The cover - taken by Lydia Lunch - shows the ruins of an ancient desert city. Could be Jericho. Whether Jericho is in the Mid-East or the West of the USA makes little difference. We’re dealing with perennial humanity in a perilous place with a mythological backdrop. But, you know, the Israelis and the Palestinians are still killing each other, and as I say, it’s a big thing on a big, operatic stage with no solution and no apparent beginning, never mind end…
… and there are plenty of abandoned towns in Australia… it doesn’t take much, just a bit of intolerance and a bit of ignorance, and idealism for a hopeless, not very sensible cause…
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.
Picture it: Rundle Mall, Adelaide, the height of Festival and Fringe, and your scurrying obedient scribe is trying to hustle through the attention-getting non-event nonsense “street shows”, the magic acts, all treating us to the incredibly naff idea that “an event means LOUD IMPERATIVE music”, on my way to the bottleshop and thence to the bus to arrive at a nine-year-old’s netball final.
Out of nowhere appear three Japanese musicians, one with a basket on his head clutching a sort of semi-acoustic six-stringed thing, another bloke with a curly mohawk hunched over what looks to be a child’s drum kit, and a woman with long red dreads, wearing a beaming smile and holding a bright red, headless bass.
Things Will Be Different: A Tribute To Little Murders – Various Artists (Twist Records)
Tribute records? They used to be all the rage but are they now just a bit naff? It depends on who they’re lauding.
Little Murders are Australian rock and roll’s – no! don’t say it! – Best Kept Secret. It’s a cliché, for sure, but don’t be afraid. It just means that cloth-eared and gormless cretins don’t know who they are. If you’re one of them, consider yourself admonished and start paying attention.
Live albums were things a band pulled out of its collective arse when members were short on ideas and had “contractual obligations” to a label. These days, they’re a quaint anachronism in a market that treats digital singles as a currency.
The only contractual obligation Died Pretty has these days is keeping their record label boss and manager, John Needham, in the lifestyle to which he is accustomed, so a live recording of a February 2008 performance of the cross-over album “Doughboy Hollow” at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre is probably of interest only to diehard fans.
Guilty as charged but thousands of others will take the same plea.
Drop Out With The Barracudas Deluxe Edition – Barracudas (Lemon Records)
Increasingly, the recording companies attempt to milk the last of the boomer dollars before retirement homes steal the last of our bank accounts. They’ve already worked out that there's bugger all money in new recordings. Even dependable old cash cows like KISS and TheWho have made public statements to that end.
So record companies have learnt to spew out deluxe editions of the familiar, the obscure and the criminally ignored. And, if someone is going to put out a multi disc collection of every taped concert on Sunset Strip, well oops. My finger slipped on the buy button before I read about the goddamn postage.
John Kennedy and the New Originals - John Kennedy and the New Originals (Foghorn/MGM)
Brisbane-raised English expatriate John Kennedy patented the Urban and Western genre after he transplanted himself to Sydney 40-something years ago and found underground success. It’s been a long (and winding) road since.
There’s been a decade living overseas in Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Holland and Hong Kong. Kennedy on paper’s had what appears to be a revolving cast of backing bands - J.F.K. And The Cuban Crisis, John Kennedy And The Honeymooners, John Kennedy's '68 Comeback Special and John Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong.
Reality is that there’s been an intermingling of players in those bands and the line-up’s been stable in recent years, but perseverance has been a by-word.
Memento Mori - Hugo Race and Josh Lord (independent)
You shouldn't put “Memento Mori” on as background music while you do the dusting or writing funny memes. I mean, you can, of course. But it's a lovely slow-paced creature, and it will snare you.
You'll find yourself slouched on the couch, wanting sleep and comfort but ... despite all the gorgeous sounds, it's damned unsettling. You'll wake with a stiff neck and your limbs out of joint, I promise. No, skip to the end for how to fully appreciate this.
But first, I must apologise unreservedly to both Josh Lord and Hugo Race. I was unable to do this review quickly enough.
Self-consciously retro rock and roll bands can be a real problem. There are ones that overplay their hand and fall back on gimmicks. They almost always have a name with “Thee” appended to the front. And then there are those that apply their three chords with genuine regard for where the music emanated.
Plastic Section is part of a loose Melbourne aggregation of bands in the latter category; their peers are The Breadmakers, The Vibrajets and The Cha Cha Chas. Each faithfully plunders the past while applying their own take.
You're gonna love this one. It’s kicking, rampaging, no-holds-barred, pounding rock'n'roll.
I've written about Ben Gel before. He's a no-nonsense, hammer-down-the-line bass player (currently playing in Perdition and Cull-The Band) and guitarist ... in his own outfit. On “My Circus! My Shitshow!!' he plays lead and rhythm guitars, bass and handles lead and backing vocals. Chris Charlton also handles lead and rhythm guitars, and Nick Hadley is on the kit.
Geez, I'd love to see this lot live. It looks like the drums were recorded in Camden Town, UK, and the rest in Rosewater, South Australia. How the fuck this ended up sounding so damn tight I have no idea. Loads of talent and patience, I assume.