Excuse us for being excited but cowpunk kings The Johnnys play their first Sydney show since February 2019 at Sydney's Marrickville Bowling Club this Saturday night with the two-headed raunch machine that is White Knuckle Fever and country-rockiers Broham (including former Vanilla Chainsaws frontman Simon Chainsaw.) It's an I-94 Bar show and tickets are here.
Lachlan Valley Dirt – Joeys Coop (Citadel)
Following John Ventura’s pre-release review of the album that appears below is almost redundant, but let’s have a shot now that the record has undergone repeated listening.
It would be lazy to say that if you grew up with the underground sounds of Australia in the 1980s then you need “Lachlan Valley Dirt”. Of course you do - but the appeal deserves to be much broader.
This is a world-class “grown up rock” record – and that label is both a term of endearment and a reflection on the absolute dross that passes for most popular music these days.
What may be the final word in posthumous Stooges recordings for the foreseeable future is looming on UK label Easy Action and it’s a doozy.
Firstly, “A Fire of Life” is a double CD or LP collection compiling 2006 and 2003 live recording by the Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Watt line-up in Sydney and New Orleans respectively, coupled with high quality basement demos of tracks that would appear on “The Weirdness” and an in-store appearance.
It will be rounded off with 11 tracks from the legendary stripped back appearance at Newbury Comics in Cambridge MA in 2003 by Iggy and the Ashetons (with Scott on cardboard boxes!)
You can hear “Dirt” from the Sydney Big Day Out here and here is “Little Doll” from the basement. Pre-order here where you can read the full tracklist.
But that’s not all.
The first autobiography from a Radio Birdman member is on its way. “Faith and Practice in Bedlam” is by the band's former guitarist Chris "Klondike" Masuak (Screaming Tribesmen, Hitmen, The Raouls, Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders, New Christs, Juke Savages, Klondike’s North 40) and is 4-6 weeks from release.
It’s on West Australian imprint High Voltage Publishing and the 280-page paperback is available here at the special pre-order price of $A24.95.
Says its editor (and I-94 Bar writer) Robert Brokenmouth: “When he decided to write about his life, Masuak found that his writing came in short, precise bursts, like songs.
“After a while, he realised that the order in which these stories should be read should not be chronological, but thematic.
“Also, he discovered that his life, as reflected here, formed a trajectory of self-discovery, with redemption peeping out from the wings. To allow us to dwell on that story of self-discovery, most real names have been disguised or omitted.”
Angus Khan II: Wrath of Khan – Angus Khan (self released)
Angus Khan is one helluva biker heavy metal band and “Angus Khan II: Wrath of Khan” is one helluva album, a wonderful 2020 follow up to the most underrated and fabulous “Black Leather Soul”.The Los Angeles-based band’s music has been described as: “Where Angus Young meets Genghis Khan in a back alley fight” and that’ll do me. Both these albums need to be played loud.
Angus Khan was a collaboration band between punk and rock ‘n’ roll acts The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs and B-Movie Rats that spawned “Black Leather Soul” in 2009 and broke up in 2012. “Angus Khan II: The Wrath of Khan” sat on a hard drive for years before being released in digital format.
Mainman Frank Myer (Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, James Williamson and Eddie Spaghetti & Frank Meyer) dropped by the I-94 Bar to give us a track-by-track on the sophomore album. Here’s the download.
Our common friend and fellow traveller, the outrageously talented Tom Sanford of Winter Kills and Beachwood Sparks, introduced me to Evad Fromme in some secret rebel rocker social media group online about a decade ago.
We became fast friends and kindred brethren.
Evad is one of the best frontmen and underground rock ‘n’ roll performers and songwriters in the Divided States Of Fear And Slavery we've seen since probably the long gone heyday of Raji's and English Acid, when bands like Celebrity Skin and Stars From Mars and Raw Flower and the purple-haired Zeros ruled the dive bars.
Of course ever since the mid-‘90s, the Wall Street land barons have been tearing down all of rock ‘n’ roll's most venerated landmarks, from CBGB to Tower on Sunset, to build always more unattainable, prohibitively expensive condos and hotels for lawless hedge fund managers and big pharma and private prison shareholding rich people. In the war crazed USA! USA! mockingbird Big 5 corporate mainstream, the entire media has been disgracefully hijacked and weaponized to promote forever war and a fascist police state for the past 25 years. So no high quality rock’n’ roll gets heard on our public airwaves. They can't ever really kill it, but it's all back underground, now.
Devil in Berlin – The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt (Hound Gawd Records)
“Devil in Berlin” is what you get when you pair two punk rock barbers with a Stooge. Say again?
The Cutthroat Brothers are the US garage punk duo of Jason Cutthroat (guitar/vocals) and drummer Donny Paycheck (Zeke). Their day jobs really are cutting hair and trimming beards. They've roped in legendary bassman par excellence Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, The Stooges).
Duos really are the new black in underground rock and roll and their status as configuration du jour seems sure to escalate as COVID subsides and people realise it’s an economical way to gig and stretches the rider further..
And barbers? Dunno about your part of the world, barber shops were never a big thing in Australia. On the other hand, shave shops operated by bearded hipsters are thicker on the ground in our inner-suburban shopping strips than bomb craters in downtown Beirut, so hopefully the blood that the band has wron on previous album covers has come from one of their number.
Step Into The Light – Paul Berwick’s Magnetic Quartet (self released)
At the risk of damning with faint praise, Paul Berwick made an indelible mark with the shoulda-been-huge Happy Hate Me Nots in the 1980s and ‘90s and he and his new band, The Magnetic Quartet, have much to live up to. This four-track EP “Step Into The Light” is a good start.
Sydney’s HHMNs developed from punk-pop to bona fide power-pop contenders over their first existence but never quite broke out into the mainstream. Another run in the 2000s after the sad loss of bassist Christian Houllemare tried but never scaled the same heights.
Berwick is a talented songwriter with a sharp ear for a melody and has assembled a superb band of old hands in Matt Galvin (guitar), Jim Dickson (bass) and Nick Kennedy (drums). Berwick fills out their sound on acoustic guitar. COVID has limited their live appearances to a handful of well-received gigs, so the question was would their recordings do them justice?
We may be biased but you'd be mad not to want to go to this. X, White Knuckle Fever, Jupiter 5 and Rubber Necker on the I-94 Bar Stage in Sydney on March 20. Tickets here.