If one of those great, booze-soaked rock and roll weekends like Garage Shock or the Las Vegas Shakedown were still a going concern (correct me if I'm wrong and one of them still is ) the Bloody Hollies would have been one of those bands that came in unheralded, blew everyone away and sold a ton at the merch table. And anyone who picked this album up would have been plenty satisfied 'cos it's 30 minutes of fire-breathin' punk fury.
Witness To The Crime – Gunfire Dance (Easy Action)
If you loved the Damned, Thee Hypnotics, Bounty Hunters, and Lords Of The New Church, be sure to order this gorgeous Gunfire Dance vinyl album from Easy Action and play the motherfucker as loud as you can.
It is a posthumous compilation and a thing of real beauty, designed by Dave Twist with liner notes by yours humbly, and features some really beautiful, seldom seen photos of our UK lads from back in the day.
The Taste of Honey'...- Tim Hudspith and Goldentone (Dead Letter Records)
I saw Tim Hudspith play a few weeks ago. Still has that remarkably lush tone to his music, still those love songs which alternately haunt or spook the listener into a study of memory, or provoke a wry, pained smile of recognition.
We don't always get what we want, nor less what we deserve, but Hudspith twitches our romantic soul.
If you don't have one of those, I will ask you to ponder what on earth you're doing reading about rock 'n' roll.
Hudspith is a romantic of the old school. All those expectations raised and lowered, flying high then spiralling down to dust.
Rocking with the Renees – The Gymslips (Optic Nerve)
If East London’s The Gymslips swapped warm beer for weak cat’s piss and pretended to be in high school would they have presaged The Donnas? The English all-girl band (that’d be The Gymslips) haven’t been active since 1985 so it’s a moot point, as they say in philosophy texts.
This re-release of the Gymslips’ 1983 bubblegum punk debut LP brings a lot of froth and fun to the table. If you hadn’t worked that out by the first verse of openenign song “Renees” with its lyric “We’re the Renees/Here we come/1-2-3 and up your bum” you’re probably not trying.
“Rocking With The Renees” includes their debut single (a faithful cover of Suzie Quatro’s “48 Crash”) and 14 other tracks, one of them enigmatically listed as “Untitled”. There another four available on a vinyl EP, “Silly Egg”.
Sentinent – Other-ed (Self released)
This instantly classic CD comes from France in a gorgeous pink minimalist gatefold sleeve with a photo of a black bat-winged androgyne on the cover shades of Specimen, Bauhaus, March Violets, early Cure and Joy Division/New Order.
Genius vocalist/songwriter/musician/fashionplate, Laurent Chopard, is predominantly famous all over the world for being the long-time editor of Veglam, home of the subversive international glam rock-glitter-sleaze and trash punk underground. If you loved ‘80s Goth and new wave, post punk, and dangerous synth-pop as much as I do, this brilliant collection of radical protest songs sung in an echoing, sexy baritone, an updated version of, you know, Sisters Of Mercy, Mission, Depeche Mode, Tubeway Army, Japan, OMD, Blancmange…you get the picture.
Art Gray Noizz Quintet - Art Gray Noizz Quintet (Bang! Records)
Bliss., Mr Barman. No duff tracks, kids. Classic tuff rock'n'roll.
It's been a while since I last saw Stu Spasm on stage (in Adelaide). I used to see him in bands like The Bad Poets and The Brats - he lifted both s into another game entirely. These days Spasm lives in New York and has carved out a following in the USA. From rock ‘n’ roll outlaw - which he always was - to something like a terrifying troll beneath a bridge, Spasm's later work has come to the attention of most of you, and if it hasn't, it's time it did.
The outfit consists of Skeleton Boy (from Woman) on two-string bass; Andrea Sicco (Twin Guns) on gittar; Bloody Rich Hutchins (Live Skull) on drums, with further depredations by Nikki D'Agostino and Nicholas John Stevens. Recorded and mixed by Martin Bisi, Bloody Rich, the Quintet and Michael Jung.
Enough history, what're they like?
A Beginners Guide to DISGRACEland – DISGRACEland (Vi-Nil Records)
DISGRACELand are the remnants of Sydney Northern Beaches band from the ‘90s, Orange County, MERGATROID and the group fronted by infamous ‘80s wastrel Johnny Teen, and have hooked up with re-animated label Vi-Nil to release a debut album. Sounds just what’s needed in these fraught times where live music is still staggering under the weight of a COVID hangover.
With pandemics being what they are, DISGRACELand hasn’t appeared live much, but the shows they have under their collective belt have attracted attention. One animated affair at the Link and Pin Café in Woy Woy, north of Sydney, impressed part-owner and Vi-Nil honcho Mark Fraser so much that he decided to put out the band's CD.
Cheap Motels After Midnight – Dave Favours and the Roadside Ashes (Stanley Records)
Forget the “alt.country” tag. It might be a comfortable peg on which to hang an urban cowboy’s hat but after 15 years, Sydneysider Dave Favours surely occupies his own musical niche.
Maybe the tag should be “Ditch Country” – the twang is there, but like mid-70s Neil, he’s skirting a course along the gutter because it’s more interesting place to travel.
It’s a Matter of Time – Reverend Beat-Man and The Underground (Voodoo Rhythm)
And it’s a Matter of Taste whether you dig the Reverend. We at the Bar have a lot of time for the venerable High Priest of Trash Rock, whether it’s in his clerical guise or cloaked in his garage trash skronk identity as leader of The Monsters.
This long player (available as a CD or LP) re-visits some old songs and goes in a few new directions, but is unmistakably the work of Switzerland’s most cuckoo garage/trash rock original.
The back story goes a little like this: Beat-Man was coaxed to spend a week in a remote Swiss Alps chalet to record with a hand-picked line-up of people he’d long admired. He chose Milan Slick (keys), drummer Beatrice Graf (of Ester Poly) and local rockabilly guitarist Benjamin Claus. The material was played live. What you hear are complete takes. No overdubs.
Curse of the Easily Amused – The Mutants (Liberation Hall)
The Art Punk genre is a mixed bag. Throw in a New Wave descriptor and the name can refer to anything, really. So if you’re confused approaching this retrospective collection by a late ‘70s San Francisco band, be not alone.
At last count there were enough bands using the name The Mutants to fill a large tour bus. As well as Art Lyzak's ‘70s Hamtramck, Detroit, outfit with Bootsey X, there was a Pink Fairies-inspired Merseyside, UK, combo and a 2000s supergroup featuring Rat Scabies. There’s even an instrumental Finnish band, so there’s been a whole lotta mutating goin’ on.
These West Coast Mutants sprang from the same diverse scene that had already spawned Flipper, the Nuns and the Avengers but took a more artful approach inspired by the trash films of John Waters and the vibe of Andy Warhol’s Factory crew. Which doesn’t mean they sound anything like the Velvets.