When you’re an influential musician, people tend to ask you what you’ve been listening to lately. Here at 5 for 20, we’re just as keen to find out what records loom large in our favourite artists’ memory banks. So, we’re asking folks for their top five records of the last 20 years.
This week we caught up with Toronto’s Dave Ullrich ahead of his trip to St. John’s, N.L., for the second annual Lawnya Vawnya festival of independent music and arts, which takes place April 18 to 22. Ullrich might be best known for his role as the drummer in the beloved band the Inbreds, a tremendous influence on Canadian indie rock in the 1990s.
When they broke up on good terms in 1998, singer Mike O’Neill released great solo efforts (including the recent Wild Lines), while Ullrich started the online digital music store, zunior.com, and recorded his own songs under the moniker Egger. The Inbreds have gotten back together every once in a while over the last 14 years for the odd show, including a recent appearance at CMW in Toronto, and again this week for Lawnya Vawnya. It seemed like a good time to get Ullrich’s take on significant records that we all should hear.
“For this request for CBC Music, I'm going to take the term 'rock' very literally,” he explains. “That means I'm starting from the perspective that these albums literally rock, and that they are my top rock albums from the last 20 years. Admittedly, these days I listen to a lot more cooled-down acoustic music (like Great Lake Swimmers or Mark Kozelek) now that I have kids, but this is a list that had a specific impact on me and, I believe, the music business at large.”
100% Fun by Matthew Sweet (1995)
This album has great players, great melodies and great songs. This is power pop with a soul and rock with brains. The Inbreds were lucky enough to do a series of shows with
Matthew and it was amazing to hear these songs live on a daily basis.
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
Big, weird, diverse, odd instrumentation, melodic, intelligent and mysterious. This is a band that was born with a giant "self destruct" button, and luckily they got this album out before the boom.
Mass Romantic by the New Pornographers (2000)
This is a band with more layers than a Skookum Chief hamburger, and a true all-in-one meal deal that was cookin' right from the very first song. The original Canadian collective with heavy credentials, heavy propulsion and heavy-duty rock magic.
Gimme Fiction by Spoon (2005)
Their sound has always struck me as very modern because, although the vibe can be Beatlesque, Spoon brings in razor-sharp groove elements that make the songs danceable without being dorky. The band's production/studio skills are second to none and they have created an iconic new sound.
Modern Guilt by Beck (2008)
Beck has always been that odd chameleon-like character who changes it up on every record. Although he's pretty much stopped recording his own music, his last album rocks. For Beck, these songs are pretty straight-up, but it is rock solid and sounds good loud.
5 for 20: Mike O’Neill
5 for 20: Patrick Pentland of Sloan
on Apr 18, 2012