Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 Scene Awards - Group of the Year

It's been a really, really good year for Australian music, with our Top 116 songs of 2016 ending with ten Australian songs and now, two incredible group of musicians, from two incredible states in this big incredible land of ours, releasing incredible music and performing incredible shows. Yes. This is Group of the Year. 

Runner-up: Babaganouj

The 'Nouj. The 'Nouj-nouj-nouj. Our fave Brisbane trio deserve their place here just for the effort they put in to make three EP's in 2016. But they more than earned it with the quality of the music they were putting out into the world. While Babaganouj's music has a sound that's all their own, when you've got three vocalists taking lead at different times, there's always going to be a little something different to take from each track. Sort of like Fleetwood Mac, but without all the drugs and sleeping around... at least that we know of. Maybe 2017 will be the Babaganouj Rumours era that we've all been dreaming of. More awesome tracks than you could shake a stick at, a killer Bigsound showcase and they've won over the Japanese. Yep, Babaganouj are big in Japan. A huge year for Babaganouj and next year will hopefully be even bigger. (Matt Bond)

Winner: Gang Of Youths

This band made me do something this year which I hadn't done in a long time. When they released Let Me Be Clear, the follow up EP to their incredible debut album, I went to a store and purchased a physical copy of it. It was something I wanted to hold in my hands, to feel within my fingertips and to live in my car, my refuge, my safe place of thoughts and dreams. It had all started a couple of years ago, when Matt told me he had developed a minor obsession for a band called Gang Of Youths and he couldn't stop listening to their album. He gave me a brief description and I'll admit I was intrigued, but what I hadn't taken into consideration before I hit play on that album was just how much it would come to mean. The Positions became part of my 2015, a integral part of my thought process and path that year. In 2016, I watched this group of five become a part of more and more people's lives, as they toured extensively and I couldn't be happier, because this is a band that defines what music is for me; a release, a confidante, an integral part of who I am and my friend. Bands like Gang Of Youths are the ones making the loss of all the life defining artists we said farewell to this year a little easier on those of us with the sensitive souls, because where one artist has walked, another follows. I know I'll be following Gang Of Youths for as long as they are creating and with each release, I already look forward to heading to a store, buying, holding, feeling and listening. (Jo Michelmore)

2015 Winner
Little May
Runner-up: Gang Of Youths

2014 Winner
Little May
Runner-up: Kingswood

2013 Winner
Runner-up: Little May

2012 Winner
Texas Tea
Runner-up: Garbage

2011 Winner
Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-up: Little Dragon

2010 Winner
Arcade Fire

2016 Scene Awards - Album of the Year

So here we are guys at our final award of the year. What a ride it's been, so many artists we love, so much music we can't live without and how awesome that we've gotten to album of the year and are celebrating 2016 with two Australian artists we adore. Thank for joining us and here's to another year of spine-tingling, nod-inducing, smile-filled hands in the air music. Happy 2017!


Runner-up: Olympia - Self Talk

It was one of those albums that I stuck on in the car and found myself driving around and around unfamiliar suburban streets pretending I was an uber looking for my ride because at track four I realised I didn't want to stop until I'd soaked it all in. It was one of those moments where I was scrolling through the thousands of songs to vote for in the Hottest 100 when I came across ..........and realised it was released early this year and it hasn't actually been in my life for, like, ever. Olympia is one of those names that I want to read about all over my socials and see on the TVs and hear on the commercial radios like Ariana Swift or whoever it is the kids like these days, because I want everyone you know to know just how awesome she is and above all of that Self Talk, with all it's references to pop from the past and it's face turned directly at the future, it is one of those albums that took me from wherever I was and dropped me right in the middle of happy. And some days, there's no better place than that. (Jo Michelmore)

Winner: Montaigne - Glorious Heights

Let's get this out of the way early... Montaigne easily reached those glorious heights she was aiming for with her debut album. She reached them, then she kept going and blasted off into outer space and found herself on a planet where only the very best music makers can go. You can tell that every single element that makes up this album was so considered. Not in a crazy way, in a way that saw Montaigne's vision brought to life. It tells you stories that make you wonder if our leading lady has been following you around with a camera for some inspiration and then you have to remember that there's stuff, good and bad, that everyone goes through and maybe their stories are the same as yours and also you've been pretty low-key this year so maybe the stalking wouldn't have been all that 'inspiring' at all for her. Glorious Heights takes you to all the places you want your most loved albums to take you to. There's the highs, the lows, the singalong moments of pure joy, the moments you can't help but dance to, the moments you can't help but think of that certain someone or that other certain someone you'd much rather be able to forget forever. It's all these things and more but it's also just really, really incredible pop music. The very best. And from one of our all-time faves. Everyone's been dragging all over 2016 for some very valid reasons as it winds up. But this right here? This will always be one of my 2016 highlights. (Matt Bond)

2015 Winner
For The Company by Little May
Runner-up: The Positions by Gang Of Youths

2014 Winner
The Golden Echo by Kimbra
Runner-up: I Never Learn by Lykke Li

2013 Winner
The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae
Runner-Up: Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

2012 Winner

Theatre Is Evil by Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra
Runner-Up: Blunderbuss by Jack White

2011 Winner

Seeker Lover Keeper by Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-Up: Vows by Kimbra

2010 Winner

The Suburbs by Arcade Fire

2016 Scene Awards - Woman of the Year

R.E.S.P.E.C.T, what it feels like, who rule the world etc. etc. It be girls. Or in our case, two particular women who ruled our headphones, ipads, ear things all year long. Welcome to Woman of the Year. 


Runner-up: Bec Sandridge


Maybe it's because I am a woman, maybe it's because Matt and I are both proudly feminists, maybe it's because who rule the world etc. but I always find picking the woman of the year harder than picking most of our other awards, because SO many amazing women. This year was no different, but out of the many names circling my mind, this person stood out, and not because she's literally quite tall, but because she offers something I haven't seen for a while and sounds I have needed to hear this year, without really knowing I needed them until they arrived. Along with some of the catchiest songs of the year, Bec Sandridge oozes a sense of hope in a world where even the artists on the edge are carbon copies of the last artist with a sense of edge, she is like no other artist I love at the moment. There's a sense of independence I find difficult to describe, a feeling of artistry in it's true form, all encompassing and all consuming, just like her sounds, and she has a healthy sense of respect of artists who have come before her, without sounding like a photocopy of them. Maybe it's because Bec Sandridge is so fucking awesome that choosing my favourite woman of the year wasn't really so hard after all. (Jo Michelmore)

Winner: Tkay Maidza

2016 was a banner year for Australian women in music. Montaigne, Bec Sandridge, Ngaiire, Emily Wurramara, Ella Hooper, Olympia, Ecca Vandal, Ali Barter... to name but a few... kept on killing it in the music department and the 'being awesome human beings' department. So this really made it hard to say, " (x) is your woman of the year," but we also knew that this was the year of Tkay Maidza. In three-ish years, Tkay Maidza has grown into one of the world's finest performers. She's teaming up with massive producers, collaborating with the likes of Killer Mike, dropping THE rap album of the year and one of the best albums overall. Possibly even the best overall. She's tearing up stages with the ease of a career veteran; effortless, flawless and energetic. And the rest of the world has taken notice. Which is such a, duh, of course they have. Because Tkay Maidza was never going to be denied. The lady is fire. Last year she was the future and in 2016, the future is now. Tkay. Slay. (Matt Bond)

2015 Winner
Courtney Barnett
Runner-up: Montaigne

2014 Winner
Runner-up: Taylor Swift

2013 Winner
Runner-up: Janelle Monae

2012 Winner
Amanda Palmer
Runner-up: Santigold

2011 Winner
Runner-up: Adele

2010 Winner

2016 Scene Awards - Man of the Year

One guy from Australia still at the start of his incredible musical journey and one guy from England whose journey was so much more than music, it was everything. This is Man of the Year.


Runner-up: Remi

Australia's premiere MC of the male variety knocked it out of the park yet again in 2016 with his sophomore LP, Divas and Demons. Yep, Remi Kolawole has fast become the most fascinating male artist in the country today. With every new song released the appreciation grows, as does the depth of his writing. Team-ups with the likes of Sampa The Great and Jordan Rakei show excellent judgment in choosing collaborative partners that will bring out the best in both artists. And at the end of the day, we love Remi because he's really good at providing music to us that puts a bounce in our step when we need it the most. He can't get back to us with LP3 soon enough. (Matt Bond)

Winner: David Bowie


I mentioned to someone the concept of making David Bowie our Man of the Year and they responded in a way I know some people may; "Because he died? Or did you actually like that last album?" and my response is simple. I don't know if I would have liked Blackstar any more or any less had I not known he had passed when I listened to it in full for the first time. I don't know how I would have felt had I known it was his final goodbye in music form. I don't know how I would have felt if the first time I watched that dark clip I would know that he would be gone in a matter of days and that it was so much darker and somehow so much lighter than I could ever have imagined, let alone understood.

But within that, there is also this.

I don't know if I would have become a Bowie fan all those years ago had I been one of the popular kids in school. I don't know if I would have related quite as well to those words about planet earth on 'Life On Mars' had I ever felt like I belong. I don't know if I would ever have needed those keys in 'Changes' as much if I'd thought I was one of the pretty girls. I don't know if I would have heard the meaning in 'Under Pressure' if I hadn't had my heart torn to pieces. I don't know any of these things but one of the things the music of David Bowie has taught me is that I don't want to know. I don't need to know if I would have acted differently, felt differently, cried differently when he passed, because the life I'm leading is mine. With all of it's sublime heights and all of it's glorious lows, every bit is me and it's artists like Bowie who help me realise along the way, that me is perfectly ok. When there is doubt and when there is wonder, when there is love and when there is fear, the one constant companion has always been music. And how lucky am I to have lived in a world where a simply, perfectly complex set of notes and words have meant the difference between a day beginning and a day ending? He is Man of the Year, because of his talent, because of his inspiration, because of his legacy, but most importantly, because it is David Bowie who helped me realise that with every insecurity and every blustering confidence, I can do this, minute by minute. I need not worry about anything other than now, because every single day is exactly that, just one day. 

"We can be heroes...just for one day" 

(Jo Michelmore)
2015 Winner
Jack Colwell
Runner-up: Jeremy Neale

2014 Winner
Jack White
Runner-up: Harts

2013 Winner
Runner-up: Pharrell Williams

2012 Winner
Jack White
Runner-up: Frank Ocean

2010 Winner
Kanye West

Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016 Scene Awards - EP of the Year

So, so, so many EPs, so little time. Actually, all year really, so lots and lots of time to enjoy lots of sweet new music. Choosing our two favourites was hard. But obviously not that hard, because here they are.


Runner-up: Let Me Be Clear - Gang Of Youths

Have you ever put an album on for the first time and known from the first note that you're going to love it? One little piano note is all it took as 'The Good Fight' welcomed me to Let Me Be Clear for it to be known that this was going to be oh so very good. Sure, Gang of Youths had earned a whole lot of trust going in after their stellar 2015 LP, The Positions. After something like that comes out you know what comes next will not disappoint. But any lingering doubts (that didn't exist anyway) would have been eliminated with that one little piano note. Over the next six songs, Gang of Youths remind you once more that they are the future of Australian music. A band destined to be known around the world and it's going to happen sooner than later. Frontman, David Le'aupepe, doesn't stray far from the source of the incredibly strong storytelling that drove The Positions, but you shouldn't expect him to only a year later. And you wouldn't want him to when the stories take you to the places they do on tracks like 'Still Unbeaten Life' and 'A Sudden Life'. 'Strange Diseases' and 'Native Tongue' are essentially locks for the Hottest 100. And where do you even start on a cover as perfect as their take on Joni Mitchell's 'Both Sides Now'. Just go listen to it. And love. (Matt Bond) 

Winner: Black Smoke - Emily Wurramara

Finding out who Emily Wurrumarra is has definitely been one of my musical highlights of the year and if my life was a radio station, then the Black Smoke EP would have been considered a high rotation play for the last six months. A masterpiece of sweet indie pop tunes, it's brilliant feel is underlined by Emily's incredible ability to blend her connection to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, while creating an emotionally gorgeous sound. Her performance at BIGSOUND this year was an indication of where she will be heading and just how far this EP will take her, her pure joy at performance made it obvious that she was made for music. While I keep reading things about her upbringing, her incredible stories and her heritage which she so perfectly brings to each and every song on Black Smoke, I think her sound is far beyond any political statement; she is clearly an artist doing what she was born to do, which is to create beautiful sounds for everyone and anyone who loves them. I hope I am only one of many, many, many people who will be loving them for a long time to come. (Jo Michelmore)

2015 Winner
Only When Flooded Could I Let Go
by Jack Colwell
Runner-up: Figurine by Tired Lion

2014 Winner
Monsters by Thelma Plum
Runner-up: Little May by Little May

2013 Winner
Rosie by Thelma Plum
Runner-up: The Love Club by Lorde

2012 Winner
Told You So by Cub Sport
Runner-up: Love Lost In Design by Lone Wolf

2016 Scene Awards - Australian Artist of the Year

Here's the bit where we get all patriotic and lamingtons and sunshine, or something like that, because we're talking about something we're probably a little biased about, Australian Artist of the Year. So many incredible artists spanning so many genres on this huge island of ours, choosing only two wasn't easy, but somehow we did it. You're welcome.


Runner up: Ella Hooper

Because she brought back Killing Heidi. Obviously. Alright, Alright... I'm kidding. My love for Killing Heidi is well documented (or is it not nearly enough?), but 2016 was another huge year for the incredibly talented and hard working Ella Hooper. With the release of her EP New Magic, she followed up last year's Venom EP with a work that was like the light to the darkness. Or a little bit of light coming in through a crack in the window, because there's nothing wrong with a bit of darkness is there? No. No there is not. While Venom took a journey of reflection and self-discovery at a time when it was needed the most, New Magic wasn't afraid to bring some bounce and say, fuck it up, let's dye our hair blonde and dance it out. One of our most loved AUS music releases of the year from an artist that's become a local legend. That's what gets Ella Hooper a place here. The fact that Killing Heidi have been doing some return shows is just icing on the cake. (Matt Bond)

Winner: Tkay Maidza

You were pretty much guaranteed there wasn't going to be an entire award ceremony thing that didn't include our beloved Ms Maidza in the list. To be honest, after the release of her debut album this year, she could have taken out more than half of our awards, and that's only half because we couldn't give her man or group awards. And you know, we gotta share the love around so Australian it is. She's everything Australian music should be; brash, loud, bouncy, a little bit self-assured without a dose of arrogance, a little bit cheeky and a whole lot of fun, Tkay Maidza is everything we've needed and everything we've been waiting for in this huge land of ours. Tkay the album was pure brilliance, even if that guy's Dad from Triple J didn't think so, and Tkay the person, well, she's pretty much simply the best. (Jo Michelmore)

2015 Winner
Courtney Barnett
Runner-up: Montaigne 

2014 Winner
Little May
Runner-up: Thelma Plum

2013 Winner
Thelma Plum
Runner-up: Jones Jr

2012 Winner
Texas Tea
Runner-up: Sarah Blasko

2011 Winner
Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-up: Gotye

2010 Winner

2016 Scene Awards - Video of the Year

When that first clip about video killing radio stars was played on that MTV thing all those years ago, they probably didn't quite envision just what MTV would be playing thirty-five years later. Does MTV still exist? More importantly, our Video of the Year award does and it's all fireworks and flying around here. What a good year. 


Runner-up: Saturn by Sleeping At Last

"How rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist." 'Saturn' has been out there in the world for a couple of years now (the song, not the planet... obviously), but Sleeping At Last only got around to releasing a video for it in 2016. A song of its calibre, that holds a special place in the hearts of likely every single person that hears it, deserved a music video to match it and, my goodness, did it get one. Superb work from Tom Shea (Director) and Michael Means (Director of Photography) saw beautiful cinematography, stunning locations and incredibly moving lighting effects take 'Saturn' to another level. It takes what we know will be the saddest moments in our lives, the loss of those we love, and asks us to remember that their light remains and we were lucky to have had them in our lives. (Matt Bond)

Winner: Say It by Flume feat. Tove Lo

Look, I'm going to just say it (boom!), I've not written much about Flume, he's all good, doing his thing and I'm all happy with it, but he's not really the first artist I'll hit play on in my collection of songs. He doesn't care, he's busy winning ARIA's and things. But the reason I love the concept of nominating a Video of the Year is because this isn't about who I'm listening to in my headphones, this is about who I'm watching on my screens. I'm not much of a screen watcher, in fact, I'm well known for falling asleep after only a few minutes of screen time, but this clip, it does that magical thing that makes it hard for me to shut my eyes, it takes me to places that I don't know exist, some kind of fabulous world of skies and freedom and flight and light. I could watch those two flipping about all day long, except now I'm busy spending all day googling to figure out where I can get myself a silver suit and space helmet. (Jo Michelmore)

2015 Winner
Drive - Oh Wonder
Runner-up: Magnolia - Gang of Youths

2014 Winner
It's Alright - Fractures
Runner-up: I'm A Fantastic Wreck - Montaigne

2013 Winner
The Bed Song - Amanda Palmer
Runner-up: I'm A Fantastic Wreck - Montaigne

2012 Winner
Bad Girls - M.I.A.
Runner-up: Hey Jane - Spiritualized

2011 Winner
Lonely Boy - The Black Keys
Runner-up: Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye feat. Kimbra

2010 Winner
Islands - The xx

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2016 Scene Awards - New Artist of the Year

And so kids, friends, readers, our Mums, welcome to the 2016 Scene Awards. Yep, after that incredibly long countdown we've thrown ourselves into a lot of food, probably too many beverages and now back into the words and now we have that crazy time of year where in between eating, drinking and sitting, we also decide to celebrate our favourite artists, albums, EPs, groups, womens, mens, Australians and  videos. Sometimes we wonder how we can possibly have a favourite new artist of the year, because how can we fit any more new music into our lives when it's so full of fabulous already? Then along came this year and artists like these two, who created all the sounds we didn't know we neeeded, who we adore and who both fit in perfectly with everyone and everything we've ever loved. Welcome to New Artist of the Year!


Runner-up: Amy Shark

Earlier this year, I had one of those weird moments music lovers have where you've found an artist somehow on your own that you are sure is your little secret (ok, Matt introduced me to this one, but that's a technicality) and then one day you're just innocently minding your own business when you hear their voice in some unexpected place, like where I did, in a fish and chip shop, being played on some commercial radio station and you get that weird moment of pride, like your little discovery has grown into something bigger and better than you ever expected, even though you really had nothing to do with said growth. That was me and Amy Shark this year and after that fateful moment buying my chips wrapped in paper, I haven't stopped hearing that 'Adore' track everywhere I go, not just takeaway food outlets. I first fell for her talent when I was smashed in the face with the brash honesty of those lyrics "don't be the boy that spits on girls, everybody hates that guy" and while she's new to me, it's obvious Amy Shark has been living her craft for many years, because that uniquely sweet voice singing those words "just so I can adore you" is the sound of an artist with many years of feels and sounds behind her and many years of awesome in front. Pretty glad me, that fish and chip guy and the rest of the world get to live and enjoy her sounds and journeys now. (Jo Michelmore)

Winner: Emily Wurramara


We have so much love for Emily Wurramara. After seeing her perform at the 2016 Queensland Music Awards and receiving a copy of her debut EP Black Smoke, we've spent a lot of time listening to her beautiful voice and taking in all that her music has to offer. Songs like 'Black Smoke' will warm your heart, while 'Blue Moon, Black Sea' has no problems breaking it into a million little pieces. On 'Ementha-Papguneray (Turtle Song)' Wurrmara performs exclusively in the Anindilyawka traditional language from where she called home in the Northern Territory. You don't need to speak the language to understand the story being told to you or to feel the bright and sunny vibes that the song is putting out there. Proudly embracing her culture on 'Stomping Ground' is a moment in Australian music that deserves to be celebrated. "Black, yellow, red are the colours I see, defining the culture that's inside of me." There's still so much to come from Emily Wurramara and we already know that what comes next is going to be just as amazing as what has come before.  (Matt Bond)

2015 Winner
Runner-up: Life Is Better Blonde

2014 Winner
Tkay Maidza
Runner-up: JP Klipspringer

2013 Winner
Little May
Runner-up: Michelle Xen

2012 Winner
Curxes/Kira Puru (tie)
Runner-up: Nick and Liesel/Laneway (tie)

2011 Winner
Lana Del Rey/James Blake (tie)
Runner-up: Emma Louise

2010 Winner
Ellie Goulding

Saturday, 17 December 2016

It's My Kind of Interview - Billy Pitt

2016 is quickly drawing to a close and one Australian music maker who has had a huge year is country artist Billy Pitt. Hailing from Moree in New South Wales, Pitt is a self taught musician who released his debut album "Go Back" earlier in the year and has been touring around since. Here's our quick chat with one of country music's fastest rising stars...

 Interview by Matt Bond

Hey Billy, welcome to It's My Kind of Scene! Since it's almost the end of the year, how's your 2016 been?

Billy Pitt: Thank you, 2016 has been such a special year, this year I have toured with indigenous band Mop and The Dropouts, shared the stage with Damien Leith as his support act for the Roy Orbison Tribute show, performed many great gigs with outstanding country artists and started recording my new single “Play a little Country Song” at Hillbilly Hut Studio’s.  I was also blessed enough to welcome my fifth child, a new daughter, into the world.  So 2016 has been incredible.

What are your earliest musical memories and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career as a performing artist?

Billy Pitt: When I was 7, my father gave me a drum kit for Christmas.  I worked hard at it and practiced everyday, and at 10 years of age I joined the local church band and that provided me with the platform to consider music as a career.

You've celebrated some huge achievements over the past couple of years such as winning the Troy Cassar-Daley Indigenous Scholarship for the Academy of Country Music in 2014. What have been some of your other favourite moments so far?

Billy Pitt: Some of the moments that stand out would be performing with my indigenous idols and heros like Archie Roach, Coloured Stone and Mop and The Dropouts.  I have also been lucky enough to do local tours, performing for real people with a real love of music is where it’s at. 

Looking ahead to 2017, what have you got planned? Can we expect to hear some more new releases and do you have any touring plans?

Billy Pitt: 2017 is set to be a big year for me, I plan to do some more tours, and debut my new single at the Tamworth Country Music Festival 2017.  Who knows the new song could well be in the CMC Country Music Channels Top 20??!!!!

As a country artist, can you tell us some of your favourite country singers and why you love them?

Billy Pitt: I really admire Troy Cassar Daley and Adam Harvey, they always seem to hit home with their songwriting, very relatable.  The Eagles are my go to, all time favourite band, not much to say about them except they are a class act.

I tend to associate country music with lyrics that tell incredible stories. What do you think makes a good storyteller in music?

Billy Pitt: To me, being a good storyteller, would have to be someone who has lived a little (I know I certainly have).  You need to draw on life experiences, whether it be your own, or someone else’s and deliver it with emotion vocally, this is what people relate to. 


One song you wish you had written is...
Billy Pitt: Lyin’ Eyes by the Eagles

If you weren't a musician, you would be...
Billy Pitt: A mental health worker.

The first gig you ever went to was...
Billy Pitt: A local band, Black Impact.

If you could do a duet with anyone, it would be...
Billy Pitt: Dwight Yokam.

When they air the Billy Pitt 'Behind The Music' special in thirty years time, what are they going to say about you?

Billy Pitt: The boy from the bush, he is living proof if you believe in your dreams and work hard then you can achieve them!!!

A big thank you to Billy Pitt for stopping by. For more information on Billy, including upcoming gigs, check out his artist page

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #10 - 1

by Ella Hooper

Is it wrong
To hold on, child?

Kicking off our top ten songs of the year is one of our all time faves, Ella Hooper! With 'Monkey Mind', the first song released from her New Magic EP, Hooper put out what's quickly become my most loved work of hers. After 2015's Venom EP took her down a dark and lonesome (and musically brilliant) road, 'Monkey Mind' was like the bright, shimmering counterpart with a driving beat and delicious synth-y goodness. The complex nature and depth that comes with Ella's songwriting didn't get lost amongst the feel-good nature of the track though, with her internal struggles taking over the narrative of 'Monkey Mind'. All the little things you fight off during the day that you just can't keep away at night, those are all the things the monkey mind brings with it. Questions that should have simple answers like, "if I can't make you love me, is it wrong to hold on child?" You know the answer's yes, but what if? Damn that monkey mind. But praise Ella Hooper. As the song builds to the final chants of 'monkey mind', your desire to dance all those thoughts away peaks and you can get on with you day. Hooper totally killed it again this year and now she's doing a bit of a reunion tour with Killing Heidi and if they come to Brisbane the excitement may kill me. Just so you know. (Matt Bond)  

Music was an integral part of my childhood. There was always an artist I liked, always a song I was singing, always a tune in my head. I was always wondering what my brothers were listening to and would spend hours listening to things with my Dad, one of my very favourite memories watching my Dad tapping in rhythm on the steering wheel as we drove so many road trips to places far and wide. So when I found myself on the highway in my car, tapping my fingers to the fabulous beats in Ella Hooper's 'Monkey Mind', I smiled as I thought of all the sounds that have come in and out of my life and the artists who've shaped my opinions and feelings. I suspect Ella may have had some of the same influences, with a track that takes me to the record collection in my family home, and a sound that feels comfortable with a lyric that brings questions to mind and the chords that remind me so much of so many of the amazing musicians of the 70s and 80s that my Dad ensured I was raised on. It's a song that takes me to happy places like my childhood did, where my own monkey mind can rest and that is a rare and special place, so there's pretty much no greater compliment than that. (Jo Michelmore

by Tkay Maidza ft. Killer Mike

They say they're coming for you, but I don't want none
'Cause I really don't care and I'm still kinda young.

Yeah so admittedly, I had one of those proud Mumma moments Matt described back in number 20 en I heard Tkay had collaborated with Killer Mike and more so when I realised Mr K Mike was featuring on a Tkay track and not the other way around. Yes T-kaaaaaaayyyyyy, as we like to say around these parts. 'Carry On' is everything we've come to expect from her, all punch and pop with a big dash of future superstardom thrown in for good measure. Killer Mike knows it, we know it, everyone needs to know it. Tkay isn't that next big thing anymore, she is the big thing. (Jo Michelmore)

Many a kingdom seemed to fall over the course of 2016, but one ascension to the throne that made me insanely happy was Tkay Maidza's elevation to worldwide rap royalty. That's right peasants dear readers, bow down to your Queen. Each year we have to find new ways to express how amazing and crazy and AMAZING it is to see how Tkay has grown in the past twelve months. Last year she established herself as Australia's finest rapper. This year, she took on the world and she kicked the world's butt with the debut album TKAY that makes one word come to mind as soon as you hear it and that word is slay. It's what Tkay Maidza does best. 'Carry On' was the first taste of what TKAY would be and it set the tone for chaotic brilliance to follow. An absolute banger of a track, 'Carry On' saw Tkay keep the spotlight firmly on her talent on a track that featured Killer Mike and that is not an easy task. And check out that video... ridiculously good, yes? Yes. The coolest of the cool, the baddest of the bad. From the bopping girl blowing up speakers at BIGSOUND to the single most exciting rapper in the world. Tkay, you've come such a long way in such a short time. I'll leave the final word on Tkay Maidza to the superstar herself. "I know you feel the heat because I'm nothing less than fire." (Matt Bond)    

by Big Scary

I'm only doing the best I can, the best I can
I am trying the best I can.

Tom Iansek and Joanna Syme have already proven that they can produce beautiful pieces of work. As Big Scary, they've been doing their musical thing since 2009, with their fan base growing and growing over the years. Their music somehow continues to improve with quality too, with 'The Opposite Of Us' marking their finest achievement yet. Lifted from the must-listen album Animal, 'The Opposite Of Us' is a delicate slice of romantic indie-pop, with Iansek providing an rare honesty that will speak to all of us when he says he's, "trying the best I can." Already established as top notch storytellers, with swoon worthy lines on this track like, "and every kiss is a count in time to the next one," Big Scary are almost showing off just how good they really are. In a year full of incredible love songs, 'The Opposite Of Us' could be the best of them all. It has a genuine sweetness to it that doesn't waste time with the fantasy of what love is supposed to be. Raw and honest, with music from two of the world's best music makers. (Matt Bond 

I was in a shopping centre recently that had one of those pianos in the middle of an aisle, inviting people to play. I wanted to sit down and hit some keys and have some magic appear, but alas, I am no public pianist, so I wandered by with thoughts of having to listen to some keys as soon as possible. And then life handed me our number eight and here are some of my favourite keys in this whole big, long list of songs. Smash those chilled keys together with some quickfire beats and you have 'The Opposite Of Us', which is as calm as it is slightly manic and as reflective as it is noddable. Did I just make up a word? You can use that, you're welcome. See how life hands you things some days? Whatever you want to call them, you can't deny how good Big Scary are. (Jo Michelmore)

by Montaigne

What if I am a liar?
What if I don't control desire?

We've loved Montaigne and everything she does over the past couple of years, but there was something that made me really appreciate her as an artist this year and it was the discovery of her adoration of one of my favourite artists, someone I do not compare to many others, because his talent was so great, very few even dare to reach his height of genius. That person is Freddie Mercury and Montaigne's love of his is worn on her sleeve and when she writes and performs songs like this, I totally appreciate and admire her talent and confidence to aspire to be like one of the greats. The twists and turns 'In The Dark' takes are unexpected and perfectly placed, her voice so strong and her lyrics so powerful, it's an experience, not just a pop song, like her idol would have created. It's also an indication of the places she plans to go, which are so much bigger and grander than you or I can imagine, but I really look forward to watching and hearing it happen as she starts to take over the world. (Jo Michelmore)

Well... Montaigne had a pretty great year didn't she? She featured on the monster Hilltop Hoods hit '1955', scored a ton of commercial radio play with her own 'Because I Love You', made it all the way to #4 on the ARIA charts with her debut album Glorious Heights, won a flipping ARIA Award for Best Breakthrough Artist and she went on a huge national tour. We couldn't be happier for all of the success that has come Montaigne's way and we couldn't love the music she's released anymore than we already do. Glorious Heights was one of the best debuts I've ever heard. Maybe even the best. Our first taste of the album, 'Clip My Wings' took out the #1 spot on last year's songs of the year countdown and with good reason. The follow-up track, 'In The Dark' packs just as mighty a punch. Montaigne makes an analytical review of the world she exists in while part of a relationship and out of one in the verses that build to a manic bridge that examines her views on love and why she feels the way she does. An explosive finish sends us home, but really, it just sends us back to the start of the track. I'd write some more, but *spoiler alert* I've got to write a bit more about Montaigne in a bit, so... (Matt Bond 

by Gang of Youths

So we leave home
They won't see us go. 

I don't know how the Gang of Youths do it. How do they break your heart and put it back together over the course of a song, time and time again? Maybe it has a little something to do with them being really fucking good at making the musics, writing the words and singing the songs that are going to bring you to your knees and have you waving your hands in the air. They'll bring a smile to your face with bittersweet melodies and tales of triumph against impossible odds and the heaviest of heartaches. You'll take a moment to block out the bad and appreciate all of the good. Because if you look for it, there's going to be more good than bad. With songs like this one right here, they'll make you dream big and bold dreams, they'll make you dance, they'll make you should and they might even make you cry. The Gang of Youths are fighters. And they're darn good ones too. (Matt Bond)

When Gang Of Youths started on the journey they are now so gloriously walking through, I'm sure they had no idea where they would go, what they would see, who they would meet. When they wrote all the songs, I'm sure they weren't seeing all the faces that would adore them and when they recorded all the sounds, I'm definitely sure they didn't understand the path that life was about to take them on. When I first heard their hearts I had no idea how much they would come to mean and when I listened to the humble hurt, the loss of love and the determined need for hope, I had no idea how much I would relate. When I saw them live, I had no idea just how many others had seen all the things and felt all the things and needed all the things that these five boys would give to them. When 'The Good Fight' builds and turns from the gentle story into a controlled mania about three quarters of the way through, I never imagined how much of myself I would see in those notes and when I started writing all the words all those years ago about all of the songs I have heard and all of the music I have loved over the years, I never knew how much some of it would come to mean. Which is to say, to me, almost everything almost every day. (Jo Michelmore)   

by Bec Sandridge

And break, these columns down...

I don't mean to blow my own trumpet or anything, because honestly, I don't actually have a trumpet, but this countdown was good, then we got to the top ten and things got very good and now we have Bec Sandridge starting off the top five and it's pretty much the best. I liked Bec Sandridge until the first time I saw her live, at BIGSOUND, and after that, well, after that I decided I love her. One of those artists that just has that 'thing' - an undefineable quality they named an entire talent show about, as soon as she hit the stage I couldn't stop smiling, her presence was magical and her performance was just everything. One of the songs in that performance was this one, which is so fucking good it's difficult to know what to say about it without just saying "GO LISTEN. NOW!" and if you don't like it, then it's pretty simple, maybe you're the fucking joke. Boom. (Jo Michelmore)

Bec Sandridge is the master of the build up. Do you need evidence of this? Do you?! I've got your sweet, sweet evidence right here, mofo's! Press play on the gorgeous, Robert Palmer-ish video above my friends and experience the joy that Bec Sandridge can bring to your life with a tale of love and loss and telling that former special someone that they are 100% a total fucking jooooooke. You're already tapping your feet along at the start of the track, the piano and bass lines will allow no less than some form of body movement, so might as well start with the toes. Sandridge's words create stunning images in your head as she sings about not letting some fucker in and you're all, "I'm liking where this is going and I'm right there with you, sister." And then after two verses we get to what we'll call the chorus and all hell breaks loose and magic is real in the world and Bec Sandridge is the master of the build up. The pay off in 'You're A Fucking Joke' is spectacular, the chorus or section B or whatever you want to call it is EVERYTHING... one of the finest moments in music this year or any year. It's a moment of victory, it's pure joy in musical form and you'll want to experience it again and again. And again and again and again. I'm not even joking. (Matt Bond)  

by Ngaiire

Living on I love yous and recycled prayers.

Smooth vocals? Check. Burgeoning electronic touches, ready to unleash in a frenzy at a moment's notice? Check. Lyrics you want to shout along to? Check. A gorgeous video filmed on location in Tel Aviv? Check. What more do you want from Ngaiire? Nothing. You want nothing more from Ngaiire because she is music perfection, as flawless as she is fearless. With Blastoma, she built on her already unique sounds, shooting herself into the sonic stratosphere in the process to hit us with tracks like 'House On A Rock'. There were a fair few songs that came from a place of, shall we say romantic confusion (?) this year, but none examined the fragility of modern love in as memorable a way as 'House On A Rock'. That's where Ngaiire separates herself from the pack. She looks at things from a a place that others might not dare to go to. And she does it in a way that sounds like she's having the time of her life. So we have the time of our lives to. That's the kind of musical transference we can all love. And we've got a lot of love for Ngaiire. (Matt Bond 

I like to send Matt a little text every now and then with a song name or an artist name and a little heart emoji, just to let him know what I'm hearing at the time. Having said that, there were a few weeks earlier this year that had my social media accounts filled with references to lemonade, the album, not the drink, and at one point I'm sure if I saw another lemon emoji I would have thrown my phone in a bucket of said lemonade. There's no denying that was a great moment in music, but there's another album that was released this year which had me using all the heart emojis, repeated. That album was Blastoma and here is where I declare the answer to that Queen B/bee/bae and all of the titles people like to bestow upon Ms Beyonce. That answer is Ngaiire. With more sass in her little finger than I could ever imagine owning and more talent in her other little finger than I've ever dreamed of having, she is one of the most underrated artists I know. Living on the outskirts of the accolades she deserves for far too long, she is an artist that manages to tread lightly around the concept of all the musical fame she should have, but stomps straight into your heart with her tunes. While the album was so honest, so raw, so danceable and so emotional all at once, 'House On A Rock' was unapologetic in it's subtle brashness, a track that oozed sincerity with its words and demanded movement with it's unconventional beats. It's a song that put her at the top of my list of favourites for 2016, that had me knowing she is destined for so much and had me using all the heart emojis, over and over again. (Jo Michelmore)

by Montaigne

It is bizarre that we're taught to hate ourselves for our flaws.

For those with a keen eye and ear, you would have noticed there are numerous artists that appear numerous times in our countdown. It's not because we're not imaginative, you should have seen how long the shortlist was (ie; not very short) but because the artists we admire the most just keep writing and singing and playing things we can't seem to get enough of. Glorious Heights, Montaigne's debut album,  was everything we expected, every track another piece of Montaigne's intriguing and awesome thought process, every sound a piece of creative genius and 'Till It Kills Me' is almost the greatest example of that creativity, a track filled with dark and light, dancing and life, it's exactly everything we love about Montaigne, which is everything about Montaigne. (Jo Michelmore)

One of the things that I loved most about Montaigne's Glorious Heights was its clear message on a couple of tracks about being there for others. To celebrate the things that make us unique, to be a good friend to those we love even when it's hard to do. There's so many anthems in pop music that preach empowerment from a place that doesn't seem real at all. But 'Till It Kills Me' isn't one of those songs. It is the pop anthem of the year, a highlight of an album full of brilliant pop songs and it's speaking to each and every listener in a way that so many pop stars can only dream of. "Everybody says that we get better, get better later, we can try, we can try through whatever. But the feeling that you feel feels heavy, I will be ready, I will try, I will try, I will keep on fighting till it kills me." This is the message we should be sending to people, young and old, over the radio. Something positive and powerful and kind. Sure, maybe it would be totally boring if every song was coming from a place like that. But it's also why 'Till It Kills Me' stands out so much in 2016. Because there aren't songs like this. Oh, and it's also just an incredible piece of pop perfection that you'll play to death... and then you'll play it some more. (Matt Bond)  

by Tkay Maidza

'Cause I keep moving, I keep moving, I keep moving along
And will you be here when we start finding what we're searching for?

When we saw Tkay Maidza at BIGSOUND this year, her third year in a row at the festival, it was during her performance of 'Simulation' that everyone in The Flying Cock in Brisbane knew it. That Tkay Maidza had become a world class performer. One of the country's finest exports. Someone that you could be proud to know is representing Australian music overseas and absolutely killing it in the process. It was a performance that we'll remember forever, with jumping and dancing and rapid-fire rhymes. Tkay was having fun and the crowd was having the time of their lives. Afterwards, Jo turned around and said we'll likely never see Maidza in a small venue like the one we were in ever again and I couldn't agree more. I was desperate to hear the recorded version of 'Simulation' since BIGSOUND and dreams came true a couple of days before the release of the debut album TKAY. I couldn't have been more impressed with every aspect of the song. It's the definition of a jam. It's lit. It's fire. It's cool. It's ice cold. For those of us that also like normal words, it's all kinds of fun. And if there's something we can all have a little bit more of these days, it's fun. Tkay. Slay. (Matt Bond)

Well here we go, pretty sure this is one you would have been expecting, had you read or heard either of us going on about our beloved Tkay Maidza over the past year. Make that two years. Or is it three? I think it's three, but it's hard to imagine there was ever a time before that first foot stomping track forever ago. You would have known she was going to be back had you read any of this countdown. Had you read about number nine, a few songs back. I know, we're all busy, but here we are at number two and you've almost reached the end, so you can go back and catch up later. 'Simulation' is the epitome of Ms Maidza; it smashes it's into your mind with that super catchy chorus, it demands you move with those beats and it showcases Tkay's uber lyrical skills, all the while getting itself caught up in that little part of your brain that catches songs and won't let go of them. She's come a long way since almost literally blowing up BIGSOUND all those years ago and she's still blowing our minds with every single song. Tkay? You're the best. (Jo Michelmore 

by Emily Wurramara 

I'll be sleeping under stars tonight
Not sure exactly where I'll be.

Some days I'm not really sure how things work. I mean, I understand the actual way things work, like how people play instruments and write songs and companies sign artists and someone somewhere in an office is sitting down right now watching some numbers and deciding on some figures and next thing you know there's the world's next Beyonce advertising perfume on the side of buses driving past you on your way to work. I get all of that, but all of that isn't the important part. The important part is finding the things that make your heart sing, that make you breath a little deeper and listen a little harder and the things that make the days worthwhile. Which brings us to our number one. Emily Wurramara. A simple song, written and performed from her heart, a song that welcomes you with every note and a sound that has wrapped itself gently around my life. I don't know how things work, but I don't really care, because I have found my little piece of the world, with the music that makes everything seem a little more than alright. (Jo Michelmore)

We've written about a lot of songs over the past week and a bit. Counting down all our favourite songs in a year that was rich in music that moved us in different ways. But when it comes down to it, no song moved us in the way that Emily Wurramara's 'Black Smoke' did. In a world that moves further and further in an electronic direction, it still amazes me that a talented young performer can come along with not much more than a guitar and a beautiful voice, some words that will put a smile on your face, a song in your heart and make you fall in love with music all over again. Emily Wurramara stepped into the spotlight in 2016 with 'Black Smoke', capturing the attention of triple J and listeners around the world with a song full of dignity and hope. It's a song that makes you feel like better things are just around the corner. It will make you believe in so many things, but the most important thing it will do is make you believe in Emily Wurramara. The future is so very, very bright for her. This is a song taken from her debut EP of the same name and with one listen, you know there's so much more to come from our favourite find of the year. We're very excited to follow Emily Wurramara on her journey. (Matt Bond)   


Monday, 12 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #20 - 11

by Tkay Maidza

Let me break shit, let me drop it.

Not that I needed some sweet, sweet Tkay Maidza levels of inception to get her music in my head b-b-b-but... hearing 'Tennies' playing in the Apple Watch ad that played on YouTube before I got to 'Tennies' itself was the feelgood moment of the year. Like a proud mumma, I may have shed a dignified, single tear in celebration of Tkay Maidza's continued success. Getting into an Apple advertisement played worldwide? Achievement level unlocked. That level? Boss level. Because Tkay has been a total boss this year in the lead up to and after the release of her debut album, TKAY. Just before the album's release, 'Tennies' was dropped as a promo track and we couldn't get enough of it. We still can't get enough of it. The energy is infectious as Tkay lays out some quick-fire rhymes to politely inform you that she is the new Queen all up in here and you will bow down to her greatness. Admit it, you're bowing down right now. We are truly not worthy of this greatness. (Matt Bond

I did a bit of a double take when I read something about Tkay's 'Tennies' that described it as "another club banger" which is probably a reasonable description of said single, but I don't really think of Tkay as a purveyor of "club bangers", because while that's a reasonable genre in itself, it just doesn't seem to lend enough weight to the actual talent of Tkay. I think of the "club banger" as a fairly throw away sound, but I still haven't gotten over the first moment I heard Tkay's sound and there's no way I've thrown that track away, let alone this song, three years later. Also, tennies is referring to her tennis shoes, for those like myself who doubted themselves and assumed it was referring to something else the kids are talking about. I don't know what the kids are talking about. (Jo Michelmore)

by Tired Lion

It's not a movie, now it's night time
Those kids are itching for red wine...

I listened to this song about a thousand times when it was first released, because Tired Lion write really, really good rock songs. Their guitars are always dirty where they need to be, their drums are always pounding exactly when they need to be and that voice of Sophie's is always as perfect as it needs to be. It was listen number one thousand and one that had me hear a lyric I hadn't before, which made me draw a breath and press pause for a minute, because sometimes really, really good rock songs are also really, really good mirrors and sometimes that's a little confronting, but the best of really, really good rock songs are also equally comforting and 'Agoraphobia' is exactly, and so much more than that. (Jo Michelmore

Moving from Unearthed to the triple J A-list was all but guaranteed for Perth's Tired Lion after the huge success of tracks like 'I Don't Think You Like Me' and 'Suck' in 2015. No one would have held it against the band for taking some time off, but it was so good to hear two new tracks from them in 2016. 'Not My Friends' was another banging piece of alternative goodness, but 'Agoraphobia' was the Tired Lion track that I just couldn't get enough of from the day I first heard it. It's got everything we've come to know and love about their sound over the past couple of years; 90s post-grunge inspired hooks, gorgeous melodies and scream-and-shout-along choruses delivered by the formidable Sophie Hopes and snappy lines that spark the imagination. But the thing about 'Agoraphobia' is, it's not just snappy lines anymore. As the topic of discussion is mental illness, something each member of Tired Lion has dealt with in their young lives, it's no surprise there's a new level of depth here. This is the sound of a band growing from their angsty teen beginnings to something bigger and bolder. I'll even throw in that it's a maturing of their sound, but don't worry, this is still brash and loud and everything you'd want from a Tired Lion track. (Matt Bond 

by Remi ft. Sampa The Great

You're giving me the silent treatment, baby
And that's oh so cold, gorgeous.

'For Good', the first single from Remi's critically acclaimed second LP Divas and Demons, brought a much needed dose of funk to Australia's hip hop scene. It brought the mega talent that is Sampa The Great along for the ride too and hearing Sampa alongside MC Remi Kolawole made for one of the brightest collaborations of the whole year. At least in terms of music and performance, both of which are faultless and ready made to make you get your groove on. While the story might not have the sunny disposition to match, at least we get a refreshing take on a dude admitting he's been a bit of a dick to a lovely lady undeserving of such treatment. Now she's gone and she's gone for good and he's left alone with his weed and Nintendo and sadness. I'm going with this being a work of fiction, because Remi doesn't seem like a jerk at all. He's like the Drake of Australian hip hop. Just, you know, awesome. (Matt Bond)  

by Phebe Starr

Please be kind
You know I love you, but my heart is blind.

One should have assumed that 'Feel My Love' was going to be one of the most perfect pop songs of the year, being that it is performed by someone who I have always thought has the most perfect pop name I could possibly imagine. If I was a singer, I'd have given up this Jo business and renamed my myself Phebe Starr a long time ago. Beside my slightly weird obsession with Phebe's name, 'Feel My Love' was definitely one of the highlights of pop music this year; all bounce, all build, all beautiful, it's one of the ones that would make that incredible scene of summer and sun and smiles when they make the film of my life. They will be making that sometime, and if I have my way, my character will be called Phebe. Phebe Starr. (Jo Michelmore)

If you are not dancing by the time the second verse hits, in whatever way it is that you choose to dance, then I am afraid to inform you that you are dead inside and I am sorry for how the world has beaten you down. Because 'Feel My Love' is epic-mega-out of this world-pop that will make you want to move, to shout, to live, to love. Phebe Starr, you continue to astound and amaze with the absolute gems that you're releasing. I probably say this with each new track, but this truly is your finest work to date. It makes you feel like anything is possible because it is so warm and so full of hope. In a perfect world this would have been a number one hit everywhere, but hey, this ain't no perfect world. I can say though that my world feels a little bit more perfect with this song in it. And you know, if you are feeling a little dead inside you really should listen to this a couple of times. It's probably just the cure you're looking for. It really is that good. (Matt Bond

#16. ON HOLD
by The xx

My young heart, chose to believe
We were destined.

Urgh, how exactly does someone get this talented? Like, I'm jealous. Why even hide that fact. I'm super jealous of The xx and how they can make music that speaks every freaking language to you, even ones you didn't know you know, but you know them and it's all because of The xx's music. And they keep getting better. How is life fair? Anyway... Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim's chemistry remains out of control and their vocal performances are coming from a much more confident place. Dare I say it sounds like The xx might be having a bit of fun these days? 'On Hold' certainly makes it sound like there's a smile lurking behind the totally devo (this means sad, not Devo the band) words that are so well written without having to say much of anything and again I'm super jealous of this group's talent. But I'm also super in love with everything they do and can't wait to hear their third album, I See You when it comes out next month. (Matt Bond)  

I don't want to have to say spoiler alert, but this could be the newest song on our long long countdown, which means that new track Little Mix are releasing tomorrow won't be making our top 10, sorry guys. (Little Mix are not making our countdown. Please don't be disappointed.) Is this the cutest I've heard The xx? Maybe, maybe not, but either way there's something more poppy about this track than I'm probably used to from Jamie, Romy and Oliver and that's not a bad thing, it's a super good thing. Also, it's been far too long since I've pushed someone around a carpark in a shopping trolley. And one more thing. When did that Oliver character get so cute? And where did he get that shirt? I think I love it. And him. And them. (Jo Michelmore)

by Radiohead

This is a roundup
This is a low flying panic attack. 

I'm honestly going to say there was not another song this year that had me as equally excited as I was nervous to hear it. It took a few minutes to prepare myself for what was to come before I hit play, because Radiohead and I have been through a lot. We've had a tumultuous relationship, but we've always agreed we love each other in the end. So I took a deep breath and I hit that little sideways triangle and those urgent strings came leaping out of my headphones and the familiar goosebumps of Radiohead started at my spine and worked their way around and not only did we agree we love each other, but we adored each other and everything about the world was absolutely perfect. And still is. (Jo Michelmore)

#14. DIGGIN'
by Ngaiire

But here you found me
With a shovel in my hand...

To avoid wanting to write about this throughout the entire paragraph, I'm going to get it out of the way early so we can all move on with our lives. I am totally digging this track. Okay, done, moving right along. Now we can focus all of our time and energy on expressing all of the love we have for the INCREDIBLE music Ngaiire put out over the past twelve months. Starting with 'Diggin' the second song to be lifted from her sophomore album, Blastoma. It was a most suitable follow up to the 2015 Hottest 100 jam, 'Once', turning it up a notch in terms of the party starting stakes, while sacrificing nothing in terms of quality and uniqueness in the Australian music landscape. The reigning Empress of Neo-Soul was more glam than ever throughout 'Diggin', running vocal lines to die for alongside mighty fine electronic beats. Genre bending and defying expectations are nothing new for Ngaiire, but 'Diggin' was on a whole new level to what's come before. And this wasn't even our favourite release from Ngaiire in 2016. Ya dig? Sorry, had to use that one too. (Matt Bond

by Flume ft. Kai

Please just look me in my face
Tell me everything's okay. 

The kids these days, they say things like realness and all the feels and there's probably someone somewhere that's creating a meme right this very minute that means exactly those things but in a different way, but all they need to do is listen to some Flume and words and memes don't matter. This was one of those creepy songs that snuck up on me and slapped me in the face, having heard it about a bazillion times without too much thought until one day it just it me - boom, and suddenly I'm at work humming something about never being like you to my boss. (Hi boss! Jokes! I love you etc).  It was only a few days I may have whispered something to Matt under my breath about possibly liking that Flume song that every one goddamn likes and now here we are at number 13, which means he liked it too. Boom. (Jo Michelmore

That Flume fella's done alright for himself, hasn't he now? He scored his first #1 song in Australia with 'Never Be Like You', which also took him to the top 20 of the US Billboard Hot 100. The monster hit has also scored young Harley Edward Streten his first Grammy nod for Best Dance Recording, while parent-album Skin took took out Album of the Year at the ARIA Awards. Will 'Never Be Like You' go all the way in the upcoming Hottest 100? It would definitely bring a smile to many dials on Australia Day if that were to happen. Everyone loved 'Never Be Like You' and there's a simple explanation... it's really fucking good. Flume was more than deserving of all the success that's come his way over the past 12 months, delivering this killer jam with Canadian singer Kai that will be remembered for a long time to come. (Matt Bond

#12. ADORE
by Amy Shark

Now go when you're ready
My head's getting heavy pressed against your arm.

I wish life always felt like it does when you're listening to Amy Shark's 'Adore'. Full of that happiness that only comes with the initial buzz in your head and your heart, the result of a new romance where anything and everything seems possible. It's like you're floating in your own personal happy place. Unfortunately there's so many other things that seem to get in the way. Life stuff, good and bad. Work, commitments, that darn requirement to sleep. When everything else is getting the way and you've got too many thoughts running through that brain that always wants to ruin everything with its thinking, just put on 'Adore' and disappear to that happy place. Life can't always be like that, but for three minutes and twenty seconds, Amy Shark can take you there. Given that the song has raised her profile significantly since it was released, it seems like the whole world is going to be taken to happy places by Amy Shark very soon. (Matt Bond)  

Everyone has been there and if you haven't, then I'm pretty jealous of your life. They are the subject of so much art, writing and music, it's hard to imagine what life would be like without them. Those times when there's nothing more pure and sweet than the desperation of wanting, the need to be loved and the true beauty in the agony of loneliness. Without big vocals, with simple words and some raw and uncomplicated keys and guitars, Amy Shark has captured the melancholy in obsession and the hopelessness of passion in such a effortless but powerful way. And now thinking about it, if you haven't felt any of these things, maybe I'm not jealous at all, because there's no feeling more intense and more alive than that of adoring...and needing to be adored. (Jo Michelmore)

by Big Smoke 

We're peeling back the blue skies
They got nothing on your blue eyes.

I really want to write about this song without mentioning how very bittersweet it is. I really want to write about the sense of roadtrip that it begs me to take, without wondering what could have been. I really want to write about those keys and that comforting voice that has me swaying with every listen, making me wish I was in a saloon, drinking a gin or a whiskey, or both, without wishing I could hear more. I really want to write about the absolute richness of this sound and the saturation of emotion without knowing where some of that might have come from. I really want to write all of those things without thoughts of what was or what could have been and I really want the members of Big Smoke to know they did good. While I can't imagine the things they have been through this year, I'm so glad they gave us all they could, because in songs like this, I hope they truly know thoughts of their friend and bandmate Adrian Slattery will be hanging about for a long time and with songs as gorgeous as this, he's never going to be forgotten. (Jo Michelmore)