Love Letter To A Record: Neon Tetra Frontman Josh Allen On Phoenix’s ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.


Josh Allen, Neon Tetra — Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Dear Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,

Sometimes moments stumble into your life that change the way you perceive the world and one’s own place within it. It’s often we get too caught up in these moments without ever acknowledging them for what they truly are, and what they mean to us. I think it’s time I did my best to rectify that.

I still remember the first time we met. I was walking along the coast, 16 or so, with an old friend while away on summer holiday. After a few miles we came across a couple of late teens drinking Vodka Cruisers and smoking cigarettes. They invited my friend and I over. We sat, drank, listened to music and laughed. Then there you came. ‘Lisztomania’ blared through the stereo system. I froze, like Dorothy, agape as she watched her world float away in a hurricane. It was so unlike anything I’d ever heard, but still familiar. Inherently indescribable.

Sadly, our meeting was cut short. By my parents, remember? They’d conveniently decided to drive down to where I was for the weekend and had caught me drinking. They asked to see my bright blue tongue knowing I’d drunk cruisers. I retorted “that’s ridiculous, it’s just red cordial”. Despite being caught in the act and dropped in some serious hot water, no amount of shame could wipe the smile from my face or Lisztomania from my head. I knew I’d stumbled upon a piece of magic I couldn’t let pass.

The second I left I wrote your name down on my hand and traced over it every 6 hours until I got home 4 days later, making sure your memory wouldn’t wash away.

On my arrival home, I bought you on CD at first opportunity, popped you into the computer and played you on repeat until the middle of the night. This continued the next day, and almost every day after for a number of years, as you were played on my mp3 player (iPod’s were too mainstream), at parties, I even made mum listen to you in the car, she said you were “boppy”.

Don’t worry, it’s a compliment.

To me though, you were so much more. You were the headbanging wonder of ‘Lisztomania’; The broad, brooding synth bass of ‘1901’; The beautiful acoustic guitar breaks of ‘Fences’; the autumn leaves stripping a meadow bear, in ‘Love Like A Sunset Part 1’, before watching it blossom back to full bloom in ‘Part 2’; The pulsating, off-centre groove that opened ‘Lasso’; to the melodic delicacy that is ‘Armistace’. You were and remain to be, modern musical perfection.

A few years ago, your play count sat at over 2,000 on my iTunes (Seriously, the whole thing). Later, when I decided to transition to vinyl you were the second record I ever bought. (The first was a fleeting infatuation with a release by The Virgins). Throughout this whole time though, I aspired to be you. Never had I heard someone mesh synthesisers and acoustic instruments to paint a picture so effortlessly beautiful, whilst still make me want to dance in the middle of a crowded street.

I dreamed thereon of owning a Telecaster, just like Christian. I still dream of owning a few synths and being able to mix a record half as good as you. In 2010, I went to see your makers live in concert. I was first to show up at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre at 9am. The next person showed at 5pm. The lonesome wait was worth it. It solidified your enormity and drove me from youthful innocence to a desire to bring something as imaginative and uplifting as you.

Thank you, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, for being the boy’s obsession, that became a man’s dream.

Yours truly,


Adelaide psych-soul outfit Neon Tetra’s new single ‘The End Begins Again’ is out now and they’ll be hitting the road on tour this May to celebrate! Catch the song and tour dates below.

Neon Tetra — ‘The End Begins Again’ Tour

Saturday, 5th May

Chateau Apollo, Adelaide

Tickets: Official Website

Friday, 25th May

Elsewhere Bar, Gold Coast

Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 26th May

Netherworld, Brisbane

Tickets: Official Website

Sunday, 27th May

The Evelyn Melbourne (MATINEE)

​Tickets: Official Website

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