Saturday, 28 December 2013

2013 Scene Awards - Group of the Year

Ah, Group of the Year. One of my favourite awards, not just because it's five excellent gangs of musicians that we've loved throughout the year, but because it seems to trick a lot of people looking for group porn videos of the year into visiting our site. So says our stats, but you're not interested in that (you dirty pervs), so let's take a look at our picks for the best group of 2013!


#5. Gay Paris

Didn’t I vote for Gay Paris as Group of the Year last year? I think so. Probably. Will I vote for them again next year? I think so. Probably. They’re easy to love the shit out of, and here’s why:

• They released an awesome album in April. The Last Good Party is the gravelly voiced, rock’n’roll, punch in the undies that will have you hailing Satan. Well, maybe. Opening single ‘Ash Wednesday Boudoir Party’ has some killer guitar riffs and will have you alternating between dancing and shaking your hair around violently. These feelings of both love and brutality continue in ‘Trash Bird At Confessional’ through to ‘The Demarcation Of Joseph Hollybone’.

• They’re award winners. They won the award for best Metal/Hardcore at the Australian Independent Music Awards.

• They have a kick ass live show. Their performance at BIGSOUND had me fearing for my mind, body and soul. But I loved every moment. If you haven’t stood front and centre at one of their gigs, then you haven’t lived. (Katie Langley)

(FYI - Katie voted for The Beards last year.)

#4. Snakadaktal

Melbourne's Snakadaktal blew me away with their debut album, Sleep In The Water. I had a feeling it would be good, given what they had previously offered up with tracks like 'Dance Bear' and 'Air', but I never thought Snakadaktal would become one of my most played artists of 2013. Tracks like 'Ghost', 'Hung On Tight' and their most recent single, 'Fall Underneath' live up to all of the  expectations their album title sets for itself. The songs wash over you as if you're floating in the water and slowly drifting off into a beautiful dream that you never want to end. Or, I think in my album review I related the listening experience to sitting at the edge of the ocean at sunrise and sunset and being perfectly content with life. Don't double check that though, because I'm probably waaaay off.

Sean Heathcliff and Phoebe Cockburn's voices put you completely at ease, together or apart, and the music is perfect for essentially any occasion sans a rave or bar mitzvah. But that would be a pretty cool bar mitzvah, am I right? After listening to Sleep In The Water I was sure the band would be in line for a slew of ARIA Award nominations or a J Award or two, but apparently I am out of touch with reality. Haha, I'm just kidding, I'm not... they are. Snakadaktal have created one of the best album's of the whole year and if you give it a listen, you most certainly will not be disappointed. (Matt Bond)     

#3. The Trouble With Templeton

Arguably one of the greatest talents to come out of Brisbane in recent years is the vibrant young rock outfit named after an episode of The Twilight Zone, The Trouble With Templeton. I’ve been in love with the music of Thomas Calder since The Trouble With Templeton's first album Bleeders introduced me to amazing tunes like ‘Bleeders’ and ‘I Wrote A Novel’. The discovery of Calder's word and tune collages was like finding a new best friend. That person who you feel so familiar with after only a short time and one who you have found a shoulder to cry on, a friend to be ridiculous with, and that person who just gets you without explanation. The way the words are crafted, the melodies, the sentiments and stories are youthful, intelligent, vibrant, dark and wise.

Where Tom really shines is his vocals bravado and his uninhibited expression. Watching him live you’ll really understand. He can be the most gentle breeze or let loose with torrid explosiveness, but NEVER does he seem out of control. Then there’s his band of thieves. Thieves because they’re all so charming and good looking, they’ll steal your heart, mine well and truly belongs to them. I've written about The Trouble With Templeton more this year than any other band/musician so I feel like I’m over-inflating them, but seriously they deserve to be BIG. (Nayt Housman)

Runner-Up: Little May

Who else would I pick here? This group just grabbed me by the heart this year with their amazing songs 'Boardwalks' and 'Hide'. I was tickled pink when I had the chance to interview the lovely Liz Drummond last month and almost jumped over the moon when I got a chance to see the girls play these two songs live last weekend in Melbourne. I had a chance to meet the girls after the gig and was happy to see that in person they are humble, down to earth and just a bunch of darn nice people.

Little May were chosen by Triple J Unearthed recently to play at the Laneway Festival in 2014. This is an indicator of bigger things to come. These girls don’t mess around. They make great music, skilfully executed and as organic and natural as a piece of a fine artists canvas. And what they paint onto that canvas steals my ears away to a place both familiar and foreign. 2014 will no doubt open up a whole new world for this group. Perhaps Little May wont be so little anymore. (Lou Endicott)

Winner: Chvrches

The details are this. At the start of 2013, I didn’t really know who Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty were. A name here and there on lists of artists to watch, they were three who were in that band with the misspelt name; Chvrches. Turns out they were three incredibly talented people who’d been hanging out together in Scotland for a couple of years, slowly building a reputation for themselves from their Glasgow home studio. The release of a single ‘The Mother We Share’ last year was impressive, but only a tiny taste of the amazing that this trio had to offer in 2013. They signed a record deal at the start of the year, they released track by track to much excitement and in September, their debut album; The Bones Of What You Believe was released and what followed, sales, tours, TV, radio, internet, fame, pop stardom, the rest, as they say, is history.

The thoughts are this. There is something awesome about a band that needs no one other than themselves to create incredible sounds. A majority of Chvrches debut album was recorded by themselves, in Iain Cook’s home studio, without influence of record labels and sales and mainstream success and thoughts of others. There is something awesome about a band that manage to fit themselves easily into an electronic landscape without sounding like their contemporaries and there is something awesome about a band who take influence of incredible talent before them without sounding like them. We’re talking those huge names like the Depeche Mode’s, the Cocteau Twins’, the Peter Gabriel’s, The Knife, who Chvrches sit comfortably alongside. There is something awesome about the ability to turn retro synth pop sounds into 21st century electronic masterpieces. There is something awesome about lead singer Lauren Mayberry, who stood strong just by being herself in a year filled with talk and chatter about women in the music industry. There is something awesome about a band that makes their own rules and paves their own path in an industry with so many ill-fated pathways. Ultimately, there’s something awesome about Chvrches.

The feelings are this. Some music comes and goes. Some songs stick, some songs don’t. Some songs are fun, some songs are life savers. Chvrches somehow manage to take the fun electronic sounds of a dance floor and turn them into heart wrenching calls to arms, they take cries of attention and feelings of melancholy and turn them into stories you can’t help but sing along to and beats you can’t help but move to. Three little people created an album this year that was unlike anything else I’ve loved so much before and regardless of which blog they feature on, how many records they’ve sold and who they’ve played with, this is a band that have cemented themselves firmly in my own personal life soundtrack, with songs that have managed to make me smile some days and helped me survive through others. I don’t know what the future of Chvrches holds, but they’ve certainly made their mark on 2013 and for that, I’m really, really happy. (Jo Michelmore)

2012 Winner:
Texas Tea
Runner-Up: Garbage

2011 Winner:
Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-Up: Little Dragon

2010 Winner:
Arcade Fire

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