BORROWED. up at six, in the shop by seven - i'm here at the request of a friend who is filming a short entitled 'borrowed', in the book store next to us. i am greeted with duffel-coats (plenty of 'em), red dreadlocks on a white woman and a complete invasion of space by strangers who are supposedly invoved in said production, but seemingly more interested in discussing the application of foundation, how much alcohol they consumed last night, and a strong feeling that most of these humans would rather be at home playing warcraft (duffel-coats). the room is silent apart from nonsensical chatter ('is anyone drunk yet?') and the odd car or bus driving past, sound bouncing around our humble brick-floored echo chamber. i need to put some music on, but i feel it would be inappropriate, like chastising a mate for soiling themselves seems wrong, ya know - even though they've pissed all over your couch, YOU still feel guilty moving them, for fear of bringing this fact to their attention. our space is now their space - and i'm not entirely comfortable with it. anyway, i'm hiding in front of this screen, typing about 'em, in the hope that inspiration strikes. breakfast was promised, and apart from two pieces of bread with vegan butter inside to make a sandwich, it looks like taste is not on the menu. wait, there's a toaster on the way - there is hope fuckers, hope(!), and when all else fails, i still have my juice to keep me sane. 'ten minutes!' is the call - 'we'll be right in five...' sweet. now i can play some records.
SCRATCH ACID. whenever i'm asked what this band actually sounds like, i'm usually prone to describing them as a cross between BIRTHDAY PARTY and LED ZEPPELIN - maybe a tad lazy, but this isn't too far off the mark. there is plenty of classic rock in their songs, and said melbourne band is obviously an influence, however, their music could only have come from america - specifically, the north-west middle of the land of the not-so-free. their discography cd 'the greatest gift' (on touch and go, of course) collects all of their records and one previously unreleased track ('the scale song'), and it is still many years after it's initial release, vital listening for any self-respecting punk rock n' roll fan - especially in 2010, with so many bands pursuing an apparent 'noise rock' direction. SCRATCH ACID are by turns, disturbing, fun, ingenious and fabulously catchy sounding, recorded on the cheap, but not suffering at all (though the drums can LITERALLY sound like ice cream containers on certain tracks) - 'cause the songs are unique and so fucking good, the fidelity is of no consequence, in fact if anything, it only adds to their brilliance. david yow's words are delivered in a stream-of-consciousness manner (spoken, yelled, screeching), which is misleading in a way, because they are thoughtfully constructed tomes of low life and anger-ridden heart murmurs, cloaked in humour and obviously phrased in EXACTLY the right ways to fit each tune...and the music, well where to start? early songs have the feel of fifties rock n' roll/rockabilly, channelled through lysergic eyes and ears (ala THE CRAMPS, reaching a pre-BIG BLACK stop-start formula at times ('she said', for example), but much more unpredictable and occasionally laced with synthesiser, harmonica and strings, adding completely unexpected textures to an already uneasy and challenging listen for the uninitiated - and the going got even weirder, covering ANDREW LLYOD WEBBER ('damned for all time') and bouncing between seventies-style funk and metal licks, while somehow keeping it all cohesively menacing and hilarious. later of course yow and sims went on to form JESUS LIZARD, another group that changed rock n' roll forever, so fucking powerful and influential that today, people are still trying to get THAT guitar sound (MY DISCO) and out yow, yow (any prat with a microphone who is deemed 'uncontrollable' - good luck), but this is fruitless. start your own band and INNOVATE, or play covers - 'cause we're sick of all of your hero worship and shameless photocopies. the trip starts here. literally.
BEANFLIPPER. face first on to our tiled floor in front of the cast of 'borrowed' - not my finest moment, and then they ask me to turn down the stereo? fuck off, it's the ONLY thing from keeping my thoughts of ripping your throats out as just that, thoughts. thank fuck for BEANFLIPPER...'mongrel guts'! i don't dig dreadlocks on white people, but these dudes get a pass on that, simply because of my love for 'rodent ulcer' and 'garden variety manic depressant'. the label 'shagpile' is responsible for these two fuckin' ripper cd's, though apart from FRONT END LOADER, the majority of said label's output is shite - but we won't waste time or space with such negatives. BEANFLIPPER were a mess - a fantastic collage of metal, grind, punk/hardcore/crust, rock n' roll and whatever else interested their weed-addled brains at the time of writing each tune ('glass eyed stare' even features a ska breakdown as the bridge, with added synth damage - and it WORKS!), with an obvious interest in film also - as there are samples of dialogue throughout both releases. though stylistically quite different, they shared an affinty with DAMAGED - australia's greatest metal band ever, and who i would propose as the closest comparison to BEANFLIPPER, as they blended many different modes of attack when composing and performing their music...though where DAMAGED are ridiculously precise and realised, BEANFLIPPER are neither - not even close, and i believe that both these points are each group's greatest strengths. they both wholly achieved what they were reaching for and are criminally overlooked, by ourselves, and the world at large. 'matt skitz' is now a brand name (like we didn't see that coming...), and vocalist james has remained quiet after reforming the band, then bailing again (i'd much rather 'collaborate' with him than the aforementioned glory hound), but BEANFLIPPER remain an enigma - a band of scummy dudes that are i'm told, still gettin' around melbourne and playing music...but all i have to hold on to are these recordings, which, after moving on some god-botherers from the shop's entrance, are even more useful - who can argue with an angry cunt when 'bucket o' blood' is blasting at you in tandem? agreed. not them, not anyone.