Why hello there. We've only got four Scene Awards left to hand out this year, which means it's time for Group of the Year tonight, Man and Woman of the Year tomorrow and Album of the Year on New Year's Eve. Party time, excellent! In this collection of our favourite groups, an international act lands a nomination for the first time in the 2014 Scene Awards. Australian music... why you gotta be so good? Anywho... let us meet our foreign friends and say hello once more to three of our fave local bands. Enjoy!
GROUP OF THE YEAR:
#4. Band of Skulls
Oh Band Of Skulls, how do I describe what I think of you? I love your brand of rock, your sharp chords and your bluesy ways. I love your heavy drums, your way of making my head nod with some serious force, I love your combination of rock and roll and I love your sound as a tribute to all the rock that has come before you, yet you stand with your eyes and your guitars only facing forward. I love your understated look, the uniform of shirts and jeans and boots worn by all the greats of rock and worn with such discreet confidence. I love your third album Himalayan from this year as much as I love your whole collection and I love that quick fire beat of ‘Hoochi Coochie’ as much as I love its backward clip and its surprising end. I love that you will always hold a place as one of my favourite live music moments this year, that after a long day your subtle entrance followed by the wall of guitars and drums and sweat on stage filled me with an energy only live music does. I love that three humans alone can create a sound that makes me happy with every listen and makes me want to jump up and down manically. I love that I have been lucky enough to watch you grow as a band and a sound over the last few years and I love that I consider you one of my favourite bands, because I love that I love rock and you, Russell, Emma and Matt, are the epitome of that word. Band Of Skulls, how do I describe what I think of you? I think it’s pretty simple really. Two little words. Rock. Love. (Jo Michelmore)
#3. Dear Plastic
Dear Plastic are one band I found myself loving more and more throughout 2014. They followed up a stellar EP with an even more stunning debut album, The Thieves Are Babes in October. We couldn't get enough of their singles 'Buck Up and Pay The Reaper' and 'Epic Delay', with the latter enjoying a nice and well deserved run at the top of our weekly Top 25. While their clip for 'Buck Up and Pay The Reaper' may have led to divided opinions between our own Jo and Nayt, I think it's safe to say there was universal acclaim from us for the clip that came with 'Epic Delay'. It's perfect in its simplicity. The lovely Lou Endicott (we miss you, Lou!) has had the pleasure of seeing these dark trip hop-ers performing live around Melbourne and perfectly described the band in one of her reviews as;
"Dear Plastic are not for the feint hearted. They are a flagship unto themselves and the genre of electronica. And what they do they do darn well. They follow no leaders and hold nothing back to create full, rich and melancholic ambient soundscapes. With their hints of pshychadelia, their nod to 90s trip hop and their stand out vocals, they have won me over as a fan." - Lou Endicott
They certainly won me over too. Their music is brilliant and I have no problems saying it's not appreciated at the level it should be, but that happens and I'll shut up about it and say that I really hope that the hard work they put in and the excellent quality of their sound pays off with the recognition they so richly deserve. Scarlette Baccini is a vocal powerhouse I want to hear more of. Josh Moult, Danny Cox, Cory Mollison and Nathan Clark make music I want to hear more of. Dear Plastic is a group I want to hear more of. And I hope we get to hear something new soon. Until then, do yourself a favour and go and listen to The Thieves Are Babes. You can file that request under 'things you won't regret'. (Matt Bond)
I owe Kingswood an apology. Like all the classic tales of love, my relationship with them has been a rocky one. I remember clearly the first day I laid eyes on them, all those years ago now at a festival, I can’t remember which one it was, but I do remember it being mid-morning, the sun blazing down, the queues for the port-a-loos already too long and the wait for the band I really wanted to see looming ahead. I remember the distinct thought of “schmeh” as they played, probably trying their hardest to impress the couple of hundred or so people who were watching (me included) but some of us were just too exhausted already to care. I have learnt my lesson and now I know how much they rock, they’ve proven it over and over again on stage, they proved it to me at BIGSOUND this year and they proved it once and for all in August with the release of their debut album Microscopic Wars, which featured one of my favourite acronyms, song titles and tracks for this year; ‘ICFTYDLM’ which ended up with me feeling LUMTP. (That’s my new favourite acronym, by the way.) When I found out they’d recorded it in Nashville with Vance Powell (who has worked with Jack White, oh Jack, oh sigh…) there was little chance I was going to dislike it. They also possess a fine collection of beards, which means Katie Langley is a fan and I’m not going to complain about their facial fashion. The facts are, we may have started with a rocky relationship, but Kingswood and I? We’re tight now. Rock. Blues. Kingswood. Me. Lots of love. LUMTP. Love You More Than Pie (duh). LOL. (Jo Michelmore)
WINNER: Little May
We know. We write about Little May a lot. Like A LOT. You know what though? A band with music this good deserves to have us writing about them a lot. They deserve to have every music blog writing about them a lot. They deserve to have everyone listening to them because their music is real, honest music that is begging to be heard and loved and listened to some more. We've loved watching Liz Drummond, Annie Hamilton and Hannah Field's rise this year and we'll love watching it next year and the year after and... you get where I'm going with this, right? In 2014 they scored a ton of airplay on triple J with the tracks 'Hide' and 'Dust'. The massive cheer from the crowd that started when the opening notes of 'Hide' rung out at BIGSOUND Live showed just how much love there was out there for Little May's music. That was the first time I got to see the ladies performing live and I don't think my simple words can do their performance justice, so I will recommend you go and see them for yourself. Those gorgeous Little May harmonies are arguably even better live.
We knew it was only a matter of time before Little May went global and they followed up BIGSOUND by showcasing their talents at CMJ in New York and they gigged it up in London too. Come on, you know the Brits will be all over the folky goodness that Little May provide. Oh, they also signed to Island Records in the UK and Capitol Records in the US. Reading that news led to a lot of cheering around these parts. Little May delivered in a big way in 2014 with what made us fall in love with them in the first place... their music. The Little May EP is a must-listen. 'Dust', 'Bones' and 'Midnight Hour' became new additions to our life soundtracks and further solidified these Sydney-siders as our favourite new storytellers.
We know we write about Little May a lot. We hope we get to keep writing about Little May a lot. And with the news that a debut album is to be expected in 2015 y'all had better get used to us writing about Little May a whole lot more. We can't wait to hear more and we can't wait to see them again live soon. If you're heading to any of ole Bernard Fanning's or Angus and Julia Stone's shows in early 2015, you'll have the pleasure of seeing Little May. Just don't expect to see them in those supporting slots for long. The next stop is the world stage and we couldn't be happier for them. (Matt Bond)
Runner-Up: Little May
Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-Up: Little Dragon