From Neil Young to Khruangbin: Ocean Alley prescribe 9 of their favourite albums
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We’re extremely excited to be joined for our latest instalment of Doctor’s Orders comes courtesy of Sydney’s Ocean Alley. The band have made a name for themselves as being one of the most beloved homegrown bands in Australia over the last few years and we caught up with the band for a chat about some of their favourite records, some of which have helped shape their life.
Their third record, Lonely Diamond, was released independently in June and arrived as their most successful record — managing to chart at number three in Australia. Their sun-drenched sound has won them fans all over the world who have been won over by their blissful music which infuses reggae and psychedelic rock together which creates a match made in heaven.
Continuing with our Mental Health Awareness campaign, Far Out Magazine has teamed up with the suicide prevention charity CALM to help connect you with your favourite artists and hear how music has helped them during their darker times.
The organisation, with the full working title of ‘Campaign Against Living Miserably’, offer a free, confidential and anonymous helpline for those most in need of mental health support. The last six months have been a traumatic time for many who have struggled to cope during these truly extraordinary times which has seen CALM have seen a huge spike in their workload.
We at Far Out Magazine believe in music’s ability to heal. It could be the moment that the needle drops on your favourite album and provides respite from a chaotic world or, conversely, it might be the fanatic conversation you have with friends about which guitarist was the greatest. Music, it’s safe to say, has always allowed us to connect with one another and ourselves.
In support of CALM, we’re asking a selection of our favourite people to share nine records that they would prescribe for anyone they met and the stories behind their importance. Doctor’s Orders is an ongoing feature that sees some of our favourite musicians, actors, authors comedians and more, offer up the most important records, which they deem essential for living well.
Ocean Alley take on the challenge of prescribing nine albums for living well and their selection not only offers an incredible playlist but a fascinating insight into the music that has brought them together as a band.
Let’s dive in!
Ocean Alley’s 9 Favourite Albums:
Henry Mancini – Hatari Soundtrack
Their first pick comes out of left-field and is the soundtrack to the 1962 John Wayne adventure comedy film Hatari which follows professional game catchers in Africa.
Mancini is often cited as one of the greatest composers in the history of film, he won four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and twenty Grammy Awards, plus a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
“A great album to listen to in the mornings. ‘Baby Elephant Walk’ is a song that we use as an alarm to wake up sleeping band members. Impossible to sleep through and you’ll be whistling it all day,” Ocean Alley noted on the soundtrack.
Pete Murray – See The Sun
In vast contrast to the first pick in the list, next up is Australian singer-songwriter Pete Murray’s 2006 record See The Sun.
The album was met with fanfare when it was released and even saw Murray top the album charts in Australia with the record but Ocean Alley’s reason for giving the album a spot on their list is because of the cherished memories that the record reminds them of.
“For when you’ve seen better days. In 2006 when this album was released we were all at high school, so we spent our teens growing up with this music. Pete’s lyrics are reflective and can be sombre at times which delicately pulls against the bright and sparkly guitar. Soothing and soulful,” they explained.
Neil Young – Harvest
Widely regarded as being one of the finest albums of all time, Neil Young’s Harvest is worthy of a place on any list. The 1972 record is an utter delight from start to finish and features tracks including ‘Heart of Gold’, ‘Old Man’ and the titular track ‘Harvest’.
The track reminds Ocean Alley to their earlier days with the band and the fond memories that are attached with this period of their life.
“When we started playing music together we would jam ‘Old Man’ quite a lot and so it’s quite nostalgic for us. ‘Heart Of Gold’ is another track from Harvest that we love too. It’s optimistic and powerful,” Ocean Alley said on the record.
Kurt Vile – Bottle It In
One artist who is in the mould of Neil Young is Kurt Vile which makes this pick the perfect way to follow Harvest. Bottle It In is Vile’s eighth studio album which was released in 2018 through Matador Records, it features an all-star cast including the likes of Kim Gordon, Cass McCombs, Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, and Mary Lattimore.
“It’s really fun to listen too and easy to connect with the laid back and unguarded story telling,” Ocean Alley eulogised about the record.
“Jangly and happy guitars. Kurt’s delivery feels so carefree and natural. He recorded this record during touring and travelling around the US visiting family and has created a homely feeling amongst all the tracks.”
Khruangbin – The Universe Smiles Upon You
Khruangbin is known, much like Ocean Alley, for their blending of different musical worlds so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to see their 2015 debut The Universe Smiles Upon You make the list.
The trio has released three albums, most recently sharing Mordechai earlier this summer which helped spread the word even further of Khruangbin.
“For when you need a moment on the nod. Calm and relaxing all the way through. It puts us in a meditative state and does an incredible job of clearing the mind of worry,” they declared on the record.
Soft Hair – Soft Hair
Soft Hair is the 2016 collaborative project of Connan Mockasin and LA Priest, the album is eccentric from start to finish as these they invite you into this off the wall world that they have created.
“This record is a collaboration between Connan Mockasin and Sam Eastgate that oozes lo-fi melodies and wobbly synths. We love the way they’ve blended their individual styles to build a sound like no other,” Ocean Alley stated profoundly.
“The lyrics have a sense of humour to them and seem as though they were trying to make each other laugh whilst recording. Great record to accompany a nice glass of red,” they added.
The Morning Yells – Proper Wilted
The Morning Yells are an LA-based Americana band that is consisted of siblings Phil and Laura Stancil, Trevor Smith, Jacob Boll and Curran McDowell.
Proper Wilted is their 2017 record which they say has influences ranging from the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and The War On Drugs.
“The smooth Americana reminds us of good friends and good times,” the band said. “We’ve had the pleasure of touring parts of North America with this band from Los Angeles and we love their music. We had a lot of fun watching them play every night on the road and also shared some good times together after the shows.”
Donny Benét – Mr Experience
Donny Benét is another Sydney based artist like Ocean Alley, Mr Experience is his fifth record and was only released this May — which is a testament to the greatness of the record that it makes it on their list of favourite records.
Benét has said Mr Experience was inspired by the stylings of Bryan Ferry and Hiroshi Yoshimura, and in order to produce the record, he “envisioned the soundtrack to a dinner party set in the late 1980s.”
“This is one that makes you want to get up and dance. Full of funky bass and disco rhythms Mr. Experience is one hell of an experience. It’s pure feel-good music, there’s nothing else to say,” they said on Benét.
Parkway Drive – Horizons
Parkway Drive are another band who are fellow Australian natives like Ocean Alley they have done it the hard way and their 2007 album Horizons is one that remains close to their heart.
The record was a surprising commercial success for the band with the record storming the ARIA Album Charts, an unheard-of achievement for an Australian metal band at the time.
“Parkway Drive have risen from underdog to top dog and they’ve done it all on their own,” the band said. “They stay true to their fans and to themselves and are one of so many Aussie bands crushing it overseas and showing the world how bloody good AUS music can be. Viva the underdog!”