Formed in England in the summer of 1986, the WitchDoktors have gigged all over the UK and Europe, and have even chalked up a five-year residency at the wonderful 12bar Club in Soho. So they’re well-travelled veterans.
They’ve recorded a dirty album of trashy, balls-to-the wall punk-garage rock ‘n’ roll, their fourth all up and their first since 2008’s acclaimed “3 Dollar Hooker”.
Once upon a time I went to The Big Day Out. I can’t remember which, but the events themselves I always thought were a nuisance which one was obliged to endure in order to see the two or maybe three bands you actually went to
Anyway, it had dawned on me that “my generation” was utterly reviled by the one coming up. Which is understandable, of course, as every generation has to gain independence and identity, and the quickest route is to revile the old farts. ’Cause of course, we no nuffink.
Now that I am a card-carrying Old Fart who Shouts At Clouds and Doesn’t Like the Look of Those Teenagers, I have a blessed distance to view the rich landscape of modern music [Barman: insert vomit noise here]. In 1987 Steve Albini made a passing comment: “Pointless teenage thrash bands”.
Recorded 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.
You 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!"
In 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.
Trashy 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.