Friday, 1 May 2015

The Last 5 Years - 20 -11

Lorde, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Azealia Banks and Florence + The Machine!

by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Through the darkness and the light
Some sun has got to rise.

It's music and I love it. It's one of my very favourite songs of 2013 and one of my very favourite songs of ever. It’s despair but it’s relief. It’s like a message from somewhere nice, a reassuring text from someone you haven’t heard form in a long time. It’s like a phone call at 3am, it’s like the warm feeling from a shot of whiskey and the warm comfort from a cup of tea. It’s like a hug from your best friend and a smile from a stranger. It’s all of the rain in winter and all of the sun in summer and it’s all of the broken hearted and all of the sweetest of moments and it’s agony and contentment and it’s desperation and delight. It’s every lesson learnt and all the ones to come and it’s everything I need and nothing I can live without and it’s one of my favourite bands and it’s one of my favourite songs and it’s my sun and your sun and it's six and a half minutes and it’s only a moment in time. But that moment is mine. (Jo Michelmore)

#19. AT HOME
by Crystal Fighters

I left alone. I left the world I was running
To be by your side I was dying
Alone by your side I was flying. 

*Flashback* London, 2011. I'm offered a spare ticket to go see this hot, up and coming band called Crystal Fighters. "I love Crystal Castles," says Matt Bond. "I said Crystal Fighters," says blonde friend. "I love Crystal Castles," says Matt Bond. And around and around we go. But along I went to Shepherd's Bush and the O2 Empire to not see Crystal Castles and instead see Crystal Fighters and I was blown away. The energy in their performance was phenomenal, the crowd was forming fight circles (I'm assuming taking the bands name too literally in combination with their own meth addictions) and I was left in love with my favourite new band. I believe they ended their set with 'At Home' and I had to hook myself up to the nearest wi-fi (McDonald's) to download it straight after the show. The track remains incredibly complex, caught somewhere between happiness and sadness. Content with its lot in life, yet free spirited. Full of energy, but also somewhat defeated. It's also simply good music. 'At Home' is one of those tracks that keeps on getting better with each listen. (Matt Bond)

by Seeker Lover Keeper

 I'd be lying if I did not say
I love you more when I'm missing you

Ah yes, you know those songs that draw you right back into your past, to certain times and places? Seeker Lover Keeper have a way of doing that for me. Probably because I listened to their self-titled album more times than was reasonable for a few months there in 2011. Three of Australia’s most talented songwriters and singers in Holly Throsby, Sarah Blasko and Sally Seltmann formed a group responsible for some of the sweetest, soul-searching, catchy, sometimes heart-breaking and sometimes harrowing tales in the form of twelve songs that provided a real soundtrack for that year for me. There’s a little feeling in my stomach as soon as I hear those piano notes at the start of ‘Even Though I’m A Woman’ that is the same feeling when I heard four years ago, a feeling of bittersweet memory, of moments I loved and others I care not to visit again, but most of all, moments of wishing these three musicians would make Seeker Lover Keeper a thing of the future as well as the past. I’ll be happy to place them in my future soundtrack as well. (Jo Michelmore)

#17. Shake It Out 
by Florence + The Machine

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments. 

At a time when empowering anthems were a dime a dozen, maybe it's a little bit weird that I always found myself perked up by a song that was essentially written to cure a hangover. But if I compare Florence + The Machine's 'Shake It Out' to some of those other "powerful" tracks it's really not a problem... and no, I don't have an alcohol problem. I'm high functioning. What? Released as the first official single from the stunning sophomore LP Ceremonials, 'Shake It Out' would find a special place in the hearts of many Florence fans. With the flawless vocal work of our flame-haired siren, the epic build to the finish and the fantastic imagery in the lyrics it's easy to understand why. Even when shaking off her demons (from a bottle, or not), Florence manages to sneak in some brilliant lines like, "And I am done with my graceless heart, so tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart." Graphic. Beautiful. That's so Florence and it's only a month until we get to hear her third album! (Matt Bond)

#16. 212
by Azealia Banks

I remember when you were 
The young new face but you do like to
Slumber don't you?

You know, I have vague recollections of a night in a club, about three years ago, this song coming on, someone squealing, grabbing me by the hand and dragging me to a dancefloor. The funny part is, I remember that happening more than once that night, because this song was so damn good it got played over and over and over each night for a while there. I loved it, let me say that again, I LOVED it and I wasn’t the only one. Azealia Banks was going to be the ‘next big thing’ and while I dare not ponder why she wasn’t, there’s no denying just how good this single was. Equally as fun as it was angsty, with a clip to match, Azealia recorded a song that still demands I move, still demands every line be heard and rapped along to appropriately and still demands as much attention now as it did on that dancefloor three years ago. (Jo Michelmore)

#15. How Much Does Your Love Cost?
by Thelma Plum

I'm not a soldier, not a fighter
But I will stand my ground. 

Speaking of songs that get better with each listen, here we've got 'How Much Does Your Love Cost?' from Thelma Plum's incredible 2014 EP, Monsters. I have to stop everything I'm doing when it comes on, which is making writing and listening to it an incredibly long process, but I don't care. I could listen to 'HMDYLC?' all day. From the opening cinematic guitars, calling to mind shootout scenes in Westerns or the scores of Tarantino films, to Plum's entrace, full of defiance and an attitude so full of win, you won't find anything to fault throughout the songs three minutes and fifty seconds running time. When it came in at #95 on the last Hottest 100, I thought they must have been running the countdown in reverse order by mistake. This song should have been EVERYWHERE. Oh well, it was for me. (Matt Bond)

#14. DUST
by Little May

When we were young
I watched you come undone

Having Little May appear again on this countdown is going to make us look a little obsessive, but I guess the thing is, if they didn’t write such striking tales and sing such incredible songs, then Matt and I wouldn’t relate to them so well. If those drums weren’t so telling, if the guitars weren’t so dramatic, if the keys weren’t so beautiful and if the voices weren’t so lovely than we wouldn’t have fallen in love with their tales over and over again. If their clips weren’t so tear jerking, I’d probably watch them over and over again too. ‘Dust’ is only one of many we’ve been obsessed about the last couple of years, but with tracks like theirs, that obsession is probably only going to get worse and definitely won’t be going away anytime soon. (Jo Michelmore)

by Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith


And we were lovers, now we can't be friends
fascination ends, here we go again...

Waaaaay back in December 2009 I ran a little countdown of my favourite songs of the year. The #1 song of 2009 on that list was 'Not In Love'. I couldn't get enough of it. I had always said that if Crystal Castles released a song where you could actually understand what they were saying it would be the best. They obliged, even going that extra step further to impress me (clearly) by bringing in The Cure's Robert Smith for vocals. Five years later, I still can't get enough of it. Smith's voice against the darkness of Crystal Castles' brand of electronica is perfection. As one of the most emotive vocalists in music, Smith sells the heartbreak here like only a true professional can. Urgh, I'm going to be stuck listening to this for days. Which is actually a really good thing. So I have nothing to complain about. (Matt Bond)

by Curxes

 A murderous fear that I own
Is a thorn in your voice and your tone

I first heard Curxes almost exactly three years ago and back then I heard something I really, really liked. It was a little bit 80s, a little bit Siousxie Sioux, a little bit electronic, a little bit aggressive and awfully catchy. I really liked it. Now? I actually love it. I love it because I can hear little bits of growth in the things Roberta and Macaulay have released since, but everything that ‘Haunted Gold’ was, it still is. Quickfire beats, manic synths and a killer vocal with a homemade clip more intriguing and captivating than some of the biggest budget clips I’ve seen in the last three years, it’s a song that I’m still so glad I stumbled across because it’s still one of my favourite discoveries of the last five years. Also excited to know that Curxes are now a three piece and will be releasing an album this year. Here’s hoping the rest of the world discovers their magic too. (Jo Michelmore)

#11. ROYALS 
by Lorde

I've never seen a diamond in the flesh
I cut my teeth in wedding rings in the movies. 

When Lorde released 'Royals', it was a game changing moment for the world's music charts. While Miley was twerking it for a bit of attention and Katy Perry was meowing more than roaring, Lorde was fending both off on a 9 week run at the top of the US Billboard Charts. She'd smack down the competition to win the Grammy for Song of the Year. She'd hit #2 on the triple J Hottest 100 (and I'll always say she should have been #1). She'd become the new Queen Bee of the younger generations. When it took out the #1 spot on our 2013 songs of the year countdown, I said something like... "‘Royals’ is the sound of disenfranchised youth who are taking a look at the world around them and realising life isn’t one big party. It’s not all, “first class, up in the sky,” and no one is going to be poppin’ bottles of champagne in your honour anytime soon. This isn’t a song for the 1%, it’s a realistic exploration of how silly the fantasy life that’s thrown in our face through music every day is." It wasn't a breath of fresh air. 'Royals' packed some gale force winds and made Lorde a star. (Matt Bond)

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