"Pop" nails its melodic rock colours to the mast

pop simon chainsawPop – Simon Chainsaw (Bad Apple)

The ‘80s isn’t such a bad place to hang out. Simon Chainsaw has been there, musically speaking, since his former band The Vanilla Chainsaws, tasted success 30-something years ago, and this is his 14th album under his own name.

That '80s reference isn't inferring Chainsaw's musically moribund. Simon rarely sits still and was already Sydney's hardest-working musician before COVID fucked without  the universe. The Chainsaw sound is instantly familiar, a sweet but tough mix of melody and downstroke power, and naturally uses what was learned during a golden time of Australian music. It's translatable toi places where Real Rock and Roll survives.

Rigid With Desire's retrospective nightlife

life at nightLife At Night 1982-1984 – Rigid With Desire/Helter Skelter (Method Records and Music)

For every band that made an impact on Sydney's fevered 1980’s underground music scene, there are a thousand that left a fleeting impression.

Rigid With Desire was the next vehicle for Fast Cars singer-guitarist Di Levi after the first, mod-pop incarnation of that band dissolved. RWD melded ubiquitous (and very underlying) ‘60s melodies with a thick applique of fashionable post-punk, neo-Goth sounds. Their impression was more than fleeting and they made a mark on the then-serious Australian indepdent charts. 

“Life At Night” compiles their five recordings, including the indie chart single “Nightlife”, and two by Helter Skelter, their re-jigged, latter-day line-up.

These Hindu Gods are calling you

Lipstick Kilers cd coverStrange Flash – Studio & Live ’78-81' – Lipstick Killers (Grown Up Wrong!)

There’s no doubt that the Lipstick Killers were in a class of their own when they stepped out of the shadow of Radio Birdman and onto Sydney stages. With sensibilities inherited from the import racks of White Light Records and the frantic energy of the Oxford Funhouse, they mixed stuttering power and rawness with a sense of theatre and an appreciation of the ridiculous.

The Lipstick Killers had a lineage going back to Funhouse denizens the Psychosurgeons, and the physically confronting Filth before them. If Birdman’s birth marked the Ground Zero for Sydney’s underground scene, the Lipstick Killers were heading a fast-following platoon whose ranks included Shy Imposters, Kamikaze Kids and The Passengers.

Making a Moot point

moot loathingLoathing, Self And Others – Moot (self released)

They’re from Mid Coast New South Wales (that's be north of Newcastle) and this seven-song CD is as old school protopunk as you’re going to find in those parts - or almost anywhere else these days. Moot don’t tell it like it is as much as speak it as it should be. In other words, their language is straight-up, rocking and simple.

Record Collector Scum call this sound KBD (“Killed By Death”) after the ‘80s bootleg series of the same name that documented the burgeoning American punk scene. Most of it was uncompromising, politically charged and energetic, but with a sense of musicality. Moot has it nailed but they pack their punch in a variety of stylistic gloves and add a decent whack of Aussie sarcasm for good measure.

Salt of the (scorched) earth

salt mineSalt Mine – Raygun Mortlock (self released)

There’s a lot to be said for bands that exude an aura of dysfunction. They’re way more interesting than manufactured corporate whores or prissy private school prats whose parents bought their instruments.

Raygun Mortlock recorded this EP in Melbourne a couple of years ago and promptly forgot about it. The band didn’t exist for five years before that. Before COVID, they didn’t play much outside its home of Far Northern New South Wales with Brisbane being the extent of their touring ambitions.

The band’s recorded output is skinny but don’t let that put you off. This is primo noise rock that recalls likes of the Jesus Lizard, TAD and a host of other contenders from 20 years ago. 

Sowing those Bad Seeds

reap what you sowReap What You Sow – Jack Saint (Heavy Medication)

The blurb says it’s more “individually distilled” than the last album and maybe that’s why it took time to latch onto what “Reap What You Sow” is about.

The debut “Jack Saint” was a lot more obvious in its display of influences like the Bad Seeds and The Gun Club, while “Reap” seems in the thrall of Jon Spencer without being able to completely divorce itself from early pre-Warren era Nick Cave.

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