Blimey. You wait years for a great new British punk band to appear, then two arrive at once. Hot on the heels of the scorching Heavy Drapes debut EP, New York’s Tarbeach Records drops another essential release by a Scottish punk band.
Reaction first formed in Airdrie, Lanarkshire at the tail-end of the original UK punk explosion and embarked on a chaotic career trajectory that embraced drunken gigs, mayhem and (for at least one band member), some serious scrapes with the law. The only thing Reaction didn’t do was record any songs.
Well, this was a totally wonderful surprise.
I found this in a record shop a few weeks back and it hasn’t left my player. If this is only a sample of what this band are like live, I need to see them. Full-on, credible lyrics (there’s a lyric sheet) and delivery, the kind of scathing pop the likes of Rage think denotes punk, Drexler are one of my finds of the year.
Melbourne’s Drexler call themselves punks but this little EP is more of a powerpop a beauty, positively rippling with clever riffs, fast guitar and a berko rhythm section. Remember when punks had choruses and you could bellow along? They got them.
No, I’ve never heard of them either. Dirty Streets are an assured, big sounding, thumping rock outfit from Memphis whose style of music I normally run a mile from. But “White Horse” is a compelling listen, if you can manage it in between bopping around the room.
See, there’s a sense of joy and excitement pouring out of Dirty Streets. They love playing, and there’s a real freshness to them. The production, recording, mixing and mastering is damn fine, too. It’s really up-front and vivid.
Back in the actual ’70s I think I was well and truly horrified by many of the bands everyone else seemed to love; that Dirty Streets can get me to revisit this terrain, and have me interested enough to want to hear more is high praise from this grumpy old goat. Perhaps it was just that I kept hearing the plod-plod of it all, the absurd pompous prattery more clearly than those around me …
This is a mind-blowing album on several fronts.
Firstly, because Tamam Shud formed almost 50 years ago: and could be last Australian band still standing from the ‘60s (certainly from the alternative and underground.) I cannot think of anyone else. The album features two of the founding members, Lindsay Bjerre (vocals and guitar) and Peter Baron (bass) from 1967; and two more members who were there four years later, in Tim Gaze (guitar) and Nigel MaCara (drums) from the ”Morning of the Earth” soundtrack era.
Historically, Tamam Shud was the first Australian band to put out a an album full of original compositions when “Evolution” was released late in 1968: There is not one Australian band that I can think of with original members, from their heyday; that has come up with a new album nearly 50 years later so the release of this on vinyl is an historical event.
What a strange, fuzz-drenched trip this boy-girl duo from Naples in Italy take us on. The Devils are as basic as rock and roll comes, playing music that’s stripped barer than a Christmas leg ham in a tankful of piranha.
The story goes that Voodoo Rhythm honcho Beat-Man was in the same French studio as The Devils when Jim Diamond was recording this, their first album. It was love at first listen and Beat-Man had a pen and a contract in their hands quicker than you can say: “Fuck me, that shit sounds distorted.”
Reviewers still have a hard life, don’t they? All those free CDs and free gigs and backstage perks. Not this little black duck. The free CDs arrive and, as this ain’t the day job, they bank up a tad. Because I review music because I love it, if La Bastard were merely playing soft-core mimicry to a “classic” period, with that mushy, vacant intent, you wouldn’t be reading this.
I’ve listened to “Ooh La La Bastard” (“surf-rock party animals from Melbourne, Australia!” the back cover announces) several times now. Loved it more, each time. The front cover is a rather brilliant modern pastiche of ‘50s LP artwork which makes everyone look peculiar, French, and spectacularly jaded. Lluis Fuzzhound must be some sort of genius at large. Let’s just say La Bastard live a full life, and lay it down on the disc.
One thing about being a reviewer, apart from the teetering pile of CDs getting in the way of real life, is that you encounter bands you probably would never go near.
La Bastard is such a great name for a band that, if you were schlepping past a pub on the way to nowhere in particular (as so many of us are) and you saw that a band called La Bastard were playing, you’d stop dead, turn and walk right in. No question. If you instead saw an Aussie band named “Infinity Broke”, you probably wouldn’t.
Iggy and Jim Jarmusch at a media conferecde in Cannes.
“Gimme Danger” is not a great movie. It is flawed.
That said, no-one expected the Citizen Kane of rock documentaries. This was a cut about the MTV Iggy doco that you can see online for free, but was mixed in with arty pretensions.
“Gimme Danger” is screening at major film festivals around the world. Tonight (June 17) it is the turn of the State Theatre and the Sydney International Film Festival. The audience is evenly split between film people who might not have heard of the Stooges and are there to judge a film on its filmmaking merits, or hardcore rock pigs who want be blasted with Stooges music.
It's becoming increasingly obvious that some people just can't be given nice things. They've just got to pull them apart because... hell. I don't know what their problem is.
Case in point: Jim Jarmusch's cinematic love letter to the Stooges "Gimme Danger" that screened in Sydney, Australia, last Friday and Sunday nights. A world famous director makes a film about your most favouritst band in the whole wide world and you're going to have a massive sook fest? Why didn't they break out a fucking ouija board and interview all the dead guys?