Pyongyang Kaengsaeng! - The Dry Retch (Stalingrad)
The UK owes the world an enduring apology for afflicting it with insipid shit like Robbie Williams, but there are signs of redemption if you look hard. You’ll find it seeping out of the cracks in footpaths in big cities outside London, where high-energy outsider bands like The Hip Priests (Nottingham) and Black Bombers (Birmingham) hold the line. From one such dark fissure in Liverpool comes The Dry Retch.
You’ll know the back-story if you saw our recent review of their Stooges-obsessed “A Kick in the Gulags” EP. “Pyongyang Kaengsaeng!” (allegedly Korean for “really shitty car” - would Little Rocket Man lie?) is their latest album - and it was launched on the undercard of a 2020 Brian James Q and A in Nottingham, no less. If tender balladry is your thing, look away, now.
Not content to wait for a Record Store Day stifled by Coronavirus disruption, the Hoodoo Gurus will release their new single in limited edition, vinyl form.
"Answered Prayers" is out on June 12, along with an expanded, digital edition of their 2004 album "Mach Schau" combining tracks from the Australian and US editions in a new 16-song running order.
"Answered Prayers" is already available digitally and is the first "new" music from the band in 10 years - not counting 2014's "Gravy Train", a freshly-recorded EP of lost tracks from the band's early days with former members.
“Someday soon, will you tell us when it’s time to play for you?” asks iconoclastic Australian music legend Ron S. Peno, towards the nd of “See You When I’m Looking At You”, the nearly nine-minute long "chain" song from Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission and friends and released this week.
It’s a question that many artists hope will soon be answered, and one of many telling moments in an epic song, sung and worded by a cross-generational selection of some of Australia’s finest singer-songwriters in COVID-19 isolation.
Conceived by Thomas – the ARIA-winning singer-songwriter of Weddings Parties Anything – in April, “See You When I’m Looking At You” began life when Mick wrote a verse and a chorus while isolating in his Melbourne backyard.
Legendary British rock and roll group The Godfathers will release a new double A side single - "I’m Not Your Slave" b/w "Wild And Free" - on June 17 to celebrate the 35th anniversary since the band’s formation.
Both tracks were recorded immediately prior to the Coronavirus lockdown in the UK and although composed late last year, strike a chord with current events. Sole surviving original member Peter Coyne describes them as “truly exciting, state of the art rock and roll”.
Following an acrimonious split with the last line-up, frontman Coyne is joined by guitarist Richie Simpson and drummer Billy Duncanson (both previously in Heavy Drapes and Baby’s Got A Gun), bass player Jon Priestley from iconic punk band The Damned and guitarist Wayne Vermaak.
The Godfathers - famed for their primal rock sound with songs like "Birth School Work Death", "I Want Everything" and "Unreal World", a mob inspired image and explosive live concerts - will resume touring in 2021 to promote a new studio album.
The single is available in limited edition, seven-inch vinyl single and limited edition CD that features the two numbers, plus demo versions of both songs unavailable in any other format. Pre-orders here.
Howlin’ Threads - Howlin’ Threads (Meinshaft Records)
The ability of rock and roll bands to shed limbs that regenerate themselves is a thing of eternal wonder. From the The Undermines, out of Canberra - and many years prior, The Fools, from Newcastle - spring Howlin’ Threads, a no-nonsense guitar band from the Wollongong and Canberra regions, packing a self-titled debut EP.
These “Howlin’ Threads” are yet to play a show - they were supposed to debut in June in Wollongong before The ‘Rona had other ideas - but clearly have their shit together in the studio. Their music ticks boxes familiar to any I-94 Bar patron. It’s flashing back to high-energy Sydney, circa the late ‘80s with nods to all the usual suspects, but a notch above the imitators that abounded back then.
The original Dictators.
Hugely influential pre-punk pathfinders the Dictators are reforming to record and possibly play. But it will be without longtime vocalist Handsome Dick Manitoba, with the 'Tators reverting to their original configuration.
Bassist-vocalist Andy Shernoff confirmed the move today, saying he and guitarists Ross The Boss and Top Ten would re-convene with ex-Blue Oyster Cult member Albert Bouchard on drums. Shernoff, the songwriting member of the Dictators, said the line-up would soon be "recording a few tunes to feel things out".
A Kick in the Gulags - The Dry Retch (Stalingrad Records)
A six-song EP with five of the tracks being Stooges songs never committed to tape in a studio? What are we gonna say if they're done well?
The Dry Retch come from Liverpool in the UK and they ain’t The Beatles. They are two guitars, a kicking engine room and a truckload of dirt. They are committed Stooge-ophiles (a previous line-up released an EP with the title “Plays The Stooges”.)
Principal member John Retch (vocal and guitar) grew up in Australia where he was exposed to high-energy sounds. He played in a stack of local UK bands and this 2019 EP revived The Dry Retch with a tweaked line-up. Stooges apart, the band's other listed influences are Chrome Cranks, The MC5, Mudhoney, Radio Birdman, Destroy All Monsters, Thee Hypnotics, Cosmic Psychos, the New York Dolls and the Brian James Gang. As Sir Les Paterson would say: "Are you following me, son?"
West Coast Highway Cosmic - Datura4 (Alive Natural Sound)
From the opening title track, Datura4 roars into life like a modern-day Steppenwolf. They’re all Hammond organ, vintage synths and a rock band, intent on making a statement.
Datura4 employ a massive wall of sound that departs from Dom Mariani's preferred '60s space into late '60s-early '70s, Deep Purple shtick - without the overindulgence of Ritchie Blackmore. Datura4 still displays its garage roots, but is a blend of Arizona desert rock a la early Alice Cooper... albeit updated with modern sounds.
Friends of the late Richard Lane (The Painkillers, ex-The Stems, The On and Ons, Rosebuds and The Chevelles) have rallied to raise money for his family with a fund-raiser now active on Go Fund Me.
Tributes are pouring into the page for the talented musician from Fremantle who passed away the weekend before last.
The founding member of The Stems ran a local music school and was heavily involved with his community. He is survived by his wife Cathy and daughter Penny.
You can leave your message and donation here.