Ranking right up there

snatches of pink love is deadLove is Dead - Snatches of Pink (8th House Records) 

This dude, Michael Rank, from Chapel Hill should be a big star by now, but you know how the sickeningly sucks shit, corporate muzak-biz only promotes sold soul, formulaic garbage pop, nowadays. His outstandingly funky solo CDs and various wild and sensual rocknroll bands (Snatches Of Pink, Clarissa and Stag) have made summa the most under-rated and soulful rocknroll of our generation.

He's a farmer, a father, a badass guitar player, a ballet dancer, and one of my favorite rocknroll vocalists, with a voice that is sometimes reminiscent of Jakob Dylan's whispery folkish croon, or naked and vulnerable as Curtis Mayfield or D'Angelo, or as dirty-beautiful, get-down raunchy, first take, Marlboro belligerent and untamed as Bryan Small or Alice Cooper. He's one of Murkkka's only remaining rockers who can sit at the same end of the bar as most of our Australian brethren.

With touring on ice, Hugo Race turns inward

hugo race ts live

Starbirth/Stardeath - Hugo Race and the True Spirit (Gusstaff Records)

Hugo Race: Troubadour, manic perpetuum mobile and musical engine, was fortunate enough to be in his home town of Melbourne while the global pandemic unfolded, trapping him in a world he never made. Gigs were cancelled around the world, his plans spun away...and he turned inward.

Then, outward. Even after the first few songs, it seems clear that Hugo is looking for some sort of reinvention, a crossing of a Rubicon. "Starbirth/ Stardeath" definitely marks a new phase.

Alright, for the uninitiated, I could cite Race's lengthy rep: noted spark in Melbourne's late 1970s and early '80s underground; former Bad Seed (on what is arguably Nick Cave's most sonically extreme album); leader of The Wreckery, and his own True Spirit; writer of books, soundtracks, and songs for other people and songs for us...but that tells you little.

The Church of Spontaneity

eleven womenEleven Women - Steve Kilbey (Foghorn)

COVID’s pervasive impact forced Steve Kilbey to suspend the piecemeal process of assembling another Church album and instead make a solo record. It was done on the fly and from the ground up. 

Equipped with a loose but strong batch of songs, a modest budget delivered by PayPal from intimate online shows and willing collaborators in guitarist-bassist Gareth Koch, Roger Mason from the very borning Icehouse on keys and Barton Price (of the Models, Sardine v, Flaming Hands et al) on drums, Kilbey and His Winged Heels delivered “Eleven Women” in just three days.

Boozzies impress with their toast to the coast

living up the coastLiving Up The Coast – Space Boozzies (Outtaspace Records)
 
Short, sharp guitar bursts tempered by occasional sax and lots of singalong choruses. These Space Boozzies have their punky garage sound nailed on “Living Up The Coast”, their second long player in eight months, and it’s now tighter and harder. 

The 12 songs here reek of irreverence, stale beer and stained footy shorts – as befits a band from the New South Wales Central Coast.

For those not in the know,  The Coast is a place just an hour north of Sydney’s festrering rat race where the backyard barbecues burn brightly most weekends and the living is relatively easy - even when welfare dependence is high.

A lot to love about this dog's life

dog songs jack howardDog Songs - Jack Howard and the Long Lost Brothers (self-released)

This from the press release:

"'Dog Songs' is a 'best of' Jack's Dog's Bar residency with his mighty band of Long Lost Brothers - and sisters. It features some powerful new songs, like 'Reason to Believe', and 'Panic in the City', plus ripper versions of some of Jack's great older tunes like 'Let Me Live' and 'City Lights'. The band features some of Melbourne's finest in absolutely stellar form - Ed Bates on pedal steel guitar, Nick Del Rey on guitar, Cal McAlpine on drums, Rob Walker on bass, Fiona Lee Maynard on backing vocals and percussion, and Amy Valent Curtis on percussion. Production from Craig Harnath at Hothouse Audio captures the band's live energy and power without sacrificing the rich warmth and depth of a studio recording.'"

Well, you don't need me, really, do you?

Off you go and buy "Dog Songs".

No? Still here?

What's that?

"Do some fucking work, Robert" ...?

Bastards, the lot of you.

Grooves and guitars ensure "Psychopharmacologist" will capture hearts

psychopharmacologist smPsychopharmacologist - Mick Medew (I-94 Bar Records)

Issued by this website's very own head honcho, The Barman, who is responsible for organising many, many gigs which you've all thoroughly enjoyed. The kind of punter who decides he wants to see bands, and figures you will, too, so he puts them on. 

This LP rates 5 bottles, and that's not because I know Barman and he's slipped me a brown envelope behind the cistern at Central Station, but because “Psychopharmacologist” is bloody lovely, and you absolutely need it in your collection. The press release explains that this is “Mick Medew’s first true solo album and his most surprising musical adventure yet with its broad stylistic sweep and kaleidoscopic use of sound”, and that's a fair comment.

What it's cracked up to be

crack brandoA Crack in the World - Brando Rising (Crankinhaus)

“A Crack in the World” is an utter cracker, and if any of you lot had recorded anything half as good as this you'd have heads as big as prize-winning pumpkins.

I mean to say, Jesus wept, lads. “A Crack in the World” gets your attention as surely as if someone has heaved a box of tinned tuna at your head.

Doesn't matter what mood you're in, put this in your slot (oo-er, missus, fnaar fnaar etc) and you'll feel like a character in a 1950s Warner Brothers cartoon who has rashly “just added water” to a mysterious sachet.

From out of iso comes the ghost who Walkers

Ghosting van walkerGhosting - Van Walker (Green South Records)

The emerging artistic genre de jour of 2020 will be iso-art. Some of it will be insightful, philosophical and impressive; over in the bargain bins of artistic creation, there will be tedium, self-indulgence and vacuous expressionism. When the world shuts down, and even incidental social intercourse is legally and morally restricted, art follows.

Van Walker’s new album isn’t iso-art per se, but it’s an album that resonates in a world characterised by isolation. Van, aided and abetted by his equally hirsute brother Cal, have been fixtures on the Melbourne music scene for around 15 years, since making the trip from regional Tasmania (itself a place of relative geographical and demographic isolation).

Finger lickin' good

10 piece feed10 Piece Feed - The Missile Studs/Thee Evil Twin (Evil Tone Records/Dirty Flair)

This is a marriage made in Fast Food Heaven. “10 Piece Feed” pits Adelaide scuzzballs The Missile Studs against Sydney’s recently dissolved punk trio Thee Evil Twin over a 10-song split LP, and it’s hotter than a fire in a chip shop grease trap.

Split albums can be disappointing but the contrasts and similarities in both bands work well here. The Studs are more of your traditional thrash-y punks while Thee Twin have a ‘60s garage undercurrent. Neither band is a slave of studio polish, and they possess equal amounts of humour and energy. Breast or Thigh? Plenty here to appease fans of either - or both.

Meet your overlords

reptillian overlordReptilian Overlord - The Casanovas  (Rubber Records)

Melbourne's  hard-rocking Casanovas have released their fourth album,  “Reptilian Overlord”, and it does not disappoint. It just rocks from start to finish.

I must admit I've seen The Casanovas many times over the years with varying line-ups. The constant, however, is the guitar and vocals of the man who was always destined to be a rock star: Tommy Boyce. Honestly, see this man play live and tell me I’m wrong.

I-94 Bar