Ugly Life b/w I Just Wanna Die – Mad Brother Ward (Ruined Records)
Uplifting choral music, it is not. Mad Brother Ward is best known as being the North Carolina gutter punk fronting Screaming Street Trash among others in the '90s. who joined sometime GG Allin collaborators Antiseen after guitarist Joe Young checked out.
Mad Brother hasn’t done anything under his own name since when creepy Michael Jackson staged a sham marriage to an Elvis progeny when he really preferred the company of children and his chimp. In other words, 25 years ago. Sheesh, Joe Biden was only old then and Trump might have been careless enough to be paying taxes.
“Ugly Life” is slam-me-down-and-kick-me-till-I’m-dead punk rock, with a riff that’s chewed on until its marrow seeps out. You know the drill and it makes its point without hanging around in the memory bank too long. “I Just Wanna Die” is a more measured mid-tempo rant that’s the pick of the pair. Props to guitarist Chris Michael here. If the sentiment within appeals, you can always call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.
Both songs are one side of a shiny blue platter with laser etching on the other (non-playable, you dummy) side. Buy or die here.
You Might Be Through With The Past, But The Past Ain’t Through With You b/w Ruby Baby – Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders (Heavy Medication)
Ex-Lazy Cowgirls leader Pat Todd makes records that his contemporaries wish they could. If you ever see an album by Todd and his band The Rankoutsiders in the wild, just grab it. Get your hands on this non-album track 45 on Polish label Heavy Medication as well.
“You Might Be Through With The Past…” is a prime slice of Americana-via-Chicago-blues goodness with blazing blues harp, bristling guitars, a willing engine room and the knowing vocal of Mr Todd dishing it all up with a side of punk rock attittude. It’s the same crew that brought you “…there’s pretty things in Palookaville…” (on Hound Gawd! Records), one of the best records of 2021 bar none.
Flip it and you get a good-time take on the Leiber and Stoller song “Ruby Baby”, a standard that’s been done to death by evertone from The Beach Boys to Dion. In the hands of Todd and Co, it’s spraypainted with a liberal coat of rough ‘n’ roll charm to sound damned near brand new. Raucous and righteous! Don't walk, run, the purchase link is below.
Wrong Train Home b/w Quicksand – DangerMen (Swashbuckling Hobo)
Lovely and raw. You do know those two words go together? This return 45 by Brisbane’s DangerMen after a five-year absence is as ragged as Grandpa’s undies after an unfortunate late night accident on the way home from the pub, with a sound that’s more than a little Stooge-efied, thanks to some single-note piano and Dr Rock and Dover’s “Raw Power” guitars.
“Wrong Train Home” is about an ill-fated train trip while tripping, and sounds like what health professionals these days call “a lived experience”. Zoltane the Maniac’s wail is both wrong and just right. Flip him, Danno, and you’ll sing along to “Quicksand” which, it must be said, is more of the same. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Buy it as a download if you must but drop some cash on the seven-inch here and you’ll get something that’ll last almost as long as herpes.
Concrete Box b/w Crazy For You – Room 101 (Lost in Pyrmont Records)
This particular Room 101 were the first band to use the name that I'm aware of; there is now a chat show (dear God), a band from Lansing (Michigan) and a post-hip-hop outfit from Nuh Zuhlund, which explains why this band's bandcamp addy is https://room1011.bandcamp.com/
"Concrete Box" is a slice of simple, socially-observant venom articulately snapped out, with zipping twin guitars in sharp sync with bass and drums, with a lyrical trajectory perfect for the physically active lead singer. Granted the pop world had moved on somewhat from guitars (so the industry thought at the time) but the crowds in Sydney thronged to hammering bands like Room 101. Given some of the rather woeful "punker" type bands which appeared each Sunday night on 'Countdown', Room 101 would've cheered you up no end.
Last Bite b/w You Take My Money -Black Bombers (Easy Action Records)
So, Black Bombers are on tour through UK, which to many of us may seem bizarre as the place is far more riddled with the stupidvirus than we are in Australia. However, almost everyone's been vaccinated and boosted, and the latest major variant, BA.2 doesn't wallow in the lungs like a family of grumpy hippos like the Delta and Co did.
Now: there's only 300 copies of this single and I can't imagine there'd be that many left. Get on it while you can.
Why? well, first, the BBs are freaking awesome (as the young folk used to say) live and if you only have what they've released so far - a self-titled LP, a seven-inch “'Rush” b/w “Raw Ramp” (a Bolan cover), and the mini-LP “Volume 4”, then you know what you're in for, and any and every release from the BBs is greasy dark manna from Purgatory.
Comic b/w No God - Velatine (Spooky Records)
You need this gritty, honey-dipped red platter of imminent death and vaulting beauty on your turntable now.
And when I say “now”, you need to get your skates on. 150 were pressed, and Spooky has less than half left. This single is pure, powerful Euro-class with tinges of Dead Can Dance, Laibach and Depeche Mode...but with the kind of darkly angelic singer that spotty teenage boys top themselves over.
Have you heard Velatine's first few long-player releases yet? “Store Atmospherics” and “The Trap” (both on Spooky in 2020). Mean, moody and magnificent. Remember that soundtrack to “Twin Peaks”? Well, imagine a similar series set in the Alphabet City, the midnight Gotham of our souls - Velatine slide right in. You can even wear your leather biker jacket. These songs were the result of, as the media release says: "Loki Lockwood delving deep into the world of electronica in an unconventional way, combining a love of cinematic, industrial and pop".