|Title:||The Years Of Quality Control|
|Band:||The Phantom Surfers (America)|
|Highlights:||The Hearse/El Aguila|
Klingons Vs Daleks
The Years Of Quality Control 1988-1999 is a compilation of various singles, album tracks
and rarities released by the Phantom Surfers over the last ten or so years. Virtually all
of the songs are authentic surf instrumentals and the few that have vocals aren't even
worth talking about (they're deliberately terrible). Dressed in masks to hide their
identity, it is quite obvious that the Phantom Surfers don't take themselves too seriously;
a claim backed up by such tracks as Klingons Vs Daleks and their ridiculous cover of Tie
Me Kangaroo Down Sport. I don't mind listening to surf music now and again but I can't
see anyone except the most ardent of surf fans enjoying this album as the sound if rather
thin and poorly recorded (although I'm hoping that it's just that the record is poorly
pressed). If it is any consolation, The Phantom Surfers more recent material is an
improvement on their earlier work, meaning that I'm still curious to investigate their
more recent albums.
|Band:||The Phantom Surfers with Davie Allan|
Skaterhater is probably not only the world's first and only surf instrumental rock opera
but also the first instrumental album that contains actual songs (those wacky Phantom
Surfers...) Performed as a collaboration between The Phantom Surfers and Davie Allan
(The Man With The Fuzzrite), Skaterhater is actually pretty good. The theme is based
loosely around the somewhat silly story of how, back in 1966, the residents of a town
called Sidewalk City conspired and subsequently managed to rid their town of all
skateboarders. For nearly 30 years they managed to keep their town free of the skateboard
skurge until one day they reappeared and once again the residents of Sidewalk City and the
skaters went to war.
Of course, being an instrumental album, such storylines doesn't count for much and instead
it's the playing that counts. Skaterhater is dominated by Davie Allan, whose guitar sound
is so thick you could almost cut it with a knife. The sound is also pretty good for a
Phantom Surfer's record especially seeing the whole album was recorded on a one track.
All in Skaterhater is not an essential album but is pretty cool all the same.
|Title:||Time Wounds All Heels|
|Highlights:||Insane Old Game
Wasn't Born Yesterday
Straight Until Morning
The Supernova That Never Quits
Melbourne's Powdermonkeys sure pack a punch. For their second album, Time Wounds All Heels
, they sacrificed technical proficiency for raw power and as a result the sound is
suitably 'live' and in your face, making for a powerful listening experience. From the
very start, The Powdermonkeys get down to business, peaking in the explosive The
Supernova That Never Quits and finishing with the punishing 2000 Sins, all while never
giving an inch. Alongside the usual 'Detroit' influences of The Stooges, MC5 and Radio
Birdman; Motorhead and AC/DC can be also heard loudly reverberating throughout the
Powdermonkeys sound, which means that it shouldn't come as a surprise that The
Powdermonkey's aren't the most subtle band. However, their brand of no bullshit punk rock
is far more dangerous than that of the many pretend punk bands you hear today.
|Title:||Lost City Blues|
|Label:||White Jazz Records|
|Highlights:||Ain't No Stranger To Dirt
Running Outta My Head
Before I Turn Sleazy
Recorded during their last European tour in Stockholm with Fred 'Atlas' Estby
(Hellacopters etc) Lost City Blues is the The Powdermonkeys' most realised album yet.
Although marginally slicker than previous releases, Lost City Blues retains the nervous
energy and manic edge of previous releases but lacks the raw power of Time Wounds All
On first listen I was disappointed with Lost City Blues but that's because there's too
much raunchy blues based rock and roll one side A. In all honesty, the first three songs
are the weakest and the band is only getting warmed up for the onslaught that follows.
Things really begin to take off with the awesome Ain't No Stranger To Dirt. Just listen to
Tim Hemmensly as he discovers the key to unlock the sound of his voice. The momentum is
carried through onto side B through Running Outta My Head and Unfair Dismissal before the
album climaxes with powerful Before I Turn Sleazy and Mjolk Maid Blues. Lost City Blues
should see The Powdermonkeys consolidating their position at home but significantly
increasing their profile overseas, especially in Scandinavia. Is there a more intense 3
piece in the world today?
|Band:||The Priests (USA)|
|Label:||Garage Pop Records|
Now She's Gone
Gates Of Hell
The Priests play fucked up garage punk in the tradition of The Sonics, Cramps and Mono Men.
Things get off to a pretty good start with the short instrumental The Tingler. However,
things go downhill pretty quickly thereafter. Whilst the band themselves are pretty good
(I especially like the surf overtones of guitarist Mr Tyranny, something perhaps he should
develop further), I can?t stand the over-dramatic vocals of lead singer Madeline. On top
of this, the recording is basic as best. Whilst they might be fun to see live, there is
little about this album to recommend unless you love this type of music more than anything
|Title:||Holy Water In Satan's Drink|
|Label:||White Jazz Records|
|Highlights:||Down In Flames
Good For Nothing At All
Stranded (For Holly Ramone)
I have to admit that I was a little dubious about this band at first and was expecting
them to be some Hellacopters tryhards or something. However, I'm pleased to say that
Psychopunch are more than mere imitators. Their debut album, We Are Just As Welcome....,
is a consistent listen from start to finish. The songs are well constructed and lead
guitarist Joey plays really well. However, I'm not a huge fan of lead vocalist J M's gruff
vocal style. All the same, anyone into Swedish hard rock or bands like Nashville Pussy
and Motorhead will more than likely love this album. Personally, I wouldn't rate it as
essential but worth having all the same.
|Label:||Rock Indiana Records|
Make Up Your Mind
Can You Feel It
The Pyramidiacs have been playing their brand of power pop around Sydney now for a good
decade without much success, at least at in this country. To date they have toured
extensively in Southern Europe on four occasions while they have also performed in L.A. at
the International Pop Overthrow festival. Nobody's Fools is the band's fourth album,
which like their last album, Anywhere/Anyhow, was produced by Michael Carpenter (now the
band's drummer) and only released in Spain.
And while Nobodies Fools isn't the knockout I was expecting, it is still a very consistent
album from beginning to start with strong emphasis on catchy songs and inventive
background vocals. It's only really downfall is the lack of one real standout song - the
most instantly memorable song is their cover of Chris Bells's classic You And Your Sister.
Nevertheless, it is hard to highlight any other weaknesses except to say that the album
is perhaps a bit too long - they would have been better limiting the number of songs for
greater impact. Still, this is a small criticism in an age when you can always
program your own running order but one that can't go unsaid.