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cheap motelsCheap Motels After Midnight – Dave Favours and the Roadside Ashes (Stanley Records)

Forget the “alt.country” tag. It might be a comfortable peg on which to hang an urban cowboy’s hat but after 15 years, Sydneysider Dave Favours surely occupies his own musical niche.

Maybe the tag should be “Ditch Country” – the twang is there, but like mid-70s Neil, he’s skirting a course along the gutter because it’s more interesting place to travel.

These hills are alive with the sound of Doom Trash Blues

beat man and the undergroundIt’s a Matter of Time – Reverend Beat-Man and The Underground (Voodoo Rhythm)

And it’s a Matter of Taste whether you dig the Reverend. We at the Bar have a lot of time for the venerable High Priest of Trash Rock, whether it’s in his clerical guise or cloaked in his garage trash skronk identity as leader of The Monsters.

This long player (available as a CD or LP) re-visits some old songs and goes in a few new directions, but is unmistakably the work of Switzerland’s most cuckoo garage/trash rock original. 

The back story goes a little like this: Beat-Man was coaxed to spend a week in a remote Swiss Alps chalet to record with a hand-picked line-up of people he’d long admired. He chose Milan Slick (keys), drummer Beatrice Graf (of Ester Poly) and local rockabilly guitarist Benjamin Claus. The material was played live. What you hear are complete takes. No overdubs.

Seven Mutants walk into a bar...

easily amused cvrCurse of the Easily Amused – The Mutants (Liberation Hall)

The Art Punk genre is a mixed bag. Throw in a New Wave descriptor and the name can refer to anything, really. So if you’re confused approaching this retrospective collection by a late ‘70s San Francisco band, be not alone.

At last count there were enough bands using the name The Mutants to fill a large tour bus. As well as Art Lyzak's ‘70s Hamtramck, Detroit, outfit with Bootsey X, there was a Pink Fairies-inspired Merseyside, UK, combo and a 2000s supergroup featuring Rat Scabies. There’s even an instrumental Finnish band, so there’s been a whole lotta mutating goin’ on.  

These West Coast Mutants sprang from the same diverse scene that had already spawned Flipper, the Nuns and the Avengers but took a more artful approach inspired by the trash films of John Waters and the vibe of Andy Warhol’s Factory crew. Which doesn’t mean they sound anything like the Velvets.

Packed lunch

real goneReal Gone – The Naked Lunch (self released)

Hello Barflies. The Farmhouse has been rocking these past few weeks as I’ve been kindly gifted an advance copy of The Naked Lunch’s album “Real Gone” and it’s full of surf-punk-pop tunes.

The album is a couple of covers as well as the single, also called “Real Gone” which I reviewed a few weeks back here at the Bar, so I was very excited when this landed.

Summoning rock and roll's spirit

ricky rat ghosts cvrGhosts of Isolation – Ricky Rat (I-94 Recordings)

First song bangs straight into a Ricky Rat signature, garagey, Romantics or Plimsouls-style powerpop song, with an ‘80s feel. If you are hip to Ricky's discography, this is his thing, exactly.

"We're still shining, we're still shining" he croons. I suspect it was most likely written during the COVID clampdown, to try to rouse his old cohorts outta those dark and depressing pandemic blues. 

"Glow Of Gabriels" reminded me instantly of "Child Of The Moon". Again, this is pretty much, your quintessential Ricky Rat. A Rolling Stones-influenced song with Nicky Hopkins type piano courtesy of Jimmy Bones and a Bobby Keyes style horn solo. They really put some ace production on to this one. Jimmy Bones, the dude who's tickling the ivories does a real good job.

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.

I-94 Bar