Here's proof that there is still life in the rockin’ Mid-West. The Muggs come from Detroit and play razor sharp, power-trio blues rock ‘n’ roll that’s grown exponentially over the course of their five albums.
It’s true that The Muggs don’t do much more than mix classic rock (Sabbath, Mountain, Humble Pie and Led Zep) with the blues but, fuck, they do it well. This is a record with bigger balls than King Kong but its heavy thwack is tempered by Fay Wray-like, melodic touches.
It’s album number-seven for Left Lane Cruiser (five on Alive Natural Sound if you count the one they co-recorded with Black Diamond Heavies keyboardist John Wesley Myers) and the sound has evolved to the point where nobody is resting on any laurels.
Left Lane Cruiser were once an amped-up hill country duo playing what they tagged “hillgrass bluebilly”. They kicked out a helluva lot of jams for a two-piece, with fuzz, distortion and a kitchen drawer full of percussion their stock-in-trade. They even lucked out and landed a song on the soundtrack of “Breaking Bad”. Good synchronisation if you can get it.
Their members (both of them) have been on more stages than a ticket collector for Cobb & Co, but playing together as Saloon Daddies is a relatively new experience. So what else does a new-ish Sydney alt.country duo do but jump into a studio to reel off an EP before it all becomes too slick or predictable.
You read right - “Your Horse Has Bolted” is alt.country. What’s it doing in the I-94 Bar? As a sage man once observed: “You can’t live on Detroit rock alone.” It's had quite a few spins in recent weeks and right now it's wedged between a selection of Blue Oyster Cult and the Sonics. Odd bed fellows, for sure, but what’s more, it’s pretty good.
This is only my second venture into reading this series. It’s a great idea; a short little book about your favourite lp; no author gets a second go. There’s over 100 in the series so far, and I want to own about half of them. And I imagine you’ll want a similar number. No Radio Birdman volume yet, nor the Stooges, though there is one on The MC5, and Love, and The Ramones …
So. Madness. You’ve probably heard of them. You may even have a few singles or LPs. Madness resemble a cross-between old-style British music-hall and pub entertainment. Although they are described as a ska act, well … kind of. They’re more like a gang of British lads out for fun and games. Like glam without the chunky choruses and tinsel, Madness are fun.
Now then. Imagine heading down the pub, wondering how to consider writing a book on a band with several frontmen, assorted musicians and songwriters … it’s more like a couple of gangs stuffed into a sack than a band.
And then, you find yourself next to a quiet, cheerful chap with a slightly cheeky grin and a pint. It’s a crowded pub, and neither of you know anyone, so you end up talking. As you do.
If you’re are in Adelaide on Friday, June 7 then get on down to Fowlers Live where The Mark Of Cain will be performing a very rare live show in benefit of their good friend and original vocalist Rod Archer, aka Big Boss, who is battling cancer.
The Iron Shieks - another former band of Rod's that’s pictured above - will be reforming and rounding out the all-Adelaide bill will be The Plague (reforming for this show only) and Crackling Static Fuzz.
Bring your money with you as there's be merchandise and some special artwork for sale including rarities from the Cosmic Psychos. Attendance numbers will be limited to 500. Tickets are just $25 and available here. The Facebook event is here.
Remember that long lost album by The Fools that we told you about? Sales of a cache of forgotten copies of the long-defunct Newcastle band’s CD album have funded the pressing of a posthumous single.
“Jesus Drives a Sandman” is a two-track CD single dedicated to vocalist John Robertson who took his life back in the ‘90s, also bringing down the curtain on the band. The full story is here.
We’ve been granted a preview of the single and can tell you it’s much in the vein of the music on the “In Heat” album - so that makes it essential.
Brisbane’s off-the-wall garage soul master, Screamin’ Stevie, has dived head-first into the digital world with two name-your-own-price albums, one of originals and the other of cover tunes.
The “Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall” releases are live recordings from October 2014 and are now available via Screamin’s Bandcamp site. They’re being released ahead of a full-blown studio album (probably on vinyl) and a flurry of live shows around Brisbane in May-June.
Heya Bar - Friday May 8
Heya Bar - Friday May 22
Heya Bar - Friday May 29
Greaser - Friday June 19
Ric's Bar - Saturday July 4
You'll find the digital albums and various other Screamin' Stevie releases here.
A quick trawl through the memory banks shows that AC/DC books have figured more prominently on my personal playlist in recent years than almost any others. You’re entitled to ask why.
It’s not that I’m a fan of the band or anything like that. The personal take on them runs along these lines:
Their music is formulaic in a way other “band brands” like the Ramones have never been. Yes, the drummer (Phil Rudd most prominently) swings like the proverbial shithouse door in a cyclone, but there’s not much else doing in the songs apart from well-meshed, chugging riffs. The lyrics were inane (not always a bad thing), the solos predictable (one man’s classic is another man’s so-so), and the whole package was seemingly contrived (songs about venereal disease, schoolboys chucking browneyes) to attrract and repel a certain broad audience. Americans especially took to them in a way they never did with punk.
Frontman Bon Scott had a certain lewd charm but it always seemed that The Powers That Be (that’d be Malcolm and Angus) imposed a certain way of doing things – and god help anyone who wanted to depart from the template.
Adventurous is one thing they have never been but, fuck, they have marketed themselves well.
So why read books about them?
Perth’s powerpop label punching way above its weight, Zero Hour Records, has announced a double CD tribute to Cheap Trick.
The 38-song collection includes music from The Affections, Rob Smith and Danny McCarthy, Plasticsoul and Spike Priggen and is due out on May 22.
Pre-orders get a swag of extras and you can take the plunge here.
You can also pick up dirt cheap stuff from Dom Mariani (his unplugged acoustic album is an underrated gem), Turnaround and a slew of lesser-known acts from the garage-pop underground.