My Top Ten Records, as listed in the December issue of Rhythms Magazine, December 2012.
10. Chris Russell's Chicken Walk - Self-titled
This one is a cracker... guitarist Chris Russell along with drummer Dean Muller (Hoss, Cosmic Psychos) playing low-down, dirty juke joint blues. Getting some good press too, will no doubt be hailed as the Oz answer to the Black Keys, circa The Big Come Up.
9. The Cactus Channel - Haptics
One of the 'new' funk and soul bands coming out of Melbourne at the moment, a bunch of school kids listening, and playing, the right stuff. Instrumental, very much in the vein of the Brooklyn-based Budos Band, out of Daptone Records.
8. Chris Robinson Brotherhood - The Magic Door
The second CRB record to be released in 2012, and the rest of the session which garnered Big Moon Ritual. Warm, old-school '70s country/rock sounds, a little closer to '60s psych than its predecessor, but excellent none the less.
7. Eric Bibb - Deeper In The Well
Yet another instant classic from this awesome purveyor of folk/blues. There's never been an album of his I've not liked, and this one is no exception. Recorded in sweaty Louisiana, heavy on the banjo and fiddle, a foot-tapper for sure.
6. Hat Fitz & Cara - Wiley Ways
The second full-length release from this husband and wife duo, it's heavy on the scuzz and grind, very old blues sounds with more than a little lashing of Celtic influence. Cara Robinson's voice, particularly on opener 'Power', is incendiary. Ones to watch, no doubt.
5. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Meat & Bone
One of my favourite bands of all time, and their first original studio recording since 2004's Damage. And this one is a winner - harks back to the mid-'90s when the band were really rocking and rolling, as dirty and ragged as ever, a return to form. Not that they ever left it.
4. Money For Rope - Self-titled
Saw these guys at BigSound in September and they blew me away. Got the record not long afterward, and was blown away again. Doors for a new generation, tight and loose at the same time, an epic sound, an epic record - these guys are my new local favourite.
3. The Sheepdogs - Self-titled
Not heard of these cats before this one arrived, despite the fact it's their fourth LP. Out of Canada with an Australian frontman, these guys are in the vein of CRB in that they're bringing these old country/rock sounds straight from the '70s, into the now. They're pretty scruffy around the edges, and that's a damn fine thing - drunken sing-a-long material.
2. Mia Dyson - The Moment
Been waiting for this one for four long years, and the results are spectacular. Not much like her first two records, but the evolution (which is marked) is perfect, Dyson wearing her heart on her sleeve, lyrically, and just blowing everyone away vocally and on guitar. This is a stellar record from a stellar performer - mind-blowing stuff.
1. Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Big Moon Ritual
The words needed to describe this record have not been invented yet, which makes me wonder how I ended up reviewing it. Those warm, thick sounds of old - straight from 1975 - are just fantastic, there's not enough of this to go around these days, so these guys are a god-send. Long, jangling tracks, jams and cuts and burns, it's epic, absolutely epic. Not only the best record of 2012, but one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.
Samuel J. Fell - Assistant Editor, Rhythms Magazine, 2012.