Tag: You Am I


emmaswiftI know I stated last time that My Top Ten was done and dusted for the year but we now officially have one lucky last! Emma Swift will be doing a run of dates in Australia in December (one of those includes supporting the great Ryan Adams). Emma has garnered a massive following, splitting her time gigging and recording between Sydney, Australia and Nashville, Tennessee. She was duly nominated for an Aria award for her debut self-titled record that you must indeed check out. She has also recently recorded a Limited Edition vinyl-only single with Robyn Hitchcock (of The Soft Boys fame). You can also catch Emma along with Robyn Hitchcock & The Soft Boys at The Tote, Melbourne on December 20. Here’s Emma’s most awesome list. Merry Xmas! LT


I’ve never been very good at absolutes, so putting together a Top 10 list is a fun way to try and stick to something, even though I know that this list belongs only to this moment in time, November 2016. I hope some of these records resonate!

T. REX Electric Warrior [Deluxe Edition] (1971 / 2012)

emma-trexThe shimmering galactic eroticism of this record blows my mind. From the quivering vibrato in Marc Bolan’s voice on “Cosmic Dancer” to the vampiric lust pulsing throughout “Jeepster”, each track is a joy. Whenever I feel down and out, I close my eyes, listen to T Rex at maximum volume, and think about getting a fresh perm and a silvery jumpsuit. The best part of the deluxe re-issue is the addition of “Hot Love”, my personal favourite Bolan track. I will always get a pervy kick out of the following lines:

Well she ain’t no witch and I love the way she twitch, a ha ha
Well she ain’t no witch and I love the way she twitch, a ha ha

Marc Bolan & T.Rex – Hot Love


ROWLAND S. HOWARD Pop Crimes (2009)

emma-rowlandI love this album so much I almost want to record a cover version of the whole thing. It is however, already perfect and needs no re-interpretation. The title track is a devastating masterpiece with the coolest groove and mesmerising, howling guitar and the verses show off the very best of Howard’s sardonic wit:

The Catholic church cannot verify
That there’s a single soul in hell
It’s just a wasteland of adversity
Devoid of all but the sound of wedding bells
From this vast expanse of nothing
Nothing good will come of this
But the hole in the zero
And an open-heart-surgery kiss

I am working on songs for my new record at the moment and there’s a decent amount of weird Catholic shit bubbling beneath the surface there. I know Rowland gets it.

Listen to Pop Crimes on YouTube


MARIANNE FAITHFULL Broken English (1979)

emma-marianneOnce upon a time, in a small country town far, far away, I lived with my parents and their very limited selection of CDs. As far as fathers go, I had the classic Australian “fuck-up disguised as a top bloke” Dad. He taught me many dubious skills, including how to place bets at the TAB and how to smoke a bong. He also passed on how to obsessive-compulsively listen to the same record over and over again until you live it and breathe it and feel like it’s in your DNA. And that’s how I came to discover Broken English. Now, I don’t know any other kids whose father blasted “Why’d D’ya Do It?” at maximum volume to their 13-year-old daughter as a rite of passage but I’m glad mine did. Among many revelations this album delivered, I’m certain it was the first time I’d ever heard the word “snatch” used in a couplet.

Marianne Faithfull – Why D’ya Do It?


THE SMITHS Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)

emma-smithsIn fairness, I could put any Smiths record in my Top 10 but I’m going with Strangeways because “Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me” is absolutely perfect and always makes me weep. Every songwriter knows that unrequited or doomed love is the best muse and none knew it more than 1980s Morrissey. There’s enough pent up longing in this track to fill a million teenage bedrooms and yet as a fully grown adult woman I still feel that desperation acutely. And thus, Strangeways.

The Smiths – Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me


NEIL YOUNG On The Beach (1974)

emma-neilyoungMy love, my one true musical love. A loner’s masterpiece rich in woozy guitars and bleak imagery, I never loved Neil truly until I played this record on repeat one summer in Sydney in the early 2000s. I remember the rain on my bedroom window, piles of clothes on the floor, a creepy landlord, an angry boyfriend and being utterly hypnotised by “Ambulance Blues” with its subtle jangle of tambourine and haunted harmonica. I listen to this record a lot.

Neil Young – Ambulance Blues


LUCINDA WILLIAMS Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (1998)

emma-lucindaLike The Smiths, there’s a place in my heart for all of Lucinda’s records. She’s rock and roll and sadness and beauty and poetry and sex and all life’s great offerings. Listening to her is the closest I get to going to church. I find so much comfort in her words and melodies I should pay her for therapy. I’m going with Car Wheels On A Gravel Road because I’m listening to “Metal Firecracker” right now and I’m admiring the sweetness in her voice as she sings “All I ask is, don’t tell anybody the secrets, don’t tell anybody the secrets that I told you…” What a line! There’s a very subtle harmony vocal on the chorus being sung by Jim Lauderdale too and that makes me think of people in country music with really fucking good hair and that’s a thought vortex I could stay in forever.

Lucinda Williams – Metal Firecracker


YOU AM I Hourly, Daily (1996)

zac-you-am-i-hourly-dailyI was 15 in 1997 and had never been to a rock show before I attended the Big Day Out festival in Sydney. I wore a purple t shirt, purple corduroy pants, silver Doc Martens and a goofy grin. I watched Patti Smith preach to thousands. I cried seeing The Clouds. I soaked up Tiddas and their magnificent harmonies. And… I got concussion while crowd surfing in the mosh pit to You Am I. It was the best day of my young life. Hourly, Daily makes me think of being a teenage girl growing up in Wagga Wagga, which isn’t a place I think of with great fondness usually. But when I hear this, I’m happy. I think about my suburban bedroom strewn with candles, I think about my twin baby brothers in nappies, I think about my sister playing this record on repeat, I think about having lustful thoughts about boys who played guitar and yearning to be a fully grown adult woman living in the city and going to see rock bands every night. I love that this record gave me something to grow up for.

You Am I – If We Can’t Get It Together


THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN Honey’s Dead (1992)

emma-jesusmarySince the apocalyptic US election result, I’ve been listening to the first single from this album, “Reverence” with some devotion. The noisy guitars are suitably chaotic from the get go and build to an instrumental that sounds like an amplified emergency room. This is how my brain feels when I’m walking down the streets of my adoptive American hometown at the moment. When Jim Reid sings “I wanna die” over and over again, I feel suitably adolescent and ready for the end of the world.

The Jesus And Mary Chain – Reverence


LINDA RONSTADT Living In The USA (1978)

emma-lindaLinda is the first singer I heard that made me want to be a singer. A lot of other ladies have followed – from Hope Sandoval and Harriet Wheeler to Sandy Denny, Tammy Wynette, Karen Dalton and Emmylou Harris, Dusty Springfield, Joni Mitchell… I’ve studied plenty of female voices… But Linda was the first one I listened to repeatedly. I was eight years old when I heard her version of Elvis Costello’s “Alison” and decided I wanted to be able to sing like that. This record not only introduced me to Linda and Elvis but also to Warren Zevon and that’s a musical crush I’ll have until the end of time, so there’s a lot of gold here. A sentimental favourite for sure but I’m a sentimental girl.

Linda Ronstadt – Mohammed’s Radio


ELVIS COSTELLO Imperial Bedroom (1982)

emma-elviscIn the mid-1990s, I was very much into the Britpop music that dominated the charts. I imagined England as a kind of art paradise, home to my favourite young bands as well as all the dead poets my teenage heart could handle. I discovered Oasis, Pulp, T.S. Eliot and Sylvia Plath in the same year: 1996. This was also the year I discovered that the local bakery had weekend work and if I was willing to set my alarm to six o’clock in the morning every Saturday and Sunday, I would earn enough cash on the weekends to start building a real music collection instead of taping songs I liked off the radio. I spent all my money on mostly British albums and more money on Elvis Costello than anyone else. A teenage word nerd, I was drawn to his verbosity, his lyrical ambition and the way he sounded slightly pleased with himself whenever he’d come up with something really tasty. Imperial Bedroom is my all-time favourite Costello record. Time stops when I listen to “Kid About It”.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Kid About It


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luke-paulmanning-bigHi folks, it’s getting close to the business end of the year and I would like to give a shout out and a huge thanks to each and every one of the contributors and readers for the inaugural season of My Top Ten. What a year it’s been! We’ve had Tim Rogers, Ashley Naylor, Ben Salter, Alan Brough, Davey Lane, Link McLennan, Dave Larkin, Laura Imbruglia, Steve Pinkerton, Zac Anthony, Mick Thomas, Jeff Jenkins and Seja Vogel!  I wasn’t sure how long this would actually last but I’m so glad it grew into something somewhat larger than expected. I will leave you (as I know you’ve been hanging out for this!!) with my very own top ten. I did this a while ago as a template for the site. I know it’s the classic saying, but I hope you’ve had as much fun reading MTT as I have being able to bring it to you. Back in 2017, bigger ‘n’ better – stay tooned!!


THE STONE ROSES The Stone Roses (1989)

topten-stonerosesI bought this album when I was about 12 from Rockaway records on the Gold Coast (where I spent my formative years). There weren’t many record stores around but this was a good one. At the time I was listening to a lot of The Cure, Dinosaur Jr and a new band called Nirvana…yep I was a pretty cool 12-year-old! On this particular day I was in the record store and I was going to buy another Cure album to add to the collection but I picked up the Stone Roses album knowing absolutely nothing about them, it was just something about that Jackson Pollock-esque look of the cover. When I flipped the album over, they looked really fucking cool too (and still do mind you) and the title of the first song “I Wanna Be Adored” just sold me. I literally just took a punt and bought it. I put it on when I got home and was instantaneously blown away. This was some of the most brilliant songwriting I’d ever heard but in the vein of the Beatles or something. As I grew older with it, it all made sense to me. It opened the gates to a whole new breed of bands I got into. Still one of the greatest and most important records of all time. Masterpiece.


THE PIXIES Surfer Rosa (1988)

topten-pixiesI remember being at a gig they held at the Milton Bowl when I lived in Brisbane. I was about 16 at the time. Gaslight Radio, Moler and Sandpit were also playing if I recall. Anyhoo, I couldn’t get into the bar as I was underage and all my mates were a bit older, so one of my friends suggested we go home and have some beers and listen to the Pixies “cos all these bands think they’re the Pixies”! So we got home and I’d never really sat and heard them before and that was the first time I had listened to Surfer Rosa. It was brutal, beautiful, raw and melodic with twisted harmonies, and I fell in love with them from then on. Frank Black is one of the great lyricists.


THE ROLLING STONES Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) (1966)

topten-rollingstonesA close friend’s Dad gave me this compilation on vinyl when I was 14. Thanks Bob! I’d always been into the Beatles ever since I could remember and didn’t know much about the Stones. I adored all these early songs. I dearly love a lot of the Stones early 60s and early 70s records and I find myself in the same scenario with the Beatles where it’s hard for me to choose a favourite, so this compilation is where my relationship with the Stones began.



OASIS Definitely Maybe (1994)

topten-oasisTo me, this album came out and blew everything else out of the water. People talk of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory as being THE classic Oasis album but this record kicks its arse I think. Oasis are like all my favourite bands rolled into one. My brother bought the “Supersonic” single home one day before anyone here knew them. He played it for me and it was one of the most powerful sounding songs I had ever heard. In listening to Definitely Maybe for the first time I would go as far as to say it was quite a transcendental experience. As I went along I found Oasis’ B-sides were as good as the A-sides which led me to think they were the best band since the Beatles. Like The Stone Roses first album this one just hit all the right notes and I think was just as important for its time. Back-to-basics barre chords, simple direct lyrics, classic guitar solos and just fuckin’ balls-out loud! Brilliant. Life changing. The last truly great rock band.


SMASHING PUMPKINS Siamese Dream (1993)

topten-smashingpumpkinsSome may find this an interesting choice but this record had a huge impact on me. Early to mid-nineties was just such a great era for music and I was a teenager and listening to stuff like this when I was in high school and it just made me want to leave school and join a band. This album has the best drumming on it and over-the-top guitar sounds that are really heavy but evenly melodic at the same time. Funny thing is I don’t really like any other Smashing Pumpkins records at all! They just nailed it on this I think. I got real obsessed and went on the hunt to find the exact guitar pedals Billy Corgan uses on this album and got most of them but still haven’t found the right outlet for my heavier side (as yet!). So I just fuck around with them in the bedroom.


THE BEATLES The Beatles (White Album) (1968)

topten-beatlesI could easily fill up my top ten with Beatles records, but if I had to pick one the White Album would be it. When I was in my first band Lavish we drove from the Gold Coast to Brisbane regularly to play gigs cos there were only about one or two places to play on the Gold Coast! But whenever I listen to this album it reminds me of our drive home from Brisbane in the early days. It would only be my brother (who was also in the band) and his girlfriend at the time and it seemed we just listened to the White Album all the time on the way back after the gigs. Songs like “Cry, Baby, Cry”, “Julia” and “I Will” send shivers down my spine. I found it hard to choose a favourite Beatles album. I like ’em all equally, just depends which one I’m listening to at the time! My favourite band of all time.


CROWDED HOUSE Together Alone (1993)

topten-crowdedhouseApart from those chaps from the Beatles, Neil Finn is quite possibly my favourite songwriter of all time. So I wouldn’t feel right without including something from his ever expansive body of work. I chose this album as I think it is brilliant from top to tail. “Kare Kare”, “Nails In My Feet”, “Fingers Of Love”. Songwriting at its finest.




THE LEMONHEADS It’s A Shame About Ray (1992)

topten-lemonheadsMy Grandfather used to buy me records and tapes every Christmas and they would always be hit and miss. You could end up with Al Jarreau or Lionel Richie, or occasionally he would come out with a ripper like this one. I’d never even heard of the Lemonheads at the time but thought I’d give it a listen because of the funny name and I’m glad I did. Every single song on this album is killer. Evan’s voice is so rich and effortless and the songs are just perfect pop. As fate would have it I somehow ended up playing bass for Evan Dando 10 or so years later. One of the high points of my career, even though I was a nervous wreck!


DINOSAUR JR Green Mind (1991)

topten-dinosaurjrGreen Mind was another one I got into as a pre-adolescent. A good friend of mine growing up had an older brother who was a bit wild and was in the know of all things music. It seemed he was the first person to know of Nirvana. He also used to play with a machete in his swimming pool, but that’s another story. So we would go into his bedroom and listen to his records when he was out. I always remember listening to this particular album obsessively and I especially dug the cover. I would listen to the tracks “The Wagon” and “Puke & Cry” on repeat. Me and my friend both being aspiring musicians and listening to stuff like this at that age filled our imaginations with thoughts of how we could create a cunning plan to leave school and form our own band. I still listen to this album every now and again.


YOU AM I Hi Fi Way (1995)

topten-youamiIt’s a toss-up between this and Hourly, Daily but this came first. I remember the day I bought this record. I was in Myer of all places. I’d saved up my pennies and I’d just started getting into a lot of bands like the Stones and The Who and I saw this record on the shelf and I was just intrigued by seeing the song titles on the front of the CD and the whole 60s/70s kinda look, and I just took a punt and bought it. Not really knowing anything about them really – I missed Sound As Ever when it came out but I think I had the “Berlin Chair” single with “I Can’t Explain” on it that led me to this. Superb songwriting and the sound of a band absolutely on fire. Showed me we had a band that could match any of the overseas acts. Rusty’s drumming stands out on this record and is phenomenal. “Purple Sneakers” is the perfect song.


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.



The Wellingtons on Bandcamp

The Wellingtons Facebook page


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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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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