Looking back but not in anger

sound of sydney 4Sound of Sydney Volume 4 - Various Artists (Method Records and Music)

What is “the sound of Sydney”? It’s a rhetorical question, if not an outright non sequitur.

If you asked 20 different people, you’d get as many different answers. Someone young might say it’s Triple J - which would be laughable but it’s, you know, it is somebody’s reality. You can fight media fragmentation but it’s like yelling at a cloud. Boomer.    

 “Sound of Sydney” was a series of compilation albums- appearing in 1983, ’84 and ’86 - and the work of Method Records’ Fabian Byrne, of mod-pop band Fast Cars. They were fine records - and very diverse and that in itself was reflective of what was going on in the underground.

2020 Barfly Top Ten: Ron Brown from Dimboola

ron brown 2020RON BROWN
I-94 Bar correspondent from Dimboola in The Outback, Australia

Hello Barflies. It’s been a shitty year. No gigs in this year's Top Ten but the Farmhouse has still been rocking

10. The Stooges - "Live At Goose Lake"
After all the stories about Dave Alexander's bass playing at this gig being horrible and Iggy sacking him is now put to rest it. Better than they said.

9 .Deniz Tek & James Williamson  - "Two For One"
When two guitar greats join forces, one would expect it to be good. And it is.

8, The Casanovas - "Reptilian Overlord"
The Casanovas
have released another fabulous record full of big riffs.

7. Mick Medew -   "Psychopharmacologist"
The songs and vocals are brilliant, and also thanks for the Sunday streaming sessions with Miss Border Collie.

6. AC/DC - "Power Up"
They’re back with their best album in years - a true tribute to a lost brother.

5. Drop Kick Murphys – live stream
The DKM did a wonderful live stream from Finway Park , spectacular sound and songs.

2020 Barfly Top Ten: Graham Hood of The Johnnys

hoody 1978GRAHAM HOOD
The Johnnys, Allniters, The Troughmen, The Cool Charmers, The Normals et al
"10 Highlights of my Punk pilgrimage across America"

1. In late 1978 I was naïve, wide eyed and bushy tailed, 20 years of age and full of beans, myself and two companions left Auckland, NZ and headed to LA on our mighty search for Punk Rock. There was a bunch of funky Afro American dudes on the flight in the seats in front of us, they kept hanging over the back of the seats and enquiring if we were punk rock? I said well we are punk rockers if that’s what you mean, they were very keen to find out about us and the music and kept buying us drinks – turned out they were Andrea True Connections' backing band heading home from Australia. After a several drinks we were all singing "More More More how do you like it, how do you like it"! Much to the chagrin of our fellow travellers.

2. Arriving in LA, the enormity of the place dawned on me . Our hotel downtown was really scary; we huddled in a corner of the room all night and listened to the fighting going on in the corridor whilst watching the door handle going up and down as the door was being tried. We moved to Hollywood the next day to a Motel 6 - equally as dodgy.

Powerpop wears a blue collar

StuckInAJobCvrStuck in a Job b/w Living In The Borough – Joe Normal & The Anytown'rs (Big Stir Records)

I'm always late to the party, and in the wrong place, at the wrong time, so ya know it was no big surprise, by that year when I finally made it to Hollywood, seeking out competent shag-haired glam punks for my own set to self-destruct before our 15-minute flash metal suicide glitter gang. It was really all over but the pouting, and I hadda get a series of telemarketing and janitorial gigs, sweeping up the silly string and confetti of last year's hairbands!

All the bombshell temptress girlfriends with the come hither, tilted just so police hats, and over blackened hootchie kootchie eyes, had already moved on to gangsta rap or grunge, which was a total buzzkill that I never related to at all, 'just proved the power of corporate media to strongarm any fictitious, manufactured trend or phony narrative upon the masses by overplaying it all day, they did the exact same thing with even more awful boybands two years later, so anyways, in the Hollywood limelite's last gleamings, the purple haired Zeros were like the biggest buzz in town, seemingly poised to make it, at least, as far as Faster Pussycat or L.A. Guns or whoever. They had lines around the block of devoted fans who all formed kooky colored glam groups and copied them slavishly.

2020 Barfly Top Ten: Matt Ryan of Munster Times

matt ryan 2020Zo Damage photo

MATT RYAN
Editor - Munster Times zine
Melbourne, Australia

Top 10 LPs of 2020 (no order)

Adele and the Chandeliers – First Date
First thing that grabbed me was that sweet Manchester accent of Adele Pickvance, one of the unsung heroes of Oz music and my new favourite vocalist. Nine cracking powerpop tracks, and a corker Buzzcocks cover. An LP of life, love and the simple things that make it worth living, laid down in a fun and warm LP

The Breadmakers -The Breadmakers
Melbourne’s garage gold standard return with their first LP in years. Ten '60s rock 'n' roll inspired tunes, and two covers that "Back from the Grave" aficionados will go nuts for. Proving once again three chords, or less, plus rough and fast is all you need in a track.

Jack Howard and the Long Lost Brothers and a Sister - Dog Songs
The Dogs Bar in St Kilda (RIP) did an amazing job of keeping live music going in St Kilda, and one of the marque acts was Jack Howard every first Sunday of the month. With lockdown that obviously came to an end, but this CD was a wonderful reminder of those Sundays. This CD comprises of songs Jack and Co play during their Doggies set. As I listened to this I could see myself standing in the corner, being greeted by landlords Gav and Sonya, while Bernie 2 Legs, Fiona and Josie Jo and I shoot the shit while listening to all these killer tunes, and trying to get Leeroy’s attention behind the bar. One of those bands you can’t really fit into a genre, brilliant songs with an amazing ensemble of musicians.

2020 Barfly Top Ten: Steve Lucas of X

steve lucas 2020STEVE LUCAS
X, Heinous Hounds, solo and many more
Melbourne, Australia

1.) Single Malt Scotch. Preferably Irish. Nine that peaty shit. Clean and clear.
You can pick them up easy... The Dubliner for example. Easy on the pocket and a very smooth drop. Writer's Tears is a favourite. But more expensive.

2.) Blended scotch. If I can't access a single malt then blended it is. Best value is, believe it or not, Dewar's White Label. You can get a litre for around $45. It goes down surprisingly well. I was given a bottle of Johnny Walker Black a month or two ago and was kind of stunned by how good it tasted. Had not tried it in years so i feel i should mention it.

3.) Vodka. There are so many choices. They range from rubbing alcohol to crystal clear tears of angels. Russian or Polish is good. It's worth spending a little extra on if you knock it back neat. It doesn't mean there are not some real bargains out there. Pyccknn CTAHDATP Russian standard gold is a good example. I am very partial to that at the moment.

2020 Barfly Top Ten: Mick Medew

mick medew 2020

MICK MEDEW
Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers, Mick & Ursula, solo artist, Mick Medeww & The Rumour, Screaming Tribesmen, The 31st
Brisbane

1.  OVERSEAS SHOW OF THE YEAR
Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets @ The Tivoli theatre Brisbane on February 19.

2. COMMUNITY RADIO
Community Radio saves the day again , they save the day for musicians and fans alike as well as shining a light on the injustices that occur in our communities  and beyond

3.   DAVE GRANEY AND CLARE MOORE  "Stage it"  Live streaming shows
Thursday nights have never sounded better

Once more with feeling

extract from the fungusExtract From the Fungus - Celibate Rifles (self released)

Consider it a last will and testament. Eleven songs, cobbled together from restored quarter-inch tape or cassettes, all but one track previously unreleased. It’s music written by other people, which isn’t a detraction ‘cos the Rifles always had the best covers. These are remnants of recording sessions from 1984 right up until a few years ago, but they’re much more than throwaways. 

The Celibate Rifles have a special place in the hearts and minds of most who saw them. A bunch of suburban Sydney boys fronted by a worldly and older larrikin, they began more brazen than cool. Before long, they fitted in with the exploding Australian underground of the ‘80s and ‘90s better than many critics realised. 

Young Nick stripped

boy on fireBoy on Fire. The Young Nick Cave
By Mark Mordue
(Harper Collins)

Lou Reed famously used the phrase "Growing Up in Public", but it's seriously arguable that he ever grew up at all. As represented in "Boy on Fire", Nick Cave grew up in public, and it's that Odyssean journey which we want to follow. 'Cause success, well, that's over-rated. It's nice that you're not poor anymore, but boy, if you had problems before, you could easily have a worse time dealing with them.

So author Mark Mordue begins with some of what he already knew, and of what we already know, before plunging down a rabbit-hole beset on all sides with imminent spiteful criticism, fact-checkers, poor-memory merchants and "it wasn't that way at all" keyboard numptys.

That he suspects what he's in for is quite clear from his early observation of the bond between Nick and his mum before Cave heads off to accept an ARIA Award in 2007. To his credit, although he was only nominated himself, Cave also inducted the other members of The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds on the night. (Most annoyingly, he forgot to mention the band's original drummer, Phill Calvert).

Like I said, brave or damned foolish; it's hard to be a writer, not a hack, and make any money (Mordue has a day job, he's no fool). "Boy on Fire" deserves to be purchased for yourself, your friends and anyone you know interested in music. Period.

One reason is that, if you know enough about Cave, you'll also know that any decent book about him should always have a modicum of humour. I found myself chuckling out loud on the bus within minutes of beginning and, while it's not written with laughter in mind, you will find the several threads which Mark sets up quite early, vividly rewarding. Cave himself, an adventurous mischief-maker, possesses a savage and spontaneous wit, and his company can be addictive. Small wonder that so many who have encountered him either don't comprehend him, or find him boorish, or jaw-droppingly fascinating.

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