Title:Dusk At Cubist Castle
Band:The Olivia Tremor Control (America)
Label:Flydaddy Records
Highlights:The Opera House
Jumping Fences
Define A Transparent Dream
Can You Come Down With Us
Green Typewriters
Dusk At Cubist Castle

Dusk At Cubist Castle is a modern psychedelic classic but whether that is a good thing or not depends on your own personal preferences. Armed with a full kitchen sink production, The Olivia Tremor Control bravely yet successfully update the sounds of the classic psyche era (66-69) for a contemporary audience. However, the band's strength lies not in their ability to create weird and out there sounds but in their ability to write good songs. And if that's not all, they can actually sing and harmonise, which is a huge plus. The Olivia Tremor Control also score bonus points by remaining faithful to their inspirations by recording on four track and by not using any annoying drum machines and samples. Dusk At Cubist Castle is a fully fledged musically equivalent of an acid trip that alternates between Beatlesque pop songs and early Floydian studio jams whilst containing the same sense of psychedelic anticipation that made Nuggets such a great compilation. Whilst things get pretty weird during the second half of the album, Dusk At Cubist Castle still is a successful and enjoyable journey.

Title:Assorted Creams
Band:The Orange Humble Band
Label:Half A Cow
Highlights:Down In Your Dreams
Any Wonder How
Apple Green Slice Cut
Through Your Veins

Okay, I know this is a big statement but this album is perhaps the greatest power pop album ever released in Australia. Featuring an all-star cast including Mitch Easter (Lets Active), Ken Stringfellow (Posies) and band leader Daryll Mather (Lime Spiders, Someloves) , Assorted Creams is an album where the creative sum of all those involved actually did combine to create something truly wonderful.

One of the albums biggest strengths is its variety. As the album's title suggests, Assorted Creams is an treasure cove of songs that range from pure power pop through glam, psychedelic, rock 'n' roll and even country. Down In Your Dreams is Byrdsian-jangle pop at its absolute finest. Spindizzy recalls the spirit of Chris Bell while Through Your Veins is dreamy, Beatlesque psychedelica. Other highlights include summer wistfulness of Cherrytime, the upbeat pop of Any Wonder How and Katie Said So and the beautifully simple Apple Green Slice Cut.

Assorted Creams is a modern masterpiece. The arrangements are strong and inventive and the quality is maintained through each of the album's 15 songs. Listening to it gives me a sense of what it must have been like to hear classic albums like Revolver or Radio City for the first time without any preconceptions of their greatness. Anyone seriously interested in hearing good music rather than the latest musical trend should have this album in his or her collection.

Title:Humblin' Across America
Band:The Orange Humble Band
Label:Half A Cow
Highlights:What's Your Crime
Anyway You Want It
Listen Up!

Inspired by Daryl Mather?s travels through Southern America, The Orange Humble Band's second LP, Humblin' (Across America) is a homage is to the Southern American gospel/pop sounds of The Box Tops, Big Star and The Flying Burrito Brothers. This time around, along the core of the band (Mitch Easter, Ken Stringfellow and Anthony Bautovich) Mather has assembled an-allstar line-up of musicians including Spooner Oldham, Jody Stephens, Jim Dickinson and Bobby Sutcliff.

Compared to their debut (Assorted Creams), Humblin' (Across America) is a more mature and focussed album that requires greater patience from the listener but the rewards are still there. Tracks like What's Your Crime, Anyway You Want It, Listen Up! and Freewheelin' are joyous, upbeat pop at it's best while The Way She Moves is sunshine tinged psychedelia. My only really complaint is as technically perfect Ken Stringfellow and Anthony Bautovich are, their vocals have the tendency to become a touch too bland at times and would have benefited from an injection of personality. Subsequently, while Humblin' (Across America) isn't the timeless classic it promises to be, it nevertheless is a throughably enjoyable album that slowly works its way into your soul.