richard hell - The I-94 Bar
Listen up, punks and noiseniks: The Canadian band’s fifth album in 17 years is inarguably their best. It rocks like fuck; It scratches like a rabid kitten. It’s tuneful and noisily offensive at the same time. All of which should tell you something about The Ex-Boyfriends even if you’ve never heard of them.
The Ex-Boyfriends come from Calgary and I’m willing to bet they’re the best-in-breed in that neck of the woods. If Calgary’s music scene is half as fractured as anywhere else, it takes a lot of balls to be a rock and roll band. Big ones if you play noisy punk rock. Shamefully, I’d forgotten they were around until a notice about this heavy-diuty chunk of vinyl landed in the post box.
Well, this is going to be interesting…
See, the Barman scores books by McGarretts, with three being the top score.
So, the book (one of the 33 1/3 series about "classic" albums) gets TWO separate scores, for two separate reasons. It’s up to you to figure out if I’m being fair or not.
However, I’m not quite sure how to imagine half a Steve McGarrett. Which would be the least offensive do you think, the top or the bottom half..?
You see, the reason Astor gets a half McGarrett is because it’s a bloody effort to read. Astor is now an academic, no longer an enthusiastic and rebellious teen, and there is way too much turf, not enough surf. Astor’s haphazard organisation is apparently designed to prevent you reading it, and he apparently has neither enough understanding of either the time (which is just plain weird) or the impact the LP had, and there is certainly too much literary analysis where it seems superfluous.
Destiny Street Complete – Richard Hell and the Voidoids (Omnivore)
Reports that “Destiny Street” had been re-recorded and was being pressed on vinyl in 2004 were alarming. The late Robert Quine was five years gone and his wired, highly-strung guitar-playing was an essential and revered element of just about anything the Voidoids did. This was surely an act of madness, if not sacrilege.
Its prime creator, Richard Hell, had never been happy with “Destiny Street”, the 1982 follow-up to “Blank Generation” that was recorded in troubled circumstances. Hell was debilitated by a drug habit and absent for much of the sessions. His penchant for intravenous coke to counter his reliance on smack had left him fried and unable to leave his apartment for long periods of time. His attempt to make his mark while largely AWOL was to summon up guitar overdub after overdub.
Skin Suit - The Bobby Lees (Alive Naturalsound)
If you were on the cusp of releasing your first "real" record, had US and European tours booked and ran head-first into the current viral shit show, you'd feel like you'd been whacked around the head with the Unlucky Baseball Bat, wouldn't you? Such is the lot of a young band in The Age of The Phlegm Plague.
Upstate New Yorkers The Bobby Lees sound mightily pissed-off on "Skin Suit", but the album was recorded long before Covid-19 was kicking anybody's arse.
The Bobby Lees play snotty, raucous blues thrash with all the rough edges left intact. Little wonder that Jon Spencer produced "Skin Suit" - the band's explosive blues sound is right up his alley.
Jasmine Hirst photo.
Lydia Lunch doesn’t particularly care whether people are offended by her art.
From her beginnings in New York no wave outfit, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, to her spoken-word performances, to her collaborations with Rowland S Howard in Shotgun Wedding, Swans’ Michael Gira, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, Bob Quine (Richard and the Hell and the Voidoids), right through to her more recent profane expositions on the United States under Donald Trump, Lunch’s self-defined brief has been deliberately and avowedly confrontationalist.
In her own words, Lunch is a conceptualist, exploring concepts that highlight the exploitation and marginalisation of the individual in contemporary society, the typically patriarchal and oppressive discourse wielded by institutions of power.
If you can’t stand the heat in Lunch’s artistic kitchen, go find yourself a fast-food media joint and starve on the processed, intellectually bankrupt crud that masquerades as entertainment.
In May 2018 Lunch returns to Australia with her Retrovirus concept, trawling across her 40-year career with the aid of Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Chrome Cranks), Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers) and Algis Kizys (Swans). I spoke to Lydia Lunch in her sometime home town of New York City.
Marcia Resnick photo
A handful of songs into just one album, and Robert Quine had staked a claim as one of the most distinctive guitar sounds on the New York punk scene.
Quine was part of that small but influential coterie of musicians, artists-turned-musicians and assorted dilettantes that populated a seedy ex-biker bar called "CBGB and OMFUG" at 315 The Bowery, on the Big Apple's seamy Lower East Side. He was the principal guitarist in Richard Hell and the Voidoids, a unique quartet spitting out some of the New Wave's most disturbing music.
On the 12th anniversary of the passing of Robert Quine, we present this archived interview from May 2000.
The Barman’s Best Albums of 2021, in reverse order of release.
1. Back For More – The On and Ons(Citadel)
Perfect rocking powerpop from Australia’s most consistent exponents of the art. If you haven’t heard them yet, shame. Start here and track backwards.
2. Snake Pit Therapy – Sonny Vincent (Svart)
New York punk’s (almost) last man standing bounces back with his best-sounding and arguable most well-rounded album ever. Sonny has been hidden in plain sight for the many for far too long.
3. You’re Class, I’m Trash – The Monsters (Voodoo Rhythm)
Beat-Man and his buddies have made trash an art form like few others before them. This record should make a junkie of you.
Onetime Richard Hell and the Voidoids guitarist Ivan Julian is battling cancer, his record label has revealed.
“The prognosis looks good for Ivan, but for the next six months or more, flexibility to do his work will be greatly diminished, which means a direct impact on his income,” Plowboy Records said in a statement on its website. Julian was diagnosed almost immediately after writing and recording The Fauntleroys’ new single, “Wait For Me” b/w “All The Way Down (In The City Of Angels).
Plowboy Records and The Fauntleroys are offering the new singles in digital, vinyl and CD formats with all profits going to Ivan Julian. Go hereto score the new single or the band's debut EP and help a punk rock icon.
Plowboy is also home to ex-Dead Boy Cheetah Chrome.
With the late Robert Quine, Julian was one-half of one of the most innovative guitar combinations on the New York punk scene and more recently had worked with Matthew Sweet.