The Best Albums of 2016

A few notes on 2016.

I pretty much didn’t hear any chart music. There’s a longer conversation to be had about the large number of people who love music, who would claim music is their lives, but don’t come across what’s trending. But another time – but this list is definitely just the records I somehow come across or knew about.

Listening habits were strange this year. I listen to more podcasts than music. But the iPhone 7’s 256GB storage meant I could finally load 130GB or so of music on there and I’ve gone back to listen to a lot of old stuff. I probably listened to more Lorenz And Hart than Wilco.

I’m not sure if this was a good year for music. For completely self-centred reasons, I found music to be largely lacking in the emotional solace I was looking for. Maybe because it has been a tough year with no easy answers. But the artists who should be providing wisdom were lacking. It ended up being personal stories, and personal records that resonated with me. It’s such a simple trick, one often forgotten, that sometimes all art is about is connecting to another human.

As usual, no friend’s albums on the list, excluding wonderful albums by Adam Gibson and the Ark Ark Birds, Bryan Estepa, Katie Brianna, Jason Walker, The Nature Strip, Fallon Cush and many more.

1. Alex Dezen – Alex Dezen


This is supposed to be a top 10, but this album I’ve listened to more than the rest of the ten combined. This album is 2016 for me. Dezen was the frontman of The Damnwells (who made my 2nd fave album of 2011) and this is his first solo album. with no commercial restraints or ambitions, he kind of went for it here. It’s an inventive pop/singer songwriter effort, and Dezen plays just about everything.

But the songs. Dezens drags out the demons. Like Revolver, an album pinned by three gorgeously melodic ballads, this album at its heart is the three gut-wrenching ballads; ‘I Don’t Want To Be Alone’ – about how his fear of time trumps his fear of death. It is his mother’s least favourite song. ‘I Have’ – as beautiful song about (in part) not looking at your phone when a friend plays you their music. And ‘Ode To Ex-Girlfriends’ is the kind of novelist detail of stunning lines and memorable images.

There’s a failed marriage, a disappointed mother, and an absent father all taken through the wringer. From the complicated feelings about the killing of Osama Bin Laden to a guitar he shouldn’t have sold. 10 wonderful short stories that I will go back to over and over in years to come.

Songs: Ode To Ex-Girlfriends, I Don’t Want To Be Alone, I Have

2. Sarah Watkins – Young In All The Wrong Ways


Sarah Watkins of Nickel Creek fame has released solo albums before, but this is a wonderful, rocking, fun album with plenty of heart. If there’s strands to this album it is confidence and empowerment. Watkins is pretty clear on what she wants (‘Move Me‘), which regrets to bury (‘Young In All The Wrong Ways‘) and walking away from bad situations (‘One Last Time‘). It’s an utterly charming album.

In Nickel Creek, she was already the best singer in a band of great singers. There’s not a lot of her trademark fiddle, but she translates that musicianship easily into the guitar, creating stunning moments of power and intimacy when needed. On the track, ‘Like A New Year’s Day‘, was by far the best song-for-making-me-feel-better of 2016. A simple story of a drive to a friend’s house to relax and unwind – the softest kiss of music all year.

Songs: Like A New Year’s Day, One Last Time, Move Me

3. The I Don’t Cares – The I Don’t Cares


Paul Westerberg teams up with Juliana Hatfield on a rocking new duo, pushing Westerberg to make exactly the same kind of album he’s been making for 30 years. And god it’s a good record. It sounds like it was again recorded in Westerberg’s basement, with lyrics that sound tossed off yet impossibly cool. A heart tangled up by the opposite sex, in a teenage milkshake way. There is, kinda, nothing personal going on here. But it sure is sweet.

It’s hard to know who this album is for. It sounds like a teenage party record – but I don’t think this duo’s audience has parties anymore. So there’s a layer of nostalgia here – this is the type of music, and songs, I used to like when I was a 17 year old discovering The Replacements. A nice place to visit.

Songs: Kissing Break, Back, Just A Phase

4. John Prine – For Better, Or Worse


John Prine‘s long career got a boost in 1999 with In Spite Of Ourselves an album of duets with the (then) hottest female singers of the alt-country set. That title track became a standard – there’s twenty couples somewhere playing the song right now. For Better, Or Worse is the sequel, with some newer country singers, alt-country but a memory.

The joy of this album is hearing (and discovering) these old duets, usually from the 1930s (‘Falling In Love Again’) to the TV honky tonks of the 1960s (‘Mr & Mrs Used To Be‘, originally by Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn). The songs are a snapshot of love from a different era. Married early, lots of alcoholism and fighting – you can’t help but think it’s a slightly more honest portrayal of a relationship than, say, The Bachelor.

The other real highlight from this album is how it sounds. Clear as crystal, laid back Bakersfield country. It sounds like one mic, recorded live, with great musicians. Pretty sure Hank (who has a song covered here, and whose granddaughter Holly Williams sings on a track) would have done it this way. Let’s hope there’s a third volume in another 17 years.

Songs: Falling In Love Again, Mental Cruelty, Just Waitin’

5. Emmy The Great – Second Love


One of my favourite albums ever is Central Reservation by Beth Orton. Her album this year was a return to electronica – it was a bit underwhelming. Which is a long way around to Emmy The Great, another  British singer songwriter, who dived into electronica and came out with something dramatic, deep and lovely.

I guess she was probably on the path to being a nice indie pop person, in the vein of Kate Nash. I really loved her last album. But it seems like a break-up (with her famous boyfriend) and discovering America has made something more interesting. I always find the best electronica creates this distance between the listener, and then great songs or great ideas break through with more impact. Newly single Emmy tells fascinating tales of finding her feet again. One arresting image (one of many) is being taken to a bar where the drinks cost more than music.

Songs: Social Halo, Swimming Pool, Algorithm

6. Wilco – Schmilco


Wilco were once my favourite band. But around 2009, after seeing about 150 shows and sitting through too many noodle-y versions of the same songs, I drifted away. I bought every record since, listened to each a few times, they were fine. I wouldn’t say Schmilco is a return to form, but it’s closer to what I like about the band – acoustic, slow, thoughtful, tender, basically American Beauty.

I’d be pretty happy if this band pumped out one of these records a few times a decade, mixed with a couple of rocking ones or whatever. It’s like Neil Young. Happy to hear what he’s up to, but I love Silver And Gold and I love Prairie Wind. Schmilco joins Sky Blue Sky as laid back hippie Wilco. It’s not their best work – but it’s what I like.

Songs: Cry All Day, North American Kids, If I Ever Was A Child

7. Teenage Fanclub – Here


No one’s had a good year, and we’ve all needed comfort. Hello Teenage Fanclub, the biggest comfort band there is. I’m not sure this album breaks any new ground. In fact, the last three Fanclub records seem to refine what they do. There’s a song on here called ‘Hold On‘. Initially, I was disappointed – they already have a (great) song called ‘Hang On‘ – thinking the well was dry. But you can’t have too many hugs, and if anything, we need these quietly positive songs even more.

I once remarked that all my favourite songs say the same thing – life is hard, but with you by my side, we can leave this bad situation behind. Teenage Fanclub mine that idea at medium heat, and it’s the joy of slowly sinking into a warm bath. Not that the album is boring – it’s full of great riffs, great solos, and great singing. It just doesn’t feel the need to show off. Who wants to start a TFC covers band?

Songs: Darkest Part Of The Night, I’m In Love, Thin Air

8. Paul Simon – Stranger To Stranger


I’ve always had Paul Simon. So when he sings, on this album, about looking for Proof Of Love, I feel like I’ve been looking for the same thing for decades. Through ‘Homeward Bound‘, ‘America‘ to ‘Outrageous‘ and ‘Questions For the Angels‘, his search for human connection has soundtracked my own. Which is to say – I’m utterly blind to this man’s faults. I guess I can see he’s a bit short.

The old crowd (boomer era critics) praise the latest Simon records for their adventurous sounds and strange touches. It doesn’t actually sound that much different to your run of the mill indie band, say like Magnetic Fields. The strange buzz of feedback and the odd sample are hardly adventurous. But he’s still a phenomenal writer, a cataloguer of love as it gets old and remains strong. And there’s a healthy Randy Newman-esque cynicism and quite a bit of humour – in his own way. Wristband tells the story of being locked out by security for one of his shows, but he turns it into a bigger thought like a great master can do. and how can you beat a line like – “most obits are mixed reviews.”

Songs: Proof Of Love, The Werewolf, Wristband

9. Whitney – Light Upon The Lake


Whitney‘s debut record has made some best of lists, and yeah – it’s a bit hipster nonsense. But the album sounds amazing – and it’s very fun. It’s not a head record – it’s one for the hips and one for the feet. I know they are supposed to sound 70s, but it really sounds like a 90s band doing 70s – like Sloan or Phoenix. Or more modern precedents like Real Estate or Avi Buffalo. This was the record most likely to make me break out into a dance when on my headphones.

Maybe having something to say would detract from what this album is trying to do – it’s not a lyricist trying to get a worldview across. It’s a broadly romantic record, with more than a little sweetness. But it’s more about that trumpet, that rush of bass and that high lonesome vocal. It’s fun, and let’s hope there’s more in them.

Songs: No Matter Where We Go, No Woman, Dave’s Song

10. The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect


The first album by The Last Shadow Puppets is one of my favourite albums, a perfect surprise of an album. This album, 8 years (i.e. the entire Beatles recording career) later, is like another band entirely. Gone is the heartbroken Scott Walker, and back is Alex Turner’s desperate need to be Nick Cave. Like the last several Arctic Monkeys albums, there’s a lot of dramatic and dangerous women.

This is more Bowie (they’ve been covering ‘Moonage Daydream‘) here than Bacharach, with much heavier guitars and tempos. Iggy Pop, Queens Of the Stone Age, the Bad Seeds at their baddest…all mixed in here. From their videos, they look like they may have learnt drugs. It’s a ballsy, crazy arrogant album. When Turner and Kane decide to write tunes – like the magnificent ‘Miracle Aligner‘ – the album really shines. But it’s fascinating anyway.

Songs: Miracle Aligner, Sweet Dreams TN, The Dream Synopsis

Here’s a YouTube playlist of my favourite 2016 songs that had videos. It includes tracks from the ten above.

The Four Types Of Racism


There’s so much conversation about racism right now. The rebranding of white supremacists as alt right and using Nazi salutes, to Noel Pearson’s accusation against the ABC. Peter Dutton’s comments about the Australian Lebanese community, arguments over the Racial Discrimination Act, Birth Of Nation, Oscars So White, Brexit, Le Pen, TrumpCups, Eagles Of Death Metal, BoycottHamilton, Bendigo Mosque, Doctor Strange, Reclaim Australia, One Nation… we didn’t start the fire.

Often it is easy for people to diminish, deflect or deny allegations because racism is so broad. It’s easy to show you’re not a racist by pointing out many types of racism where you don’t fit. For most people, racism looks one way, and it’s this particular type of explicit, implicit psycho. But for me, there are four distinctive, classifiable types.

Let’s look at the four types of racism, shall we? Hooray! Photoshop!


Let’s look at some quick examples of each, before discussing them.

Group A – Careless, Personal

This is the good old “you have very good English!” – or

“I have lots of black friends” – or

“I am 1/8th Chinese, so I am a victim too” [a real thing a US film critic said to me]

There’s plenty more examples. People not trying to be harmful or hateful, and it’s in a completely personal level. It’s less about what is said but how it’s used. We will get back to it, this is the group I will talk about the most.

Group B – Deliberate, Personal

This is the guy who told me, at Marrickville Station a couple of weeks ago, to fuck off back to my own country (he was a junkie and didn’t look like Peter Dutton but I can’t be sure).

It’s is this guy – PJKilby (who claims he was hacked)

Or this guy, who also claims he was hacked.

Sometimes it is said in hateful jest. Sometimes it is said in just hateful hate. It’s both the words and the actions.

And again, this woman in Chicago.

Group C – Careless, Institutional

There are many institutions that through carelessness have drifted into racism. #OscarsSoWhite, and their ridiculous policy for new members, meant they will always reflect the views of a small group.

A lot of work places I know, in particular progressive media companies, talk diversity. This is to address some of the institutionalised racism that has come out of carelessness more than anything else.

Silicon Valley has many problems. #BlackLivesMatter is a more extreme example. The argument over Australia Day, the Washington Redskins, etc.

Group D – Deliberate, Institutional

This is the stories I’ve heard (dated, but from recent history) that a prominent major network in Australia had an edict to put no black or Asian people in their creative and crowd shots (the Channel rhymes with ‘Channel Nine’).

Obviously, there are bigger examples, some of the biggest nightmarish marks on the history of humanity. Genocide, Apartheid. The White Australia Policy. Brexit (mostly).

This is when a minority group is kept down with a crushing power of an immense institution. The people who fought against this, in any form, was fighting such big odds. They are heroes.

A picture of dumplings I'm using to break up the sections.
A picture of dumplings I’m using to break up the sections.

These four groups aren’t binary (or whatever the four version of binary is). Even amongst each group there is scale. Large complex issues like Brexit can run the gamut. Yet, they are all connected, and feed into eachother.

So I’m going to run through each one again, with some commentary.

Group A – Careless, Personal


This is the group most easily associated with harmless. But this is in many ways the most common form. And it leads and feeds into the other groups.

Take the example of Australian Rapper Pez. He wrote a thing on Facebook where he wanted to say something positive, and inclusive. And that he got teased at school as well, and knows how it feels, that we are connected by our differences. Everyone, let’s calm down.

I want to be nice to Pez, because he’s not trying to be hateful. I’m sure he’s a cultured, smart, inclusive person. But that’s a shitty comment.

Racism isn’t about being made fun of for your characteristics or background. It’s about being discriminated for your characteristics or background.

Pez appears to be around average height. Maybe at some point, someone called him average-o. Sick burn. But as far as I’m aware, people of average height aren’t getting paid less than people of below average height for doing the same job. There’s no one burning down an Average Height Place Of Worship.

(If you’re the very, very special kind of person who in your mind goes to the place where you go – well, that’s not true in basketball, where height is used as discrimination, then you’re very tops and this article isn’t for you).

People make fun of each other. People have to talk to each other. You might accidentally offend someone. It’s all good. But stereotypes starts here. Belittling starts here. The cloud of inferiority that descends over a child’s eyes as they realise they are different and won’t fit in, starts here. Being called whitey a few times doesn’t reflect the other groups of racism. And because you’ve felt Group A, doesn’t mean you know how it feels – or feel any of the down-the-line discrimination.

Sometimes I talk to friends who claim Europe is way more racist than Australia. I have to point out it’s because you suddenly aren’t the majority, and you are actually now just treated like everyone else (by the French).

It’s a shitty thing. I tend to forgive the person who compliments me on my English pretty quickly (and granted, I am brilliant with language). But I’d rather they didn’t, because it empowers the other groups here. And with social media, these comments travel wider and faster.

Another, more damaging example, is when real life Scream painting Peter Dutton spouts his divisive opinions in the media.

I grew up in Australia at a time when my people and my upbringing was a target. And the news regularly reported on rhetoric of politicians mulling revoking citizenship of former refugees, or other crazy shit.

I’m older and I understand it was a political football, and pandering to the stupid. But when I was younger, it made me feel like that passport and citizenship I have is temporary, and I will always be a second class citizen in this country.

Dutton, who looks like someone left the Grim Reaper out in the sun, is not really thinking of hurting someone. He’s being careless, to appeal to worst in our society.

Group B – Deliberate, Personal


This could almost be split into two groups. Jokes and insults.

Hey, can’t you take a joke? (Note that most people who have to descend to this level of discourse usually cannot take a joke. I mean, does Dutton’s face suggest he has ever laughed?)

Jokers might think it’s harmless, but it’s definitely a deliberate act of slander. I do go back to the above group and say the key is discrimination. Jokes about Swedish people loving flat packed furniture, as far as I know, hasn’t led to much anti Swedish groups forming in regional Victoria. Bendigo is safe to open an IKEA.

But jokes about Aboriginal people being drunks. Or women being sluts. Or muslims being… well, we should all just stay away from Muslim jokes for a bit.

There is, of course, a more explicit, deliberate, hate. We see it all the time, the rise of right wing coupled with camera phones. Footage of people attacking people in public places seems to be product of this era. It will be our hula hoop.

Of course, this should never happen. It’s interesting, post Trump, how much analysis has gone into Trump voters. And how economically depressed they are, and how they’ve lost that factory job, and how they are just good people. It’s a bullshit excuse for shit behaviour.

Let’s not forget undecided voter poster child Ken Bone, who it turns out made some pretty racist comments on social media. He’s not necessarily a skinhead terrorising the corner shop owned by an Asian couple in a 90s film cliché. He seemed harmless. But he’s a racist little weasel.

Group C – Careless, Institutional


This group seems to be where all the progress is focussed. It’s easy to understand – it’s an easy win, and easy to feel good about yourself #youdidit.

Groups A and B nudge, or push, the divisions in our society. And representation takes time to catch up. But with some work, and a clear focus, we can make our institutions and our media reflect our society. #weneedtocometogether

This is shakey ground. When I think of the face of Australia, I’m sure it’s not the same as Reclaim Australia’s, or maybe even anyone else’s. So who decides? And inclusion isn’t necessary enough on its own.

Noel Pearson laid a claim against the ABC for its portrayal of Aboriginal culture and people as ‘racist’. In particular, that they are usually represented as down trodden, lesser members of society.

I don’t agree with Noel, but I’m of course nowhere near taking the brunt of what that representation means when it takes form in an audience. But I do take the point that if we never saw an Aboriginal person with a drinking problem on TV again, it might lead to some positive gains (but is that the role of arts? Is the answer at the end of this slippery slope?).

Doctor Strange is a racist old 60s comics, from Marvel, home to a lot of racist stereotyping. The portrayal of ‘the east’ in that film isn’t great, but there was controversy about casting Tilda Swindon in the role usually played by an old Asian guy. Would casting an old Asian guy be worse, as it plays on a bad stereotype?

It’s about the audience in the end. It’s about seeing people of all colours and kinds in all positions. Not only does diversity make logical sense (smart, talented people can come from anywhere), it fights off Groups A and B. It’s worth noting here that for a while, people would ask me if I was the Asian guy in the Harold and Kumar films. So even not playing a stereotype isn’t always helpful. Volume might be the answer. If there were actually dozens of Asian Australians on TV, men and women, some comic, some drama…then we would stop a lot of Group A at least (or not).

There is a lot of movement here, because this group is easy. But there’s a lot of work. People get defensive about institutions they work for, and people take offence that somehow they aren’t doing their job. I remember one work place, when faced with diversity, looking at their own team and pointing out how diverse they were, within Europe, if you go back a couple of generations. They missed the point.

The Australia Day issue is a touchy one for some people. People feel like they are being personally accused of racism. The same happens with the Washington Redskins problem. The institutions haven’t kept up. We need to change.

Group D – Deliberate, Institutional


That just about every podcast I know did a Donald Trump special (as did I), that everyone is so worried and anxious, comes from the fact Group 4 has reared its head, like the big boss at the end of a video game round.

There is so much hate and tension, fuelled by Groups A, B and C (failure in C to turn the tide), that it leads to D. And boy do we have several D’s in power right now.

Once they happen, Group D are almost impossible to fight. How do you fight a problem like Nauru? All the protests, all the condemnations, all we know about the abuse that takes place there.

The rise of the white supremacist movement that is alt right is Group D. They’ve taken their ignorance (Group A), and has turned into into hot hate, blaming everyone else for the problems and impotence (Group B). They’ve felt emboldened by the world at large (Group C) so they’ve started their own organised movement of hate (Group D).

I know I feel powerless to stop it. Sure, I can write. Sure, I can call my local whateveritis. Sure, I can start a petition. All that means nothing.

But I can vote. And I can kick Peter Dutton in the balls if he has any (actually they are probably quite large, considering the backwards racist crap he spouts).


Group A – one more time

Are Trump voters racist?

Well, yes.

They might not (all) be actual Klan members themselves, but they at the very least fall into Group A. Their action is carelessly harmful, and empowers the other shittier groups.

Anyone who thinks PC has gone too far fall into this group. People think being against PC isn’t racist because they think racism is Reclaim Australia – Group B – and nothing else. You might think it’s harmless, but it’s a stupid thing to do in and of itself, and it leads to further discrimination.

I guess….one can do something stupid, and not necessarily be characterised as a stupid person. So I guess one can probably make a racist act without necessarily being characterised as a racist person. I guess.



The problem with these groups is, of course, they are all different. But they have the same reductive name, meaning they get confused and conflated. Allow me to suggest how we should describe these groups going forward (or don’t, up to you).

Group A – racism
Group B – racism
Group C – racism
Group D – racism

See what I did there.

As we try to put the condom back on the exploding madness that is the current political climate, its clear that once again the best option was avoidance altogether.

So try not to be racist, OK?

Mojo Reviews Challenge #013 – Victoria Williams – Loose (1994)

Where I dig into something I’ve not heard before, from the reviews section of old Mojo Magazines, on an irregular basis.

184433_1_fVictoria Williams
1994 – Mammoth

I’ve been quietly looking for this album for around 20 years. Victoria Williams came into my world in two ways. One, the moderately famous Sweet Relief compilation that was a tribute to her, featuring huge bands like Pearl Jam, Buffalo Tom, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams and others. The other was the wonderful song that the Jayhawks, and her husband Mark Olson, wrote about her.

That Sweet Relief tribute came about because Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Musicians don’t have health care, and her plight became a lightning rod for musicians in the 90s to set up the Sweet Relief Fund, to help musicians without health care. The fund still exists today, 23 years later, and still helps people.


Loose actually comes after that tribute record, which had covered songs from her early albums. I’ve not heard those albums, but this one is apparently bigger and more ambitious. At a full 16 tracks (oh, the 90s…), and featuring a massive array of famous stars, it was designed to break Williams into the mainstream. It failed miserably.

The early 90s were full of eccentric records – it seems it came down marketing and personality. And Williams is a wonderful weirdo. I was expecting a low key folk-y, countryish, Freakwater-y album. But third song in, we get Harry Went To Heaven, which sounds like Kate Bush fronting a hotel jazz band. There’s a cover of Louis Armstrong‘s What A Wonderful World, with a string quartet. And maybe because I hear it in every female singer with a guitar, but the jazzy stuff sounds like jazzy Joni Mitchell. Which is only a good thing.

There’s more than a little 90s alterna-rock here. Crazy Mary was the single (and was covered by Pearl Jam) and by far her most famous song. A dramatic character study like, say, Luka, with big strings and a buzzy guitar and weird spoken verses, it doesn’t sound anything like a hit.

Williams, from her album covers, looked beautiful. And she would marry one of my favourite songwriters, Mark Olson of the Jayhawks. Their 1995 album Tomorrow The Green Grass is amongst my favourite albums, especially when I was 17. The second song was Miss Williams Guitar, a tribute to Victoria. I am still, today, so in love with that song that through transitive properties, it carries over to Victoria.

There’s a bit of Jayhawks on this album. Olson plays on it, and that soulful country mix almost makes this sound, in some places, like an early Jayhawks album with a different singer. Olson and Williams share a sweet duet called When We Sing Together.

Overall, the album is lovely. I feel like if I bought this album when I was 17 like I should have, when I was most obsessed with albums that sounded like this, this could possibly mean a lot more to me. I probably would have worked out the chords to these songs, jammed them with friends, put them on mix tapes.

Williams and Olson packed their bags after this and moved out to Joshua Tree. Olson left the Jayhawks, and that was a big issue in itself. But I bought many of the albums the pair made under the name The Original Harmony Creek Dippers, pretty much the most lo-fi albums you’ve ever heard. But as a songwriter in my teens, I had the fantasy of being a hermit, hiding in the country, me and a beautiful perfect singer, making little homespun albums. Williams and Olson lived that dream. It broke my heart when they broke up in 2006.

Loose is a sweet album, with lots of character and charm. Far too much to make her the next Lisa Loeb or Gwen Stefanie or whoever the label might have been thinking. As we are not in the 90s, it could easily lose 4-6 songs. But perhaps that’s the nice thing about those 16 track albums – more room to be weird. It’s far more jazzy than I anticipated, which I like.


Lazy Susan – songs Lost: B-Sides, Unreleased, Demos & Live Out Now


A band I was once in, and am in again, have released a new album. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember Lazy Susan from lots of Triple J airplay around the late 90s. Having been several years since their last album, the band has compiled 2 albums of rare material under the title Songs Lost.

Volume 1 covers B-Sides and Unreleased stuff. It features the single Square One.

Volume 2 covers Demos and live recordings.

Lazy Susan (and me) will be performing live for the first time in six years at Lazy Bones in Marrickville on 10th September. Find out more at the gig’s Facebook Event.

Here’s the new video of Square One.

Live Acoustic Podcast Record #1


I am doing something new. I’ve been talking about this for a while.

Facebook event

Every year, every month, fantastic local songwriters and performers make great music, and there is always a limited outlet for it. So I’m doing my part by running a Live Acoustic podcast series.

Performers will play their songs acoustically, and maybe bring a surprise or two. And then they will be interviewed live on stage about the making of the album and their inspirations.

First up is three fantastic acts with new albums out.


Bryan Estepa – with the Tempe Two have put out an acclaimed record Every Little Thing


Steve Smith – from the band Fallon Cush, released the great Bee In Your Bonnet record just a few weeks ago.


Michael Carpenter – reunited with his Cuban Heels band, he’s made a fantastic and sweet album The Big Radio

The night is free at the Gasoline Pony near Marrickville/Sydenham (on the dock of the bay). It’s very lovely and warm in there on a cold night – they do mulled wine and a heated outdoor bit and great food.

If you have new music, I want to talk to you. But hope you can come help me support local music.

Facebook event

Mojo Reviews Challenge #012 – Edwyn Collins – Gorgeous George

Where I dig into something I’ve not heard before, from the reviews section of old Mojo Magazines, on an irregular basis.

EdwynGGCollinsEdwyn Collins
Georgeous George
1994 – Setanta

When you become a massive record nerd, you find yourself drawn to certain times and cultures through history. For me, one of those eras is Glasgow in the early 80s. Please take me down the Byres Road with my Postcard Records knapsack, on my way to watch a Bill Forsyth film.

I buy into Postcard Records fully. And once you do, Edwyn Collins is a god. I have every album by his band Orange Juice. So why have I never explored his solo stuff?

A song from this album is definitely where it started for me and Edwyn. Years before someone gave me a copy of You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever (the first Orange Juice album) Edwyn had an unlikely worldwide hit with ‘A Girl Like You‘. A 60s garage fuzz pop burst, it was an unexpected throwback that worked.

Gorgeous George is the album that followed that worldwide hit. It’s nice to meet and really get to know the older Edwyn. Postcard Edwyn was always strange and hypnotic, cool older kid from your school. But he’s turned into a reflective young man still obsessed by rock n roll, some 15 years later.

The songs are still about the primal rock n roll food groups – girls, love, music itself, get-me-outta-here. The lyrics and stories are fun, but they aren’t the groundbreaking voice that roared into life in 79. Which is perhaps why this album is not remembered so fondly.

The album sounds great. It doesn’t sound dated at all, much like the best produced Brit Pop of the era. There’s those pretty smattering a of Northern Soul. There’s lovely lighter moments such as Low Expectations that recalls Lloyd Cole at his quietest. Collins voice is still full of rich yearning. His guitar playing is top notch – Lou Reed messy but on it when he needs to be. And somehow the Sex PistolsPaul Cook is on drums.

Highlights abound. Northern soul fans will find If You Could Love Me, the other single from this album and a song I can no longer live without. The title track is another soulful slice of pop. This really is an album best enjoyed in a flat above a shop in Northern Britain.

Collins suffered a cerebral haemorrhage in 2005. He has been recovering and even toured Australia and I caught an amazing show. He is still making music and I am now making my way through his solo stuff.


Everything I watched in 2015

Based on a rather crazy list by Stephen Soderbergh. TV show dates are when I finished the season.
01/01 – The Stepford Wives, When Harvey Met Bob, Ghost Dog, Metropolis (anime), The Lovely Bones
02/01 – Prisoners, Cry-Baby, My Beautiful Laundrette, Ghost Rider, Jules Et Jim, The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three, Hello Ladies The Movie,
03/01 – The Birds, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
04/01 – Muppets Most Wanted, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Running With Scissors
07/01 – Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, The Love Guru
09/01 – Broadway Melody
10/01 – The Raid 2, Munich
11/01 – Sleeping Dogs Lie
13/01 – SurbUrbia, Stand And Deliver,
14/01 – Time Travelers Wife
15/01 – Non Stop
17/01 – Midnight Express
18/01 – Lara Croft 2, Healing, Mandela Long Walk To Freedom, The Philadelphia Story
– Serial (Season 1)
23/01 – Simon
24/01 – Holy Smoke
26/01 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Stranger Than Fiction, Hairspray 2007
31/01 – Secretary, La Dolce Vita, Louis CK Live At the Comedy Store
01/02 – Kill List
02/02 – Illuminata, Memories Of Me
04/02 – Filth
07/02 – While You Were Sleeping, Klute, The Wolf Of Wall Street
08/02 – Eros, Time Crimes, God’s Pocket, Paul Kelly Stories Of Me, Only Lovers Left Alive, Taken
10/02 – Vanya On 42nd Street, Philomena, Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Tarantula
11/02 – Modern Romance, Le Week-End, Money, The Knick (Season 1)
12/02 – The Sculptor
13/02 – R.E.M. by MTV, Tracks
14/02 – Shoot the Piano Player, Up the Junction
15/02 – Muscle Shoals, The Book Thief, Eagle vs Shark, Life During Wartime
16/02 – The Mission
17/02 – Sidewalks Of New York, Chef
18/02 – The Good Shepherd
24/02 – Transparent (Season 1), Happiness
25/02 – Pans Labyrinth, Parks And Recreation (season 1)
26/02 – Life Is Sweet, Olive Kitteridge (season 1)
27/02 – Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Face
28/02 – Agent Carter (Season 1), Legion Of Superheroes (vol. 7)
01/03 – Hockney The Biography (vol. 1)
02/03 – House Of Cards (season 3)
03/03 – Monsieur Verdoux, Blood Simple, The Cosmopolitans (pilot)
04/03 – Episodes (season 1), Everything Must Go
06/03 – Fierce Creatures
07/03 – An American In Paris, The Impostors, 12 Years A Slave
09/03 – Carnal Knowledge
10/03 – Robocop, The Wicker Man
13/03 – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (season 1), Whats Eating Gilbert Grape
14/03 – Frenzy, Bad Neighbours
18/03 – New York New York
29/03 – contempt
30/10 – Rock Star, The Jinx
31/03 – Only Connect series 10
01/04 – A Field In England
03/04 – I’m So Excited, Stuck On You, Red State, Million Ways To Die In the West
04/04 – Fast Food Nation
05/04 – August Osage County, broad church season 2, Sparrow,
06/04 – taking Woodstock
07/04 – 700 Sunday’s
17/04 – The Affair (season 1)
18/04 – Drugstore Cowboy, The Lost Weekend, The Unknown Known
Last Man On Earth
19/04 – Blue Thunder
08/05 – avengers age of ultron, five easy pieces, barefoot in the park, touch of cloth season 1
09/05 – You Can’t Take It With You
14/05 – Agents of Shield Season 2
16/05 – The Rainmaker
18/05 – Mad Men Season 7
20/05 – Shallow Hal, What We Do in Shadows
22/05 – The Fault In Our Stars, Brooklyn Nine Nine Season 2
23/05 – Witness, Berberian Sound Studio, Bobby Fischer Vs The World
25/05 – Aziz Ansari, Chelsea
26/05 – Sillivan’s Travels
30/05 – Miracle On 34th Street
31/05 – The Railway Man, They Came Together, The Double
01/06 – Daredevil Season 1
03/06 – Louie Season 4
05/06 – Chef’s Table Season 1
06/06 – Be Cool
07/06 – Big Fan
13/06 – Brothers McMullen
15/06 – Game of thrones season 5, Veep season 5
17/06 – The Ice Storm, Silicon Valley Season 2
18/06 – Snowpiercer, Chelsea Walls
21/06 – Maleficent edge of tomorrow
23/06 – Duets
26/06 – glass a portrait
27/06 – Million Dollar Arm, The Casual Vacancy season 1
28/06 – Yojimbo
29/06 – Starter For 10
30/06 – Calvary, The Great Dictator
04/07 – Chariots Of Fire
05/07 – The Other One, Bad Words
06/07 – Inside Out
10/07 – Brothers Grimm
18/07 – Super Mensch, The Skeleton Twins
19/07 – Ant Man
21/07 – Ordinary People
25/07 – Whiplash, Lost Boys
26/07 – All Is Lost, 100 Foot Journey, Under The Skin
28/07 – Flying high II
31/07 – Friday Night Lights Season 1
01/08 – House Of Yes, Bulworth, A Most Wanted Man
06/08 – If…, Irrational Man
07/08 – The Daily Show
08/08 – Gambit, The In Laws
12/08 – A Touch Of Cloth Season 3
13/08 – 7 Days In Hell
14/08 – Lost Highway
15/08 – Die Hard 4
16/08 – Awakenings
18/08 – Long Way Down
19/08 – Americas Sweetheart
21/08 – Doc Hollywood
22/08 – Thin Man, The Judge, Reds 2, TS Spivet, the Mule
26/08 – How To Train Your Dragon 2, Be Kind Rewind
27/08 – wanderlust
29/08 – Hunger Games Mockingly Part 1
30/08 – THX 1138
04/09 – Lucy
05/09 – 20000 Days On Earth, Before I Go To Sleep, Mr Robot (Season 1)
06/09 – Friday Night Lights Season 2, Delivery Man, The Immigrant,
07/09 – Hurricane Of Fun
08/09 – Show Me A Hero
10/09 – Search for General Tso
11/09 – Big Hero 6, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
12/09 – No, obvious Child, Life Itself
16/09 – Taxi, She’s The One
18/09 – Mad Dogs Season 1, Broken Flowers
20/09 – Joan Rivers Piece Of Work, The Wackness
22/09 – You Laugh But It’s True
23/09 – Today’s Special
27/09 – Friday Night Lights Season 3
06/10 – Friday Night Lights Season 4
07/10 – L’Eclisse
10/10 – Fawlty Towers Season 1
14/10 – Harvey, Mad Dogs Season 2, Wanted
16/10 – Keith Richards Under the Influence, The Switch
17/10 – Anthony Jeselnik Thoughts And Prayers
20/10 – Accidental Tourist
21/10 – Friday Night Lights Season 5
24/10 – Muppet Treasure Island
25/10 – The Little Death
30/10 – Paddington
1/11 – This Is Where I Leave You
2/11 – The Man Who Fell To Earth
3/11 – Nightcrawler
7/11 – the man who sued God
13/11 – Howard’s End, Master Of None (series 1)
14/11 – What Happened Miss Simone
15/11 – Pride, John Mulaney The Comeback Kid, The Ten
19/11 – Aziz Ansari Buried Alive
20/11 – With Bob And David
23/11 – Jessica Jones
27/11 – The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
06/12 – Rake Season 1, Mr Turner
11/12 – David And Lisa
12/12 – Monsters, Rake Season 2, Call Me Lucky
13/12 – The Imitation Game, Soul Boys Of the Western World
17/12 – Fargo Season 2, Matilda And Me
18/12 – Attack of the 50ft Woman, godfather part 3, Side By Side
20/12 – Star Wars The Force Awakens
23/12 – South Park season 19, The Client, Savages
24/12 – Rake Season 3, Mad Dogs Season 3
25/12 – The Polar Express, Foxcatcher, Doctor Who Series 9
27/12 – Renoir
28/12 – 42
30/12 – Bob And Carol And Ted And Alice

An open letter to Sydney Boys High Old Boys Union

11091222_10153161846407177_7697898537798979903_nAs SBHS Old Boys, as well as friends and family of Old Boys, we stand in outrage and disgust at the Old Boys Union’s decision to invite Scott Morrison to speak at the Spilling the Beans function, April 15th 2015. We call on the OBU to immediately rescind the invitation so as to spare the organisation, and the school itself, the embarrassment of being seen to celebrate the achievements of a man who has so flagrantly disregarded human rights.

In his capacity as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Morrison was at best complicit, and at worst the chief protagonist, in advocating offshore immigration detention policies that violate the United Nations Convention against Torture. In March 2015, the UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, found that Australia’s Regional Processing Centres violated the right of asylum seekers, including children, to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as provided by articles 1 and 16 of the Convention. We note that the Convention against Torture proscribes torture as an international crime, and calls on all signatory states to prosecute or extradite individuals who have directly perpetrated or otherwise authorised torture. The UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has also condemned Morrison’s detention policy. Further, the Australian Human Rights Commission found that policy championed by Morrison and other Ministers of Immigration have caused asylum seeker children significant mental and physical illness and developmental delays.

We are ever mindful of the need for a robust public sphere, in which free political discourse, dissent and contrasting opinions are allowed to flourish. This is not a question of restricting freedom of speech, but instead reflects the desire not to tacitly endorse the actions of a man who has demonstrated callous disregard for human rights. It is cruel and insensitive for the Union to laud this man’s connection to the school, its graduates, and their families.

We call on the Union to rescind Morrison’s invitation.

If you are an old boy and want join the petition, please email with your name and years of attendance at Sydney Boys High.

Signees (650+)

Nick Apoifis (1993-1998)
Danny Yau (1993-1994)
Ben Willing (1987-1992)
Louis Huynh (1993-1998)
Dominic Bowes (2003-2008)
Lewis d’Avigdor (2001-2006)
Osman Faruqi (2006-2007)
Miles Portek (1996-2001)
Muhilan Sriravindrarajah (1996-2001)
Deme Karikios (1993-1998)
Nic Lochner (2003-2008)
Joseph McIvor (1996-2001)
Daniel O’Keefe (2003-2008)
James Trezise (1996 – 2001)
Ashwin Thomas (2003-2008)
Ari Fester (1993-1998)
Costa Avgoustinos (1996-2001)
Slava Nossar (2001-2006)
Christopher Jahja (2001-2006)
Neal Downward (1996-2001)
Desmond Bellamy (1964-69)
Joe Blackshield (2002-2007)
Shaihan Azad (2002-2007)
Philip Tripp (2000-2005)
Craig Lundy (1994-1998)
Rafi Alam (2004-2009)
Alexander Apoifis (1995-2000)
Romesh Abeysuriya (2001-2006)
Kyle Solomon (1998-2002)
Kenny Huang (2001–2006)
Peter Yue Wang (2001-2006)
Jack Gough (2000-2005)
Benjamin Chow (2001-2006)
Alexander Vertoudakis (2002-2007)
Brynley Pfull (2003-2008)
Johan Santoso (2004-2009)
Joshua Hui (2003-2008)
James Yau (1993-1998)
James Kilburn-Watt (1996-2001)
Luke Nye (1993-1998)
Pierre Bush (1994-1998)
Eddy Blaxell (2001-2006)
David Kaldor (1997-2002)
Ben Garber (1993-1998)
Adrian Pluis (1998-2004)
Daniel Lambert (2004-2009)
Tony Zafirakos (1997-2002)
David Kelly (1966-1971)
Alex Kelly (1999-2004)
Dean Kelly (1993-1998)
Michael Tokar (1996-2001)
Joel Kamerman (2001-2006)
Avi Knoll (2002-2006)
Andrew Johnston (1992-1997)
Anthony Tuan Dao (1993-1998)
Jacob Burge (1993-1998)
Gregory Nguyen (2001-2006)
Vikram Chowdhary (1993-1998)
Zane Pearson (1995-2000)
Rory Pearson (2001-2006)
David Leon (1995-2000)
Frederick William Lee (2001-2006)
Mitchell Allen (1993-1998)
Anthony Knittel (1992-1997)
Andrew Light (1996-2001)
Martin Lunney (2001-2006)
Timothy Hunt (1996–2001)
Robert Skerman (1993-1998)
Nakul Bhagwat (2006-2011)
Phil Rigg (1998-2003)
Kim Dickson (1999-2004)
Joon Kwon (2001-06)
Sam Poulter (1994-1999)
Mack Wan (2005-2006)
Karl Grenet (1994-1999)
Geoff Ash (1972-1977)
Benjamin Wang (2003-2008)
Michael Slezak (1994-1999)
Anthony Chau (2000-2005)
Eddie Foo (1993-1998)
Samuel Faigen (1994-1999)
Andrew Hau (2006-2011)
John Wormell (2005-2010)
Jamie Croft (1994-1999)
David Harris (1999-2002)
Vincent Salomon (1995-2000)
Ziggy Harrison-Tikisci (2003-2008)
Phil Sullivan (1994-1999)
Ben Friis-O’Toole (1999-2004)
Tom Crocker (1996-2001)
Daniel Ghezelbash (1997-2002)
Mayuran Suthersan (1996-2001)
Casey Nicholson (1993-1998)
Robbie Moore (1995-2000)
Jack Clegg (1994-1999)
Alexander Reznick (1996-2001)
Rahul Dubey (1995-2000)
Thomas Diep (2006-2011)
Hal Wootten AC QC. (1935-1939)
Lachlan Brown (2004-2009)
Victor Wei (2001-2006)
Carl Warning (1994-1999)
Will Fry (1994-1999)
Benson Ou (2006-2011)
Michael Oppermann (1994-1999)
Marcus James (2008-2013)
Kevin Lin (2006-2011)
Patrick Gallego (2006-2007)
James E Menzies (2003-2008)
Daniel Smith-Light (2005-2010)
Tom Kaldor (2000-2005)
Jesse Moffat (2009-2012)
Shahar Merom (2003-2009)
Moussa Farhat (2002-2007)
Kevin Li (2006-2011)
Jack Burney (2003-2008)
Anthony Nemeth (1993-1998)
Nicholas Chew (1994-1999)
Nathan Kwok (2003-2008)
Charles Heathfield Dodgson (1972-1977)
Adam Booth (2009-2012)
Oliver Dwyer (1993-1998)
Oliver Cashman (1999-2004)
Serag Saleh (2007-2012)
Sacha Coles (1985-1990)
Isaac Eveleigh (2006-2011)
Marco Stojanovik (2008-2013)
Raphael Dascalu (1994-1998)
Jordan Rastrick (1997-2002)
Alistair Taylor (2003-2008)
James Slezak (1990-1995)
Adrien Auzou (2006-2011)
Nicholas Landreth (1995-2000)
Alex Ivanov (1994-1999)
Yoo-Chyon Lee (1985-1990)
Jacky Chen (2004-2009)
Andrew Gaffney (2006-2011)
Robert Ignjatic (1992-1997)
Francis Lin (2006-2011)
Ilya Bonch-Osmolovskiy (2006-2011)
Varan Perananthan (2003-2008)
James Lafiatis (1990-1995)
Kin Pan (2008-2013)
James Gerofi (1999-2004)
Youssef Saleh (2007-2008)
Julian Byrnes (2004-2009)
Dougall Norris (2006-2007)
Sam Marques (2007-2012)
Edwin Fernandes (1995-2000)
Andrew Bennie (1992-1997)
Chris Maltby (1968-1973)
James Elphick (1993-1998)
Ben Chesterman (1985-1990)
Andrew Lim (2003-2008)
Keegan Au (1995-2000)
Sheikh Siddiqui (2006-2011)
Robert Chen (2003-2008)
Dustin Bookatz (1996-2001)
Owen Duffy (2008-2013)
Vincent Tsui (2003-2008)
Alexander Wong (1999-2004)
David Sygall (1985-1990)
Nye Rozea (1995-2000)
Krishan Sivayogarayan (2006-2011)
Joshua Freiman (2002-2007)
Gary Lord (1976-1982)
Daniel Keogh (2008-2013)
Atif Syed (2000-2005)
Simon Tracey (1985-1990)
Terence Zhou (2008-2013)
Daniel Chen (2006-2011)
Mischa Steen (2000-2005)
Ted Popper (1973-1974)
Tasneem Choudhury (2004-2009)
John Luu (2002-2007)
Nishan Abeysuriya (2004-2009)
Benjamin Holzman (1996-2001)
Charley Liu (2004-2009)
Michael Glass (1993-1998)
Chris Evans (2004-2009)
Iliya Boulos (2001-2006)
Malik Razeen (2001-2006)
David Lumsdaine (1945-1949)
Peter Fagan (1996-2002)
Thariq Razeen (2001-2006)
Edwin Montoya Zorrilla (2003-2008)
Daniel Liu (1999-2004)
Gil Morris (teacher 1971-1980)
Sameer Al-Ameen (2002-2007)
Neerav Bhatt (1994-1999)
Stephen Conry (1977-1982)
Paul Pang (2005-2006)
Ritam Mitra (2004-2009)
Glenn Fraser (1980-1985)
Justin van Stom (1978-1981)
Lachlan Burnham (1985-1990)
Mark Matillano (1995-2000)
Chong Shao (2001-2006)
Lachlan Spark (1992-1997)
Rodrigo Manahan (2007-2012)
Bishoy Eskander (1999-2004)
Jonathan Alexander (1995-2000)
Alon Ilsar (1994-1999)
Michael Fischer (1965-70)
Shaun Walsh (1992-1997)
Peter Bazzana (1968-1973)
Sahir Syed (2001-2006)
Demitri Voulgaropoulos (1985-1990)
Cambridge Wong (2002-2007)
Nathan Guerry (1997-2002)
Ben Pearson (1981-86)
Nicholas Procopiadis (1977-1982)
Leo Byron (1997-2001)
Daniel Conway (1983-1986)
Andreas Purcal (2007-2012)
Ivan Marinkovic 1994-1999
Jim Koukouras (2007 – 2012)
Michail Schwarz (2009-2012)
Jed Coppa (2004-2008)
Patrick Locke (2003-2008)
Matt Mulroney (1997-2003)
Matthew Reid (1970-1975)
Sean Chen (1999-2004)
Phu Tang (1998-1999)
Joshua Scharfegger (2000-2005)
David Yang (2000-2005)
Aaron Shuttleworth (2002-2007)
Barry Kelly (1964-1969)
Godwin Wang (2002-2007)
Suk Hee Lee (1995-2000)
Ravi Amirthalingam (1998-2003)
Hunter Millar (1995-2000)
Michael Prior (2005-2007)
Gordon Wong (1993-1998)
David Grenet (1998-2003)
Kelvin Wong (2002-2007)
John Seroukas (2011-2014)
John Pilger (1952-1957)
Geoff Hodgkinson (1987-1992)
Nick Hannan (2005-2006)
Soon Nyean Chin (1993-1998)
John Buencamino (1993-1998)
Thomas Wai-Chun Lung (1999-2004)
Robbie Girdler (1999-2004)
Matthew Osinski (2004-2009)
Fred Kimel (1993-1998)
Jae Jung (1993-1998)
Blake Druery (1993-1998)
Paul Watzlaff (2000-2005)
Viv Paul (1997-2002)
James Vu (2005-2010)
Ben Glass (1999-2004)
Russell Ward (1983-1988)
John Hodgkinson (1958-1962)
Adnan Husaini (2002-2007)
Gabriel Knowles (1995-2001)
Conor Hannan (1998-2003)
Rupert Hoang (1995-2000)
Michael Coutts (2002-2007)
Sabeeh Hussain (2002-2007)
Ron Goldstein (1998-2004)
Phil Sloggett (1998-2003)
David Lucas (1972-1977)
Sacha Molitorisz (1981-1986)
Graeme Coss (1969-1974)
Maximus Jones (2007-2012)
Oliver Heath (1992-1995)
Anthony Xu (2006-2011)
Adam Bedford (1997-2002)
Harry Oppermann (1959-1963)
Patrick Dodgson (1964-1969)
Joshua Meyer (1993-1998)
Damian James (1983-1987)
Raiyan Khan (2007-2010)
Geoff Meers (1972-1977)
Lok So (1981-1982)
Sam Anderson (1997-2002)
Robert Simons (1990-1995)
Vincent Nguyen (2001-2006)
Ken Shao (2006-2011)
Aaron Chong (2001-2006)
David Ma (2005-2010)
Blake Angell (2001-06)
Robert Wills (1958-1962)
Alexander Pereira (2010-2013)
Arthur Manolias (1984-1989)
Stuart Cranston (1977-1981)
Monaj Bari (2000-2005)
David Farrington (1996-2001)
Arghya Gupta (2001-06)
Benjamin Agnew (1990-1995)
Justin Garber (1997-2002)
Karl Mayerhofer (1990-1995)
Justin Walls (1981-1986)
Tom Clark (1989-1990)
Harrison Reid (2003-2008)
Jason Motbey (1985-1987)
John Kampfner (1957-1962)
Alice Ferguson (1995-2000)
Paul Wong (2000-2005)
Dave Aitchison (1972-1977)
Sean Martin (2008-2011)
Masnun Kayes (2004-2009)
Robert Lu (2005-2010)
David Hills (1967-1972)
Nick Seow (1994-1999)
Suman Prusty (2007-2012)
Michael Zhang (2005-2010)
James Salter (1995-2000)
Mike Roache (1986-1991)
Rick Sinclair (1958- 1962)
Eric Chan (1993-1998)
Andric Leong (2001-2006)
William Xu (1996-1998)
Ujin Lee (1983-1988)
Adrian Kuti (1996-2001)
William Silk (1957-1962)
Marc Bennie (1992-1997)
Patrick Tooth (1974-1979)
Quoc-Hai Luu (1997-2001)
Matthew Chun-Hin So (2006-2011)
Aleksandr Yap (1986-1991)
Sebastian Oliveiro (1983-1988)
Stefan Couani (1965-70)
David Symonds (1987-1992)
Benjamin Howell (1988-1992)
Stan McDonald (1952–1955)
Henry Chapple-Cox (1996-2001)
Ben Golder (1992-1997)
Gary Stein (1975-1980)
Alex Gibbeson (1995-2000)
Simon Lee (2004-2009)
Arun Krishnan (2004-2009)
Tahmid Shahriyar (2006-2011)
James Claringbold (1958-1963)
Blake Williamson (1984-1989)
Justin Fox (1987-1992)
Leo Gordon (2005-2010)
Stephen Hansen (1964-1965)
Michael Martin (1995-2000)
Stephen Hunt (1994-1998)
Alex Whyte (1998-2003)
Robert Klein (1975-1980)
Brendan Gallagher (1995-2000)
Ram Varanasi (1994-1999)
Mark Francis (1978-1981)
Kerani Wright (1978-1983)
Edd Pearson (teacher, 2000-2009)
Paul Kim (1997-2002)
Max Koslowski (2011-present)
Dat Huynh (1999-2004)
Ishmam Bari (2006-2011)
Varun Sethi (2006-2011)
Jeffrey Klein (1972-1978)
Victor Nguyen (2002-2007)
Tony Elliott (1987-1992)
Bryant Apolonio (2004-2009)
Rex Chan (1993-1998)
James Russell (1987-1992)
Sameep Sandhu (2005-2010)
Oscar McLaren (1995-2000)
Ian Heads (1955-1960)
Nathan Frazi (2000-2005)
Jacob Stretton (2000-2005)
Michael Hughes (2009-2014)
Lalitha Katupitiya (2007-2012)
Ryan Dewan (2008-2013)
Joshua Tassell (2004-2010)
Sean Garber (1992-1997)
Mark Samarasinghe (2001-2006)
Calum York (2008-2013)
Edward Hibbert (2001-2006)
Andrew Whiley (1977-1979)
Brendan Leo (2006-2011)
Albert Nguyen (2006-2011)
Declan McCrea-Steele (2005-2010)
Adrian Bancilhon (1993-1996)
Abeer Khan (2007-2012)
Mike Harris (1997-1998)
David Chan (2006-2011)
Vineet Singh (2006-2011)
Simon Ho (1993-1998)
Ian Walsh (1961-1965)
Michael Chen (2002-2007)
Alexey Feigin (1999-2002)
Rik Jurcevic (1975-1979)
Peter Huang (2000-2005)
Will Randles (2007-2012)
Tim Molloy (2004-2007)
Karl Petersson (1998-1999)
Kyrn Stevens (1974-1979)
John Macleod (1993-1998)
Thandiwe Philips (1999-2004)
Gareth D’Souza (1990-1995)
Isnad Zaman (2006-2011)
Kanchan Bandyopadhyay (1991-1992)
Terry O’Brien (1961-1967)
Ajay Balachandran (2003-2008)
Aditya Naik (2002-2007)
David Smith (1993-1998)
Nicholas Daunt Watney (1993-1997)
Tony Maynard (1974-1979)
Eugene Schofield-Georgeson (1995-2000)
Jeremy Glass (1965-1970)
Jonathan Berengut (1992-1997)
Shanaz Razeen (2006-2011)
Gavin Angus-Leppan (1976-1981)
Alan Quinlan (1961-1965)
Riley Mansfield (1998-2001)
Tom Ryan (1992-1997)
Hugo Cottier (1982-1987)
Ben Wood (1991-1996)
Bipro Das (1987-1992)
Lloyd Weir (1982 – 1987)
Lloyd Perris (2009-2012)
Denis Stojanovic (2004-2009)
Ruark Lewis (1977-1978)
Sam Christie (1985-1987)
Andrew Stone (1999-2004)
Alvin Lung (1995-2000)
Paul Stein (1953-1956)
Richard Windsor (1952-1956)
Josh Itzkowic (1993-1998)
Martyn Green (1959-1963)
Kim Ryan (1975-1980)
Gethin Lynes (1989-1994)
Peter Slezak (1959-1963)
Gary Lee (1990-1995)
Andrew Aitchison (1977-1982)
Chris Parry (1982-1987)
Paul Crisford (1988-1993)
Paul Pearce (1968-1973)
Greg Sullivan (1977-1982)
Clayton Talbot (1990-1995)
Shay Deguara (1988-1993)
Benjaming Ng (1990-1995)
Chris Caley (1990-1995)
Peter Alsop (1985-1987)
Kevin Phan (2006-2011)
Peter Godfrey (1999-2004)
Jeff Johnson (1988-1993)
William Cate (1989-1994)
Adam Mckenzie (1999-2004)
Jason Phu (2002-2007)
Florian Honeyball (1995-2000)
Daniel Chiu (2003-2008)
Samuel Bray (1987-1994)
Jo Stewart (1976-1981)
Vitaliy Tsitalovskiy (2002-2007)
Sebastian Czernuszyn (1990-1995)
Steven Harris (1989-1994)
Randal Lawrence (1964-1969)
Biba Honnet (1990-1995)
Peter Stone (1968-1973)
David Ghezelbash (2009-2012)
Christopher Budd (2001-2006)
Albion Harrison-Naish (1990-1995)
John Prior (1972-1977)
Geoffrey Waugh (1961)
Daniel Thomson (1990-1995)
Brad Kim (1990-1995)
Clinton Garofano (1975-1980)
Matthew Cumming (1974-1979)
Jack Wachsmann (2004-2009)
Milton Baar (1969-1974)
Warren Bernhard Logge (1999-2004)
Keith O’Brien (1967-1969)
Siddharth Sethi (2008-2012)
Richard Buckdale (1958-1959)
Philip Thalis (1972-1977)
John Dempsey (1963-1969)
Bill Russo (1964-1969)
Marcus De Giorgio (1990-1995)

SGHS Old Girls
Louisa Fitz-Gerald (1997-1999)
Rebecca Reay-Young (1988)
Bryony Gerofi (2001-2006)
Skye Rose (1993-1998)
Laurajane Smith (1978-1979)
Miranda Smith (2004-2009)
Sarah Nam (1999-2004)
Lindsay Clement-Meehan (1996-2001)
Simone Krauss (2000-2001)
Melanie Ciddor (2000-2005)
Michelle Simon (1993-1998)
Arabella Lee (1982-1987)
Suzanne Dixon (1959-1963)
Jemma Hollonds (2000-2002)
Kristie Karikios (1996-2001)
Debbie Irwin (teacher, 1997-2002)
Chris McAlister (1995-2000)
Joanne Hogan (1997-2002)
Lara Goodridge (1984-1988)
Renee Boucher (1995-2000)
Shannon Longhurst (2002-2007)
Peta Longhurst (2000-2005)
Aishah Moore (1997-2002)
Holly Lam (1995 – 2000)
Samara Harris (1988-1991)
Ivana Kovac Kuti (1999-2002)
Noni Edwards (1988-1993)
Grace Leung (1995-2000)
Fiona Liang (1997-2002)
Claire Disney (1998-2003)
Jen Allison (1994-1999)
Karen Allison (1996-2001)
Bachmai Ledinh (1991-1996)
Rebecca Bowman (1988-1991)
Theodora Bowering (1993-1998)
Fifi Luong-Ward (1988-1991)
Emma Torzillo (1999-2003)
Julia Plumb (2000-2005)
Hilary Taylor (1988-1993)
Ruby Lew (2008-2013)
Lily Isabella Olsson (2008-2013)
Tracey He (2008-2013)
Elysha Clark Whitney (2008-2013)
Jessica Glass (1991-1993)
Alex Gibbeson (1995-2000)
Kelly Jeng (2000-2005)
Justine Davis (1978-1983)
Michaela Kalowski (1988-1993)
Imogene Tudor (1995-2000)
Laura Joseph (1996-2001)
Dara Read (1993-1998)
Janet Salem (1993-1998)
Charlotte Bazin (1995-2000)
Tabitha Laffernis (2001-2006)
Monica Dong-Chang (2008 – 2013)
Poppy Burnett (2002-2007)
Julia Dray (2000-2005)
Edwina Paul (2005-2007)
Katarina Bowes (2000-2003)
Heidi Tai (2001-2006)
Shivaun Conn (1993-1998)
Christine Pearson (1963-1968)
Deborah Linker (1983-1988)
Jacqueline Purcell (1996-1988)
Gelina Montierro (2001-2006)
Rosa Nolan (2003-2008)
Nina Ubaldi (2003-2008)
November Gray (1984-1989)
Katie Hepworth (1990-1996)
Elaine Lin (2001-2006)
Helen Rydstrand (2003-2004)
Kirsty Deane (1994-1999)
Navila Rahman (2007-2012)
Harriet Hope Streeter (2004-2009)
Rose Tracey (1988-1993)
Fiona Lau (1991-1996)
Laura Schmertmann (2001-2006)
Skye O’Neill (1988-1993)
Nanette Pakula (1978-1983)
Poomitta Parker Sivachandran (2003-2008)
Natalia Sen Gupta (1993-1998)
Kate Barker (1988-1993)
Bridget Martin (2001-2006)
Sophia Zou (2008-2013)
Samantha Freiman (2001-2006)
Katrina Lee (1994-1999)
Melody Willis (1998–1993)
Helena Du (2008-2013)
Alice Wu (1995-2000)
Rebecca Elwing (1983-1985)
Anthea Charalambous (1997-2002)
Cindy Lee (1993-1998)
Serena Yu (1993-1998)
Nadine Cohen (1994-1999)
Ellen Buissink (1993-1998)
Alison de Vos (1995-2000)
Alyssa Trotter (1999-2004)
Zoe Roberts (1996-2001)
Jaimie Ho (2001-2006)
Anh Tran-Nam (1999-2004)
Sally Cantelo (1989-1994)
Parima Vyas (2003-2008)
Parris Kent (1985-1989)
Beth Powditch (1984-1989)
Alena Turley (1984-1989)
Natalie O’Brien (2004-2005)
Lisa Shillan (1994-1999)
Ratna Pillai (2002-2007)
Helen MacLeod (1999-2004)
Stephanie Duong (1999-2004)
Tammi Vuong (2001-2006)
Samanta Lestavel (2005-2010)
Sarah Cottier (1976-1981)
Alexi Warn (1988-1993)
Margaret Franke (1981-1986)
Stephanie Paton (2003-2004)
Renee Wirth (1991-1996)
Naomi Hart (1991-1996)
Wenny Theresia (1997-2002)
Nancy Lovato (1991-1993)
Jesse Adams Stein (1996-2001)
Arana Parslow (1993-1998)
Danielle Gleeson (1991-1996)
Amelia Walter (1997-2002)
Alexandra Hill (1981-1986)
Lotte St Clair (1990-1995)
Maeve Marsden (1996-2001)
Elizabeth Wright (1956-1960)
Tamara Angus (1983-1988)
Emma Rennie (1978-1981)
Lucia Elliott (1977-1981)
Kaaren Peterson (1975-1978)
Ella O’Keefe (1998-2003)
Rosanna Asplet (1996-2001)
Xanthe Heubel (1993-1998)
Courtney Jacques (1998-2003)
Vanessa Sim (1998-2003)
Penelope Glass (1969-1974)
Shay Deguara (1988-1993)
Esther Lee (2001-2006)
Harriet Johnson (2001-2003)
Analiese Cairis (1976-1981)
Prue Bentley (1993-1998)
Lisa McIntyre (1996-2001)
Elena Garcia (1976-1981)
Beth Hill (1998-2003)
Alma Mistry (1998-2003)
Angela Bennetts (1994-1999)
Roslyn Ruth Blake (1961-1965)
Christina Ong (1996-2001)
Naomi Lee (1976-1981)
Tahlia Birnbaum (1998-2003)
Zoe Crane (1990-1995)
Carla La Cioppa (1998-2003)
Mary Farquharson (1955-1959)
Juliette Bates (2000-2001)
Belinda Heygate (1989-1994)
Sarah Tooth (1976-1981)
Melissa Mason (1998-2003)
Susan Shehadie (1982-1987)
Sigrid Langker (1984- 1987)
Cheryl Jones (1975–1980)
Joanne Charley (1976-1981)
Lisa Salas (1989-1994)
Leisha Deguara (1993-1995)
Jessica Jin (2007-2012)
Eleanor Bath (2001-2006)
Emily Weight (1989-1994)
Rebecca Lea Weekes-Randall (1995-2000)
Diane Sivasubramaniam (1991-1996)
Venus Yip (2001-2006)
Melissa Holmes (1980-1982)
Dinalie Dabarera (2000-2005)
Amy Persson (1995-1998)
Natalie Reilly (1989-1994)

Mojo Reviews Challenge #011 – The Wonder Stuff – If The Beatles Had Read Hunter…The Singles

Where I dig into something I’ve not heard before, from the reviews section of old Mojo Magazines, on an irregular basis.

CS1813972-02A-BIGThe Wonder Stuff
If The Beatles Had Read Hunter…The Singles
1994 – Polydor

I would count Brit Pop as my big light bulb moment of music. I loved chart pop and a little bit of grunge, but the war between Blur and Oasis – and the rush of bands that included Ash, Supergrass, Pulp and more – was the first music that was mine.

Which is unfair to Brit Pop because It was already on its second or third wace by 1994/1995. The few years before that are still largely a mystery to me, although I’ve heard of a lot of those bands. Take the Wonder Stuff, who had several chart hits and four albums (3 of them bothered the top 10) and had broken up and released a greatest hits before ‘Common People’ was even recorded.

My knowledge of the Wonder Stuff can be summed up thus;
– ‘Dizzy’, the friggin’ awesome single they did with Vic Reeves in 1991
– ‘Size Of A Cow’ and ‘Unbearable’ on various compilations
– The singer has long, curly hair

The kind of perfect amount of knowledge to bring in a Greatest Hits, then.

The title comes from a review of the band, (the Hunter being Hunter S Thompson) and it is a very generous assessment. They don’t have the clean lines of the Beatles, but they do have a lot of thrash-it-out energy, which is the most exciting part of this compilation.

There seems to be no order with this set, and I hate Greatest Hits collections that do this. Why? Why not just go chronological? Tell me a story. I don’t know your songs, and putting it in some biggest-hit-to-obscure-songs order helps me nothing. It is a bit of a jumpy listen straight through – production values and instrumentation (the violin in particular) come and go.

There’s a lot of catchy, fun stuff here, regardless. The songs I knew still shine. ‘Welcome To the Cheap Seats’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down Gently’, ‘Caught In My Shadow’, ‘A Wish Away’ – all lovely little pop confections. But there is filler too – a very British thing to have so many singles over a short career. The quieter stuff, the country-ish stuff, are nice but unremarkable.

(Here’s Welcome To the Cheap Seats, album in a longbox and Paul Schaffer on keys and everything)

Unremarkable also, because of history. Maybe it is my age bias, but the aforementioned Blur and Pulp would sweep in and add this level to artistry that would bury this band and other similar bands. I don’t know about the Thompson comparison – I don’t know if the lyrical ambitions are that literary. Maybe these were cool lyrics in 1994, but by 1996 they were pop fluff.

At some point, I’ll probably start deleting some tracks off the iPod and be left with like 10 absolute solid thumpers. I don’t know if anyone talks about these guys anymore, and history is written by the victors. They missed to Brit-Pop movement going mainstream and international, although they have reformed and put out new albums. They also look dated. They had some great songs, but they just didn’t have it.

One last note – ‘Dizzy’ is still an amazing track. One of the very best.