In 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.
It’s hard – no, impossible – to believe The Volcanics aren’t huge names in underground rock households right around the world.
Perth might be the Most Isolated Capital City in The World (something its bands used to brag about incessantly - but let's face it, it's a great tagline) but the relevance of that factoid is fading fast in this digitally-connected age. So it can’t just be down to location.
Sonically-speaking, “Black Door” has guitars up the wazoo, brutal hooks, captivating songs, swagger and attitude. So it’s as unfashionable as fuck to the ears of cultural taste-makers, who’d rather assail our ears with Chris Brown or Tay-Tay (whichever one makes them the most money through streaming). Yeah. That’d be it.
It’s a well worn path that The Volcanics tread but they’re not afraid to stretch out and take a slight detour on this, their fourth album. For the most part, however, “Oh Crash…” finds the Perth band doing what it does best: Delivering straight-up, guitar rock and roll.
Yes, the reference points are all obvious - at least to these ears. They include latter-day Asteroid B612, mid-period MC5 (without the tinny production) and the New Christs (in their sullen moments.) Vocalist John Phatorous has that steely edge and lets slip the occasional guttural utterance that conveys that he's not a man to be fucked with - at least on stage. He can sing the shit out of this sort of music, too.