2021 was a year of invention, reinvention and history slowly fading away – and that’s just on the subject of Brisbane music! Losing Fred Hardon of the Hardons and the Leftovers’ Ed Wreckage dealt huge blows as two pioneers from the first wave of punk gave their last middle fingers towards the sky.
From a personal standpoint, Phase 4 Records sadly left Fortitude Valley after six years and not because of the price of rent – just the ultimate cost of nobody bothering to walk its promenades while the sun was out. It’s the customers who help pay it after all!
After a brief stay under Backbone’s wing in East Brisbane before the council decided it’s best to turn a vibrant and accessible venue and artspace into greenspace (or is that developers’ dreamspace?), we again moved the store to a new forever home on the top floor of the Cave Inn, a ball’s throw from the grounds of the Gabba. Here, at the discretion of Omicron, we will be hosting bands and events as well as running Brisbane’s only after hours record and vintage emporium. The only downside could be the loss of our slender figures, with the pizza and beer providing fine companionship for our racks.
VOIGT/465 – "LIVE KIRK GALLERY 19/05/79" (Download only, self-released)
Sydney's Voigt/465 used punk almost as a cue to unleash a sound that captured their love of (daggy) UK art-rock of the early 70s and throw it right into the fire of Sydney’s ever-expanding inner-city music scene. Their Kirk Gallery show – which you’ll find on their Bandcamp page - was originally recorded via the ABC’s mobile truck for a radio broadcast that never happened.
This show (which was shared with the Thought Criminals and Tactics) serves as an impressive aural document from this short-lived act that left us with only one single and an album over their all-too-brief life. And if one more person spells the band name as Voight/465, I too may scream like co-lead vocalist Rae Macron Cru!
MONSTER THUNDERCLAP’S TOP TEN
1. EAST COAST LOW – “SEAS ON FIRE”
Cause I f&*king like it!
2. LUCIFER STAR MACHINE – “THE DEVILS BREATH”
Cause I F#&king like it!
3. GRINDHOUSE – “SEX PUNK POWER”
Cause it’s SEXY!!
4. SHOWS 2021
Cheers to all the awesome bands we shared a stage with, and a huge shout out to all the venues…. CAUSE I SAID SO!!!
5. LEADFINGER AND SWEDISH MAGAZINES AT MARRICKVILLE BOWLO, NSW
No explanation needed!!
6. TUMBLEWEED 30TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS AT LA LA LA’S, WOLLONGONG, NSW.
7. SPIDERS – “SHAKE ELECTRIC”
Cause it’s Killer!
8. MONSTER MAGNET – “A BETTER DYSTOPIA”
Cause it’s a mind-blowing album of covers!
9. MARVEL – “LIZARD LOUNGE”
Cause they do it for me!
10. AUSSIE BANDS
All the great Aussie bands putting out inspirational music (WE SALUTE YOU!) F@$k all the lazy MOFO’s, that say there isn’t any good music anymore.
Monster Thuinderclap plays guitar for Wollongong's The Dark Clouds.
The Scientists with LIndsay Hutton.
During these times when time and space seem displaced to a point beyond rescue, here’s a wee list of what’s been keeping me going during that which was designated 2021. We’ll approach this alphabetically because I don’t believe in that numerical bollocks. I’m reporting here while Scotland waits on the thundersnow to arrive. Thundersnow is a weather phenomenon, not an act you need to check out.
2021 Top Ten
But I am choosing to not count very well as I wanted to share a lot of stuff. I was at home for most of the time – of course. An amazing time to live through. Knowing most of the entire world was going through the same thing, figuring out the same problems, trying to work out what was real and what wasn’t in the daily news. Incredible.
And it levelled the music scene. I loved that! All the competitive shit between players just stopping for a while. I also kept doing a weekly show on RRR in Melbourne - doing it remotely like most of the volunteers on air – and all I wanted to play was music made in this time. And there was a lot of music coming out.
“American Hardcore” b/w “The Deal” (Swashbuckling Hobo)
That these reformed second-wave, southside Brisbane punks actually manage to sound dangerous on new recordings made four decades later comes down to the fact they were more of a Flipper-meets-latter-day-Black-Flag-styled grind than a cheap Pistols take-off, before - in the words of their label - “drugs, death and depression took over”, and they dissolved.
They reformed, more or less intact, a few years ago to play live and promote some re-issues, and these songs are the fruit of a studio session.
A Top Ten from the recliner rocker…
Firstly, some YouTube highlights for me in 2021.
Clyde Bramley’s Top New South Wales Live Music Venues 2021
“The Magnificent Seven” (I’m sure there are many more out there, but I haven’t had a chance to interact with them over the past year!)
1. Marrickville Bowlo, Marrickville, NSW
The flagship Sydney venue at the moment. I particularly like the Sunday arvos with a very civilised 4:30-7:30 time frame. Richard Ball always does a sensational mix.
Blues Portrait Volume 2 by Pauline Bailey
Blues Portrait Volume 3 by Pauline Bailey
If you want to pick an argument, get into a discussion with a professional musician about what constitutes blues music.
There are those who regard themselves as “blues players” and those who do not, and never the twain shall meet.
There’s a mindset among some self-described blues players that they’re the “real deal” and everyone else is not. It must really rankle for them to have seen the annual Bluesfest evolve into a (mostly bland) celebration of the mainstream.
1. COURETTES – “BACK IN MONO” (DAMAGED GOODS)
The Courettes still seem to be without profile in these parts but have been gathering plenty of fans across Europe over the past few years. A Brazilian/ Danish wife (guitar & vocals)/ husband (drums) team who have been fine tuning their garage crossed with 60’s girl group sound, culminating in this whizz bang LP.
2. HARD-ONS - I'M SORRY SIR, THAT RIFF'S BEEN TAKEN (CHEERSQUAD)
I thought the prior Hard-Ons album was their best yet and then they go and drop this. Hard to beat!
3. CIVIC - FUTURE FORECAST (FLIGHTLESS)
Fantastic rockin’ album which delivers on the promise of their earlier EP and singles.