garage blues - The I-94 Bar
You really don’t want to read another review masquerading as a song-by-song description of an album you’ve never heard? Good. You’re not going to get one.
Drop your preconceptions, too, if you’re a fan of the late great Jim Jones Revue.They’ve been dead and buried for close on three years. His other bands, Black Moses and Thee Hypnotics, have been decomposing in their graves for much longer than that.
Here's the theory: Inside every serious Aussie bluesman, prog artiste and serious muso type of an older demographic, there's a yob rocker waiting to break out and release his (or her) inner Thorpey. Turn it up to 11 and and yell: "Suck more piss!"
Some yob rockers do it with all the subtelty of a semi-trailer being driven through the wall of an outback diner, while others let their Sunbury freak flag fly with slightly more poise. That's where bands like Squeeze The Pig come in.
"Are You Ready To..." is the second EP from Perth’s Squeeze The Pig and it’s a competent mix of Oz rock blues and ‘80s garage punk. Art rockers need not apply. The band members’ ethos of fast bikes, cold beer and banging out four chords at the pub on a Saturday night is nowhere more apparent.
“On Ya Bike” is harmonica-powered blues-rock. Nothing more, nothing less. Vocalist Ian Laurie has that everyman sound to his pipes and the band is equal to the task. “The Band Is A Rockin’” mines the same vein and Steve Bee’s slide wraps itself around Peter Brown’s greasy blues harp.
If de-constructed blues-garage rock pared back to its most basic elements is what you crave, here’s the album. “Best of Crime Rock” is all that and a bit more and one of the sneakiest records to seep out in 2017.
Stealthy, not because it’s mostly re-recorded versions of songs the band has committed to tape before, but for the way the music creeps up and embeds itself in your ears. There’s a dash of unhinged blues, a slice of funk and some pop in Chain and the Gang’s cooler-than-thou schtick that sets the band apart from almost any other.
It sneaks up on you. “Broken Blues” kicks off modestly enough with “I Don’t Mind”. It sounds like a sparse blues and winds up sounding like a monstrous fuzz workout, in the vein of Midwest duo Left Lane Cruiser. From then on in, the ride gets better.
Evil Twin set a high bar with the 2014 debut “Kill The Funk” and set out to record a follow-up EP. When he heard the new songs, label boss Mickster Baty suggested something more substantial. (He probably had a Cooper’s in his hand at one of the bacchanalian fests that pass for an in-store at his shop, and he’s one bloke you don’t argue with when he’s got beers on board.) So “Broken Blues” came into full bloom.
The Breadmakers - The Breadmakers (Soundflat Records)
The Breadmakers are a Melbourne institution in a town that has plenty of them. They’ve been peddling their authentic brand of rhythm and blues around the Victorian capital, its environs and various parts of the world since 1989, and their seventh album sounds as fresh as any of its six predecessors.
R&B. Everybody’s on the correct page regarding R&B, right? The term’s been appropriated by the global music machine in recent decades, and applied to bland, largely soul-less genre of soft pap that permeates the airwaves like an insidious virus.
Skin Suit - The Bobby Lees (Alive Naturalsound)
If you were on the cusp of releasing your first "real" record, had US and European tours booked and ran head-first into the current viral shit show, you'd feel like you'd been whacked around the head with the Unlucky Baseball Bat, wouldn't you? Such is the lot of a young band in The Age of The Phlegm Plague.
Upstate New Yorkers The Bobby Lees sound mightily pissed-off on "Skin Suit", but the album was recorded long before Covid-19 was kicking anybody's arse.
The Bobby Lees play snotty, raucous blues thrash with all the rough edges left intact. Little wonder that Jon Spencer produced "Skin Suit" - the band's explosive blues sound is right up his alley.