Month: March 2016


davelarkinWelcome to the second instalment of My Top Ten with the man behind Australian rock stalwarts Dallas Crane, Dave Larkin. His White Falcon is the best lookin’ guitar in Melbourne ladies and gentlemen and along with his own voice he can certainly make it sing. Check out some of my favourite moments from Dave’s own great records: an absolute ripper of a track in “Right Under The Wind” from Dave’s Gun Street Girls self-titled (2009); some great jangle guitar interplay on “Open To Close”, from Dallas Crane’s self-titled record (2004) – a more restrained moment with a great Beatles Rubber Soul vibe; and check out the more sentimental “Sold Me”, a classic cut from Dallas Crane’s Twenty Four Seven (2000). Enough from me, enjoy Dave’s selections!


THE BEATLES White Album (1968)

topten-beatlesThe White Album for me is probably the reason I ever followed a path in the music biz. I’d play this album as a kid relentlessly, especially “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” which my mother would constantly downgrade as nothing but ‘evil rubbish’. I was, and still am, a Beatles fanatic. Nobody got close to them in the rock Pantheon. They were many years ahead of their time, and they still bring me so much joy to this day. It’s a happy place and the White Album, as chaotic as it is, is living proof of what a band, even in emotional and administrative tatters, can muster up with the right blend of genius.


WIPERS Over the Edge (1983)

DRL-wipers-overthWipers were a band I discovered in parts over the years, hearing one song here, one song there, thinking to myself how good they were without ever making the full commitment to lashing out on a record. “Over The Edge” was a song I heard on a radio tribute to Kurt Cobain’s death, and I remember how hard it hit me on first listen. So raw and mean, and beautifully primal in its delivery. When I finally got my hands on the album some years later I was absolutely blown away by the incredible guitar playing and superbly crafted melodies that sat beneath the darkness of singer Greg Sage’s nonconformist bluster. It’s a regular go-to in my collection.


TELEVISION Marquee Moon (1977)

DRL-televi-marqueI came to hear about Television in my early twenties. I was an ardent student of Triple R’s Galactic Zoo to the point where I’d tape the show if something else came up on a Thursday afternoon, and “Marquee Moon”, all of its glorious seven minutes, was the one song I heard on that show that shifted the poles for me like no other. The clever layering of these simple guitar phrases against each other blew me away, and it became a very influential album on how Dallas Crane went about putting their songs together from there on.


Rain Dogs (1985)

DRL-twaits-raindoOne of the first ever Tom Waits songs I heard was “9th and Hennepin” – a late-album spoken word number that dragged me down an alley I’d never been down before, and haven’t wanted to ever leave since. Waits’ expository penmanship and vivid recall ‘from the yellow windows of the evening train’ was enough for me go mining into an extraordinary catalogue and immerse myself in the very wonderful Waits universe, and Rain Dogs was the first official album I enjoyed a long happy marriage with. I would routinely give this album to everyone for their 21st birthday present, almost forcing his Cookie Monster-meets-Louis Armstrong warblings upon any recipient in sight. He’s not for everybody, but for me he’s the greatest American lyric writer that ever lived.



DRL-captai-safeasI absolutely love the Captain! The tones on this record, and the amazing songs that make up Safe As Milk became a tour van staple for Dallas Crane over the years. His willingness to corrupt and deform pop-rock’s algorithmic blueprint makes the voyage so special. Safe As Milk for the Captain is about as ‘safe’ as it gets for his vast catalogue too. It’s a strange world of psychedelic-cubist dementia, but always the trusty go-to when the outside world is coming on a little too beige.


The Low Road (1991)

DRL-beasts-lowrOne of my favourite Australian bands of all time – the Beasts of Bourbon were largely the reason I got into the Melbourne live music scene as a late teenager. Seeing them for the first time around ‘The Belly Of The Beasts’ era in the early 1990s, the Beasts for me codified everything great about Australian rock’n roll and its trashy bourbon-soaked bluesy origins. They were beautifully loose, and torrid in melody, made special by the leaning tones of Kim Salmon’s guitar, and Tex Perkins’ irrepressible presence as one of Australia’s greatest ever frontmen.


Curtis (1970)

DRL-cmayfi-curtisCurtis is a ray of light. His songs are delicate in their spiritual genesis and always talk of love. His ability to merge glorious string-laden arrangements with the black American struggle is remarkable feat, and this album stands out for me in its unique ability to give you a cuddle as you tap along to his champion boogies. I find myself particularly playing Side 1 over and over, getting lost in the golden trilogy of “The Other Side of Town”, “The Makings of You” and “We People Who Are Darker Than Blue”. It’s been a regular ‘after-a-few-wines’ album for me that I haven’t even gotten close to getting bored with yet.


ENNIO MORRICONE Peace Notes: Live In Venice (2008)

DRL-ennio-peaceEnnio for me is probably the greatest musician in the world. He could have retired after penning the peerless “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly” theme for Italian Western filmmaking maestro Sergio Leone, but we hadn’t even heard the start of what was in the tank. His melodic stylings are so evocative, it’s hard not to utter some sort of whimper when hearing classics like “Cinema Paradiso”, “A Soldier’s Theme” and “The Mission”, which somehow didn’t win the Best Film Score Oscar at the 1987 Academy Awards. This album goes through all his glorious past with absolute style and sophistication and is a regular go-to when it’s time to zone out for an hour.


MILES DAVIS Kind Of Blue (1959)

DRL-mdavis-kindofMiles is a genius and this is arguably his finest work. Having really only come together in the studio to record Kind Of Blue in 1959 not really knowing the songs, the band’s performance on this largely improvised masterpiece is nothing short of incredible. I love this album, and it was the one album that got me interested in the very wonderful world of jazz.



Secret Treaties (1974)

DRL-blueoy-secretBlue Oyster Cult are one of my favorite bands of all time. I rate Buck Dharma as one of the finest guitar players in rock history, and I can’t believe it took me 35 years to discover this album. Their occasional wacky-with-cheese lyrical stylings that talk about everything from girls to planets take the edge off the brilliantly arranged songs of general chaos. It marks a time when these guys would have maybe gone missing in the looming shadow of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but it’s a fun place and definitely worth the ride if you’ve loaded up the rocket with fuel.


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daveyWelcome to the first week of My Top Ten Records! To kick it all off for us in a big way, we have You Am I guitarist, my former bandmate and Boronia boy done good, the wonderful Davey Lane. I’m not going to give you his life story but what I will give you is a few of my favourite Davey moments. Check the fuzzed out guitar layering at 2:23 on The Pictures track “Can You Hear It” (Kicking Indifference, 2009), the guitar solo at 2:12 on the You Am I track “Gone, Gone, Gone” (Dress Me Slowly, 2001), a Pink Floyd/Beatlesque moment in “Downhill From Here” from the The Pictures’ debut album (Pieces Of Eight, 2005), and most recently from his debut solo record of last year (Atonally Young, 2015) the sublime pop of “Not An Option Now”. Without further ado…here’s Davey’s top ten!


TODD RUNDGREN  A Wizard, A True Star (1973)

DDL-toddru-wizardA complete fuckin’ bonkers record, written, engineered and produced by one of my all-time heroes, Todd Rundgren. It’s not an easy listen, but that’s what makes it so amazing. The first side is basically a bunch of vignettes rarely more than a minute long, each one a different perspective on Rundgren’s psych/prog/pop majesty. If there exists a template for everything I strive for as a solo artist, it’s the song “International Feel”.



ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA The Essential Electric Light Orchestra (2003)

DDL-ELOI know, I know, its not an actual album but I don’t think ELO actually ever had a great album, per se. Plus Noel Gallagher once told me that he only likes compilations, if it’s okay for him then it sure is okay for me. He also told me never to drop names. Ahem. Anyway, this is complete genius from top to tail. Whether you like him or think he sucks, Jeff Lynne just had an amazing knack for writing (performing, recording and producing, mind you) infectious, joyous, euphoric rock ‘n roll songs. If Mr Blue Sky doesn’t make you feel instantly happy, then you’re made of, or have recently turned to, stone (ELO fans will get that one)


THE BAND The Band (1969)

DDL-band-bandHere’s an album that looks exactly like it sounds. 5 guys in civil war-era/southern gent attire, standing in the rain, in the woods. The whole thing rendered in earthy, sepia tones. This is one of the most effortlessly brilliant records of all time. It’s joy and heartbreak all wrapped up. Dixie Down is an argument for Levon Helm being one of the all time great vocalists. The same goes for Richard Manuel on Whispering Pines, my number one all time heartbreaker. I rarely hear it without getting a little misty eyed.


In It For The Money (1997)

DDL-superg-initfoThis is everything I love about the album format. Songs that flit around in style from track to track, sometimes turning on a dime with the song itself. Bold splashes of wildly different colours. The song In It For The Money I heard for the first time in the pit at Melbourne BDO in 1997, dodging receptacles that may or may not have been filled with piss thrown by sportmetalfolk waiting for Fear Factory by the neighbouring stage. I thought it was the best song I’d ever heard. Rarely does the first time airing of a brand new song leave such a strong impression. The experience may make me especially sentimental about this record but it’s still one of my all time favourites.


THE WHO Tommy (1969)

DDL-who-tommyAn obvious choice of band for me, yeah, but possibly not an obvious choice of record (despite it being one of their biggest). If anything this is in the list because it taught me not only how to play guitar but how to really use the guitar to write songs. Learning how to play D, G and C for the first time was huge for me, don’t get me wrong, but the way Townshend uses inversions of chords, suspensions, etc on this record (possibly gleaned from classical composers) REALLY opened up a whole new world for me. One that I’m still trying to make sense of today. The fact that most of the cunts who made the records on this list weren’t more than 25 or 26 just staggers me. Bastards.


QUEEN Sheer Heart Attack (1974)

SheerHeartAttack_Booklet_BonusPAG_Layout 1An album that opens with a 3 minute guitar solo? On paper, I would have told you to get fucked, but this is different. This is Brian fuckin’ May! Anyone who knows me knows I’m a Brian May tragic – made 2 replicas of his famous homemade “Red Special” guitar, and blagged my way into meeting him to get him to sign one in Melbourne last year. Anyways, this album is perfect Queen for me – just before the hi-fi Roy Thomas Baker drum sounds, just after they’d shed the Tolkien goblins and fairies shit of the first album, with just the right mix of glam and prog with nods to the Beatles (complete with one of Freddie’s flights of vaudeville fancy). Glorious, camp and pompous. Brilliant.


DR. FEELGOOD Down By The Jetty (1975)

DDL-drfeel-downbyHere’s a record for dancing if ever there was one. Gritty, raw, dry ’70’s R&B that pulls no punches. You can almost smell the Canvey Island sea air too. Wilko Johnson’s another all time guitar player for me. So unique, That half rhythm/half lead style is something I’ve been trying to do for years. If I had to pick one party song it’d be She Does It Right. Party music by a bunch of Essex thugs gets a big tick from me.



PAUL WESTERBERG Stereo/Mono (2002)

DDL-pweste-stereoThis record got me through a particularly traumatic breakup a bunch of years ago. If you listen to it you’ll realise pretty quickly why. It’s pretty bleak stuff. As a result I couldn’t bring myself to listen to it for a long time, but nowadays I can love it again free of all the breakup bullshit. Thank you, passage of time. Westerberg’s one of the great songwriters, and this one I love because it was the first time he’d let go of the idea of making “produced” records with session musicians. It’s all Westerberg’s own sloppy drumming recorded in his basement, and all the better for it. The Stereo side is the breakup-friendly half. Conducive to trying to write oneself off, mind-numbingly bleak nights alone with a bottle of cheap Scotch ‘n all. The Mono side is a relative fiesta. Let The Bad Times Roll, indeed, and sometimes, that’s fine by me.



DDL-pmccar-ramOf course I had to put something Beatle-related in here, anyone who knows me knows I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t. Think Macca’s a square who made (what Lennon famously called) “granny shit music”? This record is fruitier than a Mildura summer and moments recall Beach Boys at their most beautiful (“Dear Boy”). Check out “Monkberry Moon Delight”. It makes no fuckin’ sense at all but McCartney’s vocal is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever heard. I guess I’ll never be remembered for my lyrical nous but when you can make complete nonsense like “so I sat in the attic a piano up my nose and the wind blew a dreadful cantata, sore was I from the crack of an enemy’s hose and the horrible sound of tomato” send a shiver up yr spine then I’m sold. And “The Back Seat Of My Car” always brings a tear to my eye – the outro of that song sounds as close to an aural representation of ascension (to heaven or to the clouds – wherever the hell it is you go when you shuffle mortal coils) as I’ve ever heard. I know that sounds like a complete wank but I don’t know how else to describe it.


COMETS ON FIRE Avatar (2006)

DDL-comets-avatarI first heard this on a day off from tour in Birmingham, one of those wonderful “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS I NEED THIS RECORD IN MY LIFE” moments. What blew my head off were not only the sounds but the sheer chaos of it all. I always maintain that music’s gotta have a sense of surprise to keep me on my toes. And this record’s got that in spades. It’s completely unhinged, psych-y, proggy Blue Cheer-ish nuts-ness. So bloody good.



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