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Title:Wild!
Band:The Marigolds
Label:Zip Records
Released:2001
Highlights:Lying Again
Little Black Egg
Shame On You
Valentine
Seasons
Rating:8/10

The Marigolds were a much loved band during the heyday of Perth power pop. Their na´ve sixties styled pop followed closely in the footsteps of The Stems although their sound probably has more in common with the Summer Suns. Featuring the chiming vocals of Jamie Parry, who later went on to sing for the Neptunes, The Marigolds are remembered for their upbeat tunes about girls (and not much else!)

With the exception of a few compilation appearances, Wild represents the first the majority of their songs have been available on CD and features their entire recorded output; the s/t 7" (1986), Waiting In Line 7" (1987) and Wild cassette (1989). Whilst their reputation may not have lasted like Stems, doesn't mean their music is substandard. On the contrary, Wild is full of nuggets just waiting to be rediscovered like the folk-rockers Shame On You and Valentine while their covers of Little Black Egg and Ain't It hard are as good as the originals. Unfortunately the lack of any liner notes means the listener has no idea of the history of the band.





Title:Baby
Artist:Michael Carpenter
Label:Not Lame Records
When! Records
Released:1999
Highlights:Thinking About You
She Dreams
Tonight
Love Is Like...
Missing You Now
Rating:10/10

Michael Carpenter's debut album, Baby, is one of the best Australian pop albums I've heard , up there with the likes of The Orange Humble Band, DM3 and The Chevelles (and probably the best never to be actually released in Australia). What is even more remarkable is that he plays every instrument himself with only some close friends helping with backing vocals. Highlights include the stunning harmonies of Thinking About You, the hypnotic 12-string jangle of She Dreams, the knockout power chords of Tonight, the rocking Just Like You and the touching finale Missing You Now. Michael Carpenter writes songs straight from the heart, with an infectious honesty that can't help but warm even the coldest heart. Everything I love about pop music is here and more. It may have taken over 4 years to complete but Baby is a stunning debut.





Title:Hopefulness
Artist:Michael Carpenter
Label:Not Lame Records
When! Records (UK)
Released:2000
Highlights:Kailee Ann
Hopefulness
Believes Again
Is This Love I'm Feeling
Someday (Smile Again)
Rating:9/10

It was always going to be a hard task for Michael Carpenter to surpass his debut album, Baby, but he has come as close as one could hope for with his second album, Hopefulness. A more straight ahead and consistent pop album, Hopefulness is actually better but for me lacks the spark and range of Baby. That's not to say that there aren't moments of pure pop enchantment, such as in the Beach Boys styled title track and the beautifully sincere Is This Love I'm Feeling. If the Beatles had reformed and recorded one more album before John Lennon's death, it would probably sound a lot like this. Still, I can't help but feel that several tracks, especially Since I Found You and You Wont See, are just too commercial sounding, for my tastes anyway.

I have no doubt Hopefulness will make Michael Carpenter a star in the influential American power pop scene. The fact that he still doesn?t have an Australian record deal is a poor inditement on Australian music but at least the rest of the world seems to have cottoned on to what a remarkable talent he is.





Label:Shock Records
Released:2001
Highlights:2001
'69 Monaro
That Reminds Me
Yer Movin' On
1 Nite Only
Rating:9/10

"What we're trying to do with the Monarchs is to get the full on guitar sound of the MC5 and Stooges stuff we've always loved but still with the pop melodies of the things we were listening to around the house as kids like the Beatles and the Byrds." (Brad Shepherd, Beat Magazine)

Despite the psychedelic artwork, The Monarchs don't pretend to be anything but a classic rock and roll band. Make Yer Own Fun is without doubt one of the better albums to be released in Australia this year. As outlined above, anyone expecting a one-dimensional rock record will be quite surprised. Not only does Make Yer Own Fun capture the rock onslaught of the band's live performance but there's also a fair amount of melody and studio sophistication. Songs range from the not so subtle 2001 and Loud to the almost You Am I pop sounds of You Remind Me Of Me and Yer Moving On. Then there's the Lennonesque psychedelia of Unimaginable, a song so personal that it's buried underneath layers of studio effects. On top of this, the guitar interplay between Brad and Greg Hitchcock is excellent as is the drumming of Murray Shepherd, which all helps give the Monarchs a dynamic that has been missing from the Hoodoo Gurus for years.





Title:Jungle Noise
Artist:The Monsters
Label:Voodoo Rhythm Records
Released:1995
Highlights:Psychout With Me
Rock Around The Tombstone
She's My Witch
Skeleton Stomp

Rating: 6/10


The Monsters play ultra primitive garage/swamp/blues trash that brings to mind such bands as The Monks, Sonics, Cramps and even Screaming Jay Hawkins. Perhaps it's the cool cover artwork or such song titles as Rock Around The Tombstone and Skeleton Stomp but the Monsters are best described as sounding like Zombies that have just crawled out of some New Orleans graveyard and formed a band. Monster rock indeed. Jungle Noise, the band's first CD, is a compilation of previous vinyl releases rather than an album as such. I have to say that over 19 songs I find this style of music becomes too much to take. As big a fan I am of garage styled music, this is just too fucked up and primitive for my tastes and I find it hard to hold my interest any longer than several songs.





Title:Electric Sweat
Electric Sweat:Mooney Suzuki
Label:Gammon Records
Released:2002
Highlights:Electric Sweat
Oh Sweet Susanna
I Woke Up This Morning
It's Not Easy
Broken Heart
Rating:8.5/10


The Mooney Suzuki are a New York based band who play an enthralling mix of feedback driven rock 'n' roll with soulful R'n'B. They tout themselves as the "hardest working band in show business" and whether such claims are true or not, they seemingly have been touring for the last two years and the results show in their second album, Electric Sweat. As their press releases states, it's "bristling with 10 sweat-drenched slabs of electrocuted rhythm & blues" and thanks to the more powerful production of producer Jim Diamond, is an improvement on their well-received debut, People Get Ready. I haven't seen The Mooney Suzuki live but if Electric Sweat is any indication than they would have to be one of the most exciting rock and roll bands currently playing.