Difficult Listening - Thrill Collins

Deserve - Weed

Long awaited full length from Vancouver scuzz lords delivers, and then some. Abandoned the lo-fi reflective moments of earlier EPs for all-out unhinged garage rock sound. A great mix of corrosive rock songs that purge and empower (Heal and A Few Healthy Years ) to go with songs that have a more melodic slouch like Silent Partner. Draws on 90s grunge in a totally non-shit wait. Early Dinosaur Jr and Mudhoney a touch stone. Oozes with exuberance and a love of noisy, noisy guitar music. Weed have grown into something great.

CRMNL HYGNE LP - Criminal Hygiene

Hardass garage rock with soul straight outta Los Angeles. Recalls mid 80s Replacements and Husker Dü in the best possible way. For serious. Andrew’s Song and Rearrange Me terrific rock songs. Yearning lyrics, great guitar parts, unabashed honesty. Full Lunar Eclipse another favourite, unwinds with infectious psychedelic jangle. Cover of Kangaroo utterly crushing, a beautiful tribute to Mr Chilton. Fists in the air. Let’s drink that twelve pack.

Thee Open Sex - Thee Open Sex

Heavy like a big heaving semi-trailer. Smouldering guitar parts and superb reverberating vocals from Rachel Weidner set ‘em apart from similar bands. Defiant, relentless rock and roll. Gets pretty cosmic at times (esp. I Do Not Know What) with expansive, swirling guitar wigouts but grounded by pounding rhythms and gritty rock sensibitlites. Great variety in just seven songs (Gimme Away super surfy fun, Light of Love crunchy stoner vibes), it’s a rich rock and roll brew. Drink deep.

FUTURE EATERS - EXHAUSTION

Mighty debut from Melbourne three piece on Aarght Records. Three dudes making industrial strength distorto-rock. An unholy union of schizoid percussion and grinding waves of guitar noise. 10 minute centrepiece No Place For A Holiday an intense, stifling punk rock opus. Exhaustion are all about the tension. Put on several stunning gigs, one of the best bands at the Melbourne Music Week’s Swallowed By The Future. Perfectly suited to a cavernous underground setting. Frightening at times. Always thrilling. Always potent.

NOVO’S - The Gooch Palms

Impossibly good fun garage rock from Newcastle two piece. We Get By one of the great rock and roll anthems of the year. Rudely addictive. Hunter Street Mall my other favourite. Makes a day spent amidst urban main street mediocrity sound like just the best time ever. The Cramps are an obvious comparison but Gooch Palms have their own character going on - more minimal, more fun. Less hedonistic. Yet to see live. Will see them live. Touring Oz in March. That’ll be me, front and centre.

You should also check out…

Mess O’ Reds - Mess O’ Reds

Resurrection - Rayon Moon

Complicating Things - The Spinning Rooms

"Honey, I’m a Bad Singer" - H A N N A H B A N D

Best of 2012 - PUNK/GARAGE/ROCK

As far as my personal listen habits go, a lot of the stuff I listen to while lashed to the computer or strutting down main street isn’t exactly loud. It’s..softer I guess, this year I’ve been into a lot of drone and dense, slower psychedelic gear. But when I’m out and feeling self destructive (often, it turns out), there’s nothing like having your fastenings loosened by some shattering punk/garage/rock. As such, four of the bands below benefit from having assaulted me live (with consent) on various occasions. The music scene in Melbourne at the moment is positively brimming with bands that offer supreme live experiences, and the four local acts here have definitely provided many highlights of my gig going year. They are also responsible for periods of severe neck pain and partial deafness. I’m an old man, it’s true.

Mourning Glow EP - Wild Moth

That intro. I love an extended intro. And then..sweaty mayhem. The title track of this EP from San Francisco’s Wild Moth is an absolute stormer, a rock and roll hydra that slowly rises out of the water and then unleashes. It’s booming and brutal though also compact; these are lean songs, designed for lethal effect. There’s an anthemic quality to a lot of the Wild Moth songs and second number “Patience” reminds me of a slightly more melodic Mark of Cain with it’s dark vision and jet exhaust intensity. They sound as if they’d be incredible live, it’s easy to imagine them in a barely lit bar with 100 other manic souls thrashing around to their colossal sound. My sort of fantasy. 

Favourite tracks : Mourning Glow, Patience

Young Man Old Man - Hoodlum Shouts

I’m not one to say I told you so but… I’ve known these guys for a litte while now and not so long ago they were based in our nations capital of Canberra, releasing acclaimed albums and building serious rep as a live act of rare power. I remember saying to a friend ”they’ve got to get to Melbourne, they’ll thrive”. This year the Shouts did come to town (mostly) and man, did they thrive. A Hoodlum Shouts gig is a stirring rock and roll experience like few others-emotional, visceral and completely absorbing. The same can be said of this album. It’s their triumph. There aren’t many local bands around that effectively combine this level of power with complex, truly original songwriting that captures a genuine Australian identity in their music. The Drones are the only band I can think of that are of a similar ilk but comparisons do no one any good, this album has established the Hoodlum Shouts as a truly individual group. A paragraph is totally inadequate to do this album justice, it deserves in depth analysis. Or you could you just listen to it and not think at all. The best music does that you, whether you like it or not.

Favourite tracks : Guns, Germs, Steel, Young Man, For A Family

BATPISS (Cassette) - BATPISS

Disclaimer : brother of BCH, Marty Piss, hits the skins for these cats.

2012 may well be remembered as the Year of The Piss. “Who is this Batpiss I keep hearing about?” was a phrase often uttered in Melbourne, as this three piece built a reputation as one of the most intense live acts in town. Early on it was hard to catch them as their set only went for 10 minutes but as the year went on the set expanded and the sound got real tight, real nasty and real fucking glorious. This is punk rock thrown into psychedelic overdrive and these songs-songs about country boys going to war, songs about people that annoy the hell out of you, songs about violence and underground prisons-are manic beer soaked anthems that’ll reverberate around this town for some time to come yet. They’d hate for me to say they’ve bloomed, but dammit, you blokes sure have got real pretty. 

Favourite tracks : Loose Screws, The Great Equalizer, Pest

The Spinning Rooms - The Spinning Rooms

"A regional nightmare of small-town horror and hierarchy."
So went the description for the long awaited self titled for the Spinning Rooms, a band that has developed a devoted following over recent years based on a mind bending live show. Superbly recorded and mixed by the rather decent team of Tom Lyngcoln and Mikey Young, this album gave a stronger clarity to the Spinning Rooms sound that at times can be lost in their feedback heavy gigs. Not that I don’t like my noise, it was just good to hear Pete Dickinsons vocals clearly and appreciate the lyrics, for this too is a band that combines songwriting smarts and a shattering sound. This record expresses the angst and fear of small town living, not just in story telling but in incredibly tense musical moments. It’s an album of seething dissatisfaction, of simmering fury, that anyone who’s grown up in a country town can relate to. There’s elements to their sound that make them totally unique, whether it be in the unhinged guitar playing of Dickinson (one of my favourite local guitarists) or the droning saxophone of Joe Greenway. An album that stays with you, long after it’s blown you away.

Favourite tracks : 101011, Caught In A Brawl, Don’t Stop Me.

BURNER - ScotDrakula

This sucker got in right at the death, barreling into the BCH voting room just a couple of weeks back, all clad in a bad Hawaiian shirt and slinging cans of Tecate at my skull. I knew we’d get along. Man oh man, this album is a helluva lot of fun. Matt Neumann has such a great voice for garage rock, at one point seemingly strained to breaking point, the next dropping in superb little soul phrasings. This is garage rock to light your pants on fire to, it doesn’t just make you want to get up to hedonistic mayhem, it makes it seem perfectly reasonable. Like the norm. Witness the title track and its satan-may-give-a-damn swagger, don’t you just want to go drink a jug of mead and rob a bank? There’s a billion garage three pieces kicking around but few do it right. ScotDrakula do it right and  and then some, they make you think they’re the first of their kind. And of course, they are. An immaculate conception.

Favourite tracks : Doors&Fours, Burner, Aint Scared.

Bubbling under :

Gun Control EP | Weed

Chook Race 7” - Chook Race

Infernal Cakewalk EP - Mesa Cosa

ECSTATIC VISION LP | DAYLIGHT ROBBERY

Aaron and the Burrs - Aaron and the Burrs

Bodies | Bodies

Demo - pretty pretty

Cut Sleeves | Bits of Shit

Sarongs (12” LP) | Sarongs