Leave Home Deluxe Edition – Ramones (Rhino)

Ramones LeaveHome DeluxeEditionContest the claim if you like, but there isn’t a better Ramones album than “Leave Home”, their second long-player.

Yes, the debut was retrospectively ground-breaking and a beacon for rock and roll’s shift back-to-basics, but “Leave Home” surely should have been the point where “punk” (at least as America knew it) crossed the line, converting from Cult Curiosity to Mainstream Soundtrack.

High-tensile guitars, off-colour humour, melodies and energy live large within its groove. Bubblegum, doo-wop, pop and rock bundled into the perfect musical package, married to an image of teen rebellion, leather jackets and shades. What the fuck is there not to love?

Love is a Gamble - Steve Wernick Band (RPM Records) & Cold Mother Night - Tom Redwood (Walking Bird Records)

love is a gambleBoth discs get five bottles. That’s really all you need to know. Go get them, here’s the contact details for Steve Wernick and Tom Redwood

Good. Reviews completed. Payment in the usual manner, please Barman, used notes in a brown paper bag round the back of the cistern, third cubicle on the left, usual pub.

No? Bugger, you readers are a demanding lot.

Oh, all right then. Both albumss here deal with love and loss, despair and joy, isolation and continuity. There are a few similarities with the music, although really… both travel in different directions. Let’s begin with … 

Rarebits - Fast Cars (Methodmusic)

rarebitsIt's been mentioned here before that Fast Cars are a 1980s Sydney mod band, revolving around the creative core of Di Levi (vocals, guitar) and Fabian Byrne (guitar), that reformed a couple of years ago to make more music. This EP is their second since re-convening and was compiled for the “15th Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival” in Wales earlier this month.

Mod is a label that suggests Union Jacks, sharp clothes, Vespa scooters and The Who, but Fast Cars aren’t constricted by the genre’s straight jacket. “Rarebits” comprises four old tracks and two new ones and takes the band deep into psychedelic pop territory.

Welcome Aboard - The On and Ons (Citadel)

On and Ons WelcomeGreat guitar pop is timeless and that’s what Sydney’s The On and Ons have delivered (again) on their second long-player. 

Well established on the strength of their 2015 debut, “It’s The On And Ons Calling”, Morris and Co have doubled down on the pop factor on “Welcome Aboard”. The rock is turned down just a tad and (to these ears at least) it takes a few more listens for the songs to take hold.

Truth-be-told, I almost marked it down half-a-beer for not rocking as much as the debut - but the pop smarts won out. 

Oh Crash…- The Volcanics (Citadel Records)

oh crashIt’s a well worn path that The Volcanics tread but they’re not afraid to stretch out and take a slight detour on this, their fourth album.  For the most part, however, “Oh Crash…” finds the Perth band doing what it does best: Delivering straight-up, guitar rock and roll. 

Yes, the reference points are all obvious - at least to these ears. They include latter-day Asteroid B612, mid-period MC5 (without the tinny production) and the New Christs (in their sullen moments.) Vocalist John Phatorous has that steely edge and lets slip the occasional guttural utterance that conveys that he's not a man to be fucked with - at least on stage. He can sing the shit out of this sort of music, too. 

How The West Was Won – Peter Perrett (Domino)

how the west was wonThe Horniman Museum in South London is a monument to its founder's eccentricities.  A giant stuffed walrus vies for space beside antique musical instruments.  Medieval torture chairs sit next to a delightful selection of monk’s undergarments.  Both horsehair and spiked.

They had a couple of live piranhas and a virtual history of pipe smoking.  The Addams family would have felt right at home.

One unusual exhibition was a wheel of Chinese opium.  It sat happily in its case for 80 years until some reprobate walked in, opened the case and vanished off into the English Autumn.

The legend shared by South London’s heroin users was the perpetrator was one, Peter Perrett.  This wasn't based on fact.  He just lived around the corner from the museum. 

Wasty Tasty - Swhat (Heart of The Rat Records)

swhat albumSwhat is another one of those bands that subscribes to that simple formula. It’s one from the mid-‘70s UK and (paraphrased) it goes like this: “Here’s one chord. Here’s another. Here’s one more. Now go form your own band.”

Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. We all need a fix of bracing, ear-clearing punk in our musical lives. It clears the head, channels the thoughts and wipes away memories of accidental exposure to mundane pap like Beyonce and untenable excrement like the Idol TV franchise.

Infestation - The Stinkbugs (Swashbuckling Hobo)

infestationStuck firmly in a time warp of their own making, Brisbane’s The Stinkbugs make music that bears no relation to anything you’ll hear on mainstream radio or oh-so-limp reality TV shows. Fuzzy ’n’ frothy, psychedelic garage rock is their stock in trade. 

With a lineage that includes membership of Shutdown66 and the Hekawis, The Stinkbugs mix their ’60s acid punk with their ‘70s hard rifferama to come up with their own distinctive, odd sound. This is their second album (with a couple of fine singles in-between) and veers between trashy lo-fi ragers and cloudy, acid-washed trips. 

A Big Bad Beautiful EP - The Godfathers (Godfather Recordings2)

godfathers epThe doubters can get back in their box. The Godfathers do what too many re-born bands of their vintage can’t and sound as convincing as they did in the ‘80s. This EP features two album cuts (one re-mixed) and a couple not on the record. .

“A Big Bad Beautiful Noise” is the album title track (and EP lead-off) and it’s a relentless, surging wall of guitars - just as it should be with an act that was among a bunch of unfashionables that were kicked to the kerb and labelled “rockist” by the fickle UK music press, way back in the day.