Time moves quickly! It’s wild to think that this week back in 2018, locals Hockey Dad released their second album 'Blend Inn'. We released the album via Farmer & The Owl and it was a huge week surrounding it with a run of in stores including a super packed one right here at Music Farmers. I was driving the band around to some of the best record stores in the country such as Oh Jean in Melbourne, Sonic Sherpa in Brisbane and Redeye in Sydney to huge crowds who turned out for the events. I remember driving back up the Hume on the Friday following release week waiting for a call about where the album had charted. I’d just got back to my place in Wollongong when our then distribution manager Justin Cosby(RIP) called to let us know it had landed at number six. It was the first local band to have an ARIA top ten album since Tumbleweed in the nineties and really laid a platform for a lot of other local bands to follow. With more news about new music from the band just around the corner, grab 'Blend Inn' from your collection (or drop by the shop to get yourself a copy if you haven’t yet!) and give it a spin on the turntable.
Hockey Dad fans waiting to get into Redeye back in 2018, taking over the city!
This last week the world lost one of the best rock guitarists that has ever existed in Wayne Kramer. With his band the MC5 they would become one of the most important and influential bands in the history of rock and punk music. Despite living a complicated life that took him away from music for periods in his life, he was always a strong activist and an advocate for the underdog. Make sure you put an MC5 (and/or one of his solo records) on the turntable this week. Vale Brother Wayne.
Like every year, at the end of 2023 I posted my favourite albums of the year and as always there are a few that could easily have made my top five list but just missed the cut so I thought I’d highlight some of them in the coming weeks in this column. Kicking off today with ‘Find Me A Cloud’ by Melbourne band The Grogans. It would be pretty easy to lump them into the whole surf rock sort of thing, but it would be lazy to do so as this record is so much more than that. It's a huge progression in songwriting from their earlier releases and draws a wide range of influences that I feel will be appealing to fans across generations. The album has moments of seventies Australian rock that could site on the When Sharpies Ruled or Boogie compilations and then there are other moments that recall the late 90’s Scandinavian rock explosion that featured bands such as The Hives and The Hellacopters. There are other parts where they get into a cosmic country sort of area while there is also a strong brit pop influence that re appears at moments across the records. We have a few copies of the vinyl in stock now so make sure you grab a copy if this sounds like your thing.
I’ve been giving my playlists a bit of an overhaul as I’d made a lot in the lockdowns but hadn’t done much since aside from my new release playlist. Under the Hits From The Gong banner I’ve continued on the current local music playlist that features twenty of the best new local tunes (covering Helensburgh in the north to Gerringong in the south) which is updated weekly. Expanding on this local playlist I have also kicked off a Before 2000 and Beyond 2000 list covering the same geographic area. The Before 2000 list highlights how much local music from last century is missing from streaming so I hope to help rectify that to some degree in the coming months. The beyond 2000 playlists covers some of the best songs from the area up until the end of last year. With all these playlists I limit it one track per band. Hit the links below to have a listen.
As well as the above local playlists I have also activated some genre specific playlists under the Before Somewhere banner. The first couple I have put up are both dedicated to some old but very different scenes from Australia and New Zealand. Antipodean Disco, Funk & Soul 1970 – 1980 is a deep dive into an era of mainly obscure artists from the era, a lot of these records are very hard to come by but make sure you check our rarities crate in the shop as they do pop up from time to time. Likewise from the very hard to come by vinyl vault is the other playlist Antipodean Riff Rock, Proto Metal & Heavy Psych 1965 – 1975. A collection of songs that captures a pioneering era down under of heavy riffs, fuzzy guitars, psychedelic sounds and raw energy. With both, there are some absolutely killer tracks that should be here but aren’t available on streaming. But I think these are solid listening for what is available. The third one is a bit more recent but comes from an Australian scene that produced world class sounds. Australian Shoegaze, Slowcore, Jangle & Dream Pop 1990 - 2000 highlights some bands that had a degree of success, leaving a legacy that has been widespread and longlasting.