TOP 11 ALBUMS
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - All in Good TimeNine years is a long time between drinks, but this was well worth the wait. For my money the most important Melbourne band of the last 20 years returns with an LP up there with their first two albums. In true Eddy Current style this LP just all of a sudden dropped out of nowhere, with no shows and little media presence to promote it. Garage rock the way it should be, messy but tight, loose and fast and songs ending whenever it feels like that’s enough.
Hexdebt- Rule of FourPunk meets shoegazing with social’political messages that come straight in your face. The long awaited debut LP of Hexdebt backs up their reputation as a killer live outfit
Cereal Killer – The Beginning and End of Cereal KillerThe first and last long player of this Geelong supergroup. I saw ‘em live a few years back with feedtime and was blown away, so was keen to hear the LP as I wanted to see how that stage show was put on record. The LP has plenty of the power of the live show, combining elements of garage, punk and electro, one of the most fresh and finest releases of 2019.
Plastic Section - Trouble is Our BusinessSun City meets John Spencer. Killer '50s guitar and vocals, two ripper instrumental tracks and only one song cracks the three minute mark. Its sounds old but in a new way, powerful but not flashy guitar. Singer-guitarist Ben Edwards sounds like he could ave played with the Killer himself.
Mick Trouble- Here’s the Mick Trouble LPThanks to Ritchie Ramone at Strangeworld for putting me onto this. Was amazed this came out this year as I thought it was a lost Television Personalities recording. One of those gems I would only discover via the man behind the record store counter. Buzzcocks style harmonies meets the storytelling of Wreckless Eric.
Imperial Wax - Gastwerk SaboteursPete Greenway, Dave Spurr and Keiron Melling had been the core of the Fall for the last decade of the band's existence until the passing of Mark E Smith. The three lads hooked up with Sam Curran to make an LP their old taskmaster would ave been proud of. It’s not the Fall, but without MES how could it? Theres certainly elements of the Fall in there but the lads ave their own approach and ideas, much like the Fall, taking a simple idea and expanding, taking rock music to new places.
Wild Billy Childish & CTMF - Last Punk StandingWith the exception of Mark E Smith no one has given me more joy then Billy Childish. Pretty much every year theres an LP with the name Childish that appears in the top 10 list. The mans a hero of mine. On top of the massive discography of amazing albums, what I love about him is the fact the man just gets on with it. Bangs out two LPs a year, with just two, if that, chords and bangs out a record in one take. No overdubs no time for being precious, just doing it and doing it well. I wish I had this talent and discipline.
Zo Damage photo
MATT RYANEditor - Munster Times zineMelbourne, Australia
Top 10 LPs of 2020 (no order)
Adele and the Chandeliers – First DateFirst thing that grabbed me was that sweet Manchester accent of Adele Pickvance, one of the unsung heroes of Oz music and my new favourite vocalist. Nine cracking powerpop tracks, and a corker Buzzcocks cover. An LP of life, love and the simple things that make it worth living, laid down in a fun and warm LP
The Breadmakers -The BreadmakersMelbourne’s garage gold standard return with their first LP in years. Ten '60s rock 'n' roll inspired tunes, and two covers that "Back from the Grave" aficionados will go nuts for. Proving once again three chords, or less, plus rough and fast is all you need in a track.
Jack Howard and the Long Lost Brothers and a Sister - Dog Songs The Dogs Bar in St Kilda (RIP) did an amazing job of keeping live music going in St Kilda, and one of the marque acts was Jack Howard every first Sunday of the month. With lockdown that obviously came to an end, but this CD was a wonderful reminder of those Sundays. This CD comprises of songs Jack and Co play during their Doggies set. As I listened to this I could see myself standing in the corner, being greeted by landlords Gav and Sonya, while Bernie 2 Legs, Fiona and Josie Jo and I shoot the shit while listening to all these killer tunes, and trying to get Leeroy’s attention behind the bar. One of those bands you can’t really fit into a genre, brilliant songs with an amazing ensemble of musicians.
Munster Times Issue 35
Outside Melbourne? Glad you asked, then. Munster Times is a zine covering Australian underground music that’s still published in hard copy form - and that fact alone makes it stand out from the crowd.
Its Melbourne publisher and occasional I-94 Bar scribe, Matt Ryan, (right) is a fixture on Melbourne’s fertile live music scene. Run the rule over its content and you’ll realise it’s a compelling “must read” even if you live outside of Victoria’s windy/rainy/cold capital city. (OK, my Sydney is showing).
Much of the star billing in this issue goes to people and bands from outside Melbourne – Adam Brzozowski(Woy Woy) of Outtaspace Records, The Dunhill Blues and The Link and Pin Café, Howlin’ Threads(Yass and Wollongong) and Dez Dare(Geelong old boy now in the UK). You might call Munster Timeslocation agnostic.
No less than Dave Graneyreckons there’s a lot of the charm of the old St Kilda in the Times and who are we to argue with a member of the Melbourne Music Mafia? The zine has a homespun quality and is home to the legendary Fred Negroand his Pub comic strip.
For the unaware, Pub has institution status in Melbourne (which is about the only place in Australia that still confers such honours). I like Equal Opportunity, and if you read Pub long enough, you’ll find it has something to offend everybody.
Munster Time is A4, mostly black and white and has the odd spelling howler. Good. As long as Matt has no plans to do a Prince of Wales Hotel reno job and expunge any dirt or charm from his own zine’s pages, that’s fine with us.
The original Stooges.
Ben Blackwell is one of the most important figures to come out of the Detroit music scene in the past 30 years. Whether it be his drumming with the Dirtbombs, his work crewing for and archiving The White Stripes or his running of Third Man Records, Ben is yet another in a long line of significant musical names to have come from the Motor City.
Third Man Records has just dropped the Stooges album “Live at Goose Lake”. Recorded back in August 1970, the show it documents is a seminal and infamous moment in the band’s history. It was the last gig the band played with bassist Dave Alexander.
Josie Jose photo
Best Albums of 2021 (not in order)Blowers – “Blowers” In the tradition of Jay Reatard and the Oblivions, Blowersare a band that proves less is more. Killer bare basics, as well as plenty of humour. One take, if there’s a mistake, fuck it, that’s the take. This LP is prime example of garage rock at its purists and best.
Civic – “Future Forecast”After a few brilliant EPs it’s great to finally get a full Civicrelease. Combining elements of ‘90s Melbourne rock and US 2000s gunk rock, this stayed on the turntable for a good fortnight.
Cutters – “Australian War Crimes”Six tracks clocking in at 10 minutes, including a diss on Rye, a suburb I don’t care for, and the title track, a reaction to revelations of Australian SAS soldiers’ behaviour in Afghanistan. Brutal and superb.
Colin Blum photo
1. Craig McRaeI’ll get to music in a second, but I need to give kudos to the Human Fly, Craig McRae, for his amazing job as first year coach of Collingwood. From second last to one point off a grand final appearance. I don’t want to overhype him and I’m aware he’s only just started the role, but I think it’s safe to say McRae is on track to be Munster’s person of the decade.
2. TISM- The Croxton and Prince of Wales Bandroom After nearly two decades of nothing, it was wonderful to see the return of the band that put Melbourne’s South East on the map. Two brilliant warm up shows (missed the third), I was amazed that after all these years, the band, now approaching retirement age, put on a no holds barred show that included crowd surfing and the full contact dancing that you only see at a TISMshow. The crowd was mixed of people that came back to relive the glory days, and plenty of young people seeing TISM for the first time. The songs are still brilliant, and hearing two new Ron Hitler Barassi diatribes proved that TISM are just as relevant now as they were in there 90s heyday. And these secret shows were a godsend, meaning I could keep well far from that odd festival they were on at.