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.


Tim’s website

Tim’s Facebook

You Am I’s website


link-meanie-2015-700x700So chuffed this fortnight to have Link ‘Meanie’ McLennan share with us his Top Ten. Amongst Link’s many bands throughout the years, check out this lost classic from ’97 by his short-lived group Tomorrow People called “Proof” (you can find the clip on YouTube), it’s an absolute killer guitar-pop gem, worth hunting for. And for a few of my other favourite moments of Link’s check out the Bakelite Age’s “The Dead Play Well” from Malleable Demons Plus Q (2006) and the great tones of “In Love With The World” from Primitive Clockwork (2012) by his current project Sun God Replica.

Link: “I’ve left bands like the Beatles, The Who, Bowie, Stones, etc. off this list as it’s probably uninteresting to hear about those records for the millionth time. I’m sure I’ve missed some pearlers, but here goes.”

X At Home With You (1985)

link-x-athomeOne of the world’s most unique sounding bands. Great raw rock‘n’roll songs with moments that will hit you in the heart as much as any artist. With the unmistakable individual styles of Rilen, Green and Lucas, there’s a reason why no band (to my knowledge) has ever sounded quite like this.




THE NAZZ Nazz (1968) or Nazz Nazz (1969)

link-nazz-nazzI can’t decide. Amazingly structured melodic 60s rock with killer hooks. Some great ballads too. I remember seeing a clip for “Open My Eyes” in my teens and thinking it was the coolest thing ever apart from “George Bean And The Runners” in the film Privilege which I saw when I was even younger.




BLACK SABBATH Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)

link-blacks-sabbatThis is such a strong album. Pretty much the Sergeant Pepper’s of heavy rock. Some of the best cover artwork ever too.





THE JAM Snap! (Best Of) (1983)

link-thejam-snapMy brother got me into The Jam and owned all of their records but I would usually just go to Snap! It’s a platter of wall to wall hits that should make some so-called “best of” albums shrink with embarrassment and excuse themselves from the record collection.




GAME THEORY The Big Shot Chronicles (1986)

link-gameth-bigshoI heard ” Erica’s Word” off this album on 3PBS or 3RRR back in the mid-80s I think and it had a huge impact on me. I asked for it for Xmas and the rest of the album didn’t disappoint. Check out the amazing chorus on the acoustic “Regenisraen”.




THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN Psychocandy (1985)

link-jesusa-psychoOkay, few bands made a bigger impression on the teenage me. Forget what I said about The Nazz clip. The clip for “You Trip Me Up” was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I jumped the gun after seeing the clip and went to Missing Link when Monday came only to find out that Psychocandy wasn’t even out yet. I bought the “Some Candy Talking” single instead. I went to see them at the Metro in ‘88 and saw them in the cinema asking directions to the venue (I think). I was too nervous to go up and help. I befriended Ash Naylor that night who was very gracious about my band ‘The Brain Donors’ letting down the tyres of his car at some uni in the middle of nowhere. We thought his band ‘The Swarm’ had stolen our slab.


THE GUN CLUB Fire Of Love (1981)

link-gunclu-fireofMy eldest sister got me into this album and I played it to death (my own copy, not hers). I was jealous of J.L. Pierce’s ability to sing out of tune and make it sound fantastic. I think it takes a combination of a certain voice and shitloads of conviction to pull that off. I experimented with it on 4-track cassette recordings but it didn’t really work. I only sound half decent if I’m in tune.




link-echoth-oceanrI owe a lot to my two eldest siblings in terms of a musical introduction and here’s another one my brother showed me. This album is a great Sunday record that carries you away and sets you adrift on a raft in the middle of a melancholy sea.




SONIC YOUTH Goo (1990)

link-sonicy-gooWhilst I love Daydream Nation and “Teen Age Riot” is one of my all-time favourite songs, I can’t go past Goo for its amazing and consistently great track list. There’s such a great flow to the record and my overall emotional response is romantic, warm and fuzzy melancholic nostalgia.




DARK THRONE Transilvanian Hunger (1994)

link-darkth-transI thought I’d put something a bit different on here just for the hell of it. I used to listen to more metal in my early teens and to this day still have the occasional Celtic Frost, Kreator, etc. nostalgia session, but nothing gets played more than this album which I only discovered about 8 or so years ago. It is relentless from start to finish but has some amazingly beautiful chord progressions under the throat-shredded vocals and ultra low-fi production. The effect it had on me was so unique that I could listen to it and then go straight to playing rhythm and blues with The Breadmakers half an hour later. Normally listening to those sorts of bands would be too jarring beforehand. As I said, I have listened to very little of this stuff for the last 30 years but this one is always there.


Sun God Replica’s website


ashThis fortnight we have the great man Ashley Naylor, frontman and guitarist for one of Australia’s best ever rock trios, Even. Some sensational album choices with some great insight into his selections on this one. If I had my own list of top ten Aussie albums Even’s Less Is More (1996) would be right up there. Check out one of my all-time favourite songs “Don’t Wait” from the album and listen for the guitar break at 2:11, it’ll send shivers down your spine. You can also look forward to the second LP from one of his many musical projects, The Ronson Hangup in 2016! Enjoy!



ash-Explosive Hits75This compilation album was a vivid soundtrack to my early childhood. It had John Paul Young, Ross Ryan, AC/DC and Sherbet among others. My absolute favourite track is “You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt. It still gives me chills and the play out at the end is one of the greatest moments in rock history. I often search for endings in songs I write which reflect that feeling of melancholy and elation. Even’s track “We Are The Purple Nazz” has an ending purely based on this idea.



KISS Double Platinum (1978)

ash-kiss-doubleAnother 70s compilation album. Kiss was my first real rock and roll obsession. Everything about them seemed magical. The songs are bulletproof, albeit quite archaic in their content. As a guitar player, listening to and subsequently learning Kiss songs is like learning the musical version of primary colours. Big, bold and strong. I am still fascinated by Kiss.



Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

ash-ledzep-ledzepIVOne night I heard “Black Dog” on the radio and my world changed. I used to tape songs on the radio and was lucky enough to tape this song on 3XY. I later progressed to buying the album on cassette and vinyl and shortly after bought every Zeppelin album, aided by my Mum’s employee discount at the whitegoods company she worked for. One of the stores had a record bar in the front of the shop. Bingo!! I went on an adolescent quest to find bootlegs and clippings and anything related to this band. Although not obviously apparent in the music I create, Led Zeppelin has had a profound influence on me. Led Zeppelin IV is the album that I latched on to as a younger person, along with Houses Of The Holy. I attempted to learn these songs, often barking up the wrong tree. It was later on when albums such as Physical Graffiti and Presence became easier to digest. I think I need another list purely for Led Zeppelin albums…


THE BEATLES Rubber Soul (1965)

ash-beatles-rubberIt’s impossible for me to isolate a Beatles album in a varying list of artists but for today I’m putting Rubber Soul on my list. I had a big awakening with The Beatles in the mid-80s. Rubber Soul was one of the first I had bought on vinyl. Prior to this a school mate had taped all their albums for me and my Beatles obsession was in full whack. Their sound is so familiar to me that their influence has become subconscious.



THE SMITHS The Queen Is Dead (1986)

ash-smiths-queenIn the sonic wasteland of the 80s The Smiths stood out like the proverbial. Although an obviously different sound and vibe from Zep, the similarity to me is The Smiths, like Zep, boast a lineup of four virtuosos. The Beatles members had a lot of crossover with roles but bands like Zep and The Smiths provided me with a formula made up of four basic elements combining, all leading in their own way but not spoiling the broth. Aside from such theoretical rambling, it’s the songs which remain the defining factor in what draws me to an artist or band. The Smiths had such a powerful double-headed songwriting duo in Marr and Morissey it’s almost impossible to fail. The sophistication in Marr’s tunes and the audacity of Morrissey’s words were so fresh and unique. I often marvel at how a band like The Smiths ever existed. My favourite track is the opener, “The Queen Is Dead”. Spikey, punky, epic. Unprecedented music made by a band at the absolute zenith of their alarmingly short career.



ash-davidb-hunkydIt’s difficult to settle on one particular Bowie album for me but HUNKY DORY stands out for many reasons. There is a unique charm to this record, an almost self-effacing humility. In retrospect this album almost seems like the last of the 70s Bowie albums that had no overriding schtick, like Ziggy or Aladdin Sane. It’s just an album full of incredible songs by an artist on the cusp of greatness. His hero-worship songs directed to Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan also give an insight into his world. “Kooks” is about as autobiographical as Bowie was in this period and for me the best song about becoming a parent that I know of. Morrissey would later steal the “throw your homework on to the fire” concept for “Sheila Take A Bow”. HUNKY DORY is an album I recommend to people if they are looking for an entry
point into early 70s Bowie. In my half sleep I was thinking that albums like Ziggy and Diamond Dogs are like a massive night out but HUNKY DORY is like a great weekend in beautiful wilderness, a place one never tires of returning to.


THE STONE ROSES The Stone Roses (1989)

topten-stonerosesI waited all of the 80s for this band. I loved The Beatles, Zeppelin and The Smiths but this band was a beautiful psychedelic-punk-groove crystallization of all the things I love about pop and rock music. The songs have bite and swagger and instant classic status. It’s hard for me to think of another album so full of songs I wished I’d written. I once told a friend I want to be Ian Brown AND John Squire, knowing full well this would never be remotely possible. I still have a pile of dusty old NMEs with these boys on the cover. When a lot of my peers around this time were listening to Mudhoney and early Nirvana I was fully entrenched in the world of THE STONE ROSES. Apart from “Hey Jude”, “I Am The Resurrection” is my favourite wig out of all time. As if the song isn’t awesome enough, it segues into one of the greatest endings ever committed to 2-inch tape. One lasting memory for me is the day I bought this album. I caught the tram home and every step I took towards home, my heart and head got lighter. Once the headphones were on my world was transformed. Amen.


DAVID CROSBY If I Could Only Remember My Name (1971)

ash-dcrosb-ificouI am a fan of most of the CSN & Y material but Crosby’s solo album from 1971 is something special. It features cameos from many of the key players in that whole Laurel Canyon world of the late 60s and early 70s but these guest appearances from Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash and Grace Slick never overshadow the Crosby vibe. A well-documented love of drugs and firearms does not diminish the beauty, subtlety and focus within this album. He is a one-man choir at times and in other instances a ringleader of freaky guitar jams with all his mates including Jerry Garcia and Neil Young among many others. Crosby’s lyrics are often laden with quasi-hippy idealism but that’s fine by me as they are wry, anti-establishment and to the point. His well-worded pot shots at bureaucrats and government crooks who are (still) ruining the world are set to the backdrop of music that comes from a dreamy brew of rock, folk, jazz and classical. The album’s choral closing piece has been well-documented as a sonic requiem for his deceased girlfriend Christine Hinton. One can only imagine the sensation of hearing this first hand in the studio as Crosby layered vocal after vocal to mesmerising effect. “Laughing” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever listened to. I often reach for this album to remind myself that rock music can be truly liberating especially when not aimed at a commercial target. Amazing record.


MIDNIGHT OIL 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 (1982)

ash-midnig-109876As a teenager in the early 80s, I was transfixed by the twin guitar attack of Martin Rotsey and Jim Moginie, as I was later in the 80s by Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes from the Church. The 10,9,8 album was a massive moment in Australian music and I was caught up in the wave like many suburban kids at this time. There was something so powerful about this band at this point in time that I feel blessed to have seen them in 1984, merely two years after 10,9,8 was released. The Oils did not deal in hackneyed songs of love, relationships or clichéd formulaic rock. Their take on any issue was thrust upon the listening public in a unique ideological and musical assault. The depth of their musicality is perfectly captured on this album produced by Nick Launay. No album before or since sounds like this record. I later discovered, aside from Launay’s incredible talent as a producer/engineer, Rob Hirst’s drums were recorded separately from the cymbals on many of the tracks. The isolation of the drums and cymbals on this record add to the clarity and power of the album. The guitars and keyboards majestically weave around each other, sometimes flying in formation, other times jaggedly running parallel and occasionally dissonant but always brilliant. The vocals are layered and each lyric is delivered with maximum commitment, a single word never wasted. Peter Gifford’s bass lines are so melodic and powerful and often improbable. This is not a “live” sounding record but somehow Midnight Oil and Nick Launay captured magic energy that is often elusive in the recording studio. Half the battle is won when the songs are as good as “Only The Strong”, “Read About It”, “Short Memory” and “Scream In Blue”. Many bands would be content to have one of these songs on an album let alone an album full of them. I recently had the pleasure and audacity to tell Peter Garrett that I consider 10,9,8 to be the Australian Sgt. Pepper. Graciously, he did not refute my wild suggestion and went on to tell me how he stayed on in London to mix the record with Nick Launay while the rest of the band flew home to Sydney. I could sense the pride in the work, even after all these years and rightly so. Surprise yourself one day by putting this record on through a quality set of headphones and indulge.


Such is the angst of deciding on a compact list of TEN albums, I have been kindly afforded the luxury of reserving my tenth place for many of the albums I would have put in the list, had the list been longer. For me some acts such as The Beatles, Bowie and Zeppelin require their own list.

THE SMALL FACES – Ogden’s Nutgone Flake
R.E.M – Life’s Rich Pageant, Reckoning, Fables Of the Reconstruction
TEMPLES – Sun Structures
HOODOO GURUS – Mars Needs Guitars, Stoneage Romeos
FUNKADELIC – Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On
THE SHINS – Oh Inverted World
JIMI HENDRIX – Are You Experienced
THE CHURCH – Heyday, The Blurred Crusade.
NEIL YOUNG – Decade, After The Goldrush.
THE DOORS – Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine
THE POSIES – Frosting On The Beater
THE WHO – Who’s Next
BADFINGER – Straight Up
THE ANYONES – Lone Rider
YOU AM I – Hi Fi Way
THE KINKS – Muswell Hillbillies, The Village Green Preservation Society
PRINCE – Around The World In A Day
THE ROLLING STONES – Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goats Head Soup.
THE JAM – Sound Effects, Snap!
THE LA’S – (self titled)


Even’s website


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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My Top Ten

hopper230815-04Welcome to My Top Ten, the fortnightly blog for music lovers who like to know where their favourite artists find their inspiration! Many a band or song or album has been discovered by a music fan because it was recommended by a musician they already loved. If you’ve always wondered what your favourite band or artist’s own Top Ten albums are, you’ve come to the right place! My name’s Luke Thomas, and over the coming months I’ll ask some of Australia’s best musicians about the albums that have shaped their lives and that they can’t live without. If there is someone you’d like me to ask, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best!