Favourite Australian Albums – Part 4

I started this list with the smaller Perth bands, so it feels right to finish with a couple of superstars of Australian music …

Powderfinger – Internationalist (1998)

It's a good album cover but I used to turn the sleeve inside out so that the inside picture of an astronaut was facing front. I thought the astronaut looked slightly cooler.

As a lover of some pretty weird music, I feel like I’m breaking some sort of kind of indie-kid code by admitting I have a soft spot for a Powderfinger record. The band were immensely popular, they had a rather bland hit song (My Happiness), and they never really tried to push any musical boundaries – so it goes without saying that many underground-rock fans hated them.

I’d say they had pretty good reason near the end (the band broke up in 2010) as all the songs were starting to sound the same, but back in the late 90’s I reckon Powderfinger deserved most of the accolades they received.

Pop gems like The Day You Come, Already Gone and Passenger were all justified hits, but they also knew how to rock out in fine fashion with tracks like I Don’t Wanna Be Left Out and Good Day Ray, and perhaps it’s this diversity across the album that sets it apart from their later material.

I’m not sure how I’d take to Internationalist if it were released today, but as a fourteen year old with only two other albums in my collection, this was a revelation. And importantly, I can still enjoy it thoroughly today.

THE HIT SONG: The Day You Come

MY FAVOURITE: Already Gone

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus Dig!!! (2008)

Lazarus was the guy that Jesus apparently raised from the dead. The album seems to be centered around the idea that maybe he didn't want to come back. Pretty heavy for what is actually a rather fun album. That's part of what makes it so good though.

Like The Drones, The Bad Seeds were a group that many of my peers adored but I couldn’t quite get in to. It makes sense though. I was discovering rock music just as Nick Cave was turning his back on it – preferring instead to write mournfully slow piano ballads like Into My Arms. It wasn’t till he embraced rock’n’roll again that I finally got it.

Not that this is a fantastic album start to finish. There’s actually a lot of weaker material on it, like the overly repetitive Night of the Lotus Eaters. But when it’s good it’s untouchable. The title track and We Call Upon The Author To Explain are grooving masterpieces fuelled by Cave’s preacher-style rants and Warren Ellis’ wonderfully obnoxious guitars (though nowhere near as obnoxious as what you find on the Grinderman records). Then there’s the beautiful but still slightly funky closing track, More News From Nowhere, which somehow stays captivating for it’s whole seven verses.

I fall into the pro-Nick-Cave-moustache camp. How about you?

THE HIT SONG: Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

MY FAVOURITE: Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

And that’s that! Hope you enjoyed reading. Who knows what exciting topics will be covered next week? In the meantime I’d love to know what you’re own favourite Aussie albums are …

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