Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Scene Awards - Album of the Year




Well here we have it, folks. It's our final Scene Award and final post for 2013 - Album of the Year! There's been so many amazing releases throughout the year and we've wrapped the best of the best into one neat little package for you below. All we're going to say is, 2014 has A LOT to live up to.


ALBUM OF THE YEAR:


#20. Once I Was An Eagle
by Laura Marling




What we said: "The album, which dances somewhere between country, rock and folk is a modern concept album in three parts (marked by three separate tunings). Marling described the album as a journey of one character who experiences the gamut of the emotions of love. Many of the songs blend into each other. The album is guitar and vocal driven, with elements that feel like a film underscore. Marling’s voice is the hero and her supporting stars a clear and expertly played acoustic that dances back and forth to complex rhythms that excite me in a way that can’t be described, only felt."


Read More:
Laura Marling - Woman of the Year (4th place)
 

#19. Shaking The Habitual
by The Knife




What we said: "The entire album to me, feels apprehensive and apocalyptic. It’s an extension of their previous work as shown in tracks like, ‘Ready to Lose’, ‘A Tooth For an Eye’, ‘Without You My Life Would be Boring’ and ‘Full of Fire’ but shows growth (not like a tumor) and a desire to clearly express their political and social stance both lyrically and by employing cinematic soundscapes to express the nervousness they seem to be feeling about the world’s current political and social climate. As a generally political album it stands alone in its unique execution and delivers an onslaught of aural stimulation, which successfully drew me into their electro world and punched me in the face with their message."


#18. In Rolling Waves
by The Naked and Famous

 


What we said: "The second album for any band is always a difficult one, especially when the first was so strong and garnered a reputation as a band to watch out for. Ultimately, regardless of where they are from or how much hype there is, this is an album I like. Somehow The Naked And Famous manage to make every song epic without making them sound the same, they make each track as interesting as the last and they've created an album I'll be playing all summer long. When I think of 2013 years from now, I know some of these tracks are going to place me straight back in this year because they've created some songs that are bound to make my own soundtrack, if not many others."


#17. States
by The Paper Kites




What we said: "I hate using the word to describe things, because sometimes I feel lazy, surely there’s another way to describe something as special as this. However, the word is all encompassing, it takes you through the feelings of hope and fun, through the journey of misunderstanding and trust, through heartbreak and heartfelt. It describes the bluesy rock on ‘Lesson From Mr Gray’, it describes the folksy swing on ‘Never Heard A Sound’, it describes the minimal sounds of ‘St Clarity’. It describes the feeling of innocence and naivety that is all encompassing and the maturity and growth that sits beside, impressive and surprising for a debut album. States is an album that can only be described in one way and the way the dictionary defines the word I choose to use is perfect; “possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear and think about and delighting the senses or mind”. Yes, quite simply, The Paper Kites debut album, it is beautiful."


#16. Days Are Gone
by Haim




What we said: "Launching into 'Falling' in all its reinvented 80s pastiche glory, its only too easy to find yourself swept away by Danielle's vocal charm and the dreamy sibling harmonies. That distinct Californian flavour emerges in 'Forever', but its truly realised in album standout 'The Wire'. Like the best Cristine McVie-led Fleetwood Mac tunes there's killer hooks, guitar lines to die for and choruses to singalong to with friends at festivals, in the car, in your backyard, at the shops, at this year's Christmas parties. The 'Sound Of' 2013 indeed."


#15. Lightning Bolt
by Pearl Jam




What we said: "There's a lesson I learnt about my love of music when I put this album on. While I sit at my laptop and write about music I love and some I don't every week, some music and some bands have made their way into my life without my control and they're the ones that mean the most, regardless of who thinks what about them on whatever blog or website or magazine I happen to be reading. I adore Lightning Bolt like I do all the other Pearl Jam albums I own and love, because as anyone who reads regularly knows, my relationship with music is a special one, and some bands have played an especially important part in that relationship. Pearl Jam are one of those bands and, like music and I, we have a history, a special something that won't ever change." 


#14. Cave Rave
by Crystal Fighters




What we said: "There are nine songs on Cave Rave that will leave you smiling simply because they are full of singalong, jump up and down, dance around energy. Fast, sometimes quirky lyrics that you can't help but love, even as you sometimes struggle to keep up with the Crystal Fighters' pace. There is one song on Cave Rave that will leave you smiling, but you feel like you maybe shouldn't be. 'Bridge of Bones' is a very different Crystal Fighters song than what we've come to expect. It's also possibly their best, at least on par with 'At Home.' Listening to it makes me feel like I've lost something that I can't get back, but whatever it was had a huge impact on me. So I can't help smiling. Maybe you'll feel the same way."


#13. AM
by Arctic Monkeys

 


What we said: "This is an album that is essentially everything Arctic Monkeys, but everything new. The four piece are obviously comfortable with who they are as musicians and are now at a point in their career where they're content to play what they are familiar with and yet confident enough to create sounds that still sound fresh. This is rock songwriting at its best and a rock band at their most comfortably mature to date. I love it when albums like AM remind me of bands I like and make me re-visit albums I've forgotten about. I love it when bands like the Arctic Monkeys re-teach me lessons about music I already know. While sometimes things in rock are obvious, don't always assume you know where a clip or a band is going to take you, because sometimes they take you to places and songs you don't expect and sometimes they take you straight back to track one to hit play and experience the whole thing over and over again." 


#12. Yeezus
by Kanye West




What we said: "I know I'm biased, but if Kanye can be arrogant, I can be biased (I'm a Daft Punk fan so I'm just going to say it) the best part of this album is the fact that Daft Punk have been involved; 'Send It Up' being a standout, the restrained siren sound mesmerising and reggae style ending were totally unexpected. It's the final track 'Bound 2' that I loved the most of all though, this is the track that will make it to my all time Kanye playlist, where he reminds us of where he's been and why he is the musician he is today. Unexpected samples, such 'romantic' lyrics, the soul sound that he does best is a fabulous way to end an album that some are going to love and some are going to hate. Either way, there's no denying Kanye West is an artist defining a time of music that can sometimes be a little bland, and if there's one thing Kanye isn't, it's bland." 


#11. Kiss My Apocalypse
by Abbe May




What we said: "On the haunting 'Want Want Want' there's a feeling that something's missing; a feeling of loss. It's hard to argue with the doom pop label on a song like this one, but when you're listening to May's voice and the music backing it up, you wouldn't have it any other way. Did I mention this album's pretty damn sexy? One listen of Abbe May crooning her way through the title track, "kiss my apoca-lee-ee-ee-ypse" and you'll be right where she wants you. Kiss My Apocalypse is sure to charm the pants right off you. Listen for the ballsy, risk-taking music... listen for the words and the message... listen for one of Australia's finest vocalists... listen for the sex factor. Just don't be surprised if you end up in the shower afterwards, with or without a cigarette." 
#10. The Last Good Party
by Gay Paris




What we said: "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’."


Read More:


#9. Tales of Us
by Goldfrapp




What we said: "Compared to other albums, Tales Of Us is a slow burning ember relying less on “in your face” big beats, synth tricks and pop hooks, and more on the lyrics and stories held within the thick cinematic atmospheres created by the duo. Fans of Goldfrapp’s definitive disco/electro-pop might be lost on first listen and make the mistake of writing it off as background music, but given time, one can appreciate the sparse, moody orchestral arrangements on which Alison’s ethereal and haunting vocals float effortlessly and only ever dragged under with the heavy current driven by the emotional and poetically stirring lyrics."

 
#8. The Bones of What You Believe
by Chvrches




What we said: "You know sometime when you hear a song you know it's going to be included in your memories of a time, a year, a space you've existed in for a while? I heard those songs over and over again on this album and while they sing "all that's golden is never real" on 'By The Throat'; I don't really care, because this album is truly golden, a sparkling sense of hope in a genre that's already over-saturated and if this album isn't real than I'll just hang out here in a fantasy world for a while, thanks. You know how the best music should let you do that? Well, Chvrches do and have created a beautiful oasis of escape in a beautiful debut album."

#7. Sleep In The Water
by Snakadaktal




What we said: "Snakadaktal have created an album so rich with atmosphere, you almost feel exhausted after listening to it. Like a night spent reflecting on the beach as you gaze into the water, that leads into a perfect day in the sun that you never want to end... that's Sleep In The Water. Who could have envisaged that we'd go from dreaming of dance bears to listening to an album that's even more brazenly imaginative than that? Get this album and dream of the ocean and all the possibilities the future might bring." 

#6. Rookie
by The Trouble With Templeton




What we said: "Everything about Rookie feels natural and uninhibited, fluid from beginning to end, each song feels like it can stand successfully on its own without making the album feel disjointed and momentum is only broken to deliberately introduce unhinged moments of well-crafted delirium. Although Rookie does genre hop, no single song sounds like an afterthought, rather each is a fully realized functioning element in one ecosystem. Like night to day; summer to autumn, winter to spring, Rookie is vast and different from start to finish."
#5. Vs Head Vs Heart
by Emma Louise




What we said: "Hands on her shoulders, hair down her back, lying to her lover at home." A haunting vocal introduces '17 Hours,' a somewhat surprisingly chilled introduction that sets the tone for Vs Head Vs Heart. These tracks aren't designed to earn a ton of commercial airplay; they build beautiful layer upon beautiful layer, Emma Louise singing stories of childhood, wasted love and growing up. They take their time to develop, drawing you in so close to her you'll find the words bouncing around in the back of your mind for quite some time. 'Stainache' could be the most stunning moment in the collection; as Louise reveals, "but I can feel you, chasing me in the dark," you feel deeply involved in an intimate moment that leaves you holding your breath an instant longer than you'd expect."
Full album review.


#4. Pure Heroine
by Lorde




What we said: "The astronomical rise to prominence from sixteen year old New Zealander, Ella Yelich O'Connor has been beyond impressive and her debut LP, Pure Heroine, sets Lorde up nicely as the voice of her generation, as well as giving older listeners a nice reminder of what it was like living, breathing and thinking like a teenager. There's hopes and dreams for the future... love, hate and everything relationships hold in-between. Some moments are like a conversation with your younger self, explaining the transition from innocence to seeing the world for what it really is. The most surprising thing about Pure Heroine though, given the mildly apathetic nature and sparse atmosphere of 'Royals', is how much heart the album has."


#3. Lamentations
by Ngaiire




What we said: "An album a lifetime in the making, Lamentations is an enviable debut. Ngaiire's talents are all laid out to bare; the voice, the songwriting and an ambition and creativity that deserves to be celebrated. This is an album so good I know that I'll still be listening to it in five, ten, twenty years time and hopefully there will be a whole bunch of other Ngaiire albums to go with it. This is the true beginning for Ngaiire. Make sure you join her for an unforgettable journey."
Full album review.


Read More:
Ngaiire - Woman of the Year (3rd place)


Runner-Up: Mosquito
by Yeah Yeah Yeahs



What we said: "Mosquito is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the top of their game, proving they still have some new tricks up their sleeves to impress fans old and new. While there's electronic touches throughout (and even a guest verse from rapper Dr. Octagon), at its heart Mosquito is pure rock and roll. Heavy one moment with anthemic sounds that make you want to jump up and down, a well-placed quiet breather here and there and a closing 'Wedding Song' that somewhat mirrors the seminal track, 'Maps.' Yeah, Mosquito is everything you could want from a Yeah Yeah Yeahs record. And then some."
Full album review.


WINNER: The Electric Lady
by Janelle Monae




What we said: "Janelle Monáe confidently draws on a huge range of influences and reinvents them for a modern audience. It’s awesome. It’s pure musical awesomeness that promotes genuine talent and creativity instead of shock and awe. It’s positive and uniquely sexy in a way that doesn’t throw its message in your face (Born This Way) or skank it up (Miley Cyrus). The Electric Lady is a modern classic, epic beyond what we would consider to be normal human imagination. Which makes sense, because the stories come from a 25th-century robot named Cindi Mayweather. Everyone can enjoy Janelle Monáe; you, your mum and dad, your too cool hipster friends, your tiny, tiny children. This is an artist the world should be supporting, so jump on board and celebrate the ambition of Janelle Monáe. She’s like no other."
Full album review. 


Read more:
Janelle Monae - Woman of the Year (Runner-Up) 


2012 Winner:
Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre Is Evil
Runner-Up: Jack White - Blunderbuss


2011 Winner:
Seeker Lover Keeper - Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-Up: Kimbra - Vows


2010 Winner:
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs


To the artists, we say thanks for the music. To you, we say thanks for reading.
Happy New Year, beautiful readers and see you in 2014! 

     

Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 Scene Awards - Woman of the Year


The Women of 2013: Lorde, Janelle Monae, Miley Cyrus + Ngaiire.

Yesterday it was the fellas, today it's the ladies. And if there's one thing It's My Kind of Scene loves, it's the ladies. Woman of the Year is arguably our favourite award of the year to give out and since we have far too many lady loves, we super size this one. Instead of our standard five nominees, here are ten women we believe delivered some incredible music into our lives this year. Enjoy!


WOMAN OF THE YEAR:


#10. Alison Goldfrapp




From the first listen back in 2000 to the cinematic/cabaret drenched ‘Lovely Head’ I have had a deep resonating love affair with the music of Alison Golfrapp and Will Gregory. Album by album they’ve kept surprising me, impressing me, challenging me, stimulating me and inspiring me, to an extent few other long serving musicians have. When the rumor came of a 2013 album I was for some reason nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. Could they pull off another dance album? Is it going to be another folk experiment? Would they still be my faithful friends? I couldn’t have possibly known how much I would feel for this new album, Tales Of Us, although yet again Alison Goldfrapp has spoken to me on another level.


You know how a best friend or close family member can just seem to know what’s best for you when you need it, finish your sentences, or even just smile at you knowingly so words aren’t needed? Goldfrapp represent that kind of relationship to me. When I rebel unnecessarily they pull me back, when I need to talk but have no words, they provide the knowing smile, when I’m drowning in my own doubt they free me. It’s amazing how human experiences when shared through music, fictional or fact, can resonate flawlessly with the experiences of another, sometimes finishing the puzzle, other times adding the first piece. Goldfrapp have been my confidante through thick and thin and this friendship is one I hope will last a lifetime, and Tales Of Us resonates this feeling in its stories and videos. You needn’t doubt what they create just know that it’s what you need, when you need it. 


The fact that Alison has been able to maintain my love over 13 years of changing music, different experiences and changing tastes is quite remarkable. Especially seeing, as I don’t necessarily feel the need to stay faithful to musicians from one album to the next. Alison is a rare creature in the “fast food” style music industry and a goddess among her contemporaries. Amen my goddess… Amen. (Nayt Housman)


#9. Iggy Azalea




Amethyst Amelia Kelly is better known by her stage name Iggy Azalea. With a name like Amethyst it should come as no surprise to you that she hails from Mullumbimby, New South Wales. She’s been in the press this year for flashing her box after a bit of a wardrobe malfunction at the MTV European Music Awards, and for not twerking on Robin Thicke during their performance of ‘Blurred Lines’ at the same awards show.


Iggy Azalea has been working away feverishly the last couple of years after basing herself in the US. However the fruits of her labour are now starting to show. Earlier in the year she released singles ‘Work’, ‘Bounce’ and ‘Change Your Life’, all set to appear on upcoming album, The New Classic, due for release in 2014. Hell, even golden girl Beyonce invited her to perform as the support act during her recent Australian tour. 2013 has been a defining year for Iggy Azalea, placing her on the map – not only with a huge fan base, but also amongst her peers. (Katie Langley)


#8. Michelle Xen




Oh Michelle you fabulous creature, a neon vision of power, control, creativity and vitality. With one large sweep of her elaborately dressed limbs and an impassioned expulsion of air from her lungs I was enthralled. Still a relative fledgling in terms of her career, this is one woman who has the sound and the drive to go places. Armed with an electro-pop arsenal of songs inspired by the the arts, electro doyennes like Roisin Murphy and Alison Goldfrapp and music pioneers such as Grace Jones and David Bowie, but not bound by the ideals of any, gives Michelle Xen a sound that is no only accessible but danceable, intriguing and super fierce. She has razor sharp aesthetics and a stage presence of a performer who’s been in the biz for 20 years. I implore you if you get the chance to go see her live, do so, and before you leave buy her two EPs, Synasthesiac and On For You. The later being her current EP and one which really showcases Xen’s delicious sophisticated DIY electro pop at it’s best. It consists of 5 singles with five videos which will slowly be released over the next six months. 


Yep... I nommed Michelle twice! Why? Because she is THAT good! Deserving of being my woman of the year because never has a performer restored my faith in a particular genre of music that I thought was nearly dead (especially seeing as she is a local in my lil city of Brisbane) until now. (Nayt Housman)


#7. Asta




Perhaps it was seeing this amazing songstress live that led me to naming her one of the women of the year. Or perhaps it was her standout single or that amazing film clip that accompanied said single. Either way, Asta is a force to be reckoned with. She writes songs that catch you like magic gossamer hanging off a branch of a tree. Her web is a concoction of delicate melody mixed with lyrics so catchy you can’t help but dance along singing out to the sky. Asta finished 2012 with the accolade of winning Triple Js Unearthed High. And deservedly so. It's hard to believe that this artist is relatively young when you listen to her beautifully crafted pop. Barely a school leaver and bam! Asta gives us a single to die for in 2013. The electric 'I Need Answers' – which has been one of my top song choices of the year (and came in at number 23 on our 2013 countdown) just stroked my ears in the right way. There is something almost timeless about this track with its haunting lyrics sung so beautifully mixed with just the right hint of electronic and thrown into a cool mass with a tight backing band.


And then there's this artist live. The prowess that Asta creates onstage is usually one that takes years to create. I was lucky enough to see her play in October in Melbourne (see review for a flashback!) I cannot wait to see where the future leads this amazing songstress. And I simply can’t wait for more music to come from her creative soul. (Lou Endicott)


#6. Thelma Plum




By now, if you’d been reading any of our Top 113 songs of 2013 (ok, even if you only tuned in for the really important top ten) you’d have a small idea of how much Matt, Katie, Nayt, Lou and myself all like (ok, I’ll say it, I adore) Thelma Plum. That alone should be a testament to her talent, because we’re a diverse lot and don’t all agree on a lot of things. She’s been nominated for numerous awards, performed at numerous festivals, toured nationally and been awarded for her incredible song writing talents - all of this after releasing only one six track EP, but what an amazing six songs they are. 


 From the incredibly catchy and upbeat ‘Around Here’ with the best sing along ending of the year (maybe ever?), to the best clap along of the year (maybe ever?) in ‘Dollar’; Rosie demands attention from the very first notes. The emotions felt in the dramatic storytelling of ‘Father Said’ and the journey she takes us through on the title track ‘Rosie’ are songs that some musicians take a career to find and a lifetime to write. Thelma Plum managed to find those emotions, write them and record them before her nineteenth birthday. All of this and I haven’t even mentioned the two heartbreakers, ‘King’ and the incredible, ethereal, mature and tear jerking ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’, which is a song that I personally can’t imagine living without. 


I kind of feel weird talking about Thelma as one of the women of the year, because her talent is such that it transcends gender, I feel like we should be talking about her as ‘Artist Of The Year’ instead, but we haven’t made up that award yet, so maybe she can inspire it for next year. Thelma has already proven what an incredible woman she is and if this is just the start of her career I’m so very glad I was introduced to her talent now, because 2013 has been so enriched having her music in its soundtrack and with her kind of talent, she has such a bright future ahead I know there’ll be so many of her songs to appear on my own life soundtrack, as six of them already have. (Jo Michelmore)


#5. Miley Cyrus




If 2013 proved anything for Miley Cyrus it’s that she can’t stop, and she won’t stop. This was the year that she shook off any association to Hannah Montana. I think she shook it off as she bent over, twerking in Robin Thicke’s face at the MTV Video Music Awards. That image is burned on my brain forever.


Yes there was twerking, yes there was the tongue hanging out at every photo opportunity, yes her relationship with that cute Liam Hemsworth ended. And then there was that whole open letter writing saga with Sinead O’Connor. But despite all of the scandal, despite all of the drama, Miley had a lot of musical success this year with her album Bangerz. Sure, she rode around near naked on a wrecking ball and licked a sledgehammer (no wonder the video had 19.3 million views on Vevo in the first 24 hours of release) but ‘Wrecking Ball’ reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. That’s no mean feat.


It might not be to everyone’s taste, but is shaking your booty really that controversial? Is sticking your tongue out really that controversial? Love it or loathe it, Miley Cyrus has re-invented herself. But best of all, she has the voice to back it up. I for one can’t wait to see what she gets up to in 2014. (Katie Langley)


#4. Laura Marling




There is little that British artist Laura Marling does that I am not totally in love with. Her mastery as a song writer was already shining when she was still a teenager (when I first starting listening to her). This year marked the release of her fourth album, Once I Was An Eagle. And it will go down in my books as one of my all time favourite albums. It was nominated for The Mercury Prize for best album (UK and Ireland's most prestigious music award – and a better alternative to the Brit Awards). David Bowie was also nominated. Just saying: good company to keep!


The album, which dances somewhere between country, rock and folk is a modern concept album in three parts (marked by three separate tunings). Marling described the album as a journey of one character who experiences the gamut of the emotions of love. Many of the songs blend into each other. The album is guitar and vocal driven, with elements that feel like a film underscore. Marling’s voice is the hero and her supporting stars a clear and expertly played acoustic that dances back and forth to complex rhythms that excite me in a way that can’t be described, only felt.


Marling follows no leaders in her field. She is a revolutionary of sound and skill. Her work is always original and she bravely steps forth with her roar and creates new and interesting music for fans like me to lap up. (Lou Endicott)


#3. Ngaiire




I've had a lot of lyrics stuck in my head throughout the year. Most are too embarrassing to even mention, but there's some from Ngaiire that always pop up. "We only die once not twice, so call off the fire brigade, douse me in kerosene, turn away the rescue ships, anchor me from my hips." Those haunting lines from the the track 'ABCD' have stuck with me since I first found myself listening to the incredible debut album Lamentations. While they're definitely of the somber variety, I love each time they show up because I remember how fantastic Lamentations is and how thankful I am that Ngaiire got around to releasing her debut this year. It's one of my favourite releases and I'd go so far to say that it's my favourite Australian LP of 2013. 


Ngaiire spent the year releasing music so different from everything else coming out of Australia. She's stepped into a higher class of musical company in the future soul category. Beautiful tracks like 'Around' and 'Count To Ten' are all the proof you need of that. Her artistic vision is realised perfectly throughout the album, but the video for 'Dirty Hercules' is something everyone should be taking notice of and its challenge of the notion that women need to constantly be competing against each other. She hoped that the video would be as empowering for other women as it was for her filming it. From the ladies I've spoken to about the clip, she succeeded. 


Lamentations has made a lot of people pay close attention to Ngaiire. Triple J have gotten behind the singles, Alica Keys is a new fan after Ngaiire took to the stage to support her and John Legend, the album has ended up on a slew of end of year lists and the Lamentations tour has been getting well deserved killer reviews. What comes next? Well, I'm not too sure, but I know it's going to be amazing. As a music maker, Ngaiire was one of 2013's finest and she was absolutely one of the greatest women of the year. (Matt Bond)


#2. Janelle Monae




"The hardest working woman in show business." David Letterman was clearly impressed when Janelle Monáe broke it down on his show with 'Dance Apocalyptic' in September, just days before the release of her acclaimed sophomore album, The Electric Lady. He wasn't the only one that was left stunned by the insanely talented pocket rocket from Kansas City, but the acknowledgement from a man that has seen countless music stars perform on his stage over the years that Monáe is the hardest working woman in the entertainment industry was very cool. The following month, Billboard named Monáe as their 'Rising Star', an award previously bestowed on female artists like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. This recognition from one of the world's largest music organisations is nothing to scoff at. Given the career trajectories of the previous winners, it's somewhat of a seal of approval. Not that Monáe would be sitting around craving anyone's approval. She paves her own way. Janelle Monáe celebrates individuality and being true to yourself without forcing the message down her audience's throats. Her personal mantra is 'be unique' and she lives up to that each and every day.


As far as positive role models go, there's no one finer in the music industry. And I'm not just talking about role models for young women. Monáe is a fine role model, period. When explaining her now trademark black and white fashion (generally of the suit variety), she described it as paying homage to her working class roots. Her parents worked in service roles and Monáe herself worked as a maid. The black and white is a uniform, one she wears proudly to remind herself she has work to do and a reminder of where she comes from. "I don't ever want to be detached from that. I use it as motivation for my music and to just keep me centered, grounded and to stay on message." She's as humble as she is talented.


Of course, what really makes Janelle Monáe a worthy woman of the year contender is her music. The Electric Lady was one of the best releases of 2013 and saw Monaé step outside her funky future soul comfort zone to explore a whole host of new genres; from old Hollywood style compositions, jazz, Jackson 5 inspired pop and she even mastered the ancient art of the slowjam on 'Primetime'. That was one smooth song. She brought in collaborators that have both inspired her (Prince, Erykah Badu) and stand beside her as incredibly talented emerging artists (Solange, Miguel and Esperenza Spalding), but there was little doubt as to who the star of the show was. It was all about Janelle Monáe and I wouldn't have had it any other way.


"March to the streets, 'cause I'm willing and I'm able, categorise me, I defy every label, and while you're selling dope, we're gonna keep selling hope, we rising up now, you gotta deal you gotta cope, will you be electric sheep? Electric ladies, will you sleep? Or will you preach?" (Matt Bond)


#1. Lorde




Woman Of The Year and what a year it has been. When we here at It’s My Kind Of Scene were discussing the Scene Awards and Woman Of The Year, I actually had a really hard time trying to figure out who I thought we should be talking about. 2013 has been a year that has been filled with all sorts of talk about women in the music industry, so many I’d like to name and we’ve only highlighted a few in this list. Some have been amazing, some have been controversial, some have been amazingly controversial and others have been simply outstanding. There is one who is barely able to be called a  woman, at seventeen years old, but just by being herself and being sincere to her own ideals and talent, she’s probably been more outstanding, articulate and mature than a whole bunch of other women in the music industry this year (hello Sinead).


Her name is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor, but we know her as Lorde and what a year it has been for this unassuming but fabulously self-assured New Zealand girl. We knew things were going to be good with the release of her EP late last year, but I don’t think anyone had an idea of just how good she could be or how much impact she would have in such a short space of time. Pop music is an interesting thing, because while it can be super fun and party and “exciting-woo!” it can also be super considered, thoughtful and moving and Lorde this year took us from the “exciting-woo” in pop to the thoughtful and then right back to the “exciting woo!” again. ‘Royals’ was the smash that took her from NZ obscurity to international stardom, but it’s the rest of her debut album Pure Heroine and her live performances that have ensured she is not a typical pop star (hello Taylor Swift) and not a carbon copy rebellious pop star (hello Miley Cyrus) and while the minimalist approach to song was one that became more and more of a ‘thing’ in 2013, Lorde has had a way about her that seems much less contrived and less image conscious than some others the past few years (hello Lana del Rey) and more just her natural state of being.


We could talk sales, we could talk tours, we could talk fame, but really, the most special and stand out thing about Lorde is her talent and undeniable ability to let her music speak for itself. This is a music blog, so enough chat, if you are unsure why we chose Lorde as our Woman Of The Year, I’m just going to leave you with the lyrics you might have listened to a thousand times but never actually heard, written by a teenager, but so very relatable, like all good pop music, to those of all ages and places, in whatever way you want them to be; “And we'll never be royals, it don't run in our blood, that kind of luxe just ain't for us, we crave a different kind of buzz…” (Jo Michelmore)


2012 Winner:
Amanda Palmer
Runner-Up: Santigold


2011 Winner:
Kimbra
Runner-Up: Adele


2010 Winner:
M.I.A

Sunday, 29 December 2013

2013 Scene Awards - Man of the Year




Let's hear it for the boys? Yep. Today's Scene Award goes out to the solo men who we thought delivered the goods in 2013. Some made us laugh, some made us cry, some made other men look better than what they are and a whole lot of them made some very good music. Here's our five picks for Man of the Year. Enjoy!


MAN OF THE YEAR:


#5. Flynt Flossy




Flynt Flossy started out as a long haired hippy with a love of cycling. He released a catchy little song with a disco rendition of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, but it wasn’t until he received a Hollywood makeover that he experienced true fame. This makeover involved wearing a suit at all occasions, along with sunglasses indoors, and being twerked on by the popstar of the moment. Oh shit, wait. That’s not Flynt Flossy, that’s Robin Thicke...


Flynt Flossy is the moustached genius and founder of Turquoise Jeep Records. He’s experienced success thanks to hits such as ‘Lemme Smang It’ and ‘Did I Mention I Like to Dance’. Yes, I’m being serious.


My love for Flynt Flossy bloomed in 2013. I’d been living in a technological blank hole for 18 months without Internet. Instead of looking up cats or porn when I finally moved into a new pad with ADSL2+ I developed another past time – watching Flynt Flossy film clips on YouTube. Can you blame me?


Mr Flossy released two songs this year – ‘Naughty Farmer’ and my personal favourite ‘Treat Me Like a Pirate’. Classic lyrics include “deep sea diving searching for her treasure”, “show me your treasure chest, move it around”, “her thighs so thick she kicks mules for a living”, and “when you board my ship I got a no hand salute, I hope you don’t mind I’m in my birthday suit”. Both film clips are absolutely hilarious, and I probably shouldn’t own up to the number of times I have watched them. Rest assured; it’s a lot.


Is Flynt Flossy serious? Is his moustache real? I only hope that he ventures to Australia in 2014 so I can find answers to these questions. (Katie Langley)
 

#4. Matt Corby




Did you know Matt Corby was on Australian Idol? Don’t hold it against him. I haven’t, especially seeing as I didn’t like him on Idol at all. It seems though, the ones that don’t make it to the finals always seem to make the best music as proven by the likes of Lisa Mitchell, Ngaiire and, well, Matt Corby. When I heard he had some music doing the rounds I had no interest in listening. I ignored the constant demands of a workmate to check him out as I’d already dismissed him as another pretty boy who would potentially be making boring, commercial pop. Boy was I wrong. In a moment of weakness I clicked play on a video of Matt performing ‘Brother’ on Triple J's Like A Version. Whoah… I mean WHOOOOOAH… I was floored, proved wrong, brought to tears, shaken up and forced to think about what I had done. Man alive that was one emotional ride. 


It was this singular moment that sent me on a spiraling YouTube frenzy of anything Matt Corby I could find, instantly going from indifferent to obsessed fan. I wonder what would have become of Matt had he gone on to win Idol? Would his journey have led him to the same point to create such powerful music or would be he making that commercial pop crap? Either way his voice is one of the most powerful instruments my ears have ever had the pleasure of directing sound vibrations to my brain bits. He embodies the serenity and beauty possessed by the late Jeff Buckley with the gravel and spit of Jimmy Barnes with the ability to transition effortlessly between the two. I’m continually left speechless when listening to him and left severely jealous that my own abilities do not match. Matt Corby you transformed me from a ‘don’t care’ kinda guy to a ‘need more NEED MORE’ kinda guy in one song. You deserve Man of the Year for me. (Nayt Housman)
  

#3. Vance Joy




Ok, I admit it. It’s that one song that got me nominating Vance Joy as Man of the Year. 'Riptide' is just one of those songs that has been played on super high rotation in my house since its release in March. I don’t know what it is but I suspect I keep listening to it as it contains everything a good pop song should: great rhythm, a simple hook and quirky yet memorable lyrics that you just need to sing along to and a gorgeous easy to listen to voice provided by Joy. The beautiful EP that this song is from God Loves You When You’re Dancing has been a huge success (including going Double Platinum in Australia) and has seen Joy embark on a tour outside of Australia and gain notoriety in both the UK and the US. I recently read 'Riptide' was used for an American ad campaign advertising Go Pros. Hopefully though, Vance’s career will stretch beyond commercial television and product placement and he will focus on making great music for us all to hear. Meanwhile, as a fellow Australian (and Melbournite), I am proud to say that one of ours is out there making waves across the globe with his music. (Lou Endicott)


Runner-Up: Pharrell Williams





He’s part of one of my favourite hip hop acts of all time, he has worked with so many artists on so many projects, produced, written or guested on so many chart topping songs, it would probably be easier for me to list the things Pharrell Williams hasn’t done, but I write on a blog and words are my thing so let’s just briefly talk about why this guy has been so important to music in 2013. Love or hate it, there is one song that has ensured Pharrell Williams be remembered for this year and that song is ‘Blurred Lines’. I know I’m going to get vilified for saying it, but the facts are the facts, that song is currently the biggest selling song of the year, it was number one in at least fourteen countries and chances are, if you were alive at any time in ‘13, you’ve heard it. While the music industry is often based on marketing and controversy, 'Blurred Lines’ didn’t sell all those copies solely because of the film clip or just because of the guy who sung it (how many people actually knew the name Robin Thicke before March this year? Not so many) and regardless of the controversies that (offensive?) clip caused, regardless of the blatantly overt chauvinism of the (sometimes/often offensive) lyrics, the reason it sold is because…dare I say it? It’s a really good pop song. The voice you hear at the beginning that manages to get itself caught in the very back reaches of your mind; “everybody get up”? That’s Pharrell Williams. The production, the unusual collection of beats and the addictive collection of hooks and melodies that have made a song that defines a year are all the work of Pharrell Williams. Every best of, every collection of songs, every summer party of 2013 will include that song and they’ll all include Pharrell Williams.


If that track wasn’t enough to convince you how important he was this year; I have one more thing to say and if you don’t know this song, you should read our blog more often…“We’re up all night to get lucky” (Jo Michelmore)


WINNER: Eminem




He's Slim Shady, yes... he's still the real Shady. And the real Slim Shady stood up and delivered in 2013 with the sequel to his most successful album, The Marshall Mathers LP2. While Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z returned with underwhelming albums (that still sold squillions) and Kanye's bizarro life and integration into the Kardashian clan cost him points, Eminem just went about doing what he does best and released some damn good rap music. He's also ended the year on top throughout the world with the catchy as hell Rihanna duet, 'The Monster', which I've begun exclaiming is, "my jam!" when it comes on, despite no connection to the lyrical content. At all. For the most part, Eminem has maintained his super serious grown up persona and seems focused solely on making music, touring the world and being a good father (which he used to tell us in every two verses out of three, right?). 


As the most successful artist of the 2000s, at least in terms of commercial viability, Eminem further cemented his already legendary status by scoring his 7th UK #1 in a row with The Marshall Mathers LP2, in a first for an American artist. As a rapper, he seems to have gotten better with age. In his more comic (?) period - you know the one I'm talking about *cough* 'Just Lose It' *cough* - a bit of that Eminem magic disappeared, but those days are long  gone and we've got the free flowing goodness of 'Berzerk' and 'Rap God' to, uh, just lose it to. The year might be 2013, but Eminem took us back in time to the early 2000s and this music fan was loving every minute of it. I might not be the world's biggest rap fan (Drake sucks! YOLO is the dumbest thing ever! YALA!), but I'll always make time for Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers, Eminem... yeah, that guy. He's still at the top of his game and shows no signs of slowing down. I'll leave you with this insightful moment from the song 'So Much Better'...


"Who do you think you are, bitch? Guess it's time for me to get the dust off and pick myself up off the carpet. But I'll never say the L word again, I L-L-L-L... Lesbian. Ah, I hope you hear this song and go into a cardiac arrest, my life would be so much better." 


Yep. (Matt Bond)


2012 Winner:
Jack White
Runner-Up: Frank Ocean


2011 Winner:
Gotye
Runner-Up: Justin Vernon (Bon Iver)  


2010 Winner:
Kanye West

  

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!


GROUP OF THE YEAR:


#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

Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 Scene Awards - Best New Artist




Welcome back to the Scene Awards for 2013! We hope you all had a fun Christmas, with lots of food and good drink and presents and a food and drink induced coma like state that you're only now coming out of. Good times! And now it's time for some good times and great music, courtesy of the five acts nominated for Best New Artist of 2013. These emerging acts have a bright future ahead and we're very much looking forward to what the future brings for them. Enjoy!


BEST NEW ARTIST:


#5. The Steady As She Goes




The Steady As She Goes didn’t make headlines for twerking, releasing a film clip with a Kardashian or wearing meat products (consideration might be given to incorporating all 3 elements to really make impact in 2014). Instead they released ‘Pagan! Tell Your God To Ready For Blood’ and toured with the likes of Gay Paris and Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders. I say “they” but it’s really one moustached man – Tal Wallace.


The Steady As She Goes sounds like walking through the desert, tears and 2am. (Katie Langley)


#4. Tom Odell




I only heard Tom Odell toward the end of this year and I have been trying to make up for lost time listening over and over to his beautiful album, Long Way Down. Gorgeously crafted piano soft rock ballads mixed with a voice that belies his 23 years, Odell has a future as bright as the sun before him. British born, it was Lily Allen who first “discovered” Odell in 2012. This year Odell was booked to be the support of no other than The Rolling Stones but unfortunately had to pull out due to illness. I can only imagine that this must have been a major disappointment to Odell and to the fans that would have seen him live. Apart from the fact that The Rolling Stones like him, Odell makes my list as the best new artist due to the music that shoots an arrow straight to my heart like Cupid. To my ears there is a hint of something classic in Odell’s sound. Perhaps it reminds me of Billy Joel with the skilful piano or the structure of Elton Johns earlier work. Whatever it is, I’m going to listen to the album again with a nice tall glass of red and reflect on a year gone by. (Lou Endicott)


#3. MTNS




There's a lot of hype about MTNS. If you Google, there's all sorts of little reviews about this great band from Brisbane and talk of how many great bands and musicians come from the city I’m lucky enough to be from and how MTNS are one of a long list of talent from Brisbane. There are so many complimentary words about pop and synths and the stripped back sounds that Tom Eggert, Joseph Thiang and Robbie Hellberg are creating. The music journos are as excited as music journos get about this type of thing, the radio playlists are including them more and more and the bloggers are talking about them. I'm a blogger too so I guess you could include me on that list, but you know what? Blogger or not, if I wasn't typing about this band, I'd be talking about them to my friends, because, let's just face it, quite simply, they're so very, very good.


There’s a lot of hype about MTNS and everyone can hype all they want, but all I need to know about MTNS are the thoughts and feelings I have experienced since first hearing their sounds earlier this year. There is nothing as good as the wave of serenity every time I hear the beats midway through ‘Lost Track of Time’ or the excitement I felt when I first hit play on their five track EP that appeared right at the end of this year. There were very few live music moments this year that were as good as the gig when I first heard the distinct MTNS sound from the stairs of the Black Bear back in August and there are no better feelings in music than the hope I feel when I hear the words from their beautiful tracks, ‘Salvage’; “so put your feet back on the ground and just start walking...” They’re simple words and quite simply, they’re so very, very good.


There’s a lot of hype about MTNS. They’re a little band from a little city making sounds that are more beautiful than I can describe in little words but really, here’s the thing about hype. It’s not the hype you’re hearing when you listen to the lyrics, when you hear the sounds, when you feel the emotions that this kind of music makes. That's just talent and all I hope is that the hype they've created allows these talented musicians the ability to keep creating their delightful sounds all through 2014 and beyond, because regardless of all the hype and all the words I type, quite simply, MTNS? They’re so very, very good. (Jo Michelmore)
 


Runner-Up: Michelle Xen




Oh Michelle you fabulous creature, a neon vision of power, control, creativity and vitality. With one large sweep of her elaborately dressed limbs and an impassioned expulsion of air from her lungs I was enthralled. Still a relative fledgling in terms of her career, this is one woman who has the sound and the drive to go places. Armed with an electro-pop arsenal of songs inspired by the the arts, electro doyennes like Roisin Murphy and Alison Goldfrapp and music pioneers such as Grace Jones and David Bowie, but not bound by the ideals of any, gives Michelle Xen a sound that is not only accessible but danceable, intriguing and super fierce. She has razor sharp aesthetics and a stage presence of a performer who’s been in the biz for 20 years.


Michelle burst into my music sphere earlier this year and has firmly wedged herself a permanent place. From performing at the Judith Wright Centre to her current EP launch I have been strongly invested in the musical prowess of Michelle Xen and I even had the opportunity to be part of one of the video clips that is to be released in the coming months as both an extra and makeup artist. Michelle is everything a pop star should be without the shameless product placement or attention grabbing antics.


I implore you if you get the chance to go see her live, do so, and before you leave buy her two EPs Synasthesiac and On For You. (Nayt Housman)


WINNER: Little May




“And we are not afraid of what’s to be when this road has just begun.”


It’s early days for Sydney trio Little May, but you only need one listen of their 2013 singles ‘Boardwalks’ and ‘Hide’ to get an idea of where the future will take them. We’ve written quite a bit about Liz Drummond, Hannah Field and Annie Hamilton since the release of ‘Boardwalks’ and there’s been one consistent theme to our ramblings; Little May is a group destined for big things. Their future is bright and it’s not a matter of if, only when for them. Ahead of the release of their self-titled, debut EP (due early 2014), they’ve already begun selling out shows and find themselves on the triple J Hit List and many an end of year list. I believe our own lovely Lou considers ‘Boardwalks’ her favourite song of the year. The track is definitely right up there for all of us, but I personally find myself enthralled by ‘Hide’. Both songs build upon themselves lightly at the start before thundering through to the finish line and the excitement that takes over leaves you wanting to listen again and again.


Unlike the Robert Palmer track, Drummond, Field and Hamilton have voices that are actually simply irresistible and the way their voices sit together when harmonising will make you do one of those ‘life is the best’ happy sighs. I was very jealous reading Lou’s review of their gig in Melbourne, because it sounds like they’re just as incredible live as they are recorded. One day, probably when I’m not in Canberra, I’ll make sure to see these ladies live so I can do a couple more of them happy sighs. Anyway, what makes Little May the Best New Artist of 2013? Really, for me, it’s that off the strength of two tracks, they make me more excited about what music tomorrow might bring than any other act that emerged this year. Just from Lou’s descriptions of new tracks on the EP she heard at the gig, I’m already swooning it up. Little May also make me excited for them and what their future will bring. I watch the video for ‘Hide’ and listen to the track and know that so, so many people are going to fall in love with their music because there’s just far too much to love about it.


2013 was big for Little May. I think we all know that 2014 is going to be even bigger. We have nothing to fear of the roads they'll take us down. (Matt Bond)


2012 Winner:
Curxes/Kira Puru and The Bruise (Tie)
Runner-Up: Nick and Liesl/Laneway (Tie)


2011 Winners:
Lana Del Rey/James Blake
Runner-Up: Emma Louise


2010 Winner:
Ellie Goulding

Monday, 23 December 2013

2013 Scene Awards - EP of the Year




Oh, hello there dear reader. The Scene Awards continue with us handing out EP of the Year. There were about fifteen million amazing EP's released throughout 2013 and all but were from Australian acts. No exaggeration. So, the five critics writers babes humans (?) that hang out here on It's My Kind of Scene threw out two nominations giving us ten amazing EP's. Two times five is ten! We value education. Especially music education, so do yourselves a favour and check out the EP goodness below.


EP OF THE YEAR:


#10. Roll It In
by Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders
original review 




There’s a certain swagger to Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders that makes them easy to love. Their songs pack a dirty blues punch straight to the heart. And the band’s recently released EP, Roll It In is no exception – it’s a sexy party from start to finish. James, Matt, Stephen and Dominic are the perfect hosts kicking off proceedings with the toe tapping 'Been A While'. The lights are dim and the whiskey is flowing. At least, that’s how it should be when you’re listening to this song! The party is in full effect for 'Ease On In,' with its hypnotic charms causing involuntary hip thrusts and circles. James’ husky growls only add fuel to the fire.


By the time the EP’s final track, 'Baby Girl' is reached there’s no question that it’s time to dance. And the boys give plenty of opportunity for hair twirling, head nodding and booty shaking. Like all good parties you wish there was more time and that you could continue the fun all over again. (Katie Langley)


#9. Louis Spoils
by Louis Spoils
original review




This EP was an absolute standout of the year for me. It’s absolutely my favourite kind of rock. The flavour speaks of something vintage – perhaps Blood, Sweat and Tears mixed with The Beatles' Abbey Road (yes a weird mix I know). But then again, there is something so new and on the pulse of things that it’s almost hard to define. I have this EP almost on repeat in my car. It’s the perfect EP to turn way up loud and let the world zip by. Rush’s voice is sassy, warm and just a wee bit sexy. The “man choir” that features throughout the album also adds another delightful almost rock opera feel to this EP and makes it really enjoyable to sing along to and add your own harmonies. I think though it’s the song writing and the rhythmic structure of all of the songs that grab me as a highly original and oh so yummy listen for the ears. My favourite track, 'Modestly Amused' has a fantastic section that pops out of nowhere and hits the ears like a street band. I love how this EP rides like an album as oppose to just a bunch of songs. The last song 'Trace the Walls' leaves me on a gentle cloud with its soft finger plucking and almost lullaby like feel. And it’s the perfect end to a debut EP.


The production values and layering of instruments on this EP are done quite seamlessly. A quick flip through the contributors and you can see why this EP has such a tasty flavour: artists such as Sam Cromack (Ball Park Music), Kane Mazlin (Hungry Kids of Hungry) and Wally de Backer (Gotye) were all artists who added a talent to this EP. But it's Jake Rush who is the Captain here with his fresh songwriting and musical ability. I hope that this EP gets the attention it deserves and that Louis Spoils will soon move into a wider audience with his incredible brand of music. (Lou Endicott)


#8. On For You
by Michelle Xen
original review




Her current EP, On For You is one which really showcases Xen’s delicious, sophisticated DIY electro pop at its best. It consists of five singles with five videos, which will slowly be released over the next six months. So far publicly we’ve only been tempted with the first vid for ‘Lose My Cool’ but thankfully I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some sneak peaks at three of the other vids for ‘My Cells’, ‘Electro Comb’ and the Kendrick Lamar cover of ‘Swimming Pools’. Can I just say I’m excited? When the rest of Australia gets to see what this EP has to offer I just know they’ll be mesmerised by the bright flashiness of it all. It’s possibly one of the most ambitious early projects you could imagine for someone's music career. I mean it’s BIG, it’s glitzy, it’s sophisticated as I mentioned earlier, and what is most important is, the music is AMAZING! Impassioned, powerful, sensitive and a stimulator of the dance organ inside everyone that causes uncontrollable thrusting, twirling, shaking and hair flicking. (Nayt Housman)

 
#7. Modern Pest
by Spender




Another discovery from my Bigsound adventure, Spender came riding into my musical life on a big brass sax with his trusty guitar sidekick, expressing a jazz awareness, rock foundations and a pair of the longest legs I’ve ever seen. Seriously this dude is TALL. There’s a photo on his Facebook standing next to Gotye (Wally is already freakishly tall) who looks quite average in height compared to Tommy Spender. Why am I obsessed by his height? Coz I’m extremely short.


Moving on… He makes music. What gets me about his music? Well I have this theory that there is a theme to most of my music taste. When good music has a certain amount of jazz or blues injected into it, almost regardless of the genre, then I will seem to like it. Match that with some somber, heartbreaking, romantic or idiosyncratic lyrics then I’ll love it. Spender throws several genres in the blender (see what I did? :D) and comes out with the EP Modern Pest which is some of the best indie pop/rock I’ve heard in a long time. With collabs from Gotye and Clairy Browne it pulls out some retro tricks, some sweet electro tricks, and then just some perfect pop like ‘Never Again’, which has the catchiest sax solo. Then visually, he’s got the goods, creativity, a striking appearance and style and a fierce stage presence. The videos are super slick, bizarre and most importantly, capturing of one's attention. Spender potentially has it all going for him and hopefully soon with the release of his new collaboration with Gotye, ‘Hotel Home’, his tunes will be regulars on our TV’s and radio. (Nayt Housman)


#6. Astrid and The Asteroids
by Astrid and The Asteroids
original review




I’ve had a lot to say about how astronomically amazing Astrid and The Asteroids’ music has been in 2013. ‘West End’ and ‘Autopsy’ were both brilliant singles in different ways. ‘West End’ was the light to the dark in ‘Autopsy’, but both featured snappy lyrics, booming vocals and made you want to do crazy things like those jumping fist-pumps in public where you freeze mid jump/pump or a recreation of the boombox scene from Say Anything. AATA followed through with their second self-titled EP which was easily one of my favourites of the year. The two pop-tacular singles were joined by the more R’n’B influenced tracks ‘OId Friend’ and ‘Love Right’, as well as the closing stunner, ‘House of Cards’. Astrid Jorgensen’s versatile voice is perfect throughout, but there’s something about the vulnerability and emotion behind it on the final track that I really love. It’s like the show House of Cards, but better, because there’s something about Kevin Spacey that creeps me out. You know what I’m talking about. Astrid and The Asteroids are one band you should explore the cosmos with. They’ll take you on a journey you won’t forget. Even if one of the stops is in Brisbane’s West End. (Matt Bond)

 
#5. Tie That Binds
by The Hello Morning
original review




There are less songs on The Hello Morning’s EP, Tie That Binds than there are members of the band. Four songs, six members, but don’t let the numbers confuse you. There’s nothing confusing about this EP, it’s quite simple really. You take six extremely talented musicians; three on guitar, one on bass, one on keys and one on percussion, you have them play music they are clearly incredibly passionate about; music that is like blues met pop on a street corner, went for a wander to a bar to meet country and listen to a rock band and you get four tracks that will take you on a journey of happiness right through to heartbreak and leave you at content.


Tie That Binds is perfect as a collection and that’s because the four tracks each stand so strong on their own. The title track is a rollicking number made for road trips, ‘The Closer’ leaves you pondering your path, ‘Stay Awake’ is the kind of country/rock/blues ballad and story of the perfect country/rock/blues kind and the killer; ‘Jackson’ is a cover of June and Johnny Cash’s song and it's a version that takes your heart straight from your body and makes it beat a little slower. I reviewed this back in August and the words I said then I’m going to say again now, because while I meant them then; four months later, this is a timeless little EP that has become a part of my life and I probably mean these words even more now than I could ever have known earlier in the year.


"This is what beautiful, honest music sounds like. I don't know where Jackson is, but if it's where The Hello Morning are going to be hanging out, then I'm going to Jackson and I ain't ever comin' back." (Jo Michelmore)


4. Lily Lotus Orchid Sunflower
by MKO
original review




I think that MKO for me might be Nayt’s Michelle Xen for him. Like how Nayt felt when he first saw Michelle Xen, when I first experienced the sounds of the MKO collective late last year, I couldn’t quite believe this was music created in my own little home town and I was totally blown away. While I love all sorts of music from all sorts of places, it’s nice to hear a little groove from the city of mine which is more often associated with traditional guitars and drums.


The four tracks on Lily Lotus Orchid Sunflower are all as addictive as each other, which makes for a little EP that begs to be played on repeat, which I’ll admit is something I might have done more than a few times this year. ‘Settle’ is a snappy little track, with beats begging to be moved to, ‘Another Day Alone’ is the beat heavy slower jam, with some mean synths and Hannah Macklin’s pretty vocal sitting perfectly over the top and ‘Bubble’ is something from somewhere else, with an r’n’b 90s vibe that doesn’t feel overdone and doesn’t feel old, but does feel exceptionally….right. There’s not really a better way to describe it. My fave, ‘Snarly’, the single from the EP, is a slow build, a delicious concoction of mystic synths and beats and layer upon layer of vocal that hold you right until that very last note, then have you hit play again. And again. And maybe once more.


While I’ve been lucky enough to see Hannah Macklin and the other members of the MKO collective play with all sorts of other bands around Brisbane, listening to the Lily Lotus Orchard Sunflower EP again really, really makes me hope they’ll all spend some quality time with each other in the very near future, ‘cause I’m loving and desperately wanting to hear some more smooth beats like these around my little home town more often. (Jo Michelmore)


#3. Is This How You Feel?
by The Preatures
original review




From the minute the bass blasted out into the ether and the beat “cookah chicka cookah chicka” mimicked my own ticker I knew I was in for a ride. With 'Is this How You Feel?' (the opening track) The Preatures hit gold. The title track is one that embodies the best of 60/70s rock with hints of Fleetwood Mac, The Velvet Underground and Blondie. This track is one that has paved the path for this band to no doubt snare a place in triple J’s Hottest 100 (as well as our own mighty top 113 countdown last week! Numero 5 no less!). This song is pure infectious fun. It is sure to put a party into the “go mode” and get those party peeps up and swinging their hips. The blend of male and female is also a winning formula with Gideon Bensen joining Isabella Manfredi halfway through with a delightful croon. Yes my children. The gods and goddesses of rock survey the land of EPs and see that the balance here is good…..


The second track 'Manic Baby' is just as good (and as addictive) as the first. With Isabella’s cool slick voice and thump of the drums mixed with that gorgeous guitar, The Preatures create another gem. This time the guitar and rhythm swing to a funkier groove and Isabella soars out higher into the ether with her vocal delivery and range.


The third track 'Revelation (So Young)' gives The Preatures a chance to show a darker and more watery dream-like rock sound. This song is more subdued but essential in the mix to showcase the breadth of dynamics that this band is capable of.


'All My Love' gives Bensen a chance to take the lead vocal solos. If this man didn’t listen to glam growing up (and in particular David Bowie) then I’ll eat this EP. I’m sure it will taste delicious anyway (and that neon pink typeface on the cover has got to taste like candy right?). This track gives Bensen a chance to show his late night croon and leading man quality. This male lead theme follows through to the last track – the infectious 'Dark Times'. Again, this track screams Bowie in the best way. I can’t help but be inspired by the lyrics, “I cry, no-one’s gonna leave you out here in the dark times.” My tip: For those who have friends needing a little light: play them this song as you hand them a beer.


The fact that music like this is being made again makes my ears swoon and my heart sing. And it also makes my hips swing. I must, MUST see this band live before everyone wants a piece of that pie. As with this EP under their belt and their brew of throwback rock/glam, The Preatures are sure to be a name that will reach the mainstream and be known as a household name in Australian music. (Lou Endicott)


Runner-Up: The Love Club
by Lorde




2013 is the year that I fell in love with Lorde. Well, me and a whole lot of other people. In fact, I saw her at a gig earlier in the year and stood behind a guy who felt the need to profess his love for many, many, many times throughout the course of the evening. Although given that she’s 17 and he was much older it seemed less like love and more like creepy. There’s a power and maturity to Lorde’s music that makes it easy to forget that she’s only 17 years old.


The Love Club may have only 5 songs, but it well and truly put Lorde on the map. Hit single ‘Royals’ had success not only here and in Lorde’s native New Zealand, but also in the good ole U S of A. Word on the street is that it only took her 30 minutes to write this song. Seriously? I can spend longer putting together a shopping list.


There’s a lot to love about The Love Club. The sound is really quite unique and draws on a lot of different influences from hip hop to pop. But all the while there’s a kind of ambiance from the smooth vocals. There’s very much a sense of less is more. There’s no need for over-the-top beats, or Mariah Carey-esque squealing. There’s a lot of catchy hooks overlayed with a powerful, but not in-your face, voice. And then there are the lyrics. Relatable and to the point she isn’t afraid to poke fun at materialism, but then can switch gears completely to explore a lack of self-confidence.


The Love Club is perfect for the bus, while cooking dinner, or enjoying a glass of wine. Hell, it’s perfect for every occasion. (Katie Langley)


WINNER: Rosie
by Thelma Plum




‘Around Here’, ‘Father Said’, ‘Dollar’, ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’, ‘Rosie’ and ‘King’. These tracks make up the best EP of 2013 – Rosie by Thelma Plum. Each song is a little pop gem that can stand on its own as a fine piece of songwriting. Three of them made our Top 113 Songs of the Year countdown: ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ at #3, ‘Around Here’ at #10 and ‘Dollar’ at #68. I’m fairly confident in saying all five of the writing staff on this blog thing have a lot of love for Rosie, but no one ever did up a proper review. What’s up with that? Nobody knows, but I’ll take the time allotted here to do a quick rundown of these amazing tracks.


AROUND HERE:
The sunny burst of sunshine you didn’t realise you needed with line after line of singalong goodness. Especially the end where you get to swear up a storm, or more likely some sort of sunshower. Katie described ‘Around Here’ as unpretentious and honest and when you can take those very rare qualities in a pop song and create something like this, you’ve got a big winner on your hands. This is the musical equivalent of a shot of vitamins C and D. In your face. However that would work.


FATHER SAID:
Acoustic guitars, layered vocals and a sweet little story. There’s little wonder that ‘Father Said’ scored Thelma a ton of attention and some rave reviews over on triple J Unearthed. It’s light and breezy and over before you know it, but you won’t forget it.


DOLLAR:
Clap along, singalong, shake-it-like-a-polaroid-picture-along. A great choice for a single and I guess Team Thelma got that since, you know, they released it as a single.


BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT:
The ballad I imagine a million artists will listen to and wish they wrote. The ballad I hope a million listeners check out and fall in love with. In the songs of the year countdown I called this one the Australian song of the year and the best piece of songwriting in 2013. I stand by that. Why hasn’t this popped up on a TV show in some super melodramatic moment where some chica is walking out on her douche hole boyfriend, but she’s upset and the producers needed a song that would make you FEEL HER PAIN? I can’t wait for that to happen.


ROSIE:
It’s like Lassie, if Lassie was put into a really great song and Lassie was named Rosie and had a tongue like Texas. ‘Rosie’ has one beautiful hook, a catchy little melody in, “hey baby, I know you’ve been busy, working in the city, for us,” that I was in love with instantly. And it’s like Rosie the dog singing that bit for Thelma, right? Usually I’d listen to something like that and be all, “what a load of wank,” but that’s the power of Plum. She can even make an icy cold heart like mine melt for the sweet song about her dog. So far we’re five for five.


KING:
And ‘King’ would make it six for six, a perfect score for this incredible EP which you should go buy. Now. Much like ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’, ‘King’ only needs a simple piano melody and Plum’s voice to start you swooning, but there’s other elements to the track to love. Some light horns, a beating drum. “People always question, people always question, if you’re the one that’s right. Who really cares, if you’re alone tonight.” Some strings and ethereal coos take us out on a memorable note.


We’re all very excited to hear Plum’s next EP, which she mentioned around BIGSOUND time isn’t too far off. Could we have a repeat winner on our hands next year? All signs point to yes if it’s anywhere near as good as Rosie! I haven’t even mentioned the hidden track ‘Birthday Sex’. Yep. There’s a hidden track. Go find it. (Matt Bond)


2012 Winner:
Told You So EP by Cub Scouts
Runner-Up: Love Lost In Design EP by Neon Wolf