Home Music Music Features

Rolling Stone’s 200 Greatest Australian Albums of All Time: The Solo Producers

To create one of the greatest Australian albums of all time is no mean feat, but all the more impressive when it’s crafted in-house.

Two panel image of The Avalanches and Tame Impala, two artists who solo-produced records in Rolling Stone’s 200 Greatest Australian Albums of All Time

The Avalanches and Tame Impala self-produced some of the greatest Aussie albums ever made.

Grant Spanier*; Neil Krug*

When Rolling Stone Australia announced our list of the 200 Greatest Australian Albums of All Time in early December, it stirred great debate about the records that made their way into the list. Countless questions about whether one album deserved to be placed above another ensured, while just as many questions were matched with memories of hearing these records for the first time.

But what about the talent behind these records? In many cases, a good record resonates with the old “it takes a village” adage, with countless folks behind the scenes helping to ensure the album matches the vision inside the head of the artist. Other times, a solitary figure sits behind the desk, with a minimalist approach helping to bring the album to life.

As time goes on though, it’s becoming more and more common to see artists or bands going it along, producing the record in-house to ensure that it completely lives up to the vision they have for it. While access to technology has made the practice more and more commonplace, self-produced records have been around for decades, with some of the finest records of our time being created by the performing artist themselves.

To celebrate our list of the 200 Greatest Australian Albums of All Time, we’ve decided to take a look at the records which were created by artists going it alone. From The Saints’ Prehistoric Sounds back in 1978, to the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Ghosteen in 2019, 15% of the final list was made up of records created in-house. It’s a fair effort, and one that we feel is worth honouring.

Find all these solo producers below, and if you’re keen to see the full list of albums that made the final list, or the equally-large list of honourable mentions, you can do so by clicking their respective links.

Rolling Stone’s 200 Greatest Australian Albums of All Time: The Solo Producers

8. The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)
12. Tame Impala – Currents (2015)
31. Flume – Flume (2012)
38. Crowded House – Woodface (1991)
43. The Presets – Apocalypso (2008)
47. Hilltop Hoods – The Hard Road (2006)
48. Gotye – Like Drawing Blood (2006)
64. Tame Impala – InnerSpeaker (2010)
67. Eskimo Joe – Black Fingernails, Red Wine (2006)
74. TISM – Machiavelli and The Four Seasons (1995)
80. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity (2016)
84. Crowded House – Temple of Low Men (1988)
90. Hilltop Hoods – The Calling (2003)
91. Gotye – Making Mirrors (2011)
97. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen (2019)
109. Flume – Skin (2016)
119. Tame Impala – Lonerism (2012)
122. RÜFÜS DU SOL – Bloom (2016)
124. The Avalanches – Wildflower (2016)
127. Pendulum – Immersion (2010)
129. Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (2012)
130. Tash Sultana – Flow State (2018)
131. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree (2016)
147. The Saints – Prehistoric Sounds (1978)
164. Chet Faker – Built on Glass (2014)
165. PNAU – PNAU (2007)
174. The John Butler Trio – Sunrise Over Sea (2004)
175. Machine Gun Fellatio – Paging Mr. Strike (2002)
181. RVG – A Quality of Mercy (2017)
184. The Reels – Quasimodo’s Dream (1981)

Special mention must be given to Crowded House’s 1988 album, Temple of Low Men, and 1991’s Woodface, with producer Mitchell Froom later becoming a full-fledged member of the band. Likewise, PNAU’s self-titled debut from 2007 features a similar phenomenon, with additional producer Sam Littlemore later becoming a full-time member of the group.

If you’re eager to get your hands on the latest issue of Rolling Stone Australia to see the full 200 list, then now is the time to sign up for a subscription. Serving as a must-have addition to any self-respecting music fan’s collection, a cherished gift, or even some timely self-isolation reading, folks can subscribe to the quarterly magazine now.

Whether you’re just a fan of music, you’re a supporter of the local music scene, or you enjoy the thrill of print and long form journalism, then Rolling Stone Australia is exactly what you need. Click on the link below for more information regarding our subscription service.