Here they are, our Top Five Album winners (and one ring in). Everyone gets a $25 iTunes voucher and a fabulous Crikey ME07 teeshirt (get yours for only $20 here) for their trouble. Everyone except First Dog On The Moon, coz he’s one of us (but we liked his list).
First Dog On The Moon
1. Are we not men? We are Devo – Devo: Easily the greatest record of all time. Don’t need to pay for it as I have about 20 different vinyl copies from when I was a fascist record nerd in 1981. Japanese, German, US, UK pressings, Orange Vinyl, Marble Vinyl, multiple bootlegs. (If anybody wants to buy one….)
2. The Bends – Radiohead: Priceless – would pay zillions if I didnt already own it. Makes all other Radiohead sound like someone other than Radiohead.
3. Leave Home – The Ramones: $50 – Is there a better Ramones record? Possibly.
4. Jesus Christ Superstar sound track: Have just rediscovered this – $5 at a garage sale from someone who didn’t know its true worth.
5. Mule Variations – Tom Waits: Utterly lovely, but cant afford to buy it as I am saving up for to pay for my fare home from the 80’s.
1. Young Marble Giants: If a sound belongs to the angels,this is it. Hence it is purely ephemeral ecstasy-inducing quality. I’d sell my soul to the devil to get my hands on this again,content in the knowledge that these angels would redeem me instantly.
2. American Idiot – Green Day: I’d pay $5 as there are still lots of copies around. This is a ‘Desert Island’ disc with the emphasis on an ability to undermine the Bush Administration, combined eloquently with melodic fugues on 21st century alienation.
3. London Calling – The Clash: The quality of its (lyrical) rebellion against authority is unsurpassed and its music is a tour de force of creative rage. A social conscience has never sounded so good. $1 million to be paid to the Joe Strummer Home for Idealistic Musicians.
4. X Aspirations – X: The Sex Pistols of Australia. They skewered ‘aspirational’ Australia before it even had a name. Lobby Lloyd produced it; Ian Rilen (ex-Rose Tattoo) was in it; I would pay $100,000 for it and direct that the money go to the ‘Ian Rilen Home for Unreconstructed Rock’n’ Rollers’.
5. The Original Reggae and Ska Album – Various: I’m now well and truly broke,so all I can afford is a $10 special. Many of the bands on this album believed they could change the world and address its injustices via music. Madness, The Specials, Selecter, The Beat, Althea and Donna, The Ruts, etc.etc. Proud, polemic, funny, satirical, idealistic, cosmic souls who provided the soundtrack to worthy causes such as ‘Rock Against Racism’. Priceless.
1. Golden Duck – Moler: $300. A strange choice perhaps, but since its release 10 years ago this album, which contains at least eight singles, has regularly blasted from the various stereos, computers, Walkmen and cars that I’ve owned. The tasty Helen Cattanach has nothing to do with it.
2. The End of Silence – Rollins Band: $200. Anybody bored with the pretentiousness and sheer wankery of musicians and their industry can find the cure right here. Rock’s most honest and hard-working campaigner, ex-Black Flager Hank Rollins produced a string of fine hard rock albums and played about 40,000 gigs in a veritable UN roundtable of countries. Get your ears ringing and a smile a mile wide with this one. Hank currently hosts a talk show on cable TV.
3. Sound as Ever – You Am I: $150. Those used to the post-success sound of Tim Rogers’s famous rock outfit might be shocked by the early work, which attacks with the subtlety of a cluster bomb. You Am I with Mark Tunaley pounding the drum kit sounded rather different to the Beatley, happy-clappy, ballady version of the band that JJJ found much less threatening. And all the better for it.
4. Harry’s Reasons – Spy vs Spy: $100. In the 1980s it seemed anybody with a guitar could forge a presence on the Australian music scene. But honesty and talent have always somehow threatened the ironically-named ‘creatives’ who run the record companies, while industry gatekeepers like Molly Meldrum wouldn’t know talent if (unless?) it slapped them on the bum. In a scene that gave us Australian Crawl, Uncanny X-Men, and Pseudo Echo, the Spies spoke to a completely different audience. More exquisite noise than any three-piece has any right to make. Avoid their later, Christian-inspired work.
5. Last of the V8 Interceptors – Front End Loader: $100. I cheerfully spent far more than this to access the live FEL experience, and later the similar, lounge style of FEL frontman Bowden Campbell’s unrecorded ensemble The Impossibles. One of the few bands working inner-city Sydney that regularly brought in kids from the Western and outer suburbs. A very Australian sense of humour, crisp hard-rock drumming from Pete Kostic, and a thinly-veiled contempt for an industry that by the time of V8’s release was in the advanced stages of decay.
1. Armed Forces – Elvis Costello: $50. That’s the going rate on e-bay for the fold out sleeve, 12″ vinyl, free 7″ EP included version of this, which I bought in the week of release in the fabulous GI Records in Edinburgh and then played constantly for months. I lusted after a copy of the ‘Live at the El Macombo’ bootleg from which the live tracks on the free EP were taken after a local radio station played loads of them. When that was eventually legally released about twenty years later I bought the CD, played it once and then never played it again. Gordon Inglis (the GI of GI Records), now deals in antiques on ebay. I guess we’re both a bit older now.
2. Triple J Hot 100 Volume 3: $34.95. Still available from the ABC Shop, the album that turned me on to Australian music in a big way after I picked it up in HMV in Hong Kong. It led to an expensive but fulfilling relationship with Greg’s Music World (an early online music store based in Batemans Bay, I think) and provided some early impetus in a process which ultimately led to my coming to Australia to live last year. Not a bad return, even if I did recognize too many of the tracks on this from having been used as background music on Home & Away.
3. Understand – Brian: €15.65 plus p&p. One of the few albums I own that I go back to year after year and love again. OK, it’s twee(ish) pop, recorded in his bedroom using a very primitive midi but it just captures the heartfelt loneliness that life can bring you in a way that nothing else before or since has done for me. No-one else who had a non-speaking part playing a Priest in Father Ted made an album this good.
4. His’n’hers – Pulp: $10. My brother gave me a copy of this on tape not long after it came out, but like so many other tapes he gave me I never really bothered to give it a listen. Then in 1994 I got made redundant, went back to University and started hanging out with a crowd of indie kids about ten years younger than I was. Monday nights were spent down the Student’s Union Biko Bar (every Uni in the UK had one back then) where I was introduced to virtually every track on this album. I couldn’t dance then (and I can’t dance now) but that didn’t matter when the beer was only 50p a pint (time may have altered my memory of this somewhat).
5. Casual S-x In the Cineplex – The Sultans of Ping FC: $100.
It’s all right to say things can only get better
If you haven’t just lost your brand new sweater
Pure new wool and perfect stitches
Not the type of jumper that makes you itch, oh no
Dancing in the disco, go go go.
Then they toured Japan, picked up a load of groupies and imploded. But every track on this album remains priceless, including the punk paean to knitwear that is “Where’s me jumper?”.
In all truth:
1. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Club Hearts Band – The Beatles: $5 million plus the contents of my bathroom cabinet AND my freezer. Why – so hard to pick the best Beatles album – Revolver, Rubber Soul, White, Abbey Road but it must be Pepper because of the magical, amazing “Lucy”.
2. Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin: $5 million plus my pet mud shark Larry. Why: the gorgeous diversity of this happy, guitar-soaked album that took rock to places that have never been seen since – check out “The Ocean” (I would pay $5m for that song alone), “Dancing Days”, “The Song Remains the Same”, “Over The Hills and Faraway”.
3. Herb Albert Presents – Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66: $5 million, the drinks cabinet, two first class tickets to Rio de Janeiro. Why: one day I in 1969 I bought my first two records – this and Abbey Road – not bad! Only Sergio was able to make cover versions better than the original Beatles – see his ultra-sexy and cool version of “Daytripper”. The ultimate party album combining elegant, sophisticated piano, infectious bossa nova rhythms and luscious hot singing. Check out “Mas Que Nada”, “The Joker”, “Going Out of My Head Over You”, “Slow Hot Wind” – if only life could be a bossa nova song!
4. Talking Book – Stevie Wonder: $5 million and all my Jamiroquai albums (but I am keeping my Alicia Keyes and India Arie). Why: bow down before the glory of Stevie, the beauty of his soul, his sexy funky playing, the joy and gentleness of “Sunshine”, the melancholy of “Tuesday Heartbreak” and the 17-syllable song titles.
5. Our Favourite Shop – The Style Council: $5 million and renunciation of my allegiance to the Tories. Why: a hard call between this group and the Smiths “Meat is Murder” for 5th spot but the latter cast such a depressing cloud over the 1980s (Morrissey became known as the Manchester Moan in my house) that I am voting for the flawless sing-along pop perfection, joy, energy and positivity of this masterpiece. Check out “Luck”, “Down in the Seine”, “Man of Great Promise”, “Walls Come Tumbling Down” (prescient given it was made in 1985 not 1989!) and “Shout to the Top”.
1. Want One – Rufus Wainwright: Nothing. I would however fanatically go and see every live performance humanly possible.
2. (infinity symbol) – Godspeed You! – Black Emperor: $30. One of the only CDs I’ve ever bought that felt like it was worth the price of entry – amusingly enough its saturated with apocalyptic premonitions and yearning for the final fall of the capitalist establishment. Go figure.
3. We’re Only In It For The Money – Frank Zappa + the Mothers of Invention: I’d pirate it, and then (with a certain degree of irony) pay the Zappa Estate six hundred million dollars.
4. Blue – Joni Mitchell: I’d kiss her. Mouthwash was invented for a reason.
5. Timbaland – Justin Timberlake: A d-ck in a box. Probably his.