2019 Barfly Top Tens: Matt Ryan of Munster Times
TOP 11 ALBUMS
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - All in Good Time
Nine 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 Four
Punk 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 Killer
The 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 Business
Sun 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 LP
Thanks 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 Saboteurs
Pete 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 Standing
With 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.
Little Murders- Dromana-Rama
The Fiction - Ramona
Two LPs featuring the great Rob Griffiths. Little Murders turned 40 this year and are still going strong. Dromana-Rama is another top collection of power pop classics, while Ramona sees Griffiths with the newly reformed Fiction belt out some standard 77 ripper punk tracks. Featuring one of Melbourne’s best guitarists in Rob Wellington (GO PIES) I wish they reformed years ago. Hopefully there’s still more to come from the Fiction.
Broads- Stay Connected
For those that say it’s all been done get on to this. Indie rock with two amazing crooners, those two duelling voices of Kelly Day and Jane Hendry ave me in Gasp every time I hear em sing. Such beauty in those voices and certainly not afraid to try any music to go with those vocals.
Shifting Sands- Crystal Cuts
Some of the most beautiful and painful songs laid down on disc and wax, Shifting Sands new LP Crystal Cuts may not always ave the happiest of endings, but I doubt there won’t be a listener who can’t relate to a song or two. There ain’t no picking up the princess and riding off into the sunset, instead of happily ever after, its more everything will be ok. It may not be roses and sunshine but it’s real. What makes the songs even more incredible is the Jekyll and Hyde singing combo between Geoff Corbett and Isabella Mellor. Geoff has a rough as guts vocal style, while Isabella has one of the most stunning voices I’ve ever heard. It’s a weird mixture these two together but in the context of the songs they fit like a glove.
Dave Graney and the Mistly-- Zippa Dee Doo What is-was that-this?
Dave and Clare Moore are the Mr and Ms Consistent of Oz rock. Releasing an LP a year (two in 2019), all of a high standard and all different. I put down the consistent high level of quality due to Dave and Clare not giving a fuck and doing whatever they want. Lots of soft and sexy sounds on this one.
TOP 13 MELBOURNE GIGS
Chad Morgan @ Caravan
He’s still alive? Was what most people said when I told em I was off to see Chad. Someone else asked me if I like him as a guilty pleasure? No I like him in the sense he’s a genius and a true legend. The original country outlaw of Oz and the last man standing of the golden era of Australian county music, at 86 years old I was amazed he could still play a cracking 90 minute set. All the classics and more, it was a joy seeing the whole crowd young and old sing along to the Bobba Wobba Wedding. I heard about the song the Ballad of Bill and Eva but I wanted to see Chad perform it live first before I heard it on record. After 90s minutes of laughing and smiling I was almost in tears, it moved me that much. And that’s why I love him. Funny or serious gets a reaction and knows how to pull my strings.
The Lets Gos @ Off the Hip instore
We’ve been lucky this year with so many great acts from Japan touring this year but the Lets Gos were the highlight. Played for about 35 minutes everyone was in awe, the people wanted more but they said nah, come to one of our other shows, the way it should be done. High voltage rock n roll, with all the energy of a kid on red cordial, a must see live act.
Jack Howard @ Memo
Despite dissing me, Fred Negro and Bernie One Leg performing the Carlton theme song at Dogs Bar, I always love seeing Jack no matter what he’s doing. Whether he’s doing his Bacharach Show, or playing with the Long Lost Brothers and a Sister or playing with Nicky Del Rey, Jack always puts on a hell of a show and each project different from the last and he’s always looking forward. Last year saw the release of his brilliant record Lightheavyweight, which the great man described as Gorillaz with horns and saw Jack go disco. Unlike KISS and many others his disco record was incredible. Seeing the LP live was something else. The great music, as well as the trippy light show and as the comforting vocals of Fiona Lee Maynard made it an splendid show. That show needs to be on at Meredith. Also Jack put on another Epic edition of Epic Brass later in the year. Only wish I hadn’t had the meatlovers and could ave stayed the whole gig.
The Johnnys + Bloody Rascals @ Memo
Was lucky to ave seen both Melbourne shows but the Memo show was the best. Having seen the Bloody Rascals a few times in smaller venues it was great seeing em on the big stage and with a clear sound system. The Johnnys played an outstanding set, hit after hit with everyone singing along. Such a beautiful night and you could feel the love in the room. The first highlight was the come together and singalong to “Bleeding Heart”. The other highlight was Slim praising my moustache
Teenage Fanclub @ Corner Hotel
Great night, not that I remember much about the gig. I didn’t ave much interest when I found out Gerard Love had left the band, but when I arrived at the Office (the Balaclava Hotel) and me mate GG said him and Fred had an extra door spot I figured what the Hell. Massive thanks to Gerard that got us in. Don’t know the man but he’s a Collingwood supporter so I took a liking to him instantly. GG left us early to do this thing up the front, while me and Fred contained Wednesday night book club near the bar next to the toilets. Fair to say the punters all round us hated us, me in particular when I felt the urge to scream HIT THE NORTH for no reason and call out GG as it was his round. And then we swayed and sang to the one song we both knew the Concept, just to piss off anyone else we hadn’t already annoyed. GG met his hero Norman Blake after the show while me and Fred said hello to that Molly statute ‘round the corner. Top night, I think……..
Hobo Magic @ Barwon Club
This was the band everyone was raving about at last years River Rocks and I just missed em, so there was no way I was gonna miss em a year later. It was well worth waiting a year. Black Sabbath has inspired so many bad band but these guys are awesome. They took the best parts of Sabbath and combined their own ideas into a make stoner rock that I actually enjoy. That bass player was possibly the hero of the day, that man can play.
Hard Ons @ The Evelyn
The first band I ever saw in a pub back when I was 16. Lucky for me, this was the 21st birthday show with the band as a four piece. As much as he’s a great drummer I love seeing Keish up front dancing and smiling. They belted out their new LP from start to finish, another great release from the lads. Then a few classics including Coffs Harbour Blues which Ive never seen live before. After 30 plus years they still continue to make astonishing records and put on a great live show.
The Hybernators + The Interceptors @ Lyrebird
Always a great double bill. The Interceptors ive been seeing for a few years now. They were always good but I love seeing how much they’ve grown. I love how tight they are, and now they do a song and maybe stop for one second then bang attack with the next. Little banter just get on with it. Always a great show. And the Hybernators with Mad Man Dicko up front he always gives the people a good night out. That man needs to be MCing AFL games or doing something on TV thats how much I think of him and his talent.
MJ Halloran @ The Tote
I've heard a few of MJ's records but had never seen him live. Was a great live show, not what I expected, a bunch of noise and weirdness, mostly thanks to St Kilda’s best coffee maker Steve Boyle, was great seeming him just bang on an electric piano and do whatever he wanted. Any time he hits the stage im there, no matter the outfit he’s playing with.
Dino Bravo @ Espy Basement
I probably shouldn’t put the Bravo on this list as I manage them, but they put on a great show so why not? The band the late great Tim Hemensley summed up by saying “don’t know what there on about but I love the name”, the band played three of four gigs this year after their glorious return at Off the Hip last year, there first gig in round 20 years. If you see one band named after a Canadian wrestler shot by the mafia for cigarette tracking, make it this one.
Penny Ikinger + Mick Medew
Must give a massive shout out to Suzi Q for all her amazing work with the ESPY on Fridays and the Vineyard on Saturdays and keeping rock n roll alive in St Kilda. This was one of her specials. Mick put on a great solo set, the highlight was when he said “id like to do a song by a band where most of the original members hate me”. The song in question being You Didn’t Tell the Man. Penny always puts on a show but with the band she rises to another level. And with Tim Dean and Katie Dixon on stage it was a corker, so good hearing the songs off her Tokyo LP in that dark dingy basement.
Dicklord @ The Corner
These guys were all the rage after their Meanies support slot on Cup day and playing both days at River Rocks. These guys should be Amyl and the Sniffers big (still don’t get em). I really hope C U Next Tuesday and Moll on the Doll become the Smoko of this summer.
Blackmolls + Surabaya Johnnys + Large Number 12s @ Lyrebird, Misery Guts
The two hardest working bands in St Kilda are still going strong. The perfect Friday knock off gig in town is Fred Negro and Dave Moll at Surabaya Johnnys. You know its Friday when Dave Moll screams Matt your killing me. It’s the perfect way to start a Friday, with two old blokes just aving a go. Meanwhile the perfect Sunday winedown gig is the Largies. Those beautiful harmonies of Horse and Wes with the punk drumming of Billy Pommer Jr, along with the surroundings of beautiful Grey St, St Kilda, you think to yourself life couldn’t get any better.
Matt Ryan is the Melbourne-based editor of Munster Times zine.
Tags: hard-ons, dave graney, clare moore, shifting sands, billy childish, jack howard, the johnnys, mj halloran, eddy current suppression ring , munster times, matt ryan, hexdebt, cereal killer, let gos, dicklord, espy