The cover - taken by Lydia Lunch - shows the ruins of an ancient desert city. Could be Jericho. Whether Jericho is in the Mid-East or the West of the USA makes little difference. We’re dealing with perennial humanity in a perilous place with a mythological backdrop. But, you know, the Israelis and the Palestinians are still killing each other, and as I say, it’s a big thing on a big, operatic stage with no solution and no apparent beginning, never mind end…
… and there are plenty of abandoned towns in Australia… it doesn’t take much, just a bit of intolerance and a bit of ignorance, and idealism for a hopeless, not very sensible cause…
If one of those great, booze-soaked rock and roll weekends like Garage Shock or the Las Vegas Shakedown were still a going concern (correct me if I'm wrong and one of them still is ) the Bloody Hollies would have been one of those bands that came in unheralded, blew everyone away and sold a ton at the merch table. And anyone who picked this album up would have been plenty satisfied 'cos it's 30 minutes of fire-breathin' punk fury.
The shadow of the original Saints looms large in most places where people give a toss about punk rock but Switzerland seems the most unlikely. Think Switzerland and banks, cuckoo clocks and expensive chocolate spring to mind before “Nights in Venice” but then you’ve probably never heard of The Goodbye Johnnys.
The Goodbye Johnnys are named after a Gun Club song and hail from Zurich but Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, (circa 1976) is their spiritual home. Their LP sounds a lot like the early Saints with less sonic leakage and a few rough edges filed off.
Hardcore is an odd beast. Visceral energy is its stock-in-trade. All too often it paints itself into a corner and whatever it has to stay is lost in a blur of downstrokes and angry intentions. Then somebody works out that you can play with dynamics and (shock!) melodies.
Perth band Leeches! stand out because they can do both. “Blurred Visions” is compelling, surging punk rock that seethes and burns - but also surprises with its no-nonsense harmonies and skilful playing. It reminds of Massappeal’s more creative stuff or even Off! That’s no faint praise.
About that band name: These guys hail from Ballarat in regional Victoria, Australia. Their touring schedule is unlikely to include the USA after they unwittingly named themselves with a derisive term for African Americans. You Yanks may know the term but it's almost unheard of in Australia. The faux pas is a pity because this album is a cracker.
“Should’ve Stayed Home” is a big step up from the debut record, “Devil’s Road”. It’s fuzzier, dirtier, nastier and more in your face. There’s a foot planted in rock and roll’s nursery (that’d be the 1950s) but they’ve taken it to a new sonic level.
Originally a member of South American garage band Los Peyotes, Rolando Bruno is now a solo artist in his own right. He’s peddling the weirdest brew of salsa-garage-exotica heard outside of an Buenos Aires coke den.
Los Peyotes were on Dirty Water Records. Rolando dipped his toe in the solo artist water while still with them. Voodoo Rhythm Records is his new home. The label has a habit of signing weird and wonderful one-man bands (case-in-point: its owner Beat-Man) and Bruno is no exception to the rule.