Count To Ten - Jukebox Zeroes (Rankoutsider Records)

count to tenYou know these guys, even if you haven’t heard their music. They come from Philadelphia but they belong on New York City’s Lower East Side, circa the early 1980s. That puts them on the side of the good people and we’d be fucked without their like.

This is the second album in a career of more than a decade (there are three EPs scattered in there along the way) and none of it diverges from Jukebox Zeros’ stock-in-trade. Which is to say that they play it hard and fast and very much in the style of the Heartbreakers, the Dead Boys (especially), the Dictators, Kevin K, Sonny Vincent and dozens of others who were either there when it counted or dearly wish they had been.

Live dates to mark Herr Kuepper's 50th

Four decades after the release of his first record, the iconic Australian classic ''(I'm) Stranded'' by The Saints, Ed Kuepper returns with an album that may well be considered a high point in his lengthy and uncompromising career.

Recorded over three days in August at Gasworks Studio, Brisbane ''Lost Cities'' is Kuepper's 50th release (excluding compilations) and is on his own Prince Melon Records label. It is Ed’s first entirely solo and electric release, a format Herr Kuepper likes to refer to as Solo Orchestral.

Peter Black brings you a song a day

blackie song a dayWould you buy a song a day from this man?

Peter "Blackie" Black, notably of the Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superbly, has always done things differently. He’s taking his own path again as a solo artist, releasing a song a day via his Bandcamp site Subscribe to Peter Black Solo.

Why, you ask?? When we asked him, after scrunching his face for a few minutes, his reply was: "Why not!"

The Complete Matrix Tapes - The Velvet Underground (Universal)

complete matrixIt seems totally ridiculous to tell you how important the Velvet Underground were. What do you think I am? The god damn professor of punk? I know there are some squares who blew in too late but if you haven’t made this particular scene by now, you won’t be reading this. Keep sucking on that caffeine free soy latte and tell me reading about music is so 20th Century.

I’m writing this review for those who want to know why they should fork out big bucks for this top shelf item, a box of four CDs. Those who drink out of jars and buy LPs ironically need not apply. For those people, it’s time to start feeding a new habit. Shave off that frigging beard. Go out and listen to these CDs, one through four. Take some drugs. Bad drugs.

The Dictators: Go Girl Crazy! 40th Anniversary Reissue - The Dictators (Sony)

go girl crazyThis album did not change my life. It affirmed it. When I was a pre-teen I was way into Pro Wrestling. That translated to automatic retard status among peers and adults. After all, it was fake, only an idiot would be so into it. And having Slade as my favorite band was not earning me any coolness points at school either.

And then, first darned rock mag I ever bought - either Circus or Circus Raves - there was a review by one Gordon Fletcher of this now-classic. Man, it sounded like everything I was looking for. I got the LP right away and was blown away by everything about it.

Most especially the songs of course, but also the graphics - just like my wrestling mags - and the fact that not only did they have wrestling promos on the record, they knew who Verne Gagne and Dick The Bruiser were. They really knew their stuff! Plus, like me, they were Jews from NYC.

Louder Than Love - The Grande Ballroom Story

louder than love coverSeismic changes in music don’t occur spontaneously. They’re usually a result of people unwittingly being in the right place at the right time, running into a catalyst and stumbling over a big stockpile of serendipity.

Does anyone think CBGB would have been anything more than the source of dogshit on the soles of a few Bowery bums’ shoes if Hilly Krystal hadn’t been conned by a supposed bluegrass band into giving live music a try?

How quickly would the Sex Pistols have fizzled out if Queen hadn’t cancelled on Bill Grundy at the last minute, presumably so Freddy could get his nails done? McLaren had no more planned the TV outburst that propelled his band to infamy as Steve Jones had sworn off the booze.

In 1966, a former dance hall on the shady side of Detroit called The Grande Ballroom became both a focal point for the counter culture and a scene. It attracted and generated a strain of high-energy, blue collar rock and roll, the likes of which have been seen rarely anywhere else. It came into being through good management, but also through incredible luck.

Till Death Do Us Party - Levitating Churches (self released)

till death do us partyThe catchcry “No Squares Or Hippies” re-appears on the LP’s sleeve and it’s as apt as the “Play Loud” instruction on the back cover. Levitating Churches deal in a jagged, jarring blend of psych blues and hard rock on their second, vinyl only long player. Lovers of the flute or banjo need to seek their kicks elsewhere.

A little less psych and more straight-ahead than its predecessor “Levitating Churches”, “Till Death..” shows a band whose feet remain planted firmly in the garage scene of the late ‘60s. If these guys dig Roky more than Iggy and that’s a truism rather than a criticism.

Archie and the Bunkers – Archie and the Bunkers (Dirty Water)

archie bunkersLet’s get it out of the way, up front. The two members of Archie and The Bunkers are teenage brothers from Cleveland, Ohio, who live with their parents. You need to know because media types will get hung up on that fact if and when these kids get better known.

That neither 17-year-old Emmett (on drums and vocals) or 14-year-old Cullen (organ and vocals) O'Connor is old enough to ask for booze on their backstage rider doesn’t matter. Not a jot. They pump out simple, and simply good, stripped-back punk sounds that are bereft of bullshit.

Tougher Pucker - Shandy (Contra Records/Longshot Music)

tough puckersIt's hearsay but I’ve got this on good authority: Being on the end of a kicking from one of Australia’s Sharpie gangs at the end off the ‘60s or start of the ‘70s was never have been as much fun as going to a show by Brisbane band Shandy.

For the uninitiated, a shandy is an Australian beer with lemonade added. Truly a relic of the ‘60s and, personally, there’s no reason to commit a crime like this unless your grandmother is really insistent and has a doctor’s certificate to prove she’s dying from thirst. Shandy, the band, on the other hand is less offensive by a factor of double figures. Shandy rocks.

The Sharps were a uniquely Australian brand of street gang that roamed the suburbs of Sydney and especially Melbourne 50 years ago. They liked their music raw and guitar-infested. Glam and boogie were the go. You can read more about it in this review of "When Sharpies Rules, the landmark compilation that came out in 2015.

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