Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Top 113 Songs of 2013, #100 - 91

Tkay Maidza, Panama, Molly Contogeorge and Our Man In Berlin. AUS music kicks butt.

#100. Words
by The Raffaellas

I find you where you want to go,
And I'm still searching all the time... 

A Melbourne based band that writes and performs excellent, catchy and fun tunes that will make you want to dance and have a great time. It's like the oldest story in the books these days. In your face Epic of Gilgamesh (literary reference win)! Yes, there is a lot of great new music coming out of the hipster capital of the world, but we've developed a special affinity for The Raffaellas, who stand out from the crowd with tracks like 'Words'. Not only does it make you want to dance and have pretty great time, it gets you with its 'smarter than your average' lyrics. Or words. Ha. Get it? (Matt Bond)

You say you're unfamiliar with these so called Raffaellas. Well, let the band tell you a little bit about themselves from their interview a couple of months back

The Raffaellas: Well there are four of us – two guitars, bass and drums. Doug Ross is to lead guitar what Brian May was…to lead guitar…though Doug, a mid-to-well seasoned classical guitarist, knows the instrument backways and brings a certain classical finesse that really has no place in the band at all but we have all come to tolerate and maybe, one day, will grow to love. Michael Ratten is similarly technically gifted on the kit, with a jazz-drummer flare for emphases and ghost notes (which he swears are there but no one else can hear), though his comically burdensome height means that by the time stick hits skin, there’s sufficient force to really test out some of the better live sound systems in Melbourne. Best thing about James’ bass playing (that’s James Raimondo for those playing at home) is that he’s not a bass player. He plays keys…which we don’t have… it’s confused, but his musical genesis is in writing songs and melodies which makes for really melodic bass lines- it’s a plus. Plus, he does know his way around a ‘fret’. Pat Santamaria backs the whole operation up on rhythm guitar and puts his best foot forward behind the mic. Though, generally speaking, it is singing, he has been told he croons a lot and other times just does a lot of yelling in tune (put that down to his love of Little Richard). Match that up with James’ mid-tenor pipes and Doug’s groin-shattering, freight train of a bass voice (at least 3 octaves below Barry White) and you’ve got yourself a harmony, which we like doing too.  

#99. Stones
by Bec Sandridge

My mind is gone, like a rolling stone,
Out the window.

She has a voice from somewhere other than right now and a sound that’s a little bit indescribable. If you were to combine a waltz beat from a western movie set in the late 1800’s and mix that with a voice that could fit into a bar scene in a 20s war film, then mix that with some 70s feeling lyrics and you might have Bec Sandridge. I haven’t done a good job of describing her, have I? Ok, mix all of those things together and imagine they sound comforting and sad and hopeful and fabulous. There. That’s this song and that’s Bec Sandridge. Don’t believe me? Press play. You’ll be confused and impressed and you’ll love it too. (Jo Michelmore) 

We were only introduced to Bec Sandridge and her track ‘Stones’ late in the year, but the timeless charm of both singer and song sure did make an impact quickly. I didn’t really pay attention during music theory, but I think the song is in 3/4 which would make it a Waltz, am I right? If that is right, then ‘Stones’ is one mighty, lyrically rich and heartbreaking ‘Waltz’. I honestly can’t choose what I love more; Sandridge’s voice or words. Luckily, I don’t have to choose since we get Sandridge singing her words in her voice. Everyone’s a winner! If you love hearing sad songs on the radio, you’ll fall as quickly as we did for ‘Stones’. (Matt Bond)

It seems to me, someone smashed together Beth Orton and Joni Mitchell then out of the bloody gore that remained, Bec Sandridge was born. Just listen to 'Stones' and you’ll understand why with its poetic demeanour and folky attitude. Feels like summer is here and I suddenly have the urge to dance in a field of wildflowers. Anyone want to join me? (Nayt Housman)  

#98. One Type of Dark
by Ginger and The Ghost

Looking through the telescope I'm looking back at me...

Oh my, Ginger And The Ghost are the kind of band that craft songs, which immediately transport me back to my childhood. They induce the release of imaginative juices in my brain, and stimulate flutters of loveliness and whimsy in my soul. One Type Of Dark is one of those arty fairytales that make me feel a grand amount of envy that I didn’t think of making it first but then can’t help but get lost in the vibrant world created by this talented Sydney duo. Ginger’s child like voice is often reminiscent of Joanna Newsome which works wonders in telling fantastic stories and Ghost’s steely gaze and timid presence makes me want to capture him like a butterfly and just observe him for hours (a little bit pervey I realise). After discovering them at Bigsound this year, Ginger And The Ghost has become one of my standout bands of the year. So much love. (Nayt Housman)

For all of Lady Gaga’s attempts to blend ‘art’ and ‘pop’, the poor lass couldn’t dream of doing it as seamlessly as Aussie heroes, Ginger and The Ghost. Visually, Ginger and Ghost (try to guess who’s who… you’ll be pleasantly surprised) know how to grab your attention. Just take one look at the clip for ‘One Type of Dark’. The use of projections, the costumes, the glitter throwing… I’m enjoying all of that. But it’s the music that keeps me coming back for more. ‘One Type of Dark’ has a dream-like and fantasy quality to it, particularly in the verses, but the chorus is very grounded and shows a young artist wondering who she’s supposed to be and where she fits in the world. Ginger’s voice is gorgeous and perfectly matched by the music created by Ghost. Glitz and glam are great, but they can only take you so far. You need to back up the spectacle with music as fascinating as the visual world you’re creating. Ginger and The Ghost deliver in all aspects. (Matt Bond)

It’s no surprise that Ginger And The Ghost define themselves as visual artists, who bring the sounds of art to life, because, like a lot of visual art, there’s something a little bit confronting about the voice of Missy (I don’t know if Missy is Ginger or The Ghost) at the very start of this song. However, like a lot of visual art does, ‘One Type Of Dark’ has the ability to grow on you, if you stare for long enough something makes sense and like I’ve stood in galleries for hours staring at things on walls, I’ve slowly grown to appreciate the sounds this duo from Sydney make. It’s probably the strings that convinced me, but it doesn’t matter what it is, I like it and the title indicates a question that should be contemplated over a beverage in a gallery or a bar filled with some art; “is there just one type of dark?” I don’t know, but it’s a question fellow blogger Nayt and I are bound to ponder over a Ginger And The Ghost soundtrack at some stage… (Jo Michelmore)

#97. Endless Drain
by Major Leagues

You're an endless drain and a waste of space,
Gotta get away, I gotta catch a plane. 

‘Endless Drain’ is a fun, catchy little ditty. One might describe it as garage? Maybe a bit surfy? I’m not going to get hung up on a label. All I know is that I was bopping along the entire way through the song. (Katie Langley)

Brisbane’s surf-rock scene delivered in a big way throughout the year and Major Leagues have played a big part in that. It’s fun in the sun, with more than a little bit of teen apathy thrown in for good measure. Lines about “looking for the one,” are delivered in a way that it almost seems like a chore for our spunky vocalist. It should be confusing, but that aloof delivery just makes it all the more interesting. It definitely makes you remember the endless drain of those teenage years gone by. (Matt Bond)

There’s a member of Major Leagues who reminds me of someone I used to know. I liked that person, but they had this strange habit of grabbing me in inappropriately at inopportune times, which wasn’t unpleasant, just surprising. This means that whenever I see Major Leagues, I have this unnatural reaction and uneasy feeling of glancing behind me to make sure I’m not going to be groped by an old ‘friend’ from behind. I digress, because this has nothing to do with this song, the song is great. A mid 90s influence and a sound to nod to and who doesn’t love a (mostly) girl group, especially one form my own hometown? Like. (Jo Michelmore)

#96. Always
by Panama

Always, I remember you,
Slow down, so I can follow you. 

When I wrote about this song earlier this year, I wrote about the clip and I wrote about how much I adored the clip, because I did. It’s an awesome little story that starts nowhere and ends nowhere, but is so beautifully shot and told, it didn’t really matter that I had no idea what was going on. I even gave it five Nick Cave heads out of five, which is quite an impressive number of heads, actually. What I didn’t write about was how much I actually adore this song. The delightful keys combined with the layered vocals and the drums that kick in at about thirty seconds that drive this indie pop song toward absolute perfection are hard not to adore. I like the start and I love the end and I liked it when I first heard it, but now I love it. This is a band I am desperate to hear more from in 2014 and until then, this is a song that I will listen to again and again and again and....always. (Jo Michelmore)

I try not to look too hard into the story being told throughout the video for 'Always', because the way this one interprets it, it's a bit of a Debbie downer. Which surprised me, because the mood of the track is in direct opposition to that. When the chorus hits, I want to do a victorious fist pump that gets stuck in time, like in some trashy 80s movie. But then I pay closer attention to the words and there's a real resistance to that desire to fist pump 80s style because I'm being pulled back in the somber direction. I might be confused about the emotions Panama are trying to draw out of the listener with 'Always', but I'm certainly not confused about my love for the track. And I'm in complete agreement with Jo when it comes to the video. I might not know what's really going on, but it is beautiful to watch. (Matt Bond) 

#95. Second To None
by All The Colours

Close your eyes and drown in the glow...

Damn, I love it when it gets to the end of the year and you think about all the things you’ve heard all year and then you stumble across a song you totally forgot about and re-discover its greatness. Which isn’t to say that ‘Second To None’ is forgettable; it’s just it was released sooooo long ago (February was a long time ago in my world!) and it’s been a really good and really long year, ok? ‘Second To None’ was all a bit spooky and all a bit awesome, with a clip to match and well, I just need to say this. I love a band that dresses well. I mean, I love a band that don’t just show up to a gig or a clip in whatever they picked up off the floor that didn’t stink. I can’t say I know what All The Colours smell like, but they do dress well and this is often overlooked and quite important, to me. If they smell as good as they sound, they must smell delicious. Can we have an album soon, please? (Jo Michelmore)

Kinda dark, a little dirty, sorta dreamy, unique male vocalist, singing about the voices in ones head while wearing bow ties. I’m sold… Did you just call me a hipster? Whatever. That’s just like calling me a super hero but with a sexy moustache. But seriously 'Second To None' is some seriously beautiful shit, not like as in poo, but as in “dude this is the shit”. It’s equally cool as it is catchy and as danceable as it is cruisey. Like. (Nayt Housman)

‘Second to None’ is an awesome song, with catchy guitar and beautiful harmonies. The perfect song to drive to. Reminds me a little of The Dandy Warhols. (Katie Langley)  

All The Colours are another intriguing act to emerge throughout the year, with snappy indie/pop tunes and snazzy videos to match. 'Second To None' was our intro to this Melbourne band and what an intro it was. The music is so, so catchy. It just might be one of the catchiest songs of the year and I've had popping into my head at times where I'll think, "well that's inappropriate for this setting, but whatever." Joshua Mann's vocal work is a huge draw for me, but the other lads back him up admirably with some mighty fine harmonies. There aren't enough complimentary phrases to come up with for the black and white clip for the track, so just watch it for yourself and and fall for the old Hollywood charm within. If we did some sort of 'Artists to Watch in 2014' list, these guys would be at the top of it. (Matt Bond)   

Joshua Mann from All The Colours stopped by for a quick interview earlier in the year and, since the band's music has been described as "the soundtrack to a Tarantino movie that has yet to be made" we got him to give us the plot for said movie. 

Joshua Mann: I guess the plot would be a guy finding out that he is the saviour of the world. All the while falling madly in love with the heroine, and as the movie progresses it becomes painfully clear that he must choose between the love of his life or saving the world with the story laid out we would then see this dear fellow damn the entire earth for his lover. What a twist!!  

#94. Bad Boy
by Molly Contogeorge

My life's flashing before my eyes,
Quick, roll the credits. 

Pulling off a track that many listeners are going to compare to the sounds of 60s Motown girl groups is no easy feat. Unless your name is Molly Contogeorge. She makes it seem easy; a bit of call and response here, a whole lot of attitude there. 'Bad Boy' is jazzy, soulful and completely lovable. I can't say for sure, but I'm assuming one listen will have the ladies busting out their most sparkly dresses to compliment their new beehive hairdos, while the fellas will be slicking their hair back, donning a leather jacket and doing all they can to look like the bad boys of the ladies' dreams. If you haven't done yourself a solid and listened to Contogeorge's 2013 EP, Dames, there's no better time than the present. It's full of songs as brilliant as 'Bad Boy'. (Matt Bond)

‘Bad boy’ is sexy and sultry, and I can’t help but shake my hips and pout my lips. (Katie Langley) 

Molly Contogeorge managed to do a couple of things that impressed me this year. One of them was this song. It’s 60s soul swing, with killer harmonies and backing vocals was totally addictive and everyone knows I love a girl empowerment type song. I love the light and dark of ‘Bad Boy’ and I especially love the “bad bad bad bad bad” chant at the end, ‘cause if you can’t remember any other words then they’re pretty easy to sing along to. The other thing that impressed me though? If you haven’t already, google image search the cover for Molly’s EP ‘Dames’, which this song appears on. Yep. Loved the first time I saw it, love it now. (Jo Michelmore)

Anyone who can sing like a 60s chanteuse and fit the word “precipice” so smoothly into a tune gets props from me. I wanna hear her cover ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ though I don’t want to typecast her or anything. Oh wait… I think I just did. Meh, just listen to 'Bad Boy', it’s darn tootin fine. (Nayt Housman)

#93. Airhead
by Our Man In Berlin

We might as well be astronauts...

If dream-pop is the flavour of the year then Airhead is the cherry on top, coz it doesn’t get much dreamier than this. It’s so dreamy; it’s like a whole bunch of puffy clouds that glide through the sky just at the right time and angles that they form the words “dreamy clouds” or like a school of beautifully coloured fish in a rock pool blowing bubbles that form the words “dreamy fish bubbles”. One warning though, consumption of Airhead may cause momentary episodes of bliss. (Nayt Housman)

I visited Berlin for the first time earlier this year. Two hours into the visit, I declared it my spiritual homeland and I spent some days there, with a stupid smile in my heart and in my mind the entire time. This means I may have a bias to a band called Our Man In Berlin. Luckily, they’re an incredibly talented bunch of musicians so my interest goes further than their name. These six musicians are in fact from somewhere far from Berlin, that place being Perth. I’ve never been there; maybe I might like it as well. I digress. Our Man In Berlin’s dreamy sounds are some that I’ve been addicted to this year and ‘Airhead’ is just a taste of how delightful they are. Mesmerising and wistful, they take me to a place far from wherever I am, distracting and beautiful, I just can’t seem to place exactly why I like them so much, but I guess that’s how I feel about Berlin too, so everything is just a perfect match, isn’t it? (Jo Michelmore)

Those that know me are familiar with my love of anything German. Suffice to say I felt an instant affinity to Our Man in Berlin. ‘Airhead’ is an absolutely gorgeous track. In fact, ich liebe ‘Airhead’. For me, I feel like I’ve struck gold, and I can’t wait to hear more from this talented five piece. (Katie Langley)  

I think it's safe to say that all of us here on It's My Kind of Scene would class Our Man In Berlin as one of our favourite new acts of the year. Which really does mean something, given how diverse our musical tastes are. You get why though, right? Their music is beautiful. Stunning. You listen to a track like 'Airhead' and never want it to end. In a time where acts like The xx and London Grammar are finding success, you can only hope Our Man In Berlin (who are genuinely at that level of blowing your mind musically) can find the same. They deserve it. (Matt Bond) 

#92. Echoes
by Eliza Hull

Pull me back to you,
And closer to you. 

Earlier this year, I remember describing Eliza Hull’s sounds as “a slow punch in the stomach” and while I don’t always agree with myself, with hindsight, I kind of think I described Eliza Hull almost perfectly (if I say so myself) because I still get that little gut wrenching feeling whenever I hear this track. Mesmerising isn’t a good enough word to describe it, but then, neither is dreamy, or delightful, or beautiful. It’s dark and yet still simultaneously comforting and only special artists can manage to combine both of those things in one song. Eliza Hull, along with producer Hayden Calnin, must be extra special, because they did it over and over with Eliza’s EP The Ghosts You Never Catch and this song was just one part of six songs that made up one of the most incredible EP releases of 2013. (Jo Michelmore)

I made a decision while listening to 'Echoes' earlier in the week. I need to stop describing anyone else's voice as hauntingly beautiful, because that should only be reserved for Eliza Hull. Her voice ridiculously good. I find every bit of emotion packed into that voice so affecting that it's only too easy to find a couple of hours disappear as I put 'Echoes' on repeat again and again. "Follow the map, follow the map to find you." Those perfect lines about joining the dots and following the maps that make up the chorus? They'll stick with you for a long time coming. A beautiful song by a beautiful singer. (Matt Bond) 

‘Echoes’ is as ‘Airhead’ is from Our Man In Berlin, dreamy, dream-pop but this time with a bit of Florence And The Machine-esque-ish kinda feeling and a music box tinkle thrown in for good measure. More like a memory than a dream, but still all fuzzy and lovely. (Nayt Housman)

#91. Brontosaurus
by Tkay Maidza ft. Badcop

It should be me you thank,
But you's still be rank. 

I have just listened to ‘Brontosaurus’ for the first time and I’m in love. There’s nothing complex or earth shattering about this song. The simple, repetitive lyrics and bloody catchy beat make the perfect recipe for success. And would you believe I’m actually stomping my feet like a brontosaurus… (Katie Langley)

These feet are definitely stomping like a brontosaurus! (r)Adelaide got just that little bit radder with the arrival of Tkay Maidza in 2013 who seems destined to take over Australia's rap and hip hop game and then the world. This young dynamo is waaay to cool to be tied down here and 'Brontosaurus' is more than enough to convince you she can compete with the best in the world. Tkay spits out rhymes like she's been doing it since she was born. Maybe she has! Anyway, she's so good, she made the sound system blow up at BIGSOUND. It couldn't handle her brilliance! Today Australia, tomorrow the world. It's Tkay Maidza's for the taking. (Matt Bond) 

This song makes me kind of angry. You wanna know why? Because I didn’t know of Tkay Maidza before BIGSOUND earlier this year and I didn’t get to see the ‘Brontosaurus’ magic then. I shouldn’t complain, because not a lot of people saw that magic either, after all, she was so great she blew up the sound system during her BIGSOUND performance with the amazing that she was, but Matt was there and says it was great. If she was anything like ‘Brontosaurus’ is, she would have been amazing, because this song is one I love. It’s simple, it’s catchy, it’s somehow a little bit aggressive but in a cute kind of way and it passes the K-Tizz ‘nod test’ with flying colours. I love a good girl rapper and if they’re Australian and I like them, then that’s even more impressive. Looking forward to seeing the Tkay Maidza magic when she tours across the country (or just a couple of cities, my hometown being one of them) in December. (Jo Michelmore)

See you tomorrow for ten more incredible tunes from 2013!

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