Monday, 14 December 2015

Top 115 Songs of 2015, #10 - 1

Montaigne, Jack Colwell, Ngaiire + Little May!

#10. M.O.B (Money Over Bitches)
by Tkay Maidza

And you I will find
Even if I waste the rest of me.

We kick off our top ten songs of 2015 with the 2014 champion, Tkay Maidza! She started the year with 'M.O.B', our favourite rap release of the year. Like Maidza herself, the track has an infectious energy that makes you want to shake it off or drop it low or whatever moves it is the kids are busting out at the discotheque these days. Something about a whip or a nae, I dunno. Whatever, 'M.O.B' will make you want to dance it out. Maidza's worldwide fan-base has grown and grown over the past twelve months and 'M.O.B' has played a huge part in that. While you might automatically start comparing a track that stands for 'Money Over Bitches' to, oh I don't know, Rihanna's 'Bitch Better Have My Money' and start wondering why everyone's hating on bitches and making bank, the two tracks probably differ just a liiiittle bit thematically. 'M.O.B' was written by Maidza as a letter to her future self and discusses all of the things she hopes to achieve. She chooses hard work in the pursuit of her goals and we've already seen how that's paying off for her. The world is taking notice of the brightest up and coming rapper on the planet and if new single 'Ghost' is any indication, she's going to use that focused work ethic and be working with some of the most incredible collaborators to make her dreams come true. At the end of 2016, I imagine we'll be saying, "that Tkay Maidza reign just won't let up." (Matt Bond)

One of my favourite music moments this year happened in my car, which isn’t surprising, considering how much music I listen to in my car, but this one took me by surprise, which made it all that much better. There I was, casually driving the mean streets of my 'burb, probably on a trip to somewhere as dull as the supermarket, or a bakery (my love of cake only comes second to my love of this artist) when I flicked through the radio and, probably trying to avoid Puth or Trainor, I stumbled across some beats I recognised. A voice that I know so well, because I like it so much and how can you not recognise Australia’s greatest rapper when you hear it? Big call? I’m happy to make it. Tkay Maidza has given a boost to Australian hip hop that it needed, taking it from being something lingering on the edge of popularity to right in the middle of commercial radio land which is where I found her in my car and I was so excited to find her there, because let's face it, that's not a bad place to be. Her career is just at the beginning and all those things I said earlier in this countdown about the future of Kendrik Lamar? One day I’ll be talking about Tkay being as that important to Australian hip hop. Big call? I’m happy to make it. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Courtney Barnett

Give me all your money and I'll make some origami honey
I think you're a joke, but I don't find you very funny.

Well clearly that Grammy nomination won’t mean much anymore now she’s made it to our songs of the year list. Come on Courts, top ten’s pretty good, right? Yes well, we decided these songs long before any noms for that little golden statue came along, you just all remember that, alright? She can pretty much do no wrong and while that’s been attributed to some other artists on this blog, I’m just really, really happy I live in a time when artists who can do no wrong can sing about broken hearts and stuff and sell billions of albums while other artists who can do no wrong like Courtney Barnett can sell millions of albums sing about washing their heads with turpentine and cyanide and stuff. I smile. These are very good times. (Jo Michelmore)

I get that Courtney Barnett might not be to everyone's tastes, and that's fine, you don't have to like everyone. But some of the responses to Barnett taking out the j Award for Album of the Year were an absolute joke. Maybe my thoughts on the matter have something to do with me being a mega fan of Barnett's songwriting, the delivery of her lines and the hard work she's put in to building a career as an independent artist. Maybe it has something to do with songs like 'Pedestrian at Best' being the bees knees (which is a good thing, right?). It's a lyrical goldmine and the guitar driving everything along makes me want to jump up and down with gleeee. It's a track so critical; of Barnett and of the way artists are built up and then torn down. I'm confused about what irony is because of Alanis Morissette's absolute failure to properly address what it is in one of her songs from way back, but isn't what's going on in 'Pedestrian at Best' and the response to her j Award win fitting of the bill? I don't know about you and where you stand when it comes to the music of Courtney Barnett, but I'm a big fan and the fact that she likely doesn't give a shit about what anyone thinks about her music makes me love her even more. The video is pretty much the only time I've loved clowns too. There's just something about sad clowns that I love. (Matt Bond)

by Gang of Youths

There's no way tonight, as far as I know
That heaven will take me, so I'm staggering home.

How awesome has it been to see the rise and rise of Gang of Youths in 2015? A packed to capacity showcase at BIGSOUND Live, a huge national tour (with an even bigger one scheduled for 2016) and the release of their breakthrough debut album The Positions made up just a few of their successes. The latter one, that debut album, is one that many music lovers will be cherishing for a long, long time. There are pure moments of devastation, excitement, heartbreak and joy (or you could also use the emotions from that Inside Out movie) and it's the joy that shines through on 'Magnolia'. Yeah, even in the bits where vocalist Dave Le'aupepe is all like, I'm wasted and I'll kick your butt. So much joy. So little time. But you'll have all the time in the world to listen to 'Magnolia' over and over again. It's the sound of a stadium rock band in the making, and, with any luck Australia's next great musical export. It's easy to get distracted from all that previously mentioned joy when it comes to the music of 'Magnolia', but like all of the Gang of Youths' tracks, it's deeper than you'd expect and you'll ask questions about the narrator's status as an alcoholic, but the music keeps things above board on the emotional spectrum. Josh Harris' accompanying clip is outstanding too, with Le'aupepe and the rest of the band providing insight into the energy you can experience at a Gang of Youths live show. And you should make sure you get to one of those shows next year. Get 'yo tix now thnx. (Matt Bond)

When you question everything, when you are unsure of it all, when you think you have all the answers, sometimes those are the moments that you realise that there are people who have already questioned all the things, who are probably still unsure of it all, but they are the people who are the best to consult with in those moments of doubt. Those consultations don’t have to be intense, they won’t have all the answers you’re looking for, but they’ll certainly know how to make you think a little differently and walk with a little more swag. Sometimes those consultations come with the press of play on songs like ‘Magnolia’ and sometimes those songs are some of the most precious sounds that you’ll ever hear. Those words "there's no way tonight, as far as I know, that heaven will take me" are so bittersweet, so honest and so very life affirming, I just wanna fist pump or high five someone every time I hear them. The glory of failure, the splendour of being the lowest of the low, the freedom of misery and the wonderful, wonderful journey from it, Gang of Youths have captured it all in a way I never thought possible. I’m not sure how things were before ‘Magnolia’, but I know things have been so much better with it. (Jo Michelmore)

#7. HOME
by Little May

You're keeping me behind you
All I wanna do is find you.

One of the things I’ve always loved about this blog project of Matt and mine, is our freedom and ability to write about music we love, not just what a PR company has emailed us or what happens to be trending on your social media of choice, or what is number one or what someone has recommended and wants us to write about. Whether that be music written by people in faraway countries, recorded in world famous studios by artists loved by millions, or music written on lounge room floors in houses similar to our own, recorded in bedrooms by someone who could live next door, everything we write about is something we like, not just something. Our words mean something to us because they are written with a passion for things we can't live without. While Little May are starting to fall into the ‘loved by millions’ category, the theme about everything we write is the same; astounding voices, brilliant musicians writing incredible tales in intense ways about situations that one of us has been in, or one of us relates to, or one of us understands, or both of us just really want a dance to. ‘Home’ meets so many descriptions, but the most important part is the first bit – this blog is about writing about music we love. This band, this song, this one - we love. (Jo Michelmore)

Little May, Little May, Little May... what would a year be now without hearing new music from you? It would be a sad, sad year. That's what kind of year it would be. Ok, I might be able to get through 2016 because I still can't stop listening to their incredible debut album, For The Company. Emotionally charged and both exhilirating and ugly cry inducing, the album stands as one of the finest debuts we've ever had the pleasure of hearing. Or just like, one of the finest albums we've ever had the pleasure of hearing in general. 'Home' was our first taste of For The Company and released as the LP's first single in June. The vocal lead is taken by Hannah Field, with Liz Drummond and Annie Hamilton backing her up to create the best harmonies in the business. I know, I know... sibling harmonies are supposed to be perfect, but don't think I didn't watch Kylie and Dannii on the X Factor a couple of weeks ago. Nothing beats Little May in the harmonising department. Anyway, here we have a song about getting home and all it makes me want to do is jump on a plane to anywhere and see the whole world and THEN come home. And maybe that came into it when Little May recorded it over in New York. They have been out seeing the world, touring and exploring and stuff. Which is going to be a recurring thing for Little May now. Heading off and heading home. We'll be looking forward to those times they come back home and come to Brisbane and play one of their brilliant shows. And of course, we'll be looking forward to hearing what comes next. Even if we have to wait a little bit to hear it (newmusicin2016pleasethankyou). (Matt Bond) 

by Little May

And I can fight this with my hands but my head won't let me
You're still here.

Oh, hey... it's Little May. So nice to see you again so soon. Now, as discussed in the last write up, a couple of the tracks on Little May's debut For The Company could be best described as ugly cry inducing. For the most part, I was talking about this track right here, 'Seven Hours'. I feel like every listen involves Little May subtly cutting my chest, ripping my heart out and stomping on it on the floor repeatedly. How can someone even do that in a subtle manner? I don't know, ask Little May because apparently they can do it. I must be a sucker for punishment because I've been stuck listening to the song on repeat for far too long. There's no getting away from it. Hannah Field's calm demeanour belies the all too relatable pain behind the words and, once again, those Little May harmonies are just too perfect. Field, Drummond and Hamilton have confidently claimed their place among the world's best lyricists with lines dripping with confusion and heartache like, "and I can fight this with my hands but my head won't let me." Urgh... they do sad songs so very, very well. May they never change. Now, to pick up the smashed pieces of my heart and listen to 'Seven Hours' again. (Matt Bond)

There you are again, music, where you’ve always been, where you always sit, waiting for a moment, watching for when I will least expect you. That place where a minute feels like forever and forever takes only a minute. Everything about you is everything you are, and every time I think everything is ok you take my face in your hands and all of everything that is wrong and everything that is right is here in front of us. There you are, my friend, speaking to me in ways that only you can, about things only you understand, the secrets that we keep are ours and ours alone, the stories that you tell mean so many things to so many people but I trust you like I always have and you’re the only one in the entire world who hasn’t betrayed me yet. There you go, making me see things again and again, making me face the things no one else can, over and over and yet I still adore you, unlike anyone, unlike anything else. You make yourself appear in the strangest of times and places, but here you are, with a band that has become one of my favourites over the past couple of years, and there you are, making yourself so present in those angelic voices, in those notes I never knew I needed, before these talented ladies put them all together. Music, my friend, you are all there ever needs to be when you make yourself known with a band like Little May. (Jo Michelmore)

by Jack Colwell

I know the secrets of the heart
I know the secrets of the mind.

I’ve been desperately searching for a word to describe Jack Colwell to include in these words of mine, but I can’t seem to find the exact one. How does one word describe those magical moments when he released his EP Only When Flooded Could I Let Go back in August, and it was one of those special ones that don't come along everyday, one of those groups of songs that became my entire life for a little while. I listened to absolutely nothing else; in my car, in my house, in my headphones on the street, at the gym, in my bedroom and my bathroom and my kitchen, I would turn the volume up at any occasion I could get away with it and I would get completely lost, totally consumed by the world of J Colwell in all of its weird and wonderful glory. Because it’s just so easy to get lost in a talent so incredible, sounds so exceptional and a voice so strangely divine. He can say don’t cry those tears all he likes but sometimes those tears just go hand in hand with the goose bumps that his type of extraordinary music creates. And there it is, exactly the word I've been looking for, extraordinary. Jack Colwell, your talent is something above and beyond what is expected. It's extraordinary. And more. (Jo Michelmore)

The first time I heard a snippet of 'Don't Cry Those Tears' was during the intro to Jack Colwell's 'Far From View' music video last year. At the time I thought something along the lines of, "well doesn't that sound like an intriguing little gem of a song," and hoped that in time we'd get to hear the full track. I'm here to tell you, boys and girls that dreams do come true, because Colwell would release 'Don't Cry Those Tears' in 2015 as a preview to his stunning EP, Only When Flooded Could I Let Go. It's such an amazing EP. Enough to make you sigh and whisper things like, "life is for the living," while you stare out at the ocean from a cliff on an overcast day and reflect on all that life has offered you and all that you still have left to do. And you're wearing the finest haute couture, because it will make the moment more dramatic and if anyone is making music that deserves you to be dressed up while listening to it, it's Jack Colwell. No basic bitches allowed. Colwell's deep, booming voice begging you not to cry those tears while he's gone will give you all the warm and fuzzy feels, 'specially when he admits that he's going to cry anyway and then it's just a big cry fest all around. This list so far is chock full of Australian talent on the verge of big things and Jack is another one of our faves poised for a massive 2016. We can't wait to see him when he stops by Brisbane for the first time in support of Sarah Blasko. What a combo. COLLABORATE TOGETHER. *cough* Excuse me. I just get excited about things. Watch this space and any other space Jack Colwell is inhabiting. The best is yet to come. (Matt Bond)

by Tired Lion

Now you're left here by yourself
Alone and no one else.

Remember these names... Sophie Hopes, Matt Tanner, Ethan Darnell and Nick Vasey. They are, of course, the members of Perth's Tired Lion and it's because of them that the future of Australian rock is looking as blindingly bright as it does today. You should probably get some shades, it's that bright. I was lucky enough to see them play twice this year, at BIGSOUND Live and when their own tour brought them to Brisbane. Both times I was blown away by how tight their performances were, the energy they bring to the stage and the insane quality of their sound. I picked up their Figurine EP on the day of release, and that purchase was pretty much decided the day I first heard its lead single 'I Don't Think You Like Me'. Gloriously 90s, but without the apathy of so many great songs from that decade. Sure, Hopes doesn't seem too sad-pants about someone not liking/loving her, but maybe that's just because she's a badass who ain't gonna waste no time on a hater. Or a scrub. And we all know what a scrub is... a guy that thinks he's fly/also known as a busta. I'm sorry (I'm not), 115 songs is a lot of songs to come up with words for and I've loved Tired Lion so much in 2015 that I've written things about them quite a bit and don't want to repeat it all. Tanner's guitar riffs are electrifying, Hopes is my favourite new front for a rock outfit and if a debut album is coming in 2016, my excitement will know no bounds. I don't just like Tired Lion, I love them. (Matt Bond)  

Damn, you know what? I just fucking love rock music. Excuse that language children, but we speak of rock, so it needs that. Sometimes I think that there is nothing in the world better than guitars and drums and noise. Then I remember cake and I realise I’ve got to stop making such outlandish statements, but you know what? I fucking love rock music. I love that feeling of YES that runs up your spine when some crunchy chords play and I love the need to nod one’s head manically every time a stick hits the skins and I really love the ability to scream frantically and pass it off as singing, possibly while jumping a little and passing it off as dancing. Tired Lion have managed to make me do all of those things and they have managed to give me hope for the future of rock, because with bands like these guys playing grungy songs like this it means I’ll be declaring that I fucking love rock music until I hit that retirement village a hundred years from now. (Jo Michelmore)

#3. ONCE
by Ngaiire

And if we did it a million, and if we did for love
We didn't do it enough.

Matt and I saw Ngaiire at BIGSOUND earlier this year. She was probably the one I was looking forward to seeing the most and when I talk about my live music highlights of the year, those thirty or so minutes are right there at the top of the list. That gig was spectacular. All energy, all dance, all vibe, all everything a gig should be, half an hour was nowhere near enough. All I’ve had since are the dreams of when she will release her second album Blastoma and this fabulous track from that (hopefully soon to be released) album. A smooth slow laid back song, like the best of all loves, constantly teasing and never quite reaching a break, making you want more and more of her voice sailing over those oh so warm beats; it’s beyond magnificent, it’s beyond brilliant, it’s an addiction I can’t quite feed enough and it’s a feeling I don’t want to end, just like when Matt and I left that BIGSOUND gig and we both said we wanted more. Please Ngaiire, we need that album and we need it soon. And when we get it, I’m pretty sure we’re never going to want it to end either. (Jo Michelmore)

Ngaiire, beautiful Queen of Neo-Soul. Continuing the trend of outdoing what has come before with each new release, Ngaiire unveiled her best song yet this year. 'Once'. I could make jokes about how there's no possible way you'll only be listening to this track once, but Ngaiire deserves better. 'Once' is like a conversation with your best friend, intimate details of your lives are shared. Hopes, dreams, successes and failures. And afterwards, any worries you may have built up are gone and a weight has been dropped from your shoulders. You wish you could always feel like you do in this moment. And you're going to wish you felt like you do when you listen to 'Once' all the time. So the solution to this is obvious. You will now listen to 'Once' all the time. Or, whenever you're feeling down, whatever. Only a teaser of what will make up Ngaiire's upcoming album Blastoma, 'Once' shows that Ngaiire has so much more to offer the music world. Another of this year's BIGSOUND Live acts that absolutely killed it, we got to hear a couple of other tunes that will make up Blastoma and they are just as soulful, fierce and spellbinding as this one right here. We are but Ngaiire's subjects. Bow down to the #QUEEN. (Matt Bond)   

by Jeremy Neale ft. Phoebe Imhoff

And if you want to bring me down, well, I don't
I'm cautious 'bout the way I move around town.

Once upon a time I was able to read heaps of music blogs in the pursuit of excellent new music. Then, in a perfectly cliched manner, life got in the way and now I barely have enough time in the week to write for my own blog. But I used to love this one called #1 Hits From Another Planet. The writer was basically like, in a perfect world (insert song here) would be a super-dooper-mega-smash hit on the charts. If this was a perfect world 'Hold On Together', from Jeremy Neale and featuring former Go Violet/current Stevie vocalist Phoebe Imhoff, would be the biggest song in the world of ever. But then, using Neale's own deep and complex method of thinking (best viewed on his Facebook page), in a perfect world there might not be a need for a song like 'Hold On Together' to exist. For there would be nobody trying to bring anyone down, no need to be cautious about the way one moves around town. No need to question why the two of you are the ones that hold it together, baby... Oooooo... ooh ooh. I guess I'll just have to be content with this version of the world, which isn't so bad when you think about it, because you've got these talented artists from Brisbane making music you know you're going to be listening to and loving for the rest of your life. Keep on keeping on, Jeremy Neale. You're the best. (Matt Bond)

So, I’ve decided I’m going to write a script for a blockbuster film. It’s going to be an action-musical-rom-com-drama and it’s going to star Jeremy Neale as a superhero named...Neremy Jeale who saves the world from the evil bad guy named Boredom. So, like, the opening scene involves a character named Batthew Mond (played by...Matthew Bond) sitting in his car, stuck in traffic on the way to work, regretting all the decisions he made the previous night when that evil no good rascal Boredom suddenly lands on the bonnet and forces Batthew to reach for the radio, where he starts to, gasp, turn on NOVA before BAM! Neremy Jeale appears out of nowhere, punching boredom in the face with his own superpower, which is the power of music. Neremy bursts into song, crooning to a girl named Phoebe Imhoff in the next car (played by, ahem, me of course, unless Pheobe beats me at auditions, which I’ll be holding..this may get confusing). They sing so sweetly to each other all about holding on and thank goodness, Batthew Mond regrets nothing, is delivered to work safely, with a catchy little tune stuck in his head, the commercial radio station turned off and that evil jerk Boredom kept at bay for another day. And so on and so forth for about two hours. It’ll be a blockbuster and Jeremy Neale and Imhoff will get an Oscar AND a Grammy (as will Matt and I, obviously) and the world will be a better place for it. Where are you Hollywood? Why have you not found me yet???? Oh, and Jeremy Neale too. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Montaigne

You're asking me, to be kind to you
Well, let me tell you something, dear
That kind of game takes two.

And so here we are, we have finally arrived at number one in this long, long list of our favourite songs of 2015. To be honest, if we were to really collate a list of our favourites, it would probably be two, three, four times as many songs as this, but Matt and I don’t get paid to write this stuff, this blog is a labour of love so 115 will have to do for this year. It is with so much pleasure that I get to write about Montaigne, a girl from Sydney who personifies all the things we both love about music. She has, in such a short time, managed to make us dance and cry at the same time, she played one of my favourite gigs of the year and this track is everything we like about all of our favourite songs; bold and bright, confident without arrogance, open and honest and timid and self-assured, all at the same time. ‘Clip My Wings’ seems so appropriate to be sitting at this spot, a song about resilience and self-assurance, an anthem for standing up for what you believe in, every single instrument adding to the tale in such important ways, her voice just the crown sitting on top of a song fit for a king. Fit for a queen. For everybody else and everybody in between. It’s a song that I will be listening to years from now and will still be finding new things to love about it and it’s a song that means a lot to someone who has spent countless hours sitting at a laptop writing thousands of words, for the genuine love of it all. “Fantastically, I live in a dream, reality cannot be what it seems” is what she sings, but when reality means experiencing and writing about songs like this, songs that provide the escapes that make everything so ok, and if reality means hearing artists like Montaigne, reality isn’t such a bad place to be. (Jo Michelmore) 

So here we are, our number one song of 2015 and the longest running number one ever on our weekly Top 25. It's a song that reached for soaring heights and made us dream such big, beautiful dreams. A song from a talent that won't be denied, a singer and songwriter that at the beginning of her career is already at the top of her game. A 'game' that she will undoubtedly redefine over the next ten, twenty, thirty years even. Pushing boundaries, exploring new soundscapes and delighting music lovers the world over. Her name is Montaigne, the song is 'Clip My Wings'. It's the best kind of thrill; hitting spectacular highs and flying low in an applause worthy show of defiance. No punches are pulled throughout and it places you firmly in Montaigne/Jessica Cerro's corner. It comes from a place of well considered thought and a desire to hold destiny in one's own hands. There aren't enough plaudits that can be thrown in its direction. There is only love. So much love. And a desire to hear so much more from Montaigne. 2015 was an outstanding year for music, with so many songs making us excited for what 2016 will bring. But no song brought the excitement quite like this one, the 2015 Song of the Year. The song is 'Clip My Wings', her name is Montaigne.  (Matt Bond) 

2015 Winner:
Montaigne - 'Clip My Wings'
Runner Up: Jeremy Neale ft. Phoebe Imhoff - 'Hold On Together'

2014 Winner:
Tkay Maidza - 'U-Huh'
Runner Up: Thelma Plum - 'How Much Does Your Love Cost?'

2013 Winner:
Lorde - 'Royals'
Runner Up: Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams - Get Lucky

2012 Winner:
Texas Tea - 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No)'
Runner Up: Azealia Banks ft. Lazy Jay - '212'

2011 Winner:
Gotye ft. Kimbra - 'Somebody That I Used To Know' 
Runner Up: Kimbra - 'Cameo Lover'

2010 Winner:
Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith - 'Not In Love'
Runner Up: M.I.A - 'XXXO'

And that's the Top 115 Songs of 2015 done! Thanks for reading and we'll be back sooner or later with the rest of the 2015 Scene Awards...


  1. Hey guys - loved reading these posts, I found a whole heap of sweet jams in here so cheers! Just wondering whether you heard Sufjan Stevens' album this year - especially the track 'Fourth of July' i thought would be right up here! Thanks again xoxo

    1. Thank you so much for checking out the countdown! I've only heard good things about Sufjan Steven's new album, so I'll definitely give it a listen today. Thanks again!


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