Extra dates added to Alejandro Escovedo tour

The great Alejandro Escovedo (The Nuns, solo) is coming to Australia and New Zealsnd in March and two more Aussie shows have been announced. He’s doing extra gigs at Brisbane’s Junk Bar (early and late shows) and the Camelot Lounge in Sydney. What’s more, he’ll be accompanied on guitar by Tim Rogers of You Am I.

Escovedo's new album "The Crossing" features goes spots by James Williamson (Iggy and the Stooges) and Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys.) His Australasian tour is stripped-down but the clip below gives you an idea of the power of the man's music. Full dates and ticketing information in the Read More link.

Baile Bruja Muerto - Reverend Beat-Man and Izobel Garcia (Voodoo Rhythm)

beat man isobel garciaIzobel Garcia’s collaboration with Reverend Beat-Man was one of the best things on the latter’s most recent album, “Blues Trash”, so a full-length long-player from the pair was always going to be a tasty prospect. Those high hopes have been met.

“Baile Bruja Muerto” (translation: "Dance Witch Death") evokes colours of a dark hue; West Coast Mex cool meets decadent garage trash. Gospel, swamp and skronk meet in a parking lot to imbibe god knows what.

Ms Garcia is an L.A. artist of Mexican descent with a stunning voice. Beat-Man is a frequent visitor to the City of Lights as he has relatives in the area. The pair met at a downtown rock and roll gig. Beat-Man picked Izobel for a musician because she looked odd. It takes one to know one.

Organ Grinders - Demented Organ Duo (Demented Organ Duo) and Baile Bruja Muerto - Reverend Beat-Man and Izobel Garcia (Voodoo Rhythm)

organ grindersOne of the greatest things punk gave the world was that you, too, can make your own music and, if only in your bedroom, be a genius rock star. 

Adelaide’s Chris Spud (aka Demented Organ Duo), the stay-at-home musician (except when playing in a horrible local punk rock band), has the most satisfactory musical and literary taste.  There are four songs here; all recorded, cut and edited laboriously in Spud's luxuriously cramped studio. 

“Organ Grinders” is a brilliant, sarky, creepy, savagely knowing piece of theatre. If you dug, for example, Tom Waits' circus/fairground-type music, you'll dig this - and so would Tom.

Atomic Zeros - Atomic Zeros (Atomic Zeros) and I Hope You OD - Bad Mojos (Voodoo Rhythm)

atomic zerosIt's been argued over, and if you fancy arguing again, go right ahead. I'll wait.

Finished?

Okay. Before punk was PUNK (as it was decreed and seized upon by the black leather beetle backs), there were bands which formed a sort of disaffected underbelly. There were loose things in common.

Some of these bands were utterly alien to the world at large (I'm looking at you, Suicide, Chrome, Pere Ubu), their forefathers being outfits like The Velvet Underground and The Stooges; while others were, by contrast, relatively straightforward. Like the MC5 and later, Radio Birdman.

Entering Anytown USA - Joe Normal and The Anytownr’s (Rankoutsider)

entering anytownBroooooce Springsteen? Can’t abide him. It’s OK if you do. Different strokes for different folks, right? He’s well and truly present on this three-tracker CD - at least in spirit - but I like it in spite of that.

Like Broooce, Joe Normal and The Anytownr’s frontman Joe Normal grew up among the factories of New Jersey - before making  a break for L.A. So the bio says. And he’s landed on Pat (Lazy Cowgirls) Todd’s Rankoutsider Records.  Now you’re talking…

Rankoutsider is an outpost of genuine rock and roll, stripped back to its roots rather than wrapped up in ideas of blandness and mainstream acceptance. Joe Normal is backed by journeymen players whose curriculum vitae includes Stiv Bators, Sussana Hoffs, Syl Sylvain and Izzy Stradlin.So they’ve been around. 

Jeff Johnson Does Not Work Well With Others - Jeff Johnson (Swashbuckling Hobo)

jeff johnson epJeff who? Ex-guitarist with Jason and The Scorchers - not the classical jazz guy from Orgegon and certainly not that twat Jack Johnson. This is a blistering four-song single, more abrasive than broken glass in your shaving cream and deliciously low fidelity. The songs, though…

Johnson recorded this with a bunch of players in Brazil with the bass player over-dubbing his parts for two songs from London. Swashbuckling Hobo (from Brisbane) put it out. If you appreciate blues-rock that sounds like it’s been filtered through a gutter, this should live on your turntable.

Only “Call of Submission” sounds much like the output of his onetime band, with a subdued vocal and just a touch of Crazy Horse peeking through its dense wall of sound.  “Believe In You” is a monstrous “Raw Power” outtake with acrid lyrics (“Hey girl, fuck with me/Your love is such liability”) and a chord sequence that twists like “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” in the grip of a muscle spasm. If the production wasn’t so early Husker Du, this would be an enlightened radio hit.

BARFLY TOP TEN: Melbourne singer-songwriter Penny Ikinger

penny 2018Penny with her Japanese band the Silver Bells at her "Tokyo" album launch at Melbourne Museum. Pic by Gary Hallenan

Album: “What Would I Know”, Brian Henry Hooper (Bang! Records)
This posthumous album release is startling in its beauty, rawness and poignancy. Songs about romantic and filial love and songs about death are delivered in Brian’s signature kicking against the pricks style.

Mick Harvey's production appears to form a bridge between the states of life and death. This leaves the listener unsure whether our bard has in fact crossed the River Styx to Hades; while the instruments, like bellows, breathe life into a raging fire. Are they all bellowing from the Underworld or are their feet still firmly planted in the land of the living?

Like Orpheus, the musician, poet and prophet (armed with an electric golden lyre and a distortion pedal) performing in front of Hades, God of the Underworld (clad in a black leather jacket), in the hope of retrieving his ill-fated bride Eurydice, Brian Henry Hooper sings songs to make gods weep.

It All Comes Down - Jackson Briggs and the Heaters (Grubby Publications)

it all comes downA couple of historical reference points: Ken Russell, director of the cinematic version of The Who’s Tommy, lurching excitedly toward politico-cultural polemic. “Townshend, The Who, Roger Daltrey, Entwistle, Moon could rise this country out of its decadent, ambient state more than Wilson and those crappy people could ever hope to achieve.” The second, Old Grey Whistle Test host Bob Harris, his sanctimonious attitude almost as dominant as his pearly white teeth, dismissing The New York Dolls as “mock rock’”. 

I first caught Jackson Briggs and the Heaters last year at the Yarra Hotel in Melbourne’s Abbotsford. A tiny band room out the back, the full complement of band members unable to squeeze onto the notional stage.

Driving riffs, one guitarist secreted on the right-hand side of stage, weaving elegant licks like a artisan putting the finishing touches on a roughly hewn rock’n’roll tapestry. James McCann had encouraged me to get along and see them, and I knew why.

Glaucoma Chameleon - Eyes Ninety (Swashbuckling Hobo)

glaucomaThere’s no chance of mistaking this for a prog rock epic or a pompous concept album. None of its songe figire on the "Bohemian Rhapsody" soundtrack. Eyes Ninety play unadorned, garage rock and roll. Two guitars, bass and drums. Tight when it has to be, looser and ragged when they feel like it. Which is quite a bit.

Music is so often a product of its geography and Eyes Ninety are from Brisbane. Now, lots of people talk about the Brisbane underground scene - and most of them are from Brisbane. If you don’t come from there, you should visit more often. 

For all the constraints of being an Australian capital city, Brisbane rock and roll doesn’t do too badly with its music. There’s a supportive local radio station (4ZZZ), functioning record labels (Swashbuckling Hobo being one) and a reasonable range of venues. What’s more, the bands in Brisbane don’t feel obliged to stick to any formula. 

Cue, Eyes Ninety. For a so-called garage band, they sure mix it up. They get all broody and (dare say) post-punk on “Iceberg Syndrome” while “Laminated Beams” is hooky, edgy and fast. “Another Dimension” hangs off a meandering lead guitar line. “Spinning” is discordant, unnerving and equally catchy. “Lost Sunnies” packs a wallop. And that’s just side one.

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