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Three Albums That Changed My Life: Tanzer

Melbourne musician/director/diva and more, Tanzer, does things her own way and her latest video for her single, Johnny, is a perfect example of this. Assembling Melbourne’s most fabulous queer performers and creatives to create the cinematic clip, you certainly haven’t seen anything quite like this before!

Throwing back to an alternate universe in the 1960s, Tanzer creates a Lynchian masterpiece to match an absolute belter of a tune. Onstage, Tanzer is a commanding chanteuse with a voice and enigma that literally silences a room, so it’s no wonder that she’s already kicked more than a few goals over the past few months including performances at Falls Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, and was also most recently heard soundtracking the promo for Dark Mofo. Not bad at all!

To get to know her a little better, we asked Tanzer to tell us a bit about three albums that have changed her life. Check out her answers below and keep up to date with all Tanzer’s happenings here. Local Melbourne fans are also in luck, as they can catch Tanzer live in action come May 28 at The Toff In Town for her EP launch. You can see more details on that here.

KUKL, Holidays In Europe

I’ve been completely wild for Bjork since I was a kid, as we all should be, and happening upon her 1980s punk roots absolutely changed my life – I’d say this album singlehandedly inspired me to start a band. At the time I’d never heard anything so chaotic, so joyous, so disturbing, so outrageous. And that superhuman voice, fully realised even back then, just destroying you at every turn… gosh! While Tanzer became a bit of a weird crooner project that saw me look to different heroes like Scott Walker and Morricone, this record is totally burnt into the fabric of my brain and definitely set my musical path in a weird (probably a bit goth) direction right at the start. There’s a song on this record that takes the piss out of Christians called Just By The Book – I wrote an essay about it for Religious Studies in high school and got a really bad mark.

Sparks, Kimono My House

I was convinced Russell Mael was a woman when I first acquired this delight from a friend; jaunty and sparkly and featuring songs with titles like Falling In Love With Myself Again. Glam rock stylings matched with eccentric humour and vocal acrobatics, the least serious pop music ever, just wonderful. I was deep into a Split Enz fandom when this band happened to me, wearing Mental Notes-era clown makeup on stage, the whole shebang – so I was completely ripe for some weird American boys singing about llamas. I often consume this treasure in conjunction with their consecutive album, Propaganda.

Queen, Innuendo

I spent part of my childhood in Rome, Italy, and discovered Queen when Freddie passed and their free-to-air music video station played their back catalogue 24/7 for weeks. This electrifying, glorious force of nature blew my baby diva brains out. I’d never seen or heard anything that majestic and was instantly in rapture. I feverishly captured as many songs as I could by recording the TV audio with my pink cassette recorder and terrorised my parents by replaying the shitty audio captures in the car whenever possible – their thing at the time was Kenny G. Innuendo as an album doesn’t particularly grab me, but gosh, those singles – a man speaking to his own imminent death; sprawling, poignant, dramarama pop epics. The gravity of these songs wasn’t lost on me as a child and definitely shaped my taste for campy, OTT arrangements forevermore!

Image: Supplied