And when you’re voting for songs rather than politicians, what’s not to love?
Most years, I get to January and find myself having completely forgotten who I loved in months previous, but this year I got myself a system – loved a song? Buy it and whack it in iTunes. When the time comes to vote, arrange by year and voila! You’ve got yourself a shortlist, with an indicator of how many plays each one got, should you need to whittle down the numbers.
Funnily enough, this year was a breeze. I picked a shortlist from iTunes before running through the list of suggestions on the voting page to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, and here’s the run of ten that I finally settled on for my vote, in no particular order.
(No pressure, but I reckon I’ve got pretty damn good taste.)
Note: Those marked with (DIY) aren’t in the suggestion list provided by triple j, so you’ll have to add them yourself through the… well, “Add Your Own” feature.
Citizen Kay – Raise A Glass (feat. BKBB)
Yes, this choice is full of Canberra pride. The nation’s capital welcomed me back with open arms in 2013, and I repaid it by getting stuck deep into its local music scene (more on that in future posts). This is undoubtedly one of the biggest songs of the year from the ACT, with Citizen Kay and The Brass Knuckle Brass Band (aka “feat. BKBB”) getting a whole lot of airplay on the national youth broadcaster, and it’s been a real delight to hear it coming out of headphones, radios, and cars over the last few months.
Plus, they’re both killer live acts. I’m still pissed that I missed seeing this in the flesh.
Dan Sultan – Under Your Skin
Ahhhhh… Dan Sultan. If there is an album I am absolutely falling over myself for in 2014, it’s the one that this track will be a part of. The growling, howling vocal in the opening bars immediately talks to my lady bits and the video clip… Excuse me. I’m going to need a moment to compose myself.
Fun Machine – Naked Body (DIY)
The first time I saw Fun Machine was in early 2012, when they were supporting Mikelangelo and the Tin Star, and to be honest… I didn’t get it. Sure, I could see why so many people had told me how awesome they were, but something just didn’t click for me. Even though they were deemed by many to be one of the acts to see in Canberra, I didn’t go in for a second dose for a long time.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to give it another go, I was just always busy/sick/broke/lacking motivation/just too damn pretentious to go. Then this song dropped and it was like a light switch flipped in my head. I suddenly *got it*. And I loved it.
So I started to plan to go to a Fun Machine gig. Somehow, the universe had caught wind of my initial doubt and inevitable change of heart and decided that I deserved to be punished for my foolishness. Hence, I endured months of not being able to get to see Fun Machine. Stupidly heavy rain storms, seizures, clashes with family gatherings… Until I finally got to a couple of their gigs in December.
And now I have a massive crush on all the members of Fun Machine. And we all lived glitter-ly ever after.
(If you were expecting my blurb about Fun Machine to make sense, you do not understand Fun Machine and you should come with me to one of their gigs so that you can understand.)
The Preatures – Is This How You Feel?
The jangly guitars, the sultry male and female vocals, the Instagrasm-style vintage-esque video clip: there is nothing about this song that isn’t amazing. You will undoubtedly have chunks of this tune floating around in your brain for weeks after you’ve hit play on this video, and you will enjoy every minute of it.
Saskwatch – Hands
The day that Saskwatch played Transit Bar, I was a wreck. I’d had a seizure earlier in the week, I was tired and emotionally vulnerable, and in the end I couldn’t even bring myself to stand up to watch their set, choosing instead to sit and listen quietly from a nearby couch, my view blocked by all the happy punters.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to see anything. They were so good that I was entranced and delighted by just being in the same room as them and hearing them be bright and happy and funky and awesome. It took me a long time to pick between this and “I Get Lonely“, but this one seemed to have got a little bit more airplay, so I figured my vote might be better spent with it. Hopefully my cynicism pays off and it gets a spot!
Vance Joy – Riptide
For me, Vance Joy’s ‘Riptide’ is this year’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’. Working in commercial radio, it has been in my ears almost every day, but it’s such a great tune that I can’t bring myself to hate it. In fact, I still love it immensely, right from those beautifully chirpy ukulele chords and confessions of ridiculous phobias in the opening verse. It’s just sweetness, pure and simple.
Fun fact #1: When I first heard it on the radio, I thought it was some jaunty side-project from Alex Barnett from Sparkadia. (Come on, they sound a little bit similar…) I confused many cab-drivers with this assertion.
Fun fact #2: His real name isn’t really Vance. This still infuriates me, because people called Vance are awesome, like my great-grandfather and my 8-year-old cousin.
Twin Beasts – Badlove (DIY)
I can’t remember how I first came across The Toot Toot Toots. Maybe it was when I saw them at The Phoenix back in 2012. (Or was it earlier than that?) Maybe it was when I first heard ‘Fool’s Gold‘, off their debut album which is a gorram Spaghetti Western Rock Opera.
However, the last twelve months have meant a transformation for this delightful band, with a complete name and sound change. I’m not disappointed though – their new direction as Twin Beasts is absolutely kick-ass. Plus, the video features a guy who reminds me of Peter Capaldi flailing around in one of the best pieces of interpretative dance/acting I’ve seen in ages. Hit me right in the guts, man. Right in the guts.
The Basics – So Hard For You
Sure, 2012 was the Year of Gotye, but 2014 could well be the year The Basics, my favourite of Wally DeBacker’s projects, really come into their own. This song is absolutely killer, and now that they can count an ARIA-and-Grammy Winner among their members, their fantastic brand of retro-pop-rock might just get the attention it deserves, especially with the swell the genre is currently riding with the likes of The Preatures and Jeremy Neale.
With a new album apparently in the works, keeping an eye on The Basics should be one of your major hobbies in 2014.
Brendan Maclean – Stupid
I don’t know where to start when it comes to Brendan Maclean, because he is just a brilliant human being, even before you take into account how amazing he is at music. His songs are not only catchy and brilliantly entertaining, they’re also surprisingly raw and revealing.
And seriously, look at that face. How could you deny those gorgeous puppy-dog eyes a vote? Do the right thing, and give a tune that is unashamedly about unrequited gay love a spot in your short-list.
The Growl – Douse The Lamps (DIY)
And now we come to the song that gave me more lady-tingles than any other. Seriously, that bass line. You can feel the rhythm weaving its way into your hips. Arch your back to the gravelly-gorgeousness of Cam Avery’s voice. This song just screams “SEX”. It’s primal and gritty and just makes me want to do something my mother wouldn’t approve of.
And then you strip it all back to two guys in an alley, with nothing but a double bass and that gorgeous voice, and it still gets into your blood stream and sets your insides on fire.
Sure, Dan Sultan is sexy, but this song is just something else, to the point where I am terrified of seeing The Growl live… I’m just not sure I could control myself…