Photo by Steve Gullick
Top Ten things I enjoyed in 2017, in no particular order and randomly numbered:
5. Tenebrous Liar - The Cut (Album)
I have faith Tenebrous Liar can save us from the Indie-pocolypse. I don’t know how to describe this album - the sounds and mood is as wonderfully textural and emotive as frontman Steve Gullick’s photographs (which he is better known for). Highlights “Alienation”, “Lowlands”, “Swing For Me”... all of it. Bandcamp.
4. Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun (Album)
This entry is more for Chelsea Wolfe’s catalogue than just this one album. I was late on the uptake and only discovered her music this year. Albums “Abyss” and “Unknown Rooms” have been on repeat, though Hiss Spun also has plenty of charms too. Website. Listen on Spotify.
Top 10 not in any order:
1) White Stripes –Vault #33 Icky Thump X
Third Man Records Vault only release, 10 year anniversary edition. Includes a wacko coloured vinyl re-press of the double album plus two bonus albums containing all the non-album b-sides and the full demos housed in a way out box. The demos are furious ! Only released for a few months via Third Man Records.
2) Shy Impostors CD (maxi EP/mini album CD)
Unleashed by those God-loving folks at Citadel Records. Seven demos recorded 1980 and now finally after a loving re-mix by Jason Blackwell sound truly fab. The songs, vocals and rough as guts musicianship by these proto legends are gold. Melodic and dirty.
3) Buffalo Revisited gig at Brewtality Festival in Melbourne
Is it truly an honour for me after being a Buffalo fan since 1974 to be playing with their mighty vocalist Dave Tice with some fellow Buffalo maniacs (Troy and Marcus). And to be playing those great songs (a mind melt to learn btw). We hit our cosmic groove at the Brewtality Festival in Melbourne; more to come for sure.
1. Definitely at the top of the heap that was 2017, Jonathan Sequeira risked life, limb, and genuine sanity to bring us “Descent Into The Maelstrom”, a fiercely objective, no holds barred documentary about the shit storm that was Radio Birdman.
How he managed to convince that particular sack of snakes to agree to anything in the first place is a testimony to his considerable appreciation of the band’s legend, his heroic patience, and his nutsack-clenching resolve. A minor miracle, more so because it certainly wasn’t the puff piece that some characters clearly expected in their “imagining” of the bands tumultuous and antagonistic history!
Vindication for some, the trashing of decades of carefully cultivated bullshit for others, replete with many a “Holy crap!” moment.
A rollicking good story about a special band, time, and place in history!
I liked it!
Go Go Sapien - "Love In Other Dimensions"
These guys are freaks who have gone beyond themselves on their latest epic. And they always put out a dynamite live show.
Clip for "THE IMAGINARY MAN" here.
Custard - The Common Touch
Second great album since reformation shows started.
Clip for "2000 Woman" here.
Machine Translations - "Oh"
I always like Greg Walker's albums. He writes such great lyrics, too.
Clip for "Doom Boogie" here.
Grey Lotus - "Acacia"
Great band from Haarlem in the Netherlands. They are tough. To play this well and so slow and tuneful.
Clip for "Song For Syd Barrett" here.
The Stress of Leisure - "Eruption Bounce"
Favourite band from Brisbane. Great sounds and grooves.
Clip for "I Wanna Be Adult" here.
King Gizzard And the Lizard Wizzard
Well, they’ve released four albums so far this year and two singles this week……Great guys, phenomenal live show. Murders of the Universe!
Clip for "Countdown" here
The Sand Pebbles - "Desire Lines"
Must be their sixth or seventh. Lost some great members but rose out of the wreckage for this.
Clip for "Desire Lines" here.
Dave Graney and Clare Moore - "Let's Get Tight"
Well, we won't be in any other lists, so….
Clip for "I Need To Be Hot" here.
Challenged myself to do a Radio Birdman top ten of 2018. Wasn't too difficult.
Pretty cool to see that so much good stuff is still happening from people who started more than 40 years ago - half of these would make the grade on anybody's list.
Jim Dickson - Coelum Versus
I think this might have come out last year, but I only listened to it this year so it's on the list. Great eclectic album from New Christs and Radio Birdman bassplayer! Music video for one of the tracks coming next year, well overdue (sorry Jim!)
Meanwhile, buy a copy here.
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 COAST
Apparently 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.
The Stress of Leisure…Eruption Bounce
Go Go Sapien …. Love in Other Dimensions
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard …Sketches of East Brunswick
Rebecca Barnard… Music for Relaxation
Grey Lotus … Acacia
Georgio “The Dove” Valentino…. The Future Lasts a Long Time
Charlie Marshall and The Curious Minds… Sublime
Julitha Ryan…The Winter Journey
Ross McLennan…. All the colours print can manage
Cam Butler….. Find your Love
Jim James … Eternally Even
Top Ten, in alphabetical order:
Datura4 @ Cherry Bar, Melbourne:
Holy moly, what an amazing show!! Twin guitar action plus rock'n'roll swagger.
Golden Rail -“Electric Trails From Nowhere" album:
Sweet jangle pop, includes the hit single "Oh My".
Grinding Eyes “self titled“ album:
Hi-fi heavy psych, reminds me of Motocaster.
Los Tones - “What Happened" album:
I love the haunting-garage sound of this record.
James McCann leading The New Vindictives in Europe. JUXE photo.
1) The Damned @ 170 Russell St, Melbourne
I’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.
The Celebrity Roadie informs The Barman that he can't go out in public like that. As usual, he's ignored. Kyleigh Pitcher photo.
This is a Top Ten of two parts. First, live gigs, and second, albums. You know. Second part, different from the first.The rule of not reviewing my own gigs goes right out the door from the get-go. Got an issue with that? See you in the carpark...
Chris Masuak and the Sydney City Wave Riders:
This was a sensational run of shows- a mini-tour in and around Sydney because that’s all that time allowed - by Klondike and his crack band of Tony Bambach (bass) and Stuart Wilson (drums). Great players, top blokes. Armed with a killer setlist drawing on most of Chris’s back catalogue, the guys fired from the get go. Many of the versions surpassed the originals with Maz playing two guitar parts, as few people can. The shows blew away much of the skullduggery and malakarey involved with certain ghosts from the recent past.
HITS at Marrickville Bowlo
You can’t keep playing the same old songs or you’ll get staid and there’s no sign of HITS doing that just yet. Members are now scattered the length of the East Coast so it can’t be easy getting together…or maybe that’s a blessing in disguise because it keeps things fresh. They continue to be THE Aussie band to follow.
1 . Welcome Aboard – The On and Ons: Catchy, melodic powerpop tunes by former Kings Of The Sun and Screaming Tribesmen guitarist Glenn Morris with bass and harmony vocals by Hoodoo Guru/Stepfords /Wetsuits member Clyde Bramley, performed with energy and great live.
2. Beginning At The End – The Young Docteurs: Thirty or so years in the making and well worth the Wait. If The Young Docteurs had done more recordings they would have been one of the more influential Australian psych/Punk bands of the ‘80s.
3. Love Is A Gamble - The Steve Wernick Band: Folk rock, country and swing influenced songs well constructed and arranged, performed in a unpretentious, heartfelt way.
4. Johnny Streetlight- Chickenstones: Blues influenced, Aus alternative rock with songs about homelessness, gambling and cheating relationships but performed with upbeat humour. A great band to see live, too.
5. Rx- Loose Pills: Some of Sydney’s best powerpop musicians with tight, up beat songs.