triffids - The I-94 Bar

Oldest Friend - The Painkillers (Off The Hip)

oldest friendOf the four albums by The Painkillers since 2006, this is the first to feature a full band. It also reprises five of its nine songs from earlier recordings. 

The Painkillers were formerly a duo - guitarist-singer Joe Bludge, a bluesman, and drummer James Baker, a man who surely needs no introduction. 

Coming from Perth (yeah, yeah, the most isolated capital city in the world) kept them a secret from the rest of Australia. I remember rushing across town one Saturday night, after an opening spot by Wrong Turn at The Empire (RIP), to catch a rare East Coast Painkillers show at Sydney’s Excelsior Hotel (RIP again), and finding the band barely outnumbered by punters. 

Silver and Gold - Cub Callaway (East Dominion)

silver and gold coverAlternative title: "He Gets by With Some Help From His Friends".

Producer-guitarist Bruce "Cub" Callaway assembled a stellar cast for this, his 2013 return to recording after a lay-off, and it shows.

John Hoey (Died Pretty), Warwick Gilbert (Radio Birdman), Paul Larsen (Celibate Rifles), Clyde Bramley (Hoodoo Gurus) and Julie Mostyn Gilbert (Flaming Hands) all played roles. Lesser-knowns Ian Johnson, Louis Callaway and Harry Rothenfluh also contributed drums.

Trade Winds – Johnny Casino (Citadel/La Villa Nova)

trade windsJohnny Casino albums are a treat for the converted and a revelation for those less fortunate. If you’re one of the latter, “Trade Winds” is as good a place as any to start.

It’s been way too long between records for Johnny - both this album and its predecessor "Time and Time Again" are old recordings woodshedded for later release - but well worth the wait. The big fella from Sydney’s Northern Beaches makes Spain his home these days, where he plies his dual trades of tattooing and playing music.

“Trade Winds” was recorded before he emigrated a couple of years ago with a crack band in North Fremantle, Western Australia. Drummer Warren Hall (The Volcanics, Datura 4, The Drones), a longtime Casino sideman, joined with Martyn P Casey (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds /The Triffids/Grinderman) played bass. That’s as fine an engine room as you’ll find.