Therapy that will renew your faith

snake pit therapy albumSnake 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.

If your party's ruined by this, consider inviting different people

vr volume 5Volume 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.

Mammas Don't Let Your Punks Grow Up to Be Cowboys

hate streetFall 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.

Shock! A tribute that (mostly) doesn't suck

ill be your mirrorI’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.

Ekranoplans mix irreverence with punk licks

ekranoplansUnconditional 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.

The Prehistorics pull out the big guns

racket du jour cvrRacket Du Jour - The Prehistorics (Sonic Artillery Records)

The fifth album from Australia's The Prehistorics and it's a real return de force!!

From the first note of the first track “Circus Maximus”, I knew that I was in for a rockin’ good time with this album, as I quickly ran back to the stereo to turn up the volume a little bit more. And, by the time I get to the third track “Scene Queen” and its awesome riffage, I’m yet again turning it up just a bit more. This track would make a great single.

“Caveman” brings on some fun dynamics, the time signature changes from the engine room of producer Michael Carpenter, playing both drums and bass, is almost hypnotic.

Similarities and contrasts from Sydney and Melbourne

sonic garage space travelsSpace Travels - Sonic Garage (self-released)
Welt – I Am Duckeye (self-released)

Sydney's Sonic Garage have produced a fine rock'n'roll album. Victoria's I Am Duckeye have produced a brutal, beautiful fucking monster. The fiorst bvand is from Sydney, the latter from Melbourne. 

There are similarities to both records - Sonic Garage dedicate their album to Luke Lovelock. Duckeye dedicate theirs to one, Matt Browne. And both have striking covers; Sonic Garage show us Saxon Wyatt's bonnet art (it's got that 1970s and Eric Von Daniken vibe which all Hyundai cars should have), while Duckeye found a roadkilled bird which had then been half-painted over by a careless road-line marker.

Their back cover is very boganista - a bunch of beery customers you can barely see as most of a very smashed guitar goes sailing over someone's adjoining breezer block wall.

Dead sexy with power to burn

sex punk power cvrSex Punk Power – Grindhouse (self released)

Grindhouse – Melbourne’s most sexy band (their words, not mine) -  have released their fifth album. Fuck, this band has been busy. That’s five albums, numerous singles and a couple of split singles. And gig after gig, here in Australia and in Europe .All since forming in 2014.

“Sex Punk Power” is just a really good album with plenty of garage rock to keep you, well, drinking VB after VB.

Grindhouse is fronted by Mick “Two Fingers” Simpson on vocals, guitar, grunts and groans. He’s accompanied by Rick Audsley on guitar, Adrian Cummins on bass and Neil Matthews on drums. They’ve also called on the fabulous talents of Shannon Cannon from Juliette Seizure & The Tremor-Dolls on vocals and guitar.

Rage, eccentricity and passion in three varied packages

live in the forestLive at the Forest- The Rip Offs (Ladymann)
Elektrosphincter - Geezergosis (self-released)
Red Desert Rain  - The Systemaddicts (self-released)

The Rip Offs are made of: Sarah, guitar & vocals; Hermann, bass and standing stillish; and Michael, drums and expressions.

(The Barman wishes me to tell you that I know them all and love them dearly. Needless to say this CD wouldn't appear on here if I thought it were not up to snuff. Oh, and, erm. Probably adults only, OK?)

I saw them at a recent gig at the Grace in Adelaide, supporting Fear and Loathing (1980- present); they're damned forceful and completely intoxicating. And - their two covers are bloody good.  

A big streak of passion runs through Nevermore

dalicados“Nevermore” - Dalicados (self released)

Hello Barflies! Dalicados are from Melbourne and have released “Nevermore”, a collection of well-crafted tunes from some of Australia’s most respected bands including The Chosen Few, I Spit On Your Gravy, Hunters and Collectors and Epic Brass.

“Nevermore” kicks off with a groovy track: “Make Hay While The Sun Shines” features great bass-lines, fabulous guitar-work and is a wonderful song to start off. “Simple As It May Sound” takes it down a notch. It’s very soulful and a touch sad.

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