Cooking with gas

Well CookedWell Cooked! - Wild Zeros (Heavy Medication Records)

To say there’s anything new in the rock and roll zoo is simply a crock. Recycling is de rigeur but that doesn't equate to a negative. Dig in the right places and you’ll find stuff to light you up good and proper, even if it's been worked over like a re-birthed Renault. Here’s a case-in-point.

French band Wild Zeros are your basic punk rock trio with a bit of musicality. They proffer a bunch of rough-edged riffs and ragged melodies - in the style of The Devil Dogs and the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs. They don’t do anything especially new, but what they do is good and they make their own mark in their own way.

Jangle-pop near perfection that doesn't wear out its welcome

modern architectureModern Architecture EP - Danny McDonald (Popboomerang Records)

As the former Oscarlima and Jericho frontman, P76 leader and onetime member of Little Murders, Danny McDonald should need no introduction. But if you're curious about on of the most ybderrated purveyors of Aussie guitar pop and want a jumping-in point, his new EP is as good a place as any.

Danny plays guitar and writes pithy, Australian-tinged songs with depth and there are five crackers on "Modern architecture". They range from punky-pop to jangle-rama and are chockfull of melody and fire. McDonald has armed himself with a sterling engine room (Tim Mills on bass and David Klynjans on drums), a stellar vocal partner in Anna Burley (Killjoys) and an ace producer in Craig Pikington.

What Brian Henry Hooper knew

what would i knowWhat Would I Know? - Brian Henry Hooper (Bang! Records)

Brian Henry Hooper was a remarkable man. I first encountered him when he was part of Kim Salmon's band, The Surrealists. I had no idea what to expect, and the huge shattering sound, the big horror-show songs, and Kim's howls backed by two droogies from an abbattoir ... my mouth was flat on the floor. Magnificent.

It was many years later that I met Brian for the first time, more or less by accident at a different gig, when I used a rather unpleasant local term which Brian immediately picked up on - "That's a real Adelaide term, isn't it?" Brian was always interested in the world around him - I recall him also relating how beautiful Adelaide was as the aircraft came in to land ... come in the right way to land, I suppose, and even ...no, that's not right. I knew what he meant, the place can be damned pretty.

No, really. Brian liked Adelaide.

Love, invisibility and vomit in the span of three albums

loveandevolLØVE & EVØL - Boris (Third Man Records) 
Invisible You - JP Shilo (Ghost Train Records) 
Fortuna Horribilis - Vomit of the Universe (The Artist)

ANTI-RAMONES WARNING: NO BORIS SONG UNDER 3.5 MINUTES.

Grayson Haver Currin of Pitchfork comments on the latest alvum from Japan's venerable trio Boris:

“These seven anemic songs find Boris becoming something new yet again - self-satisfied.”

Eric Carr, of the same magazine (ED: Isn't he in KISS?), commented retrospectively on Sonic Youth's LP “EVOL” in 2002:

“EVOL would mark the true departure point of Sonic Youth’s musical evolution - in measured increments, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo began to bring form to the formless, tune to the tuneless, and with the help of Steve Shelley’s drums, they imposed melody and composition on their trademark dissonance. A breathtaking fusion of avant-garde noise (as far as Rock was concerned) and brilliant, propulsive rock ... this is where the seeds of greatness were sown.”

I think it's a fair bet that Boris are nodding at Sonic Youth's "EVOL" LP here; in 1992, on their first CD - a 60+minuter comprising only one song, “Absolutego” - they scribbled their influences - including Sonic Youth, a band whose first four records I bought and loved. 

Greatness in the grooves

between the linesBetween The Lines: The Complete Jordan-Wilson Songbook ’71-’81 - The Flamin’ Groovies (Grown Up Wrong! Records)
I’ll Have a…Bucket of Brains! The Original 1972 Rockfield Recordings for UA - The Flamin’ Groovies (Grown Up Wrong! Records)

Keeping track of the Flamin’ Groovies discography used to be harder than Chinese arithmetic. Multiple line-ups on a slew of labels - major, independent or indecent, depending on who you believed - and a dizzying array of re-issues, compilations and live sets made it hard work.

Like everything else, the Interwebs changed that. Resources like Allmusic and Discogs allow you to thread your way - relatively coherently - though the back catalogue to make some sense of it.

“Between The Lines” is a clever concept: It compiles the original songs of the “second” Groovies from their salad pop days and strips out the covers.

England's (bad) Dreaming

just a bad dream box set“Just A Bad Dream: Sixty British Garage & Trash Nuggets 1981-89”– Various Artists (Cherry Red)

While most of us in Australia in the ‘80s and ‘90s were obsessing with the US resurgence in trashy ‘60s garage rock, the Brits were having a wild old time with the same sort of stuff. This stellar three-disc, clamshell box set lifts the lid on what was going on behind the Warm Beer Curtain, in cracking fashion.

Flash back to the dawn of the 1980s: Boxed in by the constraints of punk rock - which had morphed into a fashion parade by then - and repulsed by the rise of New Romanticism, a good many Brit bands made like it was still raining German V2’s and headed deep underground.

To be fair, you can also blame the Cramps for much of this, although the Poms were arguably able to tap their own deep, local wellspring. We Aussies, on the other hand, got locked into our own US ‘60s punk trip, thanks to our own tastemaker bands, and those buyers for local record stores who spent most of their time in the States.