Sunday, 6 December 2015

Top 115 Songs of 2015, #70 - 61

Ecca Vandal, Jeremy Neale, Sia + Santigold!

by She Rex

Born this way
I'll stay 'til the day I die.

I don’t even wanna write about this one, it makes me kinda angry. I mean, the song is all crunchy guitars and spooky sounds and I’m sure there’s something a little angry going on, but it’s not that. It’s the fact that they disbanded only a couple of months ago, which means no more of this weird and excellent mix of hip hop and rock, electronica and metal, floral shorts and leather jackets. There are things that aren’t always mixed together so skilfully, but She Rex made it look easy and alas, now no more. If this song review were emoji, I’d include the crying face, the sad face, the thumbs down, the shocked face, the fist, a red exclamation mark, the black square of doom and salsa lady. Because I love that no hands salsa lady. She makes everything better. (Jo Michelmore)

How did I exist without She Rex in my life? Before hearing 'This Way', I merely existed. Now, I've never felt more alive! And life is for the living! Ok, I'm being dramatic, but this is so much fun and I truly do wish I had gotten into She Rex earlier. Nikkita, Darcie, Skarlett and Sarah have been around since 2011, if their Facebook page is to be believed. And why wouldn't it? It's not Wikipedia. How they haven't blown up huge is beyond me. They're the funnest combination of rock and rap since Run DMC and Aerosmith's 'Walk This Way'. But more fun and way cooler. Loving the message of the song and, well, everything about She Rex. And just as I'm finishing writing this, I've seen Jo's blurb above... and checked their Facebook status from September... and they've fucking disbanded, haven't they? I can't say what the actual circumstances are surrounding their break up, but I hope it has nothing to do with the fact they were an all-female group in a male dominated industry. First Go Violets, now She Rex. Do we need to have a greater discussion about why these amazing all-female, Aussie rock band can't get a decent run? (Matt Bond)

by Jeremy Neale ft. Harriette Pilbeam

It's clear to us
That you might have to be my love calling...

Jeremy Neale, Brisbane based warrior of love and all around good guy, unleashed an onslaught of mega jams over the past twelve months. We especially loved it when he let his powers combine with former members of Go Violets, like the time he teamed up with Harriette Pilbeam for 'The Love Calling'. As expected, wackiness ensued and by wackiness I mean amazingness and by amazingness I mean this is a really great song. After living the life of a 60s revivalist for his last bunch of releases, Neale jumped forward a couple of decades and embraced the 80s. Results were, as expected, spectacular. At this rate of evolution, I'm expecting his next batch of the musics to falls somewhere between Ja Rule and Ashanti's 'Always On Time' and Usher's 'U Got It Bad' (Soulpower Remix). (Matt Bond)

If it was 1984, Jeremy Neale would be the world’s greatest new wave artist, who, for those who don’t know, was an 80s genre of music with hair like no other, fashion a little better than most others, whose artists had a relationship with synths like the rest of us have with cake, whose lives were full of attitude so they could write some of the most 80s tunes ever written, even though they weren’t 80s tunes at the time, they were just tunes. Is new wave still alive somewhere in the back streets of London? Does everyone else like cake as much I do? Is Jeremy Neale the re-incarnation of an entire genre of music? See what J Neale does? Makes you dance and ask the big questions in life. He’s very good isn’t he? (Jo Michelmore) 

#68. ALIVE
by Sia

I was born in a thunderstorm
I grew up overnight.

I love my pop music, especially when it's all soaring vocals, oh so shiny production and triumphant messages of self empowerment. Sia's become somewhat of an expert in crafting songs to fit that description. She's got a voice that can't be matched, her music is put together by some of the finest producers in the world and she's a go to person for those 'swing from the chandelier' anthems. What I'm trying to say is, I was always going to love 'Alive'. And then there's the Adele factor. Originally intended for the biggest album of the moment, 25, 'Alive' was co-written by Adele and Sia, with the British superstar eventually passing on the track. You can understand why. This one belonged in the care of Sia. (Matt Bond) 

Sia and her hair prove they can still do no wrong with 'Alive'. I’ve read about a million times that it was co-written by Adele (who didn’t want to sing it herself) and it isn’t written from Sia’s perspective, but is instead her ‘acting’ as a performer, and if I have to read that fact again I might throw my ipad out a window, but that annoying piece of info from a press release isn’t enough to take away from the fact that Sia is a great songwriter with a great voice, probably a little better than a lot of the performers she has pitched songs to over the years, which proves that talent is not about hair. Or something. (Jo Michelmore)

by Jim Lawrie

If I could find a way to make this house a home
If I'm not in your way then leave me on my own.

It’s probably an indication of my personality that I automatically feel a sense of companionship and understanding of a song names 'Antisocialite', which is not to say I'm actually an antisocialite, today,  but more that I wish I was one. Strange thing to want to be, I know, but isn't there something about standing outside of society that you feel a natural attraction to? No? Maybe it's just me. Whatever, norm. Jim Lawrie captures a spirit of freedom, abandonment and rebellion perfectly in his alt-rock-country tune, the clip's vintage footage matching his frustrated and driven lyrics perfectly. Mr Lawrie is yet to disappoint with any of his sounds and ‘Antisocialite’ is no exception. (Jo Michelmore) 

Jim Lawrie's heading out on the 'Antisocialite' single tour in a couple of weeks, so what better time for you, dear reader, to give the track a good 'ole listen, embrace it as one of the best songs of the year and then go and see it performed live! Long sentence, sorry. Lawrie's been working his butt off the past couple of years, getting better and better all the while and 'Antisocialite' could be his best offering yet. It's got Americana soul driving it, best seen in Lawrie's at times frenetic vocals. All you anti-socials out there, get on board the Jim Lawrie train. All you socials, get on board the Jim Lawrie train and go see him on his tour. (Matt Bond)

by Le Pie

So I tell a little lie, lie, lie, lie, lie to you
So you'll look at me the way you do.

Ah, yes. The Pie. Between the sounds of classic teen idols and apathetic grunge stars of the 90s you can find the gorgeous music of Sydney based artist, Le Pie. Her mighty fine debut, 'Secrets' is like a dark spin on tracks released from 60s girl groups, complete with a dreamy spoken word segment lamenting a love that I'm still undecided is lost or not. Le Pie's journey is just getting started and I can't wait to hear what comes next. (Matt Bond) 

First things first, pretty much a guarantee I’m going to like a band that involves pie. Sweet, savoury, mini, family; there’s not a pie invented I don’t like. That being said, Le Pie may not actually have much to do with actual pies, but they have a lot to do with making tasty music I want served on a plate with a huge dash of mood. Guitars all crunchy and a voice all mushy, they are like the perfect mix of sweet and savoury, like a meat pie lunch with a custard tart chaser. The only way to make this better would be if they were named Le Cake. Or Le Pie Cake. Or they kept making songs like this so I could continue to enjoy them…while thinking about pie. And cake. Life wouldn’t get better than that. (Jo Michelmore)

by Little Sleeper

I want you back all the time, I think about you all night
Fuck my life, fuck my life.

It's always refreshing to hear someone being genuinely honest in their lyrics. Little Sleeper doesn't hold back when it comes to revealing those super low moments. Like those nights when you lie in bed thinking about someone who's probably a massive douchehole that's no longer in your life anymore. Nobody talks about that kind of stuff because it might make you look weak, but whatever, everyone does it. It totally happens, that person is totally a douchehole, you're amazing and thanks Little Sleeper for the reminder that other people think the way you do. Maybe this track came along at the perfect moment for me in 2015. Aside from the powerful words, 'Middle of the Night' is also a standout moment from a musical standpoint for Amy Billings (aka Little Sleeper). The best is yet to come from this Gold Coast wonder. (Matt Bond)  

The second appearance by Little Sleeper in this list of songs suggests we like her, lots. There was a lot of good music released this year, way more than 115 songs, so to give spots to the same artist twice is going to suggest some real fandom happening here. I like the raw honesty of Amy’s (AKA Little Sleeper’s) music; her skill as a lyricist and poet is complemented perfectly by her skills with sounds, the irresistible minimalist production is exactly what words like hers need. Completely upfront without being pathetic, she has a way that makes you feel like she knows everything about everything, but nothing at all. It’s a special talent that needs to be heard and I hope to hear more next year. Here’s to three places in next year’s song list! (Jo Michelmore)

#64. RADIO
by Santigold

I'ma run up on the radio
Ambush the scene, oh, and you 'bout to know.

There was a quiet little moment back there in July that passed by so much quicker than it should have, because it should have been met with balloons and parties on the street. Three years since her last release, Santigold quietly placed herself back in the public consciousness by appearing on the soundtrack to something called Paper Towns (this is a music blog, not a movie blog, but I’m sure it’s lovely if you like teen angst/boredom. If it’s not, who really cares? Good soundtrack, hey). Upon listen, I was immediately reminded of how much I like Santigold, all the anthemic wailing and me thinking I can sing in my car “on the radioooooooooo” as well as feeling the need to head nod manically. I can’t wait until she releases her next album, which will hopefully make for some much louder moments in 2016.  Someone get some balloons ready. (Jo Michelmore) 

Wherever Santigold goes, I will follow. Even if that place is the Paper Towns soundtrack. Which, I should admit, is actually quite good... continuing the trend started with the soundtrack to last year's The Fault In Our Stars. I'm assuming it's the same team behind it, given the source material for both films comes from the same author. Paper Towns might not have had the same emotional weight as The Fault In Our Stars, but the soundtrack managed to pack the same punch. It even exceeded its predecessor in the fun department and when Santigold's at the party, you know she's going to be the life of it. 'Radio' is just the right amount of careless fun that announces the imminent return of one of our favourite genre-bending superstars. Santigold's new album 99c is out in 2016. We already know it'll be on of the year's best. P.s. I am a huge fan of teen angst/boredom. (Matt Bond)

by Safia

Said you say, you wanna be alone
But someone loves you more than you know.

I read a review about this song when it was released, which described it as having "tropical sounds" which sounded like something I liked, those keyboards always had me picturing palm trees and mojitos and inflatable donuts in pools. Then I saw the clip a few weeks later, which has a whole bunch of Amish themed imagery and I was so confused, because where were the mojitos in the Amish lifestyle? They don’t do donuts, let alone inflatable style, do they? The lesson in this was that everyone hears things differently, but regardless of whether you think ‘Embracing Me’ should be played under a palm tree or in an awkward community situation, those keyboard sounds at the start of this song are absolutely irreplaceable. Now, someone pass me a modest headscarf and a mojito. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Curxes

You'll always get you want and just what you ask for
Because you ask for nothing more.

A few years ago now, I stumbled across a two piece band from Brighton in the UK who were unlike anything else I was listening to at the time, making incredible sounds with guitars and synths and a vocal that blew my mind. I became a big fan, waiting for each new song to be released, I saw them play while I was on holiday in the UK and they released some of my out-and-out favourite songs over the last few years, all the more favourite because they are largely unknown, a little secret; a little discovery of my own. They welcomed a drummer into the mix this year and their debut album, Valkyrie, released in May, was a vision of everything I have learnt to love about them. They recently announced on their facebook page that some of the members of Curxes were going their separate ways, so here’s hoping this isn’t the end, but only a new beginning. “You always get what you want, what you ask for…” is what Roberta gloriously wails in ‘What You Want’. If I could always get what I wanted, it would be a giant career for a band I still have giant hopes for. (Jo Michelmore)

I would love nothing more than to be standing in a sizeable venue, screaming the chorus to 'What You Want' along with a huge, appreciative crowd and taking in a live performance from Curxes. The UK duo, then trio and now possibly solo effort, have wowed us for almost the entirety of this here blogs' existence. It seems like forever ago that Jo stumbled upon their thrilling brand of blitz-pop. Here we are in 2015, still loving their industrial vibes and the booming, powerhouse vocals of Roberta Fidora. Their journey may or may not be over for now, but if the music gods are kind we'll be hearing something from the members/former members of Curxes in the near future. (Matt Bond)

by Ecca Vandal

Where are the trees with the money?
Where are the trees with the money I can burn?

If I was a betting man, or had some trees with money so I could afford to gamble, I'd put a whole bunch of that money on backing Ecca Vandal as the next big thing. She's a breakout superstar that at this point is just waiting in the wings for her moment to step onto the world stage and, as the kids would say, slay. Her hybrid hip-hop, rock, electronic and pop influenced sounds are fascinating and demand your full attention. 'Father Hu$$la' grabs you from the opening beats and whispered 'hussla', before taking you on one hell of a ride. You can't take your eyes of the video for the song either, with some incredible visuals that only add to the mystery that is Ecca Vandal. Effortlessly cool is the only way to describe it. And you just try getting the breakdown sequence of the track and the video out of your mind. 'Father Hu$$la' falls somewhere between egotistical swagger and important social message, an achievement in itself, which is giving me shades of M.I.A goodness. I'll be keeping an ear out for anything Ecca Vandal related in 2016. She's well worth the investment. (Matt Bond)

We are powering through this countdown! We'll be back Tuesday night with more fun time tunes as we head towards the top 50!

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