mark roxburgh 2023Mark Roxburgh fronting Joeys Coop. Murray Bennett photo

In no particular order a bunch of music and music related things that have grabbed my attention. Some of it is shit and some of it I’m ambivalent about but all of it has fed my passion for music.

A.I. and music @ Skynet
I was researching AI and design about five years ago and saw that much of what designers did would soon disappear and design would split into two camps – bespoke design “crafted” by people or mass-produced design generated using AI via the prompts written by people. I suspect music will follow a similar path. 

People will still write and play songs the old fashion way and it will probably be a bit of a niche / bespoke activity. A lot of mediocre mass-produced music will be generated using AI via the prompts written by people. We’ll probably hear more of it in things like corporate videos or ad jingles and the ubiquitous Tik Tok videos to begin with but I suspect it will eventually dominate the popular music landscape. The precursor to this is of course sampling. 

The advent of sampling has led to a huge growth in genres of music that is not written so much as it is cut and pasted together. Honing one’s prompt craft to get a song out of AI is the next logical step. The soundtrack of Skynet. Meantime I’ll still write and sing songs no one will listen to apart from 15 blokes of a certain age in a dodgy bar somewhere.

jfk farewellJohn Kennedy and Thge New Originals Farewell Show. Murray Bennett photo

John Kennedy Farewell Show @ Marrickville Bowlo
He did have a bit of a Nelly Melba run didn’t he but fuck what a great night it was. Great songs, great band. He is all charisma and funny as fuck. A national treasure. Should be as big as Paul Kelly.

Lewis Goldmark @ Marrickville Bowlo
The vehicle for Liam Judson, formerly of Belles Will Ring, songwriting and guitar playing talents. Released an album – “Cut and Flash” – in 2022 which I discovered in 2023. Killer. Think a cross between Burt Bacharach and Todd Rundgren in terms of classic American songbook pop. Saw them at Marrickville Bowlo in October. Great band, great songs, and Liam is a great guitarist. He backed up that set up with an outing with The Lovetones. He can do the melodic pop jangle and then go all out beast with feedback et al.

Infinity Broke @ Petersham Bowlo
What’s not to like about a band with two drummers? Led by Jamie Hutchings (Bluebottle Kiss) on vocals and guitar these guys were an assault on the senses in the best possible way. Angular post punkish with some thunderous and epic guitar.   

Tribute Acts @ Just About Every Fucking Venue
We seem to have hit peak tribute band in 2023. I have no issue with the concept per se - after all orchestras playing Bach, Wagner et al are the original tribute band – as it is one of the few ways musicians can make a living. My issue is with the lazy as fuck audiences that want to relive their teenage years rather than getting off their arses and seeing original acts.

Kraftwerk @ Brisbane Convention Centre
For all I know the guys on stage could have been answering their emails for the duration of this concert but what a joyous show this was. The songs transported me back to the dance parties in condemned warehouses and dodgy bars around Oxford Street of my misspent youth - the only thing missing was the bottle of amyl. Fascinating to listen to them again after all these years to realise the huge influence they have had on many forms of contemporary music – hip hop, trance, doof, 80s synth pop. The list goes on. The sound was excellent and the light and video show amazing. Now where can I get one of those LED suits? Preferably in plaid.

Folk Bitch Trio @ The Eltham Hotel, NSW
With a name like that I was unsure what to expect but found out the name kind of says it all. Not that they are bitches, just that these gals play with real attitude. Amazing three-part harmonies, great songs and excellent lyrics. Great to see the non AI future of music is in excellent hands.  

Thursday Evening Gunk – AKA getting pissed with John Kennedy @ Moshpit
I somehow got to be the fifth wheel in an interview about ‘90s music but found my groove when it came to cocktail time. Highlight of the night was getting pissed with John Kennedy.Strangely enough John and I had never met before but we hit it off like old mates and I couldn’t stop laughing. As I mentioned elsewhere he is as funny as fuck. With The Barman plying us with endless glasses of red we finally called it quits when the lights went on. I was staying at the Bin Chicken (Ibis) Hotel in St Peters and got as far as Sydney Park where I spent most of the night sound asleep on a park bench. From such nights come songs. Look out for “In The Pines” at our next set and next album.

Milk Carton Kids @ The Eltham Hotel, NSW
The origins of this duo’s name is dark and that dark subtly weaves its way through their music in the form of black humour and a healthy respect for minor keys. These two young fellas played unamplified acoustic guitars, sang pitch perfect harmonies, and took us back somewhere in time to mid-west America. They were spellbinding. The crowd held its breath for the entire set. Another magical night in one of the best venues in NSW.

Love Police @ Venue Near You
A special mention to this booking agency. They have toured a lot of alt country/Americana /indy rock from the US of A. Not all of it my cup of tea but their focus on booking quality musicians, of varying ages and levels of fame and success, who write real songs and play real instruments has meant that I’ve got to enjoy some special moments – most of them at The Eltham.