Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – Handsome Jack (Alive Naturalsounds)

eveythings gonna be alrightA word about words: Albums should be all about music, but descriptors count because they convey an identifiable concept of what the music sounds like. Lockport, New York, Handsome Jack’s record label, Alive Naturalsounds, calls them “boogie soul”. That cap fits…so you know the rest about wearing it.

Fourteen years into the game and “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” is the third long-player for Handsome Jack since they kicked off as a trio of precocious teens in a ubiquitous garage. Two of the three members remain - drummer Bennie Hayes is a newcomer - and while stability like that is a rarity, it’s also a virtue.

Guitarist Jamison Passuite summons up John Fogerty with his rich and resonant vocal on opening track “Keep On”; other places he echoes Southern rock and Stax soul. Throw in some Delta blues and the rest of this sure-footed, grooving album doesn’t stray far from the inspirational well. Many, if not most, of their influences seem to have been around before these guys were born. Is that a bad thing?

Electric Demon - The Deadvikings (Zodiac Killer Records)

electric demonThey might not be Japan’s most prolific rock and roll band but The Deadvikings’ two full-length albums each pack a considerable punch. This one dates from early in their 11-year history and delivers their Hellacopters style jams in spade-loads.

The Deadvikings toured last year’s “Libertatia” in Australia - well, in Sydney - and they're back in 2018, confusingly pushing their first CD from 10 years ago. Ours is not to reason why...

"Electric Demon" has some wayward moments (the ragged "The Ripper" and the low-key opening title track, which sounds underdone) but for the most part, it's surging high-energy rock songs. They're clearly in the thrall of the 'Copters and their Scandi Rock contemporaries, but this is hardly a bad thing when done right.

Get Off My Wah Wah…And Suck This – Bored! (Bang! Records)

get-off-my-wah-wah-and-suck-thisIssued as a cassette in 1988 in a limited run of 300, these are the first recordings of Bored! Expect no studio wankery or sonic polishing, other than the obvious mastering from cassette to vinyl. This is how the band sounded when they were a bunch of pups from Geelong, playing on the floor of their local record store.

Bang! Records is run by a couple of Basque Country rock and roll fanatics who have championed Beasts of Bourbon and various spin-offs, a host of scuzzy Downtown Manhattan noise-makers and the so-called Geetroit Sound. This recycled gem is on LP only and follows 2016’s “Piggyback” compilation of lost recordings on the same label.

While chowing down on early Stooges songs might be ho-hum in these Post Pop Reunion times, Bored! was really pushing envelopes in post-punk Melbourne and its environs. That explains the three-in-a-row inclusion of “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, “No Fun” and “TV Eye”. “No Fun” especially has intuitively weaving guitar fireworks from Dave Thomas and John Nolan that should make your jaw gape.

Bolt From The Blue - Warped (Conquest of Noise)

bolt from the blueFiguratively speaking, the title fits like a glove. 

This long player hasn’t arrived entirely without warning, but its sonic impact is like a sucker punch to the side of the head from a blind spot. 

No dispute that Warped is an Australian hard rock institution. Through two careers over the course of nearly three decades, the line-ups might have shifted but the commitment to that dirty “Geelong sound” has remained intact.

For the uninitiated, Geelong is/was an industrial city to the west of Melbourne which was a rich spring of of bands in the late 190s and early ‘90s. The town’s industrial nature has faded, but the “no airs, no graces” character of its music has hung in there.

Jesus Loves My Heroin II - Various Artists (Hurtin’ Records)

jesus loves my heroin 2Here’s the two-part hypothesis: (1.) No schtick in rock and roll works as well as premature death and; (2.) the Japanese have a particularly deep interest in musicians who have checked out early – especially those terminally doomed through their own vices. 

The latter probably has a lot to do with the strict Japanese drug laws and the populace's deeply rooted respect for authority. Remember the Macca bust? Did you hear the one about the Australian band that wouldn't tour there because the singer liked his pot so much and was worried he wouldn't find a connection? I digress. 

The laws of science say that any hypothesis should be disprovable. While you’re trying, I’m spinning this album.

"Jesus Loves My Heroin II" is  a Japanese tribute to Nikki Sudden and Kevin Junior Now, I have familiarity with some of the works of the late Mr Sudden; I’m less up-to-speed with the output of the late Mr Junior.

Heart of Black City - Poison Heart (Heavy Medication Records)

heart of black cityParallel universes of like-minded underground music scenes exist all around the globe but Poland has to be one of the lesser-known outposts. Poison Heart from Warsaw just appeared on my radar and they might be candidates to pop up on yours. 

The Scandi Rock wave of the ‘90s gave high-energy rock and roll a much-needed injection of spirit just as the rippling after-shocks of grunge were making everything bland and homogenised. Poison Heart soaked it all up and “Heart of Black City” makes obvious nods to the Hellacopters and Gluecefier. 

Is that a Warsaw Turbojugend logo on your CD slick or are you just happy to see me?