Playlist: TZU’s top 10 concept albums

Time travelling gynaecologists, modern adaptations of Chinese operas and reverse evolution – TZU’s drummer and sampler maestro YEROC (aka Corey McGregor) takes FL on a journey through his top 10 concept albums.

Why concept albums? Well, the band’s new record Millions of Moments is a concept album that follows the adventures of Persephone who trials a drug called Chronos, which sends her hurtling through time to vastly different times in Australian history. It’s the only hip-hop album you’ll hear this year that features a ghost story set in colonial times, an 18th-century stalker and the apocalypse.

10. Monkey – Journey to the West

I saw a great documentary on this project, such a massive undertaking and the work of a true musical genius. Definitely a man that has no problem adapting a 16th-century novel into a Chinese opera. Pretty cool, really. It was released as an album but the songs were rewritten with new arrangements. Anyway, it’s one performance I would love to see.

9. Prince Paul – Psychoanalysis: What Is It?

The undisputed king of hip-hop concept albums, it was a tough call on which one to add here, it could have been Prince of Thieves or Handsome Boy Modelling School. I chose this because it was the first solo album from the Prince, plus the cover art is awesome.

8. Gotye – Making Mirrors*

I really wanted to add an Australian concept album here, so here it is. Pretty hard to avoid this album at the moment and full power to Gotye. It still really surprises me that this has gone so massive, a great album that transcends generations.

7. Mo’ Wax – Some Scientific Abstract Type Shit

Don’t know if this really counts as a concept album, but this album changed my life This is the album that got me interested in making hip-hop. My brother had bought me a sampler from Japan. I was living in my parents basement, trying to recreate the sounds and textures on this album. I had tapes and tapes of really shit, homemade trip hop to play to people who didn’t care. Ahhh, the good ol’ days.

6. Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030

Great album made up of Dan the Automator, Del the Funky Homosapian and Kid Koala. Pretty amazing hip-hop lineup and an album worth checking out. Basically it tells the story of Deltron Zero’s fight against huge corporations that rule the world. (Man where do they come up with this shit?) All 3 ended up working on the Gorillaz debut album. Genius.

5. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

The album is about a Vietnam vet returning to the country he was fighting for, and seeing nothing but injustice suffering and hatred. It was one of the first R&B concept albums.

4. Emerson Lake and Palmer – Tarkus

No list of concept albums would be complete without some prog rock this may not be the best prog rock concept album or the best ELP album but it’s the playing that gets me. The arrangements and super tight players, it’s definitely over the top and filled to the brim with music wank but man they can play. Seriously check them out on YouTube. The album is about reverse evolution.

3. OutKast – Speakerboxxx/Love Below

I’m really only going to mention the Love Below here, I really like both albums on this release but as far as concept albums go the Love Below is easily in my top 10. The general gist of the album is a story of his fictional and non fictional love life. A really diverse album, genre wise but a also a collection of just great songs.

2. Dr Octagon – Dr Octagonecologyst

Dr Octagon is a homicidal, extraterrestrial, time-travelling gynaecologist and surgeon. Need I say more? Except it’s a fucking great album.

1. Pink Floyd – The Wall

Well, really if you don’t put this album at number one you’re probably lying right? I’ve listened to this album many times. I even went to see the Roger Waters show with my mum a few years back.

*may not be a concept album – ed.

In addition to a national tour (dates below), TZU are playing the Sprung Festival at Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds with the likes of Hilltop Hoods, Illy and Pez on November 10. More details here

TZU tour:

Thursday, October 4 – Grace Emily, Adelaide

Friday, October 5 – Bar 120, Hillarys

Saturday, October 6 – Amplifier Bar, Perth

Sunday, October 7 – The Prince of Wales, Bunbury

Thursday, October 11 – The Patch, Wollongong

Friday, October 12 – Transit Bar, Canberra

Saturday, October 13 – The Standard, Sydney

Friday, October 19 – Republic Bar, Hobart

Saturday, October 20 – Republic Bar, Hobart

Monday, November 5 – The HiFi, Melbourne

Saturday, November 10 – Sprung Festival, Brisbane

Friday, November 23 – Queenscliff Music Festival