Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Top 115 Songs of 2015, #115 - 101

THE TOP 115 SONGS OF 2015:

by Ben Folds and yMusic

We're told we are capable of anything
But you don't seem to think you are capable of anything.

Ben Folds collaborating with a six-piece classical ensemble. What's not to love? 'Capable Of Anything' is all strings, clarinet flourishes and the songwriting finesse we've come to expect from Folds over his storied career. The bouncing piano lines go down a treat too. But back to the songwriting. Folds is really quite good at that and there's a depth to the material here that makes a song with trumpets in it a whole lot sadder with each listen. And songs with trumpets shouldn't be sad. Brass instrumentation should only be used for triumph! What do you mean this is a Ben Folds song and it's kinda sad by default? Whatever, it makes me happy. (Matt Bond)

What a lovely way to start this little countdown of ours. Love him or hate him, there’s a couple of things about Ben Folds that can’t be denied – he’s very good with the music playing and arranging bits and he’s also very good with the word bits. Funny that, because we like to talk about both of those bits on this here blog, unless we’re talking about something else which we sometimes have a tendency to do and mostly we talk with the words, unless we’re talking in emoji, which we also have a tendency to do. There’s a few words in this song that are most important to two little blog writers who are desperately trying to juggle real life and blog life and about to embark on a yearly quest of writing a whole lot of words about a whole lot of songs we love. They’re pretty simple and in this song, they’re pretty sweet – “you are capable of anything…” 115 songs? We can do this! Here’s to the next 114 songs! (Jo Michelmore)  

by Big Smoke

But the sun will shine
If you try a little love.

Have you ever been into one of those dodgy little pubs in rural towns that feel a certain way, have these weird long faded towels on the bar, strange faded black and white pictures of locals and sometimes the Queen hanging lopsided on the walls (like, Elizabeth, the English one, not Madonna, the plastic one), where there’s always an old gentleman sitting somewhere in the dark, judging the locals and mocking the visitors and wishing his life was closer to the start than the end, but certain he had a good time sometime in there. And most definitely in these establishments there is a certain scent that you get nowhere else in the world. Have you been into one of those?  I love visiting those places. Just to remind me of what life really is. Whatever that is. Big Smoke’s ‘Try A Little Love’ reminds of the same thing. What life is, not the pubs. Or both. (Jo Michelmore)

Big Smoke put a big smile on our faces and melted our cold, cold hearts with the track 'Colours' in 2014. They went and did it again in 2015 with 'Try A Little Love'. There's something about the sincerity in Adrian Slattery's voice that should comfortably win over even the biggest jerk. What could have been a trip on the Cheese Express in the hands of lesser performers is avoided all too easily by Big Smoke. They know what they're doing. (Matt Bond)  

by Tempura Nights

Want to feel like I felt that day
Want to be a fantastic stud.

Brisbane's Tempura Nights don't mess around. Even if they've only got a minute and forty-eight seconds, they'll make the most of it. And make the most of it they do on 'Studville'. It's over far too soon, but it's a whole lot of fun while it lasts. After checking out their set at this year's BIGSOUND Live, I'm hoping we'll be hearing a lot more from Alice and Co. in 2016. (Matt Bond) 

If it was twenty years earlier than it is now and I wanted to be cool, I would have burnt a CD and put this song on it and it would have automatically catapulted me from average, slightly overweight girl with bad hair, wearing a floral dress over her jeans into an average, slightly overweight girl with bad hair, wearing a floral dress over jeans who had very, very good taste in music. I would have worn said outfit into a dodgy underground bar that amazing bands looked awkward in, but where they played incredible music very loudly and Tempura Nights would have been playing and I would have talked about them to anyone who would listen and I wouldn’t have even cared whether they were interested or not because I was talking about music, man. Nowadays I look a little more fashionable (most days), am slightly less overweight and see bands like Tempura Nights at events like BIGSOUND, then rant about them online. How good is 2015? (Jo Michelmore)

#112. HIT SONG
by Babaganouj

Gonna write a hit song for you
To a memory I wish was true.

Ah the Nouj! I’m so glad we included them just so I got to say ‘Nouj! Nouj Nouj Nouj!’ which still makes me laugh every single time I say it. Nouj. Nouj. Nouj. Yep, isn’t old. Bets on Matt also including the words ‘Nouj’ in his review, because they’re like cigarettes, once you start smoking its hard to stop. Wait, is that right? I don’t know. I just like the word nouj. And the band. I also like the impressive grungy guitars of ‘Hit Song’ that smash their way out of my headphones. I don’t know if naming a song ‘Hit Song’ is a little pre-emptive, but they made it work and they probably don’t care anyway. After all, their name is Nouj. Say it again. The Nouj! (insert manic laughter here). (Jo Michelmore)  

From one rocking Brisbane band to another, next up is Babaganouj. Or the 'Nouj. Nouj, nouj, nouj. 'Hit Song' is their catchiest track yet with a chorus that you can't help but want to sing along to. Charles Sale keeps on getting better and better and this marks a standout moment for him as lead. Last year was the Harriette led 'Bluff', this year it's Sale's 'Hit Song'. Next year must be Ruby's time to shine. Regardless of who takes the vocal lead in 2016, we'll be happy to hear what comes next from Babaganouj. (Matt Bond) 

by Lanks

A manic joy through your weathered black piercing eyes.

I do not know why, but I could watch the clip for ‘Settle Down’ a thousand times over and find something new and something disturbing about it every single time. It’s because I’m trying to figure out when the dog gets involved, isn’t it? There has to be a dog, right? There’s always a dog with human arms, isn’t there? Subtle but brilliantly, alas, no dogs, I’m not going to say it’s going to change your life, but it’s incredibly addictive, much like the “don’t look down” syndrome, I just can’t help myself, just a little too good to turn from whenever I remember to hit play, which is really much like the song itself - subtle but brilliant. (Jo Michelmore)

#110. LET ME IN
by Arctic Maps

Take some time to dream my love, see if you dream of me
And if it's me your dreaming of, this is where you're meant to be.

Stunning doesn't seem to be strong enough a word to describe Arctic Maps' 'Let Me In'. It's hard to believe it's only the second original track the Melbourne-based electronic duo have released. Quality wise, this is top stuff that finds itself caught smack bang in the middle of heartwarming and heartbreaking. Freya Bennett's performance is enchanting and matched every step of the way by Nathan Power's beats. It's the right kind of dreamy and has me firmly backing Arctic Maps as an emerging Australian act to keep your eyes on over the next couple of months. There's meant to be a debut EP coming soon. If we're in for more tracks like 'Let Me In', it's going to be a treat. (Matt Bond) 

by Bad Pony

No I won't go on living like it'll be the same...

The first track from Bad Pony's Limbo EP is the Sydney five-piece band's best track yet. That's saying something, because they've got a stack of great songs building up and you should do yourself a favour and check out their releases from the past couple of years. 'Michael Moore' will get those feet moving, your hands clapping and maybe even some fist pumping as it hits the home stretch with the repeated lines, "my opinion's better." Perfect for a song called 'Michael Moore', right? Vocals are on point or on fleek or whatever the kids are saying these days and I promise not to say either of those again. (Matt Bond) 

Does Michael Moore know that this song exists? Does anyone know who Michael Moore is anymore? Is Michael Moore still making documentary films or is he flipping burgers in one of the chains he probably tried to take down in the early 00s? Did he do that or was that another guy? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I do know this song of his name is catchier than anything Michael Moore has done this year*. There’s a whole bunch of clicks and sounds and tricks and arrangement in this song and I don’t even know where it’s headed most of the time, but I know I like it all. Is this song even about Michael Moore or some other Michael Moore? Who can say? Bad Pony I guess.

*I don’t actually know what Michael Moore has done this year, so that may not be true. But probably not. (Jo Michelmore)

by Dolo Jones ft. Passerine

 No matter what you say to me, no matter what you do
I can't get away from, can't get away from you.

There’s something really, really fabulous about a simple house tune. They sneak into your consciousness without you really being aware of that they are there and five minutes later you wonder why you’re in such a good mood, before realising you’ve been dancing in your car seat, at your desk, around your workplace, throughout your kitchen, in the gym or if you’re really lucky, on some dancefloor, somewhere. Dolo Jones teamed up with one of our blog faves in Melbourne’s Passerine mid way through this year and created a tune designed to make you happy. Perfect for some sweet summer time moves, I’m so glad we’ve found it again now, so I can spend this summer reminding myself how good the house musics are. (Jo Michelmore)

Passerine and their vocalist Phoebe Dubar are a driving force behind Australia's nu-disco movement, delivering dance revelations in their own right throughout 2015. We'll get to one of those a bit further into the countdown (spoiler alert), but first we're going to focus on their collaboration with emerging producer Dolo Jones. 'Can't Give You Up' is the perfect vehicle for Dubar's vocals, practically demanding you get up and dance. I haven't seen the movie or done any research into Studio 54, but I totally know that if it was still around it would be playing this song. Go and put on your finest pair of sparkly gold hot pants and shake your groove thing. I promise I won't say 'shake your groove thing' again either. (Matt Bond) 

by Manor

Can you see me?
Can you hear me talking at you?

What's cooler than being cool? Being Manor. Duh. From the opening percussion and lightly psychedelic guitar 'Can You Hear Me Talking At You' establishes itself as Manor's most effortlessly chill track yet. When Caitlin Duff enters with the lines, "you've journeyed far across the universe, you've seen more than most," the song hits dreamy heights you might not have expected, but you certainly won't forget. Well worth the many repeated listens its guaranteed to produce. (Matt Bond)

If this countdown was purely for song titles of the year, I’d be voting for this one to be possibly number one in the list. Top five at least. ‘Can You Hear Me Talking At You’ is one of the greatest sentences one can possibly say, statement and question, anger and observation, I just love the passive aggressive tone of throwing those words together, let alone saying or singing them to someone. Manor managed to make a great song to match the title, the submissive antagonism weaving its way through almost five minutes of guitar and drums that remind me of all the great carefree angsty blues that I’ve always loved. (Jo Michelmore)

by Gena Rose Bruce

I love him, I really do
But it's best he don't know the whole truth.

If it was 1995, people would say Gena Rose Bruce was trying to be Jewel. Which is not meant to be an insult. Time does strange things to people’s perception of music and although she wasn’t exactly Adele, at that time in the mid-90s, Jewel wrote some of the sweetest, most heart wrenching pop songs with her simple guitar and honest lyrics. She was very, very good. That’s why she was popular, people like stories of love and loss and what is and what could have been in a parallel universe. So in a parallel universe, Gena Rose Bruce is played on all the radios and people have started naming their children Gena in tribute to the girl who knows how to strum a guitar and pull on their perceptions of love and relationships and right and wrong. All the things the actual Gena does in this universe on ‘Cheated’. What I’m trying to say is, in any universe or time, she’s alright, isn’t she? (Jo Michelmore) 

It's no secret we've had a lot of love for Australia's alt-country artists over the years. With many of them, we wish they'd get a whole lot more attention and Gena Rose Bruce totally falls into that category. She's brilliant. That voice, those lyrics, the simple and incredibly effective instrumentation on her tracks. Case in point, the song 'Cheated' which came out a little earlier in the year. It's country at its best and that means it's full of pain and longing and heartache and bad choices. Yep, someone screwed up bad and now they've got to pay for it. We, the listeners. get to benefit from the sad experience because this track is all kinds of gorgeous. And seriously... Gena's voice? Can't get enough of it. (Matt Bond)

by Major Leagues

It's fine to run sometimes
Even if you're gone for some time.

We were lucky enough to see Major Leagues play a couple of months back at the relaunch of The Foundry in Brisbane and they're a lot of fun. After loving their track 'Endless Drain' last year, it was seeing their live performance of 'Someone Sometime' that got me majorly in league with the local legends. That was a terrible line, but I make no apologies. Brisbane has a proud history of producing bands that can deliver the garage sound like no one else could and Major Leagues fly that flag proudly on 'Someone Sometime'. It's a whole lot of fun and so is the video. Top marks all around and I've got a feeling they're only going to get better. (Matt Bond)

 Let us clear something up at the very beginning. When you search for Major Leagues on the internets, beware that they are not Major Lazer. I don’t mind that ‘Lean On’ song, but the Lazer Major types should never have hooked up with Ellie Goulding. No one should hook up with Ellie Goulding, but that’s a whole other post. Whatever happened to the K-Tizzle Sizzle? Also, Major Leagues have nothing to do with baseball, I don’t think. Or maybe they do, I don’t know. They are also not an American pop punk band from New Jersey. It’s all about the plural, you see. I’m sure Major League are quite good in their own way, like Bon Jovi, but they’re not featuring on our 115 songs list. Maybe next year guys. These are all the things that appeared on google before the super cute guitar pop sounds of Major Leagues popped up. When you hear ‘Someone Sometime’ you’ll be glad I saved you the couple of minutes of wasted googling, because it’s a really, really good little song. Much better than anything Lazer, League or Bon Jovi are doing right now. (Jo Michelmore) 

 #104. WALK AWAY
by Eliza Hull

If it's momentary I'll just breathe it in...

I feel like we’ve been banging on about Eliza Hull on this blog forever, so I’m really glad we’re now banging on about her in the list of our fave songs of 2015. As sweet and subtle as ever, her music is a pure joy to listen to, her vocal perfectly divine and the subdued sounds of ‘Walk Away’ delicately draw you in, making you want to bang on about her to your fellow blogger, your housemates, friends, next door neighbours, the chick at the supermarket and that guy that walks to work down your street every morning at 7.15. That guy looks so cool, I’m not really sure why he keeps walking away. (Jo Michelmore)

Longtime reader? Then hopefully you're all over the dreamy goodness that Melbourne's Eliza Hull has consistently delivered over the years. This is the fourth year in a row Hull has appeared on our end of year countdown, this time with 'Walk Away' from her debut album The Bones of Us. Its got all of the elements we've come to love about her music. Vocal work that is both haunting and ethereal, words that paint vivid imagery in your mind and expertly produced electronic beats. If you do yourself one favour today, go and give The Bones of Us a listen. It's chock full of gems like 'Walk Away'. (Matt Bond) 

#103. WE DRINK
by James Chatburn x Frank Nitt

All I have left is my really good friends
All around I feel the world collapse upon itself.

Yes. A million times yes. James Chatburn could do no wrong this year. Whether it was the banging solo jams he kept on throwing out into the world or his work with The Septembers, I've been loving it all. Judging by the thousands of Soundcloud listens he's racked up, I can't be the only one. Like, a lot of them are mine. But I don't have THAT much time on my hands. Or do I? 'We Drink' lives up to its title. It makes me want to go out, down a couple of beverages and dance to some slow jams. Preferably slow jams by James Chatburn. Radio stations across the nation should really be embracing music like this. Smooth vocals, some party starting verses from Frank Nitt and some totally not out of place Spanish guitars will leave you wanting a whole lot more. Lucky you can listen to it over and over again, am I right? (Matt Bond) 

Twenty, fifteen, even ten years ago Australian music was not necessarily known for its great hip hop and/or r’n’b, which is a shame really, because I’m sure there’s been some amazing Australian artists desperate to make a name for themselves in that time. Thankfully, the times they have a changed and artists like James Chatburn are proof of what this little country of ours has to offer in the world of soul/electronica/hip hop/blues and all the other genre names you wanna throw around when you’re talking about someone this talented. And yes, once you listen to ‘We Drink’, you will want to be talking about James Chatburn. (Jo Michelmore)

by Little Sleeper 

I don't care if she's here, I don't care if they're there
You should be mine.

“I only want you ‘cause I can’t have you” Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I’m going to have to find a lot of words over the next 100 or so songs, but right now there aren’t many more words that come to mind when listening to a song like ‘Golden Fleece’. So many subtle words, so much power, so much emotion and so much truth, this all shouldn’t be allowed in one little song. It hurts, it’s on purpose, and it’s remarkable, exactly as those words describe. When this countdown is done, this is one I’ll be coming back to, for that little bit of hurt and that little bit of remarkable, over and over and over again. (Jo Michelmore) 

If you were to ask me right now who to keep an eye on in 2016, I'd say Little Sleeper. Well, you should be listening to the music already out there that's been released by Amy Billings and her new moniker Little Sleeper. Music like 'Golden Fleece' that's deserving of analysis and a write up far better than what I can muster this late at night. Music like 'Golden Fleece' that speaks to shared experiences many listeners can relate to. Music like 'Golden Fleece' that features the lyrics of one of our favourite emerging songwriters. With triple J already backing her, 2016 should see Little Sleeper reach the larger audience her music deserves. Artists to watch in 2016? Little Sleeper is on the list, right at the top. (Matt Bond) 

by Vance Joy

Everything is fine
When your head's resting next to mine.

Good 'ole Vance-y Joy-pants. This song's a bit alright, isn't it? Taylor Swift must be loving it sick on her 1989 tour. Have those two hooked up yet? Is she still with Calvin Harris? Are Swifty and Vance-y going to do a duet. That could be good. Right, 'Fire and The Flood'. All kinds of catchy. Vance Joy can do no wrong right now. (Matt Bond) 

I saw Vance Joy at a festival once. The girl that was standing next to me tried to make me her friend by slurring to me about the beautiful day and how much she loved that song by Ph-Lance Jeeeeoooooeeeyyy. She slobbered something incomprehensible at one of her friends’ midway through the set and then proceeded to force him to the ground so she could hike herself up on his shoulders during ‘Riptide’. While atop said friend, she proceeded to take most of her clothes off while Vance sweetly sung his sugary lyrics on stage not more than 10 metres in front of her and not more than a metre from me. I’m not saying this is unacceptable behaviour, especially at a festival, it’s something we’ve all done seen before, but during Vance Joy? Which brings us to the number 101 song on our countdown and its catchy “anywhere I go there you are”. Not sure that’s something Mr Joy would be wishing about my little festival friend. Or maybe he would. Who can say? (Jo Michelmore)

See you tomorrow for #100 - #91! 

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