Month: June 2016


dallas-craneThis fortnight we’re absolutely delighted to have Steve Pinkerton, frontman for super 2000s band The Anyones share with us his top ten records. Nowadays you will find Steve fronting the ever-awesome Ronson Hangup (along with a cast of fine gentlemen!) and also playing the drums for Melbourne legends Dallas Crane. Steve has delivered us some great tunes over the years – look for “Rubin” and the undeniably glorious pop of “Pocket“, both from The Anyones’ self-titled record. In more recent times check out the rollicking “Shades Of Stones” from the Ronson Hangup’s self-titled debut. And whilst on the subject, where is that second Ronson LP?! …Surely can’t be too far away! It promises to be a classic. – LT

Steve: My approach to My Top Ten Albums was to list the albums that had the greatest emotional impact on me in my formative years – I may rate other albums higher but these albums had the powerful combined effect on me of environment, circumstance and time.


ALICE COOPER Welcome To My Nightmare (1975)

stevep-acoope-welcomSome of you who associate Alice Cooper with the era of the single “Poison” and beyond may be asking “what the fuck Steve?” (not to mention Alice’s occasional right wing outbursts – although next to Ted Nugent he’s positively Trotsky) but let me tell youse…from ’69 – ’77 Alice Cooper was the perfect mixture of irreverence, horror movie and sensational rock/pop. My older sister Jane introduced me to this – and it certainly had an impact. Originally signed by Frank Zappa to a 3 album deal, by 1974 Alice had essentially gone solo with a sensational backing band (shared with Lou Reed) that included the amazing Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars and producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss, Lou Reed). Welcome to My Nightmare was a concept album that was also made into a finely crafted theatrical performance. I loved the production, the story line, the guitars, the drums and the songs that ranged from the melancholy (“Only Women Bleed”) to great pop/rock (e.g. “Cold Ethyl” and “Department of Youth”) – oh and a touch of necrophilia.


AC/DC High Voltage (1975)

stevep-acdc-highvoMy brother’s birthday present – we gave this album a good flogging and were suitably amazed by Angus’s skills on “Baby Please Don’t Go”, romanced by Bon on “Love Song” and inspired by Phil’s drum roll on “Show Business” (which was one of the first things I learnt to play on drums). My strong memory is playing “She’s Got Balls” over and over just to annoy my Mum (surprisingly she had difficulty hearing Mozart’s influence). My brother was also responsible for introducing me to Slade and ELO.



ELTON JOHN Greatest Hits (1974)

stevep-ejohn-greateYep dark, gritty, subversive – ok maybe not – my Dad gave me this album on cassette and I fondly remember a beach holiday on Sydney’s central coast where I was rarely seen without my mono tape deck, weighing circa 2 kilos, and single ear piece with this album on high rotation (well it probably took 10 minutes to rewind the tape so perhaps medium rotation). What can I say, wall to wall melodies and lush recordings. It was number 1 in both the US and UK for weeks selling about 17 million. Favourite tracks included “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Bennie and the Jets” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.


KISS Alive! (1975)

stevep-kiss-aliveThere are groundbreaking albums like Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde, The Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds – and then, ahem, there’s Kiss Alive! A gift, this album was really the record that precipitated my love for rock/pop music – I would definitely love to be able to say it was Frank Zappa’s Mothermania but alas. My Dad surprisingly brought this back for us (unsolicited) after a trip to the USA and the first thing I remember was being obsessed with the front cover (outfits, makeup, rock poses, etc). A “live” album, there has always been great debate over how much is actually “live” (some say it’s only Peter Criss’s drum tracks) but this was always irrelevant to me – and regardless, I always enjoyed Elton John’s “Bennie and The Jets” with its deliberate and heavy-handed crowd noise overdub. I particularly loved the tracks “Strutter”, “Black Diamond” and “C’mon and Love Me”. Kiss were big fans of Slade and named the album after Slade’s Slade Alive. Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper) subsequently produced the album Destroyer so you can see there’s a theme to my formative years. Inspired by the New York Dolls (Peter Criss grew up with NYD’s drummer Jerry Nolan), Kiss took the cartoonish theme to a new level – a child’s dream.


THE ROLLING STONES It’s Only Rock And Roll (1974)

stevep-rollin-itsonlAs schoolkids my friends and I were obsessed with the Rolling Stones and their albums, bootlegs, movies, etc. Not necessarily my favourite Stones album  – I still love it because it reminds me of my school buddies and Year 12. It was the last album featuring Mick Taylor and was the first produced by Jagger/Richards as the Glimmer Twins. There are two highlights for me – the tracks “It’s Only Rock and Roll” and “Time Waits for No One”, which features a lead break by Mick Taylor that rivals his effort on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”. The lead break is so familiar to me I think I could sing every note from memory – yet surprisingly it’s a song that the Stones have never played live (possibly because Mick left the band shortly after). Dave Larkin recently revealed to me that he is also a big fan of this track so we give it an occasional butchering at Dallas Crane rehearsal. Just after we had finished Year 12 my best mate Bern and I snuck in (me underage) to the Chevron Hotel on St Kilda Rd to watch John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, which featured members Mick Taylor and John McVie (Fleetwood Mac). We stood directly in front of Mick Taylor in awe – and in total fear of being kicked out. After the show we waited for them to appear and asked for a photo – and they couldn’t have been happier to oblige. The photo featuring a beaming Mick, John, John and Bern is still on my wall. Bern had just received his driver’s licence so we jumped in his mum’s car and chased their minibus down St Kilda Rd –John McVie decided to show off to their entourage and climbed out his window to shake my hand at 80kmh. I still remember Mick Taylor et al in fits of laughter.


LINDA RONSTADT Simple Dreams (1977)

stevep-lronst-simpleThis album was essentially forced upon me by stealth by my older sister Jane who flogged it to death at full volume. At that stage I was struggling between the LA sound and British New Wave – and my music collection was favouring the latter. Linda Ronstadt’s subsequent albums also reflected these British influences with songs written by Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. The songs on Simple Dreams range from tracks written by Buddy Holly (“It’s So Easy”) and The Rolling Stones (“Tumbling Dice”) to my favourite tracks written by Warren Zevon which include “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” and “Carmelita”.  “Carmelita” resonated with me because it’s indicative of the other 70s 3-minute tragi-romance songs that I was drawn to such as Bad Company’s “Shooting Star”, Rod Stewart’s “Georgie”, Hot Chocolate’s “Emma” (later covered by Urge Overkill) and even John English’s “Hollywood 7” (although admittedly these were a tad more heavy-handed). This certainly inspired the track “Rubin” on The Anyones’ second album.


THE BEATLES Revolver (1966)

stevep-beatle-revolvI won’t bother going into another vivisection of this album – suffice to say that as kids we were always surrounded by music (particularly classical music) thanks to my mother – but vocal harmony wasn’t her focus. So when I discovered The Beatles, and in particular Revolver (and Rubber Soul) it opened an amazing new world. I’ve been a sucker for a harmony ever since.




THE JAM Sound Affects (1980)

stevep-jam-soundaMy first band out of school was comprised of my brother Mal and I, Nick Murphy (i.e. the genesis of The Anyones) and also Bern (mentioned above in the Mick Taylor experience) and we were essentially a garage 60’s inspired rock band – The Jam were a significant influence. Sound Affects was an easy transition from Revolver as the track “Start” was almost a ‘lift’ from “Taxman” – but it never bothered me. “That’s Entertainment”, “Boy About Town”, “But I’m Different Now” and “Pretty Green” were other faves. It reminds me of our first gig where some aggrieved patron promptly slashed the tyres of many of the patrons – wasn’t me… promise.


THE SMITHS Hatful Of Hollow (1984)

stevep-smiths-hatfulThis album was the soundtrack to my university days, new friendships and tedious first year philosophy conversations. We knew it all – and thought we ruled the world. Morrissey and Marr perfectly framed the experience. In short, brilliant lyrics, melodies and lots of guitars. I was lucky enough to support Morrissey in The Anyones (and he’s been pestering me to be his ‘bestie’ ever since…).



LED ZEPPELIN Physical Graffiti (1975)

stevep-ledzep-physicIn the 90s I did some backpacking around the Philippines with Nick (The Anyones) and this album was my travel companion (via Walkman). It’s an intimate musical experience when the conditions are rough, the budget tight, the scenery stunning – and mobile phones/internet non-existent. A double album, I was seduced by the dry, powerful production (some tracks recorded on the Rolling Stones Mobile studio) – and, of course, the drumming.



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BenSalterBen Salter was one of the very first people that sprang to mind when I had the notion of doing My Top Ten. When I ask people for their top ten I anticipate their response with large amounts of trepidation. Committing to writing a top ten albums list is no walk in the park. It consumes time, serious thought and an enormous amount of consideration. But by the same token it’s a damn lotta fun! I understand this, as I have done one myself. Ben’s first response to my email was “This sounds great. I’m a bit flat out at the moment so forgive me if I don’t get it straight back to you but please keep hassling me.” …And hassle I did.

Around seven or so months later, after much consideration, bless him, I received his utterly brilliantly constructed top ten list. I first saw Ben play at a small bar in Northcote about 10 years ago. He was unknown to me at the time so I was watching a scruffy-haired gentleman playing “Oh Darling” by the Beatles and he was absolutely nailing the vocal (if you know the song well you’d know it’s a crazy hard vocal to tackle). Since then I’ve followed a lot of stuff he’s done both past and present, and there’s a heap of great songs to be found – this gentleman can certainly pen a tune. If you don’t already know the track, check out “Drug Flowers” by his band The Gin Club, a classic. Enjoy Ben’s list with added disclaimer! LT



The idea of doing a top ten list of albums induces within me the type of palpable dread and anxiety usually associated with trips to the dentist. I fear judgement. You might think this is strange coming from someone who essentially makes a living acting like an arseclown on stage 3 or 4 nights a week. But Luke has been an amazing combination of really nice and completely persistent and so I would be even more of an arseclown/hole if I turned him down. His most recent email was a sort of “Well, I’ve done my best, I’ll just leave this here” guilt trip sort of thing that really got me in the feels… luckily by then I’d nearly finished this all off. But anyway –  The List.

I’ve decided to try and avoid most of the obvious ones, because, well, everyone has heard those. So no White Album even though it’s probably my favourite album ever. No Together Alone even though it changed my life. No AC/DC, probably the best band in the entire world (Powerage yes I said yes yes yes). No Radiohead YES RADIOHEAD FUCK YOU THEY’RE AWESOME. No Smashing Pumpkins or Pearl Jam or Nirvana or Bush or Tonic or Creed or Nickelback.

But anyway, while I have tried not to put really obvious ones in, I have still put in albums or recordings that I have listened to a million times. I don’t know why I am even writing all this, I am going to cop heaps of shit regardless. Oh well. You know what’s really cool? Just being yourself.


ELEVATOR TO HELL Parts 1-3 (1996)

ben-elevat-parts1I first encountered the introspective nasal kitchen sink indie-rock of Canadian songwriter Rick White when Beck played an Eric’s Trip song when he programmed Rage a million years ago. Not long after I met a fellow from Canada named David Chenery whilst busking. He ended up living with me and he introduced me to White’s next couple of bands, Elevator To Hell and Elevator Through. Of all the 90s DIY indie 4-tracky noisy bands out there I think these guys are my favourite, and I think this is my favourite album of theirs/his, that I’m aware of anyway – I just had a look at Wiki and there are tonnes of releases I haven’t heard. (Eerieconciliation is also good. So is Purple Blue. They all have at least one or two really memorable, amazing singles on them) He’s still churning them out, under a variety of monikers – I think he released his most recent solo album in 2009. Not sure. Anyway this is great stuff – paranoid, lo-fi, distorted bass, odd arrangements. If you like stuff like Flying Nun’s Tall Dwarves you might like this. Also reminiscent of some of the Elephant Six sort of stuff. I dunno, it just does it for me. Eric’s Trip are similarly awesome. Wish I could have seen them live.


THE VELVET UNDERGROUND The Velvet Underground (1969)

ben-velvet-velvetI was never a massive Velvet Underground fan until I heard this album… not really cause I didn’t like them, I mean I listened to Velvet Underground & Nico a bunch of times when I was 17 or 18, but after that I was just too busy listening to Kyuss or Pearl Jam or something, I dunno. But one of my bands The Gin Club went to Los Angeles in about 2008 and I made the obligatory trek to Amoeba records and I saw this album there, on blue vinyl. So I nabbed it. I can’t remember why. I think I was sort of obsessed with the song “What Goes On” at the time (which is one of the most perfect pop songs ever written btw). But anyway I started listening to this album a lot, late at night, in the dark, through my friend and housemate and landlord Steve’s totally amazing speakers, and I was just blown away. It’s perfect. It’s sort of a folky album I suppose – there’s some apocryphal tale of them having all their equipment stolen prior to recording –  although it still has the absolute wackdom of “Murder Mystery” and the escalating bug-eyed teeth grind of “Beginning To See The Light”. For me this is a really spiritual album… there’s a lot of earnestness in Lou’s lyrics. Doug Yule’s vocals are amazing also, I really like his playing. John Cale had left by this stage. I dunno I could go on and on about this album. Just get it, turn the lights out and listen to it. I think my favourite track is “I’m Set Free”. But my favourite Velvet Underground track of all time is “I Heard Her Call My Name”. But that’s on White Light/White Heat. But Loaded might be my favourite album now, assuming you include the bonus tracks. I dunno, I just love them, I think they are most probably my favourite band.


KYUSS ...And The Circus Leaves Town (1995)

ben-kyuss-andtheThe name Kyuss comes from a Dungeons & Dragons monster, or to be more precise Tintin, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons monster.

“A son of Kyuss is a walking corpse with worms protruding from its facial orifices, which attempt to burrow into living beings and kill them. The spawn of Kyuss are the footsoldiers of Kyuss, part of the Wormgod’s wormspawn legions.”

Now those two sentences are either the most exciting sounding thing in the world or the most absolutely naff, depending on your outlook. The same can be applied wholly to the band itself. You either like Kyuss or you don’t. I used to play Dungeons & Dragons (no-one is surprised to hear) and I love them. It’s hard to say why they’re so awesome. There is just something elemental, primal… They’re really a band of contrasts – they’re dumb as shit but really really clever. Super aggressive but real hippies. There’s a fairly misogynist metal vibe to the lyrics, but more gals like them than almost any other super heavy band I can think of. And they are super heavy. They tune down to C, which is not unheard of, but still rather heavy.  My housemate Harley put on Welcome To Sky Valley last night while I was cooking dinner (Tuna Mornay, if you must know) and I hadn’t heard it for ages, and I was struck by just how incredibly heavy they are.  They can be sloppy occasionally but they can really play. I think Circus is my favourite though, I’m not exactly sure why. It’s just devastating. I definitely prefer Alfredo Hernandez’s drumming to Brant Bjork’s (I can already hear the hisses of approbation coming from smelly bong rooms everywhere), I love his hi-hat work (kill me).  There’s just something a bit more considered, melancholic and epic about this album. It’s got some great instrumentals (“Thee Ole Boozeroony”, “Jumbo Blimp Jumbo”), a sort of stoner reggae song (“Size Queen” – I know that sounds like the most abhorrent genre imaginable, apart from jazz fusion, but like jazz fusion, for some reason, it’s not, and that’s a lot of commas), a couple of sonic-bath, acid-clarity proggy numbers (“Phototropic” and “Catamaran”), plus we haven’t even discussed “One Inch Man” and the unbridled machismo of “Gloria Lewis”.  Man.  The final song “Spaceship Landing” could be the best song ever written. I’m not saying it is, I’m saying it could be. There’s just something about this band that makes one lose one’s mind.


LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D performed by Itzhak Perlman & The Berlin Philharmonic (1990)

ben-beethovenPhew, only up to number 4. How about we have a nice break and play some Beethoven. I guess there are lots of versions. I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.




TALK TALK Spirit of Eden (1988)

ben-talkta-spiritThis could easily be Spirit of Eden *and* Laughing Stock because for me the two albums sort of flow into each other. But I’ll stick with the one most people know, in direct contravention of my foreword. I first heard about this album in the Buried Treasure section of Mojo, around 2000 AD or thereabouts. I tracked down a few songs on Napster at some horrid bit rate, probably took about three hours for one song or something. I was immediately struck, they just didn’t sound like anything I had ever heard before… pastoral epic jazz prog? I guess the thing that makes it more than anything is Mark Hollis’s painfully open-hearted voice and lyrics. Heart on the sleeve is a massive understatement… it just feels like you’re listening to something you maybe shouldn’t be allowed to. But it’s so beautiful. Apparently they just got really stoned, recorded a bunch of drum loops and then started layering stuff over the top of it. I can’t recommend this album highly enough. Lots of other interesting things about this album – it features Danny Thompson on double bass and Nigel Kennedy on violin. It was panned by the critics. The shortest song goes for over five minutes. Etc etc.


LOW Ones And Sixes (2015)

LOW_OnesSixes_coverI thought I should put in a recent release to demonstrate that I still listen to music. I don’t really listen to music though, not like I used to. I can’t pinpoint when it happened. I used to read every single music magazine, try and hunt out obscure bands and releases, all different genres. I would listen to music all day long. I judged people by their music taste. But then music became my sole profession, and I got really superstitious and stopped. I try to avoid music documentaries, books, magazines. I just sort of let music come to me. It’s Hard To Explain/Except To Say/That I Have Video Games To Play. Which of course leads us quite naturally to Low. What can I say, this is absolutely beautiful, spiritual music. I mean it is also ‘indie rock’ or ‘slow core’ or whatever the hell any of those useless labels mean, but labelling Low ‘indie rock’ is like labelling the Eiffel Tower a ‘building’. Low’s music is deeply sublime. This is their most recent album and I was lucky enough to see them perform most of it in Brisbane recently, at Black Bear Lodge, which is about a 200 capacity room. It was transcendental. Urgh I feel weird just talking about this, just go and listen to it.  See this is why I can’t listen to too much music and why I hate doing top tens and I can’t go to the movies, I get far too carried away with this stuff.


THE DRONES Feelin Kinda Free (2016)

ben-drones-feelinTo be honest I haven’t listened to this album that much yet. The same goes for the Low album as well. Maybe five times each. But it’s my top ten and I’ll do what I want. “Taman Shud”, “To Think That I Once Loved You” and “Boredom”, the three singles, are worth the price of entry alone. “Private Execution” is just incredible as well. I nearly put Havilah, their fourth album, as my pick for this list, as I have a close connection with it and I know it back to front. But I hate nostalgia. I’m in love with the future. I feel lucky to call all the members of The Drones people I have met, with the exception of Chrisso their new/old drummer, who I’ve just heard about.*  I have a lot of time for them all (except Chrisso) as musicians and as people. Hear me out here, but I think there are a lot of parallels to be drawn between The Drones and Midnight Oil, particularly on this new album. I just don’t see a lot of other successful Australian rock bands taking on indifference and experimenting and dragging their audience around as much as The Drones. But as I said I don’t listen to very much music these days. I just think this band is important, and quite apart from any political or whatever stuff contained in the lyrics this is just good music, well played and produced, with something interesting to say. *I actually got to go and see Drones in Newcastle last weekend and I did meet Chrisso, he was great, and the band were amazing, ironic mullets aside. The riff from Private Execution could be the best one since “Luck In Odd Numbers”.


THE WU-TANG CLAN Wu-Tang Forever (1997)

ben-wutang-wutangIt would be sort of taking the piss to suggest that there is one hip hop album I have listened to that could feasibly be included in this list. Well, there is in fact – Wu-Tang Forever. I think I spent most of 1997 listening to that album. Ben Tuite from Giants of Science and I had moved into a share house with these two American exchange students, in Taringa in Brisbane. One of them was this Russian Jewish dude from Brooklyn, Mike Sokovikov. He’s pretty well known now as an artist. But yeah he introduced us to heaps of hip hop and that whole culture… he skated and tagged and everything. I know I said I wouldn’t include obvious ones, and Wu-Tang Forever is about as obvious as it gets. But it is pretty amazing. Tuite and I used to stun the skater kids in the mall in Brisbane by belting out verses of “Triumph” in between the Crowded House and Simon & Garfunkel. How the hell did so much talent end up in one band? The mind boggles. Hard to even pick a favourite member of that band, for me it keeps changing. Those fringe dudes like Inspector Deck and U God are really something else, even though it’s hard to ignore the out and out genius of the GZA, the RZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and of course ODB. Like many others I spent a lot of time giggling over the illicit thrills of Straight Outta Compton when I was a lad. NWA were sort of like AC/DC to me back then – I just thought of them as this novelty band with naughty lyrics. It was only later that I realised just how masterful (and painfully misogynist) they were. Ice Cube’s anger is just awesome to behold. Eric B & Rakim Paid In Full, I love that album. I haven’t even mentioned Tricky, which is not really hip hop, but it’s something like it. Pre-Millennium Tension and Maxinquaye are two of my favourite albums. Oh… Welcome To The Terrordome by Public Enemy. Amazing. Haven’t listened to much contemporary stuff, not for any other reason than the one stated above – I sort of stopped listening to music. I have a hell of a lot of Kanyatching up to do. Okay so see what I did there, I got about 6 more albums into my list, I should have just done top 10 genres. My friend Chris will be groaning when he reads this. I’m just trying to become translucent. I’d really like to go to New York.


FRANK BLACK AND THE CATHOLICS Frank Black And The Catholics (1998)

ben-frankb-frankbAll recorded live to two-track. Amazing songwriting and playing, and of course, the best middle 8s in the business. So many good songs on this album. “I Need Peace”, “Suffering”, “Steak & Sabre” and of course the incredible opener “All My Ghosts”. If you get this album and listen to it more than five times and still don’t like it then you’re an idiot. A lot of people think Frank Black’s solo stuff is way better than the Pixies. I’m not sure about that but I sort of went pretty hard on the Pixies for a long time and I can’t listen to it that much anymore. Frank Black though, I feel like I still have a lot of stuff left to discover. Let’s not even get started on Teenager Of The Year. Argh.


CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (1963)

ben-cmingu-blacksYeah, well, if you don’t like jazz you won’t like this, and that’s really saying nothing. I really love Mingus. I’m not the first white musician to say that and I won’t be the last. To me his music is synonymous with other sophisticated things that come from the west coast of the United States in the 50s and 60s, particularly Raymond Chandler novels. This album was one of the first jazz albums to have overdubs… it’s pretty cool. Like a lot of Mingus albums it starts in this sort of meditative, subdued place but by the end it has just gone bonkers. Charles’s psychotherapist did the liner notes. It’s awesome. What else can I say about Charles Mingus? Bass player. Bad ass. Insane.


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