Concrete Box b/w Crazy For You – Room 101 (Lost in Pyrmont Records)
If somebody invents a time machine you could do a lot worse than dial it up to 1980 and land yourself in an inner-city pub in Sydney like The Heritage Hotel in Kings Cross, The Sussex Hotel in Chinatown or The Vulcan in Ultimo.
Inhale the fumes of a delicious cocktail of nicotine and Tooheys, piss in a toilet that needs urgent repairs, and pay $1.20 for a alcoholic beverage whilst being squashed beyond human endurance in a room that wasn’t designed for live music but was hastily converted into one when the late 1970s and early 1980s pub rock boom occurred.
Room 101 was one of the bands that thrived in this long-gone environment.
Last Bite b/w You Take My Money -Black Bombers (Easy Action Records)
So, Black Bombers are on tour through UK, which to many of us may seem bizarre as the place is far more riddled with the stupidvirus than we are in Australia. However, almost everyone's been vaccinated and boosted, and the latest major variant, BA.2 doesn't wallow in the lungs like a family of grumpy hippos like the Delta and Co did.
Now: there's only 300 copies of this single and I can't imagine there'd be that many left. Get on it while you can.
Why? well, first, the BBs are freaking awesome (as the young folk used to say) live and if you only have what they've released so far - a self-titled LP, a seven-inch “'Rush” b/w “Raw Ramp” (a Bolan cover), and the mini-LP “Volume 4”, then you know what you're in for, and any and every release from the BBs is greasy dark manna from Purgatory.
Comic b/w No God - Velatine (Spooky Records)
You need this gritty, honey-dipped red platter of imminent death and vaulting beauty on your turntable now.
And when I say “now”, you need to get your skates on. 150 were pressed, and Spooky has less than half left. This single is pure, powerful Euro-class with tinges of Dead Can Dance, Laibach and Depeche Mode...but with the kind of darkly angelic singer that spotty teenage boys top themselves over.
Have you heard Velatine's first few long-player releases yet? “Store Atmospherics” and “The Trap” (both on Spooky in 2020). Mean, moody and magnificent. Remember that soundtrack to “Twin Peaks”? Well, imagine a similar series set in the Alphabet City, the midnight Gotham of our souls - Velatine slide right in. You can even wear your leather biker jacket. These songs were the result of, as the media release says: "Loki Lockwood delving deep into the world of electronica in an unconventional way, combining a love of cinematic, industrial and pop".
Tombstone b/w Revolution – Proton Energy Pills (Outtaspace)
You can’t replicate the past but you sure can borrow from it. Two founding members of ‘80s Wollongong upstarts Proton Energy Pills have teamed with three younger players to lay down some of their old band’s unrecorded songs and the results are satisfying.
As predecessors to Tumbleweed and the vastly underrated Brother Brick, the Protons lit a fuse under their hometown and made righteous noise on the national touring circuit before falling apart. Three decades on, there was never an intention to release these recordings and their progress to completion was stymied by various health issues. After hearing the fruits of their labour however, original members Dave Curley and Stew Cunningham (he of Leadfinger) thought: Why not?
Flat Till Death – Robodebt (Swashbuckling Hobo)
So a band you’ve probably never heard of, let alone heard, releases its debut 45 and The Barman says it shakes more shit that a dunny carter’s truck on a cobblestone street and therefore you should own it? Best believe it. Four punk rock songs on this baby outta Brisbane, and they’re uniformly raw and energetic.
“Uber To The Penthouse” is perhaps the least developed in that it’s a handful of lyrics wrapped around a riff and the briefest of lead breaks, but it kicks like a motherfucker. Nicko (guitar) is a paint-peeler vocalist and the engine room of Dr Rock (bass) and Tom keep it simple, stupid, and economy is the watchword.
“American Hardcore” b/w “The Deal” (Swashbuckling Hobo)
That these reformed second-wave, southside Brisbane punks actually manage to sound dangerous on new recordings made four decades later comes down to the fact they were more of a Flipper-meets-latter-day-Black-Flag-styled grind than a cheap Pistols take-off, before - in the words of their label - “drugs, death and depression took over”, and they dissolved.
They reformed, more or less intact, a few years ago to play live and promote some re-issues, and these songs are the fruit of a studio session.