Monday, 23 December 2013

2013 Scene Awards - EP of the Year

Oh, hello there dear reader. The Scene Awards continue with us handing out EP of the Year. There were about fifteen million amazing EP's released throughout 2013 and all but were from Australian acts. No exaggeration. So, the five critics writers babes humans (?) that hang out here on It's My Kind of Scene threw out two nominations giving us ten amazing EP's. Two times five is ten! We value education. Especially music education, so do yourselves a favour and check out the EP goodness below.


#10. Roll It In
by Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders
original review 

There’s a certain swagger to Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders that makes them easy to love. Their songs pack a dirty blues punch straight to the heart. And the band’s recently released EP, Roll It In is no exception – it’s a sexy party from start to finish. James, Matt, Stephen and Dominic are the perfect hosts kicking off proceedings with the toe tapping 'Been A While'. The lights are dim and the whiskey is flowing. At least, that’s how it should be when you’re listening to this song! The party is in full effect for 'Ease On In,' with its hypnotic charms causing involuntary hip thrusts and circles. James’ husky growls only add fuel to the fire.

By the time the EP’s final track, 'Baby Girl' is reached there’s no question that it’s time to dance. And the boys give plenty of opportunity for hair twirling, head nodding and booty shaking. Like all good parties you wish there was more time and that you could continue the fun all over again. (Katie Langley)

#9. Louis Spoils
by Louis Spoils
original review

This EP was an absolute standout of the year for me. It’s absolutely my favourite kind of rock. The flavour speaks of something vintage – perhaps Blood, Sweat and Tears mixed with The Beatles' Abbey Road (yes a weird mix I know). But then again, there is something so new and on the pulse of things that it’s almost hard to define. I have this EP almost on repeat in my car. It’s the perfect EP to turn way up loud and let the world zip by. Rush’s voice is sassy, warm and just a wee bit sexy. The “man choir” that features throughout the album also adds another delightful almost rock opera feel to this EP and makes it really enjoyable to sing along to and add your own harmonies. I think though it’s the song writing and the rhythmic structure of all of the songs that grab me as a highly original and oh so yummy listen for the ears. My favourite track, 'Modestly Amused' has a fantastic section that pops out of nowhere and hits the ears like a street band. I love how this EP rides like an album as oppose to just a bunch of songs. The last song 'Trace the Walls' leaves me on a gentle cloud with its soft finger plucking and almost lullaby like feel. And it’s the perfect end to a debut EP.

The production values and layering of instruments on this EP are done quite seamlessly. A quick flip through the contributors and you can see why this EP has such a tasty flavour: artists such as Sam Cromack (Ball Park Music), Kane Mazlin (Hungry Kids of Hungry) and Wally de Backer (Gotye) were all artists who added a talent to this EP. But it's Jake Rush who is the Captain here with his fresh songwriting and musical ability. I hope that this EP gets the attention it deserves and that Louis Spoils will soon move into a wider audience with his incredible brand of music. (Lou Endicott)

#8. On For You
by Michelle Xen
original review

Her current EP, On For You is one which really showcases Xen’s delicious, sophisticated DIY electro pop at its best. It consists of five singles with five videos, which will slowly be released over the next six months. So far publicly we’ve only been tempted with the first vid for ‘Lose My Cool’ but thankfully I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some sneak peaks at three of the other vids for ‘My Cells’, ‘Electro Comb’ and the Kendrick Lamar cover of ‘Swimming Pools’. Can I just say I’m excited? When the rest of Australia gets to see what this EP has to offer I just know they’ll be mesmerised by the bright flashiness of it all. It’s possibly one of the most ambitious early projects you could imagine for someone's music career. I mean it’s BIG, it’s glitzy, it’s sophisticated as I mentioned earlier, and what is most important is, the music is AMAZING! Impassioned, powerful, sensitive and a stimulator of the dance organ inside everyone that causes uncontrollable thrusting, twirling, shaking and hair flicking. (Nayt Housman)

#7. Modern Pest
by Spender

Another discovery from my Bigsound adventure, Spender came riding into my musical life on a big brass sax with his trusty guitar sidekick, expressing a jazz awareness, rock foundations and a pair of the longest legs I’ve ever seen. Seriously this dude is TALL. There’s a photo on his Facebook standing next to Gotye (Wally is already freakishly tall) who looks quite average in height compared to Tommy Spender. Why am I obsessed by his height? Coz I’m extremely short.

Moving on… He makes music. What gets me about his music? Well I have this theory that there is a theme to most of my music taste. When good music has a certain amount of jazz or blues injected into it, almost regardless of the genre, then I will seem to like it. Match that with some somber, heartbreaking, romantic or idiosyncratic lyrics then I’ll love it. Spender throws several genres in the blender (see what I did? :D) and comes out with the EP Modern Pest which is some of the best indie pop/rock I’ve heard in a long time. With collabs from Gotye and Clairy Browne it pulls out some retro tricks, some sweet electro tricks, and then just some perfect pop like ‘Never Again’, which has the catchiest sax solo. Then visually, he’s got the goods, creativity, a striking appearance and style and a fierce stage presence. The videos are super slick, bizarre and most importantly, capturing of one's attention. Spender potentially has it all going for him and hopefully soon with the release of his new collaboration with Gotye, ‘Hotel Home’, his tunes will be regulars on our TV’s and radio. (Nayt Housman)

#6. Astrid and The Asteroids
by Astrid and The Asteroids
original review

I’ve had a lot to say about how astronomically amazing Astrid and The Asteroids’ music has been in 2013. ‘West End’ and ‘Autopsy’ were both brilliant singles in different ways. ‘West End’ was the light to the dark in ‘Autopsy’, but both featured snappy lyrics, booming vocals and made you want to do crazy things like those jumping fist-pumps in public where you freeze mid jump/pump or a recreation of the boombox scene from Say Anything. AATA followed through with their second self-titled EP which was easily one of my favourites of the year. The two pop-tacular singles were joined by the more R’n’B influenced tracks ‘OId Friend’ and ‘Love Right’, as well as the closing stunner, ‘House of Cards’. Astrid Jorgensen’s versatile voice is perfect throughout, but there’s something about the vulnerability and emotion behind it on the final track that I really love. It’s like the show House of Cards, but better, because there’s something about Kevin Spacey that creeps me out. You know what I’m talking about. Astrid and The Asteroids are one band you should explore the cosmos with. They’ll take you on a journey you won’t forget. Even if one of the stops is in Brisbane’s West End. (Matt Bond)

#5. Tie That Binds
by The Hello Morning
original review

There are less songs on The Hello Morning’s EP, Tie That Binds than there are members of the band. Four songs, six members, but don’t let the numbers confuse you. There’s nothing confusing about this EP, it’s quite simple really. You take six extremely talented musicians; three on guitar, one on bass, one on keys and one on percussion, you have them play music they are clearly incredibly passionate about; music that is like blues met pop on a street corner, went for a wander to a bar to meet country and listen to a rock band and you get four tracks that will take you on a journey of happiness right through to heartbreak and leave you at content.

Tie That Binds is perfect as a collection and that’s because the four tracks each stand so strong on their own. The title track is a rollicking number made for road trips, ‘The Closer’ leaves you pondering your path, ‘Stay Awake’ is the kind of country/rock/blues ballad and story of the perfect country/rock/blues kind and the killer; ‘Jackson’ is a cover of June and Johnny Cash’s song and it's a version that takes your heart straight from your body and makes it beat a little slower. I reviewed this back in August and the words I said then I’m going to say again now, because while I meant them then; four months later, this is a timeless little EP that has become a part of my life and I probably mean these words even more now than I could ever have known earlier in the year.

"This is what beautiful, honest music sounds like. I don't know where Jackson is, but if it's where The Hello Morning are going to be hanging out, then I'm going to Jackson and I ain't ever comin' back." (Jo Michelmore)

4. Lily Lotus Orchid Sunflower
by MKO
original review

I think that MKO for me might be Nayt’s Michelle Xen for him. Like how Nayt felt when he first saw Michelle Xen, when I first experienced the sounds of the MKO collective late last year, I couldn’t quite believe this was music created in my own little home town and I was totally blown away. While I love all sorts of music from all sorts of places, it’s nice to hear a little groove from the city of mine which is more often associated with traditional guitars and drums.

The four tracks on Lily Lotus Orchid Sunflower are all as addictive as each other, which makes for a little EP that begs to be played on repeat, which I’ll admit is something I might have done more than a few times this year. ‘Settle’ is a snappy little track, with beats begging to be moved to, ‘Another Day Alone’ is the beat heavy slower jam, with some mean synths and Hannah Macklin’s pretty vocal sitting perfectly over the top and ‘Bubble’ is something from somewhere else, with an r’n’b 90s vibe that doesn’t feel overdone and doesn’t feel old, but does feel exceptionally….right. There’s not really a better way to describe it. My fave, ‘Snarly’, the single from the EP, is a slow build, a delicious concoction of mystic synths and beats and layer upon layer of vocal that hold you right until that very last note, then have you hit play again. And again. And maybe once more.

While I’ve been lucky enough to see Hannah Macklin and the other members of the MKO collective play with all sorts of other bands around Brisbane, listening to the Lily Lotus Orchard Sunflower EP again really, really makes me hope they’ll all spend some quality time with each other in the very near future, ‘cause I’m loving and desperately wanting to hear some more smooth beats like these around my little home town more often. (Jo Michelmore)

#3. Is This How You Feel?
by The Preatures
original review

From the minute the bass blasted out into the ether and the beat “cookah chicka cookah chicka” mimicked my own ticker I knew I was in for a ride. With 'Is this How You Feel?' (the opening track) The Preatures hit gold. The title track is one that embodies the best of 60/70s rock with hints of Fleetwood Mac, The Velvet Underground and Blondie. This track is one that has paved the path for this band to no doubt snare a place in triple J’s Hottest 100 (as well as our own mighty top 113 countdown last week! Numero 5 no less!). This song is pure infectious fun. It is sure to put a party into the “go mode” and get those party peeps up and swinging their hips. The blend of male and female is also a winning formula with Gideon Bensen joining Isabella Manfredi halfway through with a delightful croon. Yes my children. The gods and goddesses of rock survey the land of EPs and see that the balance here is good…..

The second track 'Manic Baby' is just as good (and as addictive) as the first. With Isabella’s cool slick voice and thump of the drums mixed with that gorgeous guitar, The Preatures create another gem. This time the guitar and rhythm swing to a funkier groove and Isabella soars out higher into the ether with her vocal delivery and range.

The third track 'Revelation (So Young)' gives The Preatures a chance to show a darker and more watery dream-like rock sound. This song is more subdued but essential in the mix to showcase the breadth of dynamics that this band is capable of.

'All My Love' gives Bensen a chance to take the lead vocal solos. If this man didn’t listen to glam growing up (and in particular David Bowie) then I’ll eat this EP. I’m sure it will taste delicious anyway (and that neon pink typeface on the cover has got to taste like candy right?). This track gives Bensen a chance to show his late night croon and leading man quality. This male lead theme follows through to the last track – the infectious 'Dark Times'. Again, this track screams Bowie in the best way. I can’t help but be inspired by the lyrics, “I cry, no-one’s gonna leave you out here in the dark times.” My tip: For those who have friends needing a little light: play them this song as you hand them a beer.

The fact that music like this is being made again makes my ears swoon and my heart sing. And it also makes my hips swing. I must, MUST see this band live before everyone wants a piece of that pie. As with this EP under their belt and their brew of throwback rock/glam, The Preatures are sure to be a name that will reach the mainstream and be known as a household name in Australian music. (Lou Endicott)

Runner-Up: The Love Club
by Lorde

2013 is the year that I fell in love with Lorde. Well, me and a whole lot of other people. In fact, I saw her at a gig earlier in the year and stood behind a guy who felt the need to profess his love for many, many, many times throughout the course of the evening. Although given that she’s 17 and he was much older it seemed less like love and more like creepy. There’s a power and maturity to Lorde’s music that makes it easy to forget that she’s only 17 years old.

The Love Club may have only 5 songs, but it well and truly put Lorde on the map. Hit single ‘Royals’ had success not only here and in Lorde’s native New Zealand, but also in the good ole U S of A. Word on the street is that it only took her 30 minutes to write this song. Seriously? I can spend longer putting together a shopping list.

There’s a lot to love about The Love Club. The sound is really quite unique and draws on a lot of different influences from hip hop to pop. But all the while there’s a kind of ambiance from the smooth vocals. There’s very much a sense of less is more. There’s no need for over-the-top beats, or Mariah Carey-esque squealing. There’s a lot of catchy hooks overlayed with a powerful, but not in-your face, voice. And then there are the lyrics. Relatable and to the point she isn’t afraid to poke fun at materialism, but then can switch gears completely to explore a lack of self-confidence.

The Love Club is perfect for the bus, while cooking dinner, or enjoying a glass of wine. Hell, it’s perfect for every occasion. (Katie Langley)

by Thelma Plum

‘Around Here’, ‘Father Said’, ‘Dollar’, ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’, ‘Rosie’ and ‘King’. These tracks make up the best EP of 2013 – Rosie by Thelma Plum. Each song is a little pop gem that can stand on its own as a fine piece of songwriting. Three of them made our Top 113 Songs of the Year countdown: ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ at #3, ‘Around Here’ at #10 and ‘Dollar’ at #68. I’m fairly confident in saying all five of the writing staff on this blog thing have a lot of love for Rosie, but no one ever did up a proper review. What’s up with that? Nobody knows, but I’ll take the time allotted here to do a quick rundown of these amazing tracks.

The sunny burst of sunshine you didn’t realise you needed with line after line of singalong goodness. Especially the end where you get to swear up a storm, or more likely some sort of sunshower. Katie described ‘Around Here’ as unpretentious and honest and when you can take those very rare qualities in a pop song and create something like this, you’ve got a big winner on your hands. This is the musical equivalent of a shot of vitamins C and D. In your face. However that would work.

Acoustic guitars, layered vocals and a sweet little story. There’s little wonder that ‘Father Said’ scored Thelma a ton of attention and some rave reviews over on triple J Unearthed. It’s light and breezy and over before you know it, but you won’t forget it.

Clap along, singalong, shake-it-like-a-polaroid-picture-along. A great choice for a single and I guess Team Thelma got that since, you know, they released it as a single.

The ballad I imagine a million artists will listen to and wish they wrote. The ballad I hope a million listeners check out and fall in love with. In the songs of the year countdown I called this one the Australian song of the year and the best piece of songwriting in 2013. I stand by that. Why hasn’t this popped up on a TV show in some super melodramatic moment where some chica is walking out on her douche hole boyfriend, but she’s upset and the producers needed a song that would make you FEEL HER PAIN? I can’t wait for that to happen.

It’s like Lassie, if Lassie was put into a really great song and Lassie was named Rosie and had a tongue like Texas. ‘Rosie’ has one beautiful hook, a catchy little melody in, “hey baby, I know you’ve been busy, working in the city, for us,” that I was in love with instantly. And it’s like Rosie the dog singing that bit for Thelma, right? Usually I’d listen to something like that and be all, “what a load of wank,” but that’s the power of Plum. She can even make an icy cold heart like mine melt for the sweet song about her dog. So far we’re five for five.

And ‘King’ would make it six for six, a perfect score for this incredible EP which you should go buy. Now. Much like ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’, ‘King’ only needs a simple piano melody and Plum’s voice to start you swooning, but there’s other elements to the track to love. Some light horns, a beating drum. “People always question, people always question, if you’re the one that’s right. Who really cares, if you’re alone tonight.” Some strings and ethereal coos take us out on a memorable note.

We’re all very excited to hear Plum’s next EP, which she mentioned around BIGSOUND time isn’t too far off. Could we have a repeat winner on our hands next year? All signs point to yes if it’s anywhere near as good as Rosie! I haven’t even mentioned the hidden track ‘Birthday Sex’. Yep. There’s a hidden track. Go find it. (Matt Bond)

2012 Winner:
Told You So EP by Cub Scouts
Runner-Up: Love Lost In Design EP by Neon Wolf

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