Monthly Archives: November 2011

510. Magic Dirt – “Tough Love”

I have never made the connection before, but Adalita the frontwoman of Magic Dirt may be the Chrissy Amphlett of her generation.

A little research tells me that like Adalita, Amphlett hails from Geelong.  Both are forthright rock chicks. And as becomes apparent on this album, Adalita, like Chrissy, is certainly comfortable discussing her personal stimulatory activities.

On both Plastic Loveless Letter and the standout track here, GirlBoy, Ms. Srsen regales us with tales of masturbation, no doubt titillating (and/or intimidating) many a teenage listener:

That track is a real ripper, encapsulating pretty much everything that appeals about this act.  It’s punchy, honest, fun without being cheesy, and, to repeat the line above, a bit intimidating. Moreso than Amphlett, its seems worth aspiring to be part of the storyline of these songs.

This album is stronger than the predecessor, with greater variations across the 13 tracks. While the pop sensibility is still there, the songs vary much more in tempo. On one we get some veritable beat poetry, while Brat is thee closest to a jam track I can recall from the usually concise combo.

All in all, one of the very best things to come out of sleepy hollow.

File under: Tougher than George Smilovic, Sexier then the Divinyls

509. Magic Dirt – “What are Rock Stars Doing Today”

In yesterday’s post I uttered the phrase ‘ear worm’.  This here album from Geelong rockers Magic Dirt contains one of the most cerebrally invasive tracks in my collection.

The release of said song prompted me to finally buy a Dirt longplayer, despite having seen them around for years.

The song in question, of course, is the irresistable Dirty Jeans. I found my attachment to the song (and the similar adoration of many other folks) a little to hard to explain.  It’s a pretty straightforward rock track with a rather silly chorus and premise:

But, in many ways, that is the essence of good rock.  And this band has all the right ingredients.  Strong riffs, driving basslines and rhythms and a frontwoman who is irrepressible.

Indeed, Adalita’s vocal endeavours are what captivates both on this track and across the whole album.  She carries a song better than pretty much anyone on the Aussie scene, and has unmistakable timing and oomph.

While struggling to outshine the denim number, there are enough tracks on here (Pace it, Superglu, City Trash) to ensure I went back to the well for more tunes in subsequent years.

But let’s hear that big track one more time:

File under: Doing what they do best

508. Madness – “The Heavy Heavy Hits”

My pesky metaphoric time-machine failed in its bid to get me back into this millennium.

Instead I’ve spent the past week in dreary old England during the Thatcher years wearing pants that were too short and narrowly avoiding being glassed each night.

The cause of my discomfort is this compendium from Brit ska icons Madness.

I’m a little torn on my view of these guys.  Their big singles (Baggy Trousers, Our House, House of Fun, etc) are fun little party pleasers with strong ‘earworm’ tendencies (I’ve been humming them on and off all week).

Some of the rawer dance-floor oriented tunes (such as One Step Beyond) on here also capture the vibe that enthused so many lads and set off much ‘skanking’.

What surprises, however, is the how startlingly polished and almost croony much of this material sounds.  Indeed, the slower tunes are much more Bacharach than I expected. The sax and strings on Yesterday’s Men is so 80s-sleazy that I was craving a shower.

I’m sure I will throw this collection back on again in a few years’ time, but I’m done with it for now.

While I was back in the 80s, I did catch this crazy new comedy show that looks promising:

File under: Insane in a softish vein

507. Madder Rose – “Bring it Down”

If you’ve been wondering why it’s been so damn quiet around here, a few weeks ago I jumped in a Delorean and zoomed back to the early 1990s where I have been trapped listening to this here album.

a album cover a Madder Rose Bring it On hey rose blog onealbumaday CD ReviewWhat a delightful trip it’s been.  The album is some hybrid of so many wonderful things from this time when my hair was long, my waist smaller and belly taut.

This band evoke the guitar work of the more poppy Cure work while also sounding a little Sonic Youth-y. The rhythms could be Buffalo Tom, while the vocals bridge the (admittedly narrow) BreedersDonellyHatfield divide.

The latter lass could easily ‘sub in’ for Mary Lorson at any point, although the latter has the better song-writing chops.  The lyrics are less bratty and self-effacing.

As debuts go this is a ripper.  The band even have the audacity to build the album around a track which is a veritable theme song – Swim – with its “Hey, Rose, Hey Madder” chorus:

I love that this album manages not just the ‘small room’ sway-ey numbers, but also the screaming numbers like Lay Down Low.

And I love that I dialed the “New York 1993” code to rediscover this gem. You should too.

File under: Bring it back