beat - The I-94 Bar
Who knows if there was a pitch to the label? If there was, it probably went something like this: Find a gap in powerpop troubadour Paul Collins’ crazy schedule, put him in the studio with garage production king Jim Diamond and the house band for Detroit’s Ghetto Recorders, give them a cases of beer and let the music flow.
Collins (The Beat, the Nerves, The Breakaways) writes perfect rocking’ guitar pop like hipsters steal oxygen. It’s in his DNA; he has equals but there’s nobody better. A good proportion of these songs would be mainstream hits in a more enlightened and less disposable time.
The re-birth of the Stoneage Hearts sounds like a sequel to “High Fidelity”: Three guys walk into a record store at various times, buy the new Red Kross album from the owner and they all decide to form a band. They rehearse at nights in the shop, record an album, tour together and achieve global success.
Apart from the last bit about the worldwide success, the story is true. Not that global domination isn't possible, but more on that later.
This is the third incarnation of this Melbourne garage-pop band and apart from a stack of classic garage and powerpop influences, drummer Mickster Baty is the only constant. Previous line-ups were fronted by Danny McDonald (P76) and Dom Mariani (The Stems, DM3) with Ian Wettehall (Seminal Rats, Phillesteins, Freeloaders) on bass then and apart from guest Farfisa organist and Mickster, this one is populated by relative unknowns. Not that it matters a jot. They’re up to the mark and this is a great record.
Medway beat band god Billy Childish must have sore armpits with the number of bands said to have been taken under his wing. The Beatpack are another, active in their first life from 1987-91 and assisted with recording of an EP and an LP (on the esteemed Screaming Apple) back in the day by none other than Mr Childish.
If it’s a single of ‘60s sounds it makes perfect sense for it to be in mono. Suzi Chunk is a Welsh singer fronting a well-mannered band called Groovy Uncle and singing beat pop. If she was any more authentic her name would be Dusty Springfield.
Nonchalant. That’s the word that describes the second album by Geelong’s Frowning Clouds to a tee. You don’t hear it used much these days – and you don’t hear music like The Frowning Clouds much either.