Hell ain't a bad place to be

a comedy of horrorsA Comedy of Horrors - Burn in Hell (Beast Becords)

“It’s rock and roll, Jim, but not as we know it.”

That might make sense if you’re a Trekkie, but of course you’re not. 

You are?

Leave now.

(ED: Sorry. Robert Brokenmouth has hacked this review. Normal transmission will be resumed, momentarily.) 

Burn in Hell is from Melbourne and is as rock and roll as AC/DC. Makes sense. The band comes from the home of AC/DC Lane, for fucksakes. They just play their songs as readily in waltz time as in 4/4. “A Comedy of Horrors” is their fourth album in close to 10 years and it’s off-the-wall, curious, warped, challenging and thoroughly enjoyable. It's an album for people who hate the mundane. 

Sympathy For The Rebel

 

old habits die hardOld Habits Die Hard - Junkyard (Acetate Records)

It ain't no easy gig being a rock 'n' roll singer.

I'm re-reading that old hardback Steven Tyler book I bought second hand at a thrift store for two dollars, 10 years ago, for entertainment purposes right now. When I'm not busy doing stuff, because I'm at that time of year where every stray dime must go towards providing the impossible Santa haul for kids brought up in a capitalist culture of insane competition and peer pressure and mandatory conforming to the never ending juggernaut of acquisition and updating and unboxing and having the latest special edition gizmo and gadget and sports celebrity running shoe.

A baker's dozen of memorable powerpop

dromana ramaDromana-Rama - Little Murders (Off the Hip)

Hello I-94 Bar Readers , well with all the bushfires and a shit Government ain't it good that there is music to take your mind this horrific summer. Folks, here is a worthy distraction

“Dromana Rama” is a pure pop sounding album with a nod to those old English mod bands. Little Murders were formed in 1979 by Rob Griffiths have a rich history in old Victoria as those who have followed the local music landscape can tell you.

Guerillas don't monkey about with labels

equation of lifeEquation of Life - Urban Guerrillas (MGM)

Ever been in a position where you didn't know what to expect when a disc landed in the CD player? That’s often a good thing. My preconceptions of Sydney’s Urban Guerrillas as inner-city, squat-dwelling, agitprop punk preachers are somewhat passe, and almost abandoned after a couple of spins.

The UG sound is more folk-pop than punk rock these days, and the concerns of the seven tracks on the “Equation of Life” EP are mostly universal. Not that the band was ever stuck in one sound. There’s a splash of Celtic pipes in “Divine Image” (a William Blake poem set to music) and “What I Wish For” sets out a societal manifesto with a stab of mandolin in its mix.There’s also enough chugging guitar and urban angst in “Claustrophobia” to light up a street-full of terrace houses in Erskineville.

What they did on their holidays

la banda en espanaLa Banda en Espana - Leadfinger (self released)

What does an Australian band that’s revelling in Spain’s delights (not the least of which is the populace's love of Real Rock and Roll) do on a day off from a European tour? Go into a studio and slap down some tracks, of course.  

This six-track EP, committed to tape/hard drive in 2017, is the result of that and represents the first stirrings from the Leadfinger camp for more than a year, following band leader Stew Cunningham’s successful fight against cancer.. Fuck, it’s great to have him - and them - back.

“La Banda en Espana” sounds like the band was having a ball. It's not meant to be too serious. It's not going to make them rich. 

Dark charms on display from Sydney veterans

yesterday repeatingYesterday Repeating - The Smart Folk (self released)

There’s a treasure trove of slightly backward-looking, beat and mod-based pop by veterans coming out of the UK on a coterie of labels like State Records and Damaged Goods right now. Aussie band The Smart Folk would be right at home on either of them. 

It doesn't have the explosive pop brashness of The Embrooks or the raw swagger of Graham Day or CTMF, but “Yesterday Repeating” displays its own slightly darker charm.

Born out of a mod revival duo in Sydney six years ago, these old codgers have become a staple on their hometown’s small but tenacious live scene. “Yesterday Repeating” is their debut full-length album and it’s reflective of the quartet’s stylistic starting point without being limited by it.