Flowers from a New York City trashcan

ny junk dreamingDreaming - New York Junk (Tarbeach Records)

"The poet's gut reaction is to search his very soul..." -Dee Dee Ramone

"The Gutter Angels up in Heaven/ looking down upon us all/Bless the homeless/Bless the dope fiends/Bless the sidewalks where they fall”.  -Puma Perl 

Covid Sunday, diggin' through old boxes and pulling out stacks of magazines and letters and relics from a long gone and probably mercifully half forgotten, stinky basement, punk past.

Not much misery in this hang

the misery hangThe Misery Hang - The Searchin’ Destroyers (Gimme Some Skin Records)

There’s a tiny clue to its sound in the band name but you’d be a fool to collar these Destroyers as just another bunch of would-be world’s forgotten boys (plus a girl.) There are many more varied and subtle reference points on this Athens, Georgia, band’s debut album than there are scars on His Igness’s leathery hide.

Essentially a mid-life outlet for hazmat technician-turned-keyboardist Drew Finn, The Searchin’ Destroyers aspired to play “psychedelic garage pop punk Tejano spaghetti western surf soul rock music” when they formed three yeasr ago. If that mission statement takes a minute getting your head around, you’re not Tom Hanks on a desert island with only a mute volleyball for company. 

Baby steps on the way to church

baby grandeBaby Grande 1975-77 - Baby Grande (Hozac Archival)

The Brits call it Junk Shop Glam and the name’s derived from the piles of often obscure, sometimes quirky and lost ‘70s glam singles that littered their second-hand shops decades ago and now fetch crazy, collector scum prices. RPM/Cherry Red did a stellar job of bringing much of it to life on their “All The Young Droogs” compilation. 

It’s as good a label as any for Baby Grande, the band in which future founders of The Church, Steve Kilbey and Peter Koppes, cut their teeth in the mid’-70s. Chicago label Hozac Archival has exhumed a tape of studio sessions from somebody’s sock drawer and issued it as an LP. 

Och aye: When rocking is Second Nature

Second Nature coverSecond Nature - The Primevals (Triple Wide)

Avoiding other people's reviews - at least until our own are done, dusted and posted - is standard modus operandi for most of us at the I-94 Bar. After all, it's important to approach this critical caper with an open mind, and comparisons are odious, aren't they?

It was by accident that the browser stumbled across a critique of the new-ish album, "Second nature", from Scotland's The Primevals by someone whose opinion carries a great deal of stock (Hi, Gus!) to find mentions of Lou Reed, Crazy Horse and The Gun Club. All of which are valid when you're swept up in the record's lyrically dark undertow.

The protopunk filth and the FURY

primitive 1969 76Sonny Vincent: Primitive 1969-76. Diamond Distance & Liquid Fury - Sonny Vincent (Hozac Archival)

Some would hide their earliest bands’ recordings in a dark place and hope nobody found them. Thankfully, not Sonny Vincent.

As one of the last New York punks still standing, Sonny Vincent criminally remains a well-kept secret. The music he’s made under his own name, and with a string of bands - most notably, Max’s Kansas City and CBGB graduates, Testors - is some of the best primal sound around. This collection of songs from his pre-punk bands, spanning 1969-72, does nothing to detract from that track record. 

Five acts. One Adelaide connection.

adelaide splash

The Third Degree - Mushroom Planet (Planet Records)
Anarchy in TwentyTwenty - Ben Gel (BadAss)
The Glue - Tom Redwood (self released)
Diarrhoea Part 2: The Shittening - Geezergosis (self released)
Saint John's Eve - Michael Plater (Hypostatic Union)

Nina Simone apparently once said, “I'll tell you what Freedom is to me. No fear.” She meant, of course, the everyday fear. That no matter what she's doing, or where, she could be attacked or killed just for being what she was.

We're a pretty intolerant, brittle lot, we people. We really are. One of the several reasons I refer to COVID-19 as "the stupidvirus" is that it seems to have brought out all the stupids in our assorted societies. Our cracks and inadequacies are there for all to see, and people die because of vanity, of an inbuilt reluctance to face up to ugly or inconvenient truths.

A hangover worth having

existential hangoverExistential Hangover - These Things (Dirtyflair Record Company)

Three albums in and These Things just made their own patch of swamp in Australia just a little deeper.

These Things have nailed it with “Existential Hangover”. Crawling king snake fuzz intersects with patches of clean guitar against a no-nonsense backbeat. If Mudhoney crept out of a recycling depot in a rural Victorian town and went on an absinthe bender with Reverend Beat-Man, they’d sound like this.

New EP captures The Sunday Reeds magic

drive you madDrive You Mad - The Sunday Reeds (self released)

Well, The Farmhouse has been rocking, again. "Drive You Mad" is the new EP from the fabulous The Sunday Reeds from Adelaide. This six-track EP is a cracker.

Led by Romana Ashton (vocals and bass) this trio is rounded out by Drew Jones (guitar) and Sarah "Shakey" Portaro (drums.)  Let me say this: they are crazy-good live. I've seen them supporting some of Australia's finest bands - Exploding White Mice, Radio Birdman and Hitmen DTK just to name a few - and they hold their own with catchy songs, pounding bass and some great guitar. "Drive You Mad" captures their live sound so well.

These Tigers aren't for caging

five things smalltown tigersFive Things - Smalltown Tigers (Area Pirata Records)

There’s nothing new in rock and roll. The same goes for punk rock. So get over it. Reinvention has always been a constant and the trick to being good at the caper is adding as your own unique ingredient.

“Five Things” is eight songs from three Italian girls calling themselves Smalltown Tigers. They come from Romagna in the country's north-east, cut their teeth playing Ramones songs at squats and beach parties and went into a studio in 2019, under the production hand of Stiv Cantarelli.

They're only been around a couple of years but you wouldn't know it. With a single in the racks before this, "Five Things" swaggers with confidence and loads of energy. It would be politically incorrect to say the girls have good looks on their side as well, so we won't. Image counts for much in rock and roll.

I-94 Bar