cable ties

  • andrew stafford 2017 top tenJen Cloher - “Jen Cloher”
    The Australian album of the year, and in many years. Name-dropping heroes who have gone before her – from the Saints to the Go-Betweens to the Triffids – Cloher proved herself the equal of any of them.

    Peter Perrett - “How the West Was Won”
    This album was miraculous on two levels: one, that Perrett was still alive to make it, two, that Perrett’s gift for droll wit and languid melody remained perfectly intact. His band includes his two sons, and they did the Only Ones proud.

    Neil Finn - “Out of Silence”
    In a good year for old stagers, Finn’s album was among his finest. Ten tiny, perfect pocket symphonies in the mould of the Beach Boys and late XTC.

    Paul Kelly - “Life Is Fine”
    Another old stager. Kelly returned to the charts – his first number-one, in fact – with an album that summoned the ghosts of his old band the Coloured Girls/Messengers.

    The Dream Syndicate - “How Did I Find Myself Here”
    Next to Peter Perrett, the year’s best and most unexpected comeback. The Dream Syndicate’s first album in nearly 30 years was as bracing as their celebrated debut "The Days of Wine and Roses".

  • kcKC goes to more live shows than your mother goes to Tuppaware parties. Here's his Top Ten of Sydney gigs.

    A power pop fans dream and a very early “gig of the year” contender from the Fab Three. Supported by the wonderful On and Ons and Soul Movers on a stinker of a summer EVENing. Is it heresy to say I like them and their songs so much more than You Am I? I eagerly await the Christmas Even show at The Landsdowne on December 23.

    A wonderful set of sparse songs, full of emotion, not sentimental but heart tugging and soul searing.  Spare and simple arrangements enhanced by nuanced and subtle musicianship of Peter Milton-Walsh’s fellow musicians, including Amanda Brown.

    Following on from two cracking shows in 2016, Ron Peno and co delivered another amazing set and they were the band of the night at Radio Birdman’s big show. Brett Myers, what a guitarist.

  • cable ties all her plansCable Ties 
    at Max Watt’s, Melbourne
    at The Catfish, Fitzroy, VIC
    Friday, 4 August 2024

    I missed the supports for the Cable Ties  (pictured right) album launch tonight at Max Watt’s, not because of any indifference on my part – Maggie Pills, Porpoise Spit and Our Carlson are all acts worthy of checking out  – but because I was waylaid at The Catfish in Fitzroy caught up in Spawn’s sprawling psychedelic journey. 

    I first saw Spawn at the Bendigo Hotel in Collingwood in late 2020. Coming a few weeks after the Victorian Government had released the shackles of the second lockdown of that year, the gig was liberating, a timely reminder of the critical importance of live music to the contemporary social and economic fabric. 

    The fact it was also a benefit for Spawn bass player Jewel De Gelder, who, tragically, would pass away a couple of years later, added a layer of poignancy. 

    Spawn is a band rife for observation, analysis and cerebral contemplation. Come for the stoner-psych riffs and pot pouri of cultural influences, stay for the trip. The concept of a personal journey is caught somewhere between the cynical discourse of the corporate management industry and the slightly disconcerting hand-produced flyers advertising self-help retreats for members of the information class lost in a middle-class existentialist void. 

    But when you’re at a Spawn gig, you’re swept up in a spiritual quest. Close your eyes, feel the mood, roll with the moment. Sabbath-strength riffs, a sitar wielded like a stoner-rock axe, an Eastern musico-cultural inflection that renders 60s raga-rock a cheap middle-class white boy imitation in comparison. As for Sarita McHarg’svocals, wow, that’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before, in this world at least. 

  • hits toteTamara, Richard and Stacey on-stage at the Tote. Matthias Baratheon O'Meara photo

    It has now been six years since was lining up at the Excelsior Hotel in Sydney when Jim Dickson (New Christs and Radio Birdman bass-player) told me about this band from Brisbane that I had to check out. Knowing Jim for three decades from his time selling Indian food down at Max’s in the late ’80s, I had never heard him express how blown away he was by a local band.

    It’s 25 HITS gigs later for me. I’ve been seeing them from a time when only about five of us living outside their home of BrisVegas were convinced that they could be the greatest exponents of dirty, street-level rock ’n’ roll in this country.

    Nowadays, HITS are the band on everyone’s lips. That’s why I am flying down from Sydney to to see my favourite Aussie band to play The Tote in Melbourne, not long before they’re due to embark on their second tour of Europe.

  • simon li 2023Another year of almost zero fun in Sin City (if not the rest of Oz/the rest of this mortal coil/earth) for most of us/those in the lower/working class, some relief could be found through the following Top 10...

    Margo Price - "Strays" album

    Lucinda Williams - "Stories from a Rock-n-Roll Heart" album

    Eilen Jewell - "Get Behind The Wheel" album

    Lydia Loveless - "Nothing's Gonna Stand In My Way Again" album

    Cable Ties - "All Her Plans" album

    Leah Senior - "The Music That I Make" album

    Pat Todd / Mad Macka @ Golden Barley Hotel, Sydney 

    The Mezcaltones (CD launch) @ Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney