Monday, 5 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #80 - 71

by The Montreals

I don't want you to see what I've done...

'Lo-Fi' grabbed our attention, but it was 'Indigo Club' that really made us stop and take notice of The Montreals. Representing (r)Adelaide in the indie music stakes I just made up in my mind, The Montreals do the city of churches proud with huge hooks and summery rock vibes. I don't know much else about Adelaide except the 'rad' and churches thing, but I want to know a lot more about The Montreals. (Matt Bond)  

by Olympia

In the night, you drive, taking in, it all
When you talk, to her, lonely hearts, will call. 

I was alive in the 80s, but I don't really remember any of them. If the 80s were my time, I would have been all shoulder pads and bigger than you hair and pink stilettos and electric blue drinks and I would have had some kind of glamorous job and a sports car with a mobile phone as big as a house and I would have listened to synth laden pop songs like 'Self Talk' while living my fast life and people would have thought I was so fabulous and so successful, but after it was all done they'd hear the words of the songs I was listening to and suddenly it would all make sense. "There's just self talk...when all you want is love". It's not the 80s, but Olympia makes the visit there an awesome experience. (Jo Michelmore) 

Olympia put on one of our favourite sets at BIGSOUND and 'Self Talk' was one of the live highlights. Which makes sense, it's one of the highlights on the debut album of the same name. The music is infectious (in a good way, not an itchy bits way), easily winning 'automatic replay' status for its 80s charms and Olympia's equally detached and inviting vocal quality. I don't know exactly what it is about the lyrics that makes me curious about the way Olympia's Olivia Bartley sees the world, but I'd be fascinated to see things the way she does. When your writing's this good, you're seeing things the rest of us might be missing. Luckily for us, we get the benefits of listening to music of this quality. (Matt Bond)    

by The Belligerents

Take my hand and pull my heart
Don't be mad, I'm all you've got

2016 was like a coming out party for The Belligerents. Yes, just like debutantes of days gone by or teen dramas of today, The Belligerents stepped out into the world as the band they were meant to become. They've gone from Brisbane rockers to a band that can step onto any stage in the world and kill it. Which is hopefully what the near future's going to bring them; more stages to play on in more parts of the world. Because the music they released this year is ridiculously good. 'Before, I Am' is an exotic riot that will leave you tapping, humming and singing along until you find yourself wanting to jump around and scream along to your new favourite song. It must be time for a full album from these guys. (Matt Bond) 

To be belligerent, one would probably need to be fairly hostile and almost aggressive, so the name of this band has always amused me, because their brand of rock isn't anywhere near offensive, but it is good. I'll be honest and say I'm not even sure what all the lyrics really are, because I'm so caught up in the manic guitars and the quick drumbeat that I've got no time to be worried about belligerence. I have got time for some head nods though, of which there are a lot required in this track. Before I am belligerent, I am a big fan. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Kimbra

You know I want skin to skin
So gimme that sweet relief.

Matt messaged me one afternoon this year with the news Kimbra had dropped a surprise track and a message saying something along the lines of "WTF?" because Kimbra was pretty much the last person we were expecting a track from that day. Any day really. Therefore, it turned into a good afternoon with the sound of 'Sweet Relief' as a constant reminder of who Kimra was, who she is and all the places she has to go. We'll always have a sweet spot for Kimbra and this track was such a nice way to remind us not to forget her talent while she prepares us for all the awesome to come. (Jo Michelmore)

Kimbra is ready to make it a night, to remember, from January, to December. I can't be the only one getting those vibes from 'Sweet Relief', right? Maybe not in the words of a Bryan Adams song, but you're definitely getting what Kimbra's getting at here. She wants to talk about all the good things and the bad things life can bring, she wants to talk about... getting that sweet relief. Released as something to satisfy any hunger for new material as she heads into the studio once more, 'Sweet Relief' was an unexpected Kimbra release that was greatly appreciated all the same. It's a musical fit for the brilliant era that was The Golden Echo and will likely bridge the gap to however Kimbra reinvents herself for her next album. You already know it's going to be brilliant. You already know it's going to give us all that sweet relief. (Matt Bond)  

by Wild Beasts

No getting it right, no getting wrong
Just getting it on.

When I first wrote about this song earlier in the year, I said something about it not being something I expected from a band I never really knew what to expect from, which meant it really should have been something I expected from them, if you see what I mean. What I didn't know was that six or so months later I continue to find things in this track that surprise me, like the odd back and forth vocal in the chorus, which I still love each time I listen and the sudden end, which shouldn't really be a sudden end, considering I know when the song ends. Also, there is a lyric about eating cake, which means no surprise, I'm a fan. (Jo Michelmore)

#75. 1993 (NO CHILL)
by Paces ft. Jess Kent

There's always calm in the storm
Time is now, yeah, the time has come.

What were you doing in 1993? I was in grade 1. Life was pretty good... Power Rangers was a thing, I was loving 4 Non Blonde's 'What's Up' something sick. I'd like to think I was pretty chill, but the reality of that is probably something very different. I'd like to think I'm pretty chill now, but the reality of that is also probably something very different. IS THAT OKAY WITH YOU?! Sorry... sorry. Two artists that are the definition of chilled are Paces and Jess Kent. So even when they're putting out a song together about 1993 and having no chill, they're still the most chilled combo you're going to come across. 2016 was a breakout year for both artists, who've created a healthy amount of buzz around them over the past 12 months. I hope they carry that into 2017 and move onto even bigger and better things. (Matt Bond)  

Oh my gawd I love the chorus in this song. Like when I say love, I'm talking mad crazy repeat that bit again type love. And it's my favourite kind of chorus, because the words and the musics are so polar opposite they work perfectly together. The bouncy beats make every minute feel like summer on a beach but the words "no chill no chill" are hilarious, because chilled is exactly what these three minutes are all about. (Jo Michelmore

by Tash Sultana

Welcome to the jungle
Are you gonna dance with me? 

Right, well apparently Tash Sultana is 21. Maybe she's 22 by now, I'm not sure. Either way, early 20s? Are you actually serious Tash? How can it be possible you're this talented at such a young age? It's like those memes about "all my friends out getting married and I'm just over here (insert verb here). And that's exactly what I'm doing. Sitting in front of my laptop writing words while Tash Sultana is out there somewhere being amazing and writing songs about jungles. It's not all hopeless though. At least I've been listening to incredible songs this good all year.  (Jo Michelmore) 

I didn't know much about Tash Sultana until I saw Facebook blowing up about Jetstar losing some of her equipment/instruments while she was heading off on an overseas tour. Loving nothing more than people having a go at Jetstar, I read through my fair share of articles and got the impression that Tash Sultana was pretty rad. And then I heard this song 'Jungle' on the j's and was like, "who be this?" "This be Tash Sultana," said Shazam. Her radness confirmed, I got myself a copy of the Notion EP and I've been loving her music ever since. 'Jungle' is the track I keep coming back to. The level of musicianship is incredible, Sultana's performance riveting. I missed my chance to see her at BIGSOUND this year, but I won't make that mistake the next time she comes to Brisbane. I'll pay for some Virgin tickets myself to make sure she has a comfortable journey. (Matt Bond

by Alex Lahey

Let's go out and have fun tonight
Let's go out and get drunk tonight.

Yes. Let us all go out and have fun tonight and get drunk tonight and I'm really not going to do that because I totally love bed and sleep. Something else I totally loved in 2016 is the music of Alex Lahey, she of the quirky/classic lyrics and shout-a-long choruses. I love her dry delivery that's neither apathetic or enthusiastic. And I love that there's nothing even remotely pretentious about her music. Through songs like 'Let's Go Out', Alex Lahey comes across as a totally normal person, just like you or me. She's totally that friend that you'll go out on the town for, even though you value those precious bed/sleep times. And this isn't even our favourite Lahey track of 2016. We'll get to that later. Much, much later. (Matt Bond)

This super bouncy number needs no words, the energy kind of speaks for itself, but I can't quite figure out when Alex Lahey started stalking me so she could represent my entire life in her clip for 'Let's Go Out'. She has my slippers, she knows my bank balance, she ignores text messages, she burns unhealthy snacks and she keeps money under her furniture. The only bit she got wrong was the running out the door. Find fifty bucks? I'm getting Uber Eats and staying in. (Jo Michelmore)

by Kid Runner

There is no box to put me in
You can't close me up, no not again.

So in that award winning film that I'm going to write, direct and and play the lead in, there is going to be an amazing scene at the end where I have defeated all the villains and a smouldering dusty city awaits behind me while I embrace the long lost love of my life. 'Give Me Something To Love' will be playing because it's a song made for glory and the camera will pan back on an orange sunset and everyone will smile and cry because love is  exactly what my character has been fighting for during the whole film, while also combating evil villains attempting to take over the world, of course. We're going to win an Oscar, baby. Ok, we may not, but Kid Runner will, definitely. Oh my gosh, regardless of how ridiculous my imagination is, I really love it if that last bit happens. But for real. (Jo Michelmore) 

#71. TIME
by Sarah Belkner 

Time is what you make of it
Time has let you down.

Sarah Belkner kept herself busy this year. She spent some of the year supporting Sarah Blasko and the rest of it supporting Olympia. And when I say supporting, I believe she pulled double duty for a lot of these shows as an opening act as well as playing in Blasko/Olympia's bands. She backed up Elk Road for Like A Version last month too, no biggie. On top of all that, Belkner has managed to put out the best music of her career and that's exactly what 'Time' is. 'Time' has a maturity, depth and level of class that will leave you in awe. Backing up Belkner on the track is a who's who of local legends, with Brendan Maclean, Ngaiire, Elana Stone and Billie McCarthy featured. But it's Belkner that stars on 'Time' and it will hopefully be Belkner starring in her own headline tours going forward. Hers is a rare talent to be celebrated. (Matt Bond)  

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #90 - 81

by Fractures

Everything in retrospect you can't know
You can't know this. 

Fractures played BIGSOUND earlier this year, which, while being two of my favourite nights of the year, are also some of the most hectic. Matt and I saw Fractures there and this track is almost as good as the concept of getting a seat during that set, which was a pretty special thing. I was so caught up in the excitement of sitting down to see the set, that I can't remember if I saw this song that night or not. But I also didn't care that someone threw a cup of ice at me during that set. Good times. Alchemy. Good song. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Emma Louise

But why can't we just talk about it?
We used to be such good friends. 

Emma Louise didn't disappoint when it came to Supercry, the follow-up to her groundbreaking debut, Vs Head Vs Heart. LP2 demonstrated Louise's growth as a songwriter as she took stock of the world around her in the most creative ways. On 'Talk Baby Talk' we were firmly in 'when good relationships go bad territory', reminiscing about those carefree early days of love; all late night chats and lols and wrapping arms and drinking champagne from the glass in the other persons hand like they do in the movies sometimes. I hope that doesn't happen in real life. But now it's fights after fight and New York won't ever feel the same and what do you mean New York, girl? I'm just here in Brisbane. It's not all bad for you. And I don't want it to ever be all bad for Emma Louise because I want to keep hearing lovely music like this from her forever. (Matt Bond)

We waited what seemed like an eternity for Emma Louise to release something new after we had fallen head over heels for her debut Vs Head Vs Heart, but the Emma Louise who returned with 'Underflow' and this track; 'Talk Baby Talk', wasn't necessarily the one we expected, but she was one we welcomed with open arms. A more subtle tale of demise than the Emma we used to know, it's more brooding than broken, more reflective than responsive and more mature than moody. The wait was definitely worth it. (Jo Michelmore

by Nicole Millar

Caught up in your turbulence
Gasping for your air and we float. 

I love how Nicole Millar's unearthed profile says things like "this one's my favourite!" about tracks she released in 2013, because they were great songs, but pretty sure those favourites may have been replaced by another; with 'Tremble' this year becoming huge both commercially and artistically, a song filed with guts and a clip filled with such beautiful movement it's hard to turn away from. The music journalist people call it a "slow build" but I just call it good. Very very good. (Jo Michelmore) 

It's safe to say that Nicole Millar had a lot of fans before this year, with her Peking Duk collaboration 'High' going triple platinum in Australia in 2014, while also reaching #2 on that year's triple J Hottest 100. In 2016 Millar stepped out on her own with the knockout Tremble EP, firmly establishing herself as a compelling electronic artist in her own right. I couldn't escape the title track on the j's for a while there and why would I want to? Listening to it in the car at 5:30 in the morning while you're driving to work is going to make you feel like you're at your own private club night... at 5:30 in the morning. That's a pretty good place to be when you're driving into work at 5:30 in the morning. The beats are sick, Millar's promise to, "tremble with you," puts a smile on your face and leaves you with little doubt that the best is still yet to come from this Sydney based star on the rise. (Matt Bond)

by Pnau

Do you understand?
Do you know what I say?

Two party songs in a row? Check us out. Usually it's five sad songs, an inbetweener and then a party starting jam. Yep, we do love our sad musics, but there is absolutely nothing sad about Pnau. Except that the one that's half of Empire of the Sun said he didn't like the music on their last album, Soft Universe, and I loved that album with all my cold, little heart so that's a bit sad. You can tell that fella, who goes by the name Nick Littlemore, must be having a lot of fun this time around because 'Chameleon' screams fun. It's dripping in fun. It's the funnest thing since sliced bread. A lot of that can be attributed to vocalist Shakira Marshall who absolutely kills it. Pnau have announced that Marshall will be joining them for a couple more tracks on their next LP and that's just the best news you've heard today, right? (Matt Bond)

Wow. Has it really been five years since Pnau released 'The Truth', with that clip I found awkwardly uncomfortable? Where did those years go? Why did I find that clip so uneasy? Will I be saying the same five years from now about this song and the next five years? Where did they find that much neon body paint? Is that actual body paint or is that computer generated trickery? Why does it seem their heads are always stuck together in promo shots? Are Nick and Peter actually one and the same person? Can they not take such a long break between such good tracks next time please? (Jo Michelmore)

by Wild Honey

But you got to know what to do when you feel way down
No what to give and to stand your ground. 

I remember hearing this song on the JJJs in my car one Sunday night while I was on the way to ice cream and I remember waiting in my car to hear the whole thing even though I'd stopped the engine and the bright lights of Baskins were shining down upon me, bathing me in the pink glow of sweet treats to come. I kept listening and bouncing along, because it was such an infectious sound I couldn't resist its sway, which, if you knew me, would be a very impressive thing, because almost nothing keeps me from ice cream. In my world, regardless of what I write here, there is no bigger compliment than this. (Jo Michelmore) 


Rewind this clock, replace my time
I wanna find another, so I recover. 

I can't talk about SAFIA without mentioning they're from Canberra, so let's get that out of the way early. Our nation's capital does have an interesting music scene of its own and SAFIA are leading the charge to bring some attention C-bra's way. I don't think C-bra is a thing, but go with it and I promise I'll never say it again. SAFIA had a huge 2016, releasing their debut album Internal to critical acclaim and commercial success (hitting #2 on the ARIA charts), while keeping themselves busy with plenty of live performances across the country. 'Over You' is one of the group's funkiest offerings, which is great when you consider the heavy weight of the lyrics. Contrasting something that's sadder the more you think about it with those groovy SAFIA vibes we've come to know and love over the past couple of years works a treat. With their debut only released in September we could see SAFIA take some time out to work on their sophomore collection. Here's hoping they'll be back sooner than later. (Matt Bond)

#84. GHOST
by Old Sault

And I am alone
Waiting for the answers.

There were more top notch singer-songwriters coming out of Australia than I could keep count of this year. One that I'm more than happy to have caught is Angie Farr, who goes by the stage name Old Sault. She's one of my favourite new storytellers, capable of stoking the flames of your imagination with her outstanding lyrics and solid Australian indie rock sounds. 'Ghost' was our first taste of what Old Sault can do and I certainly hope there'll be plenty more of this to come heading into the new year. A quick Google search tells me that we should be hearing her Mostly Worried EP sometime soon, so keep your ears out for that one. It'll be grand. (Matt Bond)  

Two of my best friends and I have a recurring conversation about how one of us claims to have seen a ghost by the side of the road late one night while driving through the countryside. With a healthy dose of humour and skepticism, we often debate over the concept of said ghost. This 'Ghost' of Old Sault's is a different story, such a lovely four minutes that I'm a believer when it comes to the incredible sounds of this band. With a beautifully shot clip to match the delightful voice of Angie Farr, I'm more than happy to be chatting ghost stories day and night if they all sound like this. (Jo Michelmore)  

by Jessie Frye

Well so what?
If I'm not running fast enough for you
I can't keep up, but you're just chasing yesterday's bad news.

I stumbled across a quote by Jessie Frye while I was listening to this track, which said something along the lines of "boys come later, dreams come first". Now there's a girl I relate to. Combine that kind of attitude with guitars dripping with 90s grunginess, a healthy dose of pop sensibility and a vocal as perfectly at home in the early 00s as it is right now and you come up with a song like 'Big Bad Wolf', which is typical Jessie Frye, a beautiful mess of genres, times, fashions and talent. (Jo Michelmore)

We didn't think it was possible, but Jessie Frye became even more of a badass in 2016 with 'Big Bad Wolf'. It sounds like Frye is putting herself into the exact place she really wants to be in, fully embracing punk and goth elements in her sound and style. It's a good fit for her in every sense, without being a huge departure from what's come before. The subtle changes in her vocal delivery from last year's more pop-leaning single 'One In A Million' are fun to discover too. So, she's still a badass, a superhero and a goth princess. We'll have to see how she outdoes herself going forward. When it comes to Jessie Frye, anything's possible so here's to an even bigger and better 2017 for the Denton, Texas native. (Matt Bond)

by Garbage 

You're the only thing worth fighting for
You're the only thing worth dying for.

There ain't no ballad like a Garbage ballad, because a Garbage ballad is like a thousand tiny cuts to your heart delivered by Shirley Manson in a way that is always, without question, sexy and mysterious. Think '#1 Crush', 'You Look So Fine' and 'Milk'. Think 'Even Though Our Love Is Doomed', which you should know just from the title isn't going to light up the world with happiness, but you just know that a song with a title like that from a band like Garbage is going to be GLORIOUS. And that's exactly what it is. One sexy, mysterious ballad that aims to get your heart racing instead of breaking, that wants your head spinning and not questioning. When a band that's been doing their thing for over twenty years is still putting out songs like this it makes me proud to still be loving Garbage after all these years. Keep on keeping on, Shirley and Co. The world might not be enough, but it still needs you in it doing your thing. (Matt Bond 

I want to start these words with a couple about the fact that Matthew saw Garbage live very recently and I didn't and it's actually not possible to be more jealous than I am about that fact. Now that we've made our feelings known publicly, let's talk about some other feelings. Garbage will always have a special place in my heart, because they are one of those bands that have always managed to see my feelings and turn them into music. They've been doing it since the mid 90s before anyone even thought of saying "all the feels" and back then Shirley said simple things like "you pretend you're anything just to be adored" and now she sings simple things like "why we kill the things we love the most" and somehow they're always things I need to hear. Now they just need to write a song about feeling equally happy and jealous when one of your best friends sees one of your favourite bands. Oh so many feels. Feelings. Feels. (Jo Michelmore)  

by Ariela Jacobs

Please tell me why I don't understand this
I've been hearing things and I've started to notice...

If I could add three zeros to the end of any song's SoundCloud listens, it would be this one. Genuine listens, where someone had to sit down and really take the song in. Add three more zeros to 'Leave Your Light On' and it would be sitting pretty at four million plus listens, which is where it should be, just with maybe another three zeros after that too. Ariela Jacobs has given us the most perfectly calming song that you can play at any time, in any situation (except maybe as background music for a fight, but make love not war blah blah blah) and you will find whatever freaking zen you're looking for. Jacobs is one of the most underrated lyricists in the country, her voice is more than gorgeous but I can't think of a good enough word and the atmosphere she builds up within the music will have you rushing through a rollercoaster of emotions in three minutes and forty-seven seconds. Anyway, until I see one of Ariela Jacobs' songs with millions of listens, I'll remain stoked to be one of the thousands that can say they love her music. Hopefully 'Leave Your Light On' will lead us to a new LP or EP in 2017. (Matt Bond 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #100 - 91

by Cash Savage and The Last Drinks

I hear the plane, I think we're landing
Welcome back, we're glad that you're here.

Earlier in the year, Cash Savage and The Last Drinks released their ridiculously good third LP, One of Us. The first track from said album was this one right here, a song that I haven't been able to get enough of months after first hearing it, 'Falling, Landing'. With the way the music builds up, it feels like the brooding Cash Savage will explode at any minute. Instead, the band unleashes musical interludes as opposed to your standard chorus and it's perfect. Because when there's vaguely threatening strings circling like sharks about to rip you apart, I'm going to call that song perfect. Savage firmly holds your attention with every word that comes out of her mouth and seriously, if her voice isn't some sort of national treasure then I don't know what is. 'Falling, Landing' sees Cash Savage and The Last Drinks firmly living up to one of their own descriptions. Dark, deep and unmistakably Australian. Yes, yes, yes and more, more, more. Please. (Matt Bond 

by Mark Harding

It could feel so right 'cause it's taken so long
Say it too, say it too, say it to me now. 

I don't want to let on any secrets so early in the countdown, but I'm pretty sure this is the newest of all the songs that you're going to read about in the next 99 songs and pretty sure Mark Harding is going to appear again later anyway, but if you ever read our blog you'd have guessed that already. Here's a real secret; you wanna know why we kicked someone else to 117 to stick Mark in here? The other song sucked. No! None of these songs suck. You've probably worked that out already. It's because, quite simply,  this is a really, really, really good song. More please Mark. Thank you. (Jo Michelmore)

It's a real skill to make a song that sounds so familiar that's also undeniably unique. When this happens, I think it's because the track in question has a story you can relate something in your life to or the music itself speaks to you at an emotional level. 'Say It Too' does both of these things and it's only Mark Harding's debut single. Oh, the places you're going to go, Mr Harding. I'm so very, very excited to hear what comes next. Until then, I'll be more than happy to listen to 'Say It Too' over and over again. You know what else is a real skill? Making a song that someone can listen to a thousand times and never get sick of it. I'm already halfway to a thousand and I don't see myself getting sick of this one anytime soon. Or ever. (Matt Bond)

by The Ruiins

Just take it or leave it
Don't start a war.

'Eventually' makes you want to jump in the car and cruise on down to the beach for some fun in the sun. Which fits The Ruiins well with Adam Dooker and Pat Sugden based on the Gold Coast. Rocking summer vibes run strong throughout 'Eventually', with a full sound unleashed in the chorus that's a whole lot bigger than what you'd expect from a two man combo. The perfect summer singalong? Heck yes it is. Grab some friends and let the good times roll with The Ruiins. (Matt Bond 

No Google, when I type The Ruiins, I am not searching for a horror film set in sunny Mexico, what I'm searching for a band from the Gold Coast singing songs built for summer afternoons spent sitting near a beach, probably with a beer in hand. What I'd like is a simple rock tune I can nod my head to, tap my feet to and what I'd really like is to stop being doubted, because Google, from now on, ruiins has two 'i's', regardless of what you want to believe. (Jo Michelmore

by Bad Pony

Come, give me one hint of human
And I can see that you don't seem like yourself anymore.

I really like a band that know who they are. The description Bad Pony give themselves on their Facebook page says pretty much everything I need to say about them; "Many drums. Many sings". I suppose I should throw in another word or two, considering blog and words and things. Here goes. Many crunchy guitars. So heavy. Much 90s. I like. (Jo Michelmore)

I like Bad Pony. I like zombies. It only makes sense that I'm going to like a song by Bad Pony called 'Zombie'. And what's not to like? Nothing. That's what. It's manic, infectious (like a zombie virus - that's right, I'm going there) and highlights everything Bad Pony has to offer. There's huge hooks, a booming chorus that you can scream your heart out to and that unstoppable feeling that starts in your toes and makes you want to dance. Bloody good stuff right here from Bad Pony! Since we're talking about zombies, has this season of The Walking Dead been a snooze-fest or what? (Matt Bond)

by I Know Leopard

But I would rather be lonely again
I would rather be lonely again than with you. 

I Know Leopard have always been oh so dreamy, but 'Rather Be Lonely' takes steps in a psychedelic direction that's really working for them. And for me. I am picking up what they are putting down here. Dreamy, lightly psychedelic perfection. That's what we've got right here from the Sydney-based outfit. I've already heard 'Rather Be Lonely' a couple of times on the j's, so it's nice to see our national youth broadcaster getting firmly behind I Know Leopard because this song deserves to not get lost in the shuffle. Could it be a contender to place the band in the Hottest 100 come Australia? The timing is right, it's getting a lot of play... why not? I'd sure like to hear it on Australia Day. Dreamy, lightly psychedelic perfection + a VB and steak sanga. 'Straya. (Matt Bond)

by Mr Little Jeans

Oh what you never knew
Has me coming back to you...

There must be something in the water over in Norway that makes their country folk so darn good at making the most delicious of pop tunes. I'm assuming there's magic in the fjords and global warming is causing them to melt and the magic is going into the streams and rivers of Norway and the children are drinking the water while giving their offerings to the Norse gods. And one of those children was known as Monica Birkenes and she grew up to be Mr Little Jeans and she is so darn good at making delicious pop tunes. Take 'Stitches' for example. It's got all the drama of a Lana Del Rey ballad with mighty fine electronic touches, but it's not all summertime (summertime) sadness here. With Mr Little Jeans you won't be able to take the smile off your face. Also, I haven't done any research into my theory about the fjords, but I'm probably right, so... (Matt Bond)  

by Ben Abraham

These are the moments that I love reliving the year through song, when I press play on a song I may have pushed aside and forgotten for a minute or two there, but one that I remember how much I loved as soon as I hear the opening notes. I loved the feeling of desperation, I loved the clip with all it's dramatic fairy lights and I loved a slightly deshevilled Ben Abraham in a suit. What a good year it's been. What a good song this is. What a babe Mr Abraham is. (Jo Michelmore)

by The Bear Hunt

No one cares where you come from
Or where you go.

I've probably mentioned about five times already that there's no rock music like Brisbane rock music and The Bear Hunt are another band on the rise from the Sunshine State's capital that prove it. A little heavier than the standard garage sound we've grown accustomed to, on 'Who Made You God' the band captures everything you could ever love about 90s alternative while still managing to keep it fresh. Wailing guitars, beating drums and a whole lot of don't mess with me vibes will keep you coming back for more. Bec Wilson's voice is unlike any other in Australian music right now; unique and totally commanding. The Bear Hunt are expected to drop an EP early next year and I'm already thinking it's going to be one of my most played albums of 2017. (Matt Bond)

Perhaps the thing I love most about twenty years after the 90s is the natural cycle of music and life and things and the resurgence of everything grunge from the decade that spawned messy guitars, don't care hair, dirty drums and a fuck you attitude. The Bear Hunt would have been perfectly at home in one of the dodgy downstairs dives that lined the streets of the yet to be loved Valley in their hometown of Brisbane in the mid 90s and, following that natural cycle of music, they are now perfectly at home in so many of the slightly cleaner venues now residing on top of those basements of twenty years ago. How good is the cycle of music and life and things? (Jo Michelmore)

by Gallery Circus

Just like the movies
All the movers and shakers watch the parade. 

Let's just start this with a little community service for those of our community who may enjoy this service. Gallery Circus consists of two boys who wear checked shirts quite well and have a small amount of facial hair. If this happens to be your thing, they are identical twins, meaning there are two of them the same, so you go ahead and image search if you think you might enjoy that. Now, because these are meant to be words about music, I don't wish Holland to be on fire, because you know, tulips and clogs and cheese and shit, but I do like the sound of 'Holland On Fire', because it's all the things I like about music. Big guitars, big vocals, big drums and big sounds. Now, get to your image searching and enjoy the, music. You're welcome. (Jo Michelmore)

by Abbe May ft. Joni Hogan and Odette Mercy 

Shallow rivers still drown
The tallest mountains can fall down. 

Abbe May's fucking rad. I could stop there, because what more needs to be said? She's one of the most effortlessly cool artists in all of the musics and continues to develop her sound in the most fascinating ways. 2013's Kiss My Apocalypse was sexy and scary, moving from fun to poignant sometimes multiple times in the one song. I couldn't get enough of it and from what we've heard of the follow-up, Bitchcraft, I've got a feeling I won't be able to get enough of it either. 'Doomsday Clock' was released as the second single from May's hugely anticipated third solo album and finds our fave WA rocker moving in her most soulful direction yet. It's fresh, it's funky and it's so totally Abbe May that you won't be able to resist its charms. (Matt Bond)

Doomsday doesn't sound so bad with a gospel choir, a beat that needs to be moved to, a vocal like Abbe May's and a serious amount of hand claps. One of those songs that hides its real feelings behind the sounds of a party, 'Doomsday Clock' tackles some big issues head on with a giant amount of sass right alongside a whole lot of calm. So when is this doomsday again? Check that clock, because Abbe May makes it sound like something to look forward to. (Jo Michelmore)

Friday, 2 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #116 - 101

December. The last month of the year and that magical time when all of the internet music blogs start busting out their 'best of' lists and handing out awards and highlighting all of the fun times we had over the past 11ish months. We are no exception to this and so we arrive at our seventh annual Scene Awards. First up, we have our biggest songs of the year countdown ever and we only get to say that because we add one song on each year to match up with the corresponding year we're in now. That's right... over the next eleven days we get to look back at 116 songs that made 2016 an amazing year for music. So less chat and more music that will have some more chat to go along with the music. Enjoy!

TOP 116 SONGS OF 2016:

by Fitz and The Tantrums

I can make your hands clap
*clap clap clap clap clap*

Ah, what a nice little way to start our favourite songs list for 2016. So I've been loving Fitz and his Tantrums since I saw them a lifetime ago at Splendour, but this seems to be the track that's hit the commercial radio and internet world and now everyone is everywhere clapping their hands and talking about this new Fitz and the Tantrums band. Ok, maybe everyone everywhere is a slight exaggeration, but what's not exaggerated is my documented love of a song featuring the hand clap, which means I'm really glad this is the song that's given F and the T a much wider audience, for now. (Jo Michelmore)

Hey now… why would you hate on a song that makes you clap your hands? That would be crazy. Direct your hate to something useful. Alternatively, listen to ‘HandClap’ and you’ll have no hate at all. This is as catchy as any other pop gem released this year and likely the commercial peak of a band that’s been bubbling away at the brink of superstardom for some time now. So yeah, we might never hear Fitz and The Tantrums on the radio again, but we can enjoy this moment until they’ve played it so many times we never want to hear it again. Yay? (Matt Bond)

by Winters End

I know in life that all things end
But I wish I could pretend...

We’ve loved Winters End for a couple of years now, but none of their songs kicked us in the feels quite like ‘Thoughts’ was able to. Hitting all the right emotional notes, this 80s-influenced rock ballad stands as another showcase for Marissa Pinto’s vocal abilities. Her reflection on the end of a relationship comes packed with lines ready made to break your heart, before a stellar guitar solo leads us to the hopefully hopeful lines, “it’s my life, I need to find my way now.” The Sydney brother/sister combo (Marissa is joined by Chris on the drums) has been building up an awesome collection of tracks and we can’t wait to hear what comes next from them in 2017. (Matt Bond)

Winters End keep writing and releasing strong little numbers like 'Thoughts'; filled with keys and drums and emotion, Marisa's vocal offering a tinge of the 80s and Chris' instrumentation giving a nod to everything I've always loved about the strength of a good power ballad, as soon as I hit play I was reminded of why I've liked writing all these words all these years, what a great excuse this is to listen to songs like this one, over and over again. (Jo Michelmore

#114. 10 POUNDS
by Mwansa

Where's the change you promised?

There's all these words and acronyms about electronic music that seem to get thrown about all the time that probably all mean something important, but I pretty much switch off when I start reading words like dubstep and trap, not because I don't care, but because words like powerful and unique and honest and compelling mean more to me than any genre can. Mwansa is all of those words, so you just choose which one you relate to most, he can just keep writing the music and we'll all be friends and fans anyway. (Jo Michelmore)

I want to hear more songs from Mwansa. It’s as simple as that. Based in Perth, this emerging electronic artist blends stories of the differences and similarities of the two different societies he’s been part of to great effect. The delivery of his lines is as poetic as it is powerful and you’ll only need one listen of ’10 Pounds’ to understand exactly what I mean. “You grew up in the city, I grew up in the streets.” Themes of race, wealth and an examination of life in two very different parts of the world abound in ’10 Pounds’. Like I said, it’s powerful and leaves you wanting to hear a whole lot more form Mwansa. (Matt Bond) 

#113. CAN'T BE
by JP Klipspringer

My baby comes for me
I'll say that I'm fine. 

When I wrote about this song earlier in the year I spoke about how JP Klipspringer had become, over the last few years, an artist that I popped on when I needed a little calmness in my life, which is kind of funny, because I was anything but calm when he released his debut album only like, a week ago, desperate to hear what it was he had put together in a collection of ten tracks. One of those tracks was this one, released mid way through the year and perfectly placed almost midway through a beautiful collection of sounds in Brutal Politic, it's everything I love about JPK; sweet, honest, lost and found and perfectly grounded in his always alluring sounds. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Lossy 

Yes, I know where I'm going
I don't know where I'm going
I know what I'm doing
Now I think I hate it. 

I found this song only weeks ago and as soon as I hit play I remembered that as I was writing about it I had to find to guide me and find words other than 'sweet' to describe the sounds in this sweet little pop tune from a sweet girl from Lord Howe Island. See what I'm saying? The sing song rhythm and the bouncy keys sound like they belong in a sweet short animation about some kind of sweet little forest creatures. I think that's just my vision, so maybe I should keep my thoughts to myself and stick to adjectives and settle for the one that describes it all. Sweet. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. (Jo Michelmore 

by Matt Gresham

I can feel your heart from behind these bars. 

Ok, so here's something I don't think I ever knew about the man who sits at 111 on our countdown. Apparently he walked off the set of The X Factor Australia in 2013, citing artistic restrictions as his reason for leaving. Now, I know this is probably old news, but I guess that shows I should google as well as listen, because I've been much more interested in his music than his history, but this history only makes me like him a little bit more. His artistic direction need never be questioned with a track like 'Small Voices', the driving beat telling a story of solidarity with Matt's determined vocal making it a song and a voice that is anything but small. (Jo Michelmore) 

#110. JOHNNY
by Tanzer

He's the one all the girls paint their face for
So fast and wild, eyes that flash baby blue.

First things first, everyone that was involved in the creation of the ‘Johnny’ video deserves high fives for days. The boys play their lady counterparts to perfection (especially the fella/lady with the mo, bravo sir/madam) and the clip perfectly complements the song. And as for Tanzer and her song ‘Johnny’, it’s just another top notch track from her that you won’t be able to help humming along to in your head for a long time to come. The 60s revival sounds of the track might seem like a departure from the mysterious synths of ‘That’s Why Darling’, but Tanzer’s voice is perfectly suited to both and proves she’s an artist who can wear many musical hats. How she reinvents herself next is guaranteed to leave just as much of an impression as what’s come before. (Matt Bond) 

Oh Tanzer. I loved this song for all its 60s inspired goodness and I loved this clip for all its swag and what is it the kids say? Hashtag squad goals? I saw that written on a water bottle in Typo so it must mean something important. More important, that gold sequinned catsuit and that squad member on Tanzer's right, who has more sass in their eyelashes than I could ever dream of owning. It made me want to find a squad, my favourite neck scarf and cardigan and find a man with a face full of glitter, which is something no other song inspired this year, so that's got to be a good thing. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Sans Parents

I don't wanna talk 'cause they don't know my name
I just can't stop moving.

I wish I could come up with something more descriptive to say about this track from Sans Parents, but they've pretty much done all the work for me. I mean, what more do you want me to say about a song that does to me exactly what it's title describes? Don't believe me? Press play and tell me how you manage to sit still. (Jo Michelmore)

Sunny indie pop sounds oh so good when it’s coming from Brisbane four-piece, Sans Parents. And of course it’s going to sounds sunny when the band’s from Brisbane. Why wouldn’t it? It’s like 38 degrees here today, mate. All we know is sunshine and sweat and did I mention the sweating? Anyway, you’ll be sweating to this song too, regardless of where you live, because the title lives up to its name and you won’t be able to stop moving. So sucks for you if you live in Queensland because it’s double the sweat for you! (Matt Bond) 

by Highasakite

Love, I'm on your side
But we were never good, no.

If we went back to last year's countdown, or the year before or whenever we've written about Highasakite in the past, you're going to find something about how dreamy their music is and how Norway must be a magical place full of magical people and you know what? It is. It's magical and dreamy, far away and full of people still worshiping the Norse gods. Okay, the last point might be inaccurate, but I'm sure I can find a group of Norwegians that worship the Norse gods. Highasakite probably worship them. So yeah, how about that 'Golden Ticket'? Magical and dreamy and made by a band that probably worships the Norse gods. (Matt Bond)

There's so many electronic pop acts that manage to do this, but Highasakite seem to sit right at the top of the pile of those that do it well. It's something I adore, the ability to take a seriously sober subject matter and turn in into a sparkly shiny pop tune, one that makes you want to simultaneously dance and cry all and Highasakite manage to make me feel super happy and super sad all at the same time. Luckily for them and even more so for me, we all know dancing and crying and happy and sad and Norway are all one and the same thing. Aren't they? (Jo Michelmore 

by Lime Cordiale

I remember last night and it still feels good in the daylight
No running or hiding, that is so suddenly surprising. 

Quintessentially Australian, I feel like if this was thirty years ago, like the mid 80s, this would be a song Daryl Braithwaite would sing, one people would know the words to for years to come and one that would get played on classic radio stations thirty years from now. Which means now. Or then. I think. Whenever, Lime Cordiale keep telling genuine stories through their brand of indie folksy pop and they do it in a way that's totally relatable, which makes them a band I hope I hear on one of those classic stations thirty years from now. Or then. I don't know. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Moreton 

So come on and ask me if I'm happy
And I'll tell you I've been leaning on the edge again. 

You can go ahead and add Moreton to your list of artists to keep a very close eye on in 2017. With the just released Specimen EP earning rave reviews, you've got to believe there's very big things coming their way very soon. It was the title track of the previously mentioned EP that had us wanting to hear so much more from the indie three-piece. The opening guitar lines are enough to grab your attention, leading to vocalist Georgia Potter subtly wrapping herself completely around you. I'm really intrigued with where Moreton will go from here. The performance and songwriting are all kinds of amazing, so I'm going to stand by that opening line and say keep your eyes on them in 2017. I've got to see them live some time soon too. (Matt Bond)   

#105. SLEEP IN
by Take Your Time

I've been taking you for granted a little again...

When I first heard this song I thought it was a super chilled cafe soundtrack type tune, something I'd here in a cafe with plants hanging off the walls and coffee served by the ounce. Then I listened again and thought it was a song I'd be bouncing out the door to on a weekend night, making me want to move my feet and nod my head in an awkward way only I seem to be able to. Now, listening again, I hear it's a song about friendship and supporting those you love, and now I don't know whether to invite one my besties out for a coffee or a a dance. All of these things are good things, so that must mean 'Sleep In' is also a good thing. It is. (Jo Michelmore) 

#104. CAVING
by Seavera

Hold me down, so that I can feel the heat
So that I can feel a different kind of sadness... 

More gorgeousness from an emerging Australian act and this time it's coming from the uber talented duo, Seavera. 'Caving' had me in love with their music from the first listen. There's been A LOT of subsequent listens and I still love hearing it. When it gets to that chorus? Get out of here, it's perfection. I'm genuinely surprised I haven't heard 'Caving' on a television show about vampires or doctors or vampires that are doctors that definitely doesn't exist (but I wish it did), but there's still time. And hopefully a whole lot more to come from Seavera. I see they're heading out on tour with Jack River in December, so I might have to look into seeing if there's a Brisbane show as part of said tour. I've got a feeling Seavera's Toni Zietsch and Daniel Pinkerton would be most excellent live. (Matt Bond

#103. MY BONES
by Landings

There's one of us in the way
I'm tired of knowing where I haven't been. 

Brisbane's best known for The Veronicas the garage rock sound that Brissie bands manage to do better than anyone. But Landings are no garage rockers. Nay, they dance to the beat of their own glitter filled pop drums and we wouldn't have it any other way. 'My Bones' is polished, but not too polished, and has found the band favourably compared to the likes of Phoenix. And hey, that's a pretty good place to find yourself in with your debut single. They describe themselves as purveyors of 'sad dance music' and as someone who likes sad music and dancing, I'm really cool with this. Shine on, Landings. Keep on delivering the goods like you did with 'My Bones' and the dance floors of the world will be filled with salty, delicious tears. Get excited! (Matt Bond

by Hot Spoke

So many worries on my mind
Is this the way to pay for my crimes? 

This is super cute. But more than being just 'super cute', 'Outlines' is a very well put together song by a band that could release a really brilliant collection of tunes if they've got more of this up their sleeves. Ness Muir's vocals are blissfully chilled out, with some unexpected melodies throughout really making you stop and take notice. There's one guitar line that immediately had me thinking of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which would seem totally random in a relaxed pop tune, but it's working for Hot Spoke. Everything's working for Hot Spoke. Where's the next song at guys? We'd like to hear more please. (Matt Bond)   

#101. NUMB
by Lupa J

Look into your self
What do you not know?

Lupa J isn't one to disappoint. Quickly establishing herself as one of the brightest young electronic artists Australia has to offer since she was only 15, Imogen Jones has stepped it up once more with her most immediately engaging track yet. 'Numb' holds a haunting quality you wouldn't expect on an otherwise dance-y jam. It's cool, but I'm not sure you're supposed to say something's cool anymore because the kids are using all these words like lit and woke and I don't know what any of them mean, so I'm just going to stick with cool. This is one track I can say I got to see live this year and it was just as fascinating a performance as the recorded version. (Matt Bond)

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Song Review - You Who's Guiding Me

You Who's Guiding Me
by Lossy

I did the thing that one does when one finds new music that they love and found Lossy on the socials, scouring her pages and profiles for all and any information I could find about this woman with the super sweet voice. While I was there, a comment on facebook caught my eye. I can only assume it was from one of her friends, something about Lossy being so internet savvy and amazing and Lossy's response about loathing the job but needing to expose people to her music really made me smile, because in a short couple of sentences and a few minutes of one of the sweetest indie pop songs I've heard in a while, I found an artist who wants to be exactly that, an artist first, a social media personality second (or third, or fourth) which is something I really, really admire. In a world where I can hit 'like' and 'unlike' in a matter of seconds, what I really appreciate is an emotion that sticks around, a song that gets stuck in my head and a melody that won't let go. 'You Who's Guiding Me' is all of those things and worthy of a like, as in, an actual like, not just a social media one. Like: IRL!

Jo Michelmore gives 'You Who's Guiding Me' four crown emojis out of five....

Flashback: Best Songs of 2015

Montaigne, Gang of Youths, Little May + Ngaiire!

1. Montaigne - Clip My Wings

2. Jeremy Neale ft. Phoebe Imhoff - Hold On Together

3. Ngaiire - Once

4. Tired Lion - I Don't Think You Like Me

5. Jack Colwell - Don't Cry Those Tears

6. Little May - Seven Hours

7. Little May - Home

8. Gang of Youths - Magnolia

9. Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian At Best

10. Tkay Maidza - M.O.B

11. Chvrches - Leave A Trace

12. The Grates - It Won't Hurt Anymore

13. Florence + The Machine - What Kind of Man

14. James Chatburn ft. Jordan Rakei - Holiday Love

15. Kira Puru - All Dulled Out

16. Kendrick Lamar - King Kunta

17. Japanese Wallpaper ft. Airling - Forces

18. Sarah Blasko - I'd Be Lost

19. Oh Wonder - Drive

20. Eves The Behavior - Electrical

21. Ainslie Wills - Drive

22. Grimes - Flesh Without Blood

23. Chvrches - Clearest Blue


24. Ali Barter - Hypercolour

25. Adele - Hello