If Footmen Tire You - The Bloody Hollies (Alive Naturalsound)

bloodyholliesjpgIf 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.

They're back for more and you should be as well

back for more cvrBack For More – The On and Ons (Citadel)

Regular Barflies need no introduction to The On and Ons. They are Sydney’s finest power-pop exponents. Their catalogue of two prior albums and a mini-album since 2015 is as much a testament to the songwriting abilities of ex-Kings of the Sun and Screaming Tribesmen guitarist Glenn Morris as the grooves and harmonies provided by bandmates Brian Morris (drums) and Clyde Bramley.  

You can judge the quality of a pop album by its earwig-ability and album opener “Vanishing Act” sticks in the brain like a dose of dopamine. Wrapped in a simple, uncluttered ‘60s sound with carefully arranged three-part harmonies, it’s punctuated by finger-clicks and Morris’s parrying guitar.

Foggy Notion's second dose of irreverence cuts through the lockdown haze

foggy notion cvrVolume 2 – Foggy Notion (self released)

About 12 months ago, we made a bold resolution. “When things open up again, we’re going out as much as we can, just so we’ve enjoyed life before everything shuts down again.” (The immediate reaction amongst friends to our reference to the likelihood of further lockdowns was nervous incredulity.)

When venues opened up in late 2020, so we stayed true to our declaration, indulging as much live music as domestic logistics and financial realities would permit, preferably younger bands.

I’d seen Foggy Notion a few times before the world shut down, initially at the behest of James McCann back in early January 2018.

Frank and Eddie deliver what the label on the front says

frank and spaghettiMotherfuckin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll – Frank & Spaghetti (Kitten Robot Records)

Hello Barflies! The Farmhouse has been rocking these past few weeks because the principal members of two of my favourite American bands, The Streetwalkn’ Cheetahs’ Frank Meyer and the fabulous Supersuckers’ Eddie Spaghetti, have joined forces as Frank & Spaghetti to release a long player, “Motherfuckin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

“Motherrfuckin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll” is just that and follows a couple of digital singles by the duo (and friends), the epic “Shit’s Fucked” and a cover of Tom Petty’s “Jammin Me”.

Therapy that will renew your faith

snake pit therapy albumSnake Pit Therapy – Sonny Vincent (Svart)

I-94 Bar regulars will know that Sonny Vincent is held in high regard around these parts. He is the Fucking Real Deal for whom Rock and Roll is a calling, not a paerttime job. If you’re not a fan of proselytizing on behalf of Real Rock and Roll, you can stop reading now, because even more than the usual level of evangelistic hard-sell follows.

Just the facts: “Snake Pit Therapy” is Album Number 30-something from the indefatigable punk rock veteran and it’s as good a collection of songs as he’s delivered to date, as well as his best-sounding record.

Not to be confused with Sonny's recent book of the same name, “Snake Pit Therapy” blends familiar melodies with powerful downstroke playing and buckets of passion. It’s delivered with a measured wisdom that only a life lived travelling many miles of bad road can bring.

If your party's ruined by this, consider inviting different people

vr volume 5Volume 5: A Label Compilation to Ruin Any Party – Various Artists (Voodoo Rhythm)

A good judge once said that when Voodoo Rhythm releases are good, they’re very good. If you’re applying the label motto, “Music to ruin any party”, this compilation borders on great. Mind you, you’re also inviting the wrong kind of people to your knees-ups.

Voodoo Rhythm is resuming its compilation series after a long lay-off and there’s no better place for the uninitiated to dive in.

Garage Rock is such an overused term. Voodoo Rhythm trade in it – and then some. If it’s not too ableist, let’s call their catalogue “Helen Keller Mistaking a Vegetable Slicer for a Braille Textbook” and be done with it. The aural output is typically raw, violent and bloody.

Mammas Don't Let Your Punks Grow Up to Be Cowboys

hate streetFall In Love On Hate Street ‎- REQ'D (Doomtaker)
Pulling Up Floorboards – REQ’D (Doomtaker)

It’s often said, and not in jest, that inside every punk is an alt.country dude just waiting to bust out just as soon as he or she wears out some body parts. Sluggo from acrobatic San Francisco punks The Grannies is no different.

After 20 years of touring and now a father who, not unreasonably, wanted to be ambulatory in his autumn years, Sluggo formed REQ’D (pronounced: “wrecked”) with a group of Oakland, CA, friends. The idea was to record a song, “Song For Blixa”, written for Sluggo’s then-ill son. The good news is that Blixa is in remission and REQ’D kept the record button on.

Shock! A tribute that (mostly) doesn't suck

ill be your mirrorI’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground & Nico – Various Artists (Verve)

Tribute albums usually have their fair share of lowlights bordering on the "what the fucks". Worst still, their highlights usually rank at a mere meh.  At best, someone will pull off a single worthy take of something and rescue the whole project from being a waste of time. 

The first Velvet Underground album is now an unquestioned classic seen as a cornerstone of modern rock.  It does this because of, not in spite of, its "dangerous" themes and avant-garde sound.  Even the "pretty" songs seem to arrive from another world, twisted by low-fi audio recording.

Sir George Martin was not at the mixing desk. And that is why the first Velvet Underground album rules.  Oh, that and genius players and songwriting.  That didn't hurt.

Ekranoplans mix irreverence with punk licks

ekranoplansUnconditional Loop – Ekranoplans (LedaTape Organisation)

One of the enduring paradoxes of the past 18 months has been the adherence of certain apparently progressive communities to the discourse of compliance.

For communities that see their antecedents in rebellion, hedonism, nihilism and two-fingered defiance in the face of state intervention, cleaving to the rhetoric of "doing the right thing" is worthy of lengthy academic analysis – even more so when the impact of compliance on the very existence of fringe communities is thrown into the mix. Still, the discourse of 60s radicals is polluted with self-serving assertions of piety, so it’s nothing new.

Compliance is a necessary thread in social fabric, but it’s not an ends in itself, nor is its practice an invitation to prance around wearing the thin cloak of moral piety. Because no society ever progresses without judicious acts of non-compliance, compliance is a behavioural instinct that must always been second guessed.

Unfortunately, in the current warped political climate, libertarian protestations of ‘freedom’ – itself a nebulously defined and ideologically charged term rarely understood by its cheerleaders – have been become the rambling tropes of wingnut conspiracy theorists and renegade elected officials who wouldn’t know their Derrida from their derriere.

So where does that leave Melbopurne’s Ekranoplans? Bent, most likely, but in a good way.

The Prehistorics pull out the big guns

racket du jour cvrRacket Du Jour - The Prehistorics (Sonic Artillery Records)

The fifth album from Australia's The Prehistorics and it's a real return de force!!

From the first note of the first track “Circus Maximus”, I knew that I was in for a rockin’ good time with this album, as I quickly ran back to the stereo to turn up the volume a little bit more. And, by the time I get to the third track “Scene Queen” and its awesome riffage, I’m yet again turning it up just a bit more. This track would make a great single.

“Caveman” brings on some fun dynamics, the time signature changes from the engine room of producer Michael Carpenter, playing both drums and bass, is almost hypnotic.

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