Thursday, 10 December 2015

Top 115 Songs of 2015, #40 - 31

Meg Mac, Golden Features, Christine and The Queens + Kita Alexander!

by Kita Alexander

Would you still dance with me
If you could get my heart for free?

Wonder teen, Kita Alexander has the brightest of futures ahead of her. With just one song, she was able to secure the services of Empire of the Sun, one of Sia's producers and the management behind Angus and Julia Stone and Lana Del Rey. She's been touted as the next big thing, will without a doubt place in the upcoming triple J Hottest 100 and you're likely to see her pop up all over the world over the next twelve months. That song was 'My Own Way', cool in the way that Alexander seems perfectly in control, yet without a care in the world. If this is as good as Kita Alexander is upon her debut, she deserves all of the amazing things coming her way. (Matt Bond) 

by Karl S. Williams

Is this pain what I needed
To awaken my mind from its sleeping?

I was walking past a pub once, and as I wandered by I pointed and spoke out loud the words that were written on the blackboard out the front. Those words were “Karl S Williams”. As I said them, Karl S Williams walked around the corner, nodded and said “hey” before walking in the door of said pub. I was dumbfounded, I literally LOL-ed and at that exact moment I decided I loved Karl S Williams. That moment and then this moment, this sweet, sweet tale of love, those gentle strings pulling at every emotion, the piano bringing in all the emotions and Karl’s incredible vocal pleading with me to listen closer, over and over. That and Thelma in the clip. No need to ask Karl, from that first amusing “hey” outside that pub through to all the words you sing. Yes. Love. (Jo Michelmore) 

Karl S Williams, musical fool. And what a romantic musical fool he's proven himself to be with 'Is This Love?' From the beautiful orchestration and soaring (and I mean SOARING) vocals to Williams' 'do you want me by your side' confused questioning throughout, the answer to the question in the title becomes quite obvious. At least from the viewpoint of the listener. So, is it love that Williams is feeling? Totally. I mean, who wouldn't fall in love with Thelma Plum? Is there a happy ending though? The video leans towards no and it gets super awkward. Thelma... how could you? :,-( There's even solo reflecting by the water to close things out. Oh, the feels. Damn it all! Karl S Williams, musical genius. (Matt Bond)  

by Avec Sans

And your heart, your heart, your heart
Bears no name to hold me now, to resonate.

Well this is just nifty, isn't it? London's Avec Sans have been steadily releasing moments of electronic intrigue over the past couple of years, with their cover of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill' and the tracks 'All Of Time', 'Shiver' and 'Hold On' earning a ton of play around these parts. But nothing quite compares to their 2015 release, 'Resonate'. "The sky falls away so they can't see, and the light holds it's place inside of me." As soon as it hits the chorus, 'Resonate' blows up in the most satisfying way. I love when music is described as 'doom pop' and throw electronic in front of that and I reckon it fits this song to a T. Alice Fox and Jack St. James make up Avec Sans. They don't just have amazing names, they're also pretty brilliant at that whole making music thing. Here's to so much more in 2016! (Matt Bond)

Avec Sans have got themselves some nice web hype and internet loving over the last couple of years and I’m super happy to have provided a teeny bit of that hype, because my love of their brand of electronic pop is a super big love. ‘Resonate’ is just like their catalogue of awesome-ness; full of beats you can’t help moving to, Alice Fox’s voice is captivating and Jack St James holds it all together with a style and honesty that makes them shine. The web hype tells me they’re playing SXSW next year, so I’m really looking forward to that web hype becoming more than just hype in 2016. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Florence + The Machine

Suddenly I'm overcome, dissolving like the setting sun
Like a boat into oblivion, Cause you're driving me away.

I didn’t always love Florence + The Machine. It took me a while to understand what all that wailing was about, but now I get it, it’s pretty much a given that Florence can do no wrong with that powerful set of lungs of hers. As for The Machine, does anyone know who they exactly are? What a great gig that would be, travelling the world, playing festivals and stages to millions of adoring fans, but no one really knowing who you are, so being a tourist at every stop would be super easy. What am I doing with my life? Why aren’t I a member of The Machine? Flo and I would be great friends. Instead, I’m just sitting here listening to ‘Queen Of Peace’ over and over again, writing words about how good Florence is. Who am I kidding? I don’t need the writing words bit to be an excuse to do that, I’d be listening over and over again anyway. (Jo Michelmore)

by Christine and The Queens ft. Tunji Ige

It's a blur
The pulsing is so loud, surely we'd feel better
If we had something to fight for.

Wait a minute... this isn't in French. Now we can't act all fancy. We weren't going to get away with 'fancy' anyway, but allow me to distract you from that thought with the incredibly smooth and dreamy tones of Christine and The Queens. A determined pop performance against hip hop flavoured beats allows Christine and The Queens' Heloise Letissier to show once more why she is one of the very best music makers in the world right now. Letissier and Philadelphia' Tunji Ige both exude a restrained anger, waiting for the right moment or cause to explode. Dramatic and fantastic in equal measure, 'No Harm Is Done' might not be as 'fancy' as Christine and The Queens' French cuts, but that doesn't make it any less sophisticated. C'est magnifique! (Matt Bond)  

If you think we put Christine and her Queens back in because we needed the fancy again, you’d be mistaken. There’s not even one bit of French in this song, but her slight accent every now and then sure makes English sound better than I’ve ever spoken it. ‘No Harm Is Done’ was released as part of her debut album release in the US, which probably explains the appearance of Tunje Inge rapping in the middle there, because you know, Americans love rap, maybe, or something like that. The real question here is, who are The Queens? What a great gig that would be, travelling the world with no one really knowing who you are etc. What am I doing with my life? Just sitting here lisening to Christine and the Queens over and over again, writing words about how good they are. Wait, de ja vu? That's French. Just checking you’re reading everything I write. But I don’t need the writing words to be an excuse to listen to songs like this. I’ll be listening over and over again anyway. Does anyone see what I’ve just done here? (Jo Michelmore) 

by Torres

There's freedom to and freedom from
Freedom to run, from everyone.

Torres has been releasing some impressive music in the last few years, the type of things that you may not hear everyone in the world talking about, but the type of music that deserves the all of the quiet attention it has been receiving, and more. ‘Sprinter’, the title track from her third album is painfully brilliant, agreeably unsettling, melancholy without being depressing and thought provoking without being forceful. Its spaces and restrained sounds within make it an outstanding song, one that deserves so much more than just quiet attention. (Jo Michelmore)  

On Torres' Facebook page, her influences contains only one name. Detective Olivia Benson. If that's not enough to make you automatically love her, may I suggest giving her music a listen? Because it's brilliant. Torres, also going by her birth name Mackenzie Scott, released her sophomore LP Sprinter to critical fanfare earlier in the year. It was one of the first albums of 2015 I truly fell for, with some of the most breathtaking lyrical moments of the year and alternative spins on classic Americana sounds. The standout moment would be the title track, 'Sprinter'. Following in the thematic spirit of last year's 'New Skin', 'Sprinter' speaks to all those beaten down by the daily grind. It's one of those 'the struggle is real' kinda tunes, but in a literal sense... not like those bullshit Instagram posts. You grow up and you're tired all the time and nobody tells you that you can't go back to those simple days that went by too fast. Songwriting gold, straight out of Nashville, Tennessee. (Matt Bond)

by Disclosure ft. Lorde

Pretty girls don't know the things that I know
Walk my way, I'll share the things that she won't.

Like most fourteen year olds, I am obsessed with Lorde and desperate to hear the follow up to her groundbreaking debut, Pure Heroine. In the meantime I'll take whatever comes my way. Whether it be a song or two on a Hunger Games soundtrack or a team up with some English electronic dudes that are pretty great, but I don't go out of my way to listen to. Unless Lorde is on one of their songs. I'll throw people out of my way and push them down some stairs to get to that. Because it has Lorde, and as I've often heard throughout my life, the Lorde is my saviour. SAVE ME, LORDE. Like most fourteen year olds, I am also prone to emotional outbursts when it comes to my idols. You should have seen me at the Taylor Swift concert. Oy. Right, I should be talking about 'Magnets'. Like a piece of metal, it's got some forces working that are pulling me right into it. And the video is fire. And the comments on it about Lorde selling out and getting all sexual are lame-o. Girlfriend is 19, let her live a little. So she macks out with an older dude and then kills him for being a cheating tool. We've all been there once or twice. Right? Stop the hypocrisy, people. Just stop. (Matt Bond)

There was a cheesy pop song released in the early 00s that had a lyric in it that would bring me close to tears every time I heard it. I'm not going to tell you what song it was, that will reveal far too much about my personality. However, that brings me to the concept of how strange it is that sometimes you hear little bits of unexpected songs that affect you. While Disclosure and Lorde do a really good job of making music together, there’s a lyric in ‘Magnets’ that has struck a chord (get it?) with me, that I really adore. But it's sung by Lorde and what would she know? Every time I hear it I think “get out of my head” and “you’re like a teenager, what would you even know?” but you know, music is transcendent and important and all that, so sometimes it’s better to just get lost in songs the way you want to and have a cry without question. Shut up. I won't be judged and I won't tell you what the lyric is, because that will reveal far too much about my personality, but it’s so very true; they don’t know the things that I know. (Jo Michelmore)

by Missy Elliott ft. Pharrell Williams

Got a new idea, let me switch it
Man, I'm so futuristic.

There is a track in this countdown that makes me so (insert swear word)-ing happy that it’s in here. Because it has been a long, long, LOOOONG wait for something new from Ms Missy Elliot. The last time she released something substantial of her own, this little blog didn’t exist and the last time we saw her she was doing everything about a bazillion tiomes better than Katy Perry during Missy Elliot’s Katy Perry’s halftime performance at the Superbowl. A return like this could have been a disaster, except of course, it couldn’t, because it’s Missy and let’s face it, she’s the best. Like, I mean it. The. Best. 'WTF' is the best. Like, I mean it. The. Best. End. (Jo Michelmore)

I have been hanging out for another Missy Elliott one time exclusive for what feels like an eternity. Years had come and gone without a proper return from the undisputed Queen of Hip Hop and we were all poorer for it. Poorer, I say! No one else can do it quite like 'Misdeameanor', she is force of nature designed to get your body moving with the finest of beats and the fiercest of rap attitudes. Alright, alright... I'm a total fan girl. What of it? When she stole the show joined Katy Perry for a medley of Missy delights during the Super Bowl, everyone must have known there would be no better time than now for Elliott to make her long awaited comeback. I knew it, you knew it and Pharrell Williams knew it... which is why the former (?) N.E.R.D front encouraged her to get her badonk-a-donk-donk back in the studio. And thus 'WTF (Where They From)' was born. Really, what more could we have asked for? This was a return to form that exceeded the ridiculously huge expectations placed upon it. Missy and Pharrell both proved they have plenty of gas in the tank and that they can keep it funky fresh dressed (to impress at any party). What comes next is anyone's guess, but in this moment the original bad gal was back in the game. Thank you, Missy! (Matt Bond)

#32. NO ONE
by Golden Features ft. Thelma Plum

We were only young
We were falling in love.

Everything is better with Thelma Plum. It's something we've been saying for a couple of years now and we keep being able to do it because she keeps proving it true. Need the perfect featured vocalist for your hot new electronic jam? Call in the Plum. Old mate, Golden Features did just that. Yep, Golden Features, all enigmatic and gold mask wearing, is one of the most exciting producers to emerge in the past couple of years. Who's behind the mask? Or is it what's behind the mask? Maybe he's a robot? Maybe this is where the robots begin their assimilation into human society... taking us over from within, one dance hit at a time. Maybe I've recently watched Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Oh well, if this is the kind of sound that will lead the human race into doom, I'm all for it. What? The siren sounds of Thelma Plum and the delicious beats of Golden Features. You'd be all for it too. (Matt Bond)

Well isn’t this a special group of ten songs? One way or another you knew we’d get more than one reference to Thelma Plum in this here countdown and while we’ve been quiet so far, bam! Twice in one ten. Both features to other artists, but we’ll take what we can get, really. When’s that album Thelma? I digress. Golden Features was a secret for a long time, no one actually knowing who he was, but I’ve since done some research (hello facebook) and found out he is Tom Stell, which actually doesn’t mean anything to me, but one things for sure, he’s quite talented isn’t he? Busy producing his own work instead of others seems to have paid off for him, if ‘No One’ is any indication, its rapid beats are a perfect accessory to Thelma’s magnificent vocal. Whoever you are Tom and whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Meg Mac

I get lost in the world in a day
All I'm saying, you get trapped in the world in a day.

Meg Mac. Matt and I have a joke about her being from Sydney. Which isn't funny in itself, but I don't need to explain our jokes to you, he'll do a good enough job of that himself. Meg Mac has already been named a bunch of things by people other than Matt and I, places like JJJ, Rolling Stone and the like, so an appearance in our countdown probably doesn't mean much, but at least we have more to say about her than Nova. Anyway, the important part here is how good this song is; part soul, part pop, it feels like a gospel church service, can I hear an amen? I've never been to a gospel church service. I have been to Sydney though. You know something about Sydney? That's where Meg Mac is from. Amen. (Jo Michelmore)

Meg Mac. She's from Sydney, you know? While that might be the best a daytime Nova presenter can come up with after playing 'Never Be', you feel like maybe the song left him so speechless... astounded... mystified... that the best he could do was acknowledge that such a talent is one of Australia's own. Which really shouldn't be a surprise either, AUS music is the best. After killing it in the 2014 Hottest 100 (and deservedly so), the Mac found herself one of the country's most celebrated artists. And that took her all over the world, sharing her beautiful music with a diverse and much appreciative audience. Keeping hard at work, we were treated to the new single 'Never Be', arguably the best outing yet from this soulful stunner. Everything Mac has released so far has been excellent, so it could turn into quite the debate, but yeah, for my money 'Never Be' is where it's at. A piano driven pop gem that once more shows the depth and power of Meg Mac's voice. And it provides a mighty singalong too. There's nothing better than a good singalong. 2014 and 2015 were big for Meg Mac. 2016 will likely be massive. Bring it on! (Matt Bond) 

There's only 30 songs left to go... and we'll be back with the #30 - #21 on Saturday!

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