crankinhaus records - The I-94 Bar
Not As Bad As It Could've Been - Scarth Hog (self-released)
Mystery Train - Chickenstones: (Crankinhaus Records)
Away from the Sun - Majestic Horses (Kasumuen Records)
Yes, dear reader, I too wondered what a scarth was. Well, Scarth is a family name, and 'is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in the county of Yorkshire, where they held the manor of Scarborough. This place-name was originally derived from the Old English Skaroisburg, which was brought into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066.'
But Scarth is also Yorkshire dialect for a rough, bare rock. No-one ever said Bill Bostle (whose band this is) ever lacked a sense of humour.
I used to know Bill a little, back in the days when 205 was a conglomeration of interweaving bands rather than a street number, and when Bill played (drums) in King Snake Roost with, among other interesting ingredients, the late Charlie Tolnay. I recall one visit to his house (in a quiet inner Adelaide ‘burb) during which he boasted of being “the loudest bastard in the street” which, given that he had the Grateful Dead on 11, was patently obvious.
This is one angry sounding record. Its 11 songs seethe and burn with fuzzed-up, roaring guitars and are propelled by an engine room whose controls are set for the carpark just outside the Gates of Hell.
That’s a place with which Chickenstones main man Andy “Doc” Temple Ellard has become familiar over the last 18 months. In early 2018, he and the band were riding high on the back of a new album, “Johnny Streetlight”, and preparing for a tour of Europe when Doc got a tap on the shoulder from some fucker called Cancer.
Now, that prick comes in many guises and the kind that came cold-calling was especially nasty and persistent. Doc is a Registered Nurse so he had an understanding of what would be involved, but all the forewarning in the world doesn’t make the fight physically easier. Many rounds of treatment later, Doc’s emerged at the other end - with shorter hair and a deeper suntan - and he’s still looking over his shoulder.
Collaborations from Stustustudio – Stu & The Connections (Crankinhaus)
Vaguely new wave-sounding pop from a combo led by well-credentialled Sydney drummer Stu Wilson (Loose Pills, Hammerfish, Aberration and ex-Lime Spiders, New Christs, Chris Masuak & The Harbour City Wave Riders,and the Soul Movers) and it’s damned good. Six tracks - one a stripped-down alternate version – that showcase some adept song-writing and a disclination to be pigeonholed.
Stu’s one of the rare breed of drummers who sing - and that even rarer strain of drummers who sing well. He’s in the upper register and writes pop songs to suit. Wilson gets a bit of assistance – Sienna Egan,vocalist for his other current band The Rivers is prominent among a list of notable collaborators that includes bassist Andy Newman (ME-262, The Visitors). Matt Galvin (Barbarellas, Happy Hate Me Nots) and Ryan Elsmore (Loose Pills).
Aberration are one of those bands who you have probably heard of word of mouth. Did you ever see them live back in the ‘80s? No recordings survive so you just have to believe they where good if you didn’t see them kicking around Sydney in 1983-87.
Aberration were playing high-energy British metal/punk until as the liner notes to this album “Tuckerbox” attest, destructive forces took their toll. The band split with little to show for their wild live reputation.
Fast forward 35 years. “Tuckerbox” is the first release for Aberration, one member of which survives in Alan Creed. It‘s newly-recorded and 10 tracks of sheer raw power.
A Crack in the World - Brando Rising (Crankinhaus)
“A Crack in the World” is an utter cracker, and if any of you lot had recorded anything half as good as this you'd have heads as big as prize-winning pumpkins.
I mean to say, Jesus wept, lads. “A Crack in the World” gets your attention as surely as if someone has heaved a box of tinned tuna at your head.
Doesn't matter what mood you're in, put this in your slot (oo-er, missus, fnaar fnaar etc) and you'll feel like a character in a 1950s Warner Brothers cartoon who has rashly “just added water” to a mysterious sachet.