Reverend Beat-Man and The New Wave - Reverend Beat-Man and The New Wave (Voodoo Rhythm)

beat man and the new waveAfter 30 albums or so under a variety of monikers, Beat-Man could take the easy way out and keep churning out records of garage skronk. You know, music to kill any party, as the label slogan goes. Instead, he’s continuing to take chances.

The Swiss madman's brief with this project was simple: Pick a collaborator and play them a song once. Set the tape running. Use the first or second take. No overdubs. No arguments. 

The Reverend describes the album as “a mix of blues trash, new wave folk and dark no wave garage punk and rock'n'roll”. No arguments. Stylistically speaking, “Reverend Beat-Man and The New Wave” IS all over the shop. The bands behind him and his friends range from minimal duos to full-blown folk groups.

Kevin K and the CBGB Years - Kevin K (Realkat Records)

cbgb yearsCBGB is, of course, no more. It’s a designer clothing store run by Detroit old boy John Varvatos. 

At this point, permit me a personal aside.

No matter how many times the new owner’s rock and roll cred and commitment to “tastefully” preserving elements of the old club on The Bowery are thrown at me, I can’t come to terms with this particular march of progress. 

My own CBGB experiences may have only been as a beer-swilling tourist living vicariously through the sounds of those on-stage, but turning a rock and roll hovel into a shop selling $300 T-shirts will only get you so far. 

LAX - Fast Cars (Method Records)

LAXWhere they’ve come from is academic; it’s where Fast Cars are now that counts. The onetime ‘80s Sydney mod-power-pop band has been a creative duo since reforming in 2015, working on opposite sides of the globe. “LAX” suggests distance only makes the creative muse all that much stronger. 

“LAX” is what people used to call a “concept album” - back when single song downloads weren’t the staple currency of the musical economy. I know what you’re thinking: Concept equals Pretentious. Wrong. “LAX” stays well away from that precipice. It’s 12 songs of classy psych pop, alternately dreamy and lush, occasionally funky or wrapped in strings, and framed loosely on the theme of seeking your dreams in a big city. 

“LAX” is also a Dropbox record. Dropbox is the cloud app that’s become stock-in-trade for projects like this. With vocalist-guitarist Di Levi based in Bristol, UK, and guitarist-songwriter Fabian Byrne living in Sydney, Australia, the swapping of ideas, sketches, recorded parts and, ultimately, fleshed-out songs, had to occur online.

Meeting the Mexicans: Live in Melbourne - The Celibate Rifles (self released)

meeting the mexicansIt’s 14 years since the last Celibate Rifles release, the accomplished studio effort “Beyond Respect”, so this one’s timely. It’s the third live album in the Rifles’ 39-year history and a departure of sorts. 

If you expected trademark explosive guitar from the outset (a la “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) adjust your expectations. “Meeting the Mexicans” - the title refers to playing to people in Melbourne - is from a half-electric/half acoustic gig at the Thornbury Theatre in Victoria in mid 2017. The first half is the Cellies mostly unplugged, with the full-blown configuration front-and-centre for the last five tracks only. 

The unplugged thing has been going on for a few years on the Celibate Rifles’ infrequent live runs. It’s an idea that links back to the 1996 “On The Quiet” album and mixes things up for fans and band alike. Considering the bulk of their songs were written on acoustic guitars before they were taken anywhere near a studio, it works. Plus, you get to absorb the words in a way that doesn’t happen at a “normal” gig. 

Never To Be Released - Maximum Security (self released)

never to be releasedThis has a release date (I know, I know, it's irony innit) of Friday the 13th of April. Sydneysiders take note: This band is NOT the Stukas, and sounds nothing like them.

These fuckers are nasty, greasy, loud, obnoxious and will remind you of the good old days. You will, of course, turn your hearing aids down and, should you be tempted to bop as you once did you'll either do your back in or twist your ankle like a girl in a Tarzan movie. Cue: Nurofen.

Actually, the tone of this CD may as well be Nurofen Blues played like a bastard. It also reminds me a bit of Slayer. Oh, shit, blown my cool.

3 Cheers to Nothing - Trixie and the Trainwrecks (Voodoo Rhythm)

trixie"3 Cheers to Nothing" arrived in my box unannounced and unasked for. I put it on as I was driving (as I do) and nearly rear-ended a bus.

I can see the children looking behind them with little circles for eyes and big open mouths, horror written all over... and then there was the rest of the drive, complete with sirens (bloody things, they take ages to get rid of), driving on the wrong side of the footpath, and a few dents on the roof (bloody cyclists).

You should be familiar with her record company: they declare they stock "Music to Ruin any Party" (they don't, the only parties they'd ruin would be political ones), Voodoo Rhythm (the folk who bring you Bob Log III, Dead Brothers, Delaney Davidson, Pierre Omer, The Pussywarmers and (in Europe) Rocket Science) and a host of others ... so Voodoo Rhythm have form, as they say of old lags, and fine, fine taste.