HITS BACK - The Clash (Sony)
Welcome to my new favourite Clash album. Well that’s an odd statement, isn’t it? I mean to say, it’s just a compilation album, isn’t it? Another entry in a seemingly endless series of Clash compilation albums bearing titles like “Story of”, “Essential”, “On Broadway”, “Singles” and “Super Black Market”. Who actually needs another reshuffling of this well trod back catalogue? According to Sony Music, we do. Like, surely this is an anniversary of something or other. This time the compilation explores the central conceit of a “hand written set list by Joe Strummer.” This begs the question; was there ever a set list that wasn’t hand written before, say, the early nineties and the availability of the home computer with printer to even the most drug addled musician? Love the hand writing and spelling, Joe. Slade and the City of London Freemen’s School would be proud.
HITS BACK - The Clash (Sony)
THE DIRTY EARTH - The Dirty Earth (self released)
The Dirty Earth is a Sydney band that cites the MC5 as a precursor among others but to be blunt, right now their sound is more Maroubra Seals Club than Grande Ballroom.
The Dirty Earth coalesced around the core of soulful singer Mandy Newtown and an engine room of Greg Refeld and Jim Allison in mid 2011, under the name Bottle Rocket. After a personnel re-shuffle (the I-94 Bar's occasional writer Earl O'Neill was originally onboard) guitarists Raf Iacurto (ex-Thumlock) and Scott Campbell joined.
Here's the European edition of the twice-repressed album from Melbourne band Bits of Shit. The message is simple: If you haven't nailed a copy of the Australian version on Homeless, there's still hope.
LOST MY HEAD FOR DRINK - Bloodloss (Dirty Knobby/SubPop)
Fourteen years old by now, "Lost My Head for Drink" sounds both ahead of its time and retro, and has an elusive timeless quality. Who else puts out such a fabulous mixture of mellow tunes and stifling ferocity? Rock discovered parallel with caustic, free-flying jazz? This version of Bloodloss is its own genre. Simple as that.
No? Look, you know that famous American painting Nighthawks at the Diner? Well, this LP is like that, but more real, more gritty, less smooth but a lot more emotional and substantially more fucking elegant. Ennui and boredom be buggered, in "Lost My Head for Drink", Bloodloss have a classic LP.
If Alive Naturalsound putting out a live album of their current roster sounds indulgent, then so be it. LA-based French expat Patrick Boissel's label has built a stunning back catalogue that presaged and launched today's back-to-basics garage blues-soul scene, harking backwards but always looking forwards.
RENT PARTY - The Waldos (Jungle Records)
I ain't owned that beautiful Nina Antonia book about Johnny Thunders for years-poor people can't have nice things - ya always have to sell it all to eat and smoke. "Everything is in the pawnshop", you dig? But all those swanky Heartbreakers photographs are etched forever in my mind.