Mad Macka has earned a place in Brisbane’s gutter music scene. From the backslamming yob rock of The Onyas to the under-rehearsed The Egos, hjs ascent as guitarist in the Cosmic Psychos (the band The Onyas always wanted to be) and solo singles like this have made him a poster boy for lovers of dirty six-string mayhem.
Members of this early ‘80s Brisbane band went on to Subsonic Barflies and Splatterheads. Taking their cue from American hardcore, Death of a Nun put down these tracks as demos in 1984-85 and Swashbuckling Hobo has exhumed them - or, in the label’s own words, “reached deep beyond the S-bend”.
This single is very much of its time - an era of repression and extreme prejudice against any music that vaguely resembled punk (whatever that is) and “Brisbane” reflects that. It's two-paced (like the Gabba wicket used to be) and would have passed for sophisticated songwriting in the scene of the time. My guess is that somebody was listening to Minutemen.
With a guitar sound dirtier than a mud wrestler’s crotch after a dozen championship belt rounds and 10 short, sharp songs delivered in no-nonsense and rapid succession, the debut full-length album from Brisbane punk trio Shrewms hits the Rock Action bullseye with grim accuracy.
These are high-tensile tunes delivered with lashings of gutter rock charm and despite the clever wordplay in the title, you won’t find any Westboro Baptist Church choir numbers among them. Unless the congregation has taken to gargling with paint stripper instead of fundamentalist Kool-Aid.
These four tracks on a 7” EP are from four members of the crew of U47, a German submarine that lay frozen under ice for 60 years only to re-surface, no doubt as a result of global warming. That the crew-members sailed up the Brisbane River and were washed up in the live music pubs is a stroke of luck, because local label Swashbuckling Hobo has been able to issue their vinyl.
If there’s the strong stench of familiarity about a couple of these songs it’s because they were on Ich Bin Ein Esel’s essential debut album “Why?” on the same label a couple of years back. Even if you’ve some of them before, four tracks by this German-obsessed Brisbane supergroup (Boondall Boys, The Dangermen, The Onyas) on a 7” EP is good value.
Jeff who? Ex-guitarist with Jason and The Scorchers - not the classical jazz guy from Orgegon and certainly not that twat Jack Johnson. This is a blistering four-song single, more abrasive than broken glass in your shaving cream and deliciously low fidelity. The songs, though…
Johnson recorded this with a bunch of players in Brazil with the bass player over-dubbing his parts for two songs from London. Swashbuckling Hobo (from Brisbane) put it out. If you appreciate blues-rock that sounds like it’s been filtered through a gutter, this should live on your turntable.
Only “Call of Submission” sounds much like the output of his onetime band, with a subdued vocal and just a touch of Crazy Horse peeking through its dense wall of sound. “Believe In You” is a monstrous “Raw Power” outtake with acrid lyrics (“Hey girl, fuck with me/Your love is such liability”) and a chord sequence that twists like “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” in the grip of a muscle spasm. If the production wasn’t so early Husker Du, this would be an enlightened radio hit.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the psych ward, this sliver of shiny black vinyl arrives out of Brisbane’s sub-tropical humidity, stumbling around like a homeless man in a threadbare coat who's baring his arse for all the world to see.
The Busymen don’t seem to have been living up to their name in recent times because this 10-inch EP is their first release since the “Distort All Levels” album of 2007. Put that down to commitments with other bands or members being detained by the authorities for their own good. They’ve certainly made up for lost time.
Half-covers and half-originals, “Under Attack…” resonates with the brutal thump of a Force 5 hangover after an all-night pub crawl through the seedier haunts of their hometown’s party district of Fortitude Valley. The morning after just doesn’t come any fuzzier than this.
This single from a Brisbane trio is saying something: "If you don’t like homemade fuzz pedals you can fuck right off." Like their entomological namesakes, Stink Bugs aren’t pretty but once their smell gets in your nostrils they’re pretty hard to ignore.
Stink Bugs play distorto psych. Acrid guitar at stun volume and lumbering rhythms dominate both A and B sides. The maudlin vocals are almost subsumed by the fierce wall of fuzz. There’s not a lot of room for wry social commentary lyrics or fetching melody lines. This stuff is toxic.
Stink Bugs grew out of the Hekawis, Shutdown 66,the Jennys and Leftwaffe and are The Mantis (guitar), Cactoblastis (drums) and Tigerbug (bass and vocals.) Their’s is the sound of a blender full of human remains. The single deserves to be played at painful volume levels. Repeatedly.