Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 Scene Awards - Group of the Year




It's been a really, really good year for Australian music, with our Top 116 songs of 2016 ending with ten Australian songs and now, two incredible group of musicians, from two incredible states in this big incredible land of ours, releasing incredible music and performing incredible shows. Yes. This is Group of the Year. 


GROUP OF THE YEAR
Runner-up: Babaganouj




The 'Nouj. The 'Nouj-nouj-nouj. Our fave Brisbane trio deserve their place here just for the effort they put in to make three EP's in 2016. But they more than earned it with the quality of the music they were putting out into the world. While Babaganouj's music has a sound that's all their own, when you've got three vocalists taking lead at different times, there's always going to be a little something different to take from each track. Sort of like Fleetwood Mac, but without all the drugs and sleeping around... at least that we know of. Maybe 2017 will be the Babaganouj Rumours era that we've all been dreaming of. More awesome tracks than you could shake a stick at, a killer Bigsound showcase and they've won over the Japanese. Yep, Babaganouj are big in Japan. A huge year for Babaganouj and next year will hopefully be even bigger. (Matt Bond)


Winner: Gang Of Youths




This band made me do something this year which I hadn't done in a long time. When they released Let Me Be Clear, the follow up EP to their incredible debut album, I went to a store and purchased a physical copy of it. It was something I wanted to hold in my hands, to feel within my fingertips and to live in my car, my refuge, my safe place of thoughts and dreams. It had all started a couple of years ago, when Matt told me he had developed a minor obsession for a band called Gang Of Youths and he couldn't stop listening to their album. He gave me a brief description and I'll admit I was intrigued, but what I hadn't taken into consideration before I hit play on that album was just how much it would come to mean. The Positions became part of my 2015, a integral part of my thought process and path that year. In 2016, I watched this group of five become a part of more and more people's lives, as they toured extensively and I couldn't be happier, because this is a band that defines what music is for me; a release, a confidante, an integral part of who I am and my friend. Bands like Gang Of Youths are the ones making the loss of all the life defining artists we said farewell to this year a little easier on those of us with the sensitive souls, because where one artist has walked, another follows. I know I'll be following Gang Of Youths for as long as they are creating and with each release, I already look forward to heading to a store, buying, holding, feeling and listening. (Jo Michelmore)

2015 Winner
Little May
Runner-up: Gang Of Youths


2014 Winner
Little May
Runner-up: Kingswood


2013 Winner
Chvrches
Runner-up: Little May


2012 Winner
Texas Tea
Runner-up: Garbage


2011 Winner
Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-up: Little Dragon


2010 Winner
Arcade Fire

2016 Scene Awards - Album of the Year




So here we are guys at our final award of the year. What a ride it's been, so many artists we love, so much music we can't live without and how awesome that we've gotten to album of the year and are celebrating 2016 with two Australian artists we adore. Thank for joining us and here's to another year of spine-tingling, nod-inducing, smile-filled hands in the air music. Happy 2017!


ALBUM OF THE YEAR


Runner-up: Olympia - Self Talk




It was one of those albums that I stuck on in the car and found myself driving around and around unfamiliar suburban streets pretending I was an uber looking for my ride because at track four I realised I didn't want to stop until I'd soaked it all in. It was one of those moments where I was scrolling through the thousands of songs to vote for in the Hottest 100 when I came across ..........and realised it was released early this year and it hasn't actually been in my life for, like, ever. Olympia is one of those names that I want to read about all over my socials and see on the TVs and hear on the commercial radios like Ariana Swift or whoever it is the kids like these days, because I want everyone you know to know just how awesome she is and above all of that Self Talk, with all it's references to pop from the past and it's face turned directly at the future, it is one of those albums that took me from wherever I was and dropped me right in the middle of happy. And some days, there's no better place than that. (Jo Michelmore)


Winner: Montaigne - Glorious Heights




Let's get this out of the way early... Montaigne easily reached those glorious heights she was aiming for with her debut album. She reached them, then she kept going and blasted off into outer space and found herself on a planet where only the very best music makers can go. You can tell that every single element that makes up this album was so considered. Not in a crazy way, in a way that saw Montaigne's vision brought to life. It tells you stories that make you wonder if our leading lady has been following you around with a camera for some inspiration and then you have to remember that there's stuff, good and bad, that everyone goes through and maybe their stories are the same as yours and also you've been pretty low-key this year so maybe the stalking wouldn't have been all that 'inspiring' at all for her. Glorious Heights takes you to all the places you want your most loved albums to take you to. There's the highs, the lows, the singalong moments of pure joy, the moments you can't help but dance to, the moments you can't help but think of that certain someone or that other certain someone you'd much rather be able to forget forever. It's all these things and more but it's also just really, really incredible pop music. The very best. And from one of our all-time faves. Everyone's been dragging all over 2016 for some very valid reasons as it winds up. But this right here? This will always be one of my 2016 highlights. (Matt Bond)


2015 Winner
For The Company by Little May
Runner-up: The Positions by Gang Of Youths


2014 Winner
The Golden Echo by Kimbra
Runner-up: I Never Learn by Lykke Li


2013 Winner
The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae
Runner-Up: Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs


2012 Winner

Theatre Is Evil by Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra
Runner-Up: Blunderbuss by Jack White


2011 Winner

Seeker Lover Keeper by Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-Up: Vows by Kimbra


2010 Winner

The Suburbs by Arcade Fire

2016 Scene Awards - Woman of the Year



R.E.S.P.E.C.T, what it feels like, who rule the world etc. etc. It be girls. Or in our case, two particular women who ruled our headphones, ipads, ear things all year long. Welcome to Woman of the Year. 

WOMAN OF THE YEAR

Runner-up: Bec Sandridge


 


Maybe it's because I am a woman, maybe it's because Matt and I are both proudly feminists, maybe it's because who rule the world etc. but I always find picking the woman of the year harder than picking most of our other awards, because SO many amazing women. This year was no different, but out of the many names circling my mind, this person stood out, and not because she's literally quite tall, but because she offers something I haven't seen for a while and sounds I have needed to hear this year, without really knowing I needed them until they arrived. Along with some of the catchiest songs of the year, Bec Sandridge oozes a sense of hope in a world where even the artists on the edge are carbon copies of the last artist with a sense of edge, she is like no other artist I love at the moment. There's a sense of independence I find difficult to describe, a feeling of artistry in it's true form, all encompassing and all consuming, just like her sounds, and she has a healthy sense of respect of artists who have come before her, without sounding like a photocopy of them. Maybe it's because Bec Sandridge is so fucking awesome that choosing my favourite woman of the year wasn't really so hard after all. (Jo Michelmore)


Winner: Tkay Maidza





2016 was a banner year for Australian women in music. Montaigne, Bec Sandridge, Ngaiire, Emily Wurramara, Ella Hooper, Olympia, Ecca Vandal, Ali Barter... to name but a few... kept on killing it in the music department and the 'being awesome human beings' department. So this really made it hard to say, " (x) is your woman of the year," but we also knew that this was the year of Tkay Maidza. In three-ish years, Tkay Maidza has grown into one of the world's finest performers. She's teaming up with massive producers, collaborating with the likes of Killer Mike, dropping THE rap album of the year and one of the best albums overall. Possibly even the best overall. She's tearing up stages with the ease of a career veteran; effortless, flawless and energetic. And the rest of the world has taken notice. Which is such a, duh, of course they have. Because Tkay Maidza was never going to be denied. The lady is fire. Last year she was the future and in 2016, the future is now. Tkay. Slay. (Matt Bond)


2015 Winner
Courtney Barnett
Runner-up: Montaigne


2014 Winner
 Kimbra
Runner-up: Taylor Swift


2013 Winner
Lorde
Runner-up: Janelle Monae


2012 Winner
Amanda Palmer
Runner-up: Santigold


2011 Winner
Kimbra
Runner-up: Adele


2010 Winner
M.I.A

2016 Scene Awards - Man of the Year




One guy from Australia still at the start of his incredible musical journey and one guy from England whose journey was so much more than music, it was everything. This is Man of the Year.


MAN OF THE YEAR


Runner-up: Remi





Australia's premiere MC of the male variety knocked it out of the park yet again in 2016 with his sophomore LP, Divas and Demons. Yep, Remi Kolawole has fast become the most fascinating male artist in the country today. With every new song released the appreciation grows, as does the depth of his writing. Team-ups with the likes of Sampa The Great and Jordan Rakei show excellent judgment in choosing collaborative partners that will bring out the best in both artists. And at the end of the day, we love Remi because he's really good at providing music to us that puts a bounce in our step when we need it the most. He can't get back to us with LP3 soon enough. (Matt Bond)


Winner: David Bowie



 


I mentioned to someone the concept of making David Bowie our Man of the Year and they responded in a way I know some people may; "Because he died? Or did you actually like that last album?" and my response is simple. I don't know if I would have liked Blackstar any more or any less had I not known he had passed when I listened to it in full for the first time. I don't know how I would have felt had I known it was his final goodbye in music form. I don't know how I would have felt if the first time I watched that dark clip I would know that he would be gone in a matter of days and that it was so much darker and somehow so much lighter than I could ever have imagined, let alone understood.

But within that, there is also this.


I don't know if I would have become a Bowie fan all those years ago had I been one of the popular kids in school. I don't know if I would have related quite as well to those words about planet earth on 'Life On Mars' had I ever felt like I belong. I don't know if I would ever have needed those keys in 'Changes' as much if I'd thought I was one of the pretty girls. I don't know if I would have heard the meaning in 'Under Pressure' if I hadn't had my heart torn to pieces. I don't know any of these things but one of the things the music of David Bowie has taught me is that I don't want to know. I don't need to know if I would have acted differently, felt differently, cried differently when he passed, because the life I'm leading is mine. With all of it's sublime heights and all of it's glorious lows, every bit is me and it's artists like Bowie who help me realise along the way, that me is perfectly ok. When there is doubt and when there is wonder, when there is love and when there is fear, the one constant companion has always been music. And how lucky am I to have lived in a world where a simply, perfectly complex set of notes and words have meant the difference between a day beginning and a day ending? He is Man of the Year, because of his talent, because of his inspiration, because of his legacy, but most importantly, because it is David Bowie who helped me realise that with every insecurity and every blustering confidence, I can do this, minute by minute. I need not worry about anything other than now, because every single day is exactly that, just one day. 

"We can be heroes...just for one day" 

(Jo Michelmore)
2015 Winner
Jack Colwell
Runner-up: Jeremy Neale


2014 Winner
Jack White
Runner-up: Harts


2013 Winner
Eminem
Runner-up: Pharrell Williams


2012 Winner
Jack White
Runner-up: Frank Ocean


2010 Winner
Kanye West

Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016 Scene Awards - EP of the Year




So, so, so many EPs, so little time. Actually, all year really, so lots and lots of time to enjoy lots of sweet new music. Choosing our two favourites was hard. But obviously not that hard, because here they are.


EP OF THE YEAR


Runner-up: Let Me Be Clear - Gang Of Youths





Have you ever put an album on for the first time and known from the first note that you're going to love it? One little piano note is all it took as 'The Good Fight' welcomed me to Let Me Be Clear for it to be known that this was going to be oh so very good. Sure, Gang of Youths had earned a whole lot of trust going in after their stellar 2015 LP, The Positions. After something like that comes out you know what comes next will not disappoint. But any lingering doubts (that didn't exist anyway) would have been eliminated with that one little piano note. Over the next six songs, Gang of Youths remind you once more that they are the future of Australian music. A band destined to be known around the world and it's going to happen sooner than later. Frontman, David Le'aupepe, doesn't stray far from the source of the incredibly strong storytelling that drove The Positions, but you shouldn't expect him to only a year later. And you wouldn't want him to when the stories take you to the places they do on tracks like 'Still Unbeaten Life' and 'A Sudden Life'. 'Strange Diseases' and 'Native Tongue' are essentially locks for the Hottest 100. And where do you even start on a cover as perfect as their take on Joni Mitchell's 'Both Sides Now'. Just go listen to it. And love. (Matt Bond) 


Winner: Black Smoke - Emily Wurramara




Finding out who Emily Wurrumarra is has definitely been one of my musical highlights of the year and if my life was a radio station, then the Black Smoke EP would have been considered a high rotation play for the last six months. A masterpiece of sweet indie pop tunes, it's brilliant feel is underlined by Emily's incredible ability to blend her connection to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, while creating an emotionally gorgeous sound. Her performance at BIGSOUND this year was an indication of where she will be heading and just how far this EP will take her, her pure joy at performance made it obvious that she was made for music. While I keep reading things about her upbringing, her incredible stories and her heritage which she so perfectly brings to each and every song on Black Smoke, I think her sound is far beyond any political statement; she is clearly an artist doing what she was born to do, which is to create beautiful sounds for everyone and anyone who loves them. I hope I am only one of many, many, many people who will be loving them for a long time to come. (Jo Michelmore)


2015 Winner
Only When Flooded Could I Let Go
by Jack Colwell
Runner-up: Figurine by Tired Lion


2014 Winner
Monsters by Thelma Plum
Runner-up: Little May by Little May


2013 Winner
Rosie by Thelma Plum
Runner-up: The Love Club by Lorde


2012 Winner
Told You So by Cub Sport
Runner-up: Love Lost In Design by Lone Wolf

2016 Scene Awards - Australian Artist of the Year




Here's the bit where we get all patriotic and lamingtons and sunshine, or something like that, because we're talking about something we're probably a little biased about, Australian Artist of the Year. So many incredible artists spanning so many genres on this huge island of ours, choosing only two wasn't easy, but somehow we did it. You're welcome.


AUSTRALIAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR


Runner up: Ella Hooper




Because she brought back Killing Heidi. Obviously. Alright, Alright... I'm kidding. My love for Killing Heidi is well documented (or is it not nearly enough?), but 2016 was another huge year for the incredibly talented and hard working Ella Hooper. With the release of her EP New Magic, she followed up last year's Venom EP with a work that was like the light to the darkness. Or a little bit of light coming in through a crack in the window, because there's nothing wrong with a bit of darkness is there? No. No there is not. While Venom took a journey of reflection and self-discovery at a time when it was needed the most, New Magic wasn't afraid to bring some bounce and say, fuck it up, let's dye our hair blonde and dance it out. One of our most loved AUS music releases of the year from an artist that's become a local legend. That's what gets Ella Hooper a place here. The fact that Killing Heidi have been doing some return shows is just icing on the cake. (Matt Bond)

Winner: Tkay Maidza




You were pretty much guaranteed there wasn't going to be an entire award ceremony thing that didn't include our beloved Ms Maidza in the list. To be honest, after the release of her debut album this year, she could have taken out more than half of our awards, and that's only half because we couldn't give her man or group awards. And you know, we gotta share the love around so Australian it is. She's everything Australian music should be; brash, loud, bouncy, a little bit self-assured without a dose of arrogance, a little bit cheeky and a whole lot of fun, Tkay Maidza is everything we've needed and everything we've been waiting for in this huge land of ours. Tkay the album was pure brilliance, even if that guy's Dad from Triple J didn't think so, and Tkay the person, well, she's pretty much simply the best. (Jo Michelmore)


2015 Winner
Courtney Barnett
Runner-up: Montaigne 


2014 Winner
Little May
Runner-up: Thelma Plum


2013 Winner
Thelma Plum
Runner-up: Jones Jr


2012 Winner
Texas Tea
Runner-up: Sarah Blasko


2011 Winner
Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-up: Gotye


2010 Winner
Sia