Photo by Stephen Oxenbury

1. Nick Drake | Hazey Jane II
I only pick this song because it was the first time I heard him sing. It could be any of his. It was 1982 and I found a copy of Bryter Layter in a second hand store in Newcastle (Australia). I only liked it for the cover photo. Nick sitting there, lank hair, shoes off. I’d never heard of him. I also saw John Cale in the credits so I took it home, put it on. The opening track was an instrumental. Then Hazey Jane II came on and Nick started singing and it was like taking my first drink. I was living in a bedsit just off the main street and night and day forever I played that album. I made cassettes for friends. In 1985 I found an album Heaven In A Wild Flower which was a compilation and the first I knew there were other albums. In 1998 when my band was playing in London I traveled to Danzey by train and walked to the village to visit his resting place. I had a copy of our new album as a gift for Nick’s folks, Rodney & Molly, who I had heard gladly welcome pilgrims. I found the family house and knocked and was told they had both passed away.

2. Smog | Running The Loping
I keep coming back to this song, it says so much but also captures Stillness & Nothingness. Like many of my favourite artists, his oeuvre merges into one.

3. Jarvis Cocker | From Auschwitz To Ipswich
...Not one single soul was saved. I was ordering an Indian take-away... One of my favourite lines of all time. The sentiment of this song carves like a knife through the trollop of Pop.

4. Elliott Smith | Wouldn't Mama Be Proud?
He paints such a picture and, perhaps, now knowing the back end of the story, the irony cuts even deeper. I miss him a lot. I was at a Cat Power show and he was standing beside me. Just before we left I told him I loved him.

5. New Order | Age Of Consent
In 1983 I was living in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, going to Art School, surfing, gobbling whatever I could, playing bass in a romantic Punk band. The guitar player made me a mix tape that included Age Of Consent and I guess it summed up the times. There were loads of great songs on that tape and I played it for years. In 1985 I saw New Order play in Manhattan. They got about 15 minutes into the set when something ticked them off and they quit the gig. People threw chairs and whatever they could at the stage. It was mayhem and everything I hoped they would be.

6. Sparklehorse | Shade And Honey 
It could be any Sparklehorse song, but this is playing today. From the opening note of Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot through to every thing he ever did, Mark Linkous saved me a thousand times. I think actually, maybe I should pick Saturday.

7. Elton John | Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters
An old friend of mine played piano and we’d go around to his house after School and jam. It was the mid to late 70’s and he loved Elton John. We played Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters a lot. What maybe makes this song more poignant for me was that my old friend who was the most ridiculously talented musician went on to become a banker.

8. Leonard Cohen | I Can’t Forget
I first heard a Leonard Cohen album in 1982. I think it was New Skin For The Old Ceremony. Then I went back through and explored his catalogue and poetry and books. Needless to say it was a revelation and I’m sure he is one of my greatest lyrical influences. This particular song resonates perhaps because I was in Greece in 1988 and I’m Your Man had just come out and there were Life-size black & white cut outs of Leonard outside all the Music stores eating a yellow banana. I have always found him very amusing. My parents came from Greece so I was initially intrigued to learn he spent a lot of time on the island of Hydra. Sometime in the late 90’s I was there and met an older German lady who knew he & Suzanne well. She wrote a letter of introduction for me and drew a map to their house. I found it, but felt dumb about intruding.

9. The Necks | Sex 
How can this record be? After so many listens it continues to change. It’s like watching the Sea. And it’s the most aptly titled of tracks.

10. David Lane | Lucky Joe
I’m sure I first heard this song in a bar in Glebe (Australia) and it quickly became one of my favourites. Why, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s the way he describes the Isolation you feel at the end of the working day and Hope seems gone, but when really it’s everywhere around you. I later met the singer and we’ve gone on to be friends. It was recorded some years later for his Compass album.