Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Top 114 Songs of 2014, #114 - 101

Megan Washington, Client Liaison, Kingswood + Chelsea Wolfe!

We've listened to hundreds and hundreds of songs this year and loved oh so many of them. Cutting through all the goodness to select our favourite 114 was no easy task, but it's done and over the next eleven days we'll be counting down the Top 114 Songs of 2014! So let's not waste any time, let's listen to some excellent music. Enjoy!

#114. Walls
by Winters End

With eyes too soft to see,
The jagged edges, that are surrounding me. 

By saying this, I may or may not be giving something away very early about our top 114 songs countdown, but it must be said anyway. I’m really, really happy that we’re kicking off the 114 with an Australian artist and I’m really, really happy it’s with a pair as talented as Winters End. After releasing their debut EP in 2012, it was nice to hear a new single from this brother sister duo, but even nicer when it was a track as strong as ‘Walls’. Marissa’s vocal is solid from the very beginning and Chris’ percussion skills drive the track from the start to the end. It’s no wonder these two have recently been playing across the US because if they keep making these kind of sounds hopefully Winters End have a lot of playing, recording and touring ahead of them. (Jo Michelmore)

Sydney's sibling duo, Marissa and Christopher Pinto make up Winters End and they make quite the team. 'Walls' makes an immediate impact with the opening lines and there's so much to love about what comes after. The story packs an emotional punch and the music is top notch with some great hooks, but for me it's Marissa's voice that has me really loving 'Walls'. The delivery walks a fine line between showing strength and vulnerability in a truly impressive effort. I'm not sure what comes next for the Pintos, but I'm definitely looking forward to it. (Matt Bond)

#113. Feral Love
by Chelsea Wolfe

Crossing the water,
Lead them to die. 

Here’s where I have to make a confession and it’s not going to be a popular one amongst some. Even some of my fellow bloggers don’t like this one. I don’t watch Game Of Thrones and the facts are, I don’t watch it because I don’t like it. Eeeeeek. Don’t hate me. I don’t watch a lot of TV. But ‘Feral Love’; one of the tracks featured in one of the trailers for GOT’s fourth season has so much angst, drama and experimental noise that I don’t even need to watch the TV show. The angsty, dramatic, experimental and noisy nineteen year old me (who doesn’t appear so much these days) comes out to play as soon as the first notes are heard and she really likes what she hears. (Jo Michelmore)

There is a dark, brooding anticipation to this song that appeals to my gothic wannabe tendencies. It feels desperate and grim, and gives me the urge to burn all coloured clothing I own (because using a bin is so passé), dress in my blackest black and linger around the Hungry Jack's in Brisbane Queen Street Mall. (Katie Langley)

Game of Thrones 4 Eva, winter is coming etc. etc. Yeah. I'm in the GOT obsessed camp and I'm more than ok with that. If I wasn't, I likely wouldn't have heard Chelsea Wolfe's 'Feral Love' in the first trailer for the 2014 season. I'm glad I did though, because Chelsea Wolfe is all the right kinds of alternative cool for me and 'Feral Love' is one mighty fine song. The accompanying clip will have you thinking Wolfe is the heir apparent to Marilyn Manson's 90s shock-rock-alternative throne. Which is actually a compliment. Manson was great back then. 'Feral Love' creates some captivating imagery in the clip, with the most captivating creature being Wolfe herself. (Matt Bond)

#112. Just Like Normal
by Jim Lawrie

We don't need to dream no more...

It's interesting that a song called 'Just Like Normal' is one of the most genuinely uplifting songs of the year. Jim Lawrie doesn't need to use a thousand different adjectives to tell you how extraordinary you are. All he needs to do is tell you that, "we don't need to dream no more," and you can feel absolutely normal. And there's nothing wrong with being normal. (Matt Bond) 

So I first heard the sounds of Jim Lawrie way back in 2013 with his track ‘Midnight Run’ and then his performance at BIGSOUND that year. Back then he was Grizzly Jim, but nowadays he’s a little less Grizzly and a little more Jim, whatever that means, but both Jims are ones I like so who cares anyway? Having evolved from the first Jim I knew, ‘Just Like Normal’ still held all the things I loved about Jim when he was grizzly; a little folky and a little indie, but now a little richer with a six piece band to help him out. It’s a fabulous track that made me feel all warm and fuzzy the first time I heard it and those same lyrics “we don’t need to dream no more…” create the same feelings now that made me feel so comfortable with an artist I hope to hear more and more from in 2015. (Jo Michelmore)

#111. That's Why Darling
by Tanzer

Careful, forever turning stones,
That's why darling, I've come back for you. 

When I say this, I say it in only the best way possible, because while some people may not understand this statement, those who do are the only ones who count anyway and those that know me will understand how much of a compliment this is when I say it. There’s something really Eurovision-esque about this, the debut track from Tanzer; it starts in one place and ends in another, it’s dramatic and begging for lights, pyrotechnics and choreography, its vocals are so strong and end up so surprising and it belongs on a soundtrack, in a theatre production and in my playlist all at once…and all of those things are what make it Eurovision-esque. I don’t know how anyone could find that anything but the most amazing compliment anyway. (Jo Michelmore)

Be still, my beating heart... I am in love with the enigmatic Tanzer. This Melbourne-based songstress is another ridiculously engaging artist to emerge in 2014 and have us looking forward to 2015 in anticipation of what will come next from them. 'That's Why Darling' is a moody, atmospheric slice of dark electronic pop that showcases Tanzer's incredible vocal range and power. It's dramatic without being overbearing and waltzes into performance art territory when you add in the striking black and white music video. And I'm pretty sure she drops into French while dropping some operatic vocal bombs on us. For all that and more, you should be loving Tanzer. That's why, darling. That's why. (Matt Bond)

#110. Oh Lover
by Ruby Boots

Take this one sided love, oh to the grave...

Ooh ooh ooh, from the very start, that country-twang-Americana-type thing that sends a sense of anticipation through my whole being, this is a super cute little number from the alter ego of Bex Chilcott, who happens to be Ruby Boots. Which reminds me, I need to get myself an alter-ego, except my alter ego would be much like Ruby herself, a little heartbroken and a big bit torn between right and wrong and a whole lot of banjo and a big portion of drama. Funnily enough, all of those things are what makes up ‘Oh Lover’, which is probably why I like it so much. Ruby Boots and my yet to be named alter ego? They’re going to get along so well. (Jo Michelmore)

Ruby Boots aka Bex Chilcott is another one of our favourite people to gift us with some sweet new music this year and we've spent a lot of time with 'Oh Lover'. It's all very 'heartbreak in the wild, wild west' and Ruby Boots and her alt-country leanings sells this so very well. Chilcott goes from strength to strength as a performer, with her vocal control putting you right where she wants to. A slight pause at just the right moment or a note held for a second longer than you'd expect... it's stellar work. But we've come to expect nothing less from Ruby Boots. (Matt Bond)

#109. Cupid
by Boyeur

You don't know, don't try understand,
Why this love lives inside my head. 

Boyeur made the most of their year. They made the finals of the Melbourne Music Bank competition and it didn't come as a big surprise when they've got tracks like 'Cupid' in the catalogue. It lets them show off how talented Hugh Middleton and Tom Ischia are as multi-talented musicians and as excellent creators of catchy pop music. The done in one take music video was also one of my favourites of the year. You haven't seen it? Do it. Do it now and it'll likely be one of your favourites too. (Matt Bond) 

The angsty, dramatic etc etc nineteen year old that loved Chelsea Wolfe back at number 113 doesn’t get along with the one who likes the song at number 109, but I’m such a sucker for strings that the current me can’t resist. Six instruments amongst two band members impresses every me and I’m also a sucker for a clip with an actual storyline and while I’m not totally sure what’s going on in that room full of vinyl, I do love my vinyl, so as far as current me is concerned, Boyeur are a duo I like and ‘Cupid’ is a track I love. (Jo Michelmore)

#108. Pray To God
by Calvin Harris ft. Haim

I pray to God, I just don't know anymore...

Haim can do no wrong. Like, nothing against Mr. Harris. He can make some bells and whistle-y noises to back up stellar talent who I imagine wrote the song to go with the music. A bit like most of the catchy stuff that Guetta fella comes up with when he's working with someone like Sia. What? Yeah... I should focus on some positives here, shouldn't I? Haim! Everything comes with a side of 'sunnier disposition' when the sisters Haim are around. With any luck, we'll be hearing more from them in 2015. But at least in 2014 we got a reminder of their fantastical-ness. Calvin, old chap? You're alright too I guess. I feel like I wrote something very similar when Calvin Harris roped Florence Welch into recording with him. Moving right along... (Matt Bond) 

#107. I Can Feel That You Don't Love Me
by Kingswood

And I know that you know I can feel your disease,
I can feel that you don't love me. 

I can’t even decide what this is. Is it 80s big hair rock? Is it 90s stoner rock? Is it 00s indie rock? It must be 2014s rock, because it was called ICFTYDLM, without a hashtag, which wouldn’t have made much sense in the 80s or 90s or even a lot of the 00s, but somehow Kingswood made sense of all those decades, threw them all together and came up with one of my fave Aus rock songs of the year. I love a good bit of depression with my guitars and I love a good bit of self-doubt with my grungy vocals and I also love a good Australian rock band. Here we have all of those things and a tiny bit of an Arctic Monkeys feel as well. I love it all. (Jo Michelmore)

Kingswood have shown they can pull off the larger than life, powerful rock jams. And with the release of their debut album Microscopic Wars this year, they were able to show there's a lot more to them than just being that really, ridiculously cool rock and or roll band. They have feelings, y'all. They can feel when you don't love them. Which is pretty darn silly, because when the music is as good as 'I Can Feel That You Don't Love Me', there's only going to be a whole lot of love. Bluesy rock goodness with layered vocal parts and a sudden, dramatic ending. Yep... there is only love. (Matt Bond)

Matt and Jo are going to try and convince you that I only like Kingswood because they have lovely beards. In all honesty, I would be lying if I said that wasn’t some of the original appeal. C’mon, can you blame me? But I soon discovered there is much more to these guys than facial hair – they are uber talented and this song quickly became one of my favourites of 2014. It may have something to do with the countless dead end dates that I went on and subsequent ice cream pity parties and tears with the realisation that I may indeed be forever alone. I cannot confirm or deny.  (Katie Langley)

#106. Free Again
by Passerine

The strength that I needed I had all along,
Now I'll make my own way. 

Passerine always take me back to a special little time in the early 2000s when dance music made people happy. You weren't hearing about all this dubstep nonsense and it wasn't all lame sampling, auto-tuned vocals and a general vibe of skanky-ness. Think of like... Spiller's 'Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)' or Paulmac's 'Just The Thing'. Music that's a little bit funky with soulful vocals and when you listened to it, you just wanted to have some fun and a bit of a dance. Passerine are bringing back the fun and the criminally under-appreciated 'Free Again' is an excellent example of this. I'm a big fan of Phoebe Dubar's smooth vocal tones and they're the perfect match for the funk-infused guitars and horns that stand out as a welcome change from the standard bump and grind electronic noises that dominate so much of dance music today. The clip for the song is so full of win from the moment Dubar emerges from the ocean in her gold jacket and should have about seven 0's added to its view count to match the quality of its production. Anywho, with a recent lineup change, it looks like we'll be getting to hear more from Passerine in 2015 and that's putting a big smile on my face. (Matt Bond) 

I remember being really excited when I first saw the clip for ‘Free Again’ earlier this year, because it was filmed in one of my favourite parts of one of my favourite cities in Australia, which is kind of stupid, because it’s probably one of a lot of people’s favourite parts of their favourite city, but nevertheless, leave me be, it wasn’t the only thing I liked. I also liked the jacket she’s wearing, the headphones on her head and I really liked the chorus to this catchy little pop song, which should probably have received much more attention and acclaim than it did. You watch those talent TV shows and think Australia can produce some really, really good pop music and then you hear people like Passerine and realise you don’t always need a TV show. Love to hear more from Passerine in 2015. That rhymes. Why am I not writing pop songs? Don't answer that. (Jo Michelmore)

#105. Blazing Radio
by Gena Rose Bruce

I keep falling through the window,
I can feel you coming closer... 

I’m resisting a strong urge to comment on Gena’s choice of head-wear in the video clip. I’m resisting because it shouldn’t and doesn’t matter what she’s wearing on her head – she has an amazing voice! Her sound isn’t my usual musical choice, but after seeing her perform earlier in the year I couldn’t help be captivated by her sweet melodic sound. Although that was the initial lure I was pleased to discover that there’s much more to Gena than meets the eye – she has soul and she isn’t afraid to cover some interesting lyrical content. I was going to make a reference to Gena being the Australian Taylor Swift, but I foolishly told Matt I was going to do so, and I’m sure he’s plagiarised my idea already. (Katie Langley)

Let me just say, I had no idea what to expect from a song called ‘Blazing Radio’ when I first saw the title of Gena Rose Bruce’s song. Blazing Radio? This could be anything; a terrible dance number full of boring beats and repetitive lyrics, it could be a rock song gone terribly wrong full of air, or it could be exactly what I got - a fantastic rollicking indie pop song with a teeny tiny country twist to make it just that little bit interesting. I suppose if I’d bothered to do some research I would have predicted that last option, considering she spent some time in Nashville last year, but you know, sometimes it’s nice to be surprised with these things, isn’t it? (Jo Michelmore)

I'm not usually one to hit up the merch stand at a gig. It's not that I'm a jerk and don't want to support the artist or whatever. Like I'm at the gig supporting. Get out of my face about it. But when I was first introduced to the music of Gena Rose Bruce at Ella Hooper's Brisbane gig earlier in the year, I was won over to the point that I had to pick up one of her EP's. Swoon-worthy vocals? Check. Top-notch storytelling? Check. Fashionably on-trend as a crossover country star in the making? Check. She was ticking all the boxes for me. Bruce made mention of new music coming and sure enough, we got it in the form of 'Blazing Radio' and it did not disappoint. It's completely and utterly engaging, with Bruce building her own little world for the listener to take a quick three and a half minute wander through. She's got the right attitude shining through that unique and powerful voice that you can't help but love. And this is just the beginning for her. I can only imagine that the best is yet to come from this intriguing new act. (Matt Bond)

#104. Burn This House
by Mwansa

Picture me, dark as night and her, sitting China white,

I feel like 'Burn This House' is a song that everyone needs to experience. It's a shining example of how well an emotional and real story can be delivered in song form. Beginning with fairly sparse electronic touches and then slowly building up as the track progresses, Mwansa's voice and the story never get lost or pushed to the side. Mwansa's voice and the story make the song. And you'll want to hear a lot more from this emerging Perth-based artist as soon as possible. (Matt Bond)

#103. Free of Fear
by Client Liaison

I don't have time to be home,
To slow down when I'm told... 

This is just ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous how much I like Client Liaison. No, really, it is. Ridiculous. There’s not another word to describe it. The beats are straight from the 80s, the vocals a little from the 90s, the synths just walked out of a Pet Shop Boys song, the percussion sits somewhere else altogether, the lyrics are insanely silly, the band member’s hairstyles belong on an Australian made for TV mini series and the clothes? Well some of them belong in my own closet, which could be what makes them so ridiculously good. All of this. That and the fact they put all of those things together with such finesse and such panache, I feel like I’m watching an ad in the middle of an episode of ‘East Of Eden’ (google it) which was taped on a VCR and all of these things make me cringe and make me laugh and all of these things make up ‘Free Of Fear’, which seems to sum up the philosophy of Client Liaison totally, right? (Jo Michelmore)

#102. Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds

All that I needed,
I need your love,
They said time isn't waiting for you. 

You listen to songs all the time and they’re just songs you know, something to bounce or sway along to and then they’re gone again. Safia did something really special with their brand of electronic pop with this song to make me hear it, sway to it and remember it. They made me feel like I could hear all the layers, every single piece of the puzzle individually, the track as sparse as it is full, each part as important as the other and each sounding delicious in its own right. But then somewhere midway through each listen, I realise how good everything sounds together, how all the pieces match and swap secrets with each other to make a perfect little piece of electro goodness. I don’t actually know how they did that, but whatever they did, they did it really well. (Jo Michelmore)

#101. Limitless
by Megan Washington

Won't you please remember to mention me to the ones who love you...

Oh, Megan Washington. It's so good to know you're not alone in the world. It's so good to know that someone else has felt that, "certain kind of lonely where you sleep in your jeans." Well, it's not good, it's kinda sad-o, but when it's being told to you in an incredibly catchy four minute Megan Washington number, it's easily digestible. 'Limitless' is a song I love just a little bit more each time I hear it. For a long time I couldn't get over how much I loved the lyrics. Then it was the yodel-ish section of, "oooOOOoooOOOooo," at the end. Then it was that hair in the clip, which you are pulling off lady. Where was I going with this? I don't know. But my love for this song has no limits. Ha! Yeah, I know. I'm hilarious. (Matt Bond) 

It’s bubblegummy and it’s poppy and it’s kind of cute with a dark cloud floating overhead and then it’s a little bit 80s and a little bit 00s and a little bit neon and I don’t even know what’s going on anymore. See, I never know what to expect from Megan Washington. One minute I think I know what she’s up to, then she goes and releases a song like ‘Limitless’, which is not the box I’d previously put her in and everything is turned upside down and round about and who the hell is Megan Washington anyway? I don’t know, I may never know, but I guess that’s why a song like ‘Limitless’ is perfect for her, right? (Jo Michelmore)

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