Buffalo - Volcanic Rock (Aztec)
Coloured Balls - Ball Power (Aztec)
The mere thought of a Black Sabbath/Buffalo concert (which indeed happened for two 1973 dates in Sydney) makes my head spin. Two hemispheres of stoner rock meeting on the same bill, and while Buffalo didn't have the budget, label support, radio airplay and widespread fandom as Ozzy and company, they left a pretty heavy thud on the scene for those who were aware of them. Over the last few years, thanks mainly to some Akarma reissues, the Buf' has been getting discovered by a whole new pack of rats. Aussie label Aztec, which has taken upon itself to get some very deluxe reissues happening of some prime homeland 1970's rock, have done up Buffalo's Volcanic Rock and Coloured Balls' Ball Power (though other records by both bands are also out again) and the world is a finer place for it. Buffalo featured yowling frontman Dave Nice, and also had pre-Rose Tattoo (and recently passed away) bassist Peter Wells, and in the realm of testosterone-doused R.O.C.K., they left little to the imagination in terms of lyrics and imagery. They had a song called "I'm a Skirt Lifter, Not a Shirt Raiser", and well, look at the album cover here, it appears to be a naked man with female genitalia perched atop a volcano shaped like a decapitated woman whose ass is spewing lava. Holding a disembodied male member over his/her/its head. "The Prophet" (Real audio) is proof, Black Oak Arkansas may have been Durutti Column in comparison?
The Coloured Balls offered more sensitivity if not better hair than Buffalo, but possibly even more power. Despite the fact they were really some kind of crossover between hippie and punk aesthetics, plopped squarely in 1973, they got saddled as attractors of skinheads and violence at gigs, and their label pushed them for a somewhat poppier image (which they got on their second record Heavy Metal Kid.) On their debut Ball Power though, vocalist/leader/guitarist Lobby Loyde plants himself as force of nature to be reckoned with, heavy blues jams wed the Groundhogs and Stooges, and with blazing boogie anthems like "Human Being" and the 12 minute theremin-tinged freakout of "That's What Mama Said" (covered by Stephen Malkmus some years ago) this record is every bit the twin-axe-fueled nirvana of Kick Out the Jams. Aztec's great repackage gives detailed pics and tales, and killer bonus cuts include the crushing "G.O.D. (Guitar Overdose)" (real audio) performed live outdoors in front of an audience waiting for an Australian appearance of Queen.
Los Kikes - s/t (Shaking)
If Sshaking Records is the In the Red of Israel, then Los Kikes must be their Hospitals. Ridiculous, mega-violent lo-fi splatter punk that seems to have nods to Venom/black metal as well as trad-garage-surf sounds, but to be honest, the mix is so muddy it's hard to know exactly what the hell is happening here. Drums are being either trashed or played at a complete ignorance to the rhythm of the actual song going on, incomprehensible vocal stabs at English through a metallic echo chamber of howling, shitty guitars. Gristly, harsh stuff indeed. Check out more here, and three MP3s up for grabs here. I'm gonna go calm down with a Free Design record now.
The Blitzoids - Stealing From Hapless Children / Look Up (ReR)
Longtime Tony Coulter faves finally get the comprehensive reissue treatment; two LPs over a 2CD set with tons of extra tracks. Among those included are stray tracks done for both the Ralph and RRR, and that somehow succintly sums up the realm the Blitzoids inhabited. Definitely following the lead into the same mole-cave the Residents lit up and plowed down into, there was a similar, sinister air amidst their take on 'commercial' or '(un)easy listening'. But there was also a somewhat frayed edge of junkshop concrete, modest experimentalism and rough-hewn ideas that could easily have saddled them firmly in Rrron Lessard's RRR camp. Ideally the group, revolving around two brothers and a friend, was making mid 1980's music from the back of their record store that appealed to themselves above any target audience outside their confines; specifically sounds influenced by the Mothers, the UK Canterbury scenes, its humble jazziness informed by the brothers' dad who was a big band saxophonist. Chris DiCharria's guitar playing was pretty advanced an innovative as well; but at no point did the Blitzoids really attempt to get technically highbrow, or at least make their musicianship the center of the project. They seemed completely at home wallowing in the depths of oblique production and just an all around weird vibe. "Pup Tent" (Real Audio).