Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Top 114 Songs of 2014, #50 - 41

Airling, Tkay Maidza, #1 Dads + HOWQUA!


I won't be your victim anymore,
And you can't break my spirit like before.

We get sent a lot of music from a whole bunch of great artists to check out. It's probably the best part of this whole blogging thing we've got going on. We get to listen to songs we might not have had the chance to if we were just listening out for new tunes on the radio or on rage or... Spotify or whatever. So Jo checked out an email about this HOWQUA guy and did a really good review (I'm allowed to compliment how awesome Jo is... sometimes) of this track 'Fishing For Gold' and I gave it a listen and was completely blown away by how talented this HOWQUA fella is. He's got a fantastic and emotive rock voice that he can belt out in a way that reminds me of both Counting Crows' Adam Duritz and Eddie Vedder. 90s rock star vocals. The best kind. Yeah, so getting to listen to a track from an artist like HOWQUA definitely makes me enjoy this whole blogging thing. I think it's safe to say that if we keep hearing gems like 'Fishing For Gold', HOWQUA is going to be making a big impact very soon. (Matt Bond)

Let me be honest. I wrote about struggling with my words when I wrote about HOWQUA earlier this year and here I am, actually finding it really difficult to write about this song again. I’m afraid if I write anymore I’m just gonna sound like some kind of crazy fan girl and the thing is, he’s so good he deserves better than crazy fan girls. I just really appreciate a singer who has the ability to be so utterly honest in his music, facing his dreams and his demons through his creativity, because facing my own are still things I’m trying to figure out how to do. “I won’t cry beside your grave, I’ll dance on it instead”. With the ability to put feelings like those into song, artists like HOWQUA and songs like ‘Fishing For Gold’ sure do help. (Jo Michelmore)  

by #1 Dads ft. Ainslie Wills

You've been hiding that secret under your shirt collar,
 You can breathe easy. 

Tom Iansek is a man of many talents. Taking some time away from Big Scary, he's created the side project #1 Dads and teamed up with some of the best singer-songwriter types in Australia on tracks like 'So Soldier'. Stepping into that lead vocal role for this number is Ainslee Wills and her voice with Iansek's guitar (and voice on back-up, he's very good too) are a match made in music heaven. 'So Soldier' is one of those songs that you're convinced no one could actually dislike. Everything about it is extremely likeable. If someone was to say, "hey, I don't like that 'So Soldier' song," I would call them a liar and ask what sick game they're playing. Anyway, can't get enough of this one. (Matt Bond) 

by Apes

I feel like you're inside of me,
Waste my mind and let me breathe.

My first proper introduction to Apes was as the support act for Band Of Skulls in the early part of this year. The thing is at that gig they were one of those bands I didn’t know well, but had me going “Oh! This song! That’s this band!” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What that means is that they write great rock songs which keep me so busy rocking I forget to figure out who is singing. I’m generally so busy listening to the guitars and nodding my head to the drums and remembering all the great rock gigs I’ve been to that the band name leaves my brain until the next time that rock voice blares out of my speakers again. Never fear, after that gig the name Apes is etched into my brain and ‘Pull The Trigger’ isn’t a song to forget. This is Australian rock at some of its memorable best. (Jo Michelmore)

After seeing Apes support Band of Skulls earlier this year it’s been a fast and furious affair. Except there has been no illegal street racing and Vin Diesel hasn’t appeared once. I have on some days, however, listened to at least seven of their songs, sometimes whilst driving in my car. (Katie Langley)

by Kilter ft. Tkay Maidza

And I never had someone like you, like you, someone...

Ned East aka Kilter would have to be a shoo-in for 'Class of 2015' lists. The 20 year old, Sydney based producer is already showing he's got the skills when it comes to laying out future-classic electronic beats and he's also got an eye for collaborating with crazy/good talent like Citizen Kay, Ngaiire and in the case of 'They Say', Tkay Maidza. Known for her fast-paced rhymes, the rap dynamo takes a moment to let us know she's got pipes too and a voice that's perfectly complimentary to Kilter's brand of electronic goodness. Easily one of the best dance tracks of 2014. (Matt Bond)

Alright, admission time. I didn’t know much of Kilter until I heard this song. A name on a list of names of people who played Splendour and Listen Out, a name is all Kilter was. Nowadays I know he’s a Sydney-sider with a healthy habit of making some beats that are near impossible not to move to. Some of those beats reside right here at number 47, along with the vocal of Tkay (we’re totally on a first name basis these days alright?) and they’re beats that are world class. I can hear them in a club only a few kilometres from my own house and I can hear them pounding across a tent in a giant music festival somewhere in the middle of Europe. Maybe that’s just because the last couple of days I have been dreaming of returning to Europe or maybe it’s because that’s where they belong. Let’s go with the latter option. (Jo Michelmore)

by Airling

A broken in mess,
You don't need no one to tell you how it is.

You could say Airling had a pretty good year. Stepping into the spotlight after backing up Emma Louise and being part of the band Charlie Mayfair, Hannah Shepherd decided to go it alone under the new moniker, Airling. She scored a lot of triple J love with the tracks 'Ouroboros' and 'The Runner', supported Ella Hooper and a showcase slot at BIGSOUND Live. That's not to mention being crowned the Unearthed winner for a spot on the Splendour in the Grass line-up. That's an awesome year... way better than mine. Probably better than yours too. What I loved the most about Airling in 2014 was this track, 'Wasted Pilots' which tells you everything you need to know about what makes Airling such a special music maker. Dreamy electronic touches with even dreamier, ethereal vocals... you won't be able to get enough. And Thelma Plum's in the clip. Everything's better with Thelma Plum. (Matt Bond)

Gosh this one is a really nice piece of pop perfection. There are understated synths, a sweet sense of innocence, a bass line that is discreet but so very important and a drum beat that starts simply and ends up being integral to what the song becomes. All of that and Hannah Shepherd’s lovely voice floating across the top of all those sounds and challenging you not to love it. You shouldn’t fight it, really. This is perfect electronic pop and perfect pop is just….perfect. Of course. (Jo Michelmore)

by Montaigne

I am not your end,
Does that make me alone?

I get the same excited feeling when listening to Montaigne's music as I did when Kimbra was first kicking about at the start of her career. It exists in its own wonderful place with its own sound and identity, seemingly different from everything else, but it's still pop-tacular and infectious enough to get stuck in your head for days/weeks/months. On one hand, 'I Am Not An End' is a bit quirky. On the other hand, there's huge pop hooks and a massively powerful voice that will leave any listener suitably impressed. 'I Am Not An End' presents a fierce, independent new artist with a voice demanding to be heard. It's smart and emotional, but it's also just really, really, ridiculously good pop music. And I love pop music. (Matt Bond)

Montaigne has already received praise from all ends of the music industry. The radio people on JJJ love her, the actual music journos who get paid to write about things they like and paid to write about things they don’t, love her and those crazy people who sit at home and write lots and lots of words about things they like and sometimes things they don’t for no monetary reward at all (some would call them bloggers) love her as well. Ok, so I might be one of those people in the last group who love her but you only have to hit play once to know why. ‘I Am Not An End’ is glorious in its pop and a tragedy in its themes and that’s what makes it so very perfect. She has a voice unto her own, a sound unto itself in today’s soundscapes and that special something that can be hard to describe but is present, the relatable at arms distance quality which makes her seem kind of magical. Oh I don’t know what I’m saying, I suppose that’s why I’m not one of those radio or journo peeps, but I do know I like Montaigne. A lot. (Jo Michelmore)

by Foo Fighters

Bid farewell to yesterday,
Say goodbye I'm on my way.

My love for Dave Grohl is no secret, on this here blog and in the real world. It’s as strong as my love for Jack White (oh Jack, oh sigh) and dare I say it, possibly even stronger. That’s probably because of Dave’s lack of ‘wanker’ factor. I mean, seriously, he took his band around America to record in classic studios all over the country (this one recorded in Steve Albini’s studio in Chicago) but he did all of this because of his passion for music, without a sense of "look at me I'm so cool", just a sense of wonder and awe. Of course, there’s more to the Foo Fighters than just Dave and it’s the other members who also deserve a round of applause (those playing at home please join in now) for their unbelievable skills on ‘Something From Nothing’, with its guitar worship and various feelings of rock. So much rock. The Foo Fighters? They can do no wrong in my eyes so add this to the list of things I love about them. It’s a long, long list. (Jo Michelmore)

I do love Foo Fighters but find that it’s sometimes hard to fully give myself over to them. It’s not Dave Grohl’s fault, but he looks an awful lot like my ex-boyfriend, who is a massive douchebag. I tend to combat this issue by avoiding all video footage of Foo Fighters, otherwise I find myself muttering things like “liar”, “cheater”, and “drunk” under my breath. I have not watched the video clip for this song, so it’s a thumbs up from me. (Katie Langley)

by Tkay Maidza


Let me finish them,
Let me finish them... 

Oh hey, it's Tkay Victoria Maidza. You should already know Tkay. Not just because she's featured earlier in today's edition of our songs of the year countdown. You should already know her because she's been a 2014 music highlight, smashing it with every release. One of the tracks we loved this year was 'Finish Them', a statement of intention that there's a new power in the rap game. Well, that's how I'm choosing to interpret it because the track has #slay written all over it. If I used that even remotely in context I'll be ever so happy. The Bok Bok produced 'Finish Them' is the closest I'll get to agreeing with the Azealia Banks comparisons in terms of beats and the repeated 'what' and 'hey' backing segments, but that distinct Tkay delivery sets it on a higher plane. She won't be an Underground Queen for long. (Matt Bond)

It’s really odd to think that this time last year I had no idea who this unbelievably talented rapper from Adelaide was and even more odd to think I had no idea how much I would like her now. ‘Finish Them’ was my third taste of Tkay this year and she’s still avoided that “oh this one isn’t as good as the last one” thing that plagues some artists. While ‘Finish Them’ was totally different to the fun party times that ‘U-Huh’ was and almost a world away from the super cute stomping of ‘Brontosuarus’ from last year, it’s still got Tkay stomped all over it (ha, get it?), it’s built for the clubs and some serious arm throwing leg kicking manically dancing at 2am. Let’s just face it, right now, Tkay can do no wrong and I’m really enjoying that. (Jo Michelmore)

by Robyn and Royksopp

One more time, let's do it again
Blow my mind, do it again

Grab yourself and drink (drank?), put on your finest duds and get ready to boogie, because this is one of the best dance songs of the year. Of always. This is a song you want playing at the clubs and then when it's over, you want the DJ to forget about Avicii for just one night, instead opting to repeat this track again. And again. And again and again and again. What? I'd be cool with that. We already knew Royksopp and Robyn were an electronic music match made in heaven after their track 'Girl and The Robot'. But 'Do It Again' kinda makes you think they should collaborate together all the time. I sure do hope they... do it again. Yeah, I never said I was cool. These guys, they're cool. (Matt Bond)

I have spoken of my love of Norway and its music (and royalty; hey Crown Prince Haakon, who is so cool he is obviously a reader of this blog), so that’s one half of this collaboration covered, but I’ve probably never mentioned my thoughts of Robyn, who, is a little difficult to dislike if one likes Sweden and pop music. I like both those things. ‘Do It Again’ is everything European pop music should be, quick, catchy and with a sense of urgency running throughout. The clip is all of those things too and as well as all that, they released a mini album and while one still questions why one doesn’t call this an EP or an album (these are questions for another time) if two of Europe’s greatest have done it who cares anyway? (Jo Michelmore)

This week I bought a floral shirt and decided that I like 'Do It Again'. At the outset these seem like trivial things. But I’m a rock chick who tends to lives her life in black, black and black, so this is big news people. (Katie Langley)

by Bertie Blackman

 And the rules that you make never let me win,
'Cause I'm always a freak that can never fit in.

Bertie Blackman has consistently provided us with good time throughout her music career. It's with her new album, The Dash that she's truly at the top of her game with pop gems like 'War Of One'. The opening guitars make sure you're hooked from the get go, leading into some dramatic battle cries from Blackman that will have you ready to fight in a war of one or wherever Blackman wants you to fight. She'd be a pretty badass leader. There's a fair bit of 80s throwback going on and that just makes me love it more. Who didn't love some 80s power pop? If you didn't, you're sick. Bertie Blackman continues to show she can do no wrong. There needs to be more recognition of her talent. (Matt Bond)

Ooh ooh ooh, it’s the 80s and there is someone wearing purple lycra, someone wearing knitted leg warmers and someone wearing white reebok shoes nearby. I always think it’s so funny where one’s mind wanders when one hears a song for the first time and how that place changes and morphs as one hears the song more and more. It’s morphed a couple of times, but it’s still a track that needs moving to, the bass line a call to get your Rocky on Sylvester Stallone style and the synths a call to get your bubble skirt and side pony on while shaking your ass all the way up or down a staircase. Yes, the mind continues to wander. (Jo Michelmore)

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