Sunday, 27 December 2015

2015 Scene Awards - EP of the Year


4. Saint Cecilia
by Foo Fighters

There are a select few artists that each of us have that we declare our love for, that we say regardless of what they do or say or play, we will always love them. They can release albums that never see a chart and they can release EPs that sell trillions of copies that you adore as much as the hidden track on some album they released a hundred years ago, but pretty much whatever they do you’ll be a fan. They are bands that see you through thick and thin, who you would love for a thousand years and wait for a thousand more for the chance to catch a glimpse of them on some stage, whether that be in a stadium or in a teeny tiny nightclub is up to you and the artist you’ve chosen. They are the bands that release songs that you play a thousand times over in the car so you know all the words backward. One of those bands for me is this one, a band loved by millions and probably loathed by just as many others. I sit in the ‘love’ camp and won’t apologise for that, but when they release an EP for free and by surprise, that devotion grows a little stronger. Taking themselves back to their straight down the line rock and roll roots, Saint Cecilia was a five track EP that exhaled a breath of guitar driven fresh air, a powerful collection of percussion, gloriously gravelly vocals and loud, simple rock. Simply, Saint Cecilia was a late year release of rock perfection and an indication that no matter how many bones Dave Grohl breaks or how many times he says he and his bandmates are taking a break, the Foo Fighters will never be gone for long. (Jo Michelmore)

3. Venom
by Ella Hooper

It's always darkest before the dawn and Ella Hooper's Venom finds one of our favourites going through some pretty dark days. At the beginning, there's been an ending of the relationship kind and our protagonist sits alone in a park late at night singing to rats. Asking all those questions we laugh at further down the track and also kind of hate ourselves over for asking. The most accurate character assessment of a cheater follows, bolstered by a restrained and melancholic anger bubbling away underneath. A journey of self-discovery, returning to one's roots and healing carries us through to a final note of acceptance that some things just can't be changed. Sure, not everything is carved in stone, but some things will always end the way you probably knew they would no matter what. Venom is an artistic achievement in all areas. Lyrics that read like your new favourite novel, an exploration of new sonic territory that pays off in spades and an emotional performance throughout that will undoubtedly move you and leave a mark on your heart. Whether it's the light trip-hop elements at play in 'Rapeseed' or the ghost-folk vibes of 'Good Wagon', Hooper shines bright. Compelling from start to finish, this one will stay with us forever. Venom promises to be the dark to next year's light, the New Magic EP. The low to the high, from an artist that never fails to impress. (Matt Bond)

Runner-Up: Figurine
by Tired Lion

Rock is dead. Now, I'm not a violent person... but when I read that shitty phrase or someone says it, I kind of want to break something over someone's face. Preferably the person who wrote or said it, but I'm not fussy. Just because the 90s are over and rock ballads aren't sitting at #1 on the charts every week and we went through R'n'B and rap dominance and super pop, EDM, #TayForHottest100 and now Bieber Fever 2.0, it doesn't mean rock is dead. Rock is and will always be there. Because there's always going to be real bands working hard, touring all over and making as much noise as they possibly can. Bands like Tired Lion, who had a stellar 2015 with the finest pure rock release of the year, the Figurine EP. An explosive, five-track ride that you won't soon forget, Figurine is the home of a couple of tracks that you would definitely have heard on triple J this year; 'I Don't Think You Like Me' and 'Suck'. If I don't hear at least one of those on Australia Day, I'll riot. And by that I mean leave a comment somewhere on the internet full of raaage. Well, I'll at least think about doing it. Figurine further establishes what we already knew when we first heard 'I Don't Think You Like Me' and that is Tired Lion aren't just the future of Australian rock, they're the right now. Rock is dead? Love live Tired Lion. (Matt Bond)

WINNER: Only When Flooded Could I Let Go
by Jack Colwell

I love this EP so much, I actually have no idea what to say about it. And I don’t want you to think I’m a little crazy, but maybe I am a little crazy, because I really, really love this EP, in every sense of the word love. And I don’t want to talk about the incredible instrumentation without explaining the way a keyboard can see everything so easily hidden, how a beat can take my breath away and strings can bring the goosebumps so easily. And I don’t know how to explain how important the production is on ‘Don’t Cry Those Tears’ without explaining how important lonely moments in the dark are. And I don’t know how to talk about the diversity of the gloriously gloomy ‘Far From View’ and how it sits effortlessly with the understated uncertainty of ‘C.O.A.T.’ or ‘On With The Show’ without talking about the manic self-assurance of late nights blending into early mornings of self-doubt and insecurity. And I don’t have the words to describe the sound of a voice so perfectly unexpected and so perfectly faultless on ‘Quintilis’ without describing the turmoil of the self-perpetuating flaws of every day. And I don’t want you to think I’m a little crazy, but maybe I am a little crazy. The thing is, when I hear lyrics like “ I know the secrets of the heart, I know the secrets of the mind” I know crazy is not always so lonely, so I learn to appreciate the self-pity, I learn to love the uncomfortable moments and live with the melancholy side by side with a determination and a composure, in the knowledge that every day we all start again and with sounds like those of Jack Colwell, the hardest of every days are also the best. (Jo Michelmore) 

2014 Winner:
Monsters by Thelma Plum
Runner-Up: Little May by Little May

2013 Winner:
Rosie by Thelma Plum
Runner-Up: The Love Club by Lorde

2012 Winner:
Told You So by Cub Sport
Runner-Up: Love Lost In Design by Neon Wolf

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