BARFLY TOP TEN: Pineapples From The Dawn of Time member, Raygun Mortlock leader, Tweed Heads promoter, seafood purveyor, and past X member James S. Doyle
I don't follow hardly anything new anymore. I turned 30 this year so my opinion probably isn't as relevant as it used to be. But here we go anyway. Until next year, your friend, James S. Doyle.
10. Hall and Oates- “Timeless Classics” (compilation)
Where should we start? The Dune Rats? Violent Soho? Clowns? No, lets just skip the popular upper-middle class bro-rock of 2017 and go straight to the heart of rock n roll. Re-packaged compilations that come out just in time for Christmas $10 bins.
If you are looking for a starting point for your Hall and Oates collection, this may as well be it. “Maneater” “You Make My dreams” “Rich Girl”.. they are all here, plus deeper cuts such as “She’s Gone” and “Sara Smile”. A must for fans of Philly Grindcore.
9. The Afghan Whigs- In Spades (album)
I nearly forgot about this one. One of the rare cases of a band that goes away for a long time then somehow comes back better than they used to be. I would describe this album as "sad, yet gangsta AF" The internet says that this album has "generally favourble reviews" and I tend to agree with that also.
8. Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs - “WHEN?” (album)
Dave Warner! Not the cricketer but the other one! The Perth one that sang “Just a Suburban Boy”! He’s back! After 30 years to once again ride the wave of teen suburban angst to the top of the charts!
Well that’s probably not going to happen, he is still awesome though. I have only actually listened to this the once. It was pretty great. A few mental as anything’s play on it and some other veterans of the pub arts… I was trying to organise for him to come up here and do some gigs and then the floods came earlier this year and destroyed all of Northern NSW.
It’s a mug's game and it always has been.
7. The Aints play the Saints @ Twin Towns, Tweed Heads (ggig)
I like gigs that are only 10 minutes from my house, so when I heard Ed and the gang were playing a concert live in deaths waiting room, Tweed Heads, morbid curiosity got the best of me. Twin Towns is depraved and sad, but not in the way most music venues are. I took one of the pineapples from the dawn of time with me. He became disgruntled that the Jack Evans porpoise pool isn’t operational anymore and then about the quality of his chicken schnitzel so I had to calm him down before we went into the gig or things could have gotten ugly in there. A real mess of mashed potato and Keno tickets.
To be honest I didn’t expect much from this gig, when we drove past another pub on the way and a cover band were playing Supertramp songs and i nearly jumped out of the car to get my yacht on, but I decided to see the The Aunts instead ..it was actually really good! Especially “Nights in Venice”!
I haven’t seen Ed really lash out on the electric guitar many times and there were a few moments at this gig when you really saw the six-string hell-fire of his younger years shine through. I hope he keeps on doing these gigs.
6. X - X-Citations (compilation LP and launch gig)
Stacey and I had planned to go see whatever is left of Dragon on this night but then at the last minute we got a call from Steve Lucas saying that X were coming up to do a record launch gig in Brisbane and the airline hadn’t put any of their instruments or merch on the plane. They basically had nothing to launch except good intentions. So off we went to Brisbane to save the day and lent them some guitars.
Personally I think the best modern version of X was the one with me in it, obviously, but this one was really good too! Steve, Kim and the Hunters and Collectors drummer tore through a long and hard set that night and gave everyone their monies worth. The band really does have a lot of good songs, where most bands struggle to have one or two songs anyone actually wants to hear, X manage an hour-and-a-half of them.
I ended up with one of the records eventually, with some of (although not all) the best early tracks. Legendary shit.
5. Nine Inch Nails- Not the Actual Events (E.P)
I should probably put at least one thing on this list that is from a band that existed after I was born rather than a decade or two before. Technically it came out at the very end of last year, but I’m guessing none of your viewers will be listening this far anyway. The new NIN is great and Reznor is one of the last ’80/90s rock stars to actual grow old respectfully and not make a complete fool of himself. Did you see the song off this he played on the new “Twin Peaks” this year? Good wasn’t it!
But the reason I put this on this list as memorable 2017 release is that when you ordered it you bought the download and about 3 weeks later you got a blank black envelope in the mail that was full of black ink that got stuck to everything and made a huge fucking mess. And that sort of thing impresses me.
4. Alice Cooper @ The Brisbane Entertainment centre (gig)
The only “proper” gig I went to this year. There are a lot of people who only know Alice Cooper from his horrid late 80’s and 90’s output. They don’t understand that once Alice Cooper was a band that used to kick around the stooges and the MC5 in Detroit and were actually better than both those bands. Yes, I said it.
Alice now surrounds himself with musicians at least 60 years younger than himself but the old songs still hold up as some of the best polka-fusion music of the last millennium. Highlights for me were “Halo of Flies” and “Ballad of Dwight Fry” (The one Ray Dio Birdman covered.)
3. The Meatbeaters - “Wrong Side of Yesterday” (album)
2017 has been a great year for social justice, respecting others and playing by the rules of common decency. The Meatbeaters have wisely decided to move with these PC times as their new album does away with bands previous themes of prison sex, Turkish baths and sexual encounters in toilet cubicles and instead embraces the value of friendship and staying strong even when the odds are stacked against you.
But that’s not to say it doesn’t cock rock all over the place. “Cold Embrace” “So Long” are amongst the best songs they have written, the cover of Motorhead’s “Bomber” and the re-recording of “Cracking Skulls” tears all kind of arse. A 10 out of 10 effort!
Unfortunately “Another Day” ruins the whole album and makes it a 1 out of 10.
2. The Bible Bashers - “Rise Hard” (mini album)
I’m fairly confident my list will be the only one with not one but two albums from Perth on it. Theatrical and low-brow, The Bible Bashers are one of the few new (less than 20 years old) bands that I would call “good”.
Lead-singer Laith Tierney leads his Centrelink queue of aberrant West-Australians as they smash and bash their way through this hot and hard 10-inch album, which concludes with a cover of The Surpremes “STOP! In the name of Love!” There are also a bunch of dick songs and wish them well.
1. REST IN PEACE CHARLIE TOLNAY
Not a highlight of 2017’s rock n roll world, but I have to give this the number one spot nonetheless. We lost too many in 2017, and Adelaide’s Charlie Tolnay was another unsung hero who unfortunately got lost in his own white noise in recent decades. His playing with Grong Grong, King Snake Roost and Lubricated Goat proved him to be one of the most original and frightening guitarists the Australian rock n roll world ever produced.He was a one of a kind human being and I’m going to miss him.