Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Top 112 Songs of 2012 - #20 - 11

Frank Ocean!

#20. Come Into My Head
by Kimbra

I wanna show you what I really mean,
But you're always on the outside looking in... 

I first heard this song one of the numerous times I saw Kimbra live this year and each time I saw it I was a little more impressed. It was loud and bouncy and live it seemed to smash me in the face with a whole lot of funk every time I saw it. When I finally heard the recorded version, I was just as impressed; it hadn’t lost any of its punch in the studio and somehow Kimbra still managed to have that ultra-cute Kimbra thing going on, but she topped it off with a tiny little bit of crazy and a 70’s inspired sound. The fact that she has the talent to pull your heart out of your chest with a song like, for example; Plain Gold Ring and then put it straight back inside beating faster with Come Into My Head, is a real indication of her incredible talent. I still love Kimbra when she’s cute and I still love Kimbra when she’s crazy and well, let’s face it, there’s still nothing she can do wrong at the moment, is there? (Jo Michelmore)  

It’s a little embarrassing to admit this given the deep, deep love Matt and Jo have for Kimbra… But I really haven’t listened to much of her music. Why? What’s taken me so long? It’s fantastic! (Katie Langley) 

'Come Into My Head' is the kind of non-stop assault on the senses that only serves to add another layer to the amazing musical experience that is Kimbra. It's one mental breakdown after another, making elements of funk, jazz, soul and rock Kimbra's playthings as she effortlessly glides between the genres. If this is an introduction to her post-Vows future, we are all very, very lucky music fans. The most exciting woman in music continued her incredible run from 2011 into this year and it looks like there will be no stopping her going forward. She was part of a song that spent eight weeks at the top of the US Billboard charts this year... she's kind of a big deal. The wait for new music will be excruciating... (Matt Bond)   

#19. Griffin
by The Medics (AUS)

He's just a boy, just an adolescent child,
Feed him to the monsters... 

The Medics are without a doubt the best Australian rock band to emerge in 2012. They might even be the best rock band to emerge in 2012. Listen to 'Griffin' and you'll find it hard to disagree. Their sound is so cohesive and polished that you'd think they had been performing for decades together. Kahl Wallace's voice sways your emotions; soft one moment, booming the next. Don't even get me started on their songwriting abilities. 'Griffin' is storytelling at its very best, honest and full of heart. The video could be the year's best too. We've mentioned a lot of acts in this countdown we'd class as 'ones to watch in 2013' but with The Medics, you should be watching them right now. (Matt Bond)

It astounds me that a band so young could write a song so beyond their years. I saw The Medics at Splendour this year and had a similar thought process while watching them live, how could a baby faced band be so incredibly good? I don’t really know, it’s still a question I haven’t answered but what I do know is how much I love Griffin and it’s disturbing/realistic/powerful/incredible clip. It’s guitars and drums and rock and all politics aside, it’s exactly as music should be in Australia. If The Medics keep releasing songs like this one in 2013, they’re going places. Big places far away from here and that’s awesome. (Jo Michelmore)  

#18. Rabbit Hole
by The Temper Trap (AUS)

And it's a cold day in hell,
It'll be a cold day in hell. 

The thing about this song is that no matter how many times I hear it, for the first minute and forty seconds I feel slightly uncomfortable, because no matter how many times I hear it, all I wait for is that crescendo, the guitars and the bass and the drums and the drama, the lyric; that incredible voice of Dougy Mandagi’s singing “to the rabbit hole”. The thing is, the uncomfortable I feel is amazing, it’s tense and it’s so very enjoyable, it makes me so painfully happy. The clip is so simple; it’s all sorts of hypnotic too. I don’t care if this isn’t what people were expecting from the The Temper Trap’s second album, I don’t care if some people expected something different, this may not have been a giant step for them as a band, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? They clearly know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they know how to use them. As far as I can tell, that makes for a great band and a long career. It also makes for amazing songs, like this one. (Jo Michelmore)  

The Temper Trap have definitely found a new fan in me. I love the way that the song slowly graduates away from a gentle softness and builds with the guitar. The vocal range is also amazing. (Katie Langley) 

I'm not going to pretend I cared too much for The Temper Trap and their debut album, Conditions. Yeah, 'Sweet Disposition' was pretty great, but other than that... not one of my faves, alright? From the moment I heard the start of 'Rabbit Hole,' all, "I don't wanna be the only one 'round here, everything I say is falling on deaf ears," I was hooked. BAM! Give me a simple guitar line and an insanely good vocalist and I'll get into it. Amazingly the track didn't peak at the start though. Oh no, no, no. It just kept getting better and better with the whole band joining the party as the song builds up to a stunning climax and a dramatic cut off. When a song ends so suddenly, you have no choice but to hit repeat so you can take that journey all over again. It's like The Temper Trap's take on Alice In Wonderland and this track has made me a lifelong fan. Oh, and it's way better than 'Sweet Disposition.' Yeah, I said it. (Matt Bond)    

#17. Love Letter
by Clairy Browne and The Bangin' Rackettes (AUS)

I'm gonna write what I want you to do,
To me in a letter... 

Clairy Browne and her Bangin' Rackettes kicked off what has become a retro-revival year to celebrate in January with 'Love Letter' and I'm pretty confident in saying that no one has matched her commitment to the cause or captured the sounds of the swingin' sixties in such a fantastic way. Clairy's jazzed up powerhouse voice and Nancy Sinatra look, the ooh's and ah's from the best backup ladies in the business (I'm talking about you Bangin' Rackettes), call and response lines that get your heart kicking into high gear and a band that knows exactly how to make you move. Maybe do a little jive or mashed-potato. Whatever, it's all good. If you get a chance to see them live, take it. Take it I say! They're fun, they're kitsch and they're absolutely mind-blowing. The best thing is... the best is yet to come. (Matt Bond) 

Dear music, you already know what I’m going to say here, don’t you? I love you and I love the fact that you are what I’m writing about, but there’s something you should know. I love a certain type of you that I can’t get enough of. I’ve always loved it. Motown. Soul. RnB. It’s a problem, an addiction I’ve got, I know, but it’s not going away. It’s been here all my life and I can’t imagine my life without it. When artists like Clairy Browne and her Bangin’ Rackettes come along and live a vintage lifestyle, dress in vintage styling and sing songs like Love Letter, my heart skips a beat and my feet start moving. My cravings for vintage sounds get intense and I can’t help but listen again and again and throw my vinyls around my lounge room searching for more and more. The bass line, the horn section, the backing vocals, the dance moves; this is what so many of my musical fantasies are made of. Music, if I was to write to you and tell you what I want you to do to me in a letter, it would sound something like Clairy Browne. (Jo Michelmore)  

Jo introduced me to Clairy Browne and The Bangin’ Rackettes at BigSound Live earlier in the year, and it was love at first sight. It’s hard not to dip your hips and click along with their soulful sounds.

#16. Hold On
by Alabama Shakes

Bless my heart, bless my soul,
Didn't think I'd make it, to 22 years old. 

It makes me so happy that so much music this year has had its feet planted firmly in sounds of the past. Brittany Howard’s voice is from another time, it’s just something else, something that puts a giant smile on my face. Songs like Hold On make me think of music without the music industry, this is a song written in a house, in a back yard, written in the sun or under a starry night sky, its music made to be played in people’s day to day lives and its music kids learning the guitar want to know how to play. This is the kind of song that I adore, the kind of band I love; this is the kind of music that makes me truly happy. They also hang out with Jack White. Everything about them just got a hundred times better. Oh Jack. Oh sigh. (Jo Michelmore)  

WOW! What a find. I love everything about this. That voice! Love. Love. Love. (Katie Langley)

#15. Big Mouth
by Santigold

You're everywhere I go thinking that you know...

It seems like a lifetime ago I first heard Big Mouth in January and considering the amount of amazing music released this year, eleven months is a long time. That doesn’t mean it has lost any of its awesome;, the heavy, almost tribal beats take me straight back to last summer, the hilariously amateur styled animated clip is exactly Santi and her vocal is flawless, sometimes singing, sometimes yelping, sometimes chanting; it’s all pieced together so perfectly and was just a little taste of how incredible Master Of My Make Believe was, and still is. (Jo Michelmore)  

This is the perfect summer song – fun vibe, catchy beat. And who doesn’t love a little tribal breakdown? (Katie Langley)  

Greatest. Chorus. Breakdown. Ever. So I'm exaggerating a tiny bit. Seriously though, when those tribal drums kick in you can not deny that there's a little voice in your head saying, "dance. Dance like Beyonce in 'Deja Vu' when she goes all cray-cray in the sand. But dance even crazier, with the arms flying wider and the legs doing that weird chicken thing that only she could make look cool." Sorry... what? You don't think like that? Your loss. Back to Santi and her backup dancers, 'Big Mouth' ensures we won't stop thinking of Santigold and her amazing rock-electro-hip hop blend of music as being the coolest of the cool. Now, excuse me while I get my imitation dance on... (Matt Bond) 

#14. Thinkin Bout You
by Frank Ocean

Or do you not think so far ahead?
'Cause I been thinkin' 'bout forever.   

I should thank Frank Ocean. For years I've denied my love for the sexy R&B slowjam. I can't hide my true feelings any longer. Because of Frank Ocean I feel ready to come out and say right here and right now that I love the R&B slowjam. Thanks, Frank. Well, I love 'Thinkin Bout You.' How could you not? That voice is one in a billion, his words are true poetry in song form and to make it even better, Ocean genuinely seems like a good human being. Don't take my word for it, just look at his six Grammy nominations for his debut album. Not too shabby at all. (Matt Bond) 

Frank! Where have you been all my life? This song is gorgeous, just gorgeous. Cool urban groove with smooth lyrics. And that falsetto! Justin Timberlake eat your heart out. (Katie Langley)

Now when I talk about RnB, this is what I’m talking about. Each to their own, and not to take anything away from them, but it’s not Usher or Rhianna or Beyonce I refer to; it’s real school, old school RnB that matters, the type of music Frank Ocean makes with ease and sings like he’s breathing. With this kind of RnB, it’s what missing is what counts, there’s no annoying intricate beats, no dramatic layered vocals, no autotuning, it’s raw and it’s beautiful and his lyrics seem to be so personal, he has a way of making you feel like you’re listening in on a private conversation and you just can’t turn away. It’s about love and hurt and betrayal and regret and “do you not think so far ahead 'cause I been thinkin' 'bout forever” and it’s about all the things that make beautiful songs. I’ve been thinking about you, Frank Ocean and I think I can’t get enough, I could listen to this one for hours on end. RnB, just the way I like it. (Jo Michelmore) 


#13. Black Sheep
by Gin Wigmore

Paint me in a corner, but my colour comes back,
Once you go black you never go back. 

When Matt and I saw Gin Wigmore at the Black Bear in April this year, I think I can say we weren’t necessarily big fans when we walked in, but we left with our minds made up, yep; officially Gin fans. This was one of a couple of songs that absolutely blew my mind that night, it was hot, it was loud, it made the room jump and it showed off Gin’s incredibly strong voice in a rock way, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. It’s easy to over sing rock, but to show such control in a song that could easily be screamed was awesome. This song has a power that drives it, a lyric that makes it “once you go black you never go back” (yes indeed Gin) and a subtle bass line I love. Add Gin to the list of new people I learnt to love in 2012. (Jo Michelmore)   

I feel like Gin Wigmore belongs in the wild, wild west... a six-shooter on her hip, a knife under her garter and a bottle of whiskey in hand. That's the image 'Black Sheep' leaves in my mind and hopefully you can see why. She's a total badass femme fatale with a horde of "jealous lovers that all wish they had me back." If you piss her off, she'll drop some arsenic in your tonic with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. Gin Wigmore makes music a much more interesting place to revel in. The wild west world is hers for the taking and I'm just happy to go along for the ride. (Matt Bond)

I’m going to resist the urge to make a joke about the New Zealand singer singing about sheep because Gin, I like ewe. You’ve got sass. And sass goes a long way in my opinion. (Katie Langley)  

#12. Love Interruption
by Jack White

I want love to, grab my fingers gently,
Slam them in a doorway, put my face into the ground. 

I’m going to be honest here. I actually don’t know what to say about this song. My love for music often leaves me speechless, but when I first heard this song early this year, I felt like I hadn’t heard music before and everything before this song didn’t matter. It’s a love song, a break up song, a heartbreak song and a song that left me aching all over for more and more Jack all year. It’s a song that read my mind at a time I needed it and it’s a song I know will be there for me many times in the future, because it says exactly how I feel so, so often. How do you know what I’m thinking Jack? Get out of my head! Or not actually. Stay there. I love you. “I want love to, roll me over slowly, stick a knife inside me and twist it all around.” Oh Jack. Oh sigh. (Jo Michelmore)  

I didn’t want to be another idiot bumbling about how swoon worthy Jack White is. But he is. There’s just no avoiding it. There’s just something about his voice, his everything that makes me fall all over myself. (Katie Langley) 

Since I'm quite confident Jo and Katie will take this opportunity to court Jack White, I thought I'd throw some love in the direction of the better half (it's a nice expression) on 'Love Interruption,' Ruby Amanfu. She's just there in the video, looking all kinds of glamourous and singing so very, very sweetly some dark, dark lines about love. This is Jack's show, but Ruby plays such a big part in it that she deserves a special mention. 'Love Interruption' wouldn't be the same without her and we wouldn't want that because this is so very, very good.  


#11. Want It Back
by Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra

I will let you go if you will let somebody love you like I do...

You knew Amanda would appear again, yes? Probably my very favourite clip of the year and of course one of my favourite songs, this was another time when my breath was taken away, but not in a ballad heartbreaking kind of way, more in a bouncy ‘ohmygodIlovethissongsomuchIcan’tstopmoving’ kind of way. I couldn’t believe I was hearing another song by someone who this year has become one of my favourite, ever, artists. Like all Amanda songs, the lyrics take you on a journey and the destination is wherever you relate to it being, but for me, my favourite part of the song is the end, the layered lyrics and Amanda pleading “I will let you go if you will let somebody, I will let you go if you will let somebody love you, I will let you go if you will let somebody love you like, I will let you go if you will let somebody love you like I do”; it’s these kind of words that keep me addicted to AFP and her Grand Theft Orchestra and they’re the type of concepts that make me wonder how Amanda could possibly know what I feel. Love. (Jo Michelmore)  

OK, Matt and Jo, Amanda is growing on me… (Katie Langley)

The sound might be more commercial than what has come before it in Amanda Palmer's catalogue, but the quality of the lyrics hasn't suffered in the slightest. That's what makes 'Want It Back' so fantastic. It's the same Amanda Palmer at its core, but one that isn't going to shy away from luring you into a dance, a celebration and of course, a good singalong. Indie rock is usually sloppy metaphors sung over a catchy, boppy little tune that holds your attention. Pretentious and eventually forgetful. 'Want It Back' has the catchy, boppy tune, courtesy of The Grand Theft Orchestra, but its got these lyrics that will keep you coming back for more for a very long time. "I will let you go if you will let somebody love you like I do." There's no performer I could have loved more than Amanda Palmer in 2012. (Matt Bond) 

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