RON BROWNI-94 Bar correspondent from Dimboola in The Outback, Australia
Hello Barflies. It’s been a shitty year. No gigs in this year's Top Ten but the Farmhouse has still been rocking
10. The Stooges - "Live At Goose Lake"After all the stories about Dave Alexander's bass playing at this gig being horrible and Iggy sacking him is now put to rest it. Better than they said.
9 .Deniz Tek & James Williamson - "Two For One"When two guitar greats join forces, one would expect it to be good. And it is.
8, The Casanovas - "Reptilian Overlord"The Casanovas have released another fabulous record full of big riffs.
7. Mick Medew - "Psychopharmacologist"The songs and vocals are brilliant, and also thanks for the Sunday streaming sessions with Miss Border Collie.
6. AC/DC - "Power Up"They’re back with their best album in years - a true tribute to a lost brother.
5. Drop Kick Murphys – live streamThe DKM did a wonderful live stream from Finway Park , spectacular sound and songs.
Chris Allen and Chris Britton up front of The Troggs, 2016-style. Mandy Tzaras photo
The original Troggs were Ronnie Bond (drums), (guitar), Reg Presley (vocals) and Pete Staples (bass), and their first hits began over 50 years ago. Along the way, they profoundly influenced ‘60s garage rock (not to mention glam) and seem likely to have been the inspiration for “Spinal Tap" when a spirited recording session was recorded, edited and bootlegged ("The Troggs Tapes").
Those reasons alone would be good enough to shell out your $70+change and hurry along to the fine establishment on Port Road in Adelaide, The Gov.
Cadallac Man – Kevin K (Vicious Kitten Records)
Around these parts, Kevin K records are like a comfortable pair of slippers: You slide in and feel at home with his slashing or chugging guitar and mewling vocal drawl. This record is sized extra-large with 26 songs putting it in the realm of what used to be called a double album.
For the uninitiated (and shamefully there still are some), Kevin K is a Buffalo, New York State raised, New York City-tempered veteran of the Lower East Side-CBGB scene, who remains musically true to that long-gone playground. This is his 33rd album of gritty, street-level rock and roll, and it’s more of the same.
1. My increasing exploration of soul music and samples.
2. My increasing discovery of unknown female artists throughout history.
3. Cable Ties
5. River Rocks
6. Lolling Stones
7. That female rapper Kate
8. Deaths... Malcolm, Prince, David...
9. Alice Cooper
10. Dancing in my own living room and sitting in front of my system.
11. HITS Bandcamp
12. All my friends' bands who gigged all year, put stuff out and all my friends who helped it happen. Friends at gigs.
In no particular order...here's the best of 2016:"Brujita" - Chris Masuak and The Viveiro Wave RidersBest 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" - LeadfingerThe soulful Sydney-via-Wollongong rock and roll band par excellence just keeps getting better.
"Evolution" - Tamam ShudDamn, 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 PopHis 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 CircleThe 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 KuepperEd’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
Four bottles? No, five. I s'pose.
In conversation with one of Sydney’s veteran rock’n’rollers, Doc Ellard of Chickenstones made the point that, to some extent, the early Stones were “trying to get away from being English, because of what America and Americana represented: freedom, freedom of expression, expansion, wealth and exotica”.
Dick Taylor, second from right, with the current Pretty Things.
Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor is down the line from Tunbridge Wells in the UK, ensconced at his mother-in-law's house, where he's preparing for a band rehearsal and in fine spirits.
Hard to pick when I first heard the Stones. They've always been around, the songs, like a family member, those classic ‘60s hits: “Ruby Tuesday”, “Paint it Black”, “Get Off My Cloud”, “Mother’s Little Helper” and so on.
I knew heaps of Stones songs growing up. “Get your Ya Yas” out was popular at parties in Brisbane in the ‘70s. Flogged, it was. “Midnight Rambler” goes right alongside some drunken maniacs lurching around in a Brisbane backyard dancing the Pre Vomit Shake.
"You heard about the Boston" THUMP !
His latest album might have more guests than an open bar at the Playboy Mansion but there’s a consistency to the music that Peter Blast makes on “Painting Without Canvas” that makes it a worthwhile trip.
Blast is a Chicago native, onetime associate of Johnny Thunders and Stiv Bators and one of the first people to bring punk rock to the garish glow of the Las Vegas Strip, but he charts a path for the heart of Americana on this one, while never shaking off his Stonesy roots.
In short, “Painting Without Canvas” is like a dinner where Blast’s guests-of-honour are Keef, Gram Parsons and Nicki Sudden.
"There is nothing to win by this kind of an outcry..." -Richard Hell
"Everything is really hard, if you ain't got that credit card."-Iggy Pop
Old grape popsicles don't expire, they just get freezer burnt.
Back in my bespangled youth, there was no Internet and no downloadable sound files you could carry around in your hand-held Orwell gadget. We had, like, Walkman's and a couple of cassettes, if we were lucky, you know? If we got real enterprising, we'd spring for all those big batteries to power up our boom boxes, with all the band stickers on it, but it costs a lot to keep those machines blaring, especially if you hung out with a ragamuffin lot of heavy metal kids, Stooges heads, and ersatz break-dancers.
Rock 'n' roll sounds still mostly came on collectible black platters with colorful picture sleeves, but you had to send cash away for it in the mail, relying on the honor of scuzzy rascals, and every so often, you might get chumped. 'Had to figure, somebody must be awful hard up, to rip off their own fans. There was no Pay-Pal, you just paid your pals.
KIm Volkman and the Whiskey Priests come from Melbourne. No shock there. Most of the best Australian rock and roll does. And this is a record - like most of them - with a beginning and an end. No shit again, Sherlock. The distinction is that the songs at each end book-end and define what's inbetween - and it's pretty fucking great.
The slightly frayed vocal of opening track "I'm Still Standing (Alive and Well)" and its swaggering, Oz Rock chug suits its survivor sentiment to a tee. And the cover of the Jagger/Richards classic "Silver Train" that closes the album is pulled off with consummate, ragged ease.
Stones and Oz Rock. They're children of the blues. Throw in the inevitable Ian Rilen and the Love Addicts comparison (more on that later) and you'll appreciate how "The Devil Won't Take Charity" nails its colours to the masts.
Voula Williamson photo
For the last two weeks, Stones fever, ably abetted by the broadsheet newspaper, has hit Adelaide.
Not for everyone, of course, mostly fogeys. Of which I am one.
In the days running up to the gig, Stoneswatchers staked out their hotel, their rehearsal ‘room’ (disused Glenside Mental Hospital, not that there’s any shortage of clientele, just that funds are a bit short apparently).
Let’s be provocative right up-front and say that The Pretty Things are not entitled to still be making records this good. Not after 50 years and not even allowing time off along the way for bad behaviour.
It’s not a disc full of instantly catchy “hits” by any stretch - and if it was nobody would listen anyway. The Pretties’ name is a total misnomer. Putting aside the baby-faced engine room, this is a band of three grizzled old men.
So let’s talk about what it is.
Joey Pinter, Walter L:ure and Daniel Rey.
When we were young and skinny and fearless, it was easier to celebrate the ch-cha-cha-changes, than it is now, when so many of our favorite places, people, bands, and way of life are just vanishing a little more each day. I can't keep up with all these changes.
In my head, I'm still a new wave kid with a Walkman. Probably listening to the Cult"Love", on 10, right? Making rehearsal tapes on a boombox in the basement. You could save 20 or 30 dollars, and come home from the big city record store with a new t shirt, some little buttons, a copy of "Flipside" or "Maxiumum Rock And Roll", some Jesus & the Mary Chain and Bauhaus postcards to send to your goth girlfriends in far away cities, a Gene Loves Jezebel or Flesh For Lulu promotional poster the nose-ringed death rocker cashier gave you for free, and a whole stack of winning indie punk $1 vinyl from the cut out bin. Those were different times.
For most of us, there ain't no rock ‘n’ roll no more, just the ludicrous worship of bullshit do nothing politicians, media monopoly lies and propaganda, and cos-play lab-coated scientific astronaut rich people on TV, and/or, always more blandly insufferably mediocre and meaningless mainstream garbage like the Foo Fighters - there's nowhere to go, no more basement shows. No real underground bands or real underground rock press in Amerikkka.
THE FARMHOUSE’S TOP TEN
Hello I-94 Barflies. What a shitty year it’s been. Charlie Watts’ passing makes me feel old and I type with a heavy heart with the passing a few days ago of my friend, the great guitarist John Nolan (Bored!, Powder Monkeys, Spencer P Jones and The Escape Committee and more recently Powerline Sneakers.) Last drinks, last smokes. R.I.P.
Thank fuck there is music. There have been numerous great releases this past 12 months, so here we go.
THE FARMHOUSE TOP TEN
Hello Barflies, another year nearly gone, another Top Ten and what a wonderful 12 months it has been. I got off the farm a few times for my horrible public transport trips to Melbourne. A thousand-kilometer return trip is getting harder and harder to get motivated to do, but some bands are bloody well worth it. Oh, and family and friends also. Big shout out to my gig buddy, The Tasmanian Bushman. 2023 - bring it on! So folks, here you…here’s my humble Top Ten.
X at The Tote X live at the Tote Hotel playing ”X-Aspirations” for its 40th anniversary. What a blast this night was. Steve Lucas’s screaming guitar and vocals are always great but at the old stomping ground, the Tote Hotel in Collingwood, they were something else. A memorable night and the gift of a scarf from Kim Volkman made my evening.
THE JOHNNYS The Johnnys at St Kilda Bowls Club was another wonderful gig. It was made all the better because it was my birthday and Bushy got me a wee bit drunk. And I got a present from Billy Pommer Jr.