From out of iso comes the ghost who Walkers

Ghosting van walkerGhosting - Van Walker (Green South Records)

The emerging artistic genre de jour of 2020 will be iso-art. Some of it will be insightful, philosophical and impressive; over in the bargain bins of artistic creation, there will be tedium, self-indulgence and vacuous expressionism. When the world shuts down, and even incidental social intercourse is legally and morally restricted, art follows.

Van Walker’s new album isn’t iso-art per se, but it’s an album that resonates in a world characterised by isolation. Van, aided and abetted by his equally hirsute brother Cal, have been fixtures on the Melbourne music scene for around 15 years, since making the trip from regional Tasmania (itself a place of relative geographical and demographic isolation).

Finger lickin' good

10 piece feed10 Piece Feed - The Missile Studs/Thee Evil Twin (Evil Tone Records/Dirty Flair)

This is a marriage made in Fast Food Heaven. “10 Piece Feed” pits Adelaide scuzzballs The Missile Studs against Sydney’s recently dissolved punk trio Thee Evil Twin over a 10-song split LP, and it’s hotter than a fire in a chip shop grease trap.

Split albums can be disappointing but the contrasts and similarities in both bands work well here. The Studs are more of your traditional thrash-y punks while Thee Twin have a ‘60s garage undercurrent. Neither band is a slave of studio polish, and they possess equal amounts of humour and energy. Breast or Thigh? Plenty here to appease fans of either - or both.

Mick Medew solo album looms

psychopharmacologist lgeI-94 Bar Records is proud to announce the impending arrival of “Psychopharmacologist”, Brisbane musician Mick Medew’s first true solo album and his most surprising musical adventure yet.

It will be out on CD and digital on October 2 and pre-orders here will receive an early release track, "When The Wood Is Brown (Full Return)", via download. 

Medew has shown with his current band, Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers, and past units, the Screaming Tribesmen and Mick Medew and the Rumours, that he's a master of guitar pop-rock. “Psychopharmacologist” puts him in a different place with nine songs that make optimum use of the studio and bring wildly varied influences to bear.

Doggone, bare-boned rock and roll that can't be collared

feed the dog“Feed The Dog” b/w “Coming Back” – Bored! (Fantastic Mess Records)

Before the recent passing of principal member Dave Thomas, Bored! had probably faded somewhat from the collective underground music consciousness. 

There was a collection of live material out on Spanish label Bang! that did address that but, being a mail order thing, it was probably only heard by diehard Australian fans. This posthumous, limited-edition single from committed boutique label Fantastic Mess rights this wrong and is a fine tribute to Dave.

Williamson and Tek beat the odds but "Two To One" came down to the wire

FranklinAvery williams tekStudio work: Jqmes Williamson and Deniz Tek. Franklin Avery photo.

It’s a back to basics, guitar album but “Two To One”, the joint effort from James Williamson (Iggy & the Stooges) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman), had a complicated gestation that birthed a record in the nick of time. 

Commissioned by Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records a year out from its planned release, most of its 11 songs were worked up in face-to-face sessions in Hawaii, where Tek now lives and Williamson spends half his year at his vacation home. 

After Williamson went back to his home in San Francisco, the songs were refined via file sharing before Tek flew to the mainland in December last year for rehearsals and a recording session for the basic tracks at Studio D in Sausalito, California.

Sessions for vocal tracking and guitar overdubs followed on both sides of the Pacific. The record was mixed and about to be mastered when the first ripples of the COVID-19 pandemic became a global tidal wave.

Meet your overlords

reptillian overlordReptilian Overlord - The Casanovas  (Rubber Records)

Melbourne's  hard-rocking Casanovas have released their fourth album,  “Reptilian Overlord”, and it does not disappoint. It just rocks from start to finish.

I must admit I've seen The Casanovas many times over the years with varying line-ups. The constant, however, is the guitar and vocals of the man who was always destined to be a rock star: Tommy Boyce. Honestly, see this man play live and tell me I’m wrong.

More than Gossip: Bio is a deep dive into the business - and art - of being Paul Kelly

paul kelly coupePaul Kelly: The Man, The Music And The Life In Between (Hachette Australia)

By Stuart Coupe

“I hear you like music. Do you like Paul Kelly? I’ve just been reading his autobiography, "How to Make Gravy". I love his music. Always have.”

It was an innocuous and inoffensive simple conversation starter one Sunday afternoon, uttered by a friend of my wife’s. To the extent there was question in there, it was almost opaque, and more likely rhetorical. Everyone likes Paul Kelly. How could anyone not like Paul Kelly? As it was, I fumbled around for an answer, and mumbled something about not having had the chance to listen to any of his music for a while.

It wasn’t as if I didn’t like Paul Kelly’s music. I’d first heard and seen him back in the early 1980s on Countdown with his then-band, The Dots. A few years later Kelly appeared again, this time with a new band, the Coloured Girls, and a batch of songs that would become staples of commercial radio playlists: "To Her Door", "Darling It Hurts", "From St Kilda to King’s Cross" and "Before Too Long".

STUPIDVIRUS REVIEW

coronavirus

Do You Remember - The Lincolns (Trater Records)
Howlin' Threads - Howlin' Threads (Meinschaft Records)
Astral Flight - Astral Flight (Iceage Productions)
Nervous Breakdown - Destination Lonely (Voodoo Rhythm)

I've invented a new meaning for a word! Surely, with all the incredibly stupid behaviour rotating about COVID-19, surely there is actually a state of being "covid": "to behave in an irrational, impatient and/or rude manner in response to something not understood'.

You can have "coviddery", too, and "covidacious", if you like; "covidacious" would have to mean that the coviddery behaviour also indicates that they are a Grade A, thick-as-pigshit, fuckstick. But, what if the behaviour isn't quite dreadful enough to be called "covid"? Well, you might call their carry-on "SARSpicious".

Alright, I might have blown it with that last one. Still, these jerks should wear identifying caps, or badges, or something.

A beautiful tribute that's not so ordinary

beauty in the ordinaryBeauty In The Ordinary - Astrid Munday (Behind the Beat)

Catharsis through music is not new but Astrid Munday manages to weave a dignified and reflective joy into “Beauty in the Ordinary”, a tribute to her departed husband Tony Cohen.

It’s been 14 years since her last album and three since the passing of Cohen, one of the greatest producer/engineers to occupy an Australian studio in the last four decades. If you’ve heard an album by the Beasts of Bourbon, Hunters & Collectors, The Go-Betweens, The Cruel Sea, Dave Graney, Kim Salmon, the Birthday Party or the Blackeyed Susans, chances are that Cohen had a hand in it.

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