Time and Time Again - Johnny Casino (Folc Records)

time and time againRecorded in fits and spurts across four years and multiple countries, “Time and Time Again” had a drawn-out, trans-national gestation and birth. That’s fitting because it’s an album with a spirit that doesn’t need a visa to work in any place that’s receptive to spirited, heartfelt rock and roll.

It’s been said before but bears repetition: Johnny Casino’s been a moderately well-kept secret in his birth country of Australia since he struck out under his own name in the ‘90s. With Easy Action and then The Secrets - the former a US-spawned crew, the latter a rotating cast of members in various Aussie state capital cities - he’s built a formidable body of work without bothering mainstream taste arbiters. 

Cold Irons Bound - Cold Irons Bound (self released) & The Edge of Winter - Eden (Seraph)

cold irons boundYou need to know that I don’t know Melbourne band Cold Irons Bound from a bag of chops, while I do know Sean Bowley, the man behind Eden (a situation which I dread, because what if my mate produces some awful muck? How the fuck do you tell them?). 

And the thing is, while I always give a band an even chance regardless of whether I do or don’t know the personnel involved, there’s always a risk that some irritable individual will go, "Hey… favouritism!"

URRAH!! – Rattens Kater (Conquest of Noise)

urrahIn Kärrgruvan, Sweden, where Rattens Krater apparently come from, they call it “terrorpop”. You might coin a different name. Go ahead, knock yourself out…

Stylistically speaking, “Urrah!” is a game of Musical Twister: One limb is anchored on the hard rock colour, another is on electronic-punk. A third is planted on grunge-pop and the other is flailing about, threatening to land somewhere else, depending on what you’re second-guessing them to be doing.

Death Of An Angel - Destination Lonely (Voodoo Rhythm)

destination lonelyTrashy wah-wah skronk is what Destination Lonely delivers. In spades.

A bass-less trio from Toulouse, the members have done time in Jerry Spider Gang, The Fatals and Kung Fu Escalators. If those names mean anything to you, you’ll know what to expect. Just imagine them frolicking in a swamp. 

This is rock and roll from the dirty side of the street. All the well-to-do people live somewhere else. Opener “Dirt Preacher” sets the scene: Barely audible, angsty vocals under layers of guitar. The wah pedal signifies music that opens up and bleeds, on a regular basis. 

Speaks Evil – Giuda (Conquest of Noise)

giuda speaks evilItaly’s best kept secret since the Bellini cocktail with Peroni chaser has an Australian record label. In an age of Fake News, this is significant Good News. It means there’s one fewer reason (like overseas postage) for Aussies not to pay attention.

So let's catch up with the rest of the world: Giuda play irresistible songs that marry all the best parts of glam rock to punk. That’s the simple story. Handclaps mixed with hooks… nasty, gravel rash chords…rifferama that’s sharper than a Rome pickpocket’s reflexes.

Hate The Blues, Personal Frequency & Ballads of Chessells&Shooter b/w Only Happy - The Dope Smoking Morons (self released)

dope smokling moronsAustralia has, and always will have, a thriving underground music scene. It’s the DIY attitude towards garage/punk rock that endures for many of us, and I’m pleased  to say Ronnie Dap’s The Dope Smoking Morons’ three releases on Bandcamp are keeping the old eight-track-tape machine, no-computers ethos alive and kicking.

Recorded at Dap’s Melbourne home, this nine-song collection of recordings (spread over three titles) is primitive in its sound with very little production, apart from a few overdubs (necessary when the man doubles up on guitar, drums and bass.) Ronnie also has a crack at the singing.