Various Artists-DO THE POP! REDUX PART ONE 2-CD set (Savage Beat)
Awlright AWLRIGHT!!!! I'll review these blasted Aussie things I received inna mail yesterday even if it is against my better judgement! An' besides, last night's Radio Birdman listenin' sesh has suddenly got me all stoked on the post-Detroit underground rock scene that began on that forsaken continent way back in the late seventies and continued for a good decade or so thereafter, and as any casual reader can tell you I sure am a sucker for the Detroit "heavy metal" sound even if it is being played by Antipodean dorks who wouldn't know the right end of a glue bottle if it was shoved up their noses!
Anyway, y'all remember the Great Australian Underground Detroit Rock Scene of the eighties, right? You better, because during those rather pallid "hip to be square" days Australian Underground Rock was perhaps one of the few saving graces of an otherwise horrible era in music, rock & roll or otherwise. Let's face it, with the seventies breed of underground rock either dead of with members devolving into sunshine superman visions and twee-pop machinations and with hardcore fizzling out into New Left bromides that were more or less a throwback to the radicalism of the early-seventies (and those 1971-vintage hippoids came off so one-dimensional and stupid that NATIONAL LAMPOON, heck, even the underground comix had a field day makin' funna 'em) there really wasn't that much music being made that would soothe the savage boobs of any self-respecting rock & roll maniac! 'cept for the new Australian groups of the era, who seemed to be taking alla that fantastic Velvets/MC5/Stooges/Up-styled crank of the latter portion of the sixties and running with the ball towards an end goal of total unbridled eruption! And lemme tell ya it certainly went down a lot more pleasing to mine ears than listening to some self-loathing pseudo-punks tell us why our craving for barbeque was beyond the pale (and why massive intrusion into our lives by "well-meaning" do-gooder social worker and government types wasn't!).
There were rumblings back in the late-seventies when the first Radio Birdman album was released on these shores and got a pretty caustic thrashing at the hands of a variety of rock mags (TROUSER PRESS comes to mind). By the early eighties more hints were cropping up, this time via Byron Coley in his article on the new "six-oh" revival that was taking place thanks to the likes of Bomp!/Voxx records and the recently-released superfine BATTLE OF THE GARAGES sample from whence came a Deniz Tek (of Radio Birdman fame) solo cover version of the Four Speeds aka Beach Boys classic "RPM". (A track I must admit I originally thought way too over-the-top for a garage band revival disc, and considering the variety of sixties-styled aggregates on the thing maybe I was right to begin with!) By the time FORCED EXPOSURE #7/8 came out as well as a string of Lindsay Hutton's unparalleled fanzine THE NEXT BIG THING back in the middle portion of that decade the word was out to the long-suffering high energy rock enthusiast...there actually was an entire new generation of hard rockin' high energy bands comin' from "down under" that people like you 'n me hungry for the seventies-sense-of-rock were just waiting for, and with all of those tales of hot bands sprouting to and fro (as well as Au Go Go catalogs being flung our way with almost-instantly deleted rarities for sale) who could resist sending well-concealed money down Orstralier way for what promised to be a total hard-rockin' affair unheard since the likes of Rocket From The Tombs morphed into the pale-in-comparison early-eighties variety of Pere Ubu?
There was another DO THE POP 2-CD set released earlier in the decade and if you want to read my review of it just pick up a copy of BLACK TO COMM #24 here. Keeping in typical feet-dragging record label time it took five years for the second volume of this presumably ongoing series to come out, and Thank Goodniz that I'm not as anal-retentive as I used to be about these things or else I would've burst and given the walls of my bedroom a nice brown coating long ago! But this is a beaut, another fantastic lookback into a scene that really was vibrant, happening and totally in-gear with the fanzine-bred rock fans of the day (and totally ignored by all of the people who shoulda given it that li'l push), and I hate to say it but who ever thought I'd be nostalgic for the (eck!) EIGHTIES like I am after hearing these aural torpedoes bludgeon my frail inner child!
Great selection too, like two tracks from Radio Birdman proper appear not counting all the ones with various spinoffs like the Hitmen (soon the subject of their own review), New Race, New Christs and the Visitors amongst others. (And those "others" include an early TV Jones recording of "Skimp the Pimp" which I believe did come out before though not on disque...too bad Deniz Tek's pal-sy with two former BTC contributors turned deadly enemies or else I would really be praising this platter to the rafters!) The Saints also appear here not only as they were in the late-seventies but as they originally popped up as Kid Galahad and the Eternals (with an early version of "I'm Stranded" that sounds like it coulda been recorded in the Rocket From the Tombs/Electric Eels loft), and for a bloke like me who passed on that early Saints demos CD for "personal" reasons all I gotta say is...boy I sure can stick to a vendetta despite the overwhelming odds!
Not that DO THE POP! REDUX is a total tribute to the sounds that came outta the Grande Ballroom and into your mind via Sydney and other areas o'er there. A good hunkerin' portion of these disques do show the ever-present influence of the British variety of punk which did coagulate into the minds of many an impressionable teenager of the day whether they knew it or not. But that's no reason to pass on this set even if you were one of those guys who got sick and tired of punk turning into "punque" as the days rolled on, because DO THE POP presents solid, hard-edged, energetic rock and I'm sure a good portion of it coulda passed a Grande Ballroom audition with flying colors, if not flying bottles!
Liner notes in the well-endowed booklet are by Dave Laing (please note spelling) and they would be good if only I could read 'em. Black on red printing is rather hard to discern to these eyes suffering from macular degeneration and danged if I could make anything of what Mr. Laing wrote in 'em! But the pix are sure nice and I'll bet that booklet's a treasure trove of fun information both old and new if I can only find my magnifying glass! And hey, if I really wanted to rack my eyes up good I could do a lot worse, like re-read one of the old issues of my very own fanzine with the cootie-sized print, right???
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