Saturday, 7 December 2013

Top 113 Songs of 2013, #60 - 51

#60. Temaze
by Our Man In Berlin

So don't you stay awake,
No don't you stay awake

Oh this song is just too, too divine. Being a big fan of Bon Iver, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this song that has such an echo of his styling’s. Not to say that Our Man in Berlin are a direct copy in any way. This Perth Band have a distinct mark of their own magic going on with ethereal arrangements and heart stopping soaring male vocals. This is one of my favourite tracks of 2013 and has me firmly by the jugular with its emotion and other worldliness. I hope an album will follow in 2014. (Lou Endicott)

Temaze is commonly used to treat insomnia, but ‘Temaze’ doesn’t make you want to sleep at all. You just want to hear this striking and deeply moving song over and over again. Haydn Mansell is easily my favourite new male singer we’ve encountered in 2013. When you’re listening to his voice and the music of Our Man In Berlin you’re almost wishing for a bout of insomnia. ‘Temaze’ makes you feel like you’re dreaming already. (Matt Bond)

Look here, I’ve told you before but I’ll tell you again. Anything connected to Germany gets my seal of approval. But that’s not the only reason I love Our Man in Berlin and ‘Temaze’. This song is gentle, but gets me right in the heart. It feels like the perfect soundtrack for star crossed lovers holding hands and having picnics. (Katie Langley)

Another stripped back, ethereally stunning number from the boys of our Man In Berlin. The influence of Sigur Ros is evident in the development of “soundscapes” in Temaze with its pulses, twitches, drips, clicks and echoes. Vocally it is soft and vulnerable with Bronski Beat-esque flourishes lingering and then fading into the powerful musical atmosphere. (Nayt Housman)

There are five members of this incredible band from Perth, which means that there are five people I need to thank for giving me one of my favourite songs of the year. Its ethereal feel, its gentle sounds swimming around my heart and mind made their way subtly into my year. Now, like visits from a friend, when I revisit and press play on 'Temaze', everything feels somehow in its right place. Named after a brand of sleeping tablet is kind of funny though, because the sleeping tablet Temaze (or temazepam) is often prescribed because it effects are usually shorter acting than many other sleeping medications. Guess people who need to take it haven't heard of Our Man In Berlin though, because if Haydn Mansell keeps giving me goosebumps with those amazing falsetto notes of his, I don't plan on my love of them or this song being short acting at all. (Jo Michelmore)

#59. She Will
by Savages

She will forget her pain
She will come back again

Whenever I hear someone decry the death of the female rocker, I want to punch them in the face. So you don’t hear them on Nova or B105 or even that much on triple J. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge wealth of women banging drums, smashing guitars and screaming their lungs out for our enjoyment. 2013 has been a great year for fans of female driven rock and for fans of all-girl rock outfits. Warpaint are back, Go Violets and Foxsmith have emerged and then there’s Savages. With tracks like ‘She Will’ in their repertoire, these ladies have spent the year kicking butt and taking names on the stage. You want your rock? Here’s your rock. (Matt Bond)

Rock, punk, fast, loud, aggressive, awesome, perfect. Like in the 80s, for every Madonna there was a Siousxie And The Banshees. Right now, for every Miley Cyrus, there is a Savages, even if the mainstream media doesn't know or care and really "you've got to get used to it, give your heart a little kick" and this track, taken from their awesome album Silence Yourself  says all you need to know about women in the music industry, whether you like it and whether you agree or not. (Jo Michelmore)

Intense guitar rock with catchy hooks, loads of attitude and hints of PJ Harvey and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I could get used to this. (Nayt Housman)

#58. Further Still
by Curxes

Sleep through the changes
Bypass all stages
Yes, I really could

I fell for the magic of Curxes on the magical internets sometime in the middle of last year. 'Spectre' was a track I adored and then they released 'Haunted Gold' and I couldn't quite believe what I'd stumbled across. When I heard 'Further Still' this year, something happened. Mind. Blown. The light and dark, the incredible moods Macaulay Hopwood creates are almost scary at times, in only the best way possible and Roberta Fidora's voice is divine, floating and dreamy until she let's us all know what she's really feeling mid way through the track. So good. When I heard one of my other fave emerging UK artists, Avec Sans had remixed 'Further Still', all my happy music worlds collided and dark and broody became dark, broody AND danceable. What a fabulous combination.

I had the honour and pleasure of seeing a Curxes gig mid way through this year in an awesome little venue in Brighton in the UK and my love of this duo was only intensified that night. 'Further Still' was one of the highlights and with the release of another track this month, I'm so, so glad I'll be hearing more from them through 2014. (Jo Michelmore)

‘Further Still’ was such an intriguing change of pace for Curxes. After the sonic assaults of ‘Haunted Gold’ and ‘Spectre’, ‘Further Still’ showed just how diverse the British duo could be. We get to see just how beautiful Roberta Fidora’s voice really is. She’s been totally amazing when belting it out before, but this right here is a captivating performance. When Fidora really gets into those repeated chorus lines, “you hurt me further still,” in the latter half, I never want it to stop because she’s selling it so well. Macaulay Hopwood works wonders crafting the electronic surrounds that circle Fidora. Curxes are just too good! And luckily for us, I spy they’ve just released a new track ‘Avant-Guarded’, so good times with Curxes will continue into the new year. (Matt Bond)

Kate? Kate Bush? Is that you? OH WAIT it’s CURXES! Seemingly wearing their 80s influences on their sleeve, Curxes ‘Further Still’ is dramatic and achingly tormented. Haunting beauty resonates, along with the visuals, it gives a strong sense of some kind of lonely haunted house experience (I always wished I had a ghost friend as a child) without the cheap scares of a C grade movie, but instead a willing possession by the spirits that seek to torment. It’s got owls, taxidermy, implied surgical procedures, creepy makeup application and xylophone. All wins in my book of tricks. (Nayt Housman)

I know that Jo is a lover of all things Curxes, but I must admit I’ve been a little slack in checking out their music until now. There’s something a little bit dark and sinister about ‘Further Still’. It reminds me a bit of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (Katie Langley)

#57. Skin To Bone
by The Jungle Giants

Don't ever let me go
Don't let me get away

The Jungle Giants have become one of my most listened to bands of 2013. I love their mix of surfy guitar, fast drums and oh-so-fun-I-cant-stop-smiling vocal licks. This song really showcases the joy that The Jungle Giants create in their music. This song invited me with its energy and upbeat beginning. It had me at the “Oh oh!” and “Whee-oo-ee-oo-ee-oo-ooo”. Like a call out for fun and for dancing I answered the call by putting this on high rotation in my collection of 2013. (Lou Endicott)

A fun catchy pop/rock number that makes me want to dance like a 60s gogo girl. *Twirls* (Nayt Housman)

#56. My God Is The Sun
by Queens of the Stone Age

So good the empty space
Mental erase

This isn’t usually my kind of rock but Josh Homme is a ridiculously talented man (and the rest of the band of course) and was introduced to me when he recorded Desert Sessions with PJ Harvey. As expected My God Is The Sun is a hard-hitting rock number that showcases Homme’s natural musical sensibilities and his knack of making some ludicrously catchy hooks and melodies. And is it just me or is Mr Homme strangely alluring? (Nayt Housman)

Drums. Lots of drums. Guitars. Lots of guitars. Bass. Lots of bass. A rock voice, sometimes screaming, sometimes singing, hitting some 80s high notes and hitting some 90s low notes...and lots of them. I've just described every Queens Of The Stone Age song, haven't I? Well, I like most of them, so this one is no exception. And if we're to look at the Nayt-o-meter of music, even Nayt says he likes this one and Nayt's not known for his rock taste, so it's got to be good. Doesn't it? (Jo Michelmore)

It’s been a long time between songs for Queens of the Stone Age, but ‘My God Is the Sun’ proves they’ve still got it! This is Queens of the Stone Age doing what they do best – heavy riffs with Josh Homme’s trademark vocal delivery. (Katie Langley)

#55. Hurricane
by MS MR

Didn't know getting lost in the blue
It meant I wound up losing you

I really enjoy the sound that this New York duo creates. I can’t put my finger on it exactly by Lizzy Plapinger’s voice reminds me of something that is at once both terrifyingly power and soft as butter. Mixed with the production values brought by Max Hershenow this track has a live quality that is emotionally stirring but yet has the ability to chill me right out. The strings and the industrial rhythmic sounds are a beautiful contrast to the vocal styling that Lizzy creates here. I love the lyrics “Welcome to the inner workings of my mind”. For me, there’s nothing quite like a lyric to spur on my visual imagination. And this song does it well. (Lou Endicott)

What does this song remind me of? Who does this song remind me of? I can’t quite put my finger on it. There’s something pleasantly familiar about the sound – but perhaps MS MR can’t easily be classified? Maybe there’s nothing out there quite like ‘Hurricane’? I’ve heard them described as goth pop synth. That sounds cool, I’ll stick with that. (Katie Langley)

I’m a big fan of this darker brand of ‘dream pop’ that’s emerging and especially a big fan of the New York-based duo, MS MR. But especially how Lizzy Plapinger is done up like a naughty Smurfette in the clip. But especially the shivers her voice sends down my spine. But especially ‘Hurricane’. I’ve interpreted the song as Plapinger ruining her own relationships by waiting for something bad to happen, never immersing herself in the moment. Like a hurricane she is destructive. But she can’t help it… it’s in her nature. (Matt Bond)

A great percussive pop track that cruises along at a trotting pace and tries to induce a pop culture epileptic fit with the video. I love the buttery smooth vocals plus it uses Autoharp as one of the instruments. I love butter and the Autoharp! (Nayt Housman)

#54. Wave
by Crystal Fighters

Time flies by 
Just be alive

Come on, you know this makes you happy. It makes you happy enough to dance, no matter where you are. On a plane? You’re dancing. At the beach? You’re dancing. We’re not going to play this game all day, but wherever you are, listen to ‘Wave’ and dance like nobody’s watching. “In the galaxy of truth, your stars are the eyes, your heart is the sun, in the depths of my mind.” Crazy electro hippies spreading their cheer across the world. I’ve got a lot of time for Crystal Fighters. (Matt Bond)

Crystal Fighters are such a strange little group of humans. Don't get me wrong, fabulously strange, but strange nonetheless. Are they hippies or are they dance music geniuses? 'Wave' suggests dance music geniuses but the lyrics "we're flying on a wave, babe, we're on the same wave" suggest they should be sitting around a fire and playing acoustic guitars and...drinking cups of tea, or something. Hippies who like dance music? 'Waves' is just like three and a half minutes of being at Splendour In The Grass, without all the annoying bits. It's awesome. (Jo Michelmore)

#53. Breathe In
by Japanese Wallpaper ft. Wafia

Heart beats slowly
Leeching off your memories

It was a year of 16 year old music makers showing their established colleagues how it’s done. One of those young champions was Melbourne’s programmer extraordinaire, Japanese Wallpaper, with the stunning song ‘Breathe In’. He brought in Brisbane’s Wafia for vocals and it makes you want these two to work together forever. Wafia sings in such a serene manner, taking you over heart, body and soul. Gab Strum aka Japanese Wallpaper manages to create a warm atmosphere while using sparse production in such an amazing way that you shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself lost in a bit of a daze. There may be droolage going on too. I want to be hearing a lot about Japanese Wallpaper in 2014 and I’m not talking about listening to my ageing friends considering bold new home decorating options. (Matt Bond)

I can’t believe the creator of this beautiful music is only sixteen years of age. ‘Breathe In’ has passion and maturity beyond sixteen years. It’s soft, it’s subtle, but it makes me feel alive. (Katie Langley)

Damn. This is just divine. Get yourself a dictionary and look up the word dreamy. Then look up chilled. Then look up ethereal. Then look up tranquillity. Then look up that first word I used, divine. All of those words and a whole lot more will describe this track. They won't describe the wave of serenity that rests gently upon your shoulders when the music starts, but only hearing the delicate sounds will give you that feeling and it's much better to feel it than describe it anyway. This is a truly beautiful track from a bunch I hope to hear lots more of. (Jo Michelmore)

Super duper chilled out like a lil bubba’s lullaby. If you love a tune that will put you in a deep state of relaxation then add this one to your meditation playlist. (Nayt Housman)

#52. Ready To Begin
by Passerine

Tomorrow watches you
I'll see you there my friend

“Sounds from a disco, somewhere between New York and Jamaica.” Wherever Passerine will go, I know I’ll follow, especially because that description would suggest the disco is in the Bahamas! ‘Ready To Begin’ takes me back to the sounds of early 2000s dance. Think Spiller’s ‘Groovejet’, but even better with some Moloko influences lurking in the shadows. In my mind I’m ready to begin an amazing holiday on a Caribbean party cruise each time the track starts to play. The BATCHEDIT clip is a whole lot of fun too. (Matt Bond)

This makes me want to take out my hair and twirl around the dance floor. (Katie Langley)

I have a friend who has a love of disco music. He likes all sorts of music, but disco is one of his true loves. I love this about him, because, well, each to their own. Who doesn't love a bit of disco? He seems to know all the words to a whole bunch of songs that I've barely heard of, but for some reason those songs make me want to dance strangely whenever he plays any of them anyway. What is it about certain beats that make you move your shoulders in a certain way? I don't know, but if I hadn't started already, there's some beats about three and a half minutes into 'Ready To Begin' that make my shoulders move, that pass the K-Tizz nod test with flying colours and that make me like this disco-esque song, lots. (Jo Michelmore)

A cool classic house track that would make Tina Cousins super jelly. (Nayt Housman)

#51. Oh Sailor
by Mr Little Jeans

When you feel like you're out there on your own
Know there is someone watching over you

Well, isn’t this just a funky, abstract little number. When it starts it has a sultry feel, but then switches into an upbeat gear with some happy keys. Yes, that’s the technical term. It makes me happy. I like it. (Katie Langley)

When I first heard ‘Oh Sailor’ I thought it was nice. Just nice. Worth a listen, but I didn’t find myself yearning to hear it over and over again. So it sat there on my iPod and admittedly, whenever it came up on shuffle I’d skip over it. A couple of months later, I’m on a stinky bus to Melbourne, it’s 3am and ‘Oh Sailor’ pops up on the phone and I don’t skip it. Best decision ever. Mr Little Jeans (Monica Birkenes) must have earned herself about fifty repeats the rest of the bus ride. It’s a sweet electronic lullaby for young and old. Enchanting in every way with this tiny, tiny hint of sadness lying just below the surface, I can’t help but love it more with each listen. Every time the children’s choir comes in for the chorus with the lines, “when you feel like you’re out there on your own, know there is someone watching over you,” I smile, quickly feel sad and then smile again. This is a beautiful song. And it made me forget how much that bus stank. (Matt Bond)

Ah the old “children singing the chorus” trick. You think you got me pegged Mr Little Jeans? You think you can lure me with your cool synthy beats, sweet whispery vocals and “chiffon-ography”? DAMN YOU! You got me pegged… (Nayt Housman)

See you tomorrow for ten more incredible tracks from 2013!

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