A Light In A Dark Place – The Media Whores (Twenty Stone Blatt)
Four studio albums into this punk rock caper and The Media Whores aren’t mellowing with age. History records that there have been more battles in their home of Stirlingshire, Scotland, over the last 500 years than most old school Aussie pubs, so it’s only fitting that they keep fighting wars on multiple fronts.
Wanna talk about old punks? The creative fulcrum of Craig (vocals and guitar) and Doogie Mackie (bass and backing vocals) lit their first fire together in 2008 and the band almost won a mainstream industry Mercury prize in 2017 for their caustic “Dangerous Minds” long player. Presumably, a win would have been the kiss of death so let’s give thanks for the judges’ lack of good taste.
Return Of The Space Mariachis – Stories From Shamehill (self released)
Surf-tiki rock from the Netherlands? I’m in. Let’s face it: stranger things happen in Amsterdam - usually involving special cakes sold at coffee shops - and this trio of reverb-obsessed retro heads is nothing if not inventive.
With assistance from The Hot Habanero Horns (actually two horns and a harmonica), Stories From Shamehill worked up their second full studio album over five days in 2021 and it’s a barrel of fun.
The Stories have been riding their surf wave since 2012 and have even managed to tour and record in California. Talk about taking coals to Newcastle…
Silver & Black - Leadfinger (Golden Robot)
Yeah, well, I may have been away for a while. Haven't had a lot of time to listen to music. I mean, for a few months, music was that occasional thing in the background - which is not the way to enjoy music. There are (in fact) only two ways: live and in your face, or turned up loud and in your ears. Any other way, the stuff can only hint at a timeless upland of dancing and carrying on like a horny dog at a wedding, rather than the entire emotional brawl.
So turning on Leadfinger's “Silver and Black” is a bit like a starving, dehydrated man tottering into one of those “45 beers on tap” pubs with an Irish heart-clogging cook, accommodation, someone else's credit card and a couple of months to kill.
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.
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.
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.