Tag Archive: Children Collide

10 Greatest Australian Albums

As you may know, Triple J are in the process of taking votes for their upcoming Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time countdown. Being the semi-obsessed music lover that I am, I could not pass up the opportunity to exert my influence on the outcome. However, the task of choosing only the ten best Australian albums proved somewhat difficult, and did result in a number of excellent albums being omitted from my final list.

Anyway, for the pleasure of the two or so blog readers I have, I’ve decided to share with you my top 10 (in no particular order, except for denoting my number 1 choice) as well as a few glaring omissions that were reluctantly made due to capacity constraints.

10. Birds of Tokyo – Universes

It was impossible to pass up Universes, the Birds’ second release, and arguably still their greatest. A very solid release balancing harder alternative elements with a pop-rock sound, Universes spawned some of the best recent Aussie music releases I know of. Broken Bones is a solid track, Wild Eyed Boy was the song that got me into the band and to this day I still love, and the epic Silhouettic, my clear favourite from the album, redefines brilliant. Combine the fact that this was released as recently as 2008, and was created by a bunch of sandgropers, and it’s hard to argue that this is a masterpiece worthy of recognition.

9. The Butterfly Effect – Final Conversation of Kings

This would be a countdown by me if it didn’t include a Butterfly Effect album – these boys from Brisbane have been in my mind the best thing to come from the sunshine state ever since a certain fateful night last April (they were only second best prior). I agonised about whether this album or its predecessor Imago was more worthy of the place as the exclusive TBE album on my list (I couldn’t justify putting two from the same artist, regardless of how good I rate that artist to be). However, it was the first seven tracks of this album that swayed me towards picking their latter effort. Just incredible.

8. The Cat Empire – The Cat Empire

This one is sure to please a certain someone north of the border. I don’t know how to describe The Cat Empire, and I’d reckon neither do they. They are without a doubt the most unique band Australia has produced, and are still to this day the best live band I have ever seen (a claim I firmly stand by, and that’s in comparison to some little known bands I’ve seen like Metallica, Muse, Slash and a few others). While it was the single “Hello” that first helped them gain notoriety, it’s tracks like “The Rhythm“, “The Chariot“, “Days Like These“, “The Wine Song“, “How to Explain” and “One Four Five” that entertain me the most. And given my almost exclusive love for rock as a genre, the fact that this funk-ska-indie-Latin band even rate a mention of something of note.

7. Children Collide – Theory of Everything

The newest album on this list, and a very thankful modern addition given my fear for the lack of quality music being produced in general by the music industry in recent times. I got into this album thanks to the first single “Jellylegs” (after randomly flicking onto it when trying to find something decent on the radio – thanks Triple J). My current love for it is primarily due to my near-obsession with “Loveless” at the moment, not to mention the quality of a few others on the album like “Arrows“, “Complacency No Vacancy” and “My Eagle“. It’s good to see these Melburnians flying the flag for modern Aussie rock.

6. Flowers – Icehouse

This is the oldest album I’ve chosen, being released in 1980 here in Australia. Thanks in part to some musical influence from my mother, I absolutely love Iva Davies’ voice, and am a big fan of his music. I was determined to put an Icehouse album in this list, but it was one hell of a challenge to pick which one. While “Primitive Man” was brilliant, “Man of Colours” truly incredible, and “Sidewalk” contained my all-time favourite Icehouse song, just on the number of great tracks I had to choose their first album (despite the technicality that the band who released it weren’t actually called Icehouse at the time – they were still “Flowers”).  Sure, they hadn’t quite reached the peak of their refined sound that came in later albums, but I liked the rougher rock edge of their earliest work. And with tracks like “Can’t Help Myself“, “Walls“, “We Can Get Together“, “Sister“, not to mention the title track, I think it’d be hard to disagree.

5. The Living End – The Living End

The Living End are a band I expect to fare very well in this countdown, given they went something like 10 years without not getting a song in the annual Hottest 100 countdowns. Interestingly, like with Icehouse, it’s their debut album I’ve chosen to recognise as their greatest as it not only contained some fantastic songs (think “Prisoner of Society“, “Second Solution“, “All Torn Down” and my personal favourite in “West End Riot“, as well as many others), but it set the scene for this punkabilly-rock band from Wheelers Hill to dominate the domestic rock music scene for the next decade and more.

(Apologies about the links to the live versions of the songs – evidently there is only a filmclip for Prisoner of Society)

4. Powderfinger – Odyssey Number Five

These guys are another band I expect to feature very highly, and on the strength of some of their work deservedly so. It’s a real pity that overplaying ruined many of the singles from this album, because songs like “My Happiness” and “These Days” are brilliant in their own right, it’s just that even now no one wants to listen to them again. However, it’s not just due to those songs that I rate Odyssey as an album. “My Kind of Scene” is a fantastic song, “The Metre” is equally impressive, and “Waiting For The Sun” would probably be my favourite by the ‘Finger. Odyssey was the peak of Powderfinger’s work in my opinion, and while I’m not ridiculously obsessed with them as a band, I’ve got quite a bit of time for their melodic soft-rock sound, and in particular the sound they created on this release.

3. Silverchair – Frogstomp

Again, like the last few artists, I struggled to pick which album by these guys deserved my vote, and I think they’ll feature heavily in the final countdown (continental pun not intended). In the end, despite strong competition from a number of later releases (excluding the most recent), it was the debut album Frogstomp that got my vote (and I can hear the exclamations of disbelief coming from the south east as we speak, or at the very least I’ll hear about it Tomorrow). Given that I wrote about these guys and this album very recently, I won’t bore you again with the nitty gritty, I’ll just say that this was a very solid release, additionally worthy of praise given it was the debut recording by a band not old enough to even fornicate legally in some states.

2. The Whitlams – Eternal Nightcap

The brilliance, and equally, the depressingness of this album is truly mesmerising, and just shows off Tim Freedman‘s songwriting genius at its finest. To go from the depressing story of the Charlie trio of songs, to the upbeat sound of “You Sound Like Louis Burdett“; from the happy reflectivity of a song like “Melbourne” to the distant longing for another in “No Aphrodisiac” – I’d argue there’s no greater emotive songwriter in this country than this man. This album is a work worthy of marvel, and I sincerely hope it rates highly in the countdown like it does in mine.

Which brings me to the final choice, and my nominated “greatest Australian album of all time”. The artist won’t shock many, but is surprisingly calm for someone like me with a “heavier” taste in music.

1. Something For Kate – Echolalia

In fact, I’ll admit that I surprised myself when I decided on Echolalia as my favourite Australian album of all time. However, the reasoning was surprisingly simple – of the 13 tracks on this album, I couldn’t find a single weak one. Now if that doesn’t fit the bill as being the greatest album, then nothing will. And I’m serious too. As someone who’s listened to this album start-to-finish a number of times, there’s not a bad song. Not to mention that it contains absolute gems such as the hugely popular (in its day at least) “Monsters“, “Old Pictures” (one of my favourites, which devastatingly I can’t find an online clip for), “Stunt Show“, “Jerry Stand Up“, “Three Dimensions“, “Say Something“, “Feeding The Birds and Hoping for Something in Return” and “Twenty Years” (and yes I could go on, but I’d better stop myself), it rates very highly in my book.

Again, I agonised about whether “The Official Fiction” (the album with my absolute favourite SFK song – “Reverse Soundtrack” (sorry about the quality of the link) – as well as the very famous “Deja Vu” and “Song for a Sleepwalker“) or even “Desert Lights“, but I had to go with Echolalia for the reasons mentioned above.

So that’s the list, ridiculously incomplete as usual, and bound to upset some based upon the albums I missed out. I do apologise to the many bands whose work did deserve to be recognised, but just didn’t make the cut (and believe me, there were many). However, I’m pretty satisfied that I’ve produced a solid list. Now let the criticisms begin…


My favourite song, at the moment

Apologies for those on Facebook who’ve already seen this one…

The song is “Loveless”, from Children Collide’s second album “Theory of Everything“, released in 2010. Now I’ve been a fan of these Melbourne boys since their first album “The Long Now” was released a few years back. That album was a bit raw but full of energy, shown in tracks like “Social Currency” and the very brilliant “Farewell Rocketship“. However, their follow-up effort by far surpasses their first work in my opinion. For instance, take the song “Jellylegs” which combines a punchy, aggressive chorus with bass-driven verses, and was until recently my favourite off the album. Also worth mentioning are tracks like “Arrows“, “Complacency No Vacancy” and “My Eagle” (the one that’s charted the best of their work so far, but funnily not the one I’m most impressed with). While the lyrics may need a bit of work, as do the video clips, they are all solid, energetic, enjoyable rock songs.

However, it’s Loveless that impresses me the most. It’s sound is a bit different, swapping the aggressive hardness of most of their songs for a softer, more ballady-type sound with an alternative twist. In fact, it reminds me a lot of another Aussie rock outfit that I adore, that being The Butterfly effect, especially with the little guitar parts in the chorus.  This song is brilliantly written both lyrically and musically, with a chorus that’s hugely addictive. The simpler music in the song is complemented beautifully by the dynamic vocals that really suit its mood. Overall, I just think it’s an amazing song that I can’t get enough of.

So that makes it my favourite song for the moment. Sure, that will change in time as I tire of it, but it’s just good to see a band that’s flying the flag for Australia musically and producing some great home-grown rock.