Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Top 113 Songs of 2013, #90 - 81

#90. Everything You Wanted
by Clubfeet

We used to walk,
Used to walk like we were free. 

Clubfeet deserve a lot of love. They produce these classy synth-pop jams like 'Everything You Wanted' and work with creative people like those at Oh Yeah Wow to make awesome clips like the one you can watch above. But they also deserve a lot of love because the five lads that make up the group have names you wish you had. Yves Roberts. Sebastien Cohen. Monty Cooper. Benjamin Le Bruce. Cameron Sydes. I think my new alias is Monty Le Bruce and I owe it all to Clubfeet. (Matt Bond)

While I wanted to sit down and write something about Clubfeet as a band and the song ‘Everything You Wanted’, I just can’t mention the song without mentioning the clip. Don’t get me wrong, the song is good, but the clip is wow. I love how simple it is and yet so effective and if you haven’t seen it, go on, press play, because even if you hate the song, you have to be at least mildly impressed with the clip. Or you could have no soul. Either way, press play. (Jo Michelmore)

Very cool video clip to accompany a cruisy, uplifting indie pop track. Rad doods. I guess I’m a sucker for cute guys in suits playing hooky. (Nayt Housman)

#89. Primetime
by Janelle Monae ft. Miguel

See I've been waiting and waiting for the time to say,
Now listen babe... 

There aren't enough words to describe how amazing Janelle Monae is. She can do anything and everything, dip her toes in a thousand genres and styles, owning them all. On 'Primetime' she treats us to an old school R'n'B slow jam and, alongside Miguel, delivers one of the best vocal combos of the year. Monae's performance is sexy in a way most popular artists couldn't achieve. It's not direct in a 'I'm going to jump you/sit on your face/pop a bottle/twerk it" way. Every bit of sexy is in the delivery. The words? They're all class. Miguel more than holds his own in the man-voice stakes, no easy feat given the power Monae can bust out. 'Primetime' holds a nice little Prince vibe too, especially in the latter half when the electric guitar comes in. That's no surprise too, given Monae's longstanding admiration for 'ole Princey pants. Gentlemen, the next time you have a lady love in your shanty-like apartment and want to set the mood, light some candles and say no to Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'. Play this and it'll be 'Primetime.' You're welcome. (Matt Bond)

The sleek elastic groove of this song is not one that I normally prescribe to. R and B is not really what gets my groove on. Janelle Monae however could be singing country and western (yes AND western) and she would have my ears willingly. She’s just a little bit of a star in my books. Love when she hits the top notes. And a duet to boot – bit of a win win here. This song is easy listening and I like it. (Lou Endicott)

Janelle, OH Janelle… She sure knows how to make some ridiculously good pop music without sounding, like a clone, or alienating and while injecting some pretty poignant social commentary in a slick, nutritious package. 'Primetime' is so freakin' silky smooth, just sweet enough, not too rich though totally delectable, put it in my mouth so I can chew its echoey, romancing tunes. Oh and remember people, we are NOT robots for anyone else’s personal pleasure. You get me deep Janelle. (Nayt Housman)

“Oh hell yeah” was my first thought when I heard the opening groove to ‘Primetime’. There’s no doubt about it – this is a song for sexy times, with a partner or maybe a solo adventure. Whatever floats your boat. Janelle has an amazing voice – what a talent! (Katie Langley)

There are some artists that make you automatically cool just because you know they exist and there are some songs that make you feel cool just by listening to them. Janelle Monae is one of those artists, ‘cause she’s amazing and talented and beautiful and not afraid of being more R’n’B than even R’n’B can handle and ‘Primetime’ is one of those songs that has cool written all over it. Even sitting in your pyjamas in front of your laptop with toast crumbs on your keyboard, your hair like a birds nest and chocolate on your face, the cool has automatically rubbed off on you as soon as the bass line starts. See how all five of us with all our different tastes here at It's My Kind Of Scene like Janelle Monae? That's 'cause we're all cool. Or something. In fact, even if you haven't pressed play, just by reading this review, you’ve suddenly got a little bit cooler. Good for you. (Jo Michelmore)

#88. Like A Kid
by The Trouble With Templeton

Can't help but sigh when I'm alone and feeling lower...

Like I haven’t written enough this year about how much I absolutely lose control over the brilliance of Thomas Calder and his creation called The Trouble With Templeton. Like A Kid is a rock laxative and makes me lose it all over the place. It’s dynamic, passionate, twisted, loose in the head and theatrical, a combination that pretty much describes, well, me actually. How could I not love this? I adore the film noir vibe that Calder favours for the video clips and the sad clown in this takes the cake for best character. That’s not to say the corpse bride and zombies aren’t endearing in their own way. This is in my personal top five. (Nayt Housman)

First up gotta say I ADORE the film clip to this track. In another lifetime I used to teach Tom Calder in a drama class. Even back then his sense of humour and fun combined with dramatics always tickled my funny bone. The clip is one of my favourites of the year and so is this song. It has that 80s throw back that has me thinking of a new Split Enz mixed with a whole other flavour of rock. Love love love this song. (Lou Endicott)

Nayt had the pleasure of interviewing The Trouble With Templeton's creator and all round good guy; Thomas Calder, just before their first full length album; Rookie, was released in August and they chatted about fans, touring and film clips, among other things.

Rewarding are the spectacular videos for ‘Six Months In A Cast’ and ‘Like A Kid’, which are a collaboration by a close-knit group of friends including Tom’s brother, Josh Calder who films and directs the videos. Tom explains, “I always like to listen to other music when I’m thinking about song clip ideas. It’s a weird meditative process where you let your thoughts go, write stuff down and eventually something always comes out. I think film clips can really add something to the song, another dimension. We always try our hardest to make something that services the song well and that is never literal, it’s just a feeling.”

#87. Retrograde
by James Blake

Suddenly I'm hit,
Is this darkness of the dawn? 

Mind. Blown. The only thing about 'Retrograde' being amazing that surprises me, is that James Blake still manages to find these tricky little ways to amaze me. And, like, I know James Blake doesn't make music to make me swoon personally, but he's good at doing that. I'm sure listeners around the world also got their swoon as the first time they heard 'Retrograde'. And every time after that. (Matt Bond)

I spent the first part of ‘Retrograde’ feeling surprised and confused. “Wow, James Blunt has really changed his vibe” I mused. The beautiful vocals were a dramatic departure from the usual nasal sound – that was my first clue I had it all wrong. I’m so sorry James Blake! ‘Retrograde’ has real soul, and I can feel the passion oozing from James. I really don’t mean that to be as creepy as it sounds. (Katie Langley)

Devastatingly, gorgeously, breathtakingly and internally destructive is James Blake’s voice. Retrograde brings me undone like removing my control garments after a night at Sizzler’s all you can eat pig trough. “Suddently I’m hit, is this darkness in the dawn, and your friends are gone, and your friends won’t come.” FUCK. I’m crying again… Stop I can’t handle writing this review. James Blake is amazing. Just listen to it yourself. In further news James Blake’s voice has been studied as a potential cure for cancer… (Nayt Housman) 

#86. As You'd Begun
by Battleships

And when all is said and done,
And the stars reach setting sun,
You'll be nothing as you'd begun. 

Can someone explain to me why I'm not hearing 'As You'd Begun' every five minutes on the radio? Well, no one wants to hear a song every five minutes (unless you're in the Nova crowd), but in the immortal words of the Black Eyes Peas, where is the love... for Battleships. I don't think I've met one person who hasn't heard 'As You'd Begun', felt an instant connection and loved it. So why, when I turn on the radio, am I not hearing this song? Someone needs to do something about that. Listen to it, feel that connection and then request, request, request. With the talent they've got, these guys should be a whole lot bigger than they are right now. (Matt Bond)

Thumping drums, catchy guitar riffs and delicate keys underpin the serene “helium-esque” vocals, which carry on this year’s tradition of summery, atmospheric pop rock bands taking Australian  airwaves by storm. 'As You’d Begun' is longing and somehow sadly optimistic. I think of sitting on my balcony whilst looking out over the tops of the trees to the horizon and contemplating where I’m at, who I am and what I’ve become. Deep. (Nayt Housman)

It’s the keys that start it all, but it’s the beats that get you first and the manic drumming that I love. Then you notice the voice of Jordan Sturdee, then suddenly you realise there’s some guitars happening that sound more like a feeling than a sound and everything builds to a peak at two minutes and just as quickly as it builds it disappears and while all of that is happening there’s an emotion in the lyrics that make it less of a rock song and more of a journey. There are songs and then there are stories and Sydney’s Battleships have proven they understand both with this little track. Totally splendid. (Jo Michelmore)

#85. Tonight
by Phebe Starr

Tonight I fall into your arms,
Telling secrets to the stars... 

Phebe Starr just keeps on getting better and better and 'Tonight' sees this incredibly talented artist taking it to another level. The track courses through your entire body, with the drums kick starting your heart as the heavy, booming synths make you want to move your entire body to the beats of the music. Starr's continues to excel lyrically, offering up another beautiful mystery to unravel, with words that feel like they're taking you on a journey through the universe. "As I sail across the sky, hold me close into the night, let us stay here and become dreamers." In a way, it reminds me of 'Alone With You', but only in the sense that I just went on a space age adventure that I won't ever forget. As for her vocal work, she soars to new heights and I am loving it. Hopefully we get to hear so much more of this into 2014! (Matt Bond)

If I say this, I know some people aren’t going to get it, but I say it with only the utmost respect and admiration for an artist I really like and I’m not just saying it because I happen to have done something involving this thing earlier this year. Phebe Starr’s ‘Tonight’ is fabulous and whenever I hear it I can't help but think it was made for Eurovision. It’s dramatic and pop and light and dark and I can just see it being performed so well with a bunch of underdressed well-choreographed dancers and Phebe, probably bare feet, but dressed incredibly well, in some kind of elaborate gown with giant shoulder pieces. It’s so good. SO good. I know, you think I’m taking the piss don’t you? I’m not. Genuinely, fabulous euro pop by a gal from Sydney…’s all so very good. (Jo Michelmore)

#84. Running Out
by Avaberee

You know that piece by piece,
I can put myself back together... 

Pop is loving the 80s at the mo and Avaberee manages to incorporate the best of obviously 80s synth sounds without heading down the cheesy path (not that there is anything wrong with cheese). In fact Running Out is some slick, fun and dare I say pretty pop, that makes me want to dance around like a fairy (the winged kind… Actually…) with my friends in the lounge room after drinking too much creaming soda. Has anyone seen my hair crimper and pirate shirt? (Nayt Housman) 

I really enjoyed Avaberee’s 2012 song “Lover of Mine” for its superb vocal work. These girls are just a bit too awesome in my books. “Running out” is another stand out track again as it utilises the gorgeous harmonies Avaberee are so good at. The mix of quirky pop synth contrasting with the sweetness of voice definitely appeals to the 80s throw back that I have been stuck in this year. (Lou Endicott)

I kinda hate mentioning it, because it’s just so popular at the moment, but the people who are doing it well are doing it really, really well and Avaberee are no exception to that. It’s the synth thing which is so popular at the moment, which was just the way things were in the 80s, but have become another  thing now. Avaberee combine that synth sound with some pretty awesome harmonies; these girls have voices stronger most and they know how to use them, entwining their three voices around each other in a smooth, not at all confusing way. SO smooth in fact, it’s hard to figure out how many voices there are and how awesome they are. Let’s just say, amazingly awesome. They’re from my hometown too and I’m loving the amount of hometown goodness in this countdown. Biased? Probably, but they’re all really good, so there. (Jo Michelmore)

#83. Ain't It Time
by Rainy Day Women

It's not good for my health,
It's not good for yours. 

Don't you feel like you've been thrown backwards in time for a couple of minutes and then yanked right back? Rainy Day Women's 'Ain't It Time' is retro cool, a throwback to the swingin' pop of the 60s. Before having heard the track and doing a bit of reading into the gentlemen from Perth that make up the band, if you had played 'Ain't It Time' to me and told me it was from the 60s, I probably would have believed you. Alright, I wouldn't have... but I would have entertained the thought. (Matt Bond)

I spent a large portion of this year trying to figure out who Rainy Day Women are (large portion could be an exaggeration). Ok, I spent a couple of minutes trying to figure out whether Rainy Day Women were a group of women who only played on rainy days, or who liked rainy days, or something. After some time (two or three minutes, at the most) I discovered they are in fact, a group of five guys from Perth, who are not women, but I don't know what their thoughts are on rainy days. All of these thoughts were forgotten pretty quickly when I heard their track 'Ain't It Time' because it's cute and I like it, lots. It's vintage-y goodness quickly found a way into my psyche and fits perfectly in my vintage-y lifestyle. I chatted about them to a friend who also asked about their name and who  they actually were, but they forgot about it when I played them the song, because they liked it, lots. Then later I had a conversation with Matt about why they were called Rainy Day Women and the whole thing started again...I still like the song though, lots; rainy, days, women or not. (Jo Michelmore) 

When Rainy Day Women played BIGSOUND earlier this year, their guitarist, Ross Pickersgill was kind enough to answer some questions for us about how they got together, how they wrote 'Ain't It Time' (and something about the Rainy Day Women TV special, to be aired in thirty-three years time).

Ross: (Ain't It Time) came together over the course of a two night stay down south whilst we were scouting out a recording location. It was a very organic and fun song birth, we hope people can hear that in the song!

#82. Swing Left
by Jeremy Neale

And I walk past the place I once called my home...

It's Brisbane's most popular male artist, Jeremy Neale! Songs like 'Swing Left' make it very easy to understand why Neale took out the fan voted Queensland Music Award earlier in the year. His voice is ridiculously good and, much like many of our favourite artists from 2013, manages to combine everything great about retro music while adding some modern twists. It also makes you want to do the twist, if you're into that kind of thing. So there's that. With triple J getting firmly behind young Mr Neale, hopefully we'll get to hear a bit of 'Swing Left' in the upcoming Hottest 100. Aka, hint hint, vote for it. Now. (Matt Bond)

Wait, where are we? What year is it again? Surely this must be the top 66 songs of 1966 and we’ve got to be somewhere near number one, right? There is so much retro in this little number, I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like I wanna say things like “this is so decent, daddy-o, dig?” but that would be a bit weird, so let me just give you the skinny. If you don’t already know the name Jeremy Neale, what rock have you been living under, man? Get familiar, quickly, because with release of his debut EP In Stranger Times recently, he’s on his way somewhere. I don’t know where, but it’s going to be somewhere primo and you’ll probably want to go along for the ride. (Jo Michelmore)

#81. Love Is To Die
by Warpaint

I'm not alive, I'm not alive without you,
I'm not alive, I'm not alive without you. 

I love me some good rock chicks and Warpaint deliver some soft rock goodies in Love Is To Die. Echo? Check. Mournful vocals? Check. Shimmering drums? Check. Angst riddled lyrics? Check. According to Warpaint, love is dying and staying alive and also dancing but not dancing. This makes total sense to me. Ah makes me feel like a teenager again. Well the only good bit about my teens anyway which was listening to angsty rock chicks. (Nayt Housman) 

They returned late in the year, but having Warpaint back at all is sure to make A LOT of music fans happy. The L.A. based band deliver another gripping rock track with 'Love Is To Die', an almost suffocating track. It feels like pressure is lightly being applied to your throat, with the intensity increasing as the song progresses. Let it wash over you. Consume you. There's a lot to love about Warpaint. Maybe I wouldn't go the whole, "sure, I'd be happy to die for you, ladies," route the title of the song might suggest. But there's a lot of love here. (Matt Bond)


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