here to go back to the Howzat! archive
2012: WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?
Gotye conquered the world. At home, it was all about The
Voice, until that "reality" show finished and The X Factor
came along. Cold Chisel returned with their first album
in 14 years. Paul Kelly finally got to sing at the Grand
Final, but you might not have known if you were watching
Channel Seven. Commercial radio continued to be more about
scandals than songs. So many great records were released.
Too many great people died. Yep, it was the best of times,
it was the worst of times.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. Not that
he isn't dealing with a serious medical condition - though
you wouldn't know it listening to his latest album, Dirty,
Dirty. Never has a record screamed "I'm still alive!" as
emphatically or as triumphantly. This is glorious garage
rock. He's alive and he's kicking. Jim Keays is Howzat!'s
Artist Of The Year.
GIG OF THE YEAR
It was a festival of festivals. Everywhere you looked, a
new festival was springing up. But the best gigs still happen
in dark rooms on sticky carpets. And Howzat!'s Gig Of The
Year again happened at the Northcote Social Club, this time
on a Sunday afternoon. During 2012, Australian Guitar magazine
listed the 50 greatest Australian guitarists. Inexplicably,
they failed to feature Davey Lane. At the Northcote gig,
Davey launched into a breathtaking solo that transported
Howzat! to another place. "Is it just me, or is this something
remarkable?" we thought, as Davey wailed away, making his
guitar sing. It wasn't just me - the packed crowd broke
into spontaneous applause when the solo concluded. Davey's
solo, during Accustomed To The Dark, was unforgettable,
as was the entire gig. At one point, Charles Jenkins remarked,
"You're a great crowd - I can hear the air conditioning!"
Charles Jenkins and The Zhivagos is Howzat!'s Gig Of The
LABEL OF THE YEAR
As someone remarked to Howzat! recently, it's never been
easier to make a record, it's never be harder to sell one.
Now, more than ever, little labels and passionate people
are the lifeblood of the music industry. In 2012, Guy Blackman's
Chapter Music turned 20. John Needham's Citadel turned 30.
And Mushroom Records was 40. Howzat! wrote the liner notes
for Aches and Shakes, a new compilation celebrating 10 years
of Popboomerang Records. As Sydney Morning Herald critic
Bernard Zuel said, Popboomerang is "a brand you can trust".
In the liner notes, we recounted a conversation with a friend,
who was impressed when she met label boss Scotty "Pop" Thurling
at a gig. Later, she asked: "How many people does Scott
have working for him?" "None," I replied. He's the ultimate
one-man band, a music obsessive who puts his money where
his mouth is. Long may Scotty Pop, and others like him,
continue to believe. Popboomerang is Howzat!'s Label Of
"You crave the future," Dan Lethbridge sang on Oh Hawke,
one of Howzat!'s favourite 2012 albums, "a future filled
with things of the past, 'cause those things last." Nick
Barker and the Reptiles were back in 2012, with a blistering
new single. Weddings Parties Anything re-formed to be inducted
into the EG Hall of Fame and then broke up again. Sunnyboys
were back for Meredith. Cold Chisel did another tour. The
Seekers launched another comeback, to celebrate their 50th
birthday. Icehouse were back on the road. Pseudo Echo turned
30. And not one, but two new versions of The Angels emerged.
READ ABOUT IT
Not a lot of local music books were released in 2012. The
highlight was John Bois' The Dingoes' Lament, documenting
their ill-fated American assault in the '70s. Elegiac and
enlightening, it's a great read. Shannon Noll told his story
in So Far … And Howzat! did a book with a mate, Luke Wallis,
on the Australian record producer Mark Opitz. Sophisto-punk
tells the story of Mark's life and the albums he's made
with The Angels, Cold Chisel, INXS, Divinyls, Models, Richard
Clapton, The Reels, Australian Crawl, Hoodoo Gurus, Jimmy
Barnes and Roxus. Hey ARIA, why isn't Mark (and other Australian
record producers) in the Hall of Fame?
ROCK IN PEACE
It was a tragic year. The Australian music industry is mourning
the passing of legends and friends. We said goodbye to Jimmy
Little, Robin Gibb, Men At Work's Greg Ham, Zoot's Darryl
Cotton, Sherbet's Clive Shakespeare, Valentines singer and
Divinyls manager Vince Lovegrove, The Sports' Jimmy Niven,
The Pelaco Brothers' Peter Lillie, The Purple Hearts' Mick
Hadley, Peter Jones (Crowded House, Harem Scarem, Deadstar),
Edith Bliss, and Australia's "father of jazz", Graeme Bell.
The RRR community was rocked by the death of announcer Genny
B, and cancer also claimed the life of rock writer Andrew
McMillan and the courageous Kate Bentley, who was a friend
to so many people in the music industry. And Howzat!'s good
buddy Zoran Romic from Chocolate Starfish died of cancer
just as the band planned to return to the road. He is much
missed. Also in 2012, we said goodbye to the East Brunswick
Club, Pony and the Phoenix Public House; Jet and Little
Red called it quits, The Wiggles were re-jigged, and INXS
claimed they'd played their final show. Thanks for reading
Howzat! See you in 2013.
here to go back to the Howzat! archive