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.
Melbourne duo Velatine is now a constant in my life, in the same way that (say) disco was a constant in some people's lives every Friday and Saturday night, or punk was, or AFL every season, or cricket... you know?
I'm not alone, it seems - this week my local independent radio station, 3D in Adelaide, made it LP of the week. And it's not out till Friday.
However, I must be frank here. Velatine ain't for everyone. It ain't yer commercial radio fodder for sparkies and housewives. The independent radio stations should love "I Won't Be Civilised", but of course, you know. They have zero taste after being told for so long what's hip and cool by ... paint salesmen. Sorry, I mean “record executives”.
I confess my age: I missed John Cale’s Australian tour in 1975 (being 11 is no excuse, of course) but caught him at the Tivoli in Adelaide in ‘83, and again a few years later. Heard and have many of his albums, but confess that some are hit and miss, while others are (for me) spectacular.
I-94 Barflies will recall that Cale was one of two “foundation members” of the Velvet Underground (which didn't stop him from being booted when Lou Reed felt threatened) and, shortly after, he produced a record by a bunch of laid-back savages from Detroit. If you're not sure who I mean, ask The Barman, he'll fill you in.
Long story short: Spanish garage rock band that’s been on hiatus for 11 years resurfaces on an American label with a German office that sells records to the USA, Mexico and Japan as well as the EU. Sounds about right in today’s digital world, but it’s also proof that rock and roll still spans multiple cultural borders.
As a confirmed Monolingual, I know when I’m beaten. “Superioridad Moral” (“Moral Superiority”) is sung entirely in Spanish. I have no clue what Dr Explosion is singing about. But the songs sound strong with touches of psych rock and pop running prominently throughout.
"In a MistLY" - Dave Graney and Clare Moore (Cockaigne)
It's an astonishing thing, the passage of time. One minute we're slavering over the new LP by our superstar heroes and the next, it seems, we're old, fat and bald and fuck me sweetly, is this the 24th Dave Graney album?
Sorry, not counting his time with The Moodists, live LPs, compilation LPs and soundtracks...
How the fuck did that happen?
(Looks down at unacceptably fat tum, peers bewildered into mirror at fat bald git)
(Winces as recognises self)
Ah well, at least there's the Dave Graney and Clare Moore LP, “In a MistLY”.
Now, you may know that I've written about Michael Plater before for The I-94 Bar, and I know some of you have gotten out to see him play live, which is where I first saw him. The very first night, I wasn't sure. The second, with little difference between the two gigs, I absolutely was. In fact, I was bowled over. More or less accidentally I made the chap's acquaintance, to the point where I'd now call us friends.
I've tried to attend every gig the man's played here in Adelaide, and managed to see him in Melbourne and Sydney as well. I have a set-list covered in his blood (because, in case he's ever run over by an omnibus, I'm going to get the bugger cloned).
Scruff Myers' Superhands - Scruff Myers' Superhands (Blunder Town Records)
The Superhands' debut LP, and it's taken me far too long to get to it. The second LP will be under way shortly, I am told.
Blunder Town's press release explains that Superhands started as a one-off party band, which clearly took off in Scruff's head.
Scruff? John “Scruff” Ellis had 16 years’ service with legendary UK clockwork punks The Adicts, and if you're not familiar with them, I suggest you start here. The Adicts play in an instantly recognisable style - it's catchy, anthemic, uplifting stuff.
12 Super Duper Extraordinary Girl Trouble Rock ‘n’ Roll Tracks – Bang Bang Band Girl (Voodoo Rhythm)
First, the whinge. This is one of those cases where you’re left wondering what might have been if the contents matched the cover. A one-lady band from Chile via the Netherlands, Bang Bang Band Girl, has great taste in covers but the sum of its parts make this album not so much unhinged as mildly off-beat and muffled.
The one-sheet for what's almost an album full of covers promises a “spaced out wall of fuzz, theremin, reverberation and a warm, dangerous yet sweet voice” and there are elements of all those, but they’re sometimes buried by so-so production.
Cramped – 50LgE (self released) This six-song EP from the New South Wales Far North Coast trio 50LgE (“50 Large”) with lineage derived from The Eastern Dark and the Psychotic Turnbuckles is as stylistically diverse as they come, swinging from swampy rock to garage rockers.
“Cramped” is an unabashed lift from the early Cramps, not weird enough to rouse Bryan Gregory from his grave but obvious enough to send the message that 50LgE are big fans. “White God” chalks up one for the atheists without getting out of second gear.
The lines are so blurred these days that you can’t guess where most bands applying a defibrillator to rock and roll’s ailing heart come from. So-called scenes are fragmented and the means of production rest in many sets of hands, thanks to technology and the information democracy of the Internet.
Wind back the clock a couple of decades and JJ and The Real Jerks could be from snowed-in Sweden or inner-city Sydney rather than sprawling Los Angeles.
This 12-inch, eight-song EP is razor sharp, fun garage rock and roll in the style of The Hives crossed with Dead Boys. Big twin guitars and occasional sax punctuate the songs, which throw up plenty of hooks.