THE DIED PRETTY : Out Of The Unknown 12" (1985)

Continuing the Sydney lineage... I first encountered The Died Pretty when Peel blasted this tremendous single out over the airwaves sometime in early 1985. The Out Of The Unknown 12" was actually a British re-release (via What Goes On) of the band's 2 previous 45s on Citadel Records, home to The New Christs, Lime Spiders, The Stems, Porcelain Bus & innumerable other underground Australian psychonauts.

It's Brett Meyer's extraordinary slide guitar playing on "Out Of The Unknown" that made me stop whatever I was doing back then & listen, & I'm guessing it'll have a similar effect now, a quarter of a century on, if you've not heard it before (N.B. I've lost count of how many mixtapes I've included it on!). With hindsight, I can see why Peel was drawn to it, there are definite similarities with his mid-60s protégés The Misunderstood. Though "World Without" might initially seem slight by comparison it's inarguably a lovely track, a melancholy Beatlesque ballad & a real grower (it's not the Peter & Gordon song btw). Overleaf, the 10+ minute "Mirror Blues" is a monstrously intense marriage of early electric Dylan & The Doors circa Morrison Hotel, & sounds like a pharmaceutically energised Nuggets band playing to the absolute limits of it's abilities. It's not a complete 60s-fest though, Frank Brunetti's surging keyboards suggest that the band were as au fait with Martin Rev as with Ray Manzerak. It's the kind of sprawling, stream-of-consciousness (& fromage-free) epic that most bands are too depressingly mediocre to even consider attempting nowadays, more's the pity. All 3 songs were recorded at a single session at Sydney's Honeyfarm Studios in August 1984, & the 10 minute "Mirror Blues" was originally split in half across 2 sides of a 7". For me, this early run of singles & the following year's Free Dirt LP remain not only The Died Pretty's finest recordings, but possibly the greatest Australian rock music of the last 30-odd years. Awe-inspiring stuff, frankly.

The Free Dirt album was remastered, expanded & re-released a couple of years ago. It's not cheap but it's worth every penny. Failing that, you'll be able to pick copies of all of these records in their original vinyl editions on eBay if you're vigilant. Click hereabouts for period interviews with Bucketful Of Brains & Tarantula.

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