In no particular order, The Barman’s Top 12 albums of 2019: “So I Could Have Them Destroyed” – The Hard-Ons (Music Farmers) You could say “What a comeback!” but only if they’d really gone away. So much variety yet it hangs together so well.
“The Devil Won't Take Charity” - Kim Volkman and the Whiskey Priests (Beast Records) Kim and his band have that Stonesy-Keef vibe down pat. Raunch and roll.
“Mystery Train” – Chickenstones (Crankinhaus Records) Sydney’s best kept secret. Doc might be driving the bus but Preacher Phil really steps up. Soulful and abrasive tunes played with heart.
“Shake Yer Popboomerang Vol 3” - Various Artists (Popboomerang) Some of the material back-tracks but it’s a collection of rolled gold. Aussie power pop for the ages.
“Black Door” – The Volcanics (Citadel) High-energy, passion and variety. Their best to date. The Volcanics are truly a world class band.
“The Aints! Play The Saints” - The Aints! (Fatal Records) Will we ever see their faces again? Maybe. Maybe not. This is a white-hot snapshot of what they delivered live.
“Ann Arbor Revival Meeting” - Scott Morgan’s Powertrane featuring Deniz Tek & Ron Asheton (Grown Up Wrong) As historical artefacts go, this is as good as they get. It’s a generously appointed re-issue of a stellar, all-star show.
DONAT TAHIRAJOwner of Phase 4 Records and Cassettes store and the LCMR Records labelBrisbane, Queensland, Australia
There’s no need to explain what a slightly weird year 2020 was. Sadly and for my back pocket’s sake, Phase 4 Records had to close for most of Autumn which meant I wasn’t as often held captive by some stinky guy banging on about the greatness of some rockist act they read about in "The Wire" at the top of their voice scaring our innocent customers away while I desperately needed to go to the toilet.
Our record label LCMR managed to squeeze out only three 7” EPs for the year – one by a hopelessly obscure Toowoomba punk group, Brian, and two by Xiro, the Brisbane band of the early post-punk era who should’ve gone on to have a great international career but decided not to for the sake of art; or something.
It was a great pleasure putting them all together for those who were all too familiar and the ones who were brave enough to try some music that was completely unknown to them.
Australia's best old new musical group, The Aints!, are continuing their march to world domination with an EP and more live shows.
Ed Kuepper, Peter Oxley, Paul Larsen Loughhead and Alister Spence have added brass wizard Eamon Dilworth to the band ranks proper and are following up their debut album, "The Church of Simultaneous Existence".
As befits a band summoned to expand on the legacy of Kuepper's fabulous if reluctant punk pathfinders The Saints, the EP will be called "5-6-7-8-9", taking its cue from The Saints’ 1977 four-track release "1-2-3-4".
Click Read More to hear a track.
Here’s a sight you thought you’d never see: That’s Saints guitarist Ed Kuepper with B1 and B2 of kids TV show "Bananas in Pyjamas". Confused? Besides the fact that Ed is a Queenslander (and don't all Queenslander love bananas?), all three of the above are now labelmates on ABC Records, who announced today that they’ll be putting out the new studio opus for Kuepper’s current band The Aints!, the grandly titled “Church of Simultaneous Existence”.
The Aints Play The Saints (73-78) national tour in November led by Ed Kuepper and an all-star band is selling out all over so new shows have been announced.
The gig at Melbourne's Caravan Music Club has joined Sydney's The Factory Theatre as a pre-tour sell-out. Limited tickets remain for the other Melbourne show (November 18 at the Corner Hotel) and all other shows in Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Due to demand, Sunday, November 26 has been set aside for a performance at Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast and tickets are on sale via aussieworld.com
2017 was a great year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Velvet Underground & Nico and "Forever Changes", the 40th of "(I’m) Stranded" and the 25th of something great (and local) which came out in 1992 that was more than likely one of Ed Kuepper’s. And speaking of Mr Kuepper, let’s launch into this Top Ten the Barman asked me to do.
I’ll just prattle on about live shows I’ve seen as they’re probably more entertaining than my thoughts on Cosey Fanni Tutti’s autobiography "Art Sex Music" which isn’t rock & roll enough or director Kriv Stenders’s recent feature documentary on the Go-Betweens which is probably too wimpy for readers in I-94 Land.
Fair enough - they’re not everyone’s cup of tea – especially if you prefer coffee.
1.-7. THE AINTS 2017 AUSTRALIAN TOUR OF THE EAST COASTApparently the best way to describe someone who follows Ed Kuepper’s shows from town to town is to call them an Edhead. In 1976, Saints fans were known as Kuepper Troopers as it was understood that even in those early days it was Ed’s band - up until 1978, at least.
So fast-forward to 2017, The Aints awake after a 25-year hiatus and decide to tour through the most of the country’s capital cities doing Saints material from ’73-’78.
2017...the year that was...and yes I have Sinatra's ''It Was a Very Good Year'' going through my head. Actually, it had its ups and downs but I'll focus only on the ultra good, in no particular chronology.
My musical year started with a performance with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra as my backing band at The Tivoli. in Brisbane. We played my most recent album “Lost Cities” in its entirety, as well as a selection of material I did for the “Last Cab to Darwin” soundtrack, plus earlier solo and Laughing Clowns tunes. “Ghost Gum” and “Collapse Board” were real high points for me.
Richard Davis conducted and made the transition from the garage to the concert hall for me not only possible but an enjoyable experience. Robert Davidson did the orchestral arrangements and brought the songs to life in a context I'd often dreamed about doing but hadn't actually heard.
Richard Wenn put the whole thing together. It would not have happened without him. His enthusiasm for bypassing the “greatest hits” approach and general tenacity made it work. Thank you, Richard.
We did the show again in Cairns a little while later, this time with a slightly trimmed-back orchestra (even flat-stacking them, there are only so many orchestral musicians that fit into the back of my ute.)
This was also great and quite different due to the smaller orchestra. The whole thing has been a great learning curve for me. Thanks, one and all.
The next thing I went on to do was what was announced as my last ‘’Solo and By Request'' tour, this time taking in all those out of the way and rural places I don't get to that often. The idea for these shows started in 2013.
This year was returning to my childhood and gromit years - teenage times as well as inner-city music, alternative and garage rock, beer-soaked pubs and the alternative. Namely the Beatles, Midnight Oil and Patti Smith.Patti Smith and Paul McCartney get the guernsey for the best gigs of the year. And for the same reasons. Both artists are incredible live and these final tours were a massive thank you to the fans…1 Macca at Suncorp Brisbane
Sir Paul delivered on all fronts. With the most thoughtful visual show and a hit every minute over those three hours and ten minutes, it ranged from pure, four-on-the-floor garage rock with guitars sonically attacking to more mellow stuff.
From “I Want To Be Your Lover” which would have made the Stones sound like a get-together at a nursing home to “Helter Skelter”, to the bombastic, “Live And Let Die” which inflamed the stadium, the cheesy “Mull of Kintyre” with a 25-piece pipe band, to the solo acoustic moments with “Blackbird”, this was gold. Macca’s voice, his insights, wit and humility, and his guitar playing were magnificent; 42 songs played. I won’t forget it a hurry.1 Patti Smith at the State Theatre and spoken word at Sydney Opera House
Another pair of gigs where Patti gave 300 percent. Patti engaged us with insights, stories and, as with Macca, showed a great deal of humility. The band, led by Lenny Kaye, at times still had the intensity of 1975 CBGBs Patti, yet with overtones of a grandmother and an earth mother.
James McCann leading The New Vindictives in Europe. JUXE photo.
1) The Damned @ 170 Russell St, MelbourneI’ve always loved The Damned: the rush of energy of their first few singles and albums. My wife is a big fan and she educated me on all things Damned. I missed them last time around so I was pumped to see them finally, to say the least.
I didn’t want to be disappointed so I did my homework and watched recent live shows on YouTube and read recent reviews. By all accounts the band was on fire , so I was ready for it and they didn’t disappoint.
They are still Punk Rock weirdos at heart and it was side splitting when Captain Sensible talked about Kurt Vile playing before them at Golden Plains: “It used to be Phil Collins and Paul Weller , but I’ve found a new one KURT Fucking Vile , what a fucking tosser “ It's true so much contemporary underground music is middle of the road , like Bread in the 70’s or LRB , this shit is still the enemy, even though I’m sure Kurt Vile is a lovely guy.
In no special order:
1. The Damned at The Triffid, Brisbane, March 15A school night: Wednesday. The Mesmerisers go on at 7.30pm to a packed house. We carve, the crowd makes us feel like they are there to see us. The Damned 's tour manager remarks that he has never encountered a support band being granted a bottle of Gordon's gin as part of their drink rider: another milestone ticked.
The Damned play for two-and-a-half hours - brilliantly. They are a big hit with the audience - and with Captain Sensible back in the band, they could hardly miss.
2. Perfect MatchNow I do know where she comes from: Banyo. I’ve got a Date with a Banyo girl, tonight.
3. Died Pretty, Radio Birdman and The Mesmerisers at The Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane, June 23The crowd have all turned up early and turn on to us straight away. Died Pretty get better every time I see them. They always were a fantastic band.
4. Perfect PurchaseMy Zoom H5 portable recording device does everything i wanted it to.
5. Gap Farmers Markets, Brisbane, June 25Andrew Ross and Co sure know how to put on a festival . We go on before dusk. I wear my sunglasses for half the set. Michael again chooses the right shirt for the occasion.
2018 was a shit year but with some amazing gigs intertwined.We have a sub-culture, in which fragments of our past local music scene survive from a time that was exciting (as Damian Lovelock said) “as England in 1966 or NYC in 1975”. The folk who peruse and read this website are either musicians, sound engineers writers or rock pigs mostly from a by-gone era. Generally, a generation that was made of weekly trips for vinyl hunts on Sydney's Pitt Street, in particular Ashwood’s and independent record shops like Phantom and The Record Plant. A generation that had subscriptions to RAM Magazine, or Rolling Stone and read fanzines. Our world was pre-gaming, home computers, no Netflix, no Internet, no YouTube. What mattered was music, and it was our obsession. We were playing in bands, producing bands, writing about music, collecting vinyl records before the hipsters made it expensive.
In no particular order...here's the best of 2016:"Brujita" - Chris Masuak and The Viveiro Wave RidersBest rock pop record of 2016 by a long way. Did I mention it’s on I-94 Bar Records and you can buy a copy here?
"Friday Night Heroes" - LeadfingerThe soulful Sydney-via-Wollongong rock and roll band par excellence just keeps getting better.
"Evolution" - Tamam ShudDamn, if this doesn’t rock I don’t know what does. Veterans from the beginning of time (well, birth of Australian surf-psychedelia) sound dirty and relevant at the same time. They deliver the goods live, too.
"Post Pop Depression" - Iggy PopHis best album since “New Values”. Big grooves and melodies with a sharp, Germanic essence, it’s proof that Iggy needs another talent to bounce off to deliver his best work.
“Diamond In The Forehead" - Garry Gray and The Sixth CircleThe album was killer and the short run of Sydney shows was just as good. Were you you? One day you might claim to have been. Nice people, to boot.
"Lost Cities" - Ed KuepperEd’s been an underrated treasure since finding his solo feet in the late ‘80s. This adds to the considerable body of work. An album of great songs with understated intensity.Kylie Pitcher photo
The long-awaited “The Church of Simultaneous Existence” album from Ed Kuepper and his Aints! Is almost upon us, with a September 21 release date announced for CD, LP and digital formats. The album will be accompanied by an Australian tour taking in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and WA over October-November, culminating in a show at the Meredith Music Festival on December 7.
This version of the Aints! differs from previous ones in its focus on not only revisiting the material of the original Saints but mining a well of woodshedded songs intended for what would have been that band’s fourth LP.
Bob Dylan once said: “I should have never been successful: I was a fluke” In other words: Music that I write and perform, historically speaking, has never had mass appeal, he explained.
I have to agree with that; art that is intelligent, at times challenging and thoughtful does not generally have mass appeal (with a few exceptions.) KISS, One Direction and The Eagles have all sold mega tonnes of albums. delivered in massive crates (along with packs of Cornflakes) to mega stores, and still play sold-out arenas. Meanwhile, artists like Ed Kuepper are down the road performing in small clubs, releasing music on their own labels and playing in intimate settings to refined music geeks and fans who like to think about their music.
It was tiny clubs where you could go to see Coltrane, Mingus or, on another level, Dave Van Ronk. It is perfect that we can see Ed in these venues.
The Camelot Lounge is quite a special place. It is a decent live venue in Sydney. So much care and thought has placed into this venue, which also includes the downstairs Django Bar.
It’s like a well-manicured museum - right down to the camel obsession and the food announcements that mimic RSL clubland bingo calls.
“No 67 your pizza ready and that rhymes with heaven” is quaint, and annoying at the same time: that said the booze is a good price. Places like this are truly a godsend.
Legendary trailblazing guitarist Ed Kuepper has extended his run of "solo and by request" shows by to some of Australia's lesser-visited musical corners.
The tour, in support of Ed's "Return Of The Mail-Order Bridegroom" album of acoustic reinterpretations of songs from his career, takes in hometown Brisbane, as well as Adelaide and the Gold Coast, but also detours to Darwin in the NT, Cairns in Far North Queensland and Margaret River in WA.
Reviews of the shows so far have been gloowing. Expect the usual Saints and Laughing Clowns classics (provided the crowd ask for them) but also a wide range of surprises.
The King of Reinvention, Ed Kuepper, is at it again. The ex-Saints and sometime Laughing Clowns guitarist recorded his first truly solo album in the mid-‘90s – just himself myself and a couple of acoustic guitars.
Ed Kuepper returns with part 2 of his "Lost Cities" album Australian tour, performing solo and in duo mode across select dates in Darwin, Newcastle, Sydney, Katoomba and Melbourne.
The duo shows see Kuepper reunite with his old sparring partner Mark Dawson – a collaborator most notably on the celebrated “Today Wonder” and ARIA winning “Honey Steels Gold” albums – between them featuring two of Ed’s most recognisable tracks in “Everything I’ve Got” and “The Way I Made You Feel”. Mark will join Ed for shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Belgrave.
Fetishists alert! Ed Kuepper is on a vinyl re-issue spree so of course he has to have a limited edition box set. “Behold the Exploding Universe of Ed Kuepper” will contain:
Naturally, it will be housed in a beautiful black lift-top box. The run is limited to 100 copies and ships from May 28. You can order exclusively here.
The Exploding Universe of Ed Kuepper+ DC CrossBlue Mountains Theatre, Springwood, NSWSaturday, 2 September 2023 Photos: Vic Zubakin / Look Sharp Photography
Ed Kuepper is a deep thinker.I imagine he puts a lot of time into considering his next detour, which is usually unpredictable and highly creative.
Ed annually tours with a re-invention of something from his past. Tonight, he’ll show off this year’s model - and add another chapter to his almost five-decade-long career.
The post lockdown tours of 2021- 22 with The Dirty Three’s Jim White were notable for re-invention. Those shows were dark and adventurous, exploring some obscure tracks and well as better-known Laughing Clowns material. The performances were all about atmosphere, and full of light and shade.
Prior to that, we had The Aints! tours, with Ed re-staking his claim to his roots in proto-punk, while giving a nod to Crazy Horse.
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