45th Anniversary - Live In London - Blue Oyster Cult (Frontiers Music Srl)
To fully appreciate the epiphany that the cognoscenti (and especially the unwitting) experienced on their first listen of the debut album by Blue Öyster Cult, one has to remember the turgid and bleak musical landscape of 1972.
The top artists of that year are Roberta Flack, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Don McLean, Nilsson, and Sammy Davis Jr. Sure, Chuck Berry is in the charts, but that’s with “My Ding-a-Ling”. (If you bought the single, you haven’t listened to it since then.)
Vibrations, yours and mine - Johnny Casino (La Vila Nova/Beluga Records/Golden Robot)
With the world turning to shit in every sense of the term, what's a poor boy to do other than play in a rock and roll band? The answer, in strange times of social distancing, is to record an album solo and pare the songs right back to resemble what they were like when first written.
Plenty will testify that going naked in front of a microphone is harder than it sounds - even with very few people watching. Johnny Casino's "Vibrations, yours and mine" was recorded in a modest Spanish studio in four hours, with some pedal steel and backing vocals overdubbed later courtesy of Hendrik Rover (Los Deltonos).
It was done pre-COVID but serves as a good template for how to go about things - which is with loads of emotional investment, a good deal of spontaneity and, importantly, heart.
Bungalow Rock - Ronny Dap (self released)
Listen up I-94 Barflies - there's a new era of music taking hold in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. It combines dirty rock 'n' roll mixed with old school English punk rock, sung and played by an Australian with no regards to what anyone thinks...
Expiain? Well, it's called Bungalow Rock. A brilliant name, if I do say so myself, and this music was recorded - in isolation - in a suburban bungalow-cum-recording studio and in a rented home's backyard.
Our man Ronny Dap from Melbourne has released this, his second album in 12 months, as the follow-up to the glorious "Root Shoot or Electrocute". If the name is ringing bells, Ronny Dap was the brains behind the punk band The Dope Smoking Morons as well as many others over the past 30 years. He plays everything on "Bungalow Rock".
Live at Goose Lake: August 8th 1970 - The Stooges (Third Man)
Are you kidding me? This is conniption material. A high-quality soundboard recording of the original Stooges, plus saxophonist Steve Mackay, at a time when they were at the primal peak of their considerable powers? It’s proof-positive - not that it’s needed - that the Stooges of 1970 were indeed America’s Most Dangerous Band.
The Stooges were a few months fresh from recording the epochal “Fun House” album and in a mind to confront Middle America on the sort of scale that could only be achieved off the back of substantial record sales.
Seance - Professor and The Madman (Fullertone Records)
Old punks don’t die. They just learn how to play their instruments and make concept albums. Stop right there. Don’t run screaming from the room. Professor and The Madman’s “Seance” is an album completely bereft of excess fat and self indulgence.
This trans-Atlantic band is American singer-guitarists Alfie Agnew (Adolescents, DI) and Sean Elliott (DI, Mind Over Four) joined by Brits Paul Gray (bass) and Rat Scabies, who respectively are current and former members of The Damned. While that's a punk pedigree worth bottline, “Seance” is one diverse pop trip.
Dreaming - New York Junk (Tarbeach Records)
"The poet's gut reaction is to search his very soul..." -Dee Dee Ramone
"The Gutter Angels up in Heaven/ looking down upon us all/Bless the homeless/Bless the dope fiends/Bless the sidewalks where they fall”. -Puma Perl
Covid Sunday, diggin' through old boxes and pulling out stacks of magazines and letters and relics from a long gone and probably mercifully half forgotten, stinky basement, punk past.