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2019 Barfly Top Tens: The Barman

barman and fansIn 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.

69BC - 69BC (I-94 Bar Records)

69 bc cover smallRaw garage rock ’n’ roll in the Australian pub rock tradition, with an obvious nod to ‘70s hard rock and the “Pebbles” collection. A record made distinctive by the classic Aussie twin-guitar attack. Those were my first thoughts on this CD from a band made up of members of Psychotic Turnbuckles, Sheik the Shayk and Buffalo Revisited.

It was recorded in Zen Studios, the capital city of Sydney’s inner-western Garageland region, by Geoffrey Lee over seven years, and what hit me straight away is that none of the live intensity has been lost. It captures a raw and live garage/pub band warts, belching and all…I can see a bloke over there who once drunkenly spilt beer on me and that other idiot that pushed me over in the mosh pit. And then I’m lifted up by another and patted on the back…

69BC album out this month on I-94 Bar Records

The new release on I-94 Bar Records is the debut album for Sydney garage supergroup 69BC. The self-titled CD by this shadowy, primal quintet is 20 years in the making and it's 17 tracks of raw and raucous Rock Action. 

Staggering from the smouldering ruins of a Pismo Beach after party, a handful of survivors retreated into the bowels of innumerable rehearsal rooms two decades ago. They have finally emerged to claim their revenge in the new Millennium. This band may have links to the likes of the Psychotic Turnbuckles and Sheek the Shayk. 69BC is Rok Bolder (vocals), Vince Cuscuna (guitar, backing vocals), Dave Wong (guitar), Adam Silverwright (bass, backing vocals), Nix (drums).

The CD releases on October 19 and pre-orders are open now at the link below. It will also be available as a download.    

Address to the Nation – Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders (I-94 Bar)

address to the nation smHello from the Dimboola farmhouse folks and has it been rocking here!  The reason is that Chris “Klondike” Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders have released a rocking good album. Their second long player, “Address to the Nation”, is the follow-up to 2016’s “Brujita” and is pure guitar driven tracks from start to finish. 

Myself, I think it’s a lot stronger than the first album - there is less pop and more grunt.

Well, let’s start with any folks who are not savy to Klondike’s cv: RADIO BIRDMAN, HITMEN , THE NEW CHRISTS, JUKE SAVAGES, NORTH 40 and the wonderful SCREAMING TRIBESMEN. To name a few.

Brujita - Chris Masuak & The Viveiro Wave Riders (I-94 Bar Records)

brujita smIt’s difficult to believe that Chris Masuak is only in the second half of his 50’s when you examine his output. It’s been a diverse and solid career, spanning almost four decades.

He was in his late teens when he joined Radio Birdman. He was half of the sound of the “twin-guitar attack” that assaulted Sydney with its array of proto-punk influences, to forever stake Birdman a claim as one of the most influential bands the city has produced.

Then there were the post-Birdman bands. The Hitmen never had the songs, in my opinion, but they always delivered as a live act. Masuak’s guitar playing was the stand-out.  Chris was still in his early 20’s and still forging his own style. It lay somewhere between the technical brilliance of Mountain and the pop-rock sensibility of The Dictators.

Chris Masuak takes us track-by-track through "Address to the Nation"

CM Oscar Millarengo"Address to the Nation" on our own I-94 Bar Records is the latest album from Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders. If we do say so ourselves, it's the equal-best Australian release this year (the other being "Open Season" by labelmates Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers.) .

After a series of requests from fans, we decided to ask Chris Masuak to take us through the album track-by-track. Here it is in Klondike's own insightful words:

Grooves and guitars ensure "Psychopharmacologist" will capture hearts

psychopharmacologist smPsychopharmacologist - Mick Medew (I-94 Bar Records)

Issued by this website's very own head honcho, The Barman, who is responsible for organising many, many gigs which you've all thoroughly enjoyed. The kind of punter who decides he wants to see bands, and figures you will, too, so he puts them on. 

This LP rates 5 bottles, and that's not because I know Barman and he's slipped me a brown envelope behind the cistern at Central Station, but because “Psychopharmacologist” is bloody lovely, and you absolutely need it in your collection. The press release explains that this is “Mick Medew’s first true solo album and his most surprising musical adventure yet with its broad stylistic sweep and kaleidoscopic use of sound”, and that's a fair comment.

“Sea of Souls” is a gently-teasing opener, with a rather lovely guitar figure up-front. By the time we've hit “When the Wood is Brown (Full Return)”, we're well ensconced in a 1960s-style, music played with an ear for tune, texture and resonant meaning, with Mick's unique voice filling our ears. 

Every song here is strong, sinewy, and makes you feel damn good. A bit like the first time you ever heard 1960s music. Yeah, alright, some of that was awful, I know, like the 1970s. But when you heard the songs which uplifted you, your head was turned and your eyes bulged. Where did this honeyed sound come from? Third song, "Koln", is a summery, gorgeous instrumental, followed by "Betty Jackson" which, with Medew's distinctive voice, makes a serious topic sound positively romantic. 

“Red Head” captures that perfect series of moments when you gets your heart captured by a woman, with Medew's yearning pedal steel offset with light-hearted strumming. The instrumental version of the Screaming Tribesmen's “Igloo” would get your attention alone, it's all back-porch reflective and ruminatory. 

The LP's title track, “Psychopharmacologist” is a well-groovy instrumental which will have you gently bopping in the dark.

Another pulsing groovitan, “Black Cowboy” is next, with Mick seducing us out of our socks in the shrubbery.

Bassist from Mick's band The Mesmerisers, Lois Andrews, and Mick’s partner-keyboardist, Ursula Collie, add extra depth and resonance with intelligence and a gently quirky spirit (some of the sounds which I presume Ursula has come up with are bloody wonderful, and very well-chosen). 

The press release says nice things about echoes of Hendrix, Berlin Bowie and The Byrds. Well, perhaps. That may be where Mick's head was at, but I'm rubbish at spotting influences. Hell, there's a noticeable Kraftwerkian moment, as well as what sounds like a bit of early Wall of Voodoo, and an obvious Ennio Morricone. No, what comes across is a man who constructs the kind of song which the hip radio stations should be playing. I have my favourites here, but a few really belong in a film - or, as with “Black Cowboy”, opening one.

The last song, “Where the Crows Fly Backward”, I won't spoil for you. 

Some people can only do nasty. Some people can only rock out. Some people can only squeal, shout and squawk. “Psychopharmacologist” shows a consistently honest, sweet part of one man's nature and, apart from that being such a relative rarity you must have it in your collection, “Psychopharmacologist” is a bloody beautiful album, and that's definitely special. Come on, how often do you hear an album made by a genuine romantic? So much gorgeous music. Like I say, an essential 5 bottles.

Needless to say, listening just wasn't enough, so I decided to ask the man a few questions

The Barman mentions on the Bandcamp page for the new album that it's reminiscent of Hendrix, Byrds and Berlin-era Bowie. Was that actually accurate, what you were listening to as you came up with these songs?

MM: I have always listened a lot to Hendrix , lately I have been listening to a lot of Jeff Beck which is not unusual for me either , I often wonder what Jimi would sound like these days if he had survived like Jeff has.

I guess the Bowie-Berlin comparison is kind of true, but more like Iggy Pop with David Bowie helping him. Lately I've been listening to The B52s and New Christs, but I don't know if that has been an influence on this record. 

First thing people might think is, gosh, a few instrumentals. Me, I'd rather have a decent instrumental than ruin one with shit lyrics. Why so many instrumentals, though?

MM: Yes, there are a few instrumentals, I have had a few tunes laying around that I've not done much with, but there was always something about the ones that are recorded on "Psychopharmacologist" that I liked, and I thought they needed to see the light of day. To compound things I recently purchased a couple of loop pedals to help colour my solo shows, I found this really worked for me and has resulted in me being empowered to make a lot of instrumental music, although I don't think I'll have as many on my next album.

There's a lot of what seems to me to be carefully worked-out tunes and progressions; what was to the fore as these songs were coming together?

MM: This album was always going to be different. Since COVID-19 I've not been able to rehearse with my full band as our drummer Michael Charles lives in Tweed Heads, and the Queensland border is currently closed to New South Wales.

I wanted to make an album and the situation has left me with my long time friend, Band member and engineer producer Brian Mann to collaborate with. Lois Andrews (The Mesmerisers bass player) also pitched in some bass and production duties on "When the Wood is Brown (Full Return)"; Also with the Covid 19 thing, I started jamming with my fiance, Ursula (as you are aware I play with her now in a new duo) and I enlisted her help on "Psychopharmacologist" as well. I wanted to do something unexpected; I didn't want to make another 'Power Pop'' album like "Open Season", especially since it's only been 12 months since that release.

Now, it's been a long time since the Screaming Tribesmen, but why an instrumental of "Igloo"?

MM: I started doing an instrumental version of Igloo in my solo performances , it always brings the house down and so I thought why not include it on this album?

Can't argue with that, of course... lso, here's one: how did you end up choosing guitar? And what were you hoping to happen with it once you'd figured out how to play?

MM: When I was growing up my Uncle Joe used to play Johnny Cash all the time , this is what turned me on to the guitar to start with. I found it difficult to make friends when I was younger and the guitar was my constant companion, I think it saved my life. 

What do you do these days when you're not holed up in a studio making music?

MM: These days my whole life is making music, writing, recording, performing, listening (now to the radio more than ever). Seeing live music was my first real love and that is still true even now, I think I need to find an extra interest, LOL!

- Robert Brokenmouth


Hello I-94 Barflies! The wonderfully talented Mick Medew has a new solo album out very soon and it is a beautiful record, showcasing Mick's guitar playing and vocals. "Psychopharmacologist" is full of instrumentals and some classic country tracks.

"Sea of Souls" is the first track and has some fabulous guitar-work. "When The Wood Is Brown (Full Return)" is one fine track with Lois Andrews from Mick's band The Mesmerisers assisting on bass guitar.

"Koln" and "Where The Crows Fly Backwards" has the future Mrs Medew, the lovely Ursula "Border" Collie, on keyboards; these are both instrumentals and both great tracks. "Betty Jackson" and "Red Head" have a country Stones feel and I love both these tunes.

If you have been catching Mick's Sunday afternoon sessions on his Facebook page or one of his solo live shows in a hotel (remember them?), well, I'm sure you would have picked up on his original Screaming Tribesmen song "Igloo" done as an instrumental. It's here and a good one for budding musicians to play along with.

And "Psychopharmacologist" (the title track) has some trippy guitars.

This album was recorded between April and July at Brian Mann's studio in Annerley, Brisbane, where adds sonic textures on this most wonderful album.

So Barflies, I highly recommend this album. It is a bit different from Mick's previous releases and bit slower with some instrumentals - but it shows how diverse Mick can be and what a wonderful guitar player he is. So folks, order it at the link below and get in contact with The Barman for your CD and digital copy.

Stay Healthy! From The Farmhouse. - Ron Brown


Out on September 25 and available here.



Mick Medew solo album looms

psychopharmacologist lgeI-94 Bar Records is proud to announce the impending arrival of “Psychopharmacologist”, Brisbane musician Mick Medew’s first true solo album and his most surprising musical adventure yet.

It will be out on CD and digital on October 2 and pre-orders here will receive an early release track, "When The Wood Is Brown (Full Return)", via download. 

Medew has shown with his current band, Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers, and past units, the Screaming Tribesmen and Mick Medew and the Rumours, that he's a master of guitar pop-rock. “Psychopharmacologist” puts him in a different place with nine songs that make optimum use of the studio and bring wildly varied influences to bear.

Mick Medew walks through "Open Season"

mick and brian jeff ramThe I-94 Bar's Top Tens are about to roll-out and you'd be surprised if both this year's releases on I-94 Bar Records didn't make the grade for The Barman's picks.

A couple of months ago, we posted a track-by-trackby Chris Masuak of "Address to the Nation" by Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders. Now it's Mick Medew's turn to walk you through "Open Season", the long-player from Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers. 

It's a killer album of pop, power and melody and if you don't believe us, check out the reviews here

The words below belong to Mick Medew, the photos are by Jeff Ram.

* * * * * 

“Imaginary Friend''
This song was principally written by our guitar player, Brian Mann. He wrote the lyrics to the first verse and I found it easy to run with his theme. 

I grew up in inner city Brisbane in the 1960's and ‘70s where there was plenty of exploring to be done and no security guards in sight.  I have one Sister (11 years older than me ) so i was effectively an only child for a lot of the time. At least it felt like that.

I needed to apply my imagination; necessity being the mother of invention.


New Chris Masuak album ready to drop

The new album from Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders is out in early August on I-94 Bar Records and we’ve opened pre-orders. The lead-off track "1776" is embedded above. Place an order here.

“Address to the Nation” is full of trademark Masuak melodies and power with harmonies, a wide-ranging record where powerpop gems rub shoulders with bristling, muscular rock and roll, and punk. It’s in a similar vein to its predecessor, “Brujita”, but a touch harder-edged and more pointed, with lyrical insights about life, love and the sorry state of geopolitics, all powered by Klondike's ace Spanish band There’s also a healthy dose of satire, lurking deep in its grooves.

If you pre-order, your copy of the CD will be sent the day the album arrives back from the pressing plant. You’ll also receive a full digital copy, with bonuses, shortly before. If you're in the market for vinyl, we'll keep yuou posted. 

Open Season - Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers (I-94 Bar Records)

open season review

Hello from the Dimboola Farmhouse, I-94 Bar barflies. Mick Medew is a legend, a Queensland Music hall of famer and Australian pub rock icon, and he absolutely nails it with his new album “Open Season” with his band the Mesmerisers.

The Mesmerisers? We have Lois Andrews bringing the bass and her beautiful backing vocals, and she is amazing. Michael Charles is on drums. Yes, that Michael Charles, drummer on Mick’s most famous Screaming Tribesmen EP, “Date with a Vampire”. The pair just nails it and make a fabulous rhythm section. 

Rounding things out on lead guitar is Brian Mann, also ex-Screaming Tribesmen and a gifted player who also doubles behind the recording board. He produced this album and it was mastered by Don Bartley. These gentlemen know how to get the sound down.

I-94 Bar