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ORSTRALIA - AN INTRODUCTION


G'day!!

My name is Ben & I'm from Melbourne, Australia and like all of you I'm a fanatic!! I'm a rabid record collector, avid music zine & book reader & constant gig attender. I have also thumped drums in a stack of independent bands for nearly 30 years and have recorded & self released original tunes as well. All of this keeps me busy as it is, and now I'm going to attempt to translate all of this mish mash of random info in my head onto paper for the kick arse Monstres Sacrés blog.


Anyway now that I have been given the opportunity at Monstres Sacrés, I look forward to hopefully introducing you to the wild, guitar abusing, pedal crushing, tub thumpin', totally rockin', at times unsavoury & the flat out weird sounds of punk/garage/indie/noise and more in the Australian scenes past & present.
Oh yeah why did I spell Australia wrong for the name of my blog? It's actually named after the great
Saints song Orstralia from the Eternally Yours record and it's a sharp critique of mainstream Australian culture. So as a quick how do you do & get to know ya, I thought I'd give you a quick run down of what I think are five important Orstralian records from different eras. Hopefully this will be an introduction to give you an idea of what you'll be in for down the track:



The Saints: (I'm) Stranded-



A classic opening cut and amazing single? (I'm) Stranded...check!. Ball tearing punkers? One Way Street & No Time...check! Nod to the 60's garage punk? Wild About You...check! Change of pace that shows more depth than your average punk? Messin' With The Kid...check! Weird Elvis cover? Kissin' Cousins...check! Mind melting guitar shred? The whole freakin' record!...check, check,..check!!!
A stone cold punk rock classic no matter where you're located in the world. This is on the same level as all the best snot caked 70's forefathers of punk rawk, Ramones, Pistols, Wire, Buzzcocks, Clash, Damned, Stooges, Dolls, Dead Boys...you name it. The Saints are in there with a serious shot at the world heavyweight title!! Just the mind melting transition from Demolition Girl into Nights Of Venice alone with Ed Kuepper razor sharp riffage that could take the top off your head, puts them straight to the top of the class. The icing on the punk rock maggot infested cake is the bored snarl of Chris Bailey which is equally oissed off and tuneful. Perfect punk rock throat work!
You may have picked up on the subtle hints I've dropped that a rate this record big time. The only thing that could have made it even better would be if they could've squeezed in the 'burn everything to the ground in it's path' single This Perfect Day. What a debut!



Beasts Of Bourbon: Sour Mash-



Call it what you will, cowpunk, death blues, punk 'n roll, etc. I just call it one of the best rock records of the 80's. A supergroup of sorts featuring Kim Salmon and Boris Sudjovic from The Scientists, Spencer P Jones from The Johnnys, James Baker from early incarnations of The Scientists & Hoodoo Gurus and the man who was the least likely with his bizzaro projects like Thug that somehow became bigger than 'em all in this country, frontman sexy Tex Perkins. With a rhythm section that nailed it to the floor, yet show surprising versatility and the combo of Salmon's zonked out noisey punk slide guitar, Jonesy's catalogue of riffs informed by outlaw country, early 70's sleazy Stones, Chicago blues, the Young brothers and Tex's charismatic croon to a roar vocals you absolutely cannot lose. Try Hard For You on for size if you want your ears blown back or get down in the muck with Pig or get creeped out with a capital K, the country death of The Hate Inside. Fun for all the family.





Various Artists: Ugly Things-



The three amazing 60's garage punk compilations from the Raven Records label that finally shed some light on a very own set of Pebbles. This is where the crude riffs, primal rhythms and general fucked-upness that Australian garage punk has become known for started right here. Every Australian band worth their salt has knowingly or not been under the influence of these degenerate 60's noise merchants ever since. With killer cuts from the Missing Links, The Black Diamonds, The Atlantics, Purple Hearts, The Throb, The Loved Ones and a truck load load more you can hear that from raw beginnings how that 'Orstralian' sound was formed. Essential stuff not only for those interested in Australian rock, but 60's rock in general. Other comp's mining the same territory worth your time are Down Under Nuggets and the Before Birdmen Flew series. These old punkers were so far ahead of their time that they're right behind you!!



Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Primary Colours-



Let's jump way forward to the 2000's to the man who's name seems to appear on every current Australian release that kicks arse...I give you is guitarist Mikey Young and ECSR. Not only has Mikey mixed, mastered & produced more records than King Gizzard release in an afternoon, he's also managed to form some of the most integral bands of the last 20 years. Eddy Current probably the most revered of them all known for their scrappy, no frills attack on punk rock. Primary Colours their second slab of lock step grooves and minimal guitar shred was a well needed gut punch to remind the Melbourne scene that there was still a fire burning in the belly of a few young punks with 6 string twangers. Somehow sounding immediate and relevant to now, but also familiar and timeless. Primary Colours is an excellent continuation of the self titled debut with a barrage of thick guitar noise & bursts of howling squalls, but in a much more contained way this time around. But don't worry; slick..this is not! They also add an element of strong slinky rhythms, guitar textures & even some delightfully sloppy organ pounding on We'll Be Turned On, while still maintaining that blast of infectious energy which made the debut so much fun. For further research check Ooga Boogas, Total Control & Power Supply.



The Powder Monkeys: Smashed On A Knee-



Although much more ragged around the edges than what was to come from The Powder Monkeys debut, Smashed On A Knee is raw, intense and most importantly sweaty landmark record. Led by the late great Tim Hemensly on bass & lead vocals and John Nolan on lead guitar, you know you're in good hands as they both were in Geelong legends Bored! & Hemensly was also in the mighty GOD! There is so much raw energy and sheer excitement on Smashed Like A Knee. It oozes Stooges sludge riffs, it's frenetic like a late 70's Motorhead record, got the Rose Tattoo swagger and the Blag Flag hardcore attitude. This is powerful stuff and if that doesn't do it for you, buy an Air Supply record!!

Ben Rankins

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