Cooper Bowman (Flat Fix, Altered States Tapes)
After seeing them numerous times in the US and at All Tomorrow’s Parties, I can confirm that Total Control are the best live band Australia has to offer. The long-awaited LP by Melbourne anti-punks The Zingers should be noted as the best record of the year. No competition there. Tax released the best 7” of the year, a bleak and heaving punk record which I still don’t own. The third Exiles From Clowntown 7” was another perfectly executed foray into minimal technique slop-rock. East Link also released two great 7”s of noise-fucked rock culled from a tape released last year.
As far as the more fried fringes go, I would say that the LP reissue of Half High’s debut tape is the most essential experimental release of the year. Also of note is LA County Morgue’s That Maggots SHD cassette on Mazurka Editions, one of the more recent Newcastle projects to emerge from a noise scene which should demand your attention if you enjoy the furthest possibilities of sound.
The best international act to grace Australia was Ren Schofield’s solo techno project, Container. Of the three times I was fortunate enough to catch him, Melbourne was the best. Matthew Brown played what was probably the best set I saw all year beforehand, an extended cut of his unique take on Detroit techno rotes that had everyone moving, a pleasant sight.
Distort is still the best thing you can do with your eyes.
I missed numerous shows I should’ve gone to and have stopped sinking all my money into buying records, so there are probably a bunch of sick bands that I don’t know anything about. I guess that’ll keep next year interesting.