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.
Supersoncic Stargazer – Trip Pilots (self released)
No shock to discover Hawkwind is a cited influence for this UK trio. The EP’s title and band name are obvious clues. The revelation is that the CD’s four songs are a solid addition to the psych-stoner rock genre.
Swirling feedback and electronic chirping, some talking and a repetitive rhythm bed build an ethereal platform on opening track “Supersonic Stargazer” from which guitarist-vocalist Johnny Sharp solemnly intones. Spiralling guitar lines abound.
Harry Howard Presents: Slight Pavilions – Harry Howard (Cranes Records)
If you'd made this LP, you'd be bloody proud. It's a triumph, as far as I'm concerned.
How to get your attention?
Remember those “Nuggets” compilations when they first came out, tipping what we knew of the 1960s upside our heads? How so many of those tracks had such a unique joy of life, such a moving intimacy?
“Slight Pavilions” sounds nothing like those “forgotten” independent records of the 1960s, but it certainly does have that joy of life, a profound intimacy, and more than a touch of the backyard rebel. It also echoes that strange late 1970s and early '80s period when so much experimentation was taking place... Technologically, the difference between then and now is profound and borderline unbelievable.
The cover features a topless Julian Medor on his back on what looks like a garage floor covered in oil, eating his necklace, mic in hand and eyes shut. Shades of Darby Crash, and Iggy Pop.
Which are pretty good introductory comparisons, though Long Hours don't sound much like Iggy (well, alright, maybe “A Ghost To You”), but perhaps a bit like The Germs. But that's where comparisons pretty much end.
Some bands defy objective assessment and Sonic’s Rendezvous Band is one of them. So let’s not even try to pretend.
How can you be objective about a band that issued just one single in its lifetime when it happens to be “City Slang”, inarguably the greatest rock and roll seven-inch of all time? Can you really question the worth of a band whose lineage is former MC5, Rationals, Stooges and The Up members?
Tears of the Minotaur - The Christopher Marshall Predestination (self released)
I guess the starting point here will be 1980s noisy blues outfit Harem Scarem, formed by Charlie and Christopher Marshall. Until they found Chris Wilson, Christopher was lead vocalist. And I do wish for a few live tapes of that line-up.
And, curious how things turn out.
Like his fellow bandmate the late Chris Wilson, Marshall's voice is quite extraordinary, and you can pretty much pick your own favourite blues vocalist to compare him to.
Punk Traumatic Stress Disorder - Cull The Band (Tomorrow Records)
“Punk Traumatic Stress Disorder” is one helluva a punk rock record and by that I mean it’s everything you want in a punk album: songs full of anger, hate, profanity and, most of all, humor. Yes, humor abounds throughout these 11 wonderful tunes.
Jeff Stephens (ex-Exploding White Mice) was kind enough to drop me a line and talk a little about how some of Adelaide’s finest musicians got to together in Cull The Band:
Strung Out On Heavens High, 1980-1982 - Religious Overdose (Optic Nerve Recordings/Glass Records)
Nope, never heard of Religious Overdose. So I put it on. And suddenly, that weird Adelaide time from about 1978 to 1981 was back.
Bands like Nuvo Bloc, Systems Go, The Lounge. You sort of knew some of their influences. And rather than be like so many other bands smitten with the underground music movement currently sweeping the globe, they'd deliberately avoided mimicry to produce something both damn strange and damn good.
The Fallowing - Adam Geoffrey Cole Cornish (Sunstone) The Tracks of the Afterlander - Adam Geoffrey Cole (Ramble Records)
I don't have much taste for what gets defined as “folk”.. Which conjures up the same sorts of things for you as it does for me, really. Marxist Orstrilian dingbats dressed up in “traditional” Oirish garb, wittering out stuff which all sounds a bit too twee and cliched, while bunging on a nasally twinge and waxing lyrical about a lifestyle they're only really familiar with through reading about it (and possibly a holiday in the Auld Coontry when they were 11). Oh, and bags of make-believe wailing humility.
“Filth” is one helluva punk-glam headbanging album that has to be heard and played loud. The City Kids are out of the UK (with a bit of Danish blood) and this is their second album.
Named after a Pink Fairies song (later covered by Motorhead), “Filth” has The City Kids poised to be heavy metal’s next big thing. Dave Sanders’ drumming, in particular, on this is fucking outstanding.
I was once told by a very well-known Australian drummer that every band is only as good as the drummer. Obnoxious prick that he was, he was spot-on. Sanders is 100 percent on the money. Just WOW!