“Feed The Dog” b/w “Coming Back” – Bored! (Fantastic Mess Records)
Before the recent passing of principal member Dave Thomas, Bored! had probably faded somewhat from the collective underground music consciousness.
There was a collection of live material out on Spanish label Bang! that did address that but, being a mail order thing, it was probably only heard by diehard Australian fans. This posthumous, limited-edition single from committed boutique label Fantastic Mess rights this wrong and is a fine tribute to Dave.
Studio work: Jqmes Williamson and Deniz Tek. Franklin Avery photo.
It’s a back to basics, guitar album but “Two To One”, the joint effort from James Williamson (Iggy & the Stooges) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman), had a complicated gestation that birthed a record in the nick of time.
Commissioned by Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records a year out from its planned release, most of its 11 songs were worked up in face-to-face sessions in Hawaii, where Tek now lives and Williamson spends half his year at his vacation home.
After Williamson went back to his home in San Francisco, the songs were refined via file sharing before Tek flew to the mainland in December last year for rehearsals and a recording session for the basic tracks at Studio D in Sausalito, California.
Sessions for vocal tracking and guitar overdubs followed on both sides of the Pacific. The record was mixed and about to be mastered when the first ripples of the COVID-19 pandemic became a global tidal wave.
Reptilian Overlord - The Casanovas (Rubber Records)
Melbourne's hard-rocking Casanovas have released their fourth album, “Reptilian Overlord”, and it does not disappoint. It just rocks from start to finish.
I must admit I've seen The Casanovas many times over the years with varying line-ups. The constant, however, is the guitar and vocals of the man who was always destined to be a rock star: Tommy Boyce. Honestly, see this man play live and tell me I’m wrong.
Paul Kelly: The Man, The Music And The Life In Between (Hachette Australia)
By Stuart Coupe
“I hear you like music. Do you like Paul Kelly? I’ve just been reading his autobiography, "How to Make Gravy". I love his music. Always have.”
It was an innocuous and inoffensive simple conversation starter one Sunday afternoon, uttered by a friend of my wife’s. To the extent there was question in there, it was almost opaque, and more likely rhetorical. Everyone likes Paul Kelly. How could anyone not like Paul Kelly? As it was, I fumbled around for an answer, and mumbled something about not having had the chance to listen to any of his music for a while.
It wasn’t as if I didn’t like Paul Kelly’s music. I’d first heard and seen him back in the early 1980s on Countdown with his then-band, The Dots. A few years later Kelly appeared again, this time with a new band, the Coloured Girls, and a batch of songs that would become staples of commercial radio playlists: "To Her Door", "Darling It Hurts", "From St Kilda to King’s Cross" and "Before Too Long".
Do You Remember - The Lincolns (Trater Records)
Howlin' Threads - Howlin' Threads (Meinschaft Records)
Astral Flight - Astral Flight (Iceage Productions)
Nervous Breakdown - Destination Lonely (Voodoo Rhythm)
I've invented a new meaning for a word! Surely, with all the incredibly stupid behaviour rotating about COVID-19, surely there is actually a state of being "covid": "to behave in an irrational, impatient and/or rude manner in response to something not understood'.
You can have "coviddery", too, and "covidacious", if you like; "covidacious" would have to mean that the coviddery behaviour also indicates that they are a Grade A, thick-as-pigshit, fuckstick. But, what if the behaviour isn't quite dreadful enough to be called "covid"? Well, you might call their carry-on "SARSpicious".
Alright, I might have blown it with that last one. Still, these jerks should wear identifying caps, or badges, or something.
Beauty In The Ordinary - Astrid Munday (Behind the Beat)
Catharsis through music is not new but Astrid Munday manages to weave a dignified and reflective joy into “Beauty in the Ordinary”, a tribute to her departed husband Tony Cohen.
It’s been 14 years since her last album and three since the passing of Cohen, one of the greatest producer/engineers to occupy an Australian studio in the last four decades. If you’ve heard an album by the Beasts of Bourbon, Hunters & Collectors, The Go-Betweens, The Cruel Sea, Dave Graney, Kim Salmon, the Birthday Party or the Blackeyed Susans, chances are that Cohen had a hand in it.
One of the most important people to come out of Perth's music scene since the 1970s is Dave Faulkner. Whether he’s playing punk, pop or electro music, he's always trying to create something new and exciting. The Hoodoo Gurus’ latest single “Hung Out To Dry” is a perfect example.
Faulkner picks a target in the current US President, someone who has been a punching bag for many people, and sticks it to him in a fresh and personal manner.
As well as the new Gurus single, Faulker's reconstituted former band The Victims had their first release in many moons this year. It was a physical EP featuring recordings of four songs (“Charlie”, “Horror Smash”, “I Wanna Be With You” and “Everynite”) that were written, but never recorded, when the legendary band formed in Perth in the 1970s.
The re-born Victims reunites Dave with original member James Baker and new recruit, the great Ray Ahn of the Hard Ons, who give a slightly modern touch to some classic tunes that were birthed at the dawn of punk rock.
Dave spoke to me via Zoom in Sydney where he tells me he is fresh from mastering the next Gurus single.
45th Anniversary - Live In London - Blue Oyster Cult (Frontiers Music Srl)
To fully appreciate the epiphany that the cognoscenti (and especially the unwitting) experienced on their first listen of the debut album by Blue Öyster Cult, one has to remember the turgid and bleak musical landscape of 1972.
The top artists of that year are Roberta Flack, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Don McLean, Nilsson, and Sammy Davis Jr. Sure, Chuck Berry is in the charts, but that’s with “My Ding-a-Ling”. (If you bought the single, you haven’t listened to it since then.)