RSA Blues - White Knuckle Fever (White Knuckle Fever)
Some explanation is in order - especially for those not watching at home: “RSA” stands for Responsible Service of Alcohol, an Australian rule that puts the onus on bar and pub staff to stop plying punters with booze when they’re as full as a fat lady’s boot. To continue service is to risk a draconian fine and imprisonment in a gulag.
While it’s true some Aussies can’t handle their grog, they’re a minority. That’s OK. We always legislate for the few. If only we were Europeans and could be trusted…
Now you’re wised up, “RSA Blues” is the lead song on a four-track, double seven-inch vinyl effort from White Knuckle Fever, the formidable - and fucking funny - psychobilly blues rock duo from Sydney, Australia. Celia Curtis (vocals, blues harp and burlesque behaviour) and Ross Threekshort (guitar and programming) are one of the best nights out this side of a Scientology building burning down.
Edge On The World b/w Red Line - Howlin’ Threads (Mineshaft Records)
The Howlin’ Threads wear their collective influences on their sleeves but it's the A side of this, the follow-up to their debut EP, that finds them pushing the stylistic boat out.
Summoned to life by Adam Bowler’s toms, “Edge On The World” recalls the Iggy and James of “Kill City” - or even an early Died Pretty - in its sonic approach, deploying some expansive saxophone from guest Noah Hampson to mix things up. Guitarist Dylan Webster rides a wave of wah wah pedal with a keyboard wash fattening the sound.The B side is more straight-forward and rocks along nicely.
Mark Hunstone recorded it with veteran sideman Bruce Callaway (Ed Kuepper, Saints and the first studio version of the New Christs) mastering it. Score a copy at the band's Bandcamp.
Short Fuse 3 - Various Artists (Wreckless Enterprises)
Fifteen songs from as many bands in 11 minutes. A punk rock barrage. Sounds like fun - and it is.
As you can tell from the name, this is the third in the series of concise and imperfectly formed, all-Australian compilation EPs from Wollongong label Wreckless Enterprises and it doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t in its headlong rush to the finish line: It’s a punk rock speed dating party and you wouldn’t want to be left on the shelf, would you?
Cultural Treason - Moot (Riot Records)
The sleepy resort town of Forster on the New South Wales Mid Coast might be an unlikely place to find a punk band, but never forget that Jello Biafra grew up as Stanley Boucher in nondescript Boulder, Colorado. Moot have a little Jello in the musical DNA on their debut EP - plus a whole lot more.
It’s said mainstream Americans don’t “get” sarcasm. Aussies do and Moot is dripping in the stuff. “Fake News” is a blast of bile with lots of dynamics, directed at you-know-who. "I Hate Hippies" channels a show at The Grand Hotel in Sydney in 1980 with its nod to Johnny Dole and the Scabs and is a punked-up attack on hipsters. Simple and simply effective.
FMR008 - Fleshen Fella (Fantastic Mess Records)
This band was formerly known as Fleshlight, comprises four actors and played live (in drag) at the Gasometer in Melbourne precisely once before recording this bunch of songs, sans overdubs, and promptly disappearing.
This is a seven-inch EP of five songs on a boutique label.
Spoiler alert: There's much more to this story but don't read on if you want the mystery to be preserved...
Stoneage Scomeos - The BotBots (Outtaspace/Wreckless Enterprises)
This really shouldn’t work. A couple of rehearsals and one gig that was truncated for excessive swearing. A by-the-seat-of-the-pants recording session fuelled by beer in a terrace house-cum-studio, four months later. Seven songs in nine minutes. Punk rock, eh?
The buzz of blowflies announces “Engadine Maccas”, a 52-second treatise about an alleged bout of Prime Ministerial diarrhoea in a southern Sydney fast food joint. Apocryphal or not, you don't need to wear brown corduroys to know the song's as funny as fuck. The makers of Imodium need to license it for an ad.