1 . Welcome Aboard – The On and Ons: Catchy, melodic powerpop tunes by former Kings Of The Sun and Screaming Tribesmen guitarist Glenn Morris with bass and harmony vocals by Hoodoo Guru/Stepfords /Wetsuits member Clyde Bramley, performed with energy and great live.
2. Beginning At The End – The Young Docteurs: Thirty or so years in the making and well worth the Wait. If The Young Docteurs had done more recordings they would have been one of the more influential Australian psych/Punk bands of the ‘80s.
3. Love Is A Gamble - The Steve Wernick Band: Folk rock, country and swing influenced songs well constructed and arranged, performed in a unpretentious, heartfelt way.
4. Johnny Streetlight- Chickenstones: Blues influenced, Aus alternative rock with songs about homelessness, gambling and cheating relationships but performed with upbeat humour. A great band to see live, too.
5. Rx- Loose Pills: Some of Sydney’s best powerpop musicians with tight, up beat songs.
Ever been in a position where you didn't know what to expect when a disc landed in the CD player? That’s often a good thing. My preconceptions of Sydney’s Urban Guerrillas as inner-city, squat-dwelling, agitprop punk preachers are somewhat passe, and almost abandoned after a couple of spins.
The UG sound is more folk-pop than punk rock these days, and the concerns of the seven tracks on the “Equation of Life” EP are mostly universal. Not that the band was ever stuck in one sound. There’s a splash of Celtic pipes in “Divine Image” (a William Blake poem set to music) and “What I Wish For” sets out a societal manifesto with a stab of mandolin in its mix.There’s also enough chugging guitar and urban angst in “Claustrophobia” to light up a street-full of terrace houses in Erskineville.
Urban Guerillas have been around since Noah was in a nappy, forming in Adelaide before moving to Sydney and plying their brand of stick-it-to-the-man-and-his-system, agit-rock around the pubs and clubs. They’ve been pumping out records like nobody’s business and this EP is the latest in a long line.
Whether you’re into politically flavoured music is a matter for yourself - the MC5 thought it was a great idea for all of five minutes but Mao wouldn't buy them muscle cars - but it’s the raison d’etre for these guys, and you have to admire their resolve to stay at it.
Not to be confused with the late ‘70s Grand Hotel scene punk band of the same name, Urban Guerillas made a name for themselves on the back of an anti-imperialism song called “Here Come The Americans”, and they’re still singing about similar things today. How’d they miss out on a Midnight Oil support?