Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
Every once in a while, an album comes along and I get so excited by the first song that I feel like skipping forward to the next song before it’s over just because I can’t wait to see what else it has to offer – it’s a ridiculous frame of mind to be in. Also, I never do it, but the urge is there. This was definitely one of those albums for me. It’s just beautiful. I feel like out of all their albums, this is the one that has the same honey flowing through every song. It washes over you like a rush of serotonin. It feels universal and deeply personal at the same time. In the opening track ‘In The Flowers’ there is a line repeated “to hold you in time” – that’s what this album does. – Luke
A lot of my 2009 was spent out until the wee hours on the dance floor at Ric’s Bar in the Valley, and ‘My Girls’ was the funnest song to flail around to. The whole album just sounds like they did exactly whatever the hell they wanted, and I love and respect that. – Mel
Beach House – Bloom
Full clarity – I’ve loved every album that Beach House has released, but I was completely obsessed with Bloom. Within the first four seconds of ‘Myth’s’ percussion and synth intro, I knew it was so special. It’s a serene journey of cinematic soundscapes, and so simple in its instrumentation, with the most masterful melodies and vocal delivery. I thought I’d listened to it to death, but I still can’t get enough of its sparkle, mystery and depth. The band impeccably marry sound, image and video, even down to the lighting and visuals of their live performances. Side note: the video for ‘Wishes’ (directed by Tim and Eric’s Eric Wareheim and starring Ray Wise, AKA the Dad from Twin Peaks) is a bloody TRIUMPH. – Mel
Mariah – Utakata No Hibi
I recommend this album to anyone who will listen to my nonsense. I only came across it a few years ago but it very quickly became one of my favourites. It had such an effect on me that I decided not to find out anything about the band. I know it’s from 1983 and that’s it. I can’t even tell what country it is from. Have no idea what the songs are about or how they got those incredible sounds… and I plan to keep it that way. I love having a mystery behind this brilliantly inventive thing. I don’t want to ruin it by finding out some dude from Brooklyn made it last year or something. – Luke
Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man
The first thing that grabbed me about this album is how wonderfully weird of a pop album it is. It’s such a glistening diamond of an album. The deep-voiced, meditative and rich choir sound on ‘Oh Yeah’ is such a great juxtaposition to Natasha Khan’s high, exalting vocals, and ‘Lilies’ such a divine opener. ‘Laura’ is such a beautiful longing for youth and celebration of tender friendship when the party’s over. This one really took over 2012 and 2013, bookended by an incendiary and rainbow-lit performance at Laneway early-2013. I can still feel its influence when I sit down to write, it had such a huge impact on me. – Mel
Nirvana – In Utero
I was too young the first time I saw Jaws – I think I was maybe six or seven. Don’t know what my parents were thinking but by the time I was 12 I’d maybe watched it 30 times. Violent, incredibly scary and intense. I LOVED it. One of my favourite movies. Like Jaws, I discovered this album WAY too young. I can’t remember how old I was but I knew it even then. I was at my best friend Bosco’s house just off Yaroomba beach on the Sunshine Coast. His sister owned this album on CD and I put it on. ‘Serve the Servants’ blasted out the first dissonant chord then it rolled straight in. Everything sounded so intense, visceral and immediate. I’d never heard anything like it.
I was too young to be aware of Nevermind and also too young to have a grip on the vivid, grotesque, emotive and incredibly personal lyrics and song subjects on this album. I felt it under my skin and it completely engulfed me, and it still does. I started playing guitar and trying to make a band. I listen to this at least once a year and it hits me all over again. Look, Nirvana certainly doesn’t need another asshole talking about their legacy but I’m doing it anyway. Everyone talks about Nevermind but this album for me is the perfect embodiment of what they as a band were capable of. Along with the incredible production by Steve Albini, it is a perfect album. – Luke
J Dilla – Donuts, Feist – The Reminder, Fiona Apple – When The Pawn, Metronomy – The English Riviera, Radiohead – In Rainbows, The Avalanches – Since I Left You, Sarah Blasko – What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have, Wilco – A Ghost Is Born, Jebediah – Of Sunday Shambles, David Bowie – Low, Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
Listen to Holiday Party’s new single ‘Let Down’ here.