Peter Black Talks About His Top Ten Favourite Artists

Much loved Sydney pop-punk guitarist Peter Black presents the fourth single to be taken from forthcoming two solo albums. A fabulous bitter-sweet, meta-conscious, self-deprecating pop tune, CryAloneDotCom once again reveals Blackie’s love of POP – something that of course has always been a thread of what the Hard-Ons have been doing since the ’80s. From the killer opening lines “When I said I didn’t shed any tears, I wasn’t entirely honest with you” to its soaring chorus (that’s Lauren Friedman aka the Imperial Priestess of the Neptune Power Federation helping out there), CryAloneDotCom is the great Australian post-modern pop song of 2020!

CryAloneDotCom follows the quirky and ominous Procedures Must Be Met, which followed the powerpopping Safety Net – legendary Los Angeles DJ Rodney Bingenheimer has spun that one his radio show ‘Rodney on the Rock’ on Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio station on the Sirius network in the US – and “Is That A Hint of a Cough” which showed off Peter’s incredible vocal arrangements and harmonies.

Blackie is has released his sixth and seventh solo albums, IF THIS IS THE HAND THAT I’M DEALT and I’M GONNA CHEAT AS MUCH AS I CAN. They’re a perfect pair; one acoustic based, one electric. Both full of great tunes. Both were again recorded with Jay Whalley of the Frenzals and Neptune Power Federation, who also contributes some keyboards and vocals to both albums. Jay’s partner in Neptune Power Federation, Lauren Friedman, contributes some vocals to both as well, and other musical pals like Heather Shannon from the Jezebels, fellow Hard-On Ray Ahn and former Nunchukka Superfly drummer Joel Ellis (Peter’s regular drummer) also help out. The acoustic one utilises strings and really highlights some outrageous vocal arrangements and harmonies – Blackie perhaps thinks he’s all three Wilson brothers and their cousin all in one – and the electric one, while a bit louder, is similarly textured and just as pretty.

Blackie takes Hi Fi Way through his ten favourite artists…

  1. Paul McCartney – This guy is incredible.. his power of melody is stupendous.. and still going strong .. digging his new albums! I love how he just loves making music and doesn’t give a fuck , has tried his hand in a lot of different styles and manages to pull it off. Check out this track… powerful! Huge soaring melodies and almost prog in its arrangement yet doesn’t sound it as it fits together so well its deceptive how complex this is.

2. Brian Wilson – Another titan of melody, bloody hell is this track the best pop song of all time?? And it’s worth hunting down the demo version of Surf’s Up, just him and a piano. Wow x a million. I read how he can do six part vocal harmonies, bloody hell, I know he listened to a lot of doo wop and took it further. It’s pretty obvious I’m trying my best to get close and once I got to four! Gave me a frigging stitch though 🙂

3. Cheap Trick – Reason I want to point this track out is I LOVE power pop, all of it! Is CT my fave?? not even close but I had a epiphany with this track that I wanna share. Coming from a “punk rock” back ground pop was kind of frowned upon which is weird as, pop is fucking magic, ‘you can’t deny the power of hearing a pop track on a radio that hits, feels like fireworks going off in your head. Anyway getting back to this track , on a school excursion a cassette player was brought and Dream Police came on, the school thug went ape shit! “Appropriated” the cassette player and I shit you not, played the song about ten times in a row, just kept rewinding it again and again. At one point he looks up “FUCK I COULD LISTEN TO THIS SONG ALL DAY LONG” (if it wasn’t time to get back on the bus bet he would’ve). Watching him react like this was fascinating. See? pop is powerful!

4. The Sweet – As I said in the last track, tracks that just leap out of the radio and floor ya! I aim for pop that’s POP as fuck. I’ve always found people who have disdain for it are that way cause they can’t do it.

5. Jonathan Richmond and Modern Lovers – Another epiphany but not so much from this track or even this album (don’t get me wrong I love it!) but reading an interview with him and why he never made an album like this again he said “I saw what I was doing/ writing/ playing and realised that this “sorta” music isn’t also for kids, for children”… wow!! I mean I cant even express why this blew me away but it did.

6. Sibylle Baier – I already started doing solo stuff when I discovered this, was actually driving a taxi and had to pull over, I NEEDED to know who this was!! The power of her simple playing and her voice is devastating!! Fucking nuclear… to even get to half this I would feel proud, validated what I was hoping to achieve / reach with my solo stuff, stripped back can still be so powerful (as a side note I think J Mascis heard this and said “man this has to come out”) phew I glad he did.

7. Can – another aspect I want explore solo wise is music that’s more textural, still experimenting and only had bits and pieces I’ve felt confident enough to go with but one of the best at this is the mighty CAN. They did a lot of work for film and TV… amazing, tracks you fall into and lose ya self, getting lost never felt so awesomeness.

8. Kate Bush – blew my mind to smithereens as a youngster, not only incredibly beautiful but her first two albums in particular I played to death, her melodies are whacked!! Crazy CRAZY good, I still prefer the earlier work as they are less synthy, the earthness she achieved was something else.

9. Buzzcocks – while some mistook punk to be some macho shit here comes a band that’s fey as and wrote love songs and still managed to out punk everyone else! Man Pete Shelly was easily one of the best writers of his era. HUGE influence on me and in that initial period there’s not one song that’s second best! They are All INCREDIBLE, then out comes Homosapian… WOW!! Play my 12″ version loud and bump into furniture.

10. Tommy James and the Shondells – which track to finish on?? Power pop? Bubble gum?? Could make a play lists that run’s for weeks. Look I get the importance of artists like, say Bob Dylan but when Tommy James and the Shondells inform me that “I think we’re alone now… there doesn’t seem to be any one ’round” (or when the Ramones say “Hey little girl I wanna be ya boyfriend”) I’m truly moved. While the track is playing life is incredible and can’t get any better… is why I make music!

To pick up a copy Peter Black’s If This Is The Hand I’m Dealt and I’m Gonna Cheat As Much As I Can head to Bandcamp.

Compiled By Rob Lyon

Check out Peter Black on Spotify…

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