If, like me you thought that the only thing to come out of Australia were the Foster-swigging Men At Work (and er ACDC) in the early 80s then via Mike B I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety of Antipodean New Wave. Many will be new to your ears apart from the more obvious bands. The influences from the New Romantics and synthpop filtering in from the other side of the world added to their own distinct sound (tribal/quirky/ethno-rock)
The Swingers – It Ain’t What You Dance It’s The Way You Dance It & Punch And Judy (2 x 45’s)
From 1981-2 and appearing from the ashes of New Zealand band, Split Enz, Phil Judd lead vocalist and guitarist put The Swingers together from the Auckland Punk band, Suburban Reptiles and became a 5 piece. This was the follow up to their smash hit debut, “Counting The Beat” Angular and alternative, I love the riff on “It Ain’t….” and the dubby effects and those playground-like vocals. The gated drums of the mechanic, krautrock instrumental ,”Flak” brings memories of an inventive Talking Heads. Love it, with some excellent production by David Tickle.
Mushroom – K 8325
|A||It Ain’t What You Dance, It’s The Way You Dance It||3:10|
The other single from 1982 and included in this pack is the more commercial, almost glam in places, “Punch And Judy.” with an almost Madness like video. Very catchy. The very indie sounding but dance-able,”In The Middle Of Nowhere” is a hidden gem with jazzy piano and weird vocal.
Ripper Records – RIP 022
|A||Punch And Judy|
|B||In The Middle Of Nowhere|
Australian Crawl – Things Don’t Seem (7″)
An Australian rock band formed 1978 by James Reyne (vocals/piano) and Simon Binks (guitar) in the Melbourne suburb of Mt. Eliza. They were joined by Guy McDonough (co-lead vocals, rhythm guitar 1980-84), Bill McDonough (drums, percussion 1978-83), Paul Williams (bass guitar)
This, from 1981, is more rocky than the previous offering. This has one of the weirdest vocalists I’ve heard, misheard lyrics etc…. Good, punchy production. Good fer a bit headbanging and different from the album version.
“Big Fish” is more straight up bluesy rock.
EMI – EMI-482
|A||Things Don’t Seem||3:55|
Models – Cut Lunch (10″)
More Post Punk quirkiness from this mini-album (a 6 Tracker) from Melbourne’s Models from 1981. A little bit lead synthy keyboards, weird harmonies. Experimental stuff from a band wanting to mix up as many sounds and influences together…..Art Rock! ( A bit of a Vege-mite) The highlight is the title track with bouncing bass and synth strings, perfect for trendy 80’s disco’s.
NEW LINK 2017
Mushroom – L 20001
|A1||Two Cabs To The “Toucan”||3:19|
|B1||Unfaithful To The Corps||3:25|
|B2||Man O’ Action||3:26|
The Little Heroes – One Perfect Day (7″)
A quintet of Roger Wells ,Dave Crosbie (keyboards) , John C. J. Taylor (vocals and bass), Huk Foote (drums) and Roger Hart (lead vocals and guitar)
An ex-pat lament on this slightly more commercial New Waver from The Little Heroes. Again keyboard led with some nice touches. There is more on guitar on the B-side but is a little cheesy on the lyrics, synth solo though!
EMI – EMI-679
|A||One Perfect Day||3:30|
|B||Just Can’t Wait||3:20|
Uncanny X-Men – ‘SaliveOne! (Mini-Album)
Led by Brian Mannix (vocals and keyboards), original bassist Steve Harrison, Nick Mantandos (drums) and the duel guitars of Chuck Hargreaves and Ron Thiessen.
Weird that a bands debut release was a live album. From 1982 and featuring six tracks recorded Live at AAV (a recording studio in Melbourne) in Nov 2, 1982. Pop wave with some synth in the live mix, it was probably the bands showcase for EMI! Amongst others you get reggae tinged “I Wanna Be Your Baby” (with harsh mockney!!!) The Cars feel to rockier, “I’m The One” and the slightly not politically correct, “Pakistan” ……Ouuch!!!
Mushroom – L 20022
|A3||I Wanna Be Your Baby||3:09|
|B1||I’m The One||4:01|
|B2||You Got Me||2:51|