Getting ripped, and not ripped off, in Ocean County

wasteland bluesWasteland Blues – O.C. Rippers (Ruined Records)

Ocean County, New Jersey, is a 40-minute drive from the Ashbury Park foreshore of Bruce Springsteen and a million miles from his $5000 concert tickets. The same goes for the music of O.C. Rippers, whose 16-song “Wasteland Blues” album is a million times more exciting.

It’s the vinyl version of the 2021 debut CD and if you hang around the I-94 Bar you’ll know the modus operandi: Equal parts Dead Boys, Stooges and Candy Snatchers (especially) with songs that mostly last less than two minutes and are spat out at breakneck pace (for the most part) with venom.

There's life in this Nasty last gasp

last gaspWaiting For The Last Gasp Of My Generation – Nasty S and The Ghost Chasers (Twenty Something Records)

French journeyman Nasty Samy has been on the European underground touring circuit as long as anyone can remember, playing with the likes of Second Rate, Hawaii Samurai, The Black Zombie Procession, Demon Vendetta, Cab Drivers Stories, Teenage Renegade and a bunch of other bands you’ve possibly never heard of.

He’s a lifer.

He’s also a magazine writer of some repute.

“Waiting For the Last Gasp…” is a cover album, with Nasty S playing most of the stringed instruments on a selection of ‘80s and ‘90s punkish and powerpop songs that he digs, and with a rotating cast of guest vocalists.

Prospecting yields Gold for Ashley Davies

ashley davies goldGold - Ashley Davies (Strange Loop Recordings)

Before we start ... it's always about the songs. And "Gold" is magnificent. 

But wait, there's more...like the pattern of a walnut...

Every now and then something quite special arrives at my Internet cabin in the woods. As you may or may not know, I've edited a couple of Australian Bomber Command books - first-hand accounts by two then-young men who answered the call and flew the missions. 

Those books have brought me into contact with other people, and some of their stories (such as the the wish-he'd-been-a LRP Ranger) ... and they also raised the eyebrows of a chap called Ashley Davies.

Vi-Nil retrospective casts a different light on Sydney's underground heyday

indie sounds vi nil cvrIndie Sounds From The Harbour City (1983-87) – Various Artists (Vi-Nil Records)

The Vi-Nil label lurched into life in 1983 with The Klerks and spawned more notable offspring such as the Hard-Ons and the Psychotic Turnbuckles before winding down at the end of the decade. This collection marks the label’s re-birth, and features a representative selection of its first era stable.

There are 20 tracks and it’s a diverse output, ranging from power-pop to acid punk and back to new wave and garage rock. Vi-Nil’s release of “Sockman” by the Lipstick Killers was my introduction to the label and to these ears it still epitomises the frenzied attack of the first era line-up.

An offer you can't refuse

godfathers alpha betaAlpha Beta Gamma Delta – The Godfathers (Cargo Records)

Whenever the one and only Peter Coyne switches up the roll call of the long loved Godfathers institution, the fans always fret momentarily and then the front doors get kicked in and here they come again, guns blazing, in full color and better than ever.

I did not know they could possibly be this good and do it again, but here they are still gigantic fucking towering monuments of Real Rock ‘n’ Roll, ya know ever since the Sid Presley days this lot has been as influenced by gorgeous, chiming, classic hit melodies from the golden age of pre-Pepper Beatles, as they have by the snarling rebel roar of the pissed-off Pistols, they still have all that in their sound, and they still write songs that are just unbelievably stick in your skull catchy, hand tailored for rock ‘n’ roll radios, if such a thing exists.

Sydney mods Division 4 return with "Let Her Go"

It’s 40 years since Sydney mod band Division 4 released their “On The Beat” EP, and to celebrate they have got together to record a new single “Let Her Go”.Division 4 are Kieren Fitzpatrick (ex-Love Minus Zero) on guitar and vocals, Brad Fitzpatrick (ex-Bam Balams, Gigantic and Rob Younger’s ‘60s band Nanker Phelge) on lead guitar, Mark Jago (ex-Stig Can’t Clap) on bass and vocals, and David Rowley (ex-Jump Vision and Watusi Now) on drums who replaces original drummer Joe Genoa. The new single was written by Kieren and Mark. Mark also mixed and produced the song and directed and edited the video.

Pursuing redemption as a hornet's nest is kicked

chris bookFaith and Practice in Bedlam
By Chris Masuak
(High Voltage)

The rock and roll biography, usually ghost written within an inch of near life, seldom rises above the squalor of tabloids in terms of literary merit. A chronological narrative structure occasionally framed as a flashback is as good as it gets.

Think of sports biographies with guitars.

Unsurprisingly, reviews of Chris Masuak's new book have been thin on the ground. Firstly, because the book will probably upset his old band mates and their wrath has become legendary.

Secondly, I suspect, because - like its author - this book is quite the odd duck.

When confronted by the unusual, most pundits wait for someone else's opinion before voicing their own. Especially when they don't want to miss out on the chance of potential support slots.

Affirmation of life

a fire of life lpA Fire of Life – The Stooges (Easy Action)

Pertinent Question: Who else but Easy Action would have issued this and shown such a high degree of care? The Stooges are no more. Every listenable recording of the band during any of its phases surely has been exhumed and put into the marketplace by now.

Incorrect.

“A Fire of Life” is the Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Watt-Mackay Stooges at the height of their reformation powers.

The first half combines broadcast quality sets from Sydney (2006) and New Orleans (2003) while the second act is audio of a pay-for-view, live-in-the-studio 2007 set, showcasing one song from “The Weirdness” with five re-recorded classics. It’s rounded off with an in-store appearance by Iggy, Rock and Ron at Newbury Comics in Minnesota in 2003.

This tale of London's rock and roll underworld is a gas gas gas

keiron pim flashJumpin' Jack Flash. David Litvinoff and the Rock'n'Roll Underworld
by Kieron Pim (Penguin Books)

Who? Exactly. Except, here's a character who knew (to his cost) the Kray brothers (and many of their associates), introduced a very stoned Richard Clapton to The Queen Mum, and pretty much was the writer/inspiration for that enigmatic, brutal film “Performance” (starring Mick Jagger - he was in with the Stones as well).

Oh, and he had a very nasty spat with artist Lucian Freud too, which appears to have been the cause of his facial scars - on either side of his mouth, like Hugo's “The Man Who Laughed”.

David Litvinoff. Half-brother of Emanuel Litvinoff (who famously read a poem calling out Eliot's pre-WW2 anti-semite poetry - at a gathering at which Eliot was present), thief, shoplifter, gangster, thug, procurer, fantasist, culture influencer, prankster and fascinator par excellence.

Keiron Pim has gone tumbling down and impossible historical rabbit-hole, “where wet lamplight glistened on the wet pavement as snowflakes met their swirling shadows ... unnoticed when I slipped cross-current through a crowd, they rhythm of footsteps inculcating the notion that I was floating”.

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