Saturday, 5 December 2015

Top 115 Songs of 2015, #80 - 71


The Weeknd, The Septembers, Tired Lion + Florence and The Machine!




#80. THE HILLS
by The Weeknd





I only call you when it's half past five
The only time that I'll be by your side. 


A little something about me... I don't listen to the radio very much. Sure, I listen to the Hottest 100 on 'Straya Day and B105 Hit 105 in Brisbane have these great R'n'B Fridays that I tune into when I can. Other than that, there's not a lot of radio in my life. It's not because I'm too cool for commercial tunes or anything like that. I'm really not (love you, T-baby Swift!). What I can't stand is the chat from the presenters. Like, the dumbest chat in the world must be on Australian FM radio. Nova is pretty much the Jerry Springer show in the morning. Gross. Anyway, what does this have to do with The Weeknd and 'The Hills'? It means I was a bit late getting around to hearing this one and if I had been listening to literally any radio station I would have heard it. Even the j's are backing the Canadian artist born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye. Which also isn't surprising, because they've been doing that for a while now. You can understand the universal appeal 'The Hills' has going for it. It's cooler than cool, the beats are what some would call 'sick' and once it's stuck in your head there's no getting it out. Some of the lyrics are pretty blurgh, but that doesn't take too much away from a song that spent six weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Weeknd became one of the defining artists of 2015 and 'The Hills' one of the year's most outstanding songs. I only wish I had heard it sooner. (Matt Bond)


Here’s one of those ones I find totally fascinating, because while this one is all drugs and sex and bad decisions and “fucking two bitches ‘fore I saw you”, it’s also been played on high rotation on commercial radio for the last couple of months, right in between Swift and One Direction, who are known more for their fashion choices than their ‘lifestyle’ choices. How does a song like this become so commonly popular, with the same people who would ridicule all these decisions made by The Weeknd should they appear on an episode of their favourite current affairs show? It’s those catchy hip hop beats I guess. I don’t think it’s a concept I’ll ever understand or a question I’ll ever really be able to answer, but what I’d really like to know is, what does your average commercial radio listener think The Weeknd is talking about when he’s “(censored) someone at half past five” or “when I’m (censor)ed up that’s the real me babe”? Suggestions welcome. Your guess is as good as mine.  (Jo Michelmore) 


#79. SHIP TO WRECK
by Florence + The Machine





And oh, my love remind me, what was it that I said?
I can't help but pull the earth around me to make my bed. 


The absolute beautiful simplicity of the words of the chorus of Florence and her Machine's second single from How Big How Blue How Beautiful are more than enough for me, but apparently there’s a whole song here I need to write about. It's everything Florence + The Machine have always been; dramatic, sweet, insular, loud and fabulous. Seeing it live only a few weeks ago was a live music highlight of my year and hearing it in my headphones as I write this reminds me of everything I love about everything Florence. And then I hear that chorus again and get a little reflective and get stuck in a Florence-a-thon which isn’t a bad place to get stuck. Except I’ve got 78 other songs to write about yet. Next! (Jo Michelmore)


"What's with the long face, do you want more?" I'll always want to hear more from Florence and her machine. With the release of the LP How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful we found Ms Welch reflecting on some pretty crappy times. Nothing new from one of the UK's biggest music exports. But their was more of a light at the end of the tunnel this time around. It wasn't all dramatic imagery of death, war and the notion that life was slowly dragging our leading lady down. Nope, this time you could actually believe that things were looking up, with the album ending in the most positive fashion yet for Florence + The Machine. For the most part, gone too was the supposedly overbearing (to some, not I) orchestration of Ceremonials. With a more grounded sound, the music became far more relatable and you only have to listen to 'Ship To Wreck' to understand why. A more classic British rock sound with one of the most powerful voices in the world. How you could not love this, I'll never understand. (Matt Bond)


#78. STALLIN'
by Airling





And when you wanna call, don't call
How can you love me from the pay phone? 


At the start of the year, I wasn't expecting the smoothest R'n'B jam to come out of Brisbane, let alone from a young, blonde (occasionally pink) haired singer who goes by the name of Airling. Here at the end of the year I have no hesitation in saying 'Stallin' is just that. It's smooth. So smooth. Smoother than that extra smooth peanut butter I ate too much of over the past twelve months. And that was pretty fucking smooth. If this was the 90s, Airling would be sitting alongside TLC at the top of the charts, maybe even collaborating with them on what would be the greatest slowjam of all time. I'm dying just thinking of it. Anyway, it's only up and up for Airling going forward. If there's a new EP or a debut LP coming in 2016, you know it's going to rock your world. I think I saw an Instagram video of Airling and Thelma Plum doing some writing together. Now if they were to do a song together I may actually die for real. (Matt Bond)


Ah little Airling. How good is she? Not only is she a regular feature of the Instagram account of Thelma Plum’s, she also writes and records some pretty sweet tunes. I saw her at BIGSOUND one year, she was very good and very popular, which makes me wonder why more people don’t know of her glorious sounds. Must be all the self-important types at BIGSOUND, busy looking at themselves and each other instead of the talents of people like Hannah, AKA Airling. The important part here are those beats and Airling’s glorious vocal, the sweet, simple synths and mid-tempo grooves that make you dance in weird ways in the dark. Unless you’re a self-important type. But how good is she? (Jo Michelmore)


#77. HANGING UPSIDE DOWN
by Lime Cordiale





Hang me up the right way
Right way round. 


A couple of songs back I might have said a little something about me not listening to radio. Do you know what would make me listen to the radio a bit more? Hearing songs like 'Hanging Upside Down' getting some play. It's got a great vibe, it's super catchy, you can sing along to it. Are you not entertained? Did you read that in the Gladiator voice? Ten points to you if you did. Lime Cordiale have been churning out hits I'd love to be hearing more over the airwaves and 'Hanging Upside Down' could be their best effort yet. Here's to the Sydney outfit getting the attention they deserve in 2016. I'd even listen to those wankers on the Nova breakfast show if I got to hear more music like this. (Matt Bond) 


#76. WORK
by Saux x The Septembers





And I saw the world, yeah, when my spirit died
I started to cry... 


There’s a comment on the Soundcloud account of Saux x The Septembers that sums up in four words what I’m about to say in 100 or so words. Suave and saucy (no pun intended) the slow groove is a little too catchy to cope with, the vocals as perfect as they get, there’s a sass about this track that is undeniable, it’s a rainy day and a sweet summer afternoon all at once and as that comment said so simply “this is actually brilliant guys”. Yep dear commenter, that exactly. (Jo Michelmore)  


We heard a fair bit from one half of The Septembers throughout 2015. That would be James Chatburn and his slew of excellent jams, slow or otherwise. I was hoping we'd get to hear the gorgeous tones of Donna Arendse too and in a sign that dreams do indeed come true, The Septembers released 'Work', a collaboration with Dutch producer, Saux. Chatburn and Arendse's voices fit so perfectly together, complimenting each other in every aspect. I'm pretty much convinced they could sing anything together and I'd be on board. But they haven't given me a chance to find that out as yet, because everything they've released is 10/10 goodness, with 'Work' being no exception. More. Please and thank you. (Matt Bond) 


#75. MAYFAIR
by Winters End





And I wonder what it's like, when you look into my eyes
You see nothing there at all. 


Sister/brother duo, Winters End are no strangers to our songs of the year countdown. Last year they made the cut with the first song of theirs we heard, 'Walls'. Marissa and Christopher Pinto outdid themselves in 2015 with the single 'Mayfair', a quality track that grows on you more and more with each listen. And you're going to want to listen to it a lot. Marissa's voice stands out with just the right amount of emotion bubbling under the surface, while the rolling drums and guitar lines seal the deal on this song truly being one of the year's best. As a side note, anytime I play Monopoly from now on and get Mayfair and people have to pay me money, I'll sing to them that they're leaving me with no other choice to make. (Matt Bond)


Winters End are made up of a brother sister duo, Chris and Marissa Pinto, which I think is an achievement in itself. My brothers and I have such varying tastes in music I’m not sure what kind of sounds our band would make, should we start a band. It wouldn’t be pretty, I don’t think. And unless either of them have been hiding some secret musical skills from me, it might just be an acapella group. An acapella group that argues more than harmonises. Still, Chris and Marissa seem to have worked something out, this song being some evidence of that. Those drums at the beginning are scarily solid and the surprising vocal of Marissa’s keeps me intrigued the entire way through. Somehow both dramatic and light, Mayfair is such a great piece of music I really hope Winters End keep making music like it so they can appear in our countdown next year, which would then make it countdown appearances three years in a row. (Jo Michelmore)


#74. SUCK
by Tired Lion





Oh, no, I cannot do this without you
Want to suck me up and throw me away. 


Please remind yourself it’s not 1995, that was twenty years ago, but thankfully that's now long enough to make everything that sounded cool then sound cool again now, which means bands like Tired Lion have appeared this year sounding oh so indie and oh so grungy, that one would be forgiven for going to a Tired Lion gig wearing doc martens, a floral skater dress, ripped jeans and flannel checks. Wait. What are the kids wearing these days? Everything that was old is new again, but new in a good way, not new in an “it’s been done before way”. Tired Lion are making their own brand of rock, albeit so very 90s inspired, but they’re very good at it. So much so I’m almost convinced it’s never been done before. (Jo Michelmore)


Perth is a strong contender for being the home of Australia's best emerging rock acts. A hard point to argue when you've got Tired Lion on your team. Sophie Hopes, Matt Tanner, Ethan Darnell and Nick Vasey stormed through 2015 with tracks from their second EP, Figurine. For my money (and I paid for it, so literally for my money) that EP was the best pure rock release of the year. It was the collection of songs I was desperately waiting for, speaking to the person that's still hiding somewhere inside of me that wishes he could have been cool enough to become a rock star like Hopes and the lads. Because they are rock stars, in every single way. After seeing them twice in Brisbane, I can say they 100% do not suck. Or blow. 'Suck' breezes by with blazing guitars and Hopes' contrasting sweet and soaring vocals. Best Australian rock act in 2015? You can't beat Tired Lion. (Matt Bond)


#73. PERFECT PICTURE
by I Know Leopard





Darling I saw you laughing
Never I, was the same. 


I wish hadn’t, but I’ll be honest and say I actually forgot about this little track from Sydney’s I Know Leopard, which is really embarrassing now that I’ve pressed play again and realised how very good they are. It’s just so, incredibly, perfectly happy. They describe themselves as making 70s inspired tunes, but I beg to differ, because the 70s were responsible for Justin Bieber’s parents and look where they've got us. Not everything from the 70s were good. No, I have not jumped on the Bieber loving bandwagon. But I digress. Everything about I Know Leopard is everything Bieber is not. Good. More in 2016 please Leopard friends! Thanking you in advance. (Jo Michelmore)


#72. UNDERFLOW
by Emma Louise





And we miss each other in the dark
Like ships in the night. 


You know just when Matt and I had almost finalised the songs we wanted to appear in this long list of songs, I received a message from Matt that said something along the lines of “people won’t stop releasing amazing music…like, fuck off Emma Louise!” which, you know, was a total compliment to Emma Louise because let’s face it, this song of hers is amazing and couldn’t possibly be ignored in a wrap up of our favourite songs of the year. It’s gloriously obvious, smooth and an exceptional addition to the already impressive catalogue of one of our faves. Don’t fuck off Emma Louise, we like you far too much. (Jo Michelmore)


All of the feels. When you listen to Emma Louise's music, you're going to get all of the feels. We learned this way back when with songs like '1000 Sundowns' and, well, everything on her debut Vs Head Vs Heart. 'Underflow', which previews Louise's sophomore album Supercry (due early 2016) doesn't buck the trend of providing you with an all-inclusive 'feels' delight. It's a tale of love being sent all the way across the seas, with the bulk of the emotional weight resting solely on Emma's stunning voice, which I really wasn't expecting to hear in 2015. It was just *BAM* single dropped, listen and love. Listen and love. What else do I need to say? (Matt Bond)


#71. ONE IN A MILLION
by Jessie Frye





We can't count the stars, but we know
Who we are.



Jessie Frye is one of our favourite people. Not only can she craft a mighty fine pop/rock tune, but we're convinced she's actually a bonafide superhero. If you need something to support that theory, you only need to check out the clip for 'One In A Million'. But back to the crafting of mighty fine tunes bit. 'One In A Million' works its way into your head and refuses to budge. This is a good thing. A very good thing. Frye gets to show off her impressive vocal range, while also playing up her strong pop sensibilities. With any luck, Jessie will be breaking out of Texas over the next year and taking on the world. We already know she's enough of a badass to handle anything the world can throw at her. Again, if you need something to support that theory, check out the clip for 'One In A Million'. Jessie Frye ain't the lady to mess with. (Matt Bond)


Every time she has appeared in our top 25 I remember to think, who is this Jessie Frye and how did Matt even find her? And why hasn’t someone else found her? Like, hello people who play music on radio stations and you over there, this is Jessie Frye! She sings these super catchy part pop, part kind of rock, part kind of awesome songs and she makes words like million sound like mill-yun and it’s super cute and she’s probably one in a million. Sorry, had to do that. But it’s true and I’m hoping she keeps making music so more people start asking; “who is this Jessie Frye?” so I can answer “I have no idea but she’s really, really good.” (Jo Michelmore) 


Like 2015, this countdown is going way too fast. Time flies when you're having fun, right? See you tomorrow for #70 - #61!
  

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