Skin and Bones – MD Horne’s Last Call (self released)
Last year’s “Red Dirt Bituman” album was a departure for 300 st clare and Johnny Casino bassist Mark Horne, and his 2021 incarnation MD Horne’s Last Callsounds like another. While “Bituman” headed for the wide open spaces of the Australian bush, framing Horne’s sparse songs against a stark, dry soundscape, “Skin and Bones” hops into a boat and sets sail on folk-punk seas.
“Skin and Bones” is the first track to be released (digitally, natch) from the forthcoming Last Call album, "High Tides, More Crimes", on OuttaSpace Records in Australia and both Folc Recordsand La Villa Nova in Spain.
It's said great songwriters know to write about the things they know about. Johnny Casino has a new 45 imminent and it reflects the strange times in which we all live.
“Twenty Twenty” was written and recorded in the early days of COVID-19 as the expatriate Australian was stuck in Philadelphia, trying to work out a way to get back to his adopted home of Spain. The flip, “People Say”, is a Bored! cover recorded in Spain in stripped-back style as a tribute to that band’s late frontman Dave Thomas, who passed away in 2020.
The vinyl single is out on Spanish imprint Folc Records on January 15 and available for pre-order here.
“’Twenty Twenty’ explains how i was feeling during the months of March and April 2020,” Johnny says. “I had just touched down into Philadelphia International Airport and my brother-in-rock Billy was waiting to pick me up, and his first words were: ‘Brrother I´m surprised they let you in.¨
“I had no idea what he was talking about!”
Casino explains: “Me and my wonderful wife Mayra live in a smallish seaside town called Denia in Spain and we knew there was ¨something¨ happening but not exactly what! We ain’t much for watching news or current affairs programs.
High Tides, More Crimes – MD Horne (Outtspace/FOLC/La Villa Nova)
Only a shit stirrer would start a review of an album with the rhetorical question: “How do you know you’re getting old? You start listening to bush bands”. Guilty as charged – on the shit stirrer charge, that is. Lock me up.
Yes, the second solo album from Sydney’s MD Hornecontains mandolin, didgeridoo, his own bass, a sprinkling of bush balladry, and even a sea shanty of sorts but, thankfully, no lagerphone. It’s also damned good.
Recorded in fits and spurts across four years and multiple countries, “Time and Time Again” had a drawn-out, trans-national gestation and birth. That’s fitting because it’s an album with a spirit that doesn’t need a visa to work in any place that’s receptive to spirited, heartfelt rock and roll.
It’s been said before but bears repetition: Johnny Casino’s been a moderately well-kept secret in his birth country of Australia since he struck out under his own name in the ‘90s. With Easy Action and then The Secrets - the former a US-spawned crew, the latter a rotating cast of members in various Aussie state capital cities - he’s built a formidable body of work without bothering mainstream taste arbiters.
Perennial I-94 Bar favourite Johnny Casino has a limited edition of seven-inch singles out under the apt name “5x7 - The Days of Wine and Cola”.
The physical boxset is in a run of 200 copies only and is available on Bandcamp here or through European labels Folc (Spain) and Beast (France). The digital edition is out on all platforms through Golden Robot Records.
Now living in Spain, the man once known as John A Spittles is the founding member and songwriter of the great Australian rock 'n' roll band Asteroid B612, Philadelphia PA's Johnny Casino's Easy Action, the rotating line-up that is Johnny Casino and the Secrets (featuring the who's who of Australian rock 'n' roll), The Egos, The Lord Street Sound,and Carrie Phillis and the Downtown 3.
Casino is a musicila journeyman always looking for new challenges whether it’s a riff to plunder, a melody to celebrate or a moment to capture, so let's allow Johnny describe the concept of the release: