Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Record Store Day – Independent Record Stores in Perth and 10 Albums that changed my life

Noise Pollution Records - vinyl collection
Last year at the Revelation Film Festival I saw the documentary Sound it Out which was about the very last surviving record shop in Teesside, North East England. It showed the meaning of shop to their customers and the role music plays in people’s lives. This documentary made me feel very nostalgic, I could really relate to it. I have been a huge record nerd for a large part of my life (disclaimer: when I say records I mean the CD version, I don’t have a vinyl player). I used to spend hours after uni and on weekends hanging out at independent record stores in the city. I loved browsing the shelves, seeking new music and listening to artists on the listening stations before deciding to buy. I became one of those regular customers where the dudes behind the counter would recommend me CDs and save CDs for me to listen to when I came in. I have discovered so many great bands through my experiences in record stores. It’s strange to think that nowadays people grow up without this experience and are just downloading music online instead. 

Plastic Passion - vinyl collection
On Saturday 21 April 2012 it’s Record Store Day, and I encourage everyone to go out and support their local independent record store.

Is there any point in buying a CD nowadays when you can just go online and download anything you want, and play in on a portable media player?

I like the experience of shifting through my CD collection and picking up individual CDs, opening them up and deciding whether or not I want to listen to it. Each CD also comes with a memory, where I can usually remember at what point of my life I bought it, some have stories of battle wounds I have suffered to get it (ie: the hunt high and low at various record stores to collect the back catalogue of bands and waking up at insane hours in the morning to bid for rare CDs on eBay), the wear and tear on the case and scratches on the CD reveal how much I have listened to it and where I have taken it. I have a connection to my CDs that I wouldn’t have if they were all just a bunch of files on my computer. But then again, I am of the generation where people started their music journey buying cassette tapes and then CDs, so buying CDs at record stores has formed a major part of my experience and appreciation of music. I used to get excited when I received a postcard from 78 Records informing me that a CD I had ordered had come in and was ready for pick up. When an album was released, I’d make the journey to the record store to buy it. A digital download doesn’t compare to the feeling that you get when you have a physical copy of the album in your hand, to see all the artwork and unfold the booklet to read the liner notes.

I feel like it’s the same thing with cookbooks. Cookbook sales are declining, many are loving the ease and convenience of downloading books/recipes on their iPad but to me it’s not the same as having a physical cookbook which you can flick through and read for ideas and inspiration, flag recipes to try and find your favourite recipes with the pages stuck together with food stains. 

DaDa Records - CD collection

Here is a list of the independent records stores in Perth and Fremantle to check out on Record Store Day, and if you continue reading, you can read about the 10 albums that have changed my life.

(I asked for permission before taking any photos at the records stores and everyone was very cool about it.)

[Note: List of record stores updated on 18.4.2013 with two more added - Planet Music and Safari's Record Shack]

78 Records (914 Hay Street, Perth)

(Relocated - Upstairs at 255 Murray St Mall)

78 Records entry
78s was the record store that I used to frequent the most, almost weekly throughout my uni days. The staff were always good to me and have recommended a lot of great bands. 78s was a huge space back in the day and there was an upstairs part as well where bands would play live. Now it has being downsized, the collection isn’t as extensive but there’s still a reasonable range and a good place to order in CDS that you can’t find anywhere else.

78 Records


DaDa Records (36 Pier Street, Perth)

DaDa Records
DaDa Records entry
DaDas is like a treasure trove, it’s the kind of store you could spend hours in, digging through their collection which is overflowing on the shelves. It has an extensive range of vinyl and CDs, where you can find stuff from lesser known, more obscure acts. It always amazes me how they keep track of everything as they don’t have a computerized system, there are towers of CDs everywhere behind the counter and when you make a purchase, your sale is scribbled down on a notepad. From time to time, Dadas holds gigs in its garage behind the store.

DaDa Records - vinyl collection
DaDa Records - basement counter
DaDa Records - basement of CDs
DaDa Records - CD collection


Fat Shan Records  (37 Barrack Street, Perth)

Fat Shan Records - enter through telephone box
A new kid on the block which has only been open for about a year, located in a basement, mainly selling vinyl with a section of CDs dedicated to local artists. Fat Shan is a great supporter of local music and regularly hosts gigs, and provides a jamming and recording space for bands. They also have a section of vintage out the back. This store is the prettiest, it feels like you are down into someone’s lounge room, it has a really comfortable and intimate vibe, and lots of fairy lights.

Fat Shan Records - local CD collection
Fat Shan Records - vinyl
Fat Shan Records - vinyl collection

Noise Pollution Records (280 William Street, Northbridge)

Noise Pollution Records
Noise Pollution Records - the whole store
Another newish record store that has been opened a little over a year on the refurbished William Street precinct, sandwiched between independent retailers and vintage stores, Noise Pollution Records sells a great selection of secondhand and new vinyl, and specialises in collectible, import and hard to find LPs. It’s a small store but there is a lot packed in. I like how the place is decked out with memorabilia and posters on the walls, it feels like you have walked into some record collector’s bedroom. There is also a little sub-store called Strummers Guitars out the back which sells a range of second-hand guitars, as well pedals and provides guitar repairs.

Noise Pollution Records - vinyl and guitar section
Noise Pollution Records - wall of vinyl

Plastic Passion  (43 Eigth Avenue, Maylands)

Plastic Passion entry
A cool little record store out in the inner city suburb of Maylands with a lot of quality second hand stuff so there is a range of interesting and diverse vinyl and CDs to shift through. You are more likely to find older stuff here than newer stuff, and the pricing for a lot of the items is also at the lower end of the scale so you will be sure to get a bargain.

Plastic Passion - vinyl and CDs
Plastic Passion - vinyl collection

Mills Records (22 Adelaide Street, Fremantle)

Mills Records entry
Fremantle is a bit of a trek for me but this is the record store I check out if I’m ever in Fremantle. Downstairs at Mills Records you’ll find CD and DVDs, and upstairs you’ll find tshirts and vinyl.

Mills Records - CDs and DVDs collection
Mills Records - upstairs vinyl collection + FotoFreo exhibition
(When I took this photo, the FotoFreo 2012 exhibition was on and the walls upstairs at Mills Records had photos from Bronwen Woodward's ‘Dead Air Therapy’ exhibition)

Mills Records - record players

Junction Records  (27-35 William Street, Fremantle)

Junction Records entry
Hidden away from the main streets of Fremantle and situated in the intersection of two arcades, Junction Records is the rebranded CD Library where you can trade in your CDs and find a great range of new and second hand CDs. You can also get a membership to the store to get further discounts on items.

Junction Records - vinyl and CDs
Junction Records CDs

The Record Finder (87 High Street, Fremantle)

The Record Finder entry
The Record Finder - the whole store

This store has an old school feel to it, like someone’s dusty old basement with a secret stash of records. The Record Finder is packed wall to wall with all sorts of paraphernalia, books, vinyl, CDs and cassettes! Just in case you still drive a car from the 80s and only have a tape deck. A lot of the stuff is pre-1990 too so it’s a place to go to if you are after an old hard to find record.

The Record Finder - wall of vinyl
The Record Finder - vinyl collection

Planet Music (634-646 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley)

Planet Music - Record Store
Planet Video is a Perth institution, a place that stocks every movie you could image, with sections like cult and festival, it’s not your average video store. The Planet Video that I grew up frequenting religiously on a Friday night was on the corner of Walcott and Beaufort Street, but it has moved a few doors down and redeveloped into a little empire with movie rentals as well as a bookshop, café and record store.

The record store is located upstairs. Planet Music offers an eclectic mix of CDs, vinyl, t-shirts, posters and books. With Planet Video, Planet Music, Planet Books and Daily Planet all interconnected, you can pretty much loose yourself there.

Planet Music - vinyl section
Planet Music CDs section

Safari's Record Shack (Rear Shop 3 Arcade 189 William Street, Northbridge)

Enter the Safari!
Another new little record store in Perth located out the back of Beans and Bunches florist in an arcade on William Street. I almost missed it the first time I tried to find it. Look carefully around the florist and you’ll see a hallway, and the sounds of groovy tunes will lure you in. The record collection is more psychedelic, funk, soul and jazz, and you’ll also find some classics. The store is decked out in a way that makes you feel like you are entering into some tropical paradise. I like the vibe of this place and the collection is small enough so that you can flick through it all.

Safari's Record Shack


Working at a record store – Funky Beats 

Growing up I always dreamt of working at a record store one day and I got my chance in 2004 when I saw a job advertised on Seek for Funky Beats, a little CD stall at the Malaga Markets. I was hired after my overenthusiastic interview performance and worked there between 2004-2005 on the weekends until the owner sold it. Funky Beats specialized in selling second hand CDs which the owner would source and I would spend my shifts cleaning up the scratches with a special machine and putting the CDs into new cases. There was a small selection of new CDs, mainly those that were on the charts, and a lot of R&B and hip hop. As it was at the Malaga Markets, the clientele were mainly families that were doing their fruit and vegetable shopping on the weekend. It had it’s moments though, like when a guy would came into the stall and buy a second hand Metallica CD for himself and the new Avril Lavigne CD single for his daughter while his wife was doing the food shopping.

At Funky Beats I found a whole pile of CDs the owner was selling in the $2 bin, they were all these alternative, not very well known bands. The owner had acquired all the leftover stock from Subterranean Records (which used to be where Fat Shan Records is now) when they closed down. It was a bit of a goldmine but the owner didn’t realize it and no one else who came into the Malaga Markets would ever appreciate any of it. But I knew what to do with it, I started listing everything on eBay during my shifts and a CD which was in the $2 bin would sell for at least $10 online and up to $30, and sometimes even more. It was fun going through the CDs, researching and identifying the ones that were worth listing on eBay and writing a description that would interest people. So my music nerdism became a valuable job qualification, who else would have understood the value of eBay for music obsessives? The owner was quite impressed with my ability to significantly increase profits at the stall via eBay.

10 Albums That Changed My Life

Music was my first major passion in life but nowadays food and blogging has taken over. I’m much less active in discovering music the way that I used to during high school and uni, instead I spend a lot of my spare time learning to cook new things, reading cookbooks and blogs. As with music, I feel that cooking allows me to be creative and express myself. I still buy CDs but not as much as I used to, and I still go out to see gigs but not as often.

I had a pretty strict Asian upbringing, I rarely went out and had curfews when I did. My parents were very education oriented so I was a major study nerd, quiet and shy. I think this kind of life would not be unfamiliar with a lot of Asians growing up in Australia. But somewhere along the way I found my refuge in music, it was escapism.

Growing up with parents from a non-English speaking background (well mum can’t speak English and my dad speaks English but sometimes he gets his words mixed up, like the time he wrote a note for my brother to take the rubbish out and he wrote rabbit instead of rubbish), I wasn’t exposed to music until I was a teenager, unlike friends that I would meet later on in life, I couldn’t say that I grew up with my dad’s cool record collection.

Correcting my dad's note - rabbit vs rubbish

I got a walkman for Christmas when I was in year 7 and I mostly listened to the commercial radio stations, it wasn’t until I discovered alternative music in year 9 that my life changed. Music has really defined me as a person, it’s contributed to my self discovery and played a major part in shaping my life and the person that I am today. So here I share 10 albums that have changed my life.

1.    Veruca Salt – Eight Arms to Hold You

Veruca Salt was the beginning of everything. Their second album Eight Arms to Hold You was the first alternative rock album that I bought. Before Veruca Salt, I was just listening to the usual top 40 pop charts, mainly a lot of R&B…then one day on Rage I saw the video clip for the song ‘Volcano Girls’ and I thought that it was the coolest thing ever – girls rocking out with guitars, jumping up and down, and going nuts. I wanted to be just like them. So pretty much from that moment onwards, I started getting into alternative rock music, switching over from the commercial radio stations to Triple J.

I was in year 9 at this point of time, I was one of those super studious shy Asian types and I had a horrible haircut that only an Asian mother can give (sorry mum, but the best decision that I ever made was to save enough pocket money to get a real haircut). I wrote in big letters VERUCA SALT ROCKS! in a black marker across my pencil case (as you do when you are a teenager). One day, one of the bogans in my class pointed at my pencil case and asked me if I liked Veruca Salt. So why did this matter to him? Because the album Eight Arms to Hold You by Veruca Salt was produced by Bob Rock who produced Metallica’s Black album. This was Metallica’s breakthrough album in that it brought them to the attention of the mainstream and also their most well-known hit ‘Enter Sandman’ as well as other songs like ‘The Unforgiven’, ‘Nothing Else Matters’. So I became a super nerdy Asian girl who had just a little bit of rock credibility.

So this is the story of how rock’n’roll saved my life – super shy nerdy Asian girl minimizes bullying potential as she had Metallica by her side, well I’ve never owned a Metallica album but that doesn’t matter because VERUCA SALT ROCKS! \m/

When I was about 18 and had saved enough money I bought a red SG, a guitar just like the one used by Veruca Salt, except that it was the cheaper Epiphone version and not a Gibson. I guess anyone who starts playing guitar would have some sort of dream of playing in a band one day but I seriously never thought that it would become a reality. However, when I was 20 and going to gigs a lot, often on my own, I befriended some girls who had similar music tastes (specifically a local Perth band called The Tigers) and we become Trash Band 1987, inflicting incoherent noise on the Perth music scene from 2003-2006 (you can read more about Trash Band here).

If you click on image above, hopefully it will be large enough for you to read the Trash Band 1987 bio, published in the zine First Past the Post
My attempt at a collage - TB87 photos from the archives

A sign that we made it! TB87 sticker on the 78 Records catalogue computer. Photo taken on 30 March 2012 and yes the computer still works.

Suffice to say, I owe a lot in my life to the song ‘Volcano Girls’ by Veruca Salt, watch the video clip here –

“Volcano girls we really can't be beat, warm us up and watch us blow….”

2.    PJ Harvey – Rid of Me

PJ Harvey was the first female artist that I really admired. As a female, I generally prefer female singing voices and I have a lot of female artists in my CD collection. I could relate to them more, I could try to play guitar like them more and I could try to sing along to them more. They were also an inspiration to me, my role models in life. I wish I could rock out more, be more extroverted and out-spoken than my then introverted Asian self.

PJ Harvey says that her lyrics are not autobiographical, that they span a wide range of subjects and explores all manners of being human. The way I see lyrics is that no matter what the artist’s intention is, every listener draws from it their own interpretation and connections to the song with their own context. PJ Harvey’s music and lyrics have always struck a chord with me.

The first album of any artist that you buy always has a special place in your heart because it’s the album that got you into them and there’s a sentimental value to it, especially in the formative years of discovering music. Rid of Me was the first PJ Harvey album that I owned. I thought her voice was amazing. I loved the rawness of this album, the themes it explored of desire, break up, fury, fearlessness and loneliness, and the explicitness of her lyrics...”lick my legs I’m on fire”… When I got this album, I had it constantly on repeat.

 Excellent performance of Rid of Me from 1993  + Interview

I saw PJ Harvey play at the Perth Concert Hall in 2008 and I was the girl that sneezed! PJ Harvey was touring for her White Chalk album and it was a stripped down affair, on stage she was often just playing on her own, alternating between guitar and piano. Sometimes calling out to her bandmates to come on stage to join her for a full rock number. That night, it was quite cold in the concert hall and during a really quiet moment (like one of those when you could almost hear a pin drop) and PJ was slowly starting out a tune on the piano, I sneezed and it echoed throughout the hall. It made PJ stop and giggle a little, ironically during the moment that I sneezed she was starting the song 'The Mountain' (I think) and being high above a mountain would be quite cold and chilly, and the music to the song sounds like wind chimes. So how funny (or fitting) is it that someone would sneeze during that exact moment. Well PJ thought it was very funny, she tried to restart the song but couldn’t keep it together. She said sorry and went back stage to drag out her band for a more rocking number, and then later on would she go back to the piano and finish off the song she was meant to play before I interrupted with my sneezing.

So one of the best moments of my life was when I sneezed at a PJ Harvey concert!

Was anyone at this particular concert and do you remember this unexpected incident?

3.    Something For Kate - Beautiful Sharks

I went through a period of being really into Something For Kate. I loved the songwriting which reflected a lot of emotions I was going through during the time I was listening to them. Beautiful Sharks is my favourite Something For Kate album, but if you were a real fan of Something For Kate then you would know that they are all about their b-sides. They are a band where fans would bid ridiculous amounts for their CD singles on eBay just to get the b-sides because the b-sides would be better than any album tracks.

Through a Something For Kate message forum I had my first official internet meet up with a guy who bootlegged Something For Kate shows back in 2001 or 2002. We became good friends and I have acquired a pretty significant collection of Something For Kate bootlegs of live shows between 1997 and 2002. Through this guy I also got into the local Perth music scene, he’d always get me out to local gigs, for a very specific group of bands which included Adam Said Galore, The Tigers, Mukaizake, Tucker Bs (all the great indie bands of Perth, well in my opinion).

This was pretty life changing for me because say if I never became friends with this guy through a shared love for Something For Kate, I may have never gotten into the Perth local music scene in the way that I did and end up being a fan of the Tigers, which means that I may not have met the girls that I would latter form Trash Band 1987 with…

4.    Adam Said Galore – The Driver is Red

Adam Said Galore was the first local Perth band that I really got into when I started going to local music gigs. My friend once told me that Adam Said Galore are like a magic eye book, if you can focus on the patterns, you will eventually see the picture and its beauty, but if you don’t, then all you see is a random image of patterns. Adam Said Galore don’t have conventional song structures and play the kind of music that you get lost in, it slowly builds up with meandering guitars, there are soaring and intense numbers, and some sweet melodies. I made an effort to see Adam Said Galore every time they played live and have discovered many other amazing local bands.

Video that I took of Adam Said Galore playing at the Amplifier in 2005

The Perth music scene is one of the reasons why I love living in Perth. There was a documentary made in 2009 called ‘Something in the Water’ which explored how Perth ‘the most isolated city in the world’ has produced a prolific, successful and internationally renowned original music scene.

Through the Perth local music scene I have also met my friends. Everyone has a close group of friends that they keep of people who they have probably known since high school, studied with at uni or worked with (and these days probably met off the internet too). My close group of friends comprises of people that I have met through the Perth music scene and they are an amazing bunch of people. I cannot imagine who my friends would be without music.

5.    Sonic Youth – Dirty

The very first Sonic Youth song I ever heard was ‘Drunken Butterfly’ off their album Dirty. I remember catching the bus back in high school and my friend showed me this song that she had been listening to on repeat on her CD player. At that time ‘Drunken Butterfly’ was unlike anything that I had heard, it was an intensely noisy song with fuzzy swirling guitars, lots of feedback and edgy vocals, and I found it infectious. I loved the song so much that I bought my own copy of Dirty soon after, and then I would go on to collect their back catalogue and buy every Sonic Youth release when it came out. Sonic Youth gave me an appreciation for noise, distortion and garage rock.

Sonic Youth video for the song Drunken Butterfly as muppets

I used to work part-time at a petrol station during uni and one time I had Sonic Youth’s Washing Machine spinning on the CD player and I was asked by a customer if there was something wrong with the fridge. I was a bit confused at first until I realized what she had mistaken for sounds of a broken fridge was actually the end of last track The Diamond Sea which is a mass of distortion and feedback. (Disclaimer: I only played my own music on weekend shifts at the petrol station as I would be working on my own, not weekday shifts when the mechanic and manager would be around)

I saw Sonic Youth for the first time in 2004 when they played at Metropolis Fremantle. I made my friend get down early and we were lining up at the door at 7pm even though doors opened at 8pm and no one else was there yet. It was worth getting down early as we were front row and experienced one of the greatest moments of my life. During the song 'Kool Thing', Kim Gordon was just rocking around the stage with the mic and during the chorus she would sing “I don’t wanna” and then point the mic to the crowd for us to sing “I don’t think so”. Who do you think was right in front of the mic in the crowd and jumping up, grabbing the mic and screaming the lyrics the loudest? Me!

This is a photo that I took of that gig, I was so close and how amazing does Kim look at 50 and still rocking out in a hot pink dress and heels.

6.    Slint – Spiderland

The first time that I heard of Slint was during a Triple J, J File on silverchair. Daniel Johns was asked to play his top five albums and one of them was Spiderland by Slint. He introduced the song ‘Washer’ as a song that “will touch you in ways you have never been touched before”. I listened to this song and was completely mesmerized by it. It was/still is one of the most beautifully songs I have ever heard in my life.

Listen to it here -

 Slint – Washer

Slint were significant in changing my direction in music, they opened me up to a whole new world of music, they made me want more from what I had been listening to. From Slint onwards, I moved away from all those Triple J, I guess more mainstream alternative bands and I started going indie, I went underground and I got all math rock.

Math rock is characterised by rhythmically complex guitar sounds which is viewed as ‘mathy’ because it uses a wide variation of time signatures which are constantly changing as opposed to the standard 4/4. Math rock sounds like calculated chaos at times and can also have a jazzy feel to it. There is an intricacy to the music that I find very compelling and explosive for my ears, there's always a unique melody or hook that keeps repeating in my head.

Do you want to listen to some Math Rock? I recommend these as a starter.

June Of 44 - Cut Your Face

Don Caballero - Unresolved Kharma

Polvo - Tragic Carpet Ride

I loved Slint so much that I wanted more, so I researched Slint related artists and built up a family tree of bands which have stemmed from members of Slint or were similar to Slint like The For Carnation, June of 44, Rodan, Shipping News, Rachel’s, Tortoise, Polvo, Rodan, Sonora Pine, Don Caballero, Karate, Dianogah, Aerial M/Papa M. You could describe me as being pretty obsessed with collecting records from the Slint family tree but it was rewarding as I got into some really amazing bands.

Slint family tree. June of 44 stamps that came with their CD Tropics and Meridians

Another significant link on the Slint family tree is that Steve Albini has recorded quite a few of the albums and also many albums of other bands that I own. Imagine my delight when I find out that ‘the’ Steve Albini has a food blog! That man can play music, record, cook and write…man can he write, he's posts are always interesting and engaging. Steve Albini’s food blog is a blog worth reading, check it out http://mariobatalivoice.blogspot.com.au/.

7.    Godspeed You! Black Emperor - F#A#

On the question of music versus lyrics and what’s more important, I used to think that music needed to have lyrics in order for it to mean anything.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor was the band that made me really appreciate instrumental music. This album is often described as ‘a sad and beautiful soundtrack to urban decay’ and I could hear what they were trying to portray and express through their music even though there were no lyrics to accompany it. There are little monologues in between the songs which give it a cinematic quality, but the songs stand on their own.

Goosebumps inducing live performance of Dead Metheny by GY!BE from the album F#A#

GY!BE led me to become a big fan of instrumental music, especially post-rock and I often prefer songs without singing. Post-rock bands play instrumental songs that are usually lengthy and create soundscapes that evolve to a crescendo or climax. Similar to my experience with Slint, I sought out the GY!BE family tree and collected albums from A Silver Mt Zion, Do Make Say Think , Fly Pan Am, Set Fire to Flames and Esmerine, and also got into a lot of other post-rock bands like Explosions in the Sky, Grails, Mono and Mogwai.

Back in the day I joined the YahooGroups for GY!BE and a fan in Greece sent out a message to the group in 2003 about putting together a fanzine dedicated to GY!BE and asking for suggestions on what to include. (I managed to find the original text message http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/gybe/message/9609!) I didn’t contribute but I asked for a copy as I was a huge GY!BE fan and at no cost to me, I was posted a copy of the zine in 2004, all the way from Greece. I can’t read or understand any of it as it’s in Greek but I love the fact that strangers can share with you their love for a band.

Yes, I thought this zine was so cool that I still keep it’s original postage package as proof that it actually came all the way from Greece! (NB: I've rubbed out the address in this picture)
Pages from the GY!BE zine
Pages from GY!BE zine
Pages from GY!BE zine
Can anyone read Greek and translate the pages of the GY!BE zine for me?

8.    Radiohead – The Bends

Music is therapeutic. I love how when you listen to music it has the ability to help you get through stressful situations and lift your spirits. I listen to a lot of songs that relate to my mood and it’s comforting when an artist can express how you feel, it feels like a release. Listening to music can help to control emotions and can be a way of coping with difficult situations.

In the words of Radiohead, I think music can make you …”Fitter. Happier. More productive.”

I’m a huge Radiohead fan and they are a band that I listen to therapeutically. They have released so many great albums that it’s hard to choose a favourite but I’ll say that The Bends has a special place in my heart, for all those times that I listened to that one song wishing that I could be bulletproof too and singing at the top of my lungs breaking into a bad falsetto “don’t leave me highhhhhh, don’t leave me dryyyy”.

If I made a list of things I would like to be able to do before they die, seeing Radiohead would be on that list. A measure of how much one likes a band is the length that one goes to see them. The last time that Radiohead toured Australia in 2004 I missed them, so I am very excited that I will see them for the first time this year in November in Sydney, especially considering the ordeal that I went through to get tickets.

Presale 12noon (EST) Tuesday 28 February, I’m at my desk at work at 9am frantically trying to buy Radiohead tickets. There was only a small release of tickets that everyone was trying to get their hands on and the system was crashing all the time. I was very frustrated at being asked over and over again to enter in certain details and tick boxes which I had already done. My manager walks in and starts talking to me and I say to her “Sorry, but I can’t talk to you right now, I’m trying to buy Radiohead tickets”…Thankfully my manager was very cool about it all, a lot of my friends told me that their manager wouldn’t stand for that kind of behaviour but my manager was very understanding. I missed out on presale tickets so I had to get a ticket when they went on sale to the general public at 9am (EST) Thursday 1 March which would be 6am Perth time. But I have a problem in that I don’t have the internet at home so I had to get 24 hour access to the building so that I could come into work early on the Thursday morning that tickets went on sale. I asked my manager if she could organize 24 hour access for me and I didn’t even try to make up some lame excuse, I just told her exactly why I needed it – “I’m trying to buy Radiohead tickets”. My manager approved my request and then contacted the necessary people to get it sorted out, and I’m very grateful for it. Now I am in possession of a Radiohead ticket for the 12 November show, after waking up at around 5am so that I could get into work, 6 attempts with two computer screens running, my iPhone processing and a long wait on hold as I tried to call BOCS, I finally got a ticket (via computer route). My seat is quite far back but considering the number of people I know that missed out I feel quite lucky!

9.    Tied and Tickled Trio – Observing Systems

I don’t mind jazz, I respect jazz, but I don’t think I ever found myself loving jazz and the way it moves you, until I heard this album.

This is one of my most listened to albums. I can listen to this album for hours on end, that’s how good it is. The first time I heard the song ‘Freakmachine’ on RTRFM from this album, I was blown away, it has so many great moments – when the trumpets kick in, when the sax breaks into it’s solo and then another solo, and I love the way the instruments play off each other. It’s a song that will undoubtedly get me swaying and tapping my feet.

Listen to Freakmachine and feel the jazz inside you come alive!

This album led me to spend a lot of time exploring more contemporary and experimental jazz artists like Cinematic Orchestra, Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Jaga Jazzist, The Necks, and Triosk. Nothing beats this album though!

10.    Tool – Aenima

Of course my list of albums that changed my life would not be complete without Tool.

As a teenager I thought that Tool was the MOST amazing band ever, they were "the thinking person's metal band”. I was fascinated by Tool. I thought that their music was really different and progressive, I loved their artwork and video clips, and their lyrics were really philosophical. I would spend hours on the internet on Tool websites and music forums trying to understand Tool more and learn about the meaning behind their songs.

I learnt that one of the unifying forces behind Tool was the philosophy/religion known as Lachrymology, which translates literally to "the study of crying." The basic tenet, evident in the band's music, is that the greatest road to advancement is through pain - emotional and physical, specifically its release through crying. The drummer Danny Carey once explained that "We wanted the band to be a 'TOOL' to learn and gain from. The idea is not to inflict pain on yourself, but to learn and grow from the pain that has been inflicted upon you”. When I was a teen, I truly believed that Lachrymology was a real thing but later on I would find out that it was all made up, some believed that it was to further fuel the Tool mystique and others saw it as a parody on religious cults. Regardless of this fact, the principles of Lachrymology resonated with me and as a teen who was feeling a bit lost and confused, the music of Tool got me through things. Back then I even dressed like a Tool, well I would regularly wear Tool shirts, black skirts and boots (I may have been going through a semi-bogan goth stage, don’t we all?!!).

My Tool shirts that I got my mum to alter to a small size so they would fit me
My food blog is named after the Tool song 'Eon Blue Apocalypse'. I dyed my hair blue in year 11 and kept it blue into the first few years of uni and used Blue Apocalypse as an internet alias for internet interactions MSN, emails, ICQ etc. When I decided to start a food blog and was a bit stuck on a name I choose Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse as I already had a flickr account with the username Blue Apocalypse which I regularly posted photos of my cooking. In hindsight, I probably should have chosen a blog name that is more food related, when people ask me what the name of my food blog is and I say “Blue Apocalypse” it is generally met with looks of confusion. I’ve even had people suggest to me that I change the name of my blog so that I would be more recognizable as a food blogger. But I like the name of my blog, it represents who I am.

So I’m never going to win any ‘best named food blog’ awards but if you google “Blue Apocalypse” I trump all Tool search results :) 

Confirmation that Blue Apocalypse > Tool (image courtesy of @sunky)
I still really enjoy listening to Tool and while I have quite diverse music tastes, my metal streak has never left me. I have an affinity for metal but these days I’m really into post metal which combines of my two favourite things – post rock and metal! Bands such as Isis, Pelican, Cult of Luna, Russian Circles, Red Sparowes, Sleepmakeswaves and local Perth band Tangled Thoughts of Leaving are on high rotation.

My current CD collection stands at about 600 CDs, it has been trimmed down, I’ve probably had about 700+ in my lifetime but I’ve sold the CDs which I have outgrown or no longer listen to.

It was a lot of fun putting together a list of albums that have changed my life, it made me realize what a large contribution music has been to my life and its significance to me. I would love to read about other people’s list of albums that have changed their life. Please comment below or write up a post on your own blog and tell me about it :)

Let’s celebrate music and record buying!

A beautiful and touching video that I saw last week on the power of music.

Mark this date in your diary – 21 April 2012 = Record Store Day.

A lot of Perth record stores are having special discounts, giveaways and events for Record Store Day so make sure you check them out!


    1. I really enjoyed reading this blog post! It was a really interesting insight into your life! I also love music, however i feel that our tastes are pretty different. I am not a huge metal or even heavy rock fan, while i appreciate it as a musical genre i just find that personally i cant really get into it.

      Some of my most influential albums are as follows;

      Madness - Madness
      Less Than Jake - Hello Rockview
      Rancid - Let's go
      Air - Moon Safari
      Gwen Stefani - Love angel music baby
      Beastie boys - Licensed to ill
      N.E.R.D - In search of

      I could go on and on. But i tend to listen to albums much more than individual songs....

      1. Hi Simon

        I'm glad that you enjoyed reading the post. Music has been such a big part of my life that it was hard to write a post about it without getting a bit personal and sharing stories about myself.

        Same with eating, everyone has different tastes and enjoy eating different things.

        Thanks for sharing your list :) I saw Air play a few years ago, they put on an amazing life show!

    2. I think if me and you sit down we can just talk about rock music. I have different preferences though and have only listened to Radiohead, Sonic Youth and a bit of Veruca salt from your list as they were popular during the 90's. I am more mainstream like Nirvana but also listen to a lot of indie and underground stuff but not as much. Maybe you can introduce me to some hidden gems that I never knew about but must listen!!!

      1. Hi Gideon

        I started getting into alternative music through the more popular artists that got played on Triple J but then I got into more lesser known artists. Slint was the band that got me interested in discovering different sounds, maybe try checking out their album Spiderland.

        I am also a fan of Nirvana :)

    3. Seeing the photos of Mills and The record finder bring back teenage memories. I used to wag school and hang out in Mills and talk about music the the employees and listen to music all afternoon. Good times! If I lived in Fremantle I would still go out and buy cds or records.
      I think young people still buy cds from stores! when I came home for Christmas my 13 year old sister had stacks and stacks of cds in her room, same with my younger brother too. I think there is a large population of cd/ record buyers out there still and haven't caved into itunes. I haven't bought anything off itunes. One dollar for a song seems strange.

      1. Too bad Fremantle is a bit of a trek for me as when I visited those record stores to take photos everyone was so nice.

        It's good to know that kids are still buying CDs now. I still like physical things so I like buyings CDs.

    4. Great blog entry
      Anyway top 10 albums (ish)
      Burn the Moon: The Whitlams
      Little Earthquakes: Tori Amos
      Number of the Beast: Iron Maiden
      Gimme Back My Bullets: Lynard Skynard
      Rumors: Fleetwood Mac
      Storytellers Night: Magnum
      Eye in the Sky: Alan Parsons Project
      Up all night: The Waifs
      Eternal Nightcap:The Whitlams
      Imaginos: Blue Oyster Cult

      1. Thanks Chaz :) Nice list. Love the Little Earthquakes album by Tori Amos too.

    5. Nice post - you'd love Vinyl Experience in Camden Town, London. There's a motorbike through the front window. My number one album? The Pixies, Doolittle :)

      1. Happy you enjoyed the post.

        Pixies Doolittle, great choice :) So many great songs on that album!

    6. Dear A,

      I'm not sure if I should be concerned as I have not heard of any one of your top 10 albums although I suspect I may recognise some songs.

      The top 10 albums that changed my life might be a cringe factor for some though but what the heck, here they are, in no particular order:

      1. Earth Wind & Fire - Greatest Hits
      2. Carpenters - Greatest Hits
      3. Swing Out Sister - It's Better to Travel
      4. Swing Out Sister - Kaleidoscope World
      5. The Concert Sinatra
      6. Nancy Wilson - With My Lover Beside Me (this one is truly magical!)
      7. Tender Rituals - The piano music of Jim Chappell
      8. Lee Ritenour - Color Rit
      9. David Foster - David Foster
      10. Diane Schuur - Deedles

      1. Hello Chopin, you should not be concerned at all :) Everyone has different music tastes.

        hank you for sharing your list, there are some old school but very influential artists, I respect :)

    7. My Top Ten:

      Nick Drake - Pink Moon
      Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
      Nirvana - Nevermind
      Jeff Buckley - Grace
      The Beatles - The White Album
      Brian Eno - Music for Airports
      Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
      Christian Death - Only Theatre of Pain
      Sigur Rós - Ágætis Byrjun
      Muse - Origin of Symmetry

      Had to cull 5 to get it down to 10!

      1. Love your list Jesse :) I'm a huge Jeff Buckley fan too!

    8. great post! i remember going to 78s and dadas after school in Year 12, how times have changed, now i just go to JBs as there is just about one on every corner :/

      my top 10 albums as i too love making lists:

      (in random order)

      temple of the dog - temple of the dog
      sleater kinney - one beat
      tegan and sara - so jealous
      ani difranco - little plastic castle
      pearl jam - riot act
      bright eyes - i'm wide awake it's morning
      hole - live through this
      white stripes - elephant
      yeah yeah yeahs - fever to tell
      soundgarden - superunknown

      1. Thanks Mel :) Love Hole and Yeah Yeah Yeahs!

        JBs also have DVDs so if I'm there buying a DVD i'll pick up a CD too :/

        I don't go to the independent record stores enough these days, I'll make it up tomorrow on Record Store Day.

    9. Well I was also one of those people that would spend weekends hanging out in 78s, Dadas, Mills, or more often down in Central or Raggabone. I would have been the scary-looking kid hanging out in the electronica section. Here's ten albums that changed my life, not necessarily because they were awesome albums.

      - White Pony, Deftones;
      - Ventolin/Donkey Rhubarb, Aphex Twin;
      - Disintegration, The Cure;
      - Post/Homogenic, Bjork;
      - Terrordrome IV, Various;
      - An Elefant Never Forgets, The Herd;
      - NYC Speedcore, Disciples of Annihilation;
      - Drive, Bic Runga;
      - Lateralus, Tool;
      - Based on a True Story, Fat Freddy's Drop.

      And that's a list that doesn't have Radiohead, MIA, NIN, LSG, Squarepusher, Deltron 3030 or Lauryn Hill... this really was harder than I thought it would be. And I cheated.

      1. Nice list Adam :) I own half of those albums.

        If I cheated and had a list of 11 I would have put on Aphex Twin for introducing me to IDM also for entertaining (or scary) late night Rage music video watching.....I want your soul, come to daddy!

    10. haha I'm gonna look for my first past the post mags...

      Thx for this great write up of perth

      I remember seeing Something for Kate once at The Prince in St Kilda in some bar room with about 10 people....as soon as I heard his voice I knew he'd be famous

      I saw Adam Said Galore at the metro in Melbourne once and I was so excited to see an interstate post-rock band...ahhh those were the days

      This is fun reminiscing..."dirty" was such a cool album, but "washing machine" had the greatest effect on me as it was so spacey. When I moved to Perth I sold my whole Sonic Youth collection to Polyester records, the guy behind the counter thought I was crazy and was so happy to be able to complete his personal collection

      How good were Polvo...don't think I could listen to it now...I discovered June of '44 later on

      GYBE...enough said

      TTT also great

      What an awesome roundup...this post is so timely as I'm currently going through minidiscs of my old band in melbourne and have picked up the acoustic guitar of late...trying to work out some of my old songs...

      I was heavily influenced by Melbourne bands: 2 litre dolby, sandpit, little general, reading for pleasure, art of fighting, deer, light's surprising constancy, sir, sandro, By Ferry or Steamer, ninety nine, slow loris, lacto ovo, laura (we supported them at the punters), architecture in helsinki (when they played mogwai type stuff), Ukiyo-e (they were from sydney)..I got to say my fav gig was snoozapalooza at the corner in melbourne
      Sorry about that tangent, but it was so fun remembering them all

      I guess bands that "changed" me were Smashing Pumpkins, Sebadoh, Sonic Youth and Mogwai

      1. Thanks for your reply John :) I enjoyed reading about your music history. I get sentimental thinking about my past and the impact of music on it. It has been really great to be able to share it and for people to respond with their own albums and stories.

        That's a great list of Melbourne bands, I'll have to check some of them out. I love Sandpit and Laura, looking forward to seeing Laura play in Perth in June.

        I really like Sandpit, I think they are a great indie pop act.

    11. cd's are NOT records. VINYL are records

      1. You're a bit silly, a record is music that has been (suprisingly!) recorded onto something. Something that has been 'put on record'. A record is an album of any sort.

        Compact Disc, Vinyl, cassette tape, doesn't matter what it is, it doesn't even have to be an LP to be a record.

        That's like saying a movie actually means VHS and that DVDs can't be movies. A record is what it is, not the format it is recorded on.

    12. 78 records are very disinclined to help local artists. And they take a larger cut from sales than any other store in the city.

      Not worthy of being on the top of this list.

      1. I agree with this. Support the stores who support the people making music in Perth (and might actually need your twenty dollars to keep going).

        Let 78s sell Beatles and Rolling Stones albums to the over 50s crowd if that's what they want to do.

    13. Wow what a fantastic post. As a Melbournite, it was great to see the variety of record stores over there in WA. Sadly, we have lost a good deal our coolest record stores in Melbourne over the past decade, with us having to go further to find real authentic vinyl and even CD's.

      Thanks for sharing your most influential albums as well. My list(for the record) are

      Sonic Youth : Daydream Nation
      Pavement: Slanted and Enchated
      Archers of Loaf: Speed of Cattle
      Weezer: Blue
      David Bowie; Hunky Dory
      Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath 4
      Magic Dirt: Signs of Satanic Youth
      The Meanies: Come n See

      1. Thanks for your comment Steve :)

        There is a great little music community in Perth and it's good to see that there have been some new record stores popping up. I love being able to go in and have a browse.

        Great list of records. Magic Dirt almost made my list too, they are such a great live band!

    14. Hi Blue Apocalypse,

      I'm amused and delighted to find I'm not the only person who got put onto Slint by that silverchair J-file. I was such a 'chair fan that I actually taped that particular J-file.(!) I was thinking about Slint this morning and so I googled "Slint Daniel Johns Triple J", expecting no returns...

      Spiderland is an amazing album. I've been playing it all afternoon; reading your blog reminded me of it. I think my favourite thing about it is the creepy lyrics. Im sure its been said before - hearing them is like having a disturbing dream, or reading Lovecraft.

      Thanks for your great post, it's kind-of made my day. Keep it up!

      Isobel in Sydney.

      1. Hi Isobel

        This comment made my day too :)

        It was a very special moment hearing Slint for the first time through the silverchair J-File and it's awesome to know that someone else also experienced this!

        Spiderland is one of my favourite albums. Washer is a beautiful song. My favourite track is Good Morning, Captain, especially the moments when he screams I MISS YOU! it sends chills down my spine.

        Thanks for reading :)


    15. Now when was the last time I actually went to a music bar and listened to the records there? Makes me remember the first time I actually got to do that-downtown, and the first track I tried was a new radicals bit. Thanks for this, now I want to visit the old bar again.

    16. It is really nice story for getting musical records & music is one of my favorite things. I think this is huge step forward in the people search. Hopefully, this will enhance the entire people searching process.

    17. I didn't know there are so many indie record shops in Perth! Should have checked them out while i was in town a few years ago..

    18. Hello,
      Do you know the price ranges at Dada's records? I'm starting to collect records as my family and I are finally moving into our new house so boxes are being unpacked :) Which is the cheapest store?
      Ta x

      1. Prices vary depending on what the record is but DaDas have a large selection and also lots of second hands stuff so you should definitely have a browse :)

    19. Hi there Blue Apocalypse. Thanks for this article, been a great help since I just started my vinyl collection. I knew of most of these stores but a couple were unknown to me. DaDa's and 78's are always a must on my treks into town. Junction was a great store (Last time I was there it was The CD Library, I'm an old man), Mills is no longer the store it once was unfortunately. Heard good things about Fat Shan's but it seems they have closed. Still to check out Noise Pollution, Safari and Record Finder. Any more popped up since you wrote this? Noticed one in Plaza Arcade in Perth, they sell collectables as well, and JB in Hay Street Mall has a small collection of vinyl. Thanks again.

      1. Rhubarb Records just opened up in North Perth. Well worth checking out!

    20. Rhubarb Records just opened up in North Perth. Well worth checking out!

    21. Awesome blog really enjoyed it! I think its great that Perth still strives to keep vinyl alive... theres even more treasures in the swan valley aswell
      My top 10 artists!
      Def Leppard
      Dan reed network
      Crowded House
      The Trax