Sunday, 4 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #90 - 81






#90. ALCHEMY
by Fractures





Everything in retrospect you can't know
You can't know this. 


Fractures played BIGSOUND earlier this year, which, while being two of my favourite nights of the year, are also some of the most hectic. Matt and I saw Fractures there and this track is almost as good as the concept of getting a seat during that set, which was a pretty special thing. I was so caught up in the excitement of sitting down to see the set, that I can't remember if I saw this song that night or not. But I also didn't care that someone threw a cup of ice at me during that set. Good times. Alchemy. Good song. (Jo Michelmore) 


#89. TALK BABY TALK
by Emma Louise





But why can't we just talk about it?
We used to be such good friends. 


Emma Louise didn't disappoint when it came to Supercry, the follow-up to her groundbreaking debut, Vs Head Vs Heart. LP2 demonstrated Louise's growth as a songwriter as she took stock of the world around her in the most creative ways. On 'Talk Baby Talk' we were firmly in 'when good relationships go bad territory', reminiscing about those carefree early days of love; all late night chats and lols and wrapping arms and drinking champagne from the glass in the other persons hand like they do in the movies sometimes. I hope that doesn't happen in real life. But now it's fights after fight and New York won't ever feel the same and what do you mean New York, girl? I'm just here in Brisbane. It's not all bad for you. And I don't want it to ever be all bad for Emma Louise because I want to keep hearing lovely music like this from her forever. (Matt Bond)


We waited what seemed like an eternity for Emma Louise to release something new after we had fallen head over heels for her debut Vs Head Vs Heart, but the Emma Louise who returned with 'Underflow' and this track; 'Talk Baby Talk', wasn't necessarily the one we expected, but she was one we welcomed with open arms. A more subtle tale of demise than the Emma we used to know, it's more brooding than broken, more reflective than responsive and more mature than moody. The wait was definitely worth it. (Jo Michelmore


#88. TREMBLE
by Nicole Millar





Caught up in your turbulence
Gasping for your air and we float. 


I love how Nicole Millar's unearthed profile says things like "this one's my favourite!" about tracks she released in 2013, because they were great songs, but pretty sure those favourites may have been replaced by another; with 'Tremble' this year becoming huge both commercially and artistically, a song filed with guts and a clip filled with such beautiful movement it's hard to turn away from. The music journalist people call it a "slow build" but I just call it good. Very very good. (Jo Michelmore) 


It's safe to say that Nicole Millar had a lot of fans before this year, with her Peking Duk collaboration 'High' going triple platinum in Australia in 2014, while also reaching #2 on that year's triple J Hottest 100. In 2016 Millar stepped out on her own with the knockout Tremble EP, firmly establishing herself as a compelling electronic artist in her own right. I couldn't escape the title track on the j's for a while there and why would I want to? Listening to it in the car at 5:30 in the morning while you're driving to work is going to make you feel like you're at your own private club night... at 5:30 in the morning. That's a pretty good place to be when you're driving into work at 5:30 in the morning. The beats are sick, Millar's promise to, "tremble with you," puts a smile on your face and leaves you with little doubt that the best is still yet to come from this Sydney based star on the rise. (Matt Bond)


#87. CHAMELEON
by Pnau






Do you understand?
Do you know what I say?


Two party songs in a row? Check us out. Usually it's five sad songs, an inbetweener and then a party starting jam. Yep, we do love our sad musics, but there is absolutely nothing sad about Pnau. Except that the one that's half of Empire of the Sun said he didn't like the music on their last album, Soft Universe, and I loved that album with all my cold, little heart so that's a bit sad. You can tell that fella, who goes by the name Nick Littlemore, must be having a lot of fun this time around because 'Chameleon' screams fun. It's dripping in fun. It's the funnest thing since sliced bread. A lot of that can be attributed to vocalist Shakira Marshall who absolutely kills it. Pnau have announced that Marshall will be joining them for a couple more tracks on their next LP and that's just the best news you've heard today, right? (Matt Bond)


Wow. Has it really been five years since Pnau released 'The Truth', with that clip I found awkwardly uncomfortable? Where did those years go? Why did I find that clip so uneasy? Will I be saying the same five years from now about this song and the next five years? Where did they find that much neon body paint? Is that actual body paint or is that computer generated trickery? Why does it seem their heads are always stuck together in promo shots? Are Nick and Peter actually one and the same person? Can they not take such a long break between such good tracks next time please? (Jo Michelmore)


#86. PULL IT TOGETHER 
by Wild Honey





But you got to know what to do when you feel way down
No what to give and to stand your ground. 


I remember hearing this song on the JJJs in my car one Sunday night while I was on the way to ice cream and I remember waiting in my car to hear the whole thing even though I'd stopped the engine and the bright lights of Baskins were shining down upon me, bathing me in the pink glow of sweet treats to come. I kept listening and bouncing along, because it was such an infectious sound I couldn't resist its sway, which, if you knew me, would be a very impressive thing, because almost nothing keeps me from ice cream. In my world, regardless of what I write here, there is no bigger compliment than this. (Jo Michelmore) 


#85. OVER YOU
by SAFIA





Rewind this clock, replace my time
I wanna find another, so I recover. 



I can't talk about SAFIA without mentioning they're from Canberra, so let's get that out of the way early. Our nation's capital does have an interesting music scene of its own and SAFIA are leading the charge to bring some attention C-bra's way. I don't think C-bra is a thing, but go with it and I promise I'll never say it again. SAFIA had a huge 2016, releasing their debut album Internal to critical acclaim and commercial success (hitting #2 on the ARIA charts), while keeping themselves busy with plenty of live performances across the country. 'Over You' is one of the group's funkiest offerings, which is great when you consider the heavy weight of the lyrics. Contrasting something that's sadder the more you think about it with those groovy SAFIA vibes we've come to know and love over the past couple of years works a treat. With their debut only released in September we could see SAFIA take some time out to work on their sophomore collection. Here's hoping they'll be back sooner than later. (Matt Bond)


#84. GHOST
by Old Sault





And I am alone
Waiting for the answers.


There were more top notch singer-songwriters coming out of Australia than I could keep count of this year. One that I'm more than happy to have caught is Angie Farr, who goes by the stage name Old Sault. She's one of my favourite new storytellers, capable of stoking the flames of your imagination with her outstanding lyrics and solid Australian indie rock sounds. 'Ghost' was our first taste of what Old Sault can do and I certainly hope there'll be plenty more of this to come heading into the new year. A quick Google search tells me that we should be hearing her Mostly Worried EP sometime soon, so keep your ears out for that one. It'll be grand. (Matt Bond)  


Two of my best friends and I have a recurring conversation about how one of us claims to have seen a ghost by the side of the road late one night while driving through the countryside. With a healthy dose of humour and skepticism, we often debate over the concept of said ghost. This 'Ghost' of Old Sault's is a different story, such a lovely four minutes that I'm a believer when it comes to the incredible sounds of this band. With a beautifully shot clip to match the delightful voice of Angie Farr, I'm more than happy to be chatting ghost stories day and night if they all sound like this. (Jo Michelmore)  


#83. BIG BAD WOLF
by Jessie Frye





Well so what?
If I'm not running fast enough for you
I can't keep up, but you're just chasing yesterday's bad news.


I stumbled across a quote by Jessie Frye while I was listening to this track, which said something along the lines of "boys come later, dreams come first". Now there's a girl I relate to. Combine that kind of attitude with guitars dripping with 90s grunginess, a healthy dose of pop sensibility and a vocal as perfectly at home in the early 00s as it is right now and you come up with a song like 'Big Bad Wolf', which is typical Jessie Frye, a beautiful mess of genres, times, fashions and talent. (Jo Michelmore)


We didn't think it was possible, but Jessie Frye became even more of a badass in 2016 with 'Big Bad Wolf'. It sounds like Frye is putting herself into the exact place she really wants to be in, fully embracing punk and goth elements in her sound and style. It's a good fit for her in every sense, without being a huge departure from what's come before. The subtle changes in her vocal delivery from last year's more pop-leaning single 'One In A Million' are fun to discover too. So, she's still a badass, a superhero and a goth princess. We'll have to see how she outdoes herself going forward. When it comes to Jessie Frye, anything's possible so here's to an even bigger and better 2017 for the Denton, Texas native. (Matt Bond)


#82. EVEN THOUGH OUR LOVE IS DOOMED
by Garbage 





You're the only thing worth fighting for
You're the only thing worth dying for.


There ain't no ballad like a Garbage ballad, because a Garbage ballad is like a thousand tiny cuts to your heart delivered by Shirley Manson in a way that is always, without question, sexy and mysterious. Think '#1 Crush', 'You Look So Fine' and 'Milk'. Think 'Even Though Our Love Is Doomed', which you should know just from the title isn't going to light up the world with happiness, but you just know that a song with a title like that from a band like Garbage is going to be GLORIOUS. And that's exactly what it is. One sexy, mysterious ballad that aims to get your heart racing instead of breaking, that wants your head spinning and not questioning. When a band that's been doing their thing for over twenty years is still putting out songs like this it makes me proud to still be loving Garbage after all these years. Keep on keeping on, Shirley and Co. The world might not be enough, but it still needs you in it doing your thing. (Matt Bond 


I want to start these words with a couple about the fact that Matthew saw Garbage live very recently and I didn't and it's actually not possible to be more jealous than I am about that fact. Now that we've made our feelings known publicly, let's talk about some other feelings. Garbage will always have a special place in my heart, because they are one of those bands that have always managed to see my feelings and turn them into music. They've been doing it since the mid 90s before anyone even thought of saying "all the feels" and back then Shirley said simple things like "you pretend you're anything just to be adored" and now she sings simple things like "why we kill the things we love the most" and somehow they're always things I need to hear. Now they just need to write a song about feeling equally happy and jealous when one of your best friends sees one of your favourite bands. Oh so many feels. Feelings. Feels. (Jo Michelmore)  


#81. LEAVE YOUR LIGHT ON
by Ariela Jacobs





Please tell me why I don't understand this
I've been hearing things and I've started to notice...


If I could add three zeros to the end of any song's SoundCloud listens, it would be this one. Genuine listens, where someone had to sit down and really take the song in. Add three more zeros to 'Leave Your Light On' and it would be sitting pretty at four million plus listens, which is where it should be, just with maybe another three zeros after that too. Ariela Jacobs has given us the most perfectly calming song that you can play at any time, in any situation (except maybe as background music for a fight, but make love not war blah blah blah) and you will find whatever freaking zen you're looking for. Jacobs is one of the most underrated lyricists in the country, her voice is more than gorgeous but I can't think of a good enough word and the atmosphere she builds up within the music will have you rushing through a rollercoaster of emotions in three minutes and forty-seven seconds. Anyway, until I see one of Ariela Jacobs' songs with millions of listens, I'll remain stoked to be one of the thousands that can say they love her music. Hopefully 'Leave Your Light On' will lead us to a new LP or EP in 2017. (Matt Bond 

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