Three new albums and a re-issue walk into a bar...

venus fly trap  lucy cover
horse feathers yesterday repeating

Mars - The Venus Fly Trap (Glass Modern) 
It’s Not a Competition But I Win! – Lucy  (Lucy)
El Bendito Y El Maldito - Horse Feathers (Polar Bear Records)
Yesterday Repeating - The Smart Folk (Self-Released)

The Venus Fly Trap? Never heard of them.

On investigating a little on the Interwebs, it seems that not only have I heard of them, I’ve probably heard them, but forgotten them.

Well, it was about 30 years ago, back when the UK was still reeling in the bass-centric aftershock of bands like Killing Joke, the Fall and the Gang of Four, but more importantly, the Second Australian Wave (you know, The Birthday Party, the Moodists...).

Let’s not forget the impact of The Scientists either... Certainly the Jesus and Mary Chain were heavily influenced by the BP and Kim Salmon’s mob of hairy ruffians; the JMC emerged, screaming like babies with diaper rash, in 1983. Also, around 1986 Big Black were making an impact on the UK (which would lead to a short-lived “subgenre” the UK inkies dubbed “arsequake”; there was another daftly-termed subgenre as well but you get the idea).

Sparks of punk and glam brilliance power "Electric Junk"

electric junkElectric Junk - Jeff Dahl (Iwannabeahoople Records/Ghost Highway Recordings)

Say what you like, but Jeff Dahl ruled the punk rock roost for many of us in the 1980s and ‘90s. Working with Cheetah Chrome, Stiv Bators, Poison Idea and spending time in Angry Samoans, he churned out a prolific stream of Stoogesque and glam-splattered albums under his own name, firstly out of Los Angeles and then from a ranch in the Colorado desert. 

Dahl also edited the coolest zine in the world (“Sonic Iguana”) and mentored many like-minded bands. No matter that he played shows only rarely in his home country. Jeff toured Europe and Japan and kept the Real Rock and Roll torch alight.  After relocating to Hawaii and taking a decade-long hiatus, Jeff Dahl spat out the formidable “Made in Hawaii” album in 2017. “Electric Junk” arrived in late 2019. 

Finally, a box set worth the bucks

1979 box1979 - Motorhead (BMG)

You all know who Motorhead are. You may dig them, you may not – although I can’t fathom how any true rock fan couldn’t. For mine, there has never been a more authentic, hard-hitting, long-lasting, and utterly committed rock band. Frontman Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister frequently opined that they were simply than the dirtiest rock and roll band on the planet, disagreeing with the oft-applied heavy metal label.

As a teenager in the '80s they were definitely metal to me – they were louder, faster, and grittier than anyone else – but with the benefit of hindsight, I understand why he proclaimed: “We Are Motorhead – And We Play Rock And Roll” at the start of every gig for their last few decades. Having said that, without doubt they inspired generations of metal bands, as well as many in other genres.

Cooking with gas

Well CookedWell Cooked! - Wild Zeros (Heavy Medication Records)

To say there’s anything new in the rock and roll zoo is simply a crock. Recycling is de rigeur but that doesn't equate to a negative. Dig in the right places and you’ll find stuff to light you up good and proper, even if it's been worked over like a re-birthed Renault. Here’s a case-in-point.

French band Wild Zeros are your basic punk rock trio with a bit of musicality. They proffer a bunch of rough-edged riffs and ragged melodies - in the style of The Devil Dogs and the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs. They don’t do anything especially new, but what they do is good and they make their own mark in their own way.

Jangle-pop near perfection that doesn't wear out its welcome

modern architectureModern Architecture EP - Danny McDonald (Popboomerang Records)

As the former Oscarlima and Jericho frontman, P76 leader and onetime member of Little Murders, Danny McDonald should need no introduction. But if you're curious about on of the most ybderrated purveyors of Aussie guitar pop and want a jumping-in point, his new EP is as good a place as any.

Danny plays guitar and writes pithy, Australian-tinged songs with depth and there are five crackers on "Modern architecture". They range from punky-pop to jangle-rama and are chockfull of melody and fire. McDonald has armed himself with a sterling engine room (Tim Mills on bass and David Klynjans on drums), a stellar vocal partner in Anna Burley (Killjoys) and an ace producer in Craig Pikington.

What Brian Henry Hooper knew

what would i knowWhat Would I Know? - Brian Henry Hooper (Bang! Records)

Brian Henry Hooper was a remarkable man. I first encountered him when he was part of Kim Salmon's band, The Surrealists. I had no idea what to expect, and the huge shattering sound, the big horror-show songs, and Kim's howls backed by two droogies from an abbattoir ... my mouth was flat on the floor. Magnificent.

It was many years later that I met Brian for the first time, more or less by accident at a different gig, when I used a rather unpleasant local term which Brian immediately picked up on - "That's a real Adelaide term, isn't it?" Brian was always interested in the world around him - I recall him also relating how beautiful Adelaide was as the aircraft came in to land ... come in the right way to land, I suppose, and even ...no, that's not right. I knew what he meant, the place can be damned pretty.

No, really. Brian liked Adelaide.