Spice up your life with The Square Tugs

square tugs cvrMonster Hits – Square Tugs (self released)

If variety is the spice of life, Brisbane’s Square Tugs are the celebrity chefs of Australian punk rock. The trio’s debut album “Monster Hits” is a curry with enough popping flavours in it to set off your tongue, and lyrics to get your brain into gear at the same time.

They’re not of pensionable age but they’re not spring chickens either, so the odds are short that a glimpse into the Square Tugs’ record collections would throw up some interesting and familiar selections. 

Did you know Square Tugs originally formed as a Circle Jerks tribute band?

Front-row seat to debauchery

theater cvrTheater of Cruelty – Iggy and the Stooges (Easy Action)

And back down the rabbit hole we go…

It’s apparent that all that exists in the way of Stooges demo's and live recordings is probably in the public domain by now. The chances of somebody unearthing another “Goose Lake” desk tape, or a slew of pre-production demos that the band misplaced, is a longshot.

So, Stoogephiles, we are done and dusted.

Not quite.

Infectious noise rock from the backwoods

home science cvr Home Science – The Warts (Outtspace)

You have to look hard to find Uralla on a map of New South Wales. Nestled  in the Northern Tablelands, not on the way to anywhere in particular, it’s a town of 2,000 people and not the sort of place you’d expect to find a band like The Warts. Or so the cliche would have it.

The Warts have been around for a couple of years and with the benefit of hindsight (along with their Bandcamp) it’s clear that they began life with more than a passing interest in Krautrock acts like Neu.

At least that’s how their 2019 album “Weakened by Mange” sounds when they were a quartet. Fast forward to now and long-player number two, “Home Science”, is closer to Fugazi without the same sense of economy.

Braindead need not apply

dawn of the braindeadDawn of the Braindead – The Owen Guns (Outtaspace Records)

Excuse the sneaky little  Zappa-ism but does humour belong in punk music? You betcha. Australian punks The Owen Guns are prima facie evidence.

They may know them from their previous EP or from their song about Donnie Trump beinbg repeatedly pulled from YouTube. If not, here's a nice way to make their acquintance.

Hailing from Sydney and its sometimes awkward cousin city Wollongong and with roots in a bevy of old school punk bands, the four-piece Owen Guns deliver a dozen powerful and puerile tunes on their debut album on Outtspace. 

If burning down churches, stomping on racist skinheads and putting the Doc Marten into Bono ain’t your things, better break out your Leonard Cohen box set, adjust your chakras and do whatever it is that’s done with patchouli.

Searchin' for their mainline

we mainline dreamersWe Mainline Dreamers - Garry Gray and Edward Clayton-Jones (Spooky Records)

Top-drawer stuff from the Sacred Cowboys frontman Garry Gray and the wicked guitar sidemagician best-known for his work with The Wreckery and The Bad Seeds, Edward Clayton-Jones.

Hasten thou to the magic credit card... 

In the next few weeks I shall be taking a sabbatical from reviewing for most of a year. However, I must unzip myself first. "Full disclosure" as The Barman says. 

First, I've eaten salt, broken bread and shared a jug of wine with both culprits (and I've written songs with Garry). 

Second, while I have a tendency to get very excited over new music, when it's closer to home, when reviewing I am if anything more restrained. Also, there's always that slight anxiety before I start listening: will this be crap?

Baby, you can drive his car: Kevin K revs it up

cadallac man cvrCadallac Man – Kevin K (Vicious Kitten Records)

Around these parts, Kevin K records are like a comfortable pair of slippers: You slide in and feel at home with his slashing or chugging guitar and mewling vocal drawl. This record is sized extra-large with 26 songs putting it in the realm of what used to be called a double album.

For the uninitiated (and shamefully there still are some), Kevin K is a Buffalo, New York State raised, New York City-tempered veteran of the Lower East Side-CBGB scene, who remains musically true to that long-gone playground. This is his 33rd album of gritty, street-level rock and roll, and it’s more of the same.

I-94 Bar