“American Hardcore” b/w “The Deal” (Swashbuckling Hobo)
That these reformed second-wave, southside Brisbane punks actually manage to sound dangerous on new recordings made four decades later comes down to the fact they were more of a Flipper-meets-latter-day-Black-Flag-styled grind than a cheap Pistols take-off, before - in the words of their label - “drugs, death and depression took over”, and they dissolved.
They reformed, more or less intact, a few years ago to play live and promote some re-issues, and these songs are the fruit of a studio session.
Back For More – Rocket Science b/w Sick – Supergrass (Sound Pressing)
This is a double A side to mark the 2020 Australian tour that never was by Brits Supergrass and home-grown psych-garage rockers Rocket Science. COVID killed off that run, which was part of an ambitious world tour by Supergrass. Plans are afoot to make up for that, but for now this offering will have to do…
First to Rocket Science: Roman Tucker's throaty organ and some stop-start fuzz guitar dominate the breathless “Back For More”, recorded live at an in-store at Tym Guitars (R,I.P.) in Brisbane after the release of their fabulous reformation album, “Snake”. It’s a reminder that simple songs are often best - and that the album ruled if you didn’t wrap your ears around it at the time of release.
Sensible Shoes b/w Laughter Lines - Manja and the Maytrons (Robotten Records)
It’s a trio from the UK that plays post-punk-meets-garage-rock on a super-chunky slice of 45rpm splattewred vinyl. “Laughter Lines” is uncompromising with just a glimmer of light in the vocals. Drummer and co-singer Manja and bassist Mark S lock into a hard groove for Neil G to weave a thick layer of distorted guitar over the top. Part sung in German with the balance in English. “Disconcerting” and “different” are good words. So is “unconventional” which is probably the point. “Sensible Shoes” is an odd beast, too, with the bottom-end missing in action and to-and-fro vocal parts. The voices are placed well back in the soundscape in true post-punk style, and it all skids to a sudden stop. Wire springs to mind.
Pain! b/w Wheels on Fire - Smitty & B Goode (Evil Tone)
Been a long time since they rock and rolled in person. Sydney trio Smitty & B Goode isn’t the most prolific act in terms of releases, but they’ve put enforced time off to good use with this power-packed 45. “Pain!” inflicts more pleasure than its title suggests, flipping mild self-loathing on its head. Anger is an energy and Smitty’s assertive vocal and downstroke guitar is set against a fierce sonic brew, “turning gasoiine into a symphony of sound.” Tight as a fish’s, as they say. Flip it over for more of the same garage grit goodness. Carly’s sunny bass-tone suits the up-tempo mood. Succinct and catchy, it’s a short tun of 200 copies so grab yours here while you still can.
Lockdown Blues - Moonlight 5 (Aldora Britain Records)
Guitarist Ed Garland has one of those gut-bucket voices which command your attention. I can't tell you if Moonlight 5 will be significant or not; but they're certainly getting attention around the world at the moment. Their knowingly lopsided-shrug blues slubs along the railroad, fed up and helpless, waiting for the crows to poke at their carcass. Fabulous use of horns, too; comparisons to Tom Waits are inevitable but mistaken.
The clip for “Lockdown Blues” shows US chain-gang convicts through a sepia filter, with the additional topicality of the stupidvirus - which we're slaves to; both clips use a familiar US slavery/ convicts as an allegory for an Australian context - this doesn't usually work, but does here (you'll have to watch the clips now) because they hint at wider concerns. Either way, both are the kind of thing you want to show your friends.
She Feels Like a Good Thing – Ricky Rat (I-94 Recordings)
Some of you might know Ricky Rat from his many various recorded collaborations and world tours with such rocknroll all-stars as Texas Terri, Kevin K, Bootsey X & The Lovemasters, or even the post-Stiv Dead Boys, but to many of us midwestern punk rockers, he'll always be fondly revered for his trailblazing Detroit glam gang, Trash Brats, who really helped to co-author the ‘80s punk-roll underground scene.
Trash Brats shows were special events when all the diverse rock ‘n’ roll tribes came outta the closet to rub shoulders and get wasted to their joyful, exuberant, power pop mayhem and merriment. All the spiky haired rocker kids knew the words back then. They filled that room with bedlam and we all sang along.