4. I understand I am just a fan

4. Being There – Wilco

This album could well be my favourite album, and if not that, then one of the most profound and inspiring music that has shaped my life.

The track that is most intrenched in me is The Lonely 1. Sure, might not be the best song on the album, but its’ my song. In it I imagine the spotlight over Jeff Tweedy, or maybe Jay Farrar, maybe Paul Westerberg, maybe Emmylou Harris, maybe Tim Rogers…or maybe myself.

The fantasy of this album is the rock ‘n’ roll dream. It’s so meat and potatoes in some places but it’s so fun. It’s an album of demos essentially, of guys just jamming, singing about touring, playing in a rock band, etc. The title is the key, as it’s taken from the Peter Sellers film about a simple minded gardener who can only talk in gardening terms, but can also impart the greatests truths.

And this album is so fun. Sprawling long double album, one song is on it twice, and you can barely make out a word on Dreamer In My Dreams. What deaf man mixed that track? Does it matter?

A photo

I’m glad I did it,
If only once
And took the time and got to know
The people I work with
Cos I never do.

It reminds me of
That Woody song
“I loved so many people
Everywhere I go
Sometimes too much
And others not enough”

And I’m glad I took the time
And I may never see you all again
And I’m getting all existentialist now
But no, I wouldn’t mind a photo

Dear Jon

I’m just writing to say I’m leaving
I’m sorry that this ends everything
But I think you’d approve.
You were always like this anyway
Make your mark and move on
I’m treading water
So I’m going to go.

I’m sorry.

3. The Reflected Sound Of Everything


3. XO – Elliott Smith

In the last years of the 90s, those wonderful years when I was earning money but had no expenses, I went and bought just about anything recommended by to me by friends, magazines and record store clerks. So when a friend told me she was in love with this weird fellow, and when I read a little interview with him Drum Media, looking cute as an angry button on a couch with a beanie, I went out and bought the album.

I’ve never heard Miss Misery at this point, I wasn’t old enough for arthouse movies and never cared for the Academy awards. So it’s just Elliott and me, through these songs. And obviously, it’s so catchy, and so Beatle-esque, it hit.

2. Funny how you get a feel for it

Number 2 in a series of tributes to favourite albums


2. Sloan – Navy Blues

I first heard Sloan because someone wrote a review for both Sloan’s One Chord To Another and You Am I’s Hourly Daily in the one review. The next time I ever heard of Sloan was seeing a half page ad for a new album in Drum Media. The ad, like all the band’s artwork from this era, looked fantastic. It was their nod to Saul Bass (I didn’t even know who Saul Bass was at this point) and some new single with the awesome name Money City Maniacs.

A few years later I would find out why this happened. The team of fans, publicists, managers and labels that led to this record being released locally, and actually having funding for ads. But for now, back then, I was 17 and going through the biggest exploration of rock and roll I would ever take.

It was years before I really found out more about this band, and that story involves my first real crush, the West Coast of Australia and some badly photocopied articles. But until then In would listen to this album, this wonderful 70s sounding rock album, still one of THE best sounding albums ever, and look at the photos in the center spread and wonder who these guys were.

They seemed like big nerds, but cool as hell. Jay looking great as (I would later find out) Phil Spector in Easy Rider. Jay and Patrick standing at vintage microphones, with Andrew on Headphones. Chris, my early and eternal favourite, looking just dead cool. My imagination just dug so many holes about these people. In my mind they were this huge sounding Beatles-esque rock band, with a huge sound crew and lighting rig, but they crawled into the smallest of Indie rock vans to travel the yellow lines and lonely highways.

This record has so much detail, and this band had such a profound influence on me (both politically, philosphically and guitar wise), but it’s important I think to note I loved this album before I found out the lyrics of Iggy And Angus is made up by Stooges songs, that Jay was the one who played the Rhodes heavy Queen like numbers, or that the cool piano sound was a Rhodes at all.

Almost all my rock and roll fantasies are wrapped up in this album. Looking back I think it put a ceiling on my ambitions. but listen to the high harmonies! The studio trickery! The guitar wooshes. You could make records that sounded like million selling Kiss albums, on an indie label. To this day, more than any other band, I would love to be in Sloan.

In Silence

I have often, often thought about the last hours of Ian Curtis.

Of him just sitting there and looking into the future

Of watching the TV alone as the world turned again

Of another day ahead of another day behind

Of not wanting to ever to do anything at all ever again

And how hard that is to actually do

And then actually doing it.