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.

Fully sick, fully improvised

the plague year. smThe Plague Year – The Vomit of the Universe (self-issued)

Headbangers of the world alert! 

The Vomit of the Universe songs are: "The Plague Year", "Magna Hominum Dercependo", "Shiva Laughs and Smiles" and "Igne Natura Renovatur Integra". The 'A' listed here as playing guitar, bass guitar, drums & synthesizer is our old Adelaided chum Adam Blake, sometime sack-flasher at Hydrocephallus.

Vomit of the Universe, however, is an entirely alternate vehicle, a more directed mindset. Elements of grandiosity which make metal so appealing are used to maximum effect (without over-egging the omelette, as so very many bands do). Yet the approach, and rhythm, reminds me of some Krautrock, as well as opera, and quite a few classical pieces (Shostakovich springs to mind).

Shimmering malevolence

mutator cover smMutator - Alan Vega (Sacred Bones Records)

"Mutator" is Alan Vega's 12th solo album and also his first posthumous record of (apparently) several more to come on Sacred Bones Records.  Vega also released nine collaborative LPs in his lifetime, Suicide a total of five studio and five stand-alone live albums (not including a rather incredible box set). Not a bad innings at all. 

The I-94 Bar’s Bob Short once observed that most people don't get into much music past their 20s, and I agree; and Suicide are a classic example. Of the people who fell head over heels for this outfit when they first heard their first LP (I still remember where and when I heard it, and also when and where I heard a UK bootleg of the Clash support gigs) most seem to rave only about that first LP, but seem unaware of the second, or even the ROIR tape, or any of the band's later LPs.

Of Vega himself, only a handful seem aware of the extraordinary impact his first two (now unavailable) LPs had on the underground, and the overground impact his third, "Saturn Strip" had, particularly in Europe.

Primevals keep powering into their second life

new tripNew Trip – The Primevals (Triple Wide)

Four decades and 11 albums into this caper, Glasgow’s Primevals are doing the rough and ready rock and roll thing as well as anyone, and better than most.

Well into their second life after reformation, their consistency is astounding. “New Trip” was spawned in lockdown, recorded over two fraught months in late 2020 and hit the online racks, via the band's own imprint, early this year.

 

Make the Zeros your new Heros

news from nowhere"News From Nowhere" - Atomic Zeros (Ghost Highway Recordings)

If you don't like rock'n'roll, you'll hate the Atomic Zeros. They are all your worst irritants combined: garage, MC5, punk, surf, garage and Radio Birdman overtones.. But also: much of the phrasing reminds me more of Chris Bailey back in the day (see "Electric Chair"). Curious how insistent the Zeros are; yet so modern they seem compared to the rather lame “modern” music.

They've broadened and fleshed out their sound, but one major element remains: they sound bloody enormous. Play loud at people who like Justin Bieber and crap that's everywhere that you have to try so hard to like, and that red-haired git as well. No, not John Lydon, though he probably wouldn't like it either.

Sonically speaking, you need to be at this party

BGPAll Things BGP - Black Ghost Party (self released)

It’s fact, not theory, that when Sydney and Brisbane musicians of a certain age and underground persuasion seek a sea change, they head for the New South Wales Far North Coast. And why not? It’s often wet and always humid, but the parts not spoiled by hideous yuppies and mad anti-vaxxers are damned idyllic.

Can’t tell you whether all the members of Black Ghost Party are Lismore born and bred or blow-ins from the Big Smoke, but it’s not  important. They’ve been alternately cajoling and searing local ears since at least 2004 so they're part of the furniture, and this release of 11 songs is available on LP or as a download.

Stu's collaboration bears pop fruit

stustustudioCollaborations from Stustustudio – Stu & The Connections (Crankinhaus)

Vaguely new wave-sounding pop from a combo led by well-credentialled Sydney drummer Stu Wilson (Loose Pills, Hammerfish, Aberration and ex-Lime Spiders, New Christs, Chris Masuak & The Harbour City Wave Riders, and the Soul Movers) and it’s damned good. Six tracks  - one a stripped-down alternate version – that showcase some adept song-writing and a disclination to be pigeonholed.

Stu’s one of the rare breed of drummers who sing - and that even rarer strain of drummers who sing well. He’s in the upper register and writes pop songs to suit. Wilson gets a bit of assistance – Sienna Egan, vocalist for his other current band The Rivers is prominent among a list of notable collaborators that includes bassist Andy Newman (ME-262, The Visitors). Matt Galvin (Barbarellas, Happy Hate Me Nots) and Ryan Elsmore (Loose Pills).

New Scientists album to land in June

The Scientists’powerful brand of deranged swamp-rock returns with a vengeance on June 11th, when Los Angeles’In the Red Recordsunleashes “Negativity”, an all-new magnum opus and the first full-length album by the Australian band’s penultimate line-up in 35 years.  “Outside”' is the single first release from the album, out to the world today.

The bruising 11-track collection features aScientistsconfiguration much beloved by connoisseurs of the band’s work: singer-guitaristKim Salmon, lead guitaristTony Thewlis, and bassistBoris Sujdovic, all veterans of the group’s defining 1981-85 outfit, and drummerLeanne Cowie, who replaced drummer Brett Rixon on the storming 1986 release "Weird Love".

I-94 Bar