mr ratboy - The I-94 Bar
We Got A Right – The Golden Rat (Vicious Kitten Records)
What do you get when expat bi-coastal American underground star Mr Ratboy collides with Hiroshi The Golden Arm (aka Japan’s Johnny Thunders) in a Tokyo garage, each armed with the songs that pre-occupied their formative musical minds in the period spanning 1976-82? An absolutely killer album.
“We Got A Right” is a record that came about through necessity. Hiroshi The Golden Arm and Mr Ratboy first met in 1993 when the latter was a member of Jeff Dahl’s touring band. Fast forward a few years and Mr Ratboy is a resident of the Land of the Rising Sun and the pair strike up a musical partnership in the electro-trash outfit Ace Killers Union.
Here’s the two-part hypothesis: (1.) No schtick in rock and roll works as well as premature death and; (2.) the Japanese have a particularly deep interest in musicians who have checked out early – especially those terminally doomed through their own vices.
The latter probably has a lot to do with the strict Japanese drug laws and the populace's deeply rooted respect for authority. Remember the Macca bust? Did you hear the one about the Australian band that wouldn't tour there because the singer liked his pot so much and was worried he wouldn't find a connection? I digress.
The laws of science say that any hypothesis should be disprovable. While you’re trying, I’m spinning this album.
"Jesus Loves My Heroin II" is a Japanese tribute to Nikki Sudden and Kevin Junior Now, I have familiarity with some of the works of the late Mr Sudden; I’m less up-to-speed with the output of the late Mr Junior.
Jimbo’s Clown Room - Pillbox (Yeah Right Records)
"I've been sold, been passed around, been abandoned when I was down..." - Chris Barry
The best record of the ‘90s is finally released on old time, rock ‘n’ roll, vintage style, black wax - I guess Rich Jones from MM and Black Halos had sumpthin’ ta do with it being re-released on vinyl - so high fives and thumbs up, and please everyone do buy a round for Rich Jwhen ya see 'im at the big rock show.
This sleek, snazzy version of the exemplary "Clown Room" even comes with a cuppla bonus (!!!) Pillboxtracks you're all gonna love, the seldom heard, "Come Back To The Planet" and "Down In Style", and a splendidly insightful LYRIC SHEET. I thought I knew all the words by heart, but some are even better than I remembered-dude's an underrated writer, as you'll see upon reading both the words to his songs and his liner notes that come with the record.
In addition, there’s a beautiful gatefold sleeve collage of old Pillbox live rock shots, and all your favorite songs like, "Sinister Urge", "Holly", "Get Hip" (my main jam since I was like 23 or somethin') , and "Come Up Heroin"!
“Noise annoys,” said the Buzzcocks and although they took a more melodic bent than most of their contemporaries, you knew what they were on about. “Ugly music for ugly people” was the apt review tagline for the self-titled Kim Salmon and the Scientists album, many years ago.
This confronting record from electro-punk duo Ace Killers Union is a bit of both. If their music doesn’t make a mark, stick in your craw or drive you to reach for a stiff glass of Suntory whisky after a couple of listens, you’re just not paying attention.
Ace Killers Union - ACU for short - is Hiroshi The Golden Arm and Mr Ratboy with their guitars and a whole slew of machines. From the impossibly fast title track and opener to the low-fidelity, speed pulse-attack of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” (yes, that one) this is an abrasive melange of noisy, gutter rock skronk.