Reviews of Recorded Stuff
What's new, blue or timeless
Legs Electric, "Maximum Rock 'n' Roll",
Vintage Records, 2014
It’s been a busy few weeks on the Live front for Ausland181 so as things slow for a few days thought it was time to catch up on some recent recorded stuff I’ve picked up out and about.
As they are getting a bit of exposure on local radio thought it was fitting to start with Legs Electric’s “Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll” five track CD.
Intro track “Illicit-Love” kicks in with a riff from Hell and Laura McComack teasing with a stinging lick before erupting into an electrifying lead break.
Next up “Trigger” seems to start out low and crawling but like a black panther jumps out and grabs you by the throat. The powerful vocals of Ama Quinsee shine through. It has a feel of early Ron Keel / George Lynch collaborative work. Nice one!
Abby Slones leads in with a pumping bass before a wicked riff has you bouncing off the walls. Also some nice work on muffled vocal effects. The lead break on “Temporary Road” is a killer.
Fourth track “Black Magic “carries a Hendrix feel to it with some slick riffs, rolling drums, and swirling lead guitar.
The EP finishes off with “She’s Like A Saint” with a slow build up with drum rolls building up to a great hook line that makes you want to get up and move. A feature is some audacious bass runs from Abby with a nice “lock, load and fire” effect to drive the point home these Lady’s mean business. Are they Saints or Sinners of Rock?
Excellent first outing from this outfit, and like any nasty addiction leaves you hanging out for more.
Ragdoll, "All I Want",
Ragdoll Rock, 2013
From 2013 we have “All I Want Is Every Thing” from local Perth outfit Ragdoll. Although in today’s ever changing world I think this is a classic frozen in time.
I feel like I’ve been in the dark when the title track from “All I Want Is Every Thing” kicks in. It’s pure power with vocals of bass Ryan having a “glass wrapped in velvet” feel to them.
“Astray” is a beautiful little number that floats along a bit like Skid Row’s “Breaking Down”. Brilliant riffing from Leon makes it hard to believe Ragdoll are a three piece.
“Replaceable” takes you down and rises with a magnificent update melody.
The next track “Break You” is very busy and shows off that the unit is cooking musically. There can be no arguing the class of each player on this track.
Last track is “Self Censored” starts with some delicate finger picking, drum rolls from Cam and bounces into some melody lines where Ryan shows his voice is in the range, of yes that man again, Ron Keel.
As the track fades out and you pick yourself, and dust yourself down you and left me wondering why Ragdoll is such a new name for these ears.
Morgan Bain, "Morgan Bain"
Right from the start the bouncing drum beat and “whoo hoo” hook line drags into this
musical wonderland whether you want to go there or not. So infectious is the musical
craftsman ship of Morgan that one listen will leave you jumping on the Morgan Bain
train. “I Think I’ve Got You” is the title of the first number and one wonders if this is a
rhetorical question and your mind is being played with. If Mr Bain has not got you with this opening track then he maybe never will. It would also leave me wondering what would get you?
If there is such a genre of handclapping, sing along, shake-your-booty-rock songs then this is where this tune would be found.
“Tear Me Right Apart” cools the tempo down and lets Morgan’s expressive vocals soar over gentle keyboards building into an expressive crunch.
The gentle picking of “Thirty Five Seconds” leads into a driving beat that rises and drops into a valley of rolling waves of emotion. The beat then rises to lead you back into a march propelled with pounding drum rolls. I was unable to stop my ears from picking up a Jeff Lang influence on this number.
Whiskey soaked vocals open “She Got Me This Way”. The beat picks up and the line of “Drugs were too dear, Alcohol a little cheaper and it lead me to turpentine” fires into a compelling tale of lost souls. The line break has a clean sound and motors the song into a crashing conclusion.
“Deep Hollow Howl” slowly moves along, creeping out of the shadows, with a soulful harp echoing of alley walls. The intricate arrangement has a foot tapping quality that builds into emotive lyrics of broken friendships and broken people.
This release is a recommend way entry point to begin your journey into the melodious way’s of Morgan Bain.
Urban Cowboy Band, "Lady Antebellum"
No Label, 2013
Long overdue review of a popular local Fremantle unit fronted by the irrepressible Rodney
Grljusich. This five track CD kicks off with a spoken piece by The Voice shining the light of
his soul and his view of how “True Love Survives”.
Screaming guitar then kicks in with a motivating base line that underpins deep, deep vocals. “Twist of Fate” continues into an extended break kick starts with some heavy riffing piloting into a tasteful lead break. Rock ‘n’ Roll indeed.
A slow build up with vocals shared vocals between Katie Holland and Rod add a sophisticated touch for this laid back number that explodes into a phrase of dynamic riffing and emotive duo vocals. “Lady Antebellum” fades out with Southern style lead work.
The Southern style theme is continued with “Salyersville” with a laid back number that features backing vox reminiscent of the Black Crowes, “Sting Me”.
News is circulating that the Urban Cowboy Band are currently in the midst of an extended break. We can only look forward to forth coming work from their barn in whatever form it may take.
The horn remix of “True Love Survives” bursts into orbit like a meteor from out space. The horns swing and the rasping, emotive vocals of Rod drive this home with a solid band unit boiling in the background. This offerings winner and worth the buy just for this track.
Kenny Austin, "Live & Unplugged"
Nov 01 2014 Kiddgo Arthouse, Raven Song
Kenny Austin is a singer, songwriter, poet who takes the listener on a journey into the wilderness and back again. Raw, emotive, vocals and harmonies, flowing rhythms and beautiful playing skills are your guides if you dare to take to this trip.
Opening track “Autumn Air” has the nasal tones of Bob Dylan jumping out at you but with words, not fuelled by angst driven torment, but with melodies that drift in the wind like autumn leaves.
Then he and the band “Rides Out to Meet You” but this time with more haste and backed by some fine harmonised vocals. However “Chaos And The Calm” prevail in this upbeat view of relationships.
The soul filled “Provocation” arrives at a junction where the fellow travellers at this crossroads could be none other that John Cougar and Bob Dylan. Its entertaining chorus gets the hand claps going as Kenny’s fine vocals return for a reprise when you think all is gone.
“Are You Ever Gonna Be Mine” has echoes of Sixto Rodriguez, he of ‘Searching for Sugar Man” fame, with its upbeat tempo and more sing along chorus lines.
The band then take a short break and bounce back refreshed but with a slower more solemn pace of “Alpha to Omega”. Emotion fills the air on this number with its words, blood red and dripping with questions.
The international flavour of the band comes to air as Kenny leads the introduction before they saddle up and take the listener out on the plains with “My Friend The Enemy”. The images of red Indians and wolves ridding by your side are conjured up with the ghost like playing. For some this is the CD’s winner.
After such a flowing journey Kenny and band then takes the listener up higher to the “Kingdom” with its urgent beat straining at the bit. Masterfully it’s managed and controlled before erupting into an explosion of pure joy.
The gentle “Too Close to the Sun” with its tale of change receives a rousing cheer from the jubilant audience. “The Last Song” is a gentle meandering that winds its way like a mountain stream, fresh, clear and full of goodness.
An excellent musical foray that leaves you gliding back down to earth and a admirable back drop to this coming summer.
SAL KIMBER & THE ROLLIN' WHEEL, "Sal Kimber & The Rollin' Wheel"
While it was half expected that a summons to Her Palace for this listening event was on the cards The Queen of the Howl surprised us all by dropping into The Monkey Cage for a week’s stay, forgoing her usual Broome Winter Break.
With a cat’s wail opening the first track of Sal Kimber & The Rollin' Wheel 2011 self-title release grabbed The Queen’s attention. From the get go, with ears pricked, She settled back giving Sal Kimber & The Rollin' Wheel Her full attention.
The hypnotic beat kicking off, with equals parts of menace, maturity and a Johnny Cash amount of ‘fuck-you’ attitude this track is a killer. The darkness drips off with a slow gait walking through life that can only be penned from someone who has been there, seen it, and done it twice over and finishes oh so soon. The Queen identified immediately and waited in her ‘Rockin’ Chair’ with dignity for the rest of the album.
The scooting, upbeat track ‘Do Right’ picks up the tempo and The Queen, in her needy love search, got in on the act scooting around, from listening room to bedroom and back on the listening room.
‘Beat Gets Louder’ builds the mood down slowly and builds the pressure with the French sounding under tow. The straining passion of Sal breathing deep and in your ear with husky overtones lets the gypsy spirit fly free. The Queen identified with Sal as a kindred soul, equal parts heart breaker and heartbroken, a game The Queen plays all so well.
With melodic, gentle tones ‘Your Town’ swoops in and breaks you open with the chiselled tool of Sal’s soulful and heartfelt words. With deft and finger light but cutting deep guitar work this number sliced The Queen’s heart open and I swear brought a tear to her right eye.
‘Be Alright’ got The Queen purring, and ready for some cat paw jive with its country style picking and tale of country to town growing pains. While The Queen is town cat by style Her nature is just that of a country cat longing for open fields and staking that unsuspecting wildlife.
The Queen settled down as the fluid dynamics of ‘Sweet Love’ floated through the air and landed like a chosen humans touch on her brow.
The other half of Sal Kimber exercised themselves on the next track of ‘Rollin Wheel’ backing up Sal’s beautiful vocals. With the drums driving the tight unit forward and Sal leading the charge you get lost as time flies by on this number.
The cat strutting “Walking In The Woods” takes you on a stroll past rail lines with echoing harmonica, and searing vocals intertwining taking you on this trip as ghostly images of the past go floating by.
Delicate guitar work, Sal’s vocals with phantom like backing and percussion suck you in in as this composition builds, bubbling and weaving like a rushing hillside stream ‘Rushing Through (Your) Veins”. It took The Queen back to the days of yonder when deep breaths, sucking in the smoke took Her on trips of chasing rabbits and butterfly’s.
“Fast Train” is just that, scooting on spend. The non-stop up tempo banjo keeps this storyline moving along the tracks with the shuffle drumming providing the energy for the Sal Kimber Express to keep a moving.
The Queen reclined into the lush surrounds of Sal’s vocal’s as they wrapped around like an all-enveloping vine, entwined with off the cuff tasteful slide guitar. ‘Got You’ certainly got The Queen into a state of sweet bliss.
Like drips of rain off a tin roof, ‘Your Ghost’ evolves into a banjo picking, guitar player’s delightful dream.
The final arrangement “Southbound” reveals it’s self like spring flowers sprouting on a sunny day. With nose in the air The Queen let the sweet, sweet vital energy flow into Her and do it’s magic.
This was a majestic listening event and in true blue blood royal accordance The Queen (of the Howl) bestrode an unprecedented rating of two cat ears, two cats paw and a Cat’s Winter Coat for this outstanding release!! 🐱 🙌 👘
Excellent work Sal Kimber & The Rollin' Wheel and long may you Keep It On Track!
SAL KIMBER & THE ROLLIN' WHEEL, "Southern Light"
While The Queen of the Howl is back in the House and for today’s Sunday Session she lay down with Sal Kimber & The Rollin' Wheel’s latest album, “Southern Light”.
The delicate opening and soulful vocals of ‘Stumble In The Dark’ grabbed her by the heart strings. However being a cool cat The Queen knows all about love, but not how to stumble in the dark. The Queen basked in this tracks glory.
‘Cool breeze’ picks up the tempo and its cheeky beat skips along with nice instrumental work blowing in along the way. The weaving music river keeps on flowing with the touching tale of ‘Hell and Highwater’.
Post Cream Clapton style picking kicks of ‘Slow Dance’ sent The Queen into the pink cloud of chasing rabbit dreams. Next up the excellent rhythmic guitar playing and vocals of ‘Find You’ intertwine like leaves blowing on a twisting autumn wind and splash like salmon jumping upstream.
The subtle, almost echoing guitar intro of “Wild Rose” belies this prickly number as the measured beats pick up, carried by the vocals that grow, surround and wrap around, with their quality refusing to let you go. Just like thorns digging into the flesh but strings applied at the right moment, like a soothing lotion, bring a healing quality to this evocative number. In a close run race this was The Queen’s album track winner only beating the next track by a nose.
The Stevie Nicks like “Come a knockin” got The Queen up and moving with the subtle but deadly energy unleashed, manifesting its self in a south paw jive. The deadly undertow is maintained with the stealthy ‘Hunter’ featuring some outstanding percussion.
The southern lights of Burrawang close the album with musical sparkles in the distant, twinkling like the stars with the divine light of Sal Kimber & The Rollin' Wheel at their centre.
The Queen gave “Southern Lights” a rating of two paws and a chin rub. Outstanding effort it
THE SUPERJESUS, "Love and Violence"
When the latest Superjesus release, the paradoxically titled “Love and Violence”, delayed arrival coincided with a visit of The Queen of the Howl my first thoughts were Sarah McLeod and The Queen are in cahoots for this listening event.
Taking her position on Her listen post the Queen frowned as the opening chords kicked in. Thinking I had mistakenly put on Smashing Pumpkins her fears were allayed when Sarah McLeod’s strong and impassioned vocals kicked in. “Purrfect” She purred as “Come Back To Me” rolled in like a turning tide, with drums thrusting into a Superjesus signature sing along chorus. The Queen’s head was nodding to the laid back beat and busy guitar work.
“The Setting Sun” creeps in like a fog slowly rising before a majestic sun rise. Originally unveiled in the live environment on the 2013 the recorded version does the composition splendour, living up to the glorious promise that was demonstrated on that tour.
The latest singe “St Peters Lane” picks up the tempo with a tale of working men masquerading in a women’s world of power plays, money, lust, greed, need and survival. Built on the rock of Steve Berryman’s drums and Sturt Rudd’s bass this is no denial in the Tim Henwood’s guitar work as Sarah McLeod spreads the gospel according to The Superjesus.
The rocking is maintained and increased with the “Love and Violence”. Sarah’s urgent, somewhat paranoid sounding vocals add intensity to the urgent thrashing Tim Henwood guitar work and the bouncing bass line from Stuart Rudd.
Following on the majestic “Sea Song” rolls in with twice the power the opening track, with whispering, echoing guitar displaying The Superjesus at their best. This was pounced upon by The Queen as possibly the releases top track.
Closing with a superb live version of “Come Back to Me” that maybe from the legendary “She Who Rocks” tour. If my memory serves me well this was where the (then) newer composition was showcased and ecstatically received by the fans and critics alike.
The magnificence of The Superjesus early nineties recordings are built upon and taken to a new level with “Love and Violence”.
Worth a tattoo? Hell Yeah, and The Queen is booking in once the winter coat goes.
In conclusion The Queen gave it never been before released rating of two paws, an itchy ear, one hind leg and the cats wiskers. Stunning work all round !!
PALACE OF THE KING, "Valles Marineris"
2016 Listenable Records
The swirling late sixties/ early seventies Hammond organ sound glides in like a ghost reaper when a ferocious guitar riff kicks in. The equally wild, unruly and somewhat surprising Rob Halford-esque/Burke Shelley-esque with a touch of the Big O Himself vocal pipes of Tim Henwood (ex-Superjesus/ Nick Barker guitar slinger) then enter, slit the preverbal throat and “Let The Blood Run Free”.
This is a dangerous musical unit that take the heavy side of seventies doyen rock, add a splash of eighties LA Glam Rock then mix in a slice of progressive jazz and come up with their own unique blend of sizzling and scintillating spaced out soul sound of dried out canyons on the far side of the Universe.
Their DNA continues to pump through from the opening track, “Beyond The Valley” and under a “Black Cloud”.
The sound they rightfully claim their own is grievous, threatening and then carries across “The Bridge of the Gods”. The destination is where the Place Of The King, with the backdrop of crazy drumming, outrageous bass and moving electric sonic’s, declare “We Are The Vampires”.
These pure rock mutha f@#kers become Sick As A Dog” but their energy that never diminishes floats away on a “River OF Fire”.
Featuring a line-up of outstanding musicians on bass, drums, keyboards, two guitars and manic vocals it’s no wonder that this energetic full sounding maelstrom whirl can leave you begging “Throw Me To The Wolves”.
This powerful, sound is not for the fainted hearted and has the ability to take those that relate to the classic Deep Purple / Led Zeppelin / Uriah Heep / Leslie West Mountain days but yearn for something new on a journey they are looking for.
Not only that this release also has the ability to take Palace Of The King “Into The Black”.
This has to be one of THE ROCK releases of 2016.
In summary a little known band from Perth Australia has unleashed a definitive rock album into the Universal soundwaves that has the temerity to stake a claim as one of THE rock releases of the decade.
That intro may sound grandiose, attention seeking and somewhat verbose (there’s no doubting it is) but I willing stake, what little there is, of my reputation and the good name of Ausland181.com on that claim. If you what to find why then read on …..
Spearheaded by screaming vocals in the Billy Squier (yes that good) range, killer guitar that cuts, chop and thrust with impunity, beefy bass lines that support and build but yet run free and wild, solid drumming that fills when required, this is a Band (capital B) that Roars, Rips, Struts & Bucks in the Saddle over the Western Plains.
From the Get Go Maverick lay out their intentions with the strutting riffing of opening track “Free”. They grab you by the scruff of the neck with the vocals making your back straight and your attention focused. Dancing guitar solos that frees the soul and straightens the mind.
“Break Me” continues with the bass runs adding to the mix. More guitar orientated this number rips, riffs and Coverdale-esque vocal echo’s gets the body shaking.
The creeping into of “Obsession” lead into some heavy blues that throttle, make you weep and scream in alignment with the whispering shriek of a thunder cracking guitar. There’s no let up with the roaring calling and shake of “Black Voodoo” loaded with a riff from Hell. “Silent Scream” is a gallop that bumps, grinds, drops and soars with the intensity of marching blitzkrieg pursued by Iron Maiden’s Eddie.
The winding curves of “Great Northern Hwy” lead into the deadly “The Road” with hook that cuts to pieces.
“Tonight We Die” is a slower acoustic strumming, electric lead number the risings like the mist on a morning’s dawn and shines bright into the Day.
NO FILLER !! ALL KILLER !! This has to be one of THE ROCK releases of 2017 if not the Decade !!.