Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 Scene Awards - Best New Artist

Welcome back to the Scene Awards for 2013! We hope you all had a fun Christmas, with lots of food and good drink and presents and a food and drink induced coma like state that you're only now coming out of. Good times! And now it's time for some good times and great music, courtesy of the five acts nominated for Best New Artist of 2013. These emerging acts have a bright future ahead and we're very much looking forward to what the future brings for them. Enjoy!


#5. The Steady As She Goes

The Steady As She Goes didn’t make headlines for twerking, releasing a film clip with a Kardashian or wearing meat products (consideration might be given to incorporating all 3 elements to really make impact in 2014). Instead they released ‘Pagan! Tell Your God To Ready For Blood’ and toured with the likes of Gay Paris and Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders. I say “they” but it’s really one moustached man – Tal Wallace.

The Steady As She Goes sounds like walking through the desert, tears and 2am. (Katie Langley)

#4. Tom Odell

I only heard Tom Odell toward the end of this year and I have been trying to make up for lost time listening over and over to his beautiful album, Long Way Down. Gorgeously crafted piano soft rock ballads mixed with a voice that belies his 23 years, Odell has a future as bright as the sun before him. British born, it was Lily Allen who first “discovered” Odell in 2012. This year Odell was booked to be the support of no other than The Rolling Stones but unfortunately had to pull out due to illness. I can only imagine that this must have been a major disappointment to Odell and to the fans that would have seen him live. Apart from the fact that The Rolling Stones like him, Odell makes my list as the best new artist due to the music that shoots an arrow straight to my heart like Cupid. To my ears there is a hint of something classic in Odell’s sound. Perhaps it reminds me of Billy Joel with the skilful piano or the structure of Elton Johns earlier work. Whatever it is, I’m going to listen to the album again with a nice tall glass of red and reflect on a year gone by. (Lou Endicott)

#3. MTNS

There's a lot of hype about MTNS. If you Google, there's all sorts of little reviews about this great band from Brisbane and talk of how many great bands and musicians come from the city I’m lucky enough to be from and how MTNS are one of a long list of talent from Brisbane. There are so many complimentary words about pop and synths and the stripped back sounds that Tom Eggert, Joseph Thiang and Robbie Hellberg are creating. The music journos are as excited as music journos get about this type of thing, the radio playlists are including them more and more and the bloggers are talking about them. I'm a blogger too so I guess you could include me on that list, but you know what? Blogger or not, if I wasn't typing about this band, I'd be talking about them to my friends, because, let's just face it, quite simply, they're so very, very good.

There’s a lot of hype about MTNS and everyone can hype all they want, but all I need to know about MTNS are the thoughts and feelings I have experienced since first hearing their sounds earlier this year. There is nothing as good as the wave of serenity every time I hear the beats midway through ‘Lost Track of Time’ or the excitement I felt when I first hit play on their five track EP that appeared right at the end of this year. There were very few live music moments this year that were as good as the gig when I first heard the distinct MTNS sound from the stairs of the Black Bear back in August and there are no better feelings in music than the hope I feel when I hear the words from their beautiful tracks, ‘Salvage’; “so put your feet back on the ground and just start walking...” They’re simple words and quite simply, they’re so very, very good.

There’s a lot of hype about MTNS. They’re a little band from a little city making sounds that are more beautiful than I can describe in little words but really, here’s the thing about hype. It’s not the hype you’re hearing when you listen to the lyrics, when you hear the sounds, when you feel the emotions that this kind of music makes. That's just talent and all I hope is that the hype they've created allows these talented musicians the ability to keep creating their delightful sounds all through 2014 and beyond, because regardless of all the hype and all the words I type, quite simply, MTNS? They’re so very, very good. (Jo Michelmore)

Runner-Up: Michelle Xen

Oh Michelle you fabulous creature, a neon vision of power, control, creativity and vitality. With one large sweep of her elaborately dressed limbs and an impassioned expulsion of air from her lungs I was enthralled. Still a relative fledgling in terms of her career, this is one woman who has the sound and the drive to go places. Armed with an electro-pop arsenal of songs inspired by the the arts, electro doyennes like Roisin Murphy and Alison Goldfrapp and music pioneers such as Grace Jones and David Bowie, but not bound by the ideals of any, gives Michelle Xen a sound that is not only accessible but danceable, intriguing and super fierce. She has razor sharp aesthetics and a stage presence of a performer who’s been in the biz for 20 years.

Michelle burst into my music sphere earlier this year and has firmly wedged herself a permanent place. From performing at the Judith Wright Centre to her current EP launch I have been strongly invested in the musical prowess of Michelle Xen and I even had the opportunity to be part of one of the video clips that is to be released in the coming months as both an extra and makeup artist. Michelle is everything a pop star should be without the shameless product placement or attention grabbing antics.

I implore you if you get the chance to go see her live, do so, and before you leave buy her two EPs Synasthesiac and On For You. (Nayt Housman)

WINNER: Little May

“And we are not afraid of what’s to be when this road has just begun.”

It’s early days for Sydney trio Little May, but you only need one listen of their 2013 singles ‘Boardwalks’ and ‘Hide’ to get an idea of where the future will take them. We’ve written quite a bit about Liz Drummond, Hannah Field and Annie Hamilton since the release of ‘Boardwalks’ and there’s been one consistent theme to our ramblings; Little May is a group destined for big things. Their future is bright and it’s not a matter of if, only when for them. Ahead of the release of their self-titled, debut EP (due early 2014), they’ve already begun selling out shows and find themselves on the triple J Hit List and many an end of year list. I believe our own lovely Lou considers ‘Boardwalks’ her favourite song of the year. The track is definitely right up there for all of us, but I personally find myself enthralled by ‘Hide’. Both songs build upon themselves lightly at the start before thundering through to the finish line and the excitement that takes over leaves you wanting to listen again and again.

Unlike the Robert Palmer track, Drummond, Field and Hamilton have voices that are actually simply irresistible and the way their voices sit together when harmonising will make you do one of those ‘life is the best’ happy sighs. I was very jealous reading Lou’s review of their gig in Melbourne, because it sounds like they’re just as incredible live as they are recorded. One day, probably when I’m not in Canberra, I’ll make sure to see these ladies live so I can do a couple more of them happy sighs. Anyway, what makes Little May the Best New Artist of 2013? Really, for me, it’s that off the strength of two tracks, they make me more excited about what music tomorrow might bring than any other act that emerged this year. Just from Lou’s descriptions of new tracks on the EP she heard at the gig, I’m already swooning it up. Little May also make me excited for them and what their future will bring. I watch the video for ‘Hide’ and listen to the track and know that so, so many people are going to fall in love with their music because there’s just far too much to love about it.

2013 was big for Little May. I think we all know that 2014 is going to be even bigger. We have nothing to fear of the roads they'll take us down. (Matt Bond)

2012 Winner:
Curxes/Kira Puru and The Bruise (Tie)
Runner-Up: Nick and Liesl/Laneway (Tie)

2011 Winners:
Lana Del Rey/James Blake
Runner-Up: Emma Louise

2010 Winner:
Ellie Goulding

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