The famed I-94 Bar podcast Drunk and Disorderly is back. Download it, stream it, do whatever the fuck it is that you do. Tracklist after the More button...
turbonegro - The I-94 Bar
Most people outside of his native Norway would think it’s been a long time between drinks (or other substances) for Hank von Hell, The Artist Formerly Known as Hank von Helvete of death-punters Turbonegro.
Lifestyle issues twice rendered him an ex-member of his old band and he finally pulled the pin on them in 2010. A second spell in rehab (via a conversion to Scientology) put him back on his feet. Since then, he’s been a radio host, starred in a film, written an autobiography, appeared as a judge on Norwegian Idol, married a model and fatheried a daughter. All of which proves that fact is stranger than fiction when you consider Hank kick-started his career singing about having an erection..
Hank had a number-one hit in Norway as a solo artist in 2009 and fronted the post-Turbonegro supergroup Doctor Midnight and the Mercy Cult for a time. He’s now back on the boards in his own right with the release of “Egomania”, a record that might be a concept album themed loosely on the pitfalls of performing.
Parallel universes of like-minded underground music scenes exist all around the globe but Poland has to be one of the lesser-known outposts. Poison Heart from Warsaw just appeared on my radar and they might be candidates to pop up on yours.
The Scandi Rock wave of the ‘90s gave high-energy rock and roll a much-needed injection of spirit just as the rippling after-shocks of grunge were making everything bland and homogenised. Poison Heart soaked it all up and “Heart of Black City” makes obvious nods to the Hellacopters and Gluecefier.
Is that a Warsaw Turbojugend logo on your CD slick or are you just happy to see me?
My Way Or The Highway – The Dark Clouds (self released)
It took ‘em a couple of goes but it’s finally recorded and released and it’s a triumph. The Dark Clouds’second album “My Way Or The Highway” is as bombastic, in-your-face and rocking as you could have hoped.
It’s seven years since “After The Sun” but cut ‘em some slack: a plague intervened and that managed to fuck up the plans of the best of us. The Wollongong band did convene in a studio in-between waves of COVID, but weren’t happy with the results.
“After The Sun” had its best moments when it wilfully matched the best Aussie underground sounds of the ‘80s to lyrics laced with wry societal observations. The state of rock and roll, the inane cult of celebrity and the dumber side of life in The Lucky Country all got their comeuppance, done in a style that nodded in multiple directions.
It’s said there’s nothing new in rock and roll but sometimes it doesn’t matter a damn. Welsh trash punkers The Sick Livers do Turbonegro better than Turbonegro on their newest album, “Mid Liver Crisis”.
The Welsh are famous for their coal mines and given appropriate volume, the 10 tracks here would kill a canary quicker than a mineshaft full of methane. The Sick Livers sing anthems about drinking, fucking and staring into the abyss with a large chaser of dark humour.
There are no massed male choirs on “Mid Liver Crisis”, only the odd “woo-ooh” chorus rising behind buzzbomb guitars and the nagging vocal of frontman Ginge. If the last album, “Motors, Women, Drugs, Booze & Killing”, was in your face then “Mid Liver…” ups the ante in terms of violation of personal space. The engine rooim kicks harder than a pint glass full of port the morning after a seriously pissy Saturday night.
There’s a case to be made for not messing with the tried and tested formula of two sharp-edged guitars, a raucous singer and an energetic engine room and Welsh band The Sick Livers knows it only too well.
If you thought South Wales was only good for rugby union, Harry Secombe and massed male choirs, think again. The Sick Livers add glam punk (“glunk”) to the list in emphatic style. “Motors, Women, Drugs, Booze & Killing” doesn’t break any fresh ground in terms of musical style or lyrical content - but don’t let that deter you if you prefer your cocktails served in the gutter without extraneous fruit or little paper umbrellas.
These five gnarly Welshmen won’t win any beauty contests but latch onto three chords like a starving Pembroke Corgi chomping down on a Glamorgan sausage after a five-day fast. They name-check Turbonegro (and especially fair call) and Backyard Babies in their bio and even some bloke called Glen Matlock likes ‘em. No, that doesn’t mean they sound like the Beatles, smart arse.
Consensus is that Turbonegro peaked with 1998’s “Apocalypse Dudes” and have been delivering ever-diminishing returns since then. There might be some truth to that but since “RocknRoll Machine is the band’s fifth studio album since then, that’s a lot of backsliding over 20 years.
Let’s cut the Denim Demons some slack here. “Dudes” was a masterpiece, a clever and visceral cop of many of rock’s great moments, unashamedly woven into a punk-glam merkin and proudly worn in public. You liked “Ass Cobra” better? Buy yourself a sailor hat.
“Self-parody” is a term many reverred acts have had thrown at them - often by critics who can’t abide a band playing to its own strengths, or not knowing that a purple patch of three or four consecutive great albums is a rarity for a long-running outfit. Just ask the Ramones- if you can find one still living) - or the Cramps (although they did morph into something approaching a conventional rock band.)
Are you ready to rock in double denim? Are you ready for the infamous Turbobelco? The pride of Belconnen and of this nation’s capital hits Marrickville Bowling Club on Saturday, May 21.
Yes, there are many Turbonegro tribute bands throughout the world, but Turbobelco are one of the greatest denim-clad homages to Norway’s kings of Deathpunk rock ‘n’ roll that you’re ever likely to witness. The five-piece features members of The Vee Bees, The Levitation Hex (Adam Agius, also ex Alchemist), Law Of The Tongue and Pod People, with the flame-haired Baron Von Kreep on vocals.
Supporting will be no less than arguably Wollongong’s finest punk ‘n’ rollers to surface in recent years, the re- formed Hy-Test, playing their first Sydney show in years.
Also on the bill are The Neptune Power Federation recently released their second album, boast members of Nancy Vandal, Frenzal Rhomb and Fattura Della Morte among their ranks - and they rock like it’s 1986!
Opening will be the mighty Mucho Sonar, whose sound has been described as “Motorhead plays Little Richard. Complete with face melting horn section.” Getting the party started will be the DJ Crucifox and the Turbojugend Sydney DJs. It runs from 6pm till midnight and tickets are $12 at the door (or $10 for Turbojugend members.)
It's 50 years since the MC5 recorded their seminal "Kick Out The Jams" album. While Wayne Kramer's celebratory MC50 project is on the road in Europe and the USA and is not showing any signs of coming to Australia, That's why Sydney's SC5 are having a party of their own on September 8.
I-94 Bar is presenting the KOTJ 50th Anniversary show at Marrickville Bowling Club, featuring the SC5 playing "KOTJ" in its entirety. It's 30 years since the SC5 - an inner-city super group of sorts aka the Sydney City Five - first gathered to play the music of the MC5. Members have included personnel from the New Christs, The Eastern Dark and Daredevil, with Radio Birdman's Deniz Tek sitting in.
Support will come from Turbobelco (paying homage to Turbonegro) and Australis Uber Alles (in tribute to the Dead Kennedys) and tickets are on sale here.