1. Dave Matthews Band | Ants Marching
There’s an amazing live acoustic version of this track performed by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. I got it off an American friend in 2003 who was in Perth studying at the University next to my house. At the time I had just started playing live solo shows at the local pub where he and I were regulars. The song completely blew my mind. It’s so complicated to play yet sounds really simple. I remember listing to it on repeat (trying desperately to play along on my guitar) thinking how the hell do you write something like this?...
2. Interpol | Obstacle 1
This song basically inspired me to start my first serious band. We called ourselves The Professionals, in homage to Jean Reno’s film Léon: The Professional. Two of the guys from The Professionals are now in Husband with me, which is another reason why this song is so special to me. I heard it in 2004 while I was studying music. A friend of mine who was a drummer played it to me at full volume from his car stereo while drumming the beat on his legs. I was hooked and I listened to the album on repeat for about a year. (And I still don’t know the words.) It’s weird but I honestly feel like this song sounds the way I think about things, almost like a perfect soundtrack to my thoughts.
3. The Smiths | This Charming Man
The bassist in my band made me a mix tape with this song on it. There’s a gentleness to it I hadn’t felt before in a song. It soon became my favorite track to put on at a party and dance around like an idiot to.
4. The Killers | When You Were Young
After first hearing The Killers album Sam’s Town I remember feeling exhausted and completely in awe of the band. This track makes me feel like I’m on a journey or something. It’s an epic song.
5. Pixies | Where Is My Mind?
I heard this song for the first time at the end of the movie Fight Club. Pixies have been one of my favorite bands ever since. The track reminds me of my crazy years trying to figure out what I wanted and all that stuff. Who am I? What should I do? All those questions I felt like I desperately needed to answer. For me, this song spat in the face of all that, because it’s just about life not making sense. I like that. It’s also the song my wife walked down the aisle to. She has good taste in music!
6. Shout Out Louds | Very Loud
It was 3am when I saw the video for this tune on the TV and I became obsessed with Shout Out Louds instantly. It was the first Indie Folk I’d heard and I loved it. It evokes intense happiness for me, the marching snare drum and harmonica always put me in a good mood. I was jamming with a friend of mine at the time and I remember feeling stuck with the songs we were writing, I had written Country and Folk and Rock and liked all the tracks, I just couldn’t work out how to put all my loves of music into one sound. And then I heard these guys, I was so impressed with them - such amazing song writers. I remember at the time all my music buddies were always telling me about cool new bands no one had heard of and I thought to myself, my mates probably know who these guys are, so I asked them and to my absolute horror no one had heard of them! It was probably the first band I was able to get all my friends into!
7. Johnny Cash | The Man Comes Around
One of my favorite songs ever. I heard this for the first time at the start of the film Dawn Of The Dead. The opening of the film is absolutely terrifying with flesh eating zombies, fear and chaos, then out of nowhere this Johhny Cash song comes on. There’s a man going round takin’ names. It’s such a different take on Country music, I love the attitude and cheek, and its beautiful rhymes. I learnt how to play it that night and it’s still one of the first songs I play to warm up.
8. UNKLE | Burn My Shadow
This is an incredibly cool song. It’s got an awesome video clip where this guy wakes up to find he has a bomb in his chest with a timer ticking down. It just reminds me of pure energy. I used to play a cover of this track with my last band and every time we played it the mood in the room would intensify tenfold. Whenever I hear it I feel that same nervous energy I get before I perform.
9. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club | Spread Your Love
I saw these guys this year when they came to Perth. So cool! I love the way they share the singing between the two of them as if they’re just one entity. Whenever I listen to this track I’m transported back to that gig with all the leather jackets and smoke.
10. The Velvet Underground | Beginning To See The Light
This is one of my wife’s favourite songs and when we started dating her car stereo always had on either the Pixies or Lou Reed. We’re living on the beach at the moment and I love putting this song on when we drive down the coast. Great song to sing along to, there are a few pearls of wisdom in these lyrics!