Undercover: Live in China – The Boys (Action Records)

undercover in chinaThe Boys rode the original wave of UK punk in the ‘70s, missed the crest and ended up in the shallows; it wasn’t their fault. They suffered from poor distribution after signing to a second-order record label, but in the end they were far too musical to be lumped in with most of their contemporaries.

The Boys - specifically singer-guitarist Matt Dangerfield - had their origins in England’s most celebrated non-functioning band, the London SS, whose ranks included Mick Jones (later of The Clash) and Tony James (who went on to Generation X.) Both their subsequent outfits and the Sex Pistols made their first recordings in Dangerfield’s rented Maid Vale basement. Talk about being at the scene of the crime. Casino Steel did time in a glam band the Hollywood Brats who almost out-pouted the Dolls.

Many Ways in…One Way Out - Fraudband (Kasumuen Records)

fraudbandFuckin’ five bottle feedback and dronecrush alert. Among other things.

Melbourne band Fraudband are seriously determined to get your attention. “Many Ways in…” has a great cover, good packaging, and … ah, yeah. The songs. Five bottles, Barman, did I mention..?

“Many Ways in…” is a re-recording of Fraudband’s first two EPs, neither of which I knew existed until I saw the press release. More fool me. Loki Lockwood is the dread at the production controls because he mixed them live, loved them and put himself forward.

Transmission – The Volcanics (Citadel)

volcanics transmissionThis one’s an excuse for a trite throwaway line like: “Rock is back”, right? Because that’s what a mainstream music publication would do. Well, fuck that. You can use the fingers of a one-armed man to count the number of Aussie music mags that would give “Transmission” anything more than lip service - and you’d still have digits left over. The Volcanics deserve better than that.

This Perth band has been doing the hard rock thing since the early half of last decade - mostly in and around their hometown (although they're on their way to Europe soon.) There’s only one man standing from the original line-up (that’d be singer Johnny Phatouros) but the vision has been consistent throughout. They’re all about delivering straight-up, high-energy rock and roll that goes for the throat. Simple in theory but not easy to pull off without coming off like a re-heated and inferior version of your influences. Which “Transmission” is not.

Catch Leadfinger and The Saloon Daddies...on the quiet

LeadfingerSoloHey Sydney: you don't wanna miss rock royalty, Stewart 'Leadfinger' Cunningham in rare solo mode (playing both six and 12-string acoustic guitars) at the Midnight Special in Newtown on Sunday, October 18.

Leadfinger's history speaks for itself - The Proton Energy Pills, Brother Brick, Asteroid B612, Challenger 7, The Yes Men - and the opportunities to see him this stripped back and intimate are few and far between.

Joining him are acoustic alt-country punks, The Saloon Daddies. Entry is free and it's an early start at 6pm.

Till The End Of The Road - Papa Pilko and The Binrats (Off The Hip)

papa pilkoThere was a time when everybody wanted to be in the Cramps and Voodoobilly was a thing. As is the nature of trends, some excelled and many bands were terrible at it. Generally speaking, harking back to rock and roll’s earliest roots (which is all the Cramps were doing in their own extreme way) was a good thing to do because it opened up so many ears.

It’s all in the beat and although Papa Pilko and The Binrats want to bury themselves deep in a swamp they sound like they’ve washed up on the shores of Lake Michigan, somewhere near the Windy City. Not that this is a bad thing. Chicago Blues is cool to revel in and this Sydney six-piece immerse themselves deep. Remember, it’s all just labels anyway and there’s even a lashing of outlaw country stirred into the musical mix.

Unbelievably Bad - Issues 15 and 16

ub 16There’s always something to recommend Unbelievably Bad even if their tastes extend to the extreme end of the cultural scale (black metal, splatter movies, hardcore) compared to your average, probably older, I-94 Bar reader.

There’s not much in the ranting of Cannibal Corpse’s ex-frontman Chris Barnes or the chick from the so pretentious Circle Pit to trouble me, but on the other hand a lengthy chat with Ian Cunningham from Birdman fans The Chosen Few is alway going to be a worthy read. Issue 16 is a cracker with the other stand-out an interview with Ian “Bobsy” Millar, the last surviving link to Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls. It’s also timely with the “When Sharpies Ruled” compilation recently dropping.

Anytime James - Anytime James (self released)

anytimejames coverHere’s a record that’s as unassuming as an undercover cop with agoraphobia in a grand final football crowd. You’ll only find a bare bones mention of it on the Internet because it buries rather than hides its bushel under a tree, but it’s superbly played and overflowing with easy rocking charm.

Anytime James is led by Michael Gibbons, once a member of Asteroid B612’s guitar arsenal in the early ‘90s and now living on the New South Wales Far North Coast. That’s about as far removed as you can get from the hard rocking pubs of Sydney’s northern beaches of 15 years ago, but then Gibbons is drawing inspiration from a wellspring that runs deeper than just Sydney via Detroit.

Et Mourir de Plaisir - Bob Short (Full On Noise)

bob short lp"This album is dedicated to a small club: the squatters of Campbell Buildings in 1979/80. Every year our numbers get fewer but the story lives on," writes Bob Short on the LP cover.

Yeah. Just like the 100 Club and the Sex Pistols, occupants of the Campbell Buildings in London now number in their mythological thousands.

Yeah right. Some pasts attract wanna-be’s like flying bugs to apricot jam, others … well, let’s just say you’d give some pasts a wide berth.

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