Away from the Sun - Majestic Horses (Kasumuen Records)

Yes, dear reader, I too wondered what a scarth was. Well, Scarth is a family name, and 'is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in the county of Yorkshire, where they held the manor of Scarborough. This place-name was originally derived from the Old English Skaroisburg, which was brought into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066.'

But Scarth is also Yorkshire dialect for a rough, bare rock. No-one ever said Bill Bostle (whose band this is) ever lacked a sense of humour.

I used to know Bill a little, back in the days when 205 was a conglomeration of interweaving bands rather than a street number, and when Bill played (drums) in King Snake Roost with, among other interesting ingredients, the late Charlie Tolnay. I recall one visit to his house (in a quiet inner Adelaide ‘burb) during which he boasted of being “the loudest bastard in the street” which, given that he had the Grateful Dead on 11, was patently obvious.

Pleasure Maps - Sand Pebbles (Kasumen Records)

Pleasure MapsHave The Sand Pebbles made a bad album? I’ve heard or own half of them and they’re full of some of the most surreally fascinating, textured and immersive psychedelic music to come from an Australian band in the last 20 years. “Pleasure Maps” continues what’s more a body-of-work than a discernible progression. 

A rant by Bruce Milne on Facebook initially piqued my interest. The ex-Au Go Go label/shop head posted his instant, first listen take-out that “Pleasure Maps” was killer. Patrick Emery’s review below takes it from there. I’ll just try to add something else.

Split LP - The Bevis Frond & Fraudband (Kasumuen Records)

fraudband bevisfrondIt’s a split 12” LP. Five tracks one side, one track on the other. Which is a great idea; two bands showcase themselves for half the price of the vinyl. Yes, it’s vinyl. More bands should do this.

Fraudband are a secretive bunch; you don’t really know their names, ages, or what their favourite colour is, whether they’re hipsters from Pillockville, young WTFs from the stale burbs or leathery old farts in those vile brown leather jackets which were so in among the more money than taste twats in 1986. Fraudband (brilliant name, I’m sure you’ll agree) want their music to speak to us.

The Garden - NQR (Kasumuen Records)

NQR tape coverThe website says that NQR is the "new band for Kristian Brenchley (from New York City’s WOMAN and Degreaser, the latter with fellow ex-pat Tim Evans), Denis Leadbeater (S-Bahn) and Maureen Gearon (Baby 8) with the indomitable Ruth McIver (C**ting Daughters) very much out front and centre on vocals."

It comes as a six-track cassette or CD. 

The title track opens and it's a kick in the guts, just over two-and-a-half minutes of bitter pop stuffed into a woodchipper.

And the singer gets out:

No more conversation
Time spent
Digital
No more 
Conversation 
No more chaperones

We Hate Each Other But We Hate You More – Baby 8 (Kasumuen)

baby8 coverMelbourne’s Baby 8 has delivered a smashing album full of songs about drinking, drugging and horrific nights out. It cuts straight to the bone. No love songs here, folks; just pure “boobs-to-the-wall” rock ‘n’ roll with some punk-pop thrown in.

“We Hate Each Other But We Hate You More” just kicks from the first track, “Nights Want to Kill“, which is the single. And what a cracker song it is.

Rachel Lendvay (vocals) shines throughout. Katie Dixon (Powder Line Sneakers) on guitar, Maureen Gearon (NQR) on bass with Matty Whittle (ex-GOD) on drums round out this powerful rock band.