Free – Iggy Pop (Lorna Vista)

Iggy Pop FreeLet’s get the obvious ones out of the way first, shall we?.

Firstly, after what he’s done in the past, Iggy is entitled to play whatever music he wants. Any outstanding debts have been repaid. In full. And with interest. He can be as indulgent as he wants. Except for that cover of “Michelle”. Or “White Christmas”. Oh boy.

Secondly, if his solo career doesn’t stack up against what he did with the Stooges, that’s almost certainly because most other people’s best work doesn’t, either. Being an ex-Stooge can be both a blessing and a curse. 

Any Port in a Storm - Shark Arm (self released)

shark-armFirst heard this outfit on Big Daddy K's Sydney community radio show (2RR, 6pm AEDT Saturday nights). They'd released a single ("Dog's Breakfast" b/w "Stitched", and I was smitten. So I got in touch. Turns out the band have released an LP, but as so many do, it's virtual at present.

You'll excuse me. Many, many bands show their influences. Sometimes these are subtle or complex. When I first listened to "Any Port..." I thought they were familiar with Chris Walsh's bass in The Moodists ... but no, apparently not. They've taken the bits of bands which have most impressed them, and created ... some sort of powerful monster.

Shark Arm are anything but subtle. They've taken aspects of The Birthday Party - but not the bits the Jesus and Mary Chain took - the violence at gigs, the shriek-y feedback, the singer leaning on the the guitarist onstage, and - of course - the big hair. None of that. Instead, we're looking at a two-piece (drums, and guitar/ vox) who use ugly bass loops, sing clearly about ugly truths, and whose guitarist has learned about space as well as position.

Beautiful, at Night - The A.C.C. (Gypsy Child Records)

The ACCNot so much a clash of disparate styles as a brash melding of them, The A.C.C. (aka The Abbiati Cantarelli Conspiracy) harvests a well-cultivated paddock to come up with its own distinctive crop.

The A.C.C. is a partnership of Italian musicians Stiv Cantranelli and Ed Abbiat, and “Beautiful, All Night” welds blues, alt.country and punk. Abbiati supplies lead vocals and guitars while Cantranelli brings lead guitar and backing vocals. They’re joined by bassist Joe Barreca and drummer Antonio Perugini, two well-travelled roots and blues players.

Cantanrelli’s history includes Satellite Inn, an Italian band that was signed to US label Moodfood and toured America extensively. His own Silent Strangers and colaboration JD Hangover are worth tracking down if you're into stark and dark gutter blues-punk. Abbiati was a member of Italian roots outfit Lowlands and partnered with ex-Green On Red keyboardist Chris Cacavas on an album in 2014.

American University - John Dissed (Bull Lee Records)

american universityWhen both irretrievably corrupt, collaborating, billionaire owned, fat cat political parties are 100 percent complicit in knowingly propping up completely fabricated, mythological stories to manufacture consent for a babies in cages prison state and permanent lies for imperialist wars for the insatiable profits of the one percent, hungry ghost, demonic extortionists at the top, it is absolutely essential that we, the people, educate our peers, and organize authentic resistance, and become the new media.

If you think you might appreciate an album's worth of simple, Nick Gilder style, solid gold pop hooks galore spiked with revolutionary truth-telling and courageous common sense, you will probably really thoroughly enjoy this important LP! John Dissed is a modern day Billy Bragg or Joe Strummer and "American University" is his ambitious D.I.Y. tour de force concept album, a pleasing throwback to the days of the Adverts, Lords Of the New Church, and Wanderers with a cinematic Pink Floyd ambience.

The Scientists - The Scientists (In The Red)

Scientists epIconic bands recording new music years after their prime-time is fraught with peril. Recapturing old magic is nigh impossible when every member has inevitably moved on, musically speaking. Only a few succeed.

The Scientists - as in the Salmon-Thewlis-Cowie (Chock)-Sudjovic line-up - have been an off-and-on, reformed concern for years, coming together for occasional festivals or the odd juicy support tour as, and when, members are available. They put together this five-song 12" vinyl EP between Australian shows and released it to promote their first US tour in 2019.

These days, their laboratory is spread over two continents with guitarist Tony Thewlis living in the UK and the rest of the band in Australia, so parts of the recording have been worked up inisolation and stitched together. Knowing how the sausage was made, in this case, doesn't detract from the taste. The EP, and the single (an updated oldie) that goes with it, rocks in its own uniquely primeval way. Completists should note that it was was proceeded by a digital-only single in 2017.

I’d Much Rather Be With The Noise - Rattanson (Open Mind)

rattansonThe DIY ethos is less a gimmick and more a way of life these days for the 99 percent of musicians not enslaved by a major label. It's either practical, necessary or all too easy to hole up in your bedroom and let those ideas pour out onto a hard drive without someone else calling the shots and charging your own money for it.

There's a defiite upside and also a downside.  Rattanson is a case in point.

Rattanson is a one-man garage pop multi-instrumentalist from Sweden and "I'd Much Rather Be With The Noise" is his second album under that name. A former member of powerpo act Fanscene and garage rockers The Rawhides, he's gone solo to focus on his own songs.

Rattanson played all the instruments on his first record, 2017's "Full Scale Shakeability", and also on this one except for drums, for which he recruited Anders Björnlund from the Turpentines and the HiJackers. He'll have a bass player in tow to play the songs live.