Space Age Blues - Sonics Rendezvous Band (Easy Action)

space age bluesI originally heard this new release in its raw format three years ago now and was surprised by the laidback feel of it….wow, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band playing a front bar pub type of gig to 25 people….how cool to have seen that? I didn’t even know they did that sort of thing

There’s plenty of on/off stage banter, some jamming and tune ups; it was a nice surprise and refreshing to hear a recording of one of my favourite bands playing in a different situation and early on in their development. This recording joined some of the dots in the band’s history (no they didn’t just appear out of nowhere as this blindingly amazing live band – it took years and plenty of gigs) and fleshes these guys out as players.

Neon Angel. A Memoir of a Runaway by Cherie Currie with Tony O’Neill (Harper Collins/Itbooks)

neon angel coverIf medals were given out to musicians who’d somehow survived to succeed in the face of horror, The Runaways would be instant recipients. Cherie Currie’s book is a damn fine read. It’s worth four out of three McGilvrays or whatever iconic ‘70s TV star The Barman uses to denote: cracking r’n’r book. Four out of three: you with me so far?

First, let it be known that we have too many books on ’60s rockers who turn out the same old wan sludge with a smirk and a wink. There are plenty of ’70s and ‘80s rockers who’ve done the same. Once you reach a certain level, you can wet-fart in your audience’s face with impunity and thousands will pay for the privilege.

Step forward and take the bouquets of flowers, Cherie Currie. Tony O’Neill has probably done the horrible typing, editing and transcribing, but Cherie’s story is told with verve, honesty and … yes, more than a tinge of bitterness. Although bitterness is not the prevailing theme; the themes are abuse, self-abuse, self-awareness and basic morality.

For all those who think The Runaways had it sweet, “Neon Angel” will disabuse you of that notion. Cherie’s story is unpleasant and horrific in many ways; and as members of the Blank Generation we can all make a few guesses. But the truth is vile (there were moments where I found myself pointlessly looking away from the page), and beneath all the glam rollercoaster of success was the greedy, ugly industry (personified by Kim Fowley, whose depiction will turn everyone’s stomach. Picture a moist tall slug in a dirty orange jumpsuit, that’s how I’ll always remember him).

Beck in Black - Left Lane Cruiser (Alive Naturalsound)

beck in blackNot a “new” album as such but a compilation of favourite tracks, as nominated by former drummer Brenn "Sausage Paw" Beck, “Beck in Black” hangs together really well. Six of the 14 tracks are previously unreleased and a few others are re-mastered so there’s plenty of value here for glued-on fans.

For the uninitiated, Left Lane Cruiser is a duo (often augmented in the studio) from Indiana who play an eclectic brand of garage-blues with hillbilly and country undertones. Eight records in (four of ‘em on Alive Naturalsounds), they are currently Fredrick “Joe” Evans IV on guitar and vocals and Peter Dio providing the backbeat. When he’s not Left Lane cruising, Joe Evans is getting down and dirty in King Mud with Van Campbell (Black Diamond Heavies) and Parker Griggs (Radio Moscow.) Cos that's what families do.

Live in California - Radio Moscow (Alive Naturalsound)

Radio Moscow Live In CaliforniaIf live albums are often dismissed as the preserve of bands fresh out of ideas and with nothing else to release to hoover more money from their witless and obliging fans, it’s time to re-assess that call. In fact, Radio Moscow’s barn-busting, sprawling opus screams out for a re-think.

Packaged as a double LP or single CD, the all-too-obviously titled “Live in California” was recorded over two nights in 2015 at The Satellite theatre in Los Angeles. It’s the sixth album and first non-studio release by this Iowa psych-power trio who have toured with the likes of Nebula, Pentagram and Joe Bonamassa since 2007.

Melburnians Take The Barn

melburnians2 melburnians3

Cabin Inn, Michael Plater and Tom Redwood at The Barn near Adelaide. It’s up the hill on the unpaved road, dodge two donkeys and a sot in a ute, down the hill and round the bend and there you are. Just follow the signs.

Of course, I’m kidding a little about how to get to Aldgate’s The Barn. There might not have been quite as many donkeys, for example. But it was an adventure, since none of us had been there before.

The Barn is a combination of things, and it works surprisingly well. Rather like the Wheatsheaf Hotel but just outside of the city, it’s an artist’s space (to five artists, it seems) as well as a gallery/learning centre/wine hall which serves decent grub. And they’ve been having music on.

The day a Rambling Man touched down in Tulsa

les dudek live

I was taken aback to learn that Les Dudek was booked to play a club date here in Tulsa. Being familiar with his work from years ago, it was a pleasant surprise.

Mr. Dudek recorded a number of albums for Columbia Records back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In addition, he has worked as a session musician for the Steve MIller Band, Boz Scaggs, and many others. He was also involved with Dickie Betts and the Allman Brothers. writing and playing on their "Brothers and Sisters" album but not receiving any credit. He plays on their major hit "Ramblin' Man", playing harmony guitar on that song with Betts.

Friday Night Heroes - Leadfinger (Conquest of Noise)

friday night heroesErm, Barman..? Five Rolling Rocks in your review for this which follows below? I beg to differ. Seven bottles.

The Barman made the rules up, and he’s scrupulous about playing by them. Reflects well on him. Me, I don’t have the time or inclination to give shit reviews to shit music; if “Friday Night Heroes” didn’t cut it, I wouldn’t review it. A 3 or 4 means the LP is either interesting and promising at the very least, 4 means its very good. Five bottles means that this a damn fine LP.

Today, Leadfinger merit a much greater score because first, these songs are songs which will last, and which will become like old friends, and therefore go higher in our esteem, and second, well, truth is I can’t stop playing the bloody thing. The other rather remarkable thing is that, in context with the rest of the band’s output, “Friday Night Heroes” stands out.

Accelerator - Reaction (Tarbeach Records)

Accelerator album coverBlimey. 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.

Drexler - Drexler (One Punch Records)

drexlerWell, 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.

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