tex - The I-94 Bar

BARFLY TOP TEN: Melbourne singer-songwriter Penny Ikinger

penny 2018Penny with her Japanese band the Silver Bells at her "Tokyo" album launch at Melbourne Museum. Pic by Gary Hallenan

Album: “What Would I Know”, Brian Henry Hooper (Bang! Records)
This posthumous album release is startling in its beauty, rawness and poignancy. Songs about romantic and filial love and songs about death are delivered in Brian’s signature kicking against the pricks style.

Mick Harvey's production appears to form a bridge between the states of life and death. This leaves the listener unsure whether our bard has in fact crossed the River Styx to Hades; while the instruments, like bellows, breathe life into a raging fire. Are they all bellowing from the Underworld or are their feet still firmly planted in the land of the living?

Like Orpheus, the musician, poet and prophet (armed with an electric golden lyre and a distortion pedal) performing in front of Hades, God of the Underworld (clad in a black leather jacket), in the hope of retrieving his ill-fated bride Eurydice, Brian Henry Hooper sings songs to make gods weep.

Partly Animals - Tex Napalm & Dimi Dero (Spooky Records)

partly-animalsWhatever they became, the Beasts of Bourbon were once the ultimate country-swamp party band, an alcohol and stimulant-charged amalgam of good time grime with a penchant for getting under their audience's skin. German-Franco duo Tex Napalm and Dimi Dero have studied the Beasts, and a few other unhealthy Australian influences, and apply what they've learned with devastating effect.

Sticky Singers - Tex Napalm & Dimi Dero (Beast Records)

sticky-singersSwampy, rank sounds from the flood-prone back-blocks of some burned-out European town, this collaboration (cool aberration?) between Frenchman Dimi Dero and German Tex Napalm sounds like "Sour Mash" era Beasts of Bourbon.