Ten Things, Bands and Albums that have caught my eye in 2022, in no particular order.
The Square Tugs – “Monster Hits “ This LP is a cracker. The Brisbane-based trio started out as a Circle Jerks cover band (hence the name), but this isn't a one-dimensional release: 16 tracks that channel everything old school (the Ramones, The Damned etc) into a great album that gets better the more you listen. Its an old school sound without sounding jaded; it still manages to sound fresh with great production and a mix of songs which are funny and also political. Most of the songs clock in at under two minutes - the only disappointment is that they're over. Check it out.
The Dark Clouds – “My Way Or The Highway” It's taken forever for these slack bastards to get an album out, and as a consequence many of these songs will sound familar to those of you who have seen ‘em live. It's been worth the wait though as this is a belting rock ‘n’ roll record. Led by a larger-than-life frontman, a wicked lead guitarist and a tight as a fishe’s bottom rhythm section – they’re just as good on record as they are live which is no mean feat. They are one of the most under rated live rock bands in the country. Uf there was any justice they would be filling big venues. If you are fans of rocking proto punk, or balls-to-the-wall Aussie pub rock you'll find something worth your while here. Buy the record, catch them live (they're old - every show could be their last.)
THE GODFATHERS "Alpha Beta Gamma Delta" One of my favorite '80s kid rebel bands still making top notch punknroll with smart lyrics, Beatles quality melodies, and new wave movie romantic vibes. So great, exactly the kinda music I wanna hear in my elderly Goth years. I totally vibe with every note on this modern day masterpiece. They still speak straight to my heart.
The season finale of Thursday Evening Gunk is now online. Guest host Danny Yau speaks to Brett Myers and SteveClark of Died Pretty and Mark Roxburgh of Decline of The Reptiles in our Died Pretty Special. We're treated to a set from Steve Clark's duo,. Nothing But Dust, in ojnly their second live performance.
Tears of the Minotaur - The Christopher Marshall Predestination (self released)
I guess the starting point here will be 1980s noisy blues outfit Harem Scarem, formed by Charlie and Christopher Marshall. Until they found Chris Wilson, Christopher was lead vocalist. And I do wish for a few live tapes of that line-up.
And, curious how things turn out.
Like his fellow bandmate the late Chris Wilson, Marshall's voice is quite extraordinary, and you can pretty much pick your own favourite blues vocalist to compare him to.
Punk Traumatic Stress Disorder - Cull The Band (Tomorrow Records)
“Punk Traumatic Stress Disorder” is one helluva a punk rock record and by that I mean it’s everything you want in a punk album: songs full of anger, hate, profanity and, most of all, humor. Yes, humor abounds throughout these 11 wonderful tunes.
Jeff Stephens (ex-Exploding White Mice) was kind enough to drop me a line and talk a little about how some of Adelaide’s finest musicians got to together in Cull The Band:
Strung Out On Heavens High, 1980-1982 - Religious Overdose (Optic Nerve Recordings/Glass Records)
Nope, never heard of Religious Overdose. So I put it on. And suddenly, that weird Adelaide time from about 1978 to 1981 was back.
Bands like Nuvo Bloc, Systems Go, The Lounge. You sort of knew some of their influences. And rather than be like so many other bands smitten with the underground music movement currently sweeping the globe, they'd deliberately avoided mimicry to produce something both damn strange and damn good.
Speek Evil: Illustrated Rock and Roll Periodical (The Art of Fox)
Reviewing what’s a visual feast served on paper pages is a challenge at the best of times but who doesn’t love a test? “Speek Evil” is neither a zine or a comic – call it a zomic if it makes you happy - because it combines the best of both, and it’s chock full of dark imagery and rock and roll attitude.
Which should come as no surprise, as it’s the product of the mind and pen of Mike Foxall, late of Nancy Vandal and more lately guitarist in The Neptune Power Federation. Foxall is one of the pre-eminent rock and roll graphic artists of the Sydney underground scene.
He’s a member of a club that boasts Ben Brown, Ray Ahn and Glenno Smith, and his imagery adorns the covers of his current band’s albums, plus posters and T-shirts for Crapulos Geegaw, King Parrot, Frenhal Rhomb and The Australian Beef Week Show. He’s also an animator.
“Speek Evil” is a lavish, full-colour 80-page production printed on high-quality matt paper and is produced quarterly. It plumbs similar cultural depths as “Unbelievably Bad” used to, but with Foxall’s own punk rock pre-occupations and peers in evidence. It’s up to five editions.
I've been watching that Tim Burton Addam's Family reboot, "Wednesday", and smiling when the young actress tears it up go-go zombie, old school death style to an old Cramps tune, also find myself gravitating to old Alien Sex Fiend and Peter Murphy videos in my tiny hours.
As an almost perpetually melancholy and new wave nostalgic, elderly goth antisocial glamarchist, bored to tears in a deadend desert, wind blown, graveyard town, I'm always complaining about how there is almost zero modern music with the coolness and style and abstract innovation of the ‘80s post-punk, goth, and synth-pop I grew up with.
But this dynamic band, Vague Scare, have all the chilly vintage atmosphere and evocative lyrical panache and gloomy, brooding vocals of Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and I totally love them. If you came of age in the Bauhaus/Sisters Of Mercy/Skinny Puppy era and yearn to hear some new sounds that got that classic retro gothic vibe, you will love Vague Scare. They are almost too cool, remind me of every record I love.
New album out right now! I heard the recent Soft Cell/Pet Shop Boys duet and VAGUE SCARE is way better! Check out their Bandcamp here.
The Fallowing - Adam Geoffrey Cole Cornish (Sunstone) The Tracks of the Afterlander - Adam Geoffrey Cole (Ramble Records)
I don't have much taste for what gets defined as “folk”.. Which conjures up the same sorts of things for you as it does for me, really. Marxist Orstrilian dingbats dressed up in “traditional” Oirish garb, wittering out stuff which all sounds a bit too twee and cliched, while bunging on a nasally twinge and waxing lyrical about a lifestyle they're only really familiar with through reading about it (and possibly a holiday in the Auld Coontry when they were 11). Oh, and bags of make-believe wailing humility.