Tony Bishop, Rob Lastdrager and Leon Beveridge. See item 2.
With the world and me still waking up from the pandemic in 2022, my Top Ten consists of some old friends and favourites, re-visited, remembered and revived.
Experiencing Covid for the first time at New Year’s and enduring a heatwave in Melbourne, I’m not complaining. It’s given me quiet time to think and a chance to raise a glass to all my departed rock and roll compadres. RIP Chris Bailey especially. The raw energy of the early Saints powered my escape from Brisbane in the '80s, something for which I will be eternally grateful.
MARVELLOUS MUSICAL MOMENTS OF 2022 AND MORE MUSINGS:
Firstly, thanks to The Barman and I-94 Bar contributors Keith Claringbold, Dylan Webster, Matty Ryan and Edwin Garland who included my shows with my band in NSW and Melbourne in their Top Tens for 2022. That is so cool and greatly appreciated! Thanks to everyone who came to these shows! It was fabulous to see so many “old” friends there!
Thanks to the musicians who played in my band – Tim McCormack on bass, Jason McGann on drums, Julian Held on guitar, Sam Billinghurst-Walsh on guitar and Ryan Oliver on keyboards. They are worthy of the attention they have been getting.
In fact, thanks to all the musicians who performed live on the indie rock circuit in 2022. These are not easy times for many musicians, and it’s been fantastic to see so many artists back in action on stage, in the post lockdown world. Often, I cross paths with them when they attend other people’s gigs as well. It’s a wonderful thing to behold - intrepid rock’n’roll soldiers leading the charge to bring live music back into the forefront of our hearts and minds!
Thanks to all the punters who have been supporting live gigs. Thanks to the music journalists for reviewing our shows and new releases and to the radio presenters who have been playing our music. Thanks to the venues and the promoters, with a special thanks to The Barman for his tireless efforts to keep our rock scene alive and well.
Scruff Myers' Superhands - Scruff Myers' Superhands (Blunder Town Records)
The Superhands' debut LP, and it's taken me far too long to get to it. The second LP will be under way shortly, I am told.
Blunder Town's press release explains that Superhands started as a one-off party band, which clearly took off in Scruff's head.
Scruff? John “Scruff” Ellis had 16 years’ service with legendary UK clockwork punks The Adicts, and if you're not familiar with them, I suggest you start here. The Adicts play in an instantly recognisable style - it's catchy, anthemic, uplifting stuff.
My radio program “Sydney Sounds” had been on 2RRR-FM in Sydney on Saturday nights from 6pm for almost 20 years. Earlier this year, it was moved to the earlier time slot of 2pm Saturday, which is a more accessible slot for many of its listeners, so has managed to maintain its faithful followers and gain new ones. It can be streamed live via website 2rrr.org.au as well as all online radio streaming apps.
12 Super Duper Extraordinary Girl Trouble Rock ‘n’ Roll Tracks – Bang Bang Band Girl (Voodoo Rhythm)
First, the whinge. This is one of those cases where you’re left wondering what might have been if the contents matched the cover. A one-lady band from Chile via the Netherlands, Bang Bang Band Girl, has great taste in covers but the sum of its parts make this album not so much unhinged as mildly off-beat and muffled.
The one-sheet for what's almost an album full of covers promises a “spaced out wall of fuzz, theremin, reverberation and a warm, dangerous yet sweet voice” and there are elements of all those, but they’re sometimes buried by so-so production.
Cramped – 50LgE (self released)
This six-song EP from the New South Wales Far North Coast trio 50LgE (“50 Large”) with lineage derived from The Eastern Dark and the Psychotic Turnbuckles is as stylistically diverse as they come, swinging from swampy rock to garage rockers.
“Cramped” is an unabashed lift from the early Cramps, not weird enough to rouse Bryan Gregory from his grave but obvious enough to send the message that 50LgE are big fans. “White God” chalks up one for the atheists without getting out of second gear.
It’s a bill to have fans of lysergic acid punk reaching into the cupboard for their paisley shirts and Cuban heeled boots, when the Green Spiders pair with old school punks Moot and garage throwbacks The Jane Does at Marrickville Bowling Club on Friday, February 24.
The Green Spiders come from the DNA of the Lime Spiders, Adolphus and The Most – all staples of the Strawberry Hills-Sydney Trade Union Club circuit in Sydney in the early ‘80s. They play the songs of the Lime Spiders that Green Spiders members penned.
Lime Spiders members Ged Corben (guitar), Tony Bambach (bass) and Tom Corben (drums) are joined by Ripley Hood (Mushroom Planet) on vocals to deliver a potent parade of hard rock and ‘60s punk gems.
Woody Radio – DJs Gidget and Boris
A non-profit internet radio station based out of Canada run by Gidget and Boris alongside a team of international DJs that plays the best mix of indie power-pop, rock, punk, goth, electro and metal music that you probably never heard of (unless you keep your ear to the ground and finger on the pulse of the up-and-coming bands and artists).
For the past two years, both Gidget and Boris have kept Suburban Urchins in their charts, firstly with the "Born In The Suburbs" album, and Gidget has closed out 2022 with the Zed Girl EP climbing to number-one on her chart. LIsten here.
2022 was another year that was hampered by the pandemic; while we are seeing green shoots of recovery, the scars are still pretty deep. I’ve spent most of the year doing the usual stuff, so this is some of what has poked it’s head up in my rounds.
1. Guitar sales
2022 wasn’t all bad news for rock and roll. It seems that the market for new guitars has nearly reached $3b globally… which is a helluva lot of new Fender Strats. I know I’ve been doing my bit, but it does mean that the death knell for guitar based rock and/or roll may have been premature.
2. Young Rock Renaissance
On the back of those sales we’ve been seeing an increase in younger rock acts taking up the mantle. While the standard bearers of the Aussie bogan rock scene, Amyl & the Sniffers and The Chats, have gone from strength to strength, I’m seeing a lot of younger acts finding their feet on the live scene in Sydney. Special mentions to Euterpe, Polly and of course, out of self interest, Pocketwatch.