Thursday, 5 December 2013

Top 113 Songs of 2013, #80 - 71

We heart Abbe May, Sleigh Bells, Son Lux and Cloud Control!

#80. Baby I Am Nobody Now
by Andy Bull

I could be one in a million baby,
But I'm nobody now. 

The original lady voiced, wonder boy from Sydney returned this year with a bigger sound, sharpened up and super electro charged. Andy lends his lungs to the subject of rejection in 'Baby I Am Nobody Now' and questions subjects like revenge and the “whys?” of a breakup all set to a more dance-oriented track. Almost as if it was designed to be remixed it feels like it’s aching to be made into a club ready anthem for scorned lovers to get out and shake it up. I’ve always been a fan of Andy and I love this new direction. (Nayt Housman) 

I reviewed this track's video earlier in the year and loved it immensely. It’s been one of the high rotation tracks for 2013 with its rhythmic twisted synths and percussive use of lyrics. “Baby I am nobody now” – so much fun to sing along to or even just say. To me it’s the equivalent of using the voice like tap dancing shoes. The little scale up of synth throughout the song (and the last phrase of the track) is one I always hang out for. This track actually sent me down the wormhole of YouTubing Andy Bull one night. He is such a versatile and talented artist plugged or unplugged that I can’t help love all that he creates and be interested in his collaborations and projects. (Lou Endicott)

This is cool, really cool. There's a bit of funk and some sweet synth. (Katie Langley)

#79. Rock Me Through The Night
by Esther Holt

But what use is your word if your word is weak?
What good are promises you don't intend to keep? 

“Should I stay or should I go, tell me now how should I know what’s on your mind.” The lovely Lou introduced us to Esther Holt in one of her first reviews earlier in the year and for that she gets a big gold star. As does Esther Holt. Big gold stars all around for everyone involved in ‘Rock Me Through The Night’! The clip’s cinematography makes for music video perfection so that’s another big gold star. Whoever did the styling, you get one too. I was enjoying ‘Rock Me Through The Night’ from the beginning with Holt’s voice drawing me into the deep story she’s telling. Then all the clapping starts and I was in love. Some of the finest country pop we’ve heard come out of Australia in a long time is being produced by Esther Holt. Don’t worry, there’s no yee-hawing anywhere to be found. It’s just great, big gold star worthy music. (Matt Bond)

 Initially, the words ‘Rock Me Through The Night’ suggested one of numerous things to me. First I thought of an 80s rock power ballad, all guitars and screaming notes and drama. Then I thought of a lullaby, all lovey-dovey and sick. How glad I was that Esther Holt didn’t swing either of those ways and instead wrote a moody almost old school country banjo infused song and put a moody almost old school country banjo infused clip with it, which I like. I also like a clap along and she provided one of those too and beside all of that, the clip is just creepy enough to be awesome, without being disturbing, like an 80s rock power ballad would have been. (Jo Michelmore)

A sweet, melancholy, and country/blues inspired number that Sarah Blasko lovers will immediately feel familiarity with. (Nayt Housman) 

#78. T.R.O.U.B.L.E
by Abbe May

Remember to make mine a double,
That's how you spell trouble.

Ooooh gurl, this bitch is FIERCE and she means T.R.O.U.B.L.E! Gosh she looks so much like Xena Warrior Princess in this video that I’m scared (and excited) she might beat me sideways with just the steely glare of those piercing eyes. 'T.R.O.U.B.L.E' is a steaming volcano ready to blow served up in the form of this glittering, dirty electropop masterpiece. Love you Abbe May. (Nayt Housman) 

Oh, Abbe May… you’re so fine, you blow my mind. Her 2013 release, Kiss My Apocalypse, was full of self-stylised ‘doom pop’ jams like ‘T.R.O.U.B.L.E’ that were designed to send your senses into overdrive. ‘T.R.O.U.B.L.E’ is dangerous and alluring, a siren song for the digital age that beckons you to delve deeper and deeper into May’s mind. She gets you right where she wants you and then there’s no escape. Embrace it. Abbe May’s move from rock warrior to electronic chanteuse most definitely paid off in spades. Whatever that means. (Matt Bond)

Abbe May took a break from being awesome somewhere else to be awesome in our presence, answering why she decided to make the move from guitar driven rock to synths and stuff...

Abbe May: We wanted to experiment. I didn't want to make a second 'Design Desire' so we worked on remixing elements of recordings of rock songs I had written and we sort of stumbled upon a drum machine and synth heavy style of pop.

#77. Lost It To Trying
by Son Lux

What can we say now?
Our mouths only lying... 

It’s kinda like Enya got into battle with an old Atari and Arcade game after they were all given acid in the middle of a contemporary dance festival. Somehow it all meshes together quite amazingly to become an aural trip capable of inducing convulsions of pleasure and the possibility of wetting ones self and not even caring. In fact I think I just did. (Nayt Housman)

This is one of those songs that confuses me in the most awesome of ways. On one hand, I just want to turn it up and dance around my living room, or hallway, or kitchen, somewhat like the two in the film clip do, and I’ll pretend I’m really talented as a dancer and imagine the world will just never get to know how awesome I am. On the other hand, I have this fascination with all the sounds, so many sounds that make up the super danceable song this is. It starts simply, but only takes seconds for the layering to start and the amount of production that’s gone into these three minutes forty seven seconds has to be admired. Son Lux is such an interesting character with such a wide array of work and talent, it’s no wonder he makes such grand songs as ‘Lost It To Trying’ and I should probably stop analysing and just get back to dancing. Alright then. I will. (Jo Michelmore)  

#76. You Don't Get Me Twice
by Sleigh Bells

You can't find me, the American dream.

Let me just be biased from the beginning – I LOVE THIS BAND. I loved them from the first moment of hearing them and then I saw them live very early this year and was totally blown away. They were loud, they were fun, they were angry, they were fabulous and they were genuinely humbled the reaction they created that night, which I loved. So when I heard they were releasing new tracks this year, I couldn’t get to my laptop quick enough to turn the sound up and see what awesome sounds awaited. This song? Better than anything I could have imagined. It’s great, but also it actually sometimes is “a terrifying thing, the American dream” and I’ve been quite happy to sing that one loudly in my car many times since I first heard it. Love this band, love this song. Love love love. (Jo Michelmore)

I friggin love Sleigh Bells and I friggin love ‘You Don’t Get Me Twice’. Listening to this song makes me feel like a total badass. It’s impossible not to move to the beat of this song. I’ve heard Sleigh Bells sound described as “cheerleader from hell” and couldn’t agree more. I’m in love. When are they coming to Brisbane? (Katie Langley)

On Bitter Rivals, Sleigh Bells sharpened their ability to create rocking pop hooks amongst the noise assault they’ve become known for. You can hear it in the melodies Alexis Krauss is throwing out there on ‘You Don’t Get Me Twice’. The music still makes you want to party like a sorority girl getting white girl wasted, but now it’s easier to sing along with that babe of a front woman. It’s a win for everyone. (Matt Bond)

Honestly I can’t keep up with all the good music that has come out this year. You Don’t Get Me Twice is a SLAP, a finger shake and a “back up mutha fucka!” then a sexy dance in the face of those who have let you go and want you back. I’m dancing right now, touching my breasts seductively and gyrating to the big, dirrrrtay guitars and booty bumpin beats. *Pelvic thrust* UH! (Nayt Housman)

Yep. Look at Nayt go. (Matt Bond) 

#75. Human Spring
by Buchanan

And all I want to know is,
Are you mine? 

I need to start by saying that the film clip for ‘Human Spring’ is hilarious. We get to play fly on the wall at a talent show complete with lady dancing with pineapples (my favourite), a weight lifting senior citizen, and a bloke cooking snags on the barbie. Oh yeah, the song's is good too. (Katie Langley) 

As if we didn’t already know the best pop music in the world is coming out of Australia, here’s Buchanan with another banging reminder! ‘Human Spring’ is a party starting anthem you’ll never get sick of hearing. Josh Simons knows how to craft music that will make you wave those hands in the air like you just don’t care and if this is how good he is on his debut album, I can’t wait to hear what comes next. Be advised, ‘Human Spring’ is NSFW, because one listen at your desk and you’re ready to run out, chase dreams, live in the moment and all that fun stuff. You’ve been warned. (Matt Bond)

I blog, so every now and then, I get to indulge in this kind of thing, just go with me. When this track was first released, way back in April, I read a really poor review of it. It said something along the lines of anyone who liked this was probably a fifteen year old girl who ‘knew fuck all about music’ (their words, not mine), therefore insulting fifteen year old girls, fans of music everywhere and anyone who had taste other than that reviewers own. ‘Human Spring’ is a cute little indie number, which rollicks along at a quick pace and makes you nod your head like all good songs should. It may not have broken any musical boundaries, but it’s a great song by a cute little Australian musician that has a bright future ahead, especially if he keeps writing little songs like this one. Josh Simons who is Buchanan sung it beautifully with the words at the end of this track; “ain’t got no violent heart, still we will make our mark” ‘cause with songs like this, he will, but I’ve a thought about the words that fellow music reviewer chose to use all those months ago. This song is still good, but that music reviewer probably still knows fuck all about music. (Jo Michelmore)

We asked Josh Simons what his talent show entry would include when he stopped by for a chat...

Josh Simons: Someone asked me this the other day and I seriously didn't know how to answer! Perhaps I'm just incredibly boring, but I really don't think outside of music I'm much good for anything! I can drink a pint extraordinarily fast! 

#74. March Over To Me
by Little Scout

I've been changing like a shapeshifter for your peace,
But not anymore, not anymore. 

'March Over To Me' is actually one of my favourite tracks from 2013. I love the vintage style of film clip that accompanies it – much like The Preatures song 'Is This How You Feel' the 70s vibe is strong in the visuals. The music however is as fresh and sparkly as a new born and gets me singing along “You will march over to me, you will march over to me”. I hope this band gets a little more attention in 2014 with their hot drum sounds, soaring guitars and sweet vocals. (Lou Endicott) 

Uuuuurgghhhh. I mean, uuuuurgghhhh in that good, gut wrenching, “uuuuurgghhhh my god I Iove this so much way”, not in the “uuuuurgghhhh I think I ate too much” way. It starts with a killer bass line, it ends with the strongest layered vocals, it’s all bounce and rock and noise in the middle, there’s some clapping as well and there’s something delightfully cute about them all, especially their drummer, Miro Mackie. Just saying. (Jo Michelmore)

I was into ‘March Over To Me’ as soon as I heard the opening bass line and drum beat. And then I heard those beautiful vocals. Awesome! (Katie Langley)

ROCK CHIC! Rumbling, punchy and sweet as marshmallows. Chic rock realness. (Nayt Housman)

Brisbane-ites do it better! Example – Little Scout. As a result of listening to ‘March Over To Me’, you may experience stages of uncontrollable drooling and/or swooning as Melissa Tickle’s smooth vocal delivery puts you in a trancelike state. The only reported cure is to listen to the track repeatedly. Your drooling phase may end, but you’ll have that love for ‘March Over To Me’ for life. Yes… like herpes. Moving right along, Little Scout are flat out fantastic and the sky is the limit for this talented foursome. And I love that band members Melissa and Kirsty have the last name Tickle. That tickles me. I feel like I have so much to apologise for right now. (Matt Bond)

#73. Snarly
by MKO

Let me close my eyes and see you... in the morning.

Brisbane is breeding some very fine electro at the momo and one of the forerunners of this blossoming new movement is MKO. Like masses of honey drizzling off the tongue and over a sexy collage of “synthscapes” comes the super smooth 'Snarly'. I feel like I’m being massaged from within by thousands of glitter fairies that spill from the soulful mouth of Hannah Macklin, the brainchild of the project. I finally feel like the indy rock trend is waning, ready to make way for a new music revolution of soulful electro ladies. A change I gladly welcome and wholly support. (Nayt Housman)

Hannah Macklin… what a voice. I mean, seriously. Hers is voice you can completely lose yourself in. ‘Snarly’ holds a chilled atmosphere that will put you at ease and have you floating along to the sparse beats and classy electronic production. It all builds up nicely to Macklin breaking it down a little towards the end and each time it hits that halfway point I fall more in love with MKO. And I didn’t think I could fall in love more with MKO than I already had after they called us a, “reputable organisation.” What a hoot. MKO’s 2013 EP, Lily Lotus Orchid Sunflower was a stunner, with ‘Snarly’ its greatest triumph. I’m hoping to hear an LP full of little pieces of magic just like it real soon. (Matt Bond)

‘Snarly’ is pure bliss. It feels like the perfect meeting point for electronica and pop. (Katie Langley) 

There are times when you feel really lucky to live where you do. Sometimes it’s because you know where there’s a cafĂ© that serves amazing coffee or there’s a secret op shop you know where you always strike op shop gold. Other times, it’s because there’s a musician you fall in love with that hails from the same city as you and you know you’re luckier than some, because you get to see them play on a regular basis while everyone else has to settle for the download. Living in Brisbane, I’ve been lucky enough to see the fabulous Hannah Macklin play with all sorts of amazing Brisbane bands and every now and then I’ve struck live music gold and seen her perform as the delightful MKO. ‘Snarly’ is just a tiny taste of how amazing MKO are, the layered vocals and spellbinding synths, the chilled vibe and the amazing voice of Hannah’s is enough to convince me to press play more than once and has been enough to convince me to see them live, more than once. Awesome, lovely and addictive. I’m so glad to share a hometown with such amazing talent. (Jo Michelmore)

I am a bit of a fan of MKO and Hannah Macklin’s soft and soaring voice. This track grabbed my attention through the Triple J unearthed page as it soared up the charts deservedly so. I love all the little unexpected twists and turns in this track. MKO always handle their sounds with an inventiveness and a refusal to follow any other artist. “We breathe together we dream together”. Looking forward to hearing more amazing new work from MKO in 2014. (Lou Endicott) 

MKO's Hannah Macklin was lovely enough to answer some Q's from Jo earlier in the year and spoke about what it's like receiving comparisons to acts like Little Dragon and Erykah Badu...

Hannah Macklin: There haven't been any comparisons that have confused or upset me so far - I usually find that if someone is making a comparison to a well-known and successful act, it's their way of giving a compliment whilst also trying to pin down what you sound like, to help inform other people. I'm of course excited every time someone makes the comparison to Little Dragon, Erykah, James Blake, The Dirty Projectors… these are all bands and artists that I love dearly and feel happy that these influences are apparent in MKO's music. 

#72. Scar
by Cloud Control

I hate to break apart your life this early on,
But when the morning light arrives, I'll be gone. 

There’s a lot of things about an track like this to love, there’s the subtle start and the voice of Alister Wright that draws you in from the very beginning, there’s the guitar riffs that sound like they were written to be played in front of thousands of people, there’s the keys that drive the song all the way through, but for me, there’s just a something that I can’t get enough of and it’s the lyrics. There’s a line I love, that just makes sense to little me in my little house, in my car, in my headphones; “my hands are tied, I can't decide the way I feel…” and sometimes songs are just like that, no matter what fabulousness they’re built around, there’s just a bit that grabs you by the throat. This one’s got the fabulous AND the throat grabbing bit. I love. (Jo Michelmore)  

I feel like so many of Cloud Control’s songs on Dream Cave were about how much of a jerk Alister Wright (or at least one of the guys) is. He’s always ready to break your heart or ruin your life and bail because he’s probably too busy getting blazed. Oh well, a track like ‘Scar’ is just too good. Keep on breaking those hearts fellas! (Matt Bond)

#71. House of Cards
by Astrid and The Asteroids

I've walked this road before,
For so much less and nothing more,
Lock the door, don't let them in. 

This song reels me in. The simple piano and vocal opening is one that I really resonate with. When the “oh oh oh oh oh” section comes in however it is just oh so beautiful it gives me a lump in my throat. I don’t know what it is about great music and Brisbane – but it’s just overflowing out of there as of late. “All the walls are closing in… All the walls are paper thin” I love these lyrics. It’s almost a comic tragedy – the walls of pressure can easily break. But to be seen having a breakdown… Heavy stuff but love that this band can handle it so expertly. (Lou Endicott) 

I’m going to admit, I never expected to hear a track like this from a band named Astrid And The Asteroids, but wow, what a lesson I learnt about not judging a book by its cover, or a band by its name. ‘House Of Cards’ has quickly become one of my favourite tracks of the year after hearing it for the first time only a few weeks ago now. This is incredible, such a powerful song, it drags you in at the beginning, shoves itself into your heart then stops it beating for a second, just enough to leave you breathless and trying to figure out what happened. I say I love a lot of things, because I actually do. Add this one to that list. (Jo Michelmore) 

It only takes a small change to see a house of cards come tumbling down. Astrid and The Asteroids' sound matured in such a short time, that when I first listened to 'House of Cards' I was blown away. How do they create such sophisticated pop music that's able to make me feel the way it does? I completely agree with Lou that this is heavy material and the fact a band full of youngsters captures the required emotion so easily is truly impressive. Astrid and The Asteroids continue to reach astronomically new heights. And I'm loving every minute of it. (Matt Bond)

See you tomorrow for ten more incredible tracks from 2013!


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