Saturday, August 06, 2011

Fur Dixon and Steve Werner are back with episode three of their ongoing folked up Americana. Entitled “Songs Of The Open Road (Volume One)” these West Coast troubadours have collected another 10 songs that indicates that they can sure pick ‘em in more ways than one.

Crystal clear and expansive in sound panoramic, you’re with them all the way down those byeways. “I Like How I Feel” is luscious. “I‘ve been over the hill and around the bend” sez Fur but it sounds like she’s comfortable in her skin now. “Do Re Mi” is a hymn for these stock-market plummeting times, penned by Woody Guthrie way back thataway – precious few of us ever will be troubled with having bucketloads of that particular commodity. It’s time wealth was measured in a more spiritual currency and this couple could teach us a thing or two about that demeanour.

The slow burn tex-mex marinade of “De Colores” is a soothing concoction also. There are two tunes penned by a lady by the name of Mary McCaslin who I’ll be “googling” just as soon as I’m done with this. “The Dealers” is a mid-paced swinging western tale presented by both parties. Old timey but never trite. The steel on “Prairie in the Sky” haunts the song beautifully without ever being overplayed. (Update - 7.12pm: Was I ever outta the loop on the Mary McCaslin thing...?)

Dan Janisch’s “I Cannot Settle Down” brings the curtain down and it pretty much covers their reason to believe the way they do. I just hope that they make it out this way soon to state their case in person. Go play on their website.

Billy McBarbie gave me a copy of Sugar Louise's “Everything’s Better With Sugar” when I was in Moss. It encompasses that grand Scandinavian tradition of being able to channel several generations of glam, punk and pop into anthemic daftness. How the fuck could you not love a song entitled “Be My Demi Moore”? Seriously. And I played “Down By The Lake” during my disc-n-spinnering without knowing what it was and said tune fitted the mood like a glove. Sometimes you just get a feeling.

I don’t know what is in the water there but I’m addicted to it. And while we’re on an H2O Aqua better get ready to redo their biggest hit as “It’s a Billy McBarbie world”.

Sugar Louise is where The Riverdales collide with Backyard Babies (circa Total 13) at a Smashed Gladys tribute evening to The Sweet. In a perfect world, Sugar Louise would be packing ‘em in with their rambunctious take on a musical form that not easy to get right. One slight quibble – I could a done without the calypso bits in “Wastin’ Summertime” but will let that slide because of the sentiment in the gloriously juvenile “U2 Sucks” (“not a single decent song – after playing for that long”).
This wee treasure is on the Naked Hollywood imprint.

The postal service between Australia and here has conspired to keep me and Dollsquad’s “Lethal In Leather” apart until just recently. The latest copy that Joey sent made it over the obstacle course. Keeping their garage fuzz credentials intact they’ve rounded out the sound with a glam crunch. And what other band do you know has pez dispensers as part of their merch. I was well impressed with the one I saw in Casa Arnoff.

Six gals in leather pummelling out cave beat, what the hell’s not to like in the first instance but when it’s performed like this then the result is a genuine twist-off.

These Melbourne lassies deal all the right frequencies. The keyboard action is especially frisky and the overall result is not unlike the latter day Pandoras. The Friggs fandabbidozi “Bad Word For A Good Thing” is given the D-squad treatment and “Rock’n’Roll Boy” is crying out to be struck in 7” vinyl. A double “A” with “Dreaming” perchance?

The duet with (Oz) X singer Steve Lucas (who also manages them) is cool in a Hazlewood sense but the real gold is in “Everything” a ballad that pitches in a little Suicide-ish piano flourish, not unlike yon version of “Heart and Soul” that appears in the movie “Big” when Tom Hanks is fooling around in FAO Schwarz. A quiet but perfect high upon which to close.

A cut above your common or garden identikit authenticity then, Dollsquad possess both style and substance in abundance. See for yourselves...

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