Month: May 2016


zacThis fortnight we’re stoked to have singer/songwriter/guitarist and frontman for Melbourne power pop aficionados The Wellingtons, Zac Anthony. Not only does he sing, write songs and play the guitar, he’s an absolute monster on the drum kit. If you ever get the chance to see him on the drums go check him out cos he goes bananas on ’em and he’s one of the best around.  I was honoured to have him as a band mate of mine for a little bit so I got to see first hand. Anyhoo here’s Zac’s top ten!


WEEZER Pinkerton (1996)

zac-weezer-pinkerThe first time I heard Weezer was on a school bus heading to Year 7 camp.  A girl who was a few years older than me in school was entrusted with helping the teachers to look after us ravenous year 7s. She had a trusty Walkman with her, and was kind enough share her headphones to turn me onto Weezer. “Sweater Song” was the first song she played me followed by a few other choice cuts from the Blue Album.  Really I could have picked the Blue Album or Pinkerton here for this list, but I’ve gone with Pinkerton for the raw emotion and dynamics they managed to capture onto tape. The way Rivers screams ‘WOAH’ after the first chorus of “Tired Of Sex” under a wall of crunching guitars always gave me chills. The softness and fragility of songs like “Across The Sea” and “Butterfly” really hit home. The immediacy of “Why Bother”, the singalongabilty (yeah made that word up) of “El Schorcho”.  And I haven’t even mentioned my favourite song from the record “Pink Triangle” yet!  Weezer was pretty much the blueprint for what I wanted to achieve with my own songwriting.


PHANTOM PLANET The Guest (2002)

zac-phanto-guestI moved to Melbourne from country Victoria when I was 18, and my band at the time slowly followed me and relocated too.  I can’t recall exactly how it happened but I came to meet Scott Thurling (Popboomerang Records) soon after who showed an interest in our band. At the time he was running a mail order service disseminating pop music for discerning listeners around the world.  I went over to his house quite a few times, dropping off Sweet Chuck (our band) cds that he was selling via his mail order service. Each time I’d drop 20 cds off, he’d kindly lend me a similar amount of CDs of bands he thought I’d like from his excess stock.  Invariably he was right.  Phantom Planet Is Missing (their debut) was one of those CDs, but again (as per Weezer) it’s their follow up record that is my favourite of theirs.  You can hear the Californian sunshine in their melodies. “Always on my Mind” laconically bops along. The mandolin solo, I assume, a suggestion from producer Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Elvis Costello, The Bangles), only increases the So-Cal jangle of the doubled acoustic guitars (think Byrds/Eagles) and works sublimely well with the bounciness of the mildly distorted Fender Rhodes keyboard.  The rest of the record overflows with memorable melodies summing up those innocent, awkward and sometimes frustrating boy/girl interactions that turn your stomach in knots. “Hey Now Girl” and “Nobody’s Fault” are prime examples of the crafted hooks and idiosyncratic vocal delivery of Alex Greenwald. I loved the record so much we even stole the font from the album artwork to use for The Wellingtons.


SOUL ASYLUM Grave Dancers Union (1992)

zac-soulas-gravedI was in grade 6 when “Runaway Train” was a hit and I liked the song enough to tape it off the telly to VHS for repeat listens. A few months later the single “Black Gold” followed and I gave it the same treatment. The second single hinted that there was a heavier edge to the band, more than the MOR acoustic balladry that was “Runaway Train”. It wasn’t until a few years later when I saw the album in a store. I was record shopping with my Mum and I think she was a little concerned by the name of the band and the album title, and she tried to coerce me into to buying something else (a few years back she had understandably confiscated my copy of the Motley Crue classic Doctor Feelgood) but I went on my hunch and with some trepidation took it home with me. The opening riff of “Somebody To Shove” in its minor key was quite jarring and the darkness of the lyrics delivered with fragility and a clear sense of anxiety was a little alarming for a pre-teen. But the explosion of the chorus with its shift to the major relative key excited me like few songs have before. This might not be their best album but it was their most influential on me. Dave Pirner’s creative and quirky lyrics blew my mind and made me smile, and the melodies and arrangements were like nothing my naive brain had heard before – experimental, punky, and containing enough hooks to have me engaged and wanting more.


YOU AM I Hourly Daily (1996)

zac-you-am-i-hourly-dailyIn Grade 6 I did my work experience at Clarks Sound Centre in Leongatha (don’t look for it, it’s no longer there). My payment for the week’s work was $25 and my pick of any CD from the store. Hourly Daily was due for release on the Monday and I took it home on the Friday night (three days before its official release) with a bonus live disk attached, no less. I first discovered You Am I via JJJ (a national Australian radio station for those outside of Australia). I was deeply saddened and had concerns about my singing career when I couldn’t hit the high note from “Berlin Chair” while singing along. You know the note that not even the great man can hit himself these days just before the musical interlude at the end, he sings TOO LATE……… TOO LAAAAATTTTTEEE…
Hourly Daily built on the pop smarts that You Am I had hinted at prior to this, their most ambitious and dense record. Sounding more like the Kinks (before I even knew who they were) and less like Nirvana, this record was, as you say, right up my alley. Such a clever, well thought-out record. “Good Morning” was instantly added to the set list of my high school cover band. Rusty’s drumming style (flashy, busy and animated) really changed the way I approached playing drums (much to the disgust of every producer that has ever had to record me behind the drums). I went to see Soundgarden at Festival Hall mostly because You Am I were the main support. A diverse record (horns, strings, 12-strings) that ties together brilliantly.


THE POSIES Frosting on The Beater (1993)

zac-posies-frostiI came upon this record around age 20. Hearing “Flavor of The Month” on RRR was enough to prick up my interest and I found the album in Dixons Recyled Records. Starting an album with “Dream All Day”, “Solar Sister” and “Flavor Of The Month” is as strong an opening stanza as you’ll find. Another great drumming record and Jon and Ken harmonizing is a thing of beauty. When The Wellingtons were asked to play our favourite record live top to bottom this was the record we collectively chose.



FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE Welcome Interstate Managers (2003)

zac-founta-welcomHard to pick a favourite album from a band that haven’t put a foot wrong their whole career. I recall my high school girlfriend came over to my house one Friday night after school sometime in ‘96 with a copy of the debut F.O.W. record and Car Button Cloth by the Lemonheads.  Me knowing little to nothing about both bands (and thinking I was abreast of all the cool new bands), I was quick to dismiss her new purchases. I was probably jealous. “Why’d you buy those?” I said. “Nothing good out huh?”  By the end of that weekend I was proven wrong as we played them on repeat and did things teenagers do while behind closed doors.


ELVIS COSTELLO  The Very Best Of (1999)

zac-ecoste-verybeYeah I know picking a Best Of is a cop out. But it’s honestly the way that I began my research on Elvis. I first heard “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love And Understanding” in the movie 200 Cigarettes in around 2000 – the soundtrack featured several of his tunes plus Nick Lowe’s “Cruel to Be Kind” (the author of “What’s So Funny…”)  plus The Ramones and The Cars among others. If I had to pick a favourite album of his without too much thought I’d lean initially towards Brutal Youth or This Year’s Model. Hard to sum up what it is about Elvis that makes him so great. He’s been a Punk, a Balladeer, a Country Crooner and everything in between, but one thing remains: he knows the value of a well-written tune.



zac-candyb-hangonSo hard to pick my favourite record by Mike (the voice of the song “That Thing You Do” and recent member of Ryan Adams’ band and production team). Falling into Place and Lurch are other albums of his I could have easily picked. Mike’s voice has a tonal quality that is just so magical and emotive, you can perhaps sense his vast life experiences in his vocal delivery. This record is really intimate and personal and he lets you inside his life. The perfect combination of piano and acoustic jangle. Beautifully arranged.



JELLYFISH Spilt Milk (1993)

zac-jellyf-spiltmA much-loved, short-lived, ill-fated group. Again, very hard to pick which album (of their two) is best. Another band that I have Scott Thurling to thank for. Peerless harmonies, inventive arrangements, pushing boundaries (and multi-tracking) until they break. Belly Button, their first album, may be more consistent but doesn’t reach the heights Spilt Milk does. “The Ghost At Number One”, “Joining A Fanclub”, “New Mistake” and “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” are good examples.



RHETT MILLER The Instigator (2002)

zac-rmille-instigExpertly produced and backed by Jon Brion (who nearly made this list himself with Meaningless). The harmonies and guitar playing on this record bring further joy to these great songs. “Our Love”, “Four-Eyed Girl”, and “Hover” would all contend for some of my favourite songs ever written. Rhett’s usual ‘bag’ runs more into the alt country mode with his group Old 97’s but here he focuses on some of the best pop ‘n’ roll ever made. The production is really dry and thick and makes for a rich listening experience. Pretty sure my ol’ bud and ex-Wellingtons keyboard player Amy Walters got me into Rhett.



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Tim-RogersThis fortnight You Am I frontman, solo artist, actor and, in my own honest humble opinion, Australia’s greatest ever songwriter and performer, the one and only Tim Rogers shares with us his top ten records. I needn’t say much more. God bless.




J.J. CALE Naturally (1971)

tim-jcale-naturaMy Dad gave my brother and sister and I access to a huge collection of 45s he’d had since he was a teenager, full of Haley and the Comets, Little Richard, Elvis, Chuck Berry when he saw that we had an interest. From then he and my Mum were big on playing stuff around the house that they deemed “real” and “gritty” and set it up in opposition to pop music from the radio or most of what was on Countdown. This was the late 70s. To please them both first, and then because I reacted to the 45s, I’d sit up late when they were having drinks in the evening and listen to what they dug. J.J. was a perennial. To watch Dad ease back in his chair and tap the armrest in slow-time and look off into the middle distance was mesmerising. I knew he’d been to the US, and to the South, and driven some highways, and this was his soundtrack. I wanted to be wherever his mind was wandering in those moments. I reckon I go there a lot.


DEEP PURPLE Machine Head (1972)

tim-deeppu-machinI’m not goin’ to even try and pick these records apart like a reviewer because that’s already been done endlessly, all I can give is my recollection of my reaction. My first guitar teacher in North-West Sydney was a dead ringer for Richie Blackmore. I came in with my nylon-string acoustic asking to learn “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and ANY Stones, but Michael the teacher suggested strongly that the Purps were the best place to begin a leap at wonderment. So “Maybe I’m A Leo” and “Lazy” became year-long struggles while I had to fish for the notes and chords to Stones songs on my own. I resented the Purps for a while because of it, but they became a YAI van regular thru Rusty’s love of Ian Paice, and I remember the joy of wrangling with these tunes and digging in those beautiful big pockets Roger and Ian leave in between all the wizardry.



tim-replac-timDurh….After work at a pizza store in North Ryde when I was 16? I was at home late with my brother drinking Coopers Sparkling and watching Rage when the video for “Bastards Of Young” came on. Just a leg and a stereo and the eventual kicking of said stereo accompanying the sound that fused all my synapses, and then loosened them forever. All in three minutes. The next day after school I went to Collect Records in Parramatta and bought a Residents record coz I got the names all mixed up. The two bands are rather different, I figured it out eventually. Hearing and seeing The Who meant more to me as a physical thing. Very obviously I stole a lotta Pete’s moves because like him, I wanted some way to distract attention from my face and, maybe even more than that, his style of playing guitar was the sexiest thing I’d felt to that point. But The Replacements opened up the possibility of being in a band for me. To try and write some riffs, some songs, shout a bit, and try and get a life. Folks will debate their records’ worth, their shows’ unpredictability, production, blah blah, but they meant everything to me for a long time. Which ain’t too fuckin’ hard to see.


COWBOY JUNKIES The Caution Horses (1990)

tim-cowboy-cautioWhites Off Earth Now was the first one I got in Canberra during University, Trinity Sessions is the most lauded, and this one is kinda straight compared to those two, but it’s very dear to me because when I was forced to leave uni and move back into the old family house, this was a record I played endlessly as therapy almost. I had to walk miles and miles each day to calm myself down and begin thinking cognitively again, and the delivery of these little tales, and the tales themselves, got my thoughts back to somewhere I could use them again. Similarly, it’s around this time I started hearing Townes, and Guy Clark, Jimmie Dale Gilmour. Again, I could see a future that wasn’t just heavily medicated. Ironic when ya think about it. Michael Timmins’ guitar on the first Junkies records was soupy and sultry and had none of the trad country lickin’ I had no appreciation for at the time. I’d buy a bread roll for the day and put my walkman on and start sayin’ hello to the flat earth again. I don’t listen to music for “comfort” these days but I sure needed it then.



tim-mixtapeThis is perhaps goin’ off-piste, but mixed tapes are the greatest gift. The first band I joined that played to crowds was Box The Jesuit. Just for a dozen or so shows, but lead singer Goose and his partner Suzie made tapes for me every few months around ’91 and ’92 with graphic hardcore porn covers and filled to the brim with The Velvets, rare Iggy, solo John Cale, Big Star, Alice Cooper, T-Rex, Slade, Charles Bukowski poetry, Aerosmith, Patti Smith, Suicide…everything I wasn’t savvy enough to be familiar with yet. The band in the early days had other folks like Ray Ahn of the Hard-Ons who’d pass things on, or Damien at Utopia Records. Whether it was hearing Alex Chilton’s skewiff guitar playing on his solo records or the thunderous rage on The Blue Mask by Lou Reed, every tune on those tapes is in me somewhere ready to spew out once I’ve shook out all the rest.


SPOON Gimme Fiction (2005)

tim-spoon-gimmefHonestly can’t enunciate why I’m so attracted to them. Maybe it’s the space they leave in betweens, the impressionistic lyrics that I can listen to 43 times before some kinda penny drops, the tone of Britt’s voice. When we were with a label in the US, a massive one, our A&R guy was a wonderful man who is still a dear friend, and he told me about Spoon in ‘98 or somethin’ and told me he thought they were the best, and some kinda heir to Ray Davies or somethin’. Well if I wasn’t gonna hate ‘em before I sure did then…. and avoided ‘em for years. But when this one came out I’d just been thrown outta home and was living unhappily and this got into my ears at just the right time. When I met Britt a few years back in a club in Portland, what I WANTED to say was “I love your songwriting” but what I SAID was “you know yer the best” in an ambivalent kinda way. I was walking on stage. I was a dick.


NRBQ Scraps (1972)

tim-nrbq-scrapsAs with all the best stuff, I heard about them through another artist I loved, this time thru Paul Westerberg. When I first got into stuff from the fringes of American music it was difficult to get any information. You’d stumble over an article in a magazine, or a fanzine, and covet it, read it over and over hoping to glean… anything. I had one article on the Replacements, one on Soul Asylum, one on Husker Du, the Minutemen, The Long Ryders, Meat Puppets, and one on the Placemats thru Creem magazine. Westerberg enthused over NRBQ so I saved my Pizza Hut money and bought Scraps. They have the package of being kinda loose and a grab-bag of doo-wop, rock’n’roll, R’n’B, jazz, but they are bullshit great players and singers and can turn on a dime, so a song will go from motorized r’n’r then slip into four part harmony doo-wop then a keyboard solo reminiscent of Thelonius Monk then back to something like pre-Beatles pop. They’ve been around since ’68 and records from ANY era in their being are worth it. Even tho’ original members have been reduced to just Terry Adams, I would crawl through broken glass to see ‘em one day, and keep an eye always on what ex-members are doing. Total enthusiasts who give far more than they’ve ever received. If I run into a fan anywhere in the world that person is a friend for life. I’d recommend At Yankee Stadium and Live At Ludlow Garage 1970 also.


MARY MARGARET O’HARA Miss America (1988)

tim-mohara-missamWhen I first went around to my partner Rosie’s house I noticed this LP on top of her stereo, and it was at that moment the deal was sealed between us. If our dance records are 65% Hall And Oates, this is our recovery record. I heard about Mary through Michael Stipe as I adored REM and, through mostly Peter Buck’s recommendations, I heard a lotta great stuff. Miss America is equally romantic as it is often unsettling. Some of the instrumentation hasn’t aged well, but her voice and delivery are timeless to me, and as much as I’d love her to make so much more music, my affection for her leads me to wish her happiness far more. I cry often, but if I want the waterworks here and now, “To Cry About” and “You Will Be Loved Again” will do it in a flash, and if I need the sound of agony, “Year In Song” is my friend.


AEROSMITH Rocks (1976)

tim-aerosm-rocksThe first songs the band tried to play were “TV Glue” by X, “All Set To Go” by the Hard-Ons and three Aerosmith songs. Even though they’d become a far, far blander version of themselves by the time our band started, their first 6 records are wonderful. Great melodies, sleazy as all hell riffs and lyrics. They also write great pop songs, drenched with sludge and molasses. My brother loved ‘em too, and he was, by the time YAI started, pretty much exclusively listening to and seeing hardcore shows. On that note, the greatest gift I ever received was a brother who had an awesome record collection. He was always importing stuff, always researching and trying things out, whether it was Detroit House toons, grindcore, post-punk stuff from the UK or 60s garage stompers. Though he BARRED me from his bedroom, he’d always be playing stuff loud, and the car trips to the city when I could blag a ride to see shows were soundtracked magnificently. I owe more than half of whatever I’ve picked up to him. Whenever I get to the UK hangin’ out with him rules. Only he could confirm, but I reckon he had the first Napalm Death LP, Guns N’ Roses Appetite AND the Stone Roses LP six months before anyone in Australia… Anyhoo, the riff on “Combination” is my favourite r’n’r hands down. Just beating out Poison Idea’s “It’s An Action”.


HARD-ONS Love Is A Battlefield Of Wounded Hearts (1989)

tim-hardons-battlefieldAnd lastly, this nation’s saving grace. Seeing them live and being five feet away from Ray’s right sneaker just before getting my nose broken again by an errant stage diver was such a massive moment in my life. I idolized them, and probably even more so now because I know a tiny bit about ‘em as people now. Always passing on stuff and enthusing about the stuff they love, while being straight up with fans and punters. And seeing ‘em last year as a four-piece with Keish out front singing was as good, if not better than when I first saw them in 1990 or somethin’. Blackie’s guitar slays me. Great pop songs, and when they wanna stick the dagger in they twist that fucker right into your spine. Listen to Most People Are Nicer Than Us from a coupla years ago. Brutal. Then Alfalfa Males… recently has some beautiful pop songs then twists into brutality again. Love Is A Battlefield… was our soundtrack for ages, going back and forth with Dickcheese. They gave us shows early on because Nik and Jaimme knew Ray a bit, and they always treated us way better than we deserved. Heroes.


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