Friday, 4 December 2015

Top 115 Songs of 2015, #90 - 81

Gin Wigmore, Oh Wonder, The Paper Kites + Christine and The Queens!

by The Paper Kites

I don't want to love you, I want to learn you
But I'd love to know you well.

What's that sound? Oh... that's just the sound of your heart breaking. Yes. That's what it sounds like. Shhh. Shhh. Let it happen. The other sound (and the cause of said heart breakage) is likely The Paper Kites' 'A Silent Cause'. It's the oldest story in the book. Boy meet girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Girl has to move away. Boy remembers girl saying something about how all the people she knows are dying from a silent cause, which may or may not be their quiet desperation. Boy realises his own quiet desperation is in fact killing him too. Boy's heart breaks. Girl's heart breaks. Everyone is sad. And you wouldn't want it any other way. Stunning work from one of Australia's finest acts. (Matt Bond)

My love of lyrics is well documented, so it’s pretty much a no brainer that I love the little tale that The Paper Kites tell in this super saccharine sweet little tune. I love the little tale of love and the life and I love the feeling in my guts when front man Sam Bentley sings that line about people dying from the silent cause, but it’s the lump in the back of my throat that really hits it all home, at the “thought that I was different when you looked at me, but this quiet desperation is killing me too” When you put all those words with such a modest little guitar, well, oh my goodness, some songs are just divine aren’t they? (Jo Michelmore)

by Sarah Belkner

This is why the rain comes down
Washes out everything, makes us feel like humans again.

I used to hate how YouTube thought it had the right to just automatically move onto another video once the one I had chosen to watch ended. Rude. Don't try to tell me how to live my life, application I pay nothing for and benefit from immensely. Anyway, I did hate that. Until I was watching a Jack Colwell clip one day and got up to... I don't know, make a sandwich or something and that song finished and then this song right here, 'Humans' started playing. It was exciting. Right from the start I was in l-o-v-e love. After questioning if Tori Amos had a little something new out, I made my way back to the laptop and saw the name Sarah Belkner. I didn't know who Sarah was at the time, but I sure do now. And she is brilliant. 'Humans' is the perfect showcase for her talents as a songwriter, vocalist and artist. She excels in all aspects of her performance. If you have the time to listen to her 2015 EP, also named Humans, it's well worth the investment. (Matt Bond) 

by Velociraptor

Hey, the world is not a race
Still I don't want to be left, behind...

So I’m clearly not the only one who remembers their Commonwealth bank dollarmite account from childhood. Whatever happened to that cash? Surely I had like 25 bucks in there at some stage. Is that still building interest? Am I a millionaire? Do they still have those things for the kids these days or do you just get a credit card in grade one now? Do the kids even know what cash is anymore? It’s just numbers on a magical card you wave at machines, isn’t it? If I had a dollar for every member of Velociraptor, I’d have 14 bucks and if I was in grade one and that was in my dollarmite account, I’d have thought I was rich. Now the only part of me that’s rich are my ears, filled with songs like this one from Velociraptor. How the times have changed. Anyone got fourteen bucks I can borrow? (Jo Michelmore)

While I may have lost count of how many people are actually in Velociraptor, I will never lose my love for the Brisbane collective. Could you ever really not love a band that finds inspiration in the way so many of us were introduced to money and banking and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia? *insert single tear, yet happy face here. I think there might actually be fifteen members of the band though and now I'm thinking they're more cult-like. Think Polyphonic Spree. No white robes, just skinny jeans. Don't think I don't see you kids around town in your skinny jeans. (Matt Bond)  

by The Grates

Do you want to light it up, yeah
In the sand dunes?

Patience can be a virtue, or she can be the lead singer of The Grates and pretty much the raddest person in all of the musics. True story. The return of Patience and John Patterson has been well reported on over the past twelve months. As has the idea that The Grates' fourth studio album Dream Team could very well be their best to date. Joined by new drummer-friend Ritchie Daniell, The Grates returned late last year (just missing the cut off for our 2014 edition) with 'Holiday Home', the lead track for their latest LP. It was loud, proud, in your face and a not so gentle reminder that The Grates were finally back. Not only Brisbane music royalty, The Grates are now total AUS music legends. (Matt Bond)

The Grates have been sounding like The Grates since forever, which is good really, considering things would be a bit weird if they started sounding like Katy Perry in the middle of things, although I wouldn’t complain about that either. ‘Holiday Home’ is perfectly Grates; quickfire, bass heavy, Patience sounding all manic even when she’s not being manic at all with a clip so perfectly VHS it hurts. Go google VHS kids. It doesn’t stand for anything you want to snapchat. Maybe it does. I can’t keep up with the kids these days. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Gin Wigmore

Give me one kiss for the road
Now it's time I let you go.

You know what I loved this year? I loved hearing Gin Wigmore somewhere other than an ad on TV. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s not the sell-out factor I care about, people gotta make money to pay the rents. I love the fact that she was featured in heaps of ads, because it meant she got to earn some cash and spend some time recording songs like this one. I can’t easily think of anyone else with a voice like hers and the pace of ‘Written In The Water’ shows it off perfectly. Just her and those keys at the beginning set up such a tortured little tale, with such a great story telling clip. Also, apparently the guy in the clip is her real life husband. The youtube comments told me that, so I can’t guarantee it, but I hope so. What an attractive couple they make. (Jo Michelmore)

It only took some rapid piano lines and the opening words, "I was born by the devil, I was left here to die, I was held up for ransom under cold summer skies," to fall in love with Gin Wigmore's music all over again. Another artist that seemed to be out of the spotlight for too long, Wigmore dropped her Blood To Bone album halfway through the year and it was well worth the wait. 'Written In The Water' is everything we've come to love about the Kiwi songstress and her brand of flapper-pop. Can I say flapper-pop? I mean it in the best way. It's a roaring 1920s jazz delight re-imagined for the modern audience from one of our choicest bits of calico. And it is gooood. Oh the calico thing? I looked up 1920s phrases. Apparently it means a desirable woman, you dewdroppers. (Matt Bond)

by Anita Lester

We are lost in conversation
Underneath the pulsing lights.

Anita Lester may have dropped her pseudonym and moved across the seas, but there's one thing that definitely hasn't changed about her. That would be her ability to make bewitching music that leaves us wanting a whole lot more. 'Devil In A Dress' proved that in spades. Spades, I say! I don't get it either, but it was proved. The music certainly goes with The Witching Hour title bestowed on Lester's next collection of songs and there's a haunting quality lurking within the vocal performance that can give you chills. While the video was pulled at some stage, hopefully you'll be able to witness it soon. It was a beauty. There's been changes for Anita Lester in 2015, but she remains as fierce as ever. (Matt Bond)

Anita Lester used to be Lester The Fierce, but it doesn’t really matter what she calls herself, she’s very good. She don’t need no fierce, because ‘Devil In A Dress’ proves she still is. Much less guitar and 90s rock chick than I expected, but a slight turn back in time to some seriously good 80s influence means I’m still happy either way. Synths and beats abound, making me wish I was an extra in some kind of clip that involves soft lighting, strange freestyle interpretive dance moves, neon lights, probably a cape and some poorly filmed mountain scenes. I think I’ve missed my calling in life. Clearly I should have been an 80s slightly alternative pop star. Or Anita Lester. Either/or. (Jo Michelmore)

by Christine and The Queens

In the night I hear them talk
The coldest story ever told.

Ah yes, here’s the bit where we get all fancy like and pretend we’re classy n shit. Stick some French lyrics in the countdown and ta-da, we’re very impressive. We’re not fooling anyone, Matt. Thing is, you don’t need to speak French or care who Kanye West is to know how stunningly beautiful this song is; the keys, the strings, that tiny little beat and the tone in her voice. So soft and a little despairing, it all comes together so perfectly you wonder how Mr West could be referenced at all. I don’t know exactly how it works, but I know it works in the best way and is gorgeous and that’s more than enough. (Jo Michelmore)

How do I know incredible music transcends all language barriers? For one, I don't speak French. And even I 'get' what's going on in 'Paradis Perdus'. Christine and The Queens thrilled us last year with 'Saint Claude' and 'Christine', so we weren't exactly expecting to hear from her/them again so soon. I can't say we weren't happy to be surprised by her return though. Christine's (real name Heloise Letissier) performance is enough to melt even the coldest of hearts. If it doesn't, you just don't have one. And how could you be so heartless? (Matt Bond)

#83. 6000 MILES
by The Waifs

I've never really had much of a way with words
But God knows I love to sing.

Speaking of AUS music legends, I was stoked to see The Waifs not only return this year, but deliver unto us some of their best music yet. Take '6000 Miles' as an example. The Vikki Thorn led track is already right up there as one of my favourite Waifs songs. Like many of their cuts, it's like having a conversation with one of your wise friends. The ones that give you the best advice and you have open and honest chats to about anything and everything. The Waifs would be those kind of friends. I'm just taking this opportunity to tell The Waifs that we should be friends. Haha. Kidding, that's totally inappropriate. Or is it? (Matt Bond)

I’ll be totally honest and say I had no idea what ‘6000 Miles’ was actually about before I started writing these words that you’re reading right now. I’d heard the bittersweet tone and the sentimental chords, I’d heard the emotion in all the notes and I knew 6000 miles was a long way, but little did I know that 6000 miles is the distance between Perth and Utah. It all makes sense, right, because 9, 656 kilometres doesn’t have the same ring. And that’s where singer Vikki Thorn’s husband lived and that’s why the first track from The Waifs’ seventh album is so goddamn sweet. Ah the long distance love. Don’t do it. It’s expensive. And annoying. Or do it and listen to songs like this to make yourself feel better while you cry into your tea. Or something. (Jo Michelmore)

by Oh Wonder

Lift up, carry the love
Do you know?

Oh Wonder were that crazy gang of two who insisted on releasing a song a month this year, before gathering them all together and releasing an album. While some have threatened-slash-promised to do that in the past, and some seemed to think it was a crazy idea while others thought it was brilliant, I think it was a certain kind of genius, because it resulted in some of the prettiest pop of the year and it resulted in one of my personal fave pop tunes of the year. Sure, lots of people can harmonise and sing around each other, but these guys sound divine squished into each other’s space, their voices were made for each other. How wonderful. (Jo Michelmore)

I've been living a lie, because I thought Oh Wonder were Australian. That is incorrect. They are not Australian, if Wikipedia is to believed. Anyway, these two do the cute love song thing well. What will be awesome though is the break-up album. What? It worked for Adele. (Matt Bond)

by Our Man In Berlin

For your lonely mind
For your lonely heart. 

When I wrote about this song at the start of the year, I said I felt like I’d written about Our Man In Berlin a bazillion times, because I probably had (more than ten counts as a bazillion in blog life) and listening to it again now I know why I had written about them that many times. They’re really, really good. Like, seriously. There they are over there in Perth, just plugging away, doing their thing, and their thing is kind of awesome. The organised mania created at the end of ‘Moliere’ reminds me of why I’ve liked them so much; they have this natural ability to write songs that demand attention, pose questions, chill me completely out and make me want to dance all at the same time. Their second EP Spirit Down was all of those things as well and while I haven’t quite made it to two bazillion posts about them this year, with this kind of talent, I’m suspecting we might get there sooner rather than later. (Jo Michelmore)

So many feelings, so little time. See you again tomorrow!

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