Ghosting - Van Walker (Green South Records)
The emerging artistic genre de jour of 2020 will be iso-art. Some of it will be insightful, philosophical and impressive; over in the bargain bins of artistic creation, there will be tedium, self-indulgence and vacuous expressionism. When the world shuts down, and even incidental social intercourse is legally and morally restricted, art follows.
Van Walker’s new album isn’t iso-art per se, but it’s an album that resonates in a world characterised by isolation. Van, aided and abetted by his equally hirsute brother Cal, have been fixtures on the Melbourne music scene for around 15 years, since making the trip from regional Tasmania (itself a place of relative geographical and demographic isolation).
10 Piece Feed - The Missile Studs/Thee Evil Twin (Evil Tone Records/Dirty Flair)
This is a marriage made in Fast Food Heaven. “10 Piece Feed” pits Adelaide scuzzballs The Missile Studs against Sydney’s recently dissolved punk trio Thee Evil Twin over a 10-song split LP, and it’s hotter than a fire in a chip shop grease trap.
Split albums can be disappointing but the contrasts and similarities in both bands work well here. The Studs are more of your traditional thrash-y punks while Thee Twin have a ‘60s garage undercurrent. Neither band is a slave of studio polish, and they possess equal amounts of humour and energy. Breast or Thigh? Plenty here to appease fans of either - or both.
Reptilian Overlord - The Casanovas (Rubber Records)
Melbourne's hard-rocking Casanovas have released their fourth album, “Reptilian Overlord”, and it does not disappoint. It just rocks from start to finish.
I must admit I've seen The Casanovas many times over the years with varying line-ups. The constant, however, is the guitar and vocals of the man who was always destined to be a rock star: Tommy Boyce. Honestly, see this man play live and tell me I’m wrong.
Do You Remember - The Lincolns (Trater Records)
Howlin' Threads - Howlin' Threads (Meinschaft Records)
Astral Flight - Astral Flight (Iceage Productions)
Nervous Breakdown - Destination Lonely (Voodoo Rhythm)
I've invented a new meaning for a word! Surely, with all the incredibly stupid behaviour rotating about COVID-19, surely there is actually a state of being "covid": "to behave in an irrational, impatient and/or rude manner in response to something not understood'.
You can have "coviddery", too, and "covidacious", if you like; "covidacious" would have to mean that the coviddery behaviour also indicates that they are a Grade A, thick-as-pigshit, fuckstick. But, what if the behaviour isn't quite dreadful enough to be called "covid"? Well, you might call their carry-on "SARSpicious".
Alright, I might have blown it with that last one. Still, these jerks should wear identifying caps, or badges, or something.
Beauty In The Ordinary - Astrid Munday (Behind the Beat)
Catharsis through music is not new but Astrid Munday manages to weave a dignified and reflective joy into “Beauty in the Ordinary”, a tribute to her departed husband Tony Cohen.
It’s been 14 years since her last album and three since the passing of Cohen, one of the greatest producer/engineers to occupy an Australian studio in the last four decades. If you’ve heard an album by the Beasts of Bourbon, Hunters & Collectors, The Go-Betweens, The Cruel Sea, Dave Graney, Kim Salmon, the Birthday Party or the Blackeyed Susans, chances are that Cohen had a hand in it.
45th Anniversary - Live In London - Blue Oyster Cult (Frontiers Music Srl)
To fully appreciate the epiphany that the cognoscenti (and especially the unwitting) experienced on their first listen of the debut album by Blue Öyster Cult, one has to remember the turgid and bleak musical landscape of 1972.
The top artists of that year are Roberta Flack, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Don McLean, Nilsson, and Sammy Davis Jr. Sure, Chuck Berry is in the charts, but that’s with “My Ding-a-Ling”. (If you bought the single, you haven’t listened to it since then.)