Always the Bridegroom – John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong (Foghorn)
This 1987 album was a much-maligned chapter in Sydney artist John Kennedy’s back pages. For a few understandable reasons. The first long-player for Kennedy and his then-band, Love Gone Wrong, got a mixed critical reaction. Its sonic character rankled the band leader, and it presaged the line-up’s dissolution.
The story’s all there in Kennedy’s breezy liner notes (“The Album That Killed My Career”) and a few things stick out: The band was a relatively new line-up and lacked confidence. They’d tried too hard in preceding demo sessions that failed to raise interest from major labels, and the studio approach for the album’s recording killed any prospect of a vibe by using a click track to guide drummer Vince Sheehan.
Trust me on this if you haven’t heard the evidence first-hand: Sonny Vincent’s music punches harder than just about anyone else in the same space.
When those histories of New York punk are written, he and his late-’70s band Testors are never mentioned. Testors didn’t play well with others, in the “industry” sense, and never climbed off the lower rungs of the Max’s-CBGB ladder. History gets written by the few and it’s the way that Vincent has kept the torch of dirty, street-level, rock and roll burning since that really deserves credit.
For 40 years, Sonny’s been punk rock’s ultimate networker, working with members of The Damned, the Stooges, MC5, the Velvet Underground, The Replacements, Dead Boys and too many more to count, always with a vision that’s equal parts visceral power and lingering melody.
After releasing two digital singles “Drone” and “Tape Hiss”, high-energy collective Cousin Betty release a debut EP, “LEFT” via Golden Robot Records on March 26.
Cousin Betty is the brainchild of Australia’s Damien Stofka a guitarist/songwriter, who has created riffs and written songs for Molten Universe, Death Mattel, LITTER and various other projects for the last 15 years.
The forever prolific Ed Kuepper is celebrating 45 years as a recording artist with three retrospective releases spanning a large chunk of his post-Saints musical output.
“Ed Kuepper - Singles ’86 ‘ ’96” will compile every solo A side from that period on vinyl and CDs, the latter format featuring a bonus disc of B sides and obscurities. Surprisingly, it’s Kuepper’s first collection of 45s and CD singles.
“Golden Days // When Giants Walked the Earth” will be a vinyl collection of Kuepper’s immediate post-Saints band, Laughing Clowns, who pushed the boundaries not just of conventional music but of the post-punk world. The classic “Eternally Yours” is included, as are the equally worthy “Everything That Flies”, “Holy Joe” and more.
“The Aints! Live at The Bowlo” will be a vinyl version of the 2018 show by Kuepper’s Saints-inspired The Aints! only previously available in digital format.
There was a moment during last year’s Victorian lockdown, probably early September when shit was at its worst. The bleakness of the climate - cold, grey and crappy, in the way that Melbourne does it - matched the desolation of public spirit, provoking in me a desire for old school punk rock attitude and resistance.
Not resistance in the form of conspiratorial wingnuttery nor the specious proclamations of human rights and freedom imported from a dying empire, but just anything resembling a deviation from the obsequious adherence, self-adorned piety and moronic retributive attitude which seemed to have descended upon the state.
Sitting out in my shed one Saturday night I decided to play the angriest records I could find in my collection – Bikini Kill, Dead Kennedys, Bits of Shit, DOA, Kill Rock Stars compilations, Crush, X. It didn’t make any difference, really, but it was cathartic and energising.
Another collection of Joe Strummer material hits the market on March 26, this time from major label BMG. “ASSEMBLY” follows 2018’s “Joe Strummer 001” and showcases what the label calls “carefully curated singles, fan favourites, and archival rarities from the Strummer solo catalogue”.
The selection includes “Coma Girl,” “Johnny Appleseed,” and “Yalla Yalla” (with The Mescaleros) to his iconic rendition of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and soundtrack contributions like “Love Kills” (from the 1986 film, “Sid and Nancy”.)
The 16-track compilation features three previously unreleased versions of classic Clash tracks, including the never-before-heard “Junco Partner (Acoustic)” and electrifying live performances of “Rudie Can’t Fail” and “I Fought The Law”, the latter two recorded by JoeStrummer and the Mescaleros at London’s Brixton Academy on November 24, 2001. The collection includes exclusive liner notes by lifelong Strummer fan, Jakob Dylan.
Los Angeles-via-Detroit underground punk legends The Dogs have unleashed a new digital single “Under The Coast” that was co-written with and features fellow rock ‘n’ roller Frank Meyer (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs,James Williamson & The Pink Hearts) on guest vocals and guitar.
The socially conscious, topical song is available now through Chicanery Chick Records/Die Laughing Records on all digital formats, and deals with the chaos and dissonance of modern times.
Everything is Radiant Between The Hates By Rich Ferguson (Moon Tide Press)
Rich Ferguson is the best poet in the world, if you ask me. All his words have medicinal properties; they are magic spells and healing incantations. If you love John Cooper Clarke or Lydia Lunch, Exene, Nikki Giovanni, John Trudell or Tupac, you'll probably love Rich Ferguson, too.
If you are lonesome, isolated, alienated, suffering, worried, exiled, dry-drunk, evicted, locked-down, locked-out, tripled masked and permanently veiled in black lace mourning, abandoned, back-stabbed, betrayed, robbed, in grief, forlorn or melancholy, remember there is power in the word.
"Everything Is Radiant Between The Hates" is my newest sidekick, imaginary friend, silver bullet, rosary, garlic and crucifix, force field and holy water, pepper spray and hip-flask, trusty shank and pimp-stick, Marlboro Reds, harmonica, Roy Rogers holster, double secret fan club only secret decoder ring, 45 spindle, miniature spy camera, flashlight, utility-knife and I-phone. Flash Gordon spacegun. Secret scrolls, wobbly jukebox at the last greasy spoon in town. It's probably the most rocknroll artifact I've unearthed since the Humpers from Long Beach released that CD, "Positively Sick On Fourth Street", like 25 years ago.
If you're like me, you’re used to carryin' nothin, mighta spent most of your life empty pocketed, no watch, no wallet, no keys, no credit card, no proper identification, or name-tag, or money-clip, but once you get this book in your hands, you'll probably keep carrying it around with you. It's become essential to my sense of wellbeing, like a guitar slide, or bottle opener, Brill Cream and unbreakable comb. You won't leave home without it.
It's a Greyhound ticket to another time. Drinks for free. Mirrored sunglasses. Feather earring. The gospel truth confirming all the good ghosts you got floatin' around inside your traumatized skull. Like a rhinestone horseshoe, a Best Western ashtray, a universal remote, or black cat bone. It's like Pete Seeger's Wobblies songbooks. You better get a copy, now. Also look for "8th & Agony" (Punk Hostage Press).
Born in the Suburbs – Suburban Urchins (Aeroplane Records)
The concept of “let’s get the band back together” isn’t new. Not by any stretch. And the thought of yet another obscure ‘80s garage rock crew reassembling and trumpeting how good they were/are doesn’t automatically fill anyone with confidence.
Of course, the proof of the pudding is always in the eating. If only every band’s midlife crisis sounded this good.
Suburban Urchins were a mid-‘80s band from Hobart, the epicentre of a small but fevered Tasmanian underground music scene that notably spawned The Philisteins, with whom they shared stages.