Fricke's Picks: Classic Oz Rock


Issued in 1986 — at the twin zeniths of the first psychedelic revival and Australia's post-punk underground — and just reissued in a deluxe two-CD set, Free Dirt (Aztec Music), by the Sydney band Died Pretty, is a classic debut album on both counts. "Just Skin," "Next to Nothing" and "Through Another Door" are built on late-Sixties templates — the frantic-Bach dynamics of the Doors; the scouring drone of the Velvet Underground; singer Ron Peno's high, clear belting, like an operatic Iggy Pop — reinvigorated with a jagged modernism and brash, beckoning hooks. Free Dirt was the Died Pretty's first full-length release after three singles and an EP, and this set wisely brings them all together, including the 10-minute "Mirror Blues," an obvious homage to the Velvets' throb epic "Sister Ray" and one of the few equal to the task.

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David Fricke

Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke has more than 10,000 albums in his New York apartment. His first record review for the magazine was Frank Zappa's 'Sheik Yerbouti' (RS 290).

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