It was the moment I knew the relationship was in trouble. It was April, 1993 at Le Rox in Adelaide. Ed Kuepper was headlining, but it was support act Kim Salmon - in solo mode - who was holding our attention.
Just as Salmon strummed the opening chords to “Words From a Woman To Her Man’”– still, when push comes to shove, one of my two favourite Salmon tunes (the other being its companion piece, “Something to Lean On”), a punter in front of us turned and rebuked my girlfriend for disturbing the aural ambience with her loud commentary.
I knew the relationship was in trouble because I wanted to side with the anonymous interlocutor from the crowd.
If proof was needed that Brexit was a dumb idea, consider that this is an Italian band on a German label playing music that owes its origins to the sounds of Africa after they were transplanted to North America.
The letter ’s’ is very important in the band’s name because there’s an outfit calling itself The Gentlemen from Sheffield in the UK that plays disco pop. Disco pop? Never heard ‘em but daresay if none of us ever do, we’ve probably dodged a bullet.
The Gentlemens play noisy punk blues. Really good, noisy punk blues. They’re a trio (two guitars and drums) and they sound huge. The absence of bass is not a problem.
Paolo Fioretti is the sole vocalist (he sings in English) and guitarist who also punches in synth and keyboards. His guitar tone is warm and chunky. Not too much chicken scratching here; the man can play. His amico Giordano Baldoni is no slouch, either. They don’t re-invent the form, they work within it and avoid cliches.
Two thoughts sprang to mind after one spin of "Let's Go Wild!" and both are for sharing: (1.) What a cracking album and; (2.) Let's all move to Spain.
American-born Kurt Baker has done just that, calling Madrid home for about a decade and fronting his own Kurt Baker Combo, based over on the other side of the country in Leon, Spain.
If the fact that "Let's Go Wild!" Is on the Wicked Cool label isn't a clue, the sticker on the cover with the ringing endorsement from Paul Collins should tell you that it's a winner in the power pop stakes. Baker has a great voice, his band powers and the songs are full of fuzzy hooks.
Mad Macka's history should need no recounting but, fuck it, let's assume you're entirely clueless or you live outside his native Brisbane.
From the slamming punk of The Onyas to the fast and loose jams of The Egos and back to his recruitment into Cosmic Psychos, he's been a fixture on various levels of the Australian underground for years.
"Seminal Robots" finds him and his Brisbane band Panh Andler in gutter blues territory but don't slip it on and think you're going to hear "Fuckwit City". It's mostly music stripped back to its basic elements. The Big Fella is naked, more or less.
But "Panh Andler"? Mad Macka's far from uneducated - the man's been a lawyer as well as a pizza deliverer - so you can assume the name is an ironic reference to bluesmen. One of those many online dictionaries describes a "panhandler" as "an urban beggar who typically stands on a street with an outstretched container in hand, begging for loose change". "Buddy can you spare me a recording session?"
With Sydney's long-running Dunhill Blues on hiatus, bassist Adam has opted to crank up the rumble with a new band, Space Boozies. "I Feel Alright" is their debut LP.
The Dunnies have been through several phases - garage big band, thrash country rock and battered blues rock - and but for a few superficial similiarities, Space Boozies sound a lot like none of them.
The Boozzies keep it short and sharp but there's a touch of bitter-sweet jangle in the guitars. Their music is still parked in the garage, but it's not as determinedly abrasive. Think of them as an Antipodean version of The Raunch Hands. Music to drink rather than to think by.
Where the Dunhill Blues wanted to tickle Nick Cave, Space Boozzies are keen to share some quality time with Australia's Queen of Decollage ("Tonia Todman's House") and swap egg recipes with Peter Russell-Clarke. The irreverence of the Dunnies hasn't gone away.
The Hip Priests are angry as fuck and want you to know about it. The urgency and energy of past albums are intact but leery innuendos and odes to drinkis-and-drugs excess are toned down on their latest long-player, replaced by a seething fury.
There's no mistaking the target of the musical Exocet that's opening track "Welcome To Shit Island". It's an all-guitars-blazing assault on the pro-Brexit brigade wrapped up in a punk rock letter bomb. And there's more in store on the other nine tracks - with a focus on everyone from the forces that would wipe out rock and roll to the man down the road at number 19. .
Hip Priests hail from Nottingham in the UK and if you think Little John's longbow was the most dangerous thing to come out of Sherwood Forest, adjust your green tights. The Priests play it like Backyard Babies. TBNGR and the 'Copters - which means they sound like all those dirty arse Scandirock bands of the late '90s and early '00s.
You could say "Stand For Nothing" is not for the faint-hearted or the hard of hearing. You would be right. You could also say Hip Priests are in that last-man-standing category of Real Rock and Roll Bands. Correct again. You win a cigar.