When it comes to music, it would be fair to say that there are few out there who know more than the great Zane Lowe. A renowned broadcaster and musician in his own right, these days you can find him serving as the co-head of Artist Relations and Radio Host at Apple Music. With such a lofty title to his name, it’s fair to say that Lowe might know his way around a record or two.
In December, Rolling Stone Australia announced its list of the 200 Greatest Australian Albums of All Time, and to celebrate, we spoke to a number of artists about their favourite local records. While Tina Arena, Tash Sultana and others had their say, Lowe also chimed in with his top ten.
Having expressed his fondness for countless records over the years (including his list of Masterpieces on BBC Radio 1 back in the day, which notably featured no Aussie acts), the New Zealand-born broadcasting icon has given local music-lovers a run-down of his top ten local albums. From global chart-toppers to a few less-popular favourites, his list is undoubtedly one you should find yourself listening to.
Find Zane Lowe’s top ten 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.
My Top 10: Zane Lowe
You Am I – Hi Fi Way
The first four You Am I albums are flawless for me. I could have randomly picked any of them, but for me Hi Fi Way is the best example of the suburban melancholy and timeless classic rock energy that they do so well. Basically flawless start to finish.
Tame Impala – InnerSpeaker
The first Tame Impala album and the start of what has been a widescreen and innovative journey. Tame Impala from then to now is in some respects almost unrecognisable but his incredible talent is already on full display here. I love the album’s rawness and how Kevin Parker sounds like he is truly at the start of something. It’s my most played of their albums. Just.
AC/DC – Back in Black
Or in fact any AC/DC album. Once you’ve created the perfect plate of food, why would you ever mess with it? As close to perfect as rock and roll can get.
Kylie Minogue – Fever
Not just Australia’s greatest pop star, but one of the world’s greatest pop stars. Someone who can make you dance, break your heart, and put you back together all on one album. Icon level.
The Avalanches – Since I Left You
The only album that can sit alongside DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing… in terms of sheer sampling innovation and creativity. Somehow this collective conjured up a genius collage of vintage breaks and made something deeply emotional and timeless.
The Vines – Highly Evolved
It’s hard to put into words the kind of impact that this band and this album had when it was released. Whether the hype helped or hindered it hasn’t altered the shape of the album, which is tight, powerful, and at times heart wrenching. It hits and hurts in equal measure.
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
This is a brilliant observational album. The way Courtney describes life as she sees it is brilliant, urgent, and funny — and it’s all wrapped up in this perfect lo-fi rock and roll. Perfectly nonchalant.
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Let Love In
This album is here to represent the whole. They are one of the all time great bands, sharing life stories through art for the benefit of all who listen. Powerful and true.
Crowded House – Together Alone
I can’t even believe I’m putting this on the list. Not because it doesn’t deserve to be there (in my opinion it’s the band’s magnum opus) but because, ask any New Zealander and Crowded House is a New Zealand band. That said, if a little ambiguity allows me to put this on an Australian albums list, then I’m willing to make this temporary concession. This album is simply remarkable.
INXS – Listen Like Thieves
Probably not the INXS album most would put on their list. But sometimes for me, the album before ‘The Album’ leaves a lasting impression. I saw INXS tour this record when it came out and, as a young kid, the power and chemistry of Michael Hutchence and this band changed my life.
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.
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