voodoo rhythm - The I-94 Bar
You've all been subjected to that “name 10 LPs in 10 days” stuff on Facebook like me, I suppose?
I stopped partly because I had to go interstate and didn't think I'd have access to FB, and partly because, on the trip over I wrote down another list of those records which I considered to be watershed, groundbreaking, jaw-dropping and influential to me personally.
Noted thug-about-Sydney's-buses Bob Short is still going strong (at the time of writing he's approaching 50 days, and if he keeps going he might finish in 2021) and I think that's the problem.
"3 Cheers to Nothing" arrived in my box unannounced and unasked for. I put it on as I was driving (as I do) and nearly rear-ended a bus.
I can see the children looking behind them with little circles for eyes and big open mouths, horror written all over... and then there was the rest of the drive, complete with sirens (bloody things, they take ages to get rid of), driving on the wrong side of the footpath, and a few dents on the roof (bloody cyclists).
You should be familiar with her record company: they declare they stock "Music to Ruin any Party" (they don't, the only parties they'd ruin would be political ones), Voodoo Rhythm (the folk who bring you Bob Log III, Dead Brothers, Delaney Davidson, Pierre Omer, The Pussywarmers and (in Europe) Rocket Science) and a host of others... so Voodoo Rhythm have form, as they say of old lags, and fine, fine taste.
It's been argued over, and if you fancy arguing again, go right ahead. I'll wait.
Okay. Before punk was PUNK (as it was decreed and seized upon by the black leather beetle backs), there were bands which formed a sort of disaffected underbelly. There were loose things in common.
Some of these bands were utterly alien to the world at large (I'm looking at you, Suicide, Chrome, Pere Ubu), their forefathers being outfits like The Velvet Underground and The Stooges; while others were, by contrast, relatively straightforward. Like the MC5 and later, Radio Birdman.
Izobel Garcia’s collaboration with Reverend Beat-Man was one of the best things on the latter’s most recent album, “Blues Trash”, so a full-length long-player from the pair was always going to be a tasty prospect. Those high hopes have been met.
“Baile Bruja Muerto” (translation: "Dance Witch Death") evokes colours of a dark hue; West Coast Mex cool meets decadent garage trash. Gospel, swamp and skronk meet in a parking lot to imbibe god knows what.
Ms Garcia is an L.A. artist of Mexican descent with a stunning voice. Beat-Man is a frequent visitor to the City of Lights as he has relatives in the area. The pair met at a downtown rock and roll gig. Beat-Man picked Izobel for a musician because she looked odd. It takes one to know one.
After 30 albums or so under a variety of monikers, Beat-Man could take the easy way out and keep churning out records of garage skronk. You know, music to kill any party, as the label slogan goes. Instead, he’s continuing to take chances.
The Swiss madman's brief with this project was simple: Pick a collaborator and play them a song once. Set the tape running. Use the first or second take. No overdubs. No arguments.
The Reverend describes the album as “a mix of blues trash, new wave folk and dark no wave garage punk and rock'n'roll”. No arguments. Stylistically speaking, “Blues Trash” IS all over the shop. The bands behind him and his friends range from minimal duos to full-blown folk groups.
Trashy wah-wah skronk is what Destination Lonely delivers. In spades.
A bass-less trio from Toulouse, the members have done time in Jerry Spider Gang, The Fatals and Kung Fu Escalators. If those names mean anything to you, you’ll know what to expect. Just imagine them frolicking in a swamp.
This is rock and roll from the dirty side of the street. All the well-to-do people live somewhere else. Opener “Dirt Preacher” sets the scene: Barely audible, angsty vocals under layers of guitar. The wah pedal signifies music that opens up and bleeds, on a regular basis.
Nervous Breakdown - Destination Lonely (Voodoo Rhythm)
There’s more fuzz on “Nervous Breakdown” than an ageing punnet of strawberries from the back of the fridge a month after their use-by date. The band responsible, Destination Lonely, is described as “three angry men from Toulouse”, and they sound more crankier than one of their countrymen at the end of a crash diet when they’re told by the baker that he's fresh out of baguettes.
Sometimes a large meal is best consumed in a couple of portions and that might be your best approach to “Nervous Breakdown”. It’s 17 tracks long and sometimes all that distortion and primal skronk becomes hard going - like on the 14-minute noise fest “Nervous Breakdown (big band)”.
It’s all so obvious and so much more childish than Parliamentary Question Time, but how can you resist a male-female duo called The Sex Organs who dress like they’re named with songs like “Lubrication” and “I Wanna Be a Pussy”? Oh, you can? If you have sufficient taste to push back, you can leave now.
Drummer Jackie and guitarist Bone formed The Sex Organs in 2014 to play European festivals and quickly recorded a single, “Fuck The Human Race”, in Amsterdam’s red light district. They come (pun intended) from somewhere in Europe. This is their debut album and of course it’s on Voodoo Rhythm, the people who peddle “songs to ruin any party”. Or orgy.
They’ve spent years trying to smell like rotting prawns in a hot European sun and on their newest album, the succinctly titled “M”, Swiss garage-trash combo The Monsters can finally lay claim to being tighter than a fish’s arse.
“M” celebrates 30 years of fuzz mania with a dozen songs of dubious intent that are delivered with grim precision. Some of this stuff makes a Helmet record sound sloppy, You couldn’t insert a cigarette paper between the furious boogie riffing of “Dig My Hair” or the dramatic “I Don’t Want You Anymore” if you tried (although why you’d want to do that is beyond me.) At the same time, The Monsters manage to sound unpolished.
London-based trio Dear Thief's fantastic record (yep, vinyl) is a couple of years old but I doubt they've had much press.
They seem to be an occasional band rather than a constantly gigging behemoth; nonetheless they sound exactly like some sort of rabid mammoth wandered into the No studio and went berko.
Those of you who notice such things might think you're being reminded of a particularly vicious Fall gig - drums, bass, guitar - but I find myself rather startled to realise that it's time I pulled out my "Woman" LP again.
One of the greatest things punk gave the world was that you, too, can make your own music and, if only in your bedroom, be a genius rock star.
Adelaide’s Chris Spud (aka Demented Organ Duo), the stay-at-home musician (except when playing in a horrible local punk rock band), has the most satisfactory musical and literary taste. There are four songs here; all recorded, cut and edited laboriously in Spud's luxuriously cramped studio.
“Organ Grinders” is a brilliant, sarky, creepy, savagely knowing piece of theatre. If you dug, for example, Tom Waits' circus/fairground-type music, you'll dig this - and so would Tom.
I read Voodoo Rhythm label head booster Beat-Man's customary over-the-top accompanying blurb for this Swiss band. Other people, famous folk whose music you love, rate The Jackets very high. Who? Well... Alice Cooper.
Nah, can't be that good.
Every song is crafted, clever, and a blazing, shooting, call-out-the-army riot in a small town over a misplaced pair of slippers.
The band are: Jack Torera aka Jackie Brutsche (guitar, vocals), Chris Rosales (drums) and Samuel "Schmidi" Schmidiger (bass).
You have to imagine a slightly different 1960s. Where the studios were better. Where short, sharp, powerful bolts of lightning strike over thundering drums and a glorious fuzz drone (no song here is over 3 minutes). Where more women were into the macho world of r'n'r. 'Queen of the Pill' is ten supercharged luscious slabs of dance-frantic, limbo-struttin', death-defying rawk that'll come close to blowing your head off.
PLAY REALLY FUCKING LOUD!
It's rated 15 beer bottles. Out of five. Classic, fucking brilliant disc. Starts with a genre, fucks it over and you end up, amazed and wild-eyed, at the end of the night, guzzling from a bottle of polish spirit and yowling at the moon with irate citizens throwing the contents of their chamber pots... OK.
First, E.T. Explore Me is possibly the perviest name for a rock band ever. Never mind 10CC or the Lovin' Spoonful, that's just wilful boys will be boys stuff. E.T. Explore Me, I mean, ew.
In fact, E.T. Explore Me, EEEEWWWW!
Do You Remember - The Lincolns (Trater Records)
Howlin' Threads - Howlin' Threads (Meinschaft Records)
Astral Flight - Astral Flight (Iceage Productions)
Nervous Breakdown - Destination Lonely (Voodoo Rhythm)
I've invented a new meaning for a word! Surely, with all the incredibly stupid behaviour rotating about COVID-19, surely there is actually a state of being "covid": "to behave in an irrational, impatient and/or rude manner in response to something not understood'.
You can have "coviddery", too, and "covidacious", if you like; "covidacious" would have to mean that the coviddery behaviour also indicates that they are a Grade A, thick-as-pigshit, fuckstick. But, what if the behaviour isn't quite dreadful enough to be called "covid"? Well, you might call their carry-on "SARSpicious".
Alright, I might have blown it with that last one. Still, these jerks should wear identifying caps, or badges, or something.
Omer was one of the founder members of The Dead Brothers (of whom I’ve extolled the virtues of elsewhere on I94bar). However, I listened to the disc before I learned that. If you’re one of these cats who don’t quite ‘get’ how jazz as well as blues morphed into rock (the big bands in the '30s and '40s prided themselves on how loud they were), then all I can say is… dig this, suckers.
"Swing Cremona" is that rare item, a disc you can bop, hop and jive to, as well as dance like you’re tanked on tequila. So, it ain’t quite jazz, ain’t quite folk, blues and on and on. They said that about Django Reinhardt, and they were right. They squealed about Monk being too wrong to be jazz, and being too jazz to be pop, but he was both, and ended up in the bop basket.
Welcome to the crazy world of acid trash/garage punk rock n roll that’s populated by the wonderful Come ‘n Go.
They’re busting guitar strings and spitting out no bullshit licks, throwing a bit of Swiss chic punk around like there is no tomorrow. In short, this album is very good.
It’s on the Voodoo Rhythm label and production is handled by Markus Staehli (Roy and the Devils.) “Tumbling Heights” is the fourth offering from The Come ‘n Go, who formed in Biel/Bienne in Switzerland in 2001. These punks have had some line-up changes over the years, but seem to have settled on Marina (drums and vocals), Philippe (guitars and drums), Franz (guitar), Rob (bass), Alain (vocals, harmonica and keys) and Markus (noise.) Benu guests on guitar on “What It Is”.
Good Morning Blues – Roy and the Devil’s Motorcycle (Voodoo Rhythm)
In case you never noticed, this place often celebrates the weird and non-conformist end of the rock and roll spectrum, and it doesn’t come much stranger than Swiss band Roy and the Devil’s Motorcycle.
Resident on the Voodoo Rhythm label (“Music to Ruin Any Party”) since it first released this, their debut 10-inch mini-album, back in 1996, its mix of bass-less, guitar distort-skronk and megaphonic vocals sounded fucked up then and sounds fucked up today.
It’s worth adding context: “Good Morning Blues” was unleashed on a world full of techno and the Real Rock and Roll landscape was a wasteland. Major labels still roamed what a musical Jurassic Park, looking for underground bands from which they could extract blood and turn into mainstream melange. A dead dog’s scrotum had more chance of being signed than Roy and the Devil’s Motorcycle.