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Love Letter To A Record: Mylk On Powderfinger’s ‘Internationalist’

Written by Ewen Stewart on September 10, 2019

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.

Mylk – Internationalist by Powderfinger (1998)

Dear Internationalist,

It’s nearly your 21st birthday and boy have you aged well. While you were there for almost all of my life, unfortunately I didn’t know it. I failed to find you until I was well into my prime-primary years.

It’s 2006. I find myself snooping through my brother’s large array of CDs (that’s what we used to play music on) waiting for something to catch my eye. My 10-year-old brain has no direction in terms of music. My opinion subsided that the best album was So Fresh: Hits of Summer 2003. Featuring the likes of Shannon Noll, Nickelback, The Black Eyed Peas, and the Crazy Frog song. Sure, some of the songs were absolute bangers, but it just wasn’t good music. I stumble across a ‘tatty’ looking case with a big crack directly through the middle of it. Behind the crack is a scrawny teenage boy, holding his shirt closed as though covering his shame. I’m not sure to this day what interested me about the album, I’m assuming it was simply the bright colours. But, from the moment I inserted the disk I knew I had become a better person. I’d moved on from my bogan, narcissistic youth and slingshotted myself into the world of music.

The element that sets apart this album from others is the diverse array of musical genres that are spread throughout its entity. From the raw guitars and punchy drums of ​’Hindley Street’ through to the almost reggae influenced melody of ​’Lemon Sunrise’.​ This album is a front to back, side to side masterclass. Personally, I believe this is similar to the music that we compose as a band. While we label ourselves as alt-rock, we try to steer clear of singular strand music and be diverse as possible; while creating the same recognizable sound. Although the album was seen as their most experimental, I believe it is by far the ‘fingas’ best and most underrated work. It takes you on a journey through suburban Sydney, while sounding like an almost live recording.

The biggest regret I have is never seeing Powderfinger live – or, never being old enough. Yes I could invest in a Bernard Fanning gig and hope for the umpteenth reunion, but it just wouldn’t be the same.

For now I say thank you to you – Internationalist, for steering me in the right direction when I was lost. If it weren’t for you I’d be a T-Swizzle advocate.

Ewen (Mylk)

Listen to MYLK’s latest single ‘Not My Fault’ here.

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