Stand for Nothing - Hip Priests (Gods Candy Records/Ghost Highway Recordings/ Speedowax Records/Digital Warfare)

stand for nothingThe Hip Priests are angry as fuck and want you to know about it. The urgency and energy of past albums are intact but leery innuendos and odes to drinkis-and-drugs excess are toned down on their latest long-player, replaced by a seething fury.

There's no mistaking the target of the musical Exocet that's opening track "Welcome To Shit Island". It's an all-guitars-blazing assault on the pro-Brexit brigade wrapped up in a punk rock letter bomb. And there's more in store on the other nine tracks - with a focus on everyone from the forces that would wipe out rock and roll to the man down the road at number 19. .

Hip Priests hail from Nottingham in the UK and if you think Little John's longbow was the most dangerous thing to come out of Sherwood Forest, adjust your green tights. The Priests play it like Backyard Babies. TBNGR and the 'Copters - which means they sound like all those dirty arse Scandirock bands of the late '90s and early '00s. 

You could say "Stand For Nothing" is not for the faint-hearted or the hard of hearing. You would be right. You could also say Hip Priests are in that last-man-standing category of Real Rock and Roll Bands. Correct again. You win a cigar. 

All the Young Droogs. 60 Juvenile Delinquent Wrecks, Rock’N’Glam (And A Flavour Of Bubblegum) From The 70’s - Various Artists (Cherry Red)

All the Young DroogsWhat a fucking great title. Almost as good as The Clash's "All the Young Punks" - itself a take on that Bowie song "All the Young Dudes" - wonder how many 1977 punks got that? Even though it was right in their alley?

You know how, during summer, assorted neighbours will play loud music, usually horrible, and, when the hours wind down and the drink begins to blur the world, they get maudlin and soppy and play those lachrymose ballads...? Sure you do. Well, when this happens at 230 am, that is your cue to dash over, swap their copy of Kamahl's Greatest Hits with any one of these three discs, flick the switch and revel in their dismay.

Either that or, rather suddenly, the party's on again and the police want to know your personal details. Again.

Cherry Red describe this collection as "60 tracks of the finest slices of JSG in its various guises, as established by collectors around the world over the past decade. Including tracks from the USA, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, Australia as well as homegrown UK. Some previously unreleased, many first time on CD."

Nuder than Nuder than Nude - The Nudists (Swashbuckling Hobo)

the nudistsThree things you need to know before we start: This is the sound of miscreants making mischief. Stylistically speaking, it's all over the shop like a mad woman's breakfast. And lyrically, "Nuder Than Nuder Than Nude" sounds like a public exhibition of schizophrenia.

The Nudists were reputedly around in Brisbane for a handful of shows in the mid-2000s and were lured into the studio by Swashbuckling Hobo Records over two days to lay down their first “proper” record. The immediate take after a few listens was that they sound like Lubricated Goat on bongs.

Still Here - The Beasts (Bang! Records/Rocket)

still hereIn April 2007 I sat opposite Spencer Jones and Greg ‘Tex’ Perkins in a booth downstairs at the Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda. The occasion was an interview to promote the release of the Beasts of Bourbon’s first studio album in 10 years, "Little Animals". Having recently arrived back from a short tour of the United States, Spencer and Perkins were weary from the long-haul flight.

Perkins was in Beasts mode – cocky, enigmatic, and just prickly enough to remind you who was the tough guy here. Spencer was, as he always was, just Spencer – the cowboy hat, a faint smile, and a reassuring honesty that defied his decades of service in the duplicitous, ego-obsessed world of rock’n’roll.

A fraught fraternal atmosphere hung over the interview. Spencer and Perkins had been friends, band mates, fellow reprobates and occasional antagonists for the past 25 years. They were like brothers, Perkins once mused, and like brothers they loved and fought. And Spencer and Perkins were the only remaining links to the genesis of the Beasts of Bourbon, an irreverent make-shift band thrown together to fulfil Perkins’ gig commitments at the Southern Cross Hotel, way back in June 1983.

The Other Band Sucks - The Denyals/Gun Addiction (Antitune Records)

the other band sucksIt’s a split album from two French bands on a label from Lille in the north of France, which is one of those old industrial cities that's cast off its blue collar for a suit and tie. Like many of those gentrified European cities, punk rock clings to life - an even thrives - in reduced circumstances.

The Denyals make crunchy punk rock and sound like a cross between the early Clash and Husker Du - slowed right down. They're a three-piece devoid of any trimmings and they use drop-outs to good effect. Errein's impassioned vocal and jagged guitar are splattered all over the six songs.

The savage "Disco Boy" and stuttering opener “Valentines (I Love Your Head)” are the real stand-outs. Errein's guitar sounds like the bluntest of surgical instruments on "My Sweet Swedish Things".

Vocal Remover Requested - Honest John Plain and The Beetle Trumpets (Action Recordz)

vocal remover requestedIf you see the Action Recordz label on an album and you’re a regular at the I-94 Bar, pick it up with confidence. The French label doesn’t often miss and its in-house producer Johnny Cat has an impeccable touch. 

If you didn’t know, Honest John Plain was/is a member of London’s The Boys, an under-appreciated and wonderfully melodic punk band that grew out of the rehearsals-only London SS. After stints with various outfits (including The Lurkers) he started cranking out records under his own name in 1996 and “Vocal Remover Requested” is his latest.

It’s a record full of Plain’s trademark buzzy guitars, unassuming hooks and meat-and-potatoes vocals.  There’s nothing wrong with the latter - the album title is presumably ironic - and Honest John is in a long line of singers with a guitar player’s voice. You expected Aled Jones? 

Jack Saint - Jack Saint (Heavy Medication)

jack saintFor an Australian, Jack Saint comes across as Warsaw's own version of Tex "The Everyman" Perkins crossed with Sir Nicholas Cave. If that means he's destined to star in a country and western stage show and become a conjoined twin to Warren Ellis, so be it, but it's a meeting of the musical minds that we're talking about.

Jack Saint sure sounds like took advantage of the lifting of the Iron Curtain to sip deep at the well of St Nick and his Seeds and (more relevantly) the Beasts of Bourbon. "Girl What You Looking For?" sounds like it could have fallen off "Sour Mash", the 1988 Beasts record where Tex and the boys got all bent out of shape over Captain Beefheart. 

"Girl...?" changes direction four times over its course with Wolf's repeated jagged guitar figure the familiar reference point. Jack Saint (the singer) intones/preaches like Jeffrey Lee Pierce. The band's cover of The Gun Club's "Stranger In Our Town" is a dead giveaway of another influence.

The Dunes - The Dunes (Off The Hip/Oak Island)

the dunes self titledAdmit defeat when you see it: The groovy font and blue-on-blue titling on this album made reading the song names impossible for ageing eyes. Fortunately, you don't need to know the name of a track to dig it. On with the review...

The Dunes are a young band with Adelaide playing on old style of drone-y, fuzz-laden, psychedelic rock. Their songs are dark and blissful at the same time. Played at stun volume, they're deeply engaging. Reverb-laden girl and guy vocals, winsome organ and shimmering, tuned-down guitars, It's easy to get lost in the flow.

There are nine songs - two of them are the same one ("The Intergalactic chic Drifters Inn Welcoming Centre Theme Song Pts 1 and II") placed as book-ends at the start and finish - and they all hover around the six or seven-minute mark. If you, too can't work out the titles, their Bandcamp page will help. It doesn't really matter. They're all outstanding.

Baile Bruja Muerto - Reverend Beat-Man and Izobel Garcia (Voodoo Rhythm)

beat man isobel garciaIzobel Garcia’s collaboration with Reverend Beat-Man was one of the best things on the latter’s most recent album, “Blues Trash”, so a full-length long-player from the pair was always going to be a tasty prospect. Those high hopes have been met.

“Baile Bruja Muerto” (translation: "Dance Witch Death") evokes colours of a dark hue; West Coast Mex cool meets decadent garage trash. Gospel, swamp and skronk meet in a parking lot to imbibe god knows what.

Ms Garcia is an L.A. artist of Mexican descent with a stunning voice. Beat-Man is a frequent visitor to the City of Lights as he has relatives in the area. The pair met at a downtown rock and roll gig. Beat-Man picked Izobel for a musician because she looked odd. It takes one to know one.