Bad Juju – Richard Duguay (self released)
"My empire lay in ruins..."
"You don't know if you're lost or found.."
Oh, my stars and garters! Richard Duguay is amazing! I don't get around much, anymore, ya know, I'd seen some pictures of the dude online here and there where he looked like a distant relative of Andy McCoy and Willie Deville, but I'd never heard his music until very recently and I'm a diehard fan, already.
An ex-member of Canadian band Personality Crisis and now based in Los Angeles, Duguay makes exactly the kinda music my friends and I loved growing up, when I worked at a hick record store in the middle of a midwestern cornfield and our vintage turntables and ghetto blasters were always spinnin' Dogs D'Amour, the NY Dolls, Hanoi Rocks, Bowie, Iggy, Cooper, ancient Aerosmith, all that kinda stuff.
Owner of Phase 4 Records and Cassettes store and the LCMR Records label
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
There’s no need to explain what a slightly weird year 2020 was. Sadly and for my back pocket’s sake, Phase 4 Records had to close for most of Autumn which meant I wasn’t as often held captive by some stinky guy banging on about the greatness of some rockist act they read about in "The Wire" at the top of their voice scaring our innocent customers away while I desperately needed to go to the toilet.
Our record label LCMR managed to squeeze out only three 7” EPs for the year – one by a hopelessly obscure Toowoomba punk group, Brian, and two by Xiro, the Brisbane band of the early post-punk era who should’ve gone on to have a great international career but decided not to for the sake of art; or something.
It was a great pleasure putting them all together for those who were all too familiar and the ones who were brave enough to try some music that was completely unknown to them.
Neon City Lights b/w Get Loose – The Glycereens (Evil Tone)
‘Tis a taster for the forthcoming album from this well-credentialled Brisbane unit with past members of Boondall Boys, Mad Macka and Happy Times. You don’t expect bands to lead with their best track so the assumption is that it's is a flag for what’s to come with the top shelf stuff held in reserve. “Neon City Lights” isn’t bad but drags a tad and doesn’t really go anywhere, and falls short of the poppier songs that dotted the first album, “Hangin’ On”.
There’s major love, however, for the B side “Get Loose”, a cover of a rune from the late New Zealand band The D4, where The Glycereens' brand of fuzzed-out, bubblegum punk really shines. Vocalist Heli Puhakka brings an appealing vocal blend of snot and cool to the party and her and Sol M Robinson’s guitars create a block of buzzing fuzz that’s fit to singe ears. The engine room sounds brutal on this, too. There are still copies on black vinyl here.
Sleight of Hand – River of Snakes (self released)
The fuzz pedal is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th Century - and Melbourne’s River of Snakes sound like they have shares in it. Let’s hope that canny investment buys the three members a mansion each in the exotic locations of their choice.
The band has been around for a decade. The commercial music world may have moved in a wholly different direction since then, but their sound has stayed firmly rooted in the share-house, college radio universe of the ‘90s…a time when guitars were king and punk - or whatever you wanted to call it - briefly looked like it might drive a stake through the heart of blandness. Of course, that ridiculous but romantic notion was not to be…
The Trap - Velatine (Spooky Records)
Store Atmospherics - Velatine (Spooky Records)
Well, pop tarts, you're all wondering what the fuck to do during lockdown (apart from fucking, fighting, boozing and drugging), so here I am to sprinkle sparkles of hope and joy...
This is my first and probably last music review for 2021. So this will be short, but sweet.
As I may have reflected, we live in a golden age of music, where the vast majority of what is popular is unbelievably smug and gittish.
Unlike, to take one label by way of example, Spooky Records (sometime home of such mainstays as The Beasts of Bourbon, 6 Ft Hick, Sun God Replica, Shifting Sands, The Braves, Spencer P. Jones, Brian Henry Hooper, Lost Talk, Harry Howard and the NDE, and a host more), whose releases are exciting, curious, intriguing and often downright addictive.
Swamped – The Quick Sixes (Outtaspace)
There’s an awkward charm to the sound of The Quick Sixes that’s hard to resist. Equal parts twang, space retro blues and garage shimmy, this Geelong quartet is a cross between Brisbane’s late, lamented Hewkawis, The Modern Lovers and Shutdown66 (but with better manners.)
The Gee-troit Sound is long gone but if you think of The Quick Sixes as Barwon Heads Beat you can’t go wrong. It's surf music for the loveless and landlocked. It'll occasionally make you cry into your beer. It's sometime a little loose around the edges, but it's a load of fun. Variety is a by-word, too.
Gonzo journalist and onetime rock star
Somewhere in the USA
10.) Binge watching old bands I love on YouTube, live concerts, etc.
Particularly Cheap Trick, Redd Kross, the Divinyls, Rose Tattoo, Beasts Of Bourbon, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Smack, Tex & The Horseheads, Little Kings, Viletones, Chris Isaak, 39 Steps, Bounty Hunters, Jacobites etc. And The Fleshtones - greatest live band I ever saw have lots of great stuff to watch on YouTube, Kings of Rock ‘n’ Roll!
9.) Carry It Forward
The most revolutionary, serve the people, activist organization I've ever seen in real life provides coats, hats, gloves, sleeping bags, tents, rides, hotel rooms, wheelchairs, etc to the real people in the community that the government does not care about. Millions of people in the USA USA are becoming homeless and evicted while the get rich politicians drink champagne with their warpig donors. Almost like they wanna kill the poor. BE LIKE CARRY IT FORWARD, wherever you are!
8.) Slade is the right answer to almost any question!
7.) Remembering how Real Friends are precious
Especially in these dark clampdown death plague winters when so many groovy people like Dave Kusworth, Eddie Van Halen, Mike Mindless, Mike Doman, Clay Anthony have passed on.
Vocalist for White Knuckle Fever and Stone Cold Fox
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Celia Curtis’s Top 20 of 2020!
The gigging landscape undulated wildly in 2020 but it was by no means barren. The absence of the annual stagger to (and from) River Rocks Festival in Geelong definitely stung a bit, but there were some corker live gigs and streams in 2020. Here are some of my favourites I was lucky to attend/ play:
1. Jan 4 2020, PUNKNATS, The Old Canberra Inn
Due to raging fires and road closures, Crapulous Geegaw, Tweekers and Grim couldn’t make it. But you just can’t stop the rock. Lucifungus, Oaf, the Dirty Sluts, Minor Surgery, rooted, Hymn, Herxhaim, DuShkanu, White Knuckle Fever and (my personal faves) Thee Cha Cha Chas all went hard.
It was 44 degrees Celsius in a tin shed. Literally the worst air quality in the world. A late southerly that brought out the p2 masks and a blanket of apocalyptic Orange smoke. But fuck it was a great day. Milly, Tilly and Outtaspace Presents did a top job organising once again and The Old Canberra Inn was as hospitable as ever.
Heavy Medication Records honcho
To be honest, 2020 wasn’t too big of a train wreck for me. I generally work remotely, so there was no adjustment to the joys and pitfalls of working from home. Even though live concerts were few and far between, I still managed to catch a few great ones before the gates closed. (Poison Heart’s Ten-Year Anniversary gig and an aurally hallucinogenic set by Brazil’s Rakta come to mind.)
Alas, some long-anticipated plans got scrapped (some well-paying DJ gigs, a Heavy Medication Label Fest with Puffball and Hell Nation Army in Berlin, travelling somewhere to catch Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders on their European tour), but new plans rose out of the ashes of the fallen ones to make the best out of a bad situation. But more on that later…
Here are some things I dug in 2020:
1.) Smalltown Tigers “Five Things” mini-album (Area Pirata Records)
Loud guitars, catchy tunes and simplicity have always worked in punk rock’s favor, and these three Italian chicas (sorry, regazze) follow this recipe while mixing in their own sonic special sauce through the eight songs on this tasty debut platter. The Ramones and Runaways are obvious reference points (especially Valli’s gritty Joan Jett growl), but these Tigers manage to sound both ferocious and sweet at the same time. The no-frills execution and earworm-quality of the songs kept me playing this mini-LP on endless repeat. Listen up here.