6 April 2009

The Missing Link Story

Various Artists
The Missing Link Story
Missing Link, 2004

Another rock and roll compilation, this time from legendary Melbourne label Missing Link. The label was originally based in the record shop of the same name founded by David Pepperell and Keith Glass in the seventies, which still exists today in a different building and with different owners. In the liner notes, Glass describes how the label came to be at the forefront of punk and new wave in Australia, releasing records by The Go-Betweens, The Birthday Party and Laughing Clowns: "The shop was the nerve centre, where trends could not only be detected but also started."

Track four. Laughing Clowns, 'Holy Joe'. One of my favourite songs, and probably one of my girlfriend's least favourite. An incredibly dark and arty pop song with strange rhythms and the wails of an atonal saxophone. The music video is a classic, showing a young Ed Kuepper and drummer Jeffrey Wegener made-up like new wave mannequins, along with the rest of the band playing in a small studio surrounded by paintings in shades of black, blue and white. Wegener looks infatuated with the kit, pulling a million faces a minute.

Track five. The Go-Betweens, 'By Chance'. A fair way from the fey pop that "the Gobs" are best remembered for, 'By Chance' was originally recorded as a B-side for the single 'Hammer The Hammer' and later ended up in a different incarnation on the album Before Hollywood. A slightly tortured song with a catchy melody but a metallic sound: "My head fits into my hands/ I roll it around and nothing comes out." It serves as a warm-up for the next track by The Tuff Monks, a once-off supergroup featuring members of The Birthday Party and The Go-Betweens.

Track fourteen. The Dynamic Hepnotics, 'Hepnobeat'. Honestly, I don't really know what to say about this one. A bizarre hip-shaker inspired by swing or samba or whatever, with a big, juicy beat and the presence of weird and wonderful singer "Continental" Robert Susz. Here's what the liner notes say: "Susz was the front man of one cool R&B / soul group at a time the passion of punk threatened to swamp anything cool." I like it mainly because it doesn't fit in with all the other cuts by po-faced punk rockers. I played it once during a DJ set and everyone danced, so that's enough for me.

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