Volume 2 – Foggy Notion (self released)
About 12 months ago, we made a bold resolution. “When things open up again, we’re going out as much as we can, just so we’ve enjoyed life before everything shuts down again.” (The immediate reaction amongst friends to our reference to the likelihood of further lockdowns was nervous incredulity.)
When venues opened up in late 2020, so we stayed true to our declaration, indulging as much live music as domestic logistics and financial realities would permit, preferably younger bands.
I’d seen Foggy Notion a few times before the world shut down, initially at the behest of James McCann back in early January 2018.
Motherfuckin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll – Frank & Spaghetti (Kitten Robot Records)
Hello Barflies! The Farmhouse has been rocking these past few weeks because the principal members of two of my favourite American bands, The Streetwalkn’ Cheetahs’ Frank Meyer and the fabulous Supersuckers’ Eddie Spaghetti, have joined forces as Frank & Spaghetti to release a long player, “Motherfuckin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll”.
“Motherrfuckin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll” is just that and follows a couple of digital singles by the duo (and friends), the epic “Shit’s Fucked” and a cover of Tom Petty’s “Jammin Me”.
Promo shot of The Atlantics 2012. Ashfield Leagues Club, before the last show played by the full lineup. Jim Skiathitis (guitar), Martin Cilia (guitar), Peter Hood (drums) and Bosco Bosanac (bass). Mandy Hall photo
The passing of The Atlantics drummer Peter Hood in September closed the door on one of Australia’s most important surf bands. The Atlantics formed in Sydney in 1961, the group spawned the worldwide hit “Bombora” in 1963.
The follow-up “War of the Worlds” was an innovative 45 that arguably pioneered space rock before there was such a thing. It was unsuccessful and the band re-invented itself after the surf music genre declined in popularity.
Taking on singer Johnny Rebb, they pursued success playing tough R&B (among other styles) and their Peter Hood-penned “C’mon” is widely regarded as an Australian ‘classic, later adopted by the Wet Taxis.
Snake Pit Therapy – Sonny Vincent (Svart)
I-94 Bar regulars will know that Sonny Vincent is held in high regard around these parts. He is the Fucking Real Deal for whom Rock and Roll is a calling, not a paerttime job. If you’re not a fan of proselytizing on behalf of Real Rock and Roll, you can stop reading now, because even more than the usual level of evangelistic hard-sell follows.
Just the facts: “Snake Pit Therapy” is Album Number 30-something from the indefatigable punk rock veteran and it’s as good a collection of songs as he’s delivered to date, as well as his best-sounding record.
Not to be confused with Sonny's recent book of the same name, “Snake Pit Therapy” blends familiar melodies with powerful downstroke playing and buckets of passion. It’s delivered with a measured wisdom that only a life lived travelling many miles of bad road can bring.
Volume 5: A Label Compilation to Ruin Any Party – Various Artists (Voodoo Rhythm)
A good judge once said that when Voodoo Rhythm releases are good, they’re very good. If you’re applying the label motto, “Music to ruin any party”, this compilation borders on great. Mind you, you’re also inviting the wrong kind of people to your knees-ups.
Voodoo Rhythm is resuming its compilation series after a long lay-off and there’s no better place for the uninitiated to dive in.
Garage Rock is such an overused term. Voodoo Rhythm trade in it – and then some. If it’s not too ableist, let’s call their catalogue “Helen Keller Mistaking a Vegetable Slicer for a Braille Textbook” and be done with it. The aural output is typically raw, violent and bloody.
Fall In Love On Hate Street - REQ'D (Doomtaker)
Pulling Up Floorboards – REQ’D (Doomtaker)
It’s often said, and not in jest, that inside every punk is an alt.country dude just waiting to bust out just as soon as he or she wears out some body parts. Sluggo from acrobatic San Francisco punks The Grannies is no different.
After 20 years of touring and now a father who, not unreasonably, wanted to be ambulatory in his autumn years, Sluggo formed REQ’D (pronounced: “wrecked”) with a group of Oakland, CA, friends. The idea was to record a song, “Song For Blixa”, written for Sluggo’s then-ill son. The good news is that Blixa is in remission and REQ’D kept the record button on.
I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground & Nico – Various Artists (Verve)
Tribute albums usually have their fair share of lowlights bordering on the "what the fucks". Worst still, their highlights usually rank at a mere meh. At best, someone will pull off a single worthy take of something and rescue the whole project from being a waste of time.
The first Velvet Underground album is now an unquestioned classic seen as a cornerstone of modern rock. It does this because of, not in spite of, its "dangerous" themes and avant-garde sound. Even the "pretty" songs seem to arrive from another world, twisted by low-fi audio recording.
Sir George Martin was not at the mixing desk. And that is why the first Velvet Underground album rules. Oh, that and genius players and songwriting. That didn't hurt.
Adelaide-based writer, editor, and sometime-musician Robert Brokenmouth took the time, during lockdown — well, lockdown for us non-South Australians, at least — to reflect on his literary and musical trajectory. It’s a curious bundle of projects and interests that Brokenmouth juggles — the war buff and the punk music-buff occupy the same territory (no military pun intended) without apparent contradiction.
Brokenmouth’s published achievements include his chronicling of Melbourne’s punk scene in the 1996 book “Nick Cave: The Birthday Party and Other Epic Adventures” as well as editing ‘fictionalised’ military histories such as Australian WWII navigator Ray Ollis’s 101 Nights and air gunner John Bede Cusack’s “They Hosed Them Out”.
For Brokenmouth, war and punk have one thing in common, perhaps: both are opportunities for adventure, in very different shapes and forms, but adventure nevertheless.
With COVID-19 limiting opportunities to meet for an interview, Robert kindly responded to my questions via email — and though you might not getting him talking so prolifically in real life, it’s clear that when he puts pen to paper, or finger-pads to keyboard, he’s got a lot to say, and a rollicking history all his own.
I’ve pulled out some choice tidbits from Robert’s life and career to give you a sense of the Boys’ Own, Boys Next Door fan.
Unconditional Loop – Ekranoplans (LedaTape Organisation)
One of the enduring paradoxes of the past 18 months has been the adherence of certain apparently progressive communities to the discourse of compliance.
For communities that see their antecedents in rebellion, hedonism, nihilism and two-fingered defiance in the face of state intervention, cleaving to the rhetoric of "doing the right thing" is worthy of lengthy academic analysis – even more so when the impact of compliance on the very existence of fringe communities is thrown into the mix. Still, the discourse of 60s radicals is polluted with self-serving assertions of piety, so it’s nothing new.
Compliance is a necessary thread in social fabric, but it’s not an ends in itself, nor is its practice an invitation to prance around wearing the thin cloak of moral piety. Because no society ever progresses without judicious acts of non-compliance, compliance is a behavioural instinct that must always been second guessed.
Unfortunately, in the current warped political climate, libertarian protestations of ‘freedom’ – itself a nebulously defined and ideologically charged term rarely understood by its cheerleaders – have been become the rambling tropes of wingnut conspiracy theorists and renegade elected officials who wouldn’t know their Derrida from their derriere.
So where does that leave Melbopurne’s Ekranoplans? Bent, most likely, but in a good way.