It’s a four-song EP from an obscure (at least on the other side of the country) Adelaide band that deserved prominence - and might have managed it if they’d come from Sydney. The Preytells formed in 1986, shared stages with just about every worthwhile underground local band of the era.
These songs were among sixn recorded in ’92 for release by Greasy Pop. Alas, the band fell apart before that could happen, and singer Mick Reed left this world a month later. The tapes have been exhumed by boutique label Fantastic Mess Records and are superb ‘60s punk-inspired rock and roll.
Scuzzier and nastier than your usual French garage rock, “Dig It!” is three tracks of furious punk fun.
First impressions count for a lot and on the strength of their 2019 seven-inch compilation on Heavy Medication, “Well Cooked”, Wild Zeros are a singles band, in that they’re equipped with succinct, catchy songs that do their business and get out of the way. This 45 does nothing to dispel that.
The title track skids along like a Renault with no brakes with a distinct Devil Dogs flavour. There’s a nagging chorus and room for a brief guitar break before the thing shudders to a halt. “Tough Job” doesn’t have many lyrics aside from the title and probably doesn’t need them. “Did You Dig It?” is a raw and rhetorical question that's served with a side of raw six-strings.
The whole shebang has as many chords as it has songs and is delivered with a ragged sense of l’ espirt that’s invariably fuelled by a case of those Kronenbourg 1664 green bottles.
Honey Bee b/w Ride The Iron Space Bird - The Neptune Power Federation (Speek Evil)
Combining live theatrics with high-energy and heaviness is just one facet of The Neptune Power Federation. The other is being able to twist on a stylistic dime and pivot into another direction. In case you don’t know, the Sydney band is populated by ex-members of Frenzal Rhomb and Nancy Vandal, and they bring all sorts of punk, metal and psych influences to the table.
The A side is sassy, bubblegum pop with Screaming Loz Sutch delivering a killer vocal. A nice edgy guitar solo from Troy Vod or Mike Foxall is the cream on top .Brilliant.
Down on 7th Avenue b/w I will Give up – Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders (Dangerhouse/Heavy Medication)
Some people use “bar band” as an insult when it’s a badge of honour. There is no more exacting proving ground. Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders are the best bar band in the world and here’s the proof.
“Down On 7th Avenue” was written the night before Los Angeles’ finest went into the studio and it’s delivered as only a band that knows itself inside out can. A scorching rocker propelled by a tight-as-a-fish’s-arse engine room, crunching guitars and Todd’s impassioned vocal, it jumps off the turntable. The reprise is the sting in the tail.
B side “I Will Give Up” is more mellow, a ‘50s rocker with some tasteful Duane Eddie licks and tinkling piano that’s reflective of the band’s rootsy ethos.
Buy or die. There's no excuse for not owning this.
Whisper Park b/w One and Only – Velatine (Spooky Records)
Damn, “Whisper Park” is dark and groovy. Just listen to that rippling rhythm, those soaring cadences..and Maggie Alley's louche, almost deadpan vocals. By god, she's got a voice on her.
Band member/producer Loki Lockwood has shot another sterling ICBM into an uncaring stratosphere, look out Shen-zen, here comes detonation... and yes, Velatine do provoke that effect. At least on me. A graceful, deadly shot into the air, where it lands, god won't help you.
Punch The Boss b/w Down The Coast – The Crankees (Evil Tone)
There’s no prospect of a new dawn in Australian industrial relations with sentiment like this going around. Sydney’s Crankees express something we’ve all felt on the A side, a furious little garage punk tune that’s fuelled in equal parts by Jimmy Meek’s snakey guitar line, Rodney Todd’s snarkey vocal and guest Hammond organ from producer Jay Whalley. What do we want? Puglism. When do we want it? Now.
The B side is almost as good, a wry ode to tree changing that keeps it simple and manages to namecheck Mollymook. There’s not a hint of garage slop; the band is tighter than the bends in the Princes Highway at Foxground with Meek’s guitar again to the fore. The production sounds great. Hopefully, they have an album in them.
Buy a copy here. It's a limited edition. While you're at it, look around and listen to Evil Tone's other stuff. They're putting out some great stuff.