jason and the scorchers - The I-94 Bar

Jeff Johnson Does Not Work Well With Others - Jeff Johnson (Swashbuckling Hobo)

jeff johnson epJeff who? Ex-guitarist with Jason and The Scorchers - not the classical jazz guy from Orgegon and certainly not that twat Jack Johnson. This is a blistering four-song single, more abrasive than broken glass in your shaving cream and deliciously low fidelity. The songs, though…

Johnson recorded this with a bunch of players in Brazil with the bass player over-dubbing his parts for two songs from London. Swashbuckling Hobo (from Brisbane) put it out. If you appreciate blues-rock that sounds like it’s been filtered through a gutter, this should live on your turntable.

Only “Call of Submission” sounds much like the output of his onetime band, with a subdued vocal and just a touch of Crazy Horse peeking through its dense wall of sound.  “Believe In You” is a monstrous “Raw Power” outtake with acrid lyrics (“Hey girl, fuck with me/Your love is such liability”) and a chord sequence that twists like “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” in the grip of a muscle spasm. If the production wasn’t so early Husker Du, this would be an enlightened radio hit.

Punk's spirit shines through

party of shineParty of Shine - Party of Shine (Swashbuckling Hobo)

If this passed you by when it landed on Brisbane label Swashbuckling Hobo in January, you’re not alone. It’s the debut album for former Jason and the Scorchers bassist Jeff Johnson and his band, and follows a single for the same label.

Ignore the shiny cover art. Party of Shine plays dense, mid-tempo punk rock. Their sound is thicker than treacle with abrasive guitars a rumbling bottom end. Johnson plays guitar. The other guitarist David Harvard's gruff growl imparts an undertone of sullen menace. There aren't any uplifting gospel songs here.