1. The Smiths | There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
It was 2009 when we were in a tiny little home studio with Patch Robertson (Motor Ace) in North Melbourne writing and recording a bunch of tunes for a soon-to-be released EP. Patch, who was the singer/writer of one of my favorite bands ever, suggested he thought my vocal phrasing and lyrics reminded him of Morrissey... At the time, I had no idea who the Smiths were; growing up in a bubble of Pop Music. I went home and Googled Morrissey and then The Smiths. My life changed from that point on. There Is A Light... is a standout for me. To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die... Heart-aching vulnerability.
2. Talking Heads | This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
Is there a better groove ever?!! I like to surf as often as I can when I’m home and this is one track I almost always listen to on the way to the coast... It’s just an amazing driving track... The line Of all the kinds of people; you’ve got a face with a view... My heart skips a beat thinking of my wife. The sun is rising and I picture my love sleeping deep in the sheets...
3. Fleetwood Mac | Dreams
Stevie Nicks’ voice does something to me... Not always, some of the other FM tracks don’t resonate with me quite like this one. Dreams is truly a masterpiece led by some of the best drumwork I’ve ever heard as well as stunning guitars, but the hero is her vocal. So painful. I love vulnerability in a singer. Almost anyone can sign the right notes, but great singers do so much more than that... Their words are piercing...
4. The Triffids | Wide Open Road
Australia is huge!!! We’ve spent thousands of hours driving to and from gigs across the country. The Triffids are one of Australia’s most highly regarded acts ever and there’s a reason for that! Wide Open Road is the perfect moment that describes the feeling that everyone in a band in Australia has felt. The Space. The Isolation. This song is amazing.
5. Bon Iver | Blood Bank
I think I may have listened to this song a hundred times... But sung it more. It is the melody I sing at soundcheck before every gig we play. I love the melody. I love it’s bounce. I love the randomness of the lyrics. I love this song because when I sing it at soundcheck, it’s a chance to explore a type of vocal delivery I don’t really get to use during the Red Ink show... That soulful Minimal vocal is so subtle and would be lost in the midst of a Rock band. Bon Iver is not a Rock band. I saw him live with his 600 piece band and despite all of the people on stage, it still felt like an intimate gig in your lounge room.
6. Decoder Ring | Somersault (Somersault Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
I wanted my wife to walk down the aisle to this song... She didn’t quite like it as much as I do so we settled for the first dance. I love this offering from a relatively unknown Sydney act. This song was actually taken from a film score. The film starred Abby Cornish and was truly stunning. For me this song is just bliss. The super slow pace and gentle vocal hypnotizes me.
7. Maxïmo Park | The Coast Is Always Changing
Paul Smith is possibly my favorite lyricist. He is a poet, with the richest British accent imaginable. I love this song. I love the quirkiness. I love the vocals. But I mostly love the way it makes me feel thinking about the ocean near my home. I listen to this song and I’m right back at my favorite beach. Recently, whilst recording our debut album in Berlin, I was driven crazy being stuck in a landlocked city. The ocean is such a critical part of me. This song reminded me of what I was missing. I heard this song live a few months back and melted like a child.
8. U2 | Two Hearts Beat As One
I don’t know which side I’m on. I don’t know my right from left, or my right from wrong. Bono at his absolute best. The Punk-ish guitars and slamming bass and drums are so obviously contrasted with the beautiful lyrics. As a stadium band, they’ve ticked so many boxes over the years, but to me this song feels like a band playing in a club to 50 people. There’s nothing obnoxious about it. Just a fun Pop song by a young bunch of Irish lads.
9. INXS | Just Keep Walking
It took me a long time to realize that this song was by INXS. It didn’t sound like anything else I’d heard from them. It drove me to look back into their earlier music. Before the super Pop 80s synth. Just Keep Walking is aggressive. It’s super sexy and tough at the same time. I love that it is Australian. This could easily be a track by some underground hipster fad band from the UK's gutters but it’s not. Its from INXS.
10. Prince | I Wanna Be Your Lover
Prince is a boss!!! There are very few people who make music sound so dam' cool! This song is fun. Fun. FUN!!! This song is always perfect for a party. If you’re in a bad mood, this song completely shakes it up! I love his squeeles and squeakes. I Wanna Be Your Lover is a seriously cool track!