Get Off My Wah Wah…And Suck This – Bored! (Bang! Records)

get-off-my-wah-wah-and-suck-thisIssued as a cassette in 1988 in a limited run of 300, these are the first recordings of Bored! Expect no studio wankery or sonic polishing, other than the obvious mastering from cassette to vinyl. This is how the band sounded when they were a bunch of pups from Geelong, playing on the floor of their local record store.

Bang! Records is run by a couple of Basque Country rock and roll fanatics who have championed Beasts of Bourbon and various spin-offs, a host of scuzzy Downtown Manhattan noise-makers and the so-called Geetroit Sound. This recycled gem is on LP only and follows 2016’s “Piggyback” compilation of lost recordings on the same label.

While chowing down on early Stooges songs might be ho-hum in these Post Pop Reunion times, Bored! was really pushing envelopes in post-punk Melbourne and its environs. That explains the three-in-a-row inclusion of “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, “No Fun” and “TV Eye”. “No Fun” especially has intuitively weaving guitar fireworks from Dave Thomas and John Nolan that should make your jaw gape.

Bolt From The Blue - Warped (Conquest of Noise)

bolt from the blueFiguratively speaking, the title fits like a glove. 

This long player hasn’t arrived entirely without warning, but its sonic impact is like a sucker punch to the side of the head from a blind spot. 

No dispute that Warped is an Australian hard rock institution. Through two careers over the course of nearly three decades, the line-ups might have shifted but the commitment to that dirty “Geelong sound” has remained intact.

For the uninitiated, Geelong is/was an industrial city to the west of Melbourne which was a rich spring of of bands in the late 190s and early ‘90s. The town’s industrial nature has faded, but the “no airs, no graces” character of its music has hung in there.

Jesus Loves My Heroin II - Various Artists (Hurtin’ Records)

jesus loves my heroin 2Here’s the two-part hypothesis: (1.) No schtick in rock and roll works as well as premature death and; (2.) the Japanese have a particularly deep interest in musicians who have checked out early – especially those terminally doomed through their own vices. 

The latter probably has a lot to do with the strict Japanese drug laws and the populace's deeply rooted respect for authority. Remember the Macca bust? Did you hear the one about the Australian band that wouldn't tour there because the singer liked his pot so much and was worried he wouldn't find a connection? I digress. 

The laws of science say that any hypothesis should be disprovable. While you’re trying, I’m spinning this album.

"Jesus Loves My Heroin II" is  a Japanese tribute to Nikki Sudden and Kevin Junior Now, I have familiarity with some of the works of the late Mr Sudden; I’m less up-to-speed with the output of the late Mr Junior.

Heart of Black City - Poison Heart (Heavy Medication Records)

heart of black cityParallel universes of like-minded underground music scenes exist all around the globe but Poland has to be one of the lesser-known outposts. Poison Heart from Warsaw just appeared on my radar and they might be candidates to pop up on yours. 

The Scandi Rock wave of the ‘90s gave high-energy rock and roll a much-needed injection of spirit just as the rippling after-shocks of grunge were making everything bland and homogenised. Poison Heart soaked it all up and “Heart of Black City” makes obvious nods to the Hellacopters and Gluecefier. 

Is that a Warsaw Turbojugend logo on your CD slick or are you just happy to see me?

Hook Down Easy - Phringe Dwellers (self released)

hook down easyFor every band that “makes it” there are hundreds, if not thousands, that never get past thefringes of a scene. Sydney’s Hunchbacks were one of the many runners-up in the mid ‘90s. Despite patronage from the likes of Asteroid B612 (whose main man John Spittles produced them), they never cracked the big(ger) leagues. 

That the hard blues edge of The Hunchbacks is apparent on The Fringe Dwellers’ debut album “Hook Down Easy” should be no surprise: Vocalist Carl Ekman (on bass) and guitarist John South from that band are leading lights. They’re joined by sometime I-94 Bar scribe Simon Li (drums) and Damien Smith (vocals and guitar.)

The sound of “Hook Down Easy” drips Sydney’s underground music scene circa 1986. It’s in the driving, hard-edged sound and sparring guitars that do it. That’s where the band’s roots are and there’s no escaping them. I’m guessing that won’t be a drawback for many reading this. 

Live at Bookies - Iggy Pop (Easy Action)

live at bookiesDespite an increasing lack of consistency with his official album releases, it's fair to say Iggy Pop continued to reign supreme in the live setting throughout the eighties.  You could always guarantee he wouldn't actually sound like the horror that was "Blah, Blah, Blah" in the flesh.

This disc emerges from around the period of the equally undigestable "Party" LP.   Fortunately, despite sharing two guitarists, it sounds nothing like that.

Along with other companies, Easy Action has recently all but flooded the market with a seemingly endless slew of concert releases from this period.  The "Where the Faces Shine" box sets proved more than worthy but they alone bought us more than 12 hours of live Pop music.