These Hindu Gods are calling you

Lipstick Kilers cd coverStrange Flash – Studio & Live ’78-81' – Lipstick Killers (Grown Up Wrong!)

There’s no doubt that the Lipstick Killers were in a class of their own when they stepped out of the shadow of Radio Birdman and onto Sydney stages. With sensibilities inherited from the import racks of White Light Records and the frantic energy of the Oxford Funhouse, they mixed stuttering power and rawness with a sense of theatre and an appreciation of the ridiculous.

The Lipstick Killers had a lineage going back to Funhouse denizens the Psychosurgeons, and the physically confronting Filth before them. If Birdman’s birth marked the Ground Zero for Sydney’s underground scene, the Lipstick Killers were heading a fast-following platoon whose ranks included Shy Imposters, Kamikaze Kids and The Passengers.

Making a Moot point

moot loathingLoathing, Self And Others – Moot (self released)

They’re from Mid Coast New South Wales (that's be north of Newcastle) and this seven-song CD is as old school protopunk as you’re going to find in those parts - or almost anywhere else these days. Moot don’t tell it like it is as much as speak it as it should be. In other words, their language is straight-up, rocking and simple.

Record Collector Scum call this sound KBD (“Killed By Death”) after the ‘80s bootleg series of the same name that documented the burgeoning American punk scene. Most of it was uncompromising, politically charged and energetic, but with a sense of musicality. Moot has it nailed but they pack their punch in a variety of stylistic gloves and add a decent whack of Aussie sarcasm for good measure.

Salt of the (scorched) earth

salt mineSalt Mine – Raygun Mortlock (self released)

There’s a lot to be said for bands that exude an aura of dysfunction. They’re way more interesting than manufactured corporate whores or prissy private school prats whose parents bought their instruments.

Raygun Mortlock recorded this EP in Melbourne a couple of years ago and promptly forgot about it. The band didn’t exist for five years before that. Before COVID, they didn’t play much outside its home of Far Northern New South Wales with Brisbane being the extent of their touring ambitions.

The band’s recorded output is skinny but don’t let that put you off. This is primo noise rock that recalls likes of the Jesus Lizard, TAD and a host of other contenders from 20 years ago. 

Sowing those Bad Seeds

reap what you sowReap What You Sow – Jack Saint (Heavy Medication)

The blurb says it’s more “individually distilled” than the last album and maybe that’s why it took time to latch onto what “Reap What You Sow” is about.

The debut “Jack Saint” was a lot more obvious in its display of influences like the Bad Seeds and The Gun Club, while “Reap” seems in the thrall of Jon Spencer without being able to completely divorce itself from early pre-Warren era Nick Cave.

Ed Clayton-Jones' tales of survival

jackdawJackdaw - Edward Clayton-Jones (self released) 

I've been looking forward to hearing “Jackdaw” for a while, but I must confess I didn't expect it to be this damn good. The last thing I said to Ed was, “Well, look, you know me. If I don't like it or I think it's bad, I'll tell you I can't review it. I'd rather have the friendship.” He understood. 

Bad reviews, pfft, they're mostly just juveniles showing off how clever they are, and I've got better things to do with my time. Also, I'm not clever. Years ago, the New Musical Express and Melody Maker used to hire such clever types and, while they could sometimes be amusing, they would often miss brilliance in preference to their own self-swagger (for example, XTC copped endless daft reviews which completely missed how fucking sharp, funny and evocative they were). So to “Jackdaw”.

Stew on this

eternal lifeEternal Life – Guttercats (Take The City/Wishing Well/Sweet Grooves)

If you’re one of those genre freaks with a need to categorise every record, good luck. There’s enough going on here to challenge the most obsessive.

Guttercats are from Paris and take their cues from The Only Ones, Rowland S Howard, the Jacobites, the Bad Seeds and The Gun Club. Their fifth album mixes melodramatic Baroque folk-pop with garage rock, punk and Gothic blues. It’s either hopelessly mired in the ‘80s or bravely staking a claim to a unique place in today’s bland music scene. 

Depth-charge of an EP that does the business

electric boogaloo cvrEP2 Electric Boogaloo – The Owen Guns (Riot Records)

Hardcore never went away. It just sprouted grey hair, developed prostate awareness and, in some extreme cases, took out a mortgage.

The Owen Guns have been flying old school punk’s flag for a year or two, blowing the roof off venues in Sydney and Wollongong. Members are based in both cities. They wear leather jackets, have weathered heads and their faces look like dropped pies. This is coming from someone who's no Paris model, but you get the idea. And in punk’s finest traditions, they could not give a flying fuck what me, you or anyone else thinks of them.

Punk is about economy and the seven songs on this, The Owen Guns’ second CD EP, clock in in at under 10 minutes.

Captain Spud's latest is anything but meat and potatoes

captain spud music labMusic Lab 2020 - Captain Spud (self released)

As you may gather, “Captain Spud” is a pseudonym.

No way the bishop held up that squalling, red-faced brat, smacked it's ugly arse and plunged it face-first into the font, intoning: “I christen thee Captain Spud”. Kid might've drowned, for starters. Awkward questions might have ensued. Simply hours of paperwork. Remember, pop kids, if you're going to go into the Catholic faith, don't drown the little shits. More trouble than the brief pleasure it might give.

Speaking of starters orders, I find in a cursory search for the great man from Adelaide (he's been a musician and music-maker for over 40 years) references to a blogger (“Captain Spud is Amazing” - I'm sure he is, hem-hem), several YouTube channels (including a chap who paints little dolls, and a chap blowing stuff up on a vidgame), a pseudonym for a gamer (still not the great man) and would you believe - a racehorse (“a three-year-old gelding by Toronado out of the Street Sense mare, Dane Sense”) once owned by Danny Frawley (a kicker of balls, apparently).

Mingus amazes with weighty new album

the devils weight coverThe Devil's Weight - Eric Mingus (Ouch! Records)

I first saw Eric Mingus on stage at Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide a few years ago, masterminding (with producer Hal Willner) a production of The Who's 'Tommy' ... which I confess I didn't expect to work. But, not only did it work, it took my breath away.

If you don't feel like reading the full review, on the night I described Eric on the night as an "offhand, casual narrator with a fabulous, rich voice with a gobsmacking range who sets us up for a mischievous, powerful story, more human because it’s all happening right in front of us. What for some was a rather stilted and peculiar concept LP has become an alive, twisting, emotional creature; the story is instantly in us. His later (all too brief) scat singing is incredible, just amazing".

Eighteen tracks of punk rock goodness

defiled smDefiled! A Heavy Medication Tribute to New Bomb Turks - Various Artists (Heavy Medication)

Can’t profess over familiarity with the back catalogue of New Bomb Turks. Nothing personal, mind you, it’s just that when they were at their busiest back in the ‘90s, there was so much else around. Their potency can’t be disputed.

These Ohio high-energy punks churned out nine (yes, nine!) studio albums until life got in the way and ushered them into semi-retirement, and this tribute record from Polish label Heavy Medication testifies to their take-no-prisoners reputation.

Rember when tribute albums were all the rage, back before the Interwebs became fully embedded in our heads via vaccine-encased 5G chips? They grouped bands of a common mindset and showcased sounds you might not have otherwise heard. Like Spotify without ridiculously microscopic royalties.

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