T Bones at Danny Hamburgers in 1990: Charlie Wilde, Helen Cattanach, Andrew Pupillo and Rob Lastdrager.
Bring on 2022 after a surreal 262 days in lockdown here in Melbourne. We all did a lot of daydreaming and walking the hood waiting for cocktail hour. Here are a few highlights that got me through in no particular order.
1. T Bones Greatest Hits 1991 Our 30th Year anniversary. Recorded at Sing Sing in Melbourne by Mark Smith in a couple of days. I was worried at the time after having four wisdom teeth removed days before the recording, I needn’t have been. Still has great R&R energy. Would’ve been cool to do a 30th reunion show in 2021. C’est la vie.
10. JAMES DOMESTIC – “FAZE OUT” This just scrapes in as a debut single but by the time The Domestics’ frontman’s album emerges this Spring, it’ll be a shoo-in for end of year lists. A brilliant first effort, “Faze Out” keeps some of the East Anglian hardcore pioneers’ energy but cloaks his Dury-ish man-in-the-pub spiel in junskshop electronica.
9. VIEWS – “MOTHER TAPES ANTHOLOGY 1986-1990” Not sure how this lot passed me by in my student days, but this double from Area Pirata is an excellent introduction to (or reminder of) Brescia band Views. One for paisley underground fans, they borrow the Dü’s knack for belligerence and melody with occasional wigouts into Yo La Tengo lightheadedness.
8. SONNY VINCENT – “SNAKE PIT THERAPY” STILL one of punk’n’roll’s best-kept secrets, Sonny came within a Rizla’s breadth of going overground and not a moment too soon. The Limit album that came out earlier in the year, fronted by Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling, brought him a whole new audience, but this is really what he does best. A confident resurgence considering the trials of recent years.
I've known this soulful, creative, talented brother Reverend Paul S Cunningham of Boston’s Gunhouse Hillfor a long time now, through the miracle of modern telecommunications on the surveillance panopticon. In recent days I've been locked outta social media for too much facts-based push-back against billionaire techlords’ preferred narratives. Reverend Paul is one of the only people I miss being able to look in on.
The label went a bit quiet (because REASONS), but we’re ending 2021 with a BANG!
1. NOT THE JOHNNYS Link and Pin, New Year’s Day 2021 Hoody, Slim and special deputies Kane Dyson and Matt Brown had the audience fit to bust; it was our first proper rock’n’roll show in the beer garden after the Avalon COVID spike. There were a few tears between us when the fellas ripped into ‘Injun Joe’. You can see THE JOHNNYS live at Link and Pin on 9 January, 2022! Tickets here.
Another year with nothin' to do....!! No gigs to speak of though we did manage to fit in one Black Bombersshow just before the years end to blow away the cobwebs..!! Top Ten? Mostly reissues but here goes...
Bored – “Back For More” (Bang!) A UK Record Store Day release. R.I.P. John Nolan
Endless Boogie- “Admonitions” The Boogie is indeed endless.
This is not a real Top Ten list as such. Just a list of personal highlights that were beacons in what was another shit year for most of us.
The passing of Johnny Nolan(Bored!, Powder Monkeys, Powerline Sneakers) did not help. After his death, I read through al private messages we exchanged over the past decade. Johnny was a man of passion and so much love for music a genuine lovely bloke with his bands. R.I.P.
The Sonny Michaels Show This shambolic pisstake on the bad ‘70s TV host has equal parts Norman Gunston and Don Lane. We get two hours per month. It is so funny. Paula and Mike Brown are a talented duo and the Sonny Michaels character is world-class. They also present at least 15 artist videos who would not normally get viewed outside their YouTube channels .Great work.
10. Subterranean // 4zzz Radio Judy Jetson's show on 4ZZ-FM in Brisbane on Fridays (4-6pm) does a fantastic job on reminding you the weekend is here. Her garage/psych play list will send you down obscure rabbit holes.
9. Live Music Gotta feel for the promoters and the musicians this year. Just when you thought we're back. The mat had been drizzled with baby oil for ease of being pulled from underneath. How do you make plans!?! Hats off to everyone who did - even if there was rescheduling involved. We owe yers all a beer.
8. The Doors // L.A. Woman 50th anniversary release An album that sounds as good today as anything you're ever going to hear. Got lost in the repetitive takes of "The Changeling Pt.1" sitting on the train on my way to the Ashes the other week and missed my stop. It'll do that. It's a nice opportunity to revisit Jim.
7. Supergrass/Rocket Science // Split 7" This one was pretty special to work on. Both incredible bands in their own right. Fitting to see them both on the same wax. The project really came to life when CJ Rhodes put his mind's eye to the artwork. Sounds as good as it looks too!
6.. Even // Reverse Light Years These guys continue to stay true to their own sound and don't stray far from their path. For good reason too... Could easily be five or six radio singles on this double LP. Looking forward to hearing this one come to life on the live stage.
5. X // Asperations 40th Anniversary They didn't waste their time in the studio recording this now essential LP way back then and the world is a better place for it. Found this via RSD 2021. Anytime the spotlight shines on X is fine by me.
4. The Beatles // Get Back doco Lots of smoking cigarettes and drinking tea. Ringo with the patience and timing of a clock. George misunderstood. Lennon living in Paul's pocket, Yoko in John's. An album then birthed out of Paul's arse brought to life by Billy Preston. Brilliant.
3. Sonic Rendezvous Band // Detroit Tango This band is the greatest. Ever. Nick Royale has done us a favour with this standalone release. Thanks.
2. Hot Buttered Surfboards // 50 years Not sure if there are many wax heads at the I-94 Bar...but man... Terry Fitzgerald... the Sultan of Speed is still keeping the northern beaches of Sydney alive. Morning of the Earth original surfer/shaper and if you give him a holla he'll shape you a surfboard and organise Martyn Worthington to give the board a spray. Total throwback to the 70's..Nuts!
1, Coopers // Partnership w/ Sapporo Yebisu beer...Once impossible to find outside of Chinatown. Coopers brewery have made this one, fully imported, available at the local bottlo. Worthwhile investing in an occasional cartoon for the fridge. It'll get you pissed.
Heartbreakers – “LAMF - The Found '77 Masters”. As the title hints at the original mixdown tapes had long been lost. The reissues had all been dubbed from vinyl and the original pressing from 1977 was considered by some to sound muddy (not by me though). A chance rummaging through an attic and bingo! The tape was found. This newly remastered edition sounds as solid as a rock! (I only have the CD, the record store day vinyl re-issue was under pressed and sold out in a milliseconds. A re-re issue will happen in 2022).
Buffalo (Revisited) – “Volcanic Rock Live”. Imminent LP release (January 2022 I am told). It has been a rock and roll dream for me (as a long time Buffalo fan) to be playing these songs live with Buffalo foundation member Dave Tice. A live gig we did was recorded and deemed more than worthy enough for mass release by USA label Ripple Music.