1. PAUL MCCARTNEY LIVE SYDNEY 12 DECEMBER, 2017
2. KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD - “Sketches of Brunswick East"
3. RESIDENTS - “The Ghost of Hope”
4. Sólstafir - “Berdreyminn”
5. MELVINS - “A Walk with Love & Death”
6. FRENZAL RHOMB - “Hi Vis High Tea”
7. DEAD - “Unpopularity Contest”
8. MYRKUR - “Mareidt"
9. MASTODON - “Cold Dark Place"
10. DAVID BOWIE - “No Plan"
1. PAUL MCCARTNEY LIVE SYDNEY 12 DECEMBER, 2017
OK, in no particular order - and probably not 10 of them either
Råttens Krater “URRAH!” (Conquest Of Noise)
Stoked to release this gem. Slightly demented noisy punk rock from Sweden. Thankfully none of these blokes are parading fucking mullets. You can hear plenty of different influences from The Misfits, The Wipers to The Hives
Marvelous Mark “Buzzin’” (Drunken Sailor)
A bunch of unreleased demos & ep’s combined to make this great album from ex Marvelous Darlings guitarist. He’s a power pop writing machine. This is no pedestrian piss poor pop effort, which I see plenty of. Plenty of 90’s influence going on here from Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub to Big Star.
The Cowboys “Volume 4” (Drunken Sailor)
Killer lo-fi garage punks from Indiana. There’s some real bangers on this one. A total grower. All kinds of shit going on here from The DK’s, Thee Mighty Caesars to Devo. Make your own mind up.
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” ― Upton Sinclair
Some chipper go-getter types, reportedly, have had wonderfully gratifying early educational experiences, they seem to remember fondly. They are most often, obedient Ken & Barbie yearbook committee types with prominent last names, from bigass two storey homes nestled behind many old trees, and have nice cursive handwriting and strong math skills, own a lot of golf shirts in at least 31 various shades of Baskin Robbins, dutifully participate in sports, roller-skate, cheer-lead, earned many merit badges, and have already memorized the entire big bamboozle bullshit whitewash Murkkkan history that photo-shops all the hard and painful facts about this violent blood soaked empire settler colony that was built on the genocide of natives with the labor of slaves.
This year was returning to my childhood and gromit years - teenage times as well as inner-city music, alternative and garage rock, beer-soaked pubs and the alternative. Namely the Beatles, Midnight Oil and Patti Smith.
Patti Smith and Paul McCartney get the guernsey for the best gigs of the year. And for the same reasons. Both artists are incredible live and these final tours were a massive thank you to the fans…
1 Macca at Suncorp Brisbane
Sir Paul delivered on all fronts. With the most thoughtful visual show and a hit every minute over those three hours and ten minutes, it ranged from pure, four-on-the-floor garage rock with guitars sonically attacking to more mellow stuff.
From “I Want To Be Your Lover” which would have made the Stones sound like a get-together at a nursing home to “Helter Skelter”, to the bombastic, “Live And Let Die” which inflamed the stadium, the cheesy “Mull of Kintyre” with a 25-piece pipe band, to the solo acoustic moments with “Blackbird”, this was gold. Macca’s voice, his insights, wit and humility, and his guitar playing were magnificent; 42 songs played. I won’t forget it a hurry.
1 Patti Smith at the State Theatre and spoken word at Sydney Opera House
Another pair of gigs where Patti gave 300 percent. Patti engaged us with insights, stories and, as with Macca, showed a great deal of humility. The band, led by Lenny Kaye, at times still had the intensity of 1975 CBGBs Patti, yet with overtones of a grandmother and an earth mother.
It could have been called “Short Lives Of The Poor and Obscure”.
Like Reals, Negatives, Young Charlatans and News/Babeez, The Fiction is but a footnote in Melbourne punk’s earliest days, briefly existing from 1978-79. They released a posthumous EP under the name Little Murders, kickstarting that enduring brand and the career of its leader, Rob Griffiths. They also enjoyed the patronage of the rightly-lauded Melbourne punk mover and shaker Bruce Milne and Pulp, the zine he ran with Clinton Walker.
The Fiction had a loose affiliation with those glam-sheep- in-punk-wolves clothing, La Femme, sharing a practice space and a manager. Musically, The Fiction seems to have been drawing more from bands like The Who and the Small Faces, although there’s undoubtedly a bit of Bowie in there, too.
Photo by Steve Gullick
Top Ten things I enjoyed in 2017, in no particular order and randomly numbered:
5. Tenebrous Liar - The Cut (Album)
I have faith Tenebrous Liar can save us from the Indie-pocolypse. I don’t know how to describe this album - the sounds and mood is as wonderfully textural and emotive as frontman Steve Gullick’s photographs (which he is better known for). Highlights “Alienation”, “Lowlands”, “Swing For Me”... all of it. Bandcamp.
4. Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun (Album)
This entry is more for Chelsea Wolfe’s catalogue than just this one album. I was late on the uptake and only discovered her music this year. Albums “Abyss” and “Unknown Rooms” have been on repeat, though Hiss Spun also has plenty of charms too. Website. Listen on Spotify.
The Aints, the powerhouse vehicle of singer-guitarist Ed Kuepper, bassist Peter Oxley, drummer Paul Larsen and keyboardist Alister Spence, will encore in Sydney and Melbourne in March, ahead of new recordings with producer Phil Punch.
The band will be joined by the three-piece brass section to play material by Kuepper’s adolescent band The Saints (’73-78).
Underground legends feedtime are on the undercard in Sydney (The Manning Bar on March 9) and Melbourne psychedelic five-piece Sand Pebbles will complete the line-up in the southern capital (Thornbury Theatre, March 23).
Looks like I was premature the other week when I listed my fave ten or so for 2017. “Cordyline Australis” should have been there.
And I have to say I envy all of you - you haven’t heard this yet. The first listen - if you put aside the hour and turn it on - you’ll be damn impressed. This is one hugely groovy disc.
You don’t know Michael Canning from a bag of chops, of course; he’s on Facebook as Michael Sea, and I did a review of his band’s last EP, “Mass Spectrometer”; I should also point out that Canning has released one earlier solo LP, and a slew of other music with other bands. Hassle the man on FB, but also go here.
BARFLY TOP TEN: Buffalo Revisited lead bassist and guitarist with The Cool Charmers, “noted underground journalist” Steve Lorkin
Top 10 not in any order:
1) White Stripes –Vault #33 Icky Thump X
Third Man Records Vault only release, 10 year anniversary edition. Includes a wacko coloured vinyl re-press of the double album plus two bonus albums containing all the non-album b-sides and the full demos housed in a way out box. The demos are furious ! Only released for a few months via Third Man Records.
2) Shy Impostors CD (maxi EP/mini album CD)
Unleashed by those God-loving folks at Citadel Records. Seven demos recorded 1980 and now finally after a loving re-mix by Jason Blackwell sound truly fab. The songs, vocals and rough as guts musicianship by these proto legends are gold. Melodic and dirty.
3) Buffalo Revisited gig at Brewtality Festival in Melbourne
Is it truly an honour for me after being a Buffalo fan since 1974 to be playing with their mighty vocalist Dave Tice with some fellow Buffalo maniacs (Troy and Marcus). And to be playing those great songs (a mind melt to learn btw). We hit our cosmic groove at the Brewtality Festival in Melbourne; more to come for sure.
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