It should be no surprise that Ron S Peno and The Superstitions have delivered their most fully realised album yet in “Do The Understanding”.
With 12 years and three previous long players behind them, they’re a crack outfit of experienced Melbourne players, fronted by a vocalist who made an indelible mark with Died Pretty.
Everyone has a COVID-19 story, and musicians are doing it harder than most.
But Ron Peno’s own experience was preceded by a diagnosis of esophageal cancer, followed by chemo and radiotherapy, and then remission. A much-delayed Died Pretty national tour in April this year was sandwiched between lockdowns.
“Do The Understanding” has a prolonged and disrupted gestation stretching back to its formative writing in 2018, but it’s a contender for best Australian album of the year.
It’s a record full of drama and delicacy; a superb collection of songs underpinned by soulful playing and (arguably) the best vocals of Ron Peno’s career.
“I really pleased with it. It's taken a while to surface but we're really pleased with the seven songs,” a dapper Peno says over a Saturday afternoon Zoom connection.
“I think it's seven wonderful songs. Nice, strong, rather than putting too many tunes on there.
“It's just an hour. It's seven songs. Nobody says you have to have 10 songs. It's a little journey…start here, you finish there, drift off into the distance, you know, and if it's too short…play it again. Take the take the journey again.
For me, the best band to come out of the so-called garage revival of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s was New Zealand’s The Datsuns. Mainly because while they had a garage sound, they actually managed to be their own thing and not sound like some lame retro rip-off band.
While it’s been a long time coming, their latest release “Eye to Eye” is the band’s first record since 2016 and finds them in full flight. It’s also possibly their best release yet. Frontman and guitarist RUDOLF "DOLF" de BORST spoke to MATT RYAN about all things Datsuns, as well as his membewrship of Nicke Andersson's bands the Hellacopters and Imperial State Electric.
Iris Berry, the ageless and hypnotic Glittery Queen Of Thee Hollyweird Underground hipped me to this remarkable, marvellous, soulful, author-poet-novelist from Toldeo, Dan Denton, whose powerfully poignant debut novel, “$100-A-Week-Hotel”, is catching fire with everyone who has been yearning for a voice of truth to arrive in these ridiculously propagandized, fictitious times.
Denton's characters are all so sensitively illustrated, it almost feels you are bellied up to the bar with them. It is startling to read the modest words of a real person because most novels, books, and records, and even "hip-hop influenced murals" painted on the side of hipster trap juice businesses are generated by rich college grads from the gentrified Julian Casablancas or Miley Cyrus upper classes. All the media professionals promote falsehoods and stereotypes and bogus narratives from the elitist perspectives of the ruling class.
Denton is a hardworking laborer from the rustbucket factory wasteland of Northern Ohio, and shares a working class sensibility and world view with people like Wayne Kramer, Zack de la Rocha, Boots Riley and Hunter S.Thompson. He has become one of my very favorite writers, alongside Chris Hedges, Falling James, Caitlin Johnstone and Frankie Delmane.