Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Top 114 Songs of 2014, #100 - 91

Meg Mac, Lily Allen, The Antlers + Benjamin Booker!

by Wilding

I'm missing her, I'll never look the same again.

So here’s a not so secret secret. When you blog, some people tend to read your words and eventually, if you’re lucky, people will start sending you music to listen to. This is one of the reasons one continues to sit in ones pyjamas and write words on a little machine about music they love. One of the things I learnt to love this year was a musician from Melbourne who writes and sings songs that take a huge portion of their sounds from a time well before this one, from a time I’m a little bit in love with, not old enough to have experience first-hand, but every now and then wish I was. (Maybe not. I just want a time machine actually, so I can stay this age, listen to One Direction every now and then, but fill my wardrobe with clothes from eras past. Anyway, I’m digressing.) ‘Missing Her’ came to our attention via this here blogs email address a couple of months ago and it’s been playing on repeat in my retro inspired lounge ever since. This is when I love blogging. There are shoulders shrugging, hair waving and feet tapping when I listen to this and all of those things equals a happy Jo. (Jo is me, by the way.) I wanna hear lots of where Wilding intends to go in 2015, because I think there’s a big likelihood I may follow. (Jo Michelmore)

by Lily Allen

When I'm bored, I, kinda drift away,
I'm not sure, quite, why we work all day... 

Did Lily Allen fall off the Lily Allen bandwagon this year? Some say yes, some say no, I say who fookin' cares (say that with a west London accent and sorry, bit of Lily inspiration there) ‘cause she’s still releasing good pop and that’s what she’s always done. So what if she was accused of sounding like M.I.A? M.I.A is awesome and so was that song; there are a lot worse people to be compared to. It’s four minutes of pop perfection and was co-written with someone who has written for ol’ Swifty and P!nk, so what were people expecting? Nothing too earth shattering, one would hope. In fact, with those kind of credentials, we’re lucky we didn’t get something with one of my least favourite lyrics of the year; “get down with this sick beat” or my other despised lyric from a few years back; “so what I’m still a rock star”. Even with it’s annoying “Miami/Timbuctoo” reference, I loved ‘Air Balloon’ for the fun it was the first time I heard it and I love it for the same reasons right now. (Jo Michelmore)

I'm not going to lie. I hated 'Air Balloon' when I first hear it. Ok, I lied. Hate's too strong a word. How about... I wasn't quite sure of 'Air Balloon' when I first heard it. Safe to say, after about a thousand listens now, I love it. It's fun and silly and a little bit M.I.A in random lines about Timbuktu and Kurt Cobain, but there's some melodies fine enough to stop you in your tracks and the song's also genuinely sweet and earnest. That could pretty much be used to sum up what's so great about Lily Allen. She's ridiculous, but she's genuine. Sheezus was chock full of excellent songs like 'Air Balloon'. If you haven't given it a go, I strongly recommend it. (Matt Bond)  

by Meg Mac

It's easier to fake it, oh oh...

Seriously, stop it Meg Mac. Your soulful tones are just too good. It's only too easy to see why Mac took out the Unearthed Artist J Award this year. When she's got powerful tracks like 'Roll Up Your Sleeves' in her repertoire, it's very easy to think up all the places her career will take her in the near future. 'Roll Up Your Sleeves' will have you involuntarily clapping along to the booming, beautiful voice it features and Meg Mac will truly have you believing, "everything is going to be alright." Meg Mac just might be the artist to watch in 2015. (Matt Bond)

There is a beautiful simplicity in a song that starts with the modest words “roll up your sleeves” and ends in the unpretentious words “everything is gonna be alright” and there’s something beautiful about a girl from Melbourne taking some sounds from 70s American soul and making them her own and there’s something simple about a piano driven, hand clapping song and there’s a beautiful simplicity in knowing you're going to be loving an artist like Meg Mac when she writes and releases songs so simple, so beautiful and so lovely like this one. (Jo Michelmore)

by The Septembers

Somebody's gonna be hurting...

Speaking of some of our favourite new vocalists, it's The Septembers, a duo featuring the supremely talented Donna Arendse and James Chatburn. 'Riverbed' puts the charm of old school rhythm and blues against a chilled out, modern indie-electronic soundscape and you won't be able to get enough of it. Arendse takes lead with some captivating vocal work that will make you melt. Chatburn hits all the right notes backing Arendse up, doing a nice job of building up the track's atmosphere in the process. The duo's respective backgrounds have led them to create a unique sound together and if 'Riverbed' is an indication of what we should expect from The Septembers, we're going to be in for a treat with future releases. Hopefully we get to hear more very, very soon. (Matt Bond) 

I was raised on a diet of music and while I didn’t really know what it was at the time, a huge portion of that diet was soul, which means it makes me incredibly happy to know such a smooth duo like The Septembers have featured in our top 114 for 2014. If you read (other people’s) words about ‘Riverbed’ it keeps getting described as a ‘slow burn’ and while I’d like to have come up with something else, those words describe it per-fec-tly. The guitar invites you into a story that you know is going to be dramatic, the vocal demanding you pay attention, the beats making sure you can’t turn away. I love this kind of song, I’ve always loved this kind of song and if The Septembers keep making music as soulful as this, I think I might feel the same about them. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Benjamin Booker

We found a way,
We found a way... 

That childhood diet of soul music I was talking about with The Septembers in number 97? You can throw a huge portion of Americana-bluesy-rock as the dessert after that plate of soul. ‘Violent Shiver’ is the type of that makes me internally scream “YES!” and throw my fist in the air with each beat. If the gritty guitars and the solid drums aren’t convincing enough, it’s Benjamin’s voice, like gravel coated with a dash of bourbon that make this the kind of song that belongs in a bar in New Orleans, on a stage in front of an enthusiastic audience and in my lounge room, played loudly enough that my neighbours wonder why I’m having a party on a Friday morning. All of that and it’s the type of song I can’t help but nod my head to and if we were to ask Katie Langley that means it’s a winner. (Jo Michelmore)

People are saying big things about Benjamin Booker. And for good reason! There’s a raw, bluesy feel to “Violent Shiver” that really resonates with me. It’s rock, it’s fun, and it’s honest. If you took “Violent Shiver” to a party it would drink Whisky and dance unapologetically, hands flailing on the dance floor. It would make friends with party go-ers in the line for the bathroom, eat all of the kabanos sausage, and have a sneaky vomit behind the bush. (Katie Langley)

You had better strap yourself in, because Benjamin Booker takes you on one rocking and rolling ride you're not going to forget on 'Violent Shiver'. It's a non-stop, jump up and down while you scream and shout kind of jam that's over way too soon. But at least you get to do it all over again. And again. And again and again and again. Booker's guitar work whips you into a frenzy and his bonafide rock star growls will have you completely invested in what he's selling. Yep. 'Violent Shiver' is one hell of a ride. (Matt Bond)

by The Antlers

Beautifully oblivious before you were hid inside a stranger you grew into,
As you learned to disconnect. 

When this song came into my atmosphere very early this year, it came via it’s clip, which hit me hard and wouldn’t let go, after all, therein contained so many images and concepts that spoke to me, but as is mostly the case with me, it wasn’t the visuals that really grabbed my heart, they merely made me hear the things I needed to in a stunning piece of music. The pieces that shook me most were the keys, creating the sweet, soft sounds of memories and a sense of bittersweet, of times and places loved and lived and those events and relationships that build who we are in this very moment. It gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it and it does it again now, seven months later and it’s one of those that will always remind me of now and then and now again. In 2014, this is one I have truly loved. (Jo Michelmore)

by Amy Shark

Don't be the boy that spits on girls,
Everybody hates that guy...

'Spits On Girls', our introduction to the music of Amy Shark was so easy to fall in love with. Shark confidently lays out snappy lines, the tune is catchy as anything and the slow build up in the sound that surrounds Shark's vocals is most excellent. Finding a way to stand out from every other performer trying to find a break and get noticed must be ridiculously hard, but Shark comfortably shows us what makes the 'Amy Shark' sound on 'Spits On Girls' and it's a little bit quirky, more than just a little cool, packs the right kind of attitude and it's definitely smarter than your average pop song. And the song also teaches you to share... (Matt Bond)     

Here’s where I admit something. I saw the name of this song way back in July and I didn’t press play. ‘Spits On Girls’? I’m a girl, I don’t wanna be spit on. Who does? Why would I have an interest in a song about that? Then Matt said something wise, as he sometimes does; “unwanted interaction with saliva is blurgh” but he had more courage than I, he listened to it, reviewed it and convinced me maybe I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or a song by its title and here we are at number 94. Lesson learnt; Amy Shark tells a little tale in her impressive piece of indie pop, subtly thumping along until the layers of vocals and music create a wall of sound that keeps me thinking that I have to remember not to judge a book by its cover, a song by its name and not to share my drugs with celebrities. I don’t even know what that means, but I like it. (Jo Michelmore)

#93. PREY
by Stella Angelico

When it's all burning down, dress me in my wedding gown,
Won't be your prey. 

Stellaaaaa. STELLLAAAAAA! Sorry. Couldn't resist. Stella Angelico might just be the biggest badass in music today. Have you seen the video for 'Prey'? Come on... she's a total badass. When all the sand dudes start running at her I was pretty much expecting her to just go street fighter on all of them. The look on her face says, "I ain't the lady to mess with." While I've got a lot of love for the 'Prey' music video, I've got even more love for the song itself. Angelico puts that powerful voice to work on one of the year's most empowering diva jams. She's been a woman since she was a little girl and she won't be your prey. Stella Angelico keeps on getting better. (Matt Bond)

by The Jezabels

In the dead of night,
I can't give in to your love. 

Hayley Mary isn't the biggest fan of music reviewers... but we're just blogger type people or something. So maybe we're still friends? I don't know. But I do know I was a big fan of The Jezabels' second album, The Brink, and spent a lot of time listening to 'Look Of Love'. Um... keep up the great work? (Matt Bond)

So Matt’s right, our friend from The Jezabels doesn’t particularly love music reviewers, but the difference between music reviewers and us bloggers is that we ain’t getting paid a cent, so as far as I’m concerned we can say whatever we want, because we’re only going to spend our time bothering to write about things we like, unless we’re referring to Robin Thicke, so hopefully Hayley can see we actually really like The Jezabels and well, screw anyone who doesn’t. If they just keep making catchy little songs like ‘Look Of Love’ with all its shiny guitars and synths and we’re all going to get along just fine. (Jo Michelmore)

by Royal Blood

Nothing here to see, just a kid like me,
Trying to cuss and see, trying to figure it out. 

I love the term ‘garage rock’. Royal Bloods are described as garage rock. Can you imagine that? Damn, I’d love to live next door to the house that their garage belongs to. Rough guitar and harsh, fast drums, a grunting rock vocal and some attitude, this is a band I’d be happy to hear rehearsing in any garage. In fact, I have a garage, it even has some junk in it which I say will only add to the acoustics. Forget that Foo Fighters tour next year Royal Bloods, fancy a gig under my house? (Jo Michelmore)

Finally, some music with oomph! It’s a running joke that one of my tests for a good song is whether or not I am nodding my head and/or tapping my foot. I’m pleased to report that “Figure It Out” passes both of those tests with flying colours. (Katie Langley)

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