tamam shud - The I-94 Bar
Tamam Shud back on stage at Byron Bay's Great Northgern Hotel. Al Heeney photo
The Northern New South Wales Australian coastline has changed dramatically over the last 50 years.
Remember the pilgrimage of holiday time, with caravans lined up on the Pacific Highway…the tribe of kids in the backseat of the Kingwood (or Ford Falcons) bellowing out of boredom on the inteminable drive north? Then there was the weekend pilgrimage of surfers with their Sandman panel vans. Followed, of course, by the night drive back to work to Monday. It was a long trip back down to Sydney with car headlights on high beam, dodging speeding semi-trailers with speed-driven truckies, in-between stopovers at the Oak Milk Bar or the Big Banana.
Dotted along the NSW coast, from Hornsby to the Gold Coast, are memories. Of stop-overs at Frangipani-lined caravan parks, or pitstops at the homes of relatives. Memories marked by places like Foster, Nambucca Heads, Coffs and Byron. Sleepy little towns that were bursting at the seams on long weekends and Chrissie holidays.
In no particular order...here's the best of 2016:
"Brujita" - Chris Masuak and The Viveiro Wave Riders
Best 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" - Leadfinger
The soulful Sydney-via-Wollongong rock and roll band par excellence just keeps getting better.
"Evolution" - Tamam Shud
Damn, 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 Pop
His 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 Circle
The 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 Kuepper
Ed’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
This is a mind-blowing album on several fronts.
Firstly, because Tamam Shud formed almost 50 years ago: and could be last Australian band still standing from the ‘60s (certainly from the alternative and underground.) I cannot think of anyone else. The album features two of the founding members, Lindsay Bjerre (vocals and guitar) and Peter Baron (bass) from 1967; and two more members who were there four years later, in Tim Gaze (guitar) and Nigel MaCara (drums) from the ”Morning of the Earth” soundtrack era.
Historically, Tamam Shud was the first Australian band to put out a an album full of original compositions when “Evolution” was released late in 1968: There is not one Australian band that I can think of with original members, from their heyday; that has come up with a new album nearly 50 years later so the release of this on vinyl is an historical event.
It’s perfect timing for a re-issue of this Oz psych-surf-prog classic. Tamam Shud is back playing the occasional show (one of which, in Sydney on September 9, we have an association with) and a new recording, “Eight Years Of Moonlight”, is in the LP racks.
“Evolution” came out in 1969 and was a milestone in the history of Australian recording. It’s hard to believe (cue: cultural cringe) but it was the first LP of all-original compositions to be released in this country.
The soundtrack to a Paul Wizig surf movie of the same name and the band played the songs they’d composed while the film was projected onto a studio wall. Where the new record really did take eight years (off-and-on) to record, “Evolution” was put to tape in less than three hours.
It’s a pairing of the music of two legendary Australian underground legends, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Sydney in 46 years: Tamam Shud and Buffalo Revisited are playing a double-headliner show at the Bald Faced Stag Hotel in Leichhardt on Friday, September 9.
Regarded as Australia’s true progressive, surf and psychedelic music pioneers, Tamam Shud recently celebrated 45 years with the release of a new album, “Eight Years of Moonlight”.
Buffalo is held in the same high regard and was recently lauded as the Australian “inventors of heavy metal” by UK magazine Classic Rock, which said they’d paved the way for scores of hard rock and stoner acts.
Forming in 1971 and releasing five albums in six years, Buffalo dissolved after making their mark as a live act despite a lack of commecial radio acceptance. They’d left a potent legacy before bass player Peter Wells went on to form Rose Tattoo.
Archetypal bad boys, Buffalo’s early albums “Dead Forever”, “Volcanic Rock” and “Only Want You For Your Body” have been reissued numerous times and original copies change hands for hundreds of dollars in collector circles.
A year ago, following constant approaches from fans, Dave Tice assembled a line-up to re-visit the original band’s legacy. They’ve since played a handful of select gigs, including a 40th birthday celebration for iconic Brisbane radio station 4ZZZ.