Seven Mutants walk into a bar...

easily amused cvrCurse of the Easily Amused – The Mutants (Liberation Hall)

The Art Punk genre is a mixed bag. Throw in a New Wave descriptor and the name can refer to anything, really. So if you’re confused approaching this retrospective collection by a late ‘70s San Francisco band, be not alone.

At last count there were enough bands using the name The Mutants to fill a large tour bus. As well as Art Lyzak's ‘70s Hamtramck, Detroit, outfit with Bootsey X, there was a Pink Fairies-inspired Merseyside, UK, combo and a 2000s supergroup featuring Rat Scabies. There’s even an instrumental Finnish band, so there’s been a whole lotta mutating goin’ on.  

These West Coast Mutants sprang from the same diverse scene that had already spawned Flipper, the Nuns and the Avengers but took a more artful approach inspired by the trash films of John Waters and the vibe of Andy Warhol’s Factory crew. Which doesn’t mean they sound anything like the Velvets.

Packed lunch

real goneReal Gone – The Naked Lunch (self released)

Hello Barflies. The Farmhouse has been rocking these past few weeks as I’ve been kindly gifted an advance copy of The Naked Lunch’s album “Real Gone” and it’s full of surf-punk-pop tunes.

The album is a couple of covers as well as the single, also called “Real Gone” which I reviewed a few weeks back here at the Bar, so I was very excited when this landed.

Summoning rock and roll's spirit

ricky rat ghosts cvrGhosts of Isolation – Ricky Rat (I-94 Recordings)

First song bangs straight into a Ricky Rat signature, garagey, Romantics or Plimsouls-style powerpop song, with an ‘80s feel. If you are hip to Ricky's discography, this is his thing, exactly.

"We're still shining, we're still shining" he croons. I suspect it was most likely written during the COVID clampdown, to try to rouse his old cohorts outta those dark and depressing pandemic blues. 

"Glow Of Gabriels" reminded me instantly of "Child Of The Moon". Again, this is pretty much, your quintessential Ricky Rat. A Rolling Stones-influenced song with Nicky Hopkins type piano courtesy of Jimmy Bones and a Bobby Keyes style horn solo. They really put some ace production on to this one. Jimmy Bones, the dude who's tickling the ivories does a real good job.

Getting ripped, and not ripped off, in Ocean County

wasteland bluesWasteland Blues – O.C. Rippers (Ruined Records)

Ocean County, New Jersey, is a 40-minute drive from the Ashbury Park foreshore of Bruce Springsteen and a million miles from his $5000 concert tickets. The same goes for the music of O.C. Rippers, whose 16-song “Wasteland Blues” album is a million times more exciting.

It’s the vinyl version of the 2021 debut CD and if you hang around the I-94 Bar you’ll know the modus operandi: Equal parts Dead Boys, Stooges and Candy Snatchers (especially) with songs that mostly last less than two minutes and are spat out at breakneck pace (for the most part) with venom.

There's life in this Nasty last gasp

last gaspWaiting For The Last Gasp Of My Generation – Nasty S and The Ghost Chasers (Twenty Something Records)

French journeyman Nasty Samy has been on the European underground touring circuit as long as anyone can remember, playing with the likes of Second Rate, Hawaii Samurai, The Black Zombie Procession, Demon Vendetta, Cab Drivers Stories, Teenage Renegade and a bunch of other bands you’ve possibly never heard of.

He’s a lifer.

He’s also a magazine writer of some repute.

“Waiting For the Last Gasp…” is a cover album, with Nasty S playing most of the stringed instruments on a selection of ‘80s and ‘90s punkish and powerpop songs that he digs, and with a rotating cast of guest vocalists.

Prospecting yields Gold for Ashley Davies

ashley davies goldGold - Ashley Davies (Strange Loop Recordings)

Before we start ... it's always about the songs. And "Gold" is magnificent. 

But wait, there's more...like the pattern of a walnut...

Every now and then something quite special arrives at my Internet cabin in the woods. As you may or may not know, I've edited a couple of Australian Bomber Command books - first-hand accounts by two then-young men who answered the call and flew the missions. 

Those books have brought me into contact with other people, and some of their stories (such as the the wish-he'd-been-a LRP Ranger) ... and they also raised the eyebrows of a chap called Ashley Davies.

I-94 Bar