Monday, 8 December 2014

Top 114 Songs of 2014, #70 - 61

The Kite String Tangle, Babaganouj, Little Dragon + Christine and The Queens!

by Ball Park Music

It must be five years ago now,
Skulking home one public holiday...

Ball Park Music didn't disappoint when they dropped 'She Only Loves Me When I'm There' as the lead single for this year's Puddinghead. Which isn't exactly a surprise since Ball Park Music aren't exactly known for their disappointing music. They're actually known for their really quite fantastic music. Sam Cromack is at the top of his vocal game here, totally owning that whole front of an indie rock band thing he's got going on here. The rest of the band don't slouch around, delivering one of BPM's most memorable sounding tracks that will have you coming back for more. (Matt Bond) 

There are two things that Ball Park Music were responsible for in my life this year. One is my love for ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’, the perfect slightly depressing almost shoe gazing but then kind of bouncy as well three minute and forty eight seconds of indie pop goodness that it is. The other thing is naming their album Puddinghead and therefore introducing me to what could have been one of my favourite insults this year. One thing Ball Park Music are not is a bunch of puddingheads. Unless you’re meaning pudding as dessert. Then that would be a compliment. So maybe they are. I don’t know anymore. (Jo Michelmore)

#69. BLUFF
by Babaganouj

The same conversation today as yesterday,
With the same expectation that you'll just walk away.

I was devo when Brisbane's Go Violets announced they were calling it a day. We loved their garage rock sound so very, very much. But it was nice to see the band members all release something new in 2014. Ex-Go Violet-ettes, Harriette Pilbeam (so dreamy) and Ruby, along with Charles Sale and Jack Gleeson (not Joffrey) are part of Babaganouj and their track 'Bluff' is all kinds of amazing. By amazing I mean it's actually a beautifully sad Pilbeam-led track that vaults Babaganouj to another level. The vocal work is stronger than anything we've heard from the band before, with Harriette doing some highly impressive work in the second half. I'd say she's showing potential as a strong front for a rock outfit, but she's proven it on 'Bluff'. Great, heartbreaking, though-provoking stuff. (Matt Bond)

I used to know a guy who had an absolute obsession with guitar driven pop from the early to mid-90s, which I guess would have been called ‘alternative’ back in the day. He introduced me to so many unsigned bands that I adored whose names I can’t always remember now, but they all had this great way of mixing together some cute vocals, some punchy guitars and simple solid percussion to create what we would now call super catchy indie pop songs. The reason I mention all of this is because Babaganouj (who have a name I love to say repeatedly) have created this great sound in ‘Bluff’ that reminds me of so many of those bands, but they play in a way that doesn’t sound dated at all. In fact, then or now, a good alternative slash indie pop song is a good song…and this is a good song. (Jo Michelmore)

by The Kite String Tangle

Sometimes things don't come full circle.

Woah, Brisbane music represent. That's three songs in a row. The Sunshine State's capital has expanded on its predominantly rock and roll based roots over the past couple of years and has become quite the hub for exciting new electronic acts, with one of our absolute favourites being Danny Harley aka The Kite String Tangle. Along with errybody else, we had a lot of love last year for the breakout track 'Given The Chance' and it came as no surprise that we loved the follow up 'Arcadia' just as much in 2014. Harley's abilities as a creator of lush, dreamier-than-dreamy and incredibly chilled electronica are without question. And yes, I'm using the British definition of lush, which is 'sexually attractive', or so says Google. Anyway, if mighty fine electronic music could be described as sexually attractive, 'Arcadia' would fit the bill. The Kite String Tangle is already releasing outstanding material, but you can tell the best is yet to come. We're expecting big things over the next couple of years. (Matt Bond)   

If you were to compile a list of ‘new’ names who received a lot of attention this year, you might end up with a fairly long list. If you were to compile a list of ‘new’ names that deserved the attention they received, the list would be a lot shorter. However, one who would make the second list is The Kite String Tangle and his song ‘Arcadia’ is proof of that. There’s a real sense of hope in those synth sounds and a real sense of regret in that percussion and with lyrics like “sometimes things don’t come full circle” I’m thinking both of those feelings are intertwined and on purpose and that’s why TKST deserves all the attention he’s received this year. (Jo Michelmore)

#67. PARIS
by Little Dragon

It's that time to transform,
To come around, I'm changing.

Little Dragon's fourth studio album, Nabuma Rubberband seemed to create a bit of a divide between those in my social circle who have loved these Swedish crazy kids since the days of 'Twice' and their self-titled debut. I can't really tell you why. I fall in the 'love' side of the equation, because Yukimi Nagano and the fellas of Little Dragon put out one of my favourite albums of the whole year. And the track I loved the most was easily 'Paris'. Nagano has become so good at using that voice of hers that it's now like a loaded weapon that's able to fire off a dozen emotions at once in the listener's direction. I'm still debating whether 'Paris' makes me happy-happy or sad-happy. The main thing is, it makes me happy and leaves me still completely in love with with one of my now all-time fave acts, Little Dragon. (Matt Bond) 

by Eliza Hull

Oh, I'll go now,
There's no other way.

It's been a couple of years that we here at IMKOS have been caught under the spell of the talent of Eliza Hull. Her EP from last year; The Ghosts You Never Catch was an absolute pleasure to experience, every track a delight and after that was released all I wanted was more more more. ‘Caught’ is a taste of what is going to be Eliza’s debut LP The Bones Of Us, and if it’s any indication of that album, my patience is going to be tested, because I wanna hear it all, NOW! It’s the wave of excitement in the percussion, the blanket of warmth in her incredible vocal and that little section of hand clapping about three quarters of the way through that I can’t get enough of. All of it addictive, all of it doing the same thing that EP did – I wanna hear more! Please? (Jo Michelmore)

Are you feeling a little down today? Seriously, are you having a bit of a shitty day or you're not feeling that great about yourself or something that's going on? You should listen to Eliza Hull's music. I would recommend this track 'Caught' as an excellent place to start. I hope it has the same effect on you it has on me, which is a totally calming one. All of the gorgeous electronic touches from producer Hayden Calnin and the even more gorgeous vocals from Hull will work wonders on your down mood. And if you're in a good mood, this is going to perk you up even more. It's a stunning track from one of Australia's most undervalued artists. It's also a little preview for Hull's upcoming album, The Bones of Us, which we already know will rock our world. Things to look forward to in 2015? You know that album's on our list. (Matt Bond)

by Our Man In Berlin

It seems nobody likes to hear the truth...

In twenty year’s time, when I talk about how I used to write on this music blog (unless I’m still writing then, which I kind of hope I am, in which case it will be “when I first started writing on this blog”…well, stranger things have happened) there are going to be some bands that I remember and name, because it was writing on this blog that introduced me to them. One of those is going to be Our Man In Berlin, whose sounds I have subsequently fallen totally in love with (and not just because they are named after my favourite city in the world). ‘Flight’ was a surprise and a lesson when I first heard it; a surprise because it wasn’t what I expected and a lesson because never judge a book by its cover and all that. Its sounds kept me on my toes but kept me intrigued, Hayden’s vocal as delicious as ever, the beats pulling me through the soundscape and demanding my attention. My attention is what they got and I declared myself a fully-fledged fan after seeing them live and finding out this wasn’t a trick, these guys were talented. Super talented. And as well as all that, I can’t believe I didn't say this when I reviewed their EP Is It Right? earlier this year - Is It Right? Yes Our Man In Berlin, it more than totally is. (Jo Michelmore)   

I often find myself saying “diversity is the spice of life” every time the It’s My Kind of Scene team get into a debate about what’s hot and what’s not with music because we rarely all agree. Our Man In Berlin is one of those wonderful exceptions to the rule! To be fair to the others, I think I often skew the results because I’m a judgemental bitch (sorry, not sorry). But don’t worry Our Man In Berlin, I’ve cast my judgement on 'Flight' and everything has come up Milhouse. (Katie Langley)

It's no secret we're big fans of WA five-piece, Our Man In Berlin. Not just because we've written a fair bit about them over the past year. If you've listened to their music, you'd be a big fan too so you'd understand why we're big fans. We'd all be big fans. And really, Our Man In Berlin is one group that should have a whole bunch of big fans. 'Flight' was just one of the tracks we had the pleasure of hearing from them in 2014 that had us all agreeing that more love needed to be directed towards Our Man In Berlin. If the criminally underrated Elegantly Wasted-era INXS were taught a thing or two about electronic indie music, I think they'd sound a little bit like Our Man In Berlin. Just not as good. Hayden Mansell on vocal duties certainly has the presence required of such a comparison. No one in the band is quite as creepy as Kirk Pengilly though, but they've only released a debut EP so there's still time. A Facebook stalk shows the band are recording some new tracks. This is exciting news. Have a listen to 'Flight' and get excited with us. (Matt Bond)

#64. RUN
by San Cisco

You say that you'll only live once,
You'll give anything a try.

Was anyone else as surprised as I was when San Cisco popped up out of nowhere and released 'Run'? Just me? Alrighty then, must have missed that memo. Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy to hear new music from San Cisco and 'Run' goes a long way in telling us that we're not going to get any sophomore slump-age from these Fremantle indie rockers. Like a lot of San Cisco's catalogue, 'Run' is a whole lot of fun, good for a boogie and far too easy to singalong with. The clip's a little awkward and not in the way their song 'Awkward' was awkward, because that song wasn't really awkward at all. But that's the view of an old fella. Looking at comments the kids are leaving on the YouTubes, Jordi is now a sex symbol. For those playing at home, Jordi is the dude lead singer. (Matt Bond) 

I can’t believe it was two years ago now that San Cisco first came to the world’s attention with that super catchy little number ‘Awkward’. On one hand it seems like yesterday I was bouncing around my workplace at the time thinking this was the cutest thing ever and on the other hand that seems like a lifetime ago. That’s probably more to do with my perspective than any one else’s, but I digress. The release of ‘Run’ this year proved that you can mix super cute with a few shadows and come up with something just as catchy, the percussion panting and guitar is a little bit creepy but somehow the San Cisco cuteness is retained. I’m not sure how they did that, but they have, so I shouldn’t question it. (Jo Michelmore)

by The Presets

I found myself in the strangest place I've ever known,
While in my mind I try and find a way back to you... 

You can always rely on The Presets to put out a song that will make you want to party. And I don't mean a couple of wines out of the cask on a Friday while listening to sad stories from friends. Party. Like par-tay. Too many pre-drinks before stumbling into a cab, heading out to where the "discos" are in the big city, dancing the night away, making out with a stranger, crowdsurfing, dirty street pies, vomming in a cab and blinding headache/worst hangover of your life up until this point kind of partying. Oh, Presets. You keep me young. (Matt Bond)

Goddamn I was so happy when this song was released. I distinctly remember having that awesome feeling in my throat of wanting to run onto the street and scream “Presets!!!!!! Hell yeah!” or something of the sort. Common sense often prevails and I don’t (often) do that kind of thing, so I didn’t, but when I sat down to type these few words and hit play on ‘Goodbye Future’ again, the same feeling returned. I mean, that feeling of wanting to run into the street, into a cab, into a club, onto a dancefloor, into a hundred beverages later and onto a very bad headache the next day. But then, that happens with a lot of The Presets songs, they’re just one of those bands that I relate to good times, regardless of when or where I hear them. Which means ‘Goodbye Future’ is guaranteed to make me smile every time I hear it, make me want to do all those pre-said things which sometimes I even do and I probably can’t write a better review than that. (Jo Michelmore)

by Hudson and Troop

You say you think about me everyday,
Then you say you're busy and I say, "OK." 

Look, I’m not going to deny it because it’s amazing, the clip for this song was one of my favourite for the year. But I must say this about it. Part of the reason that clip is so amazing is not just the crazy monster, his awesome Auslan interpretation, his fish and chip job, his touching tragic life and his breakdown at the end, part of the reason that clip is so amazing is the exact reason it exists, the song. The pace of those beats and the roaring of the synths create a feeling of urgency and an almost uplifting spirit, while the lyrics beg for attention; “this love it aches for more” are as simultaneously dark and heartbreaking and it's a really special song that can make you feel as inspired as it makes you want to cry, which actually are both really good things. As is the song and the clip. Both really, really good things. (Jo Michelmore)

by Christine and The Queens

But if you say just one word I'll stay with you.

My friend Bella is a hot source for discovering the best new music from around the world. No, you can't have her. She's mine. Anyway, while hanging out in London before an amazing couple of days in Venice (I want you to be jealous... please?), Bella introduced me to Christine and The Queens' track 'Saint Claude' and I've been listening to French dynamo, Heloise Letissier ever since. You don't need to speak French (baguette, croissant) to get all the feels from Letissier's performance. Maybe knowing what she's saying will add context to the English sections. Maybe not. Who knows, I don't speak French and Google Translate can be wrong sometimes. Team the song with one of the year's best music videos and you've essentially got musical perfection. The lady can bust a move. (Matt Bond)

Christine and the Queens first came into my consciousness about midway through this year, when Matt returned from Europe with more than just a souvenir or two (actually, come to think of it, I’m not sure he returned with any souvenirs. You owe me a snow dome Matthew...joking!) and suddenly they appeared in our top 25. Now I was in France last year and while I don’t speak much French I do know one thing about France. They do excellent pop music. They also do excellent crème brulee and champagne, but that’s a different story. Christine and the Queens is more than just a musician, she’s a performance artist and photographer and dancer and singer and probably also a very good champagne drinker too…or is that just my memory of France I’m projecting? Either way, ‘Saint Claude’ is beautiful, kind of like a lot of France itself. No wonder I like this, a lot. (Jo Michelmore)

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