Share DIY - Digger & The Pussycats (Spooky Records)
Aptly-titled and their best album to date, "DIY" is one big ball of dysfunctional fun. From early onset middle-aged crisis to alcohol and/or drug fiendishness, cheating, poverty and gingerism (that'd be prejudice against redheads), it's covered inits songs and on public display.
While some might deem it appropriate that most of the album was recorded in a room at a pub, eschewing an expensive studio sits perfectly with the Digger & The Pussycats ethos. Since 2004, they've been traveling light and taking their garage-rock musical grab bag through (mainly) Europe but also the USA and South Korea. With stripped-down duoism seemingly standard fare in the garage rock world in these fiscally tight times, Digger & The Pussycats have been showing most of them how it's done.
This is Album Number Four and if you've heard their stuff you'll know the drill: Moore nails down a clattering beat and Agostino throws out jagged guitar chords like a Phantom Agent tossing star knives. Both mix it up on vocals. It's nothing like the twisted blues or sparse voodoo rhythms of most duos; Digger & The Pussycats make more racket than a truckload of slaughterhouse-bound chooks, and are three times more fun than a ferret down your pants.
Humour to one side, the other selling point of Digger & The Pussycats is how big they make themselves sound. Sam Agostino's guitar roars like a runaway freight train with a couple of wheels missing, and Andy Moore manages to beat his kit senseless without anyone taking out a restraining order.
The songs are keepers, too. Bar-room piano gives "Chinatown" a Dollsy dimension while the melody line in "Breadline" is good enough to get a bar packed with deaf mutes breaking into a singalong.
Best line on the record (among many good'uns ): "If I wanna be a cockhead, what's it to you?"
"Red Hair" might be the sound of Andy Moore having a very public breakdown but you're allowed to laugh out loud. If "All My Friends Are Having Babies" sound like a resignation letter you're probably taking it all too seriously. Bands as good as these guys aren't allowed to quit. - The Barman
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LET'S GO TO HOSPITAL - Diggers & The Pussycats (Spooky Records)
There's a simple directness and economy of words in a song like "Spanish Jacket" whose only lyric is: "I got a Spanish jacket/I have got cocaine/I've got $40/How much is MDMA?" that sums up Digger & The Pussycats. There's no musical excess baggage - lots of excess, however, and sometimes they play for shock value - but there aren't many bands in Melbourne (or Australia for that matter) playing a better brand of down-and-dirty, street punk rock and roll. Listen to the brace of impossibly Bob Quine-like guitar solos herein and tell me they the song needs more words.
You probably know there are no Pussycats and this band is a two-piece (drums and guitar) that spends more time in residence in Europe than at home in Melbourne. There's talk they're doing a Dame Nellie Melba and bidding us bye-bye with extended tours. I could spend the rest of this review trying to tell you where they fit, musically, but it would be pointless.
But, fuck it, I'll have a go:
It's trashy as hell, poppy in parts and brasher than an AFL footballer laying a platinum Visa card on the bar and telling the staff to do their best to bruise the balance while a brain-dead model snorts fine flake Peruvian off his the top of old fella. Andy, Sam - and for all I know, you - want to be that footballer but can't. And it hurts. But you can laugh ourselves stupid about it. Along with the band who are happy to let us all in on the joke.
This is music for the times - those times being between 1 and 5am in some godforsaken hellhole bar where excess amounts of cheap booze and who-knows-what-else have sucked the soul into a black vortex that makes the Bermuda Triangle look like a kiddie paddle pool. Only the rising of the sun can save you because even bar-owners with the pallor of Dracula have to sleep sometime.
Lots of humour here with bursts of blunt brilliance like "Liar, Liar", "Cut You Loose", "I'm So Bored With You" rushing past like extras' names on a Neighbours casting sheet. The difference is that when Sam slurs "I want to be your slut" in the song of the same name it's a lot less forgettable and it's not likely to land him a gig on a TV soap.
This is their third and album and arguably their best. If you're not wise to the ways of Digger & The Pussycats, we're not leaving you many excuses not to make amends, are we? - The Barman
WATCH YR BACK - Digger & The Pussycats (Spooky Records)
YOUNG, TIGHT & ALRIGHT - Digger & The Pussycats (Spooky Records)
Two guys with a bunch of basic songs, a pronounced sense of musical perversity, a guitar, amp and a minimal drum kit. If you think that's not much to base a band on (especially when it carries the odd moniker of "Digger & The Pussycats") you need to get out more. Or listen to their album.
"Watch Yr Back" (is it just me or is the abbreviation in the title a concession to the SMS generation?) are Sam Agostino and Andy Moore, confirmed band sluts last sighted in the Kamikaze Trio, who hail from Melbourne and are soon to re-locate to Europe for a year. Well, Europe's pretty small as far as continents go, and it may not be able to contain this shit.
"Watch Yr Back" is Digger's second album and a quantum leap on the first. Better songs, harder production and a sense that you can do whatever they want when the amp starts to buzz and the snare's all tight.
The "Fashion Victim" CD single was a precursor of a brutally strong album, bereft of tricks and full of surprises. "Coming to Get You" (with its compelling chorus 'You drive like a cunt') mixes it with the comparatively sparse "Why Won't You Marry Me?" (which is perverse in that it's the album's singular nod to anything that sounds remotely commercial).
It's a more accomplished and thought-out album - but that doesn't mean it's in any way contrived or short on songs. It's more a reflection that these two blokes probably don't give a shit what anyone thinks - and that connects with a lot of people who think a lot of current so-called indie rock sucks.
Indeed, these guys are also "Young, Tight and Alright" on their so-titled first album which, although paled by what follows, still manages to hold up in its own right. Again, don't expect a commitment to authenticity (whatever that is) in the current wav of Bent Blues. This is raucous garage-punk played by two guys at rehearsals while waiting for the rest of their band to turn up. Only problem is, the rest of the band isn't going to show - and the non-timewasters are totally pissed off and of a mind to take it our on their gear.
"Stop Breaking Down" is a corrupted take on the Robert Johnson original. Digger & The Pussycats don't so much sell their soul to the devil as pawn it at some St Kilda second-hand store for a foil of cheap meth. Nowhere near as bent out of shape as the version by the Dim Stars but still adequately enough removed from the original to make an impression.
Where things really take a detour into feedback and mayhem is the title track, less than a minute-and-a-half of feedback that leads perfectly into the nasty-sound "History of Adultery". In fact, the longer this album goes on the more fractured and fucked-up it becomes. "Save Yourself" and " I Got a Lover" get into some nice down-and-dirty grooves, while the closer "Stab a Motherfucker" sounds like its title. There's no title for the hidden track that follows (after the usual extended coda of silence) but maybe that's a good thing because it's not for the faint-hearted. - The Barman
1/3 - Watch Yr Back
1/2 - Young Tight & Alright
FASHION VICTIM - Digger and the Pussycats (Spooky Records)
We were going to run a review of the Digger and the Pussycats album "Young Tight and Alright" that came out a year ago, but we're still waiting for the reviewer (who must remain nameless) to pull his finger out and deliver. Serves us right for recruiting literary talent in a bar. So this write-up of the Melbourne duo's CD single will have to make partial amends...
From what I heard of the debut album, it's a ripper and puts a fresh spin on the genre loosely known as Bent Blues. Low on tortured angst and high on energy, these boys (Sam Agostino on guitar and Andy Moore on drums, both sharing vocals) lay it down thick and fast.
Even more so on this, a taster for their upcoming album "Watch Yr Back", a precursor to their second European tour. It's more aggressive and in your face with the vocals (and pointed lyrics) a little more up front.
"Fashion Victim" is a condemnation of, well, fashion victims. You'll hear similar sentiments elsewhere but maybe not as pointedly done. Call me callous but "Just Another Hole" is a hilarious dissertation on the trachiotomy, the operation where they cut a hole in your throat so you can breathe. In Digger and the Pussycats' caring hands, it's "just another hole to get your smoke in from". Ya gotta love a chorus like "smoking through your trackie". They ought to licence it to the QUIT campaign.
Did I say Digger and the Pussycats don't do angst? The closing "No Vacancy" is an acrid, squawl of dissonance, in its extended mix form here with a six minute coda of Velvets-style feedback and white noise. It made my ears hurt.
– The Barman
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