Making this list was one of the harder things I’ve had to do all year. Seriously, it is way to fucking hard to pick just a couple songs from the plethora of absolutely stunning Australian songs that have penetrated our ear vessels this year. And that’s only Australia. If I went international, this would be a 50,000 word article, and not just a simple list.
Anyway, there have been too many good Australian tracks, and I already know there are a bunch I’ve forgotten. So, without further ado, here’s some of the best tracks our country produced this year, according to me.
SUPER EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS METAL TRACK: Batpiss-Loose Screws
Fucking vicious, and fucking fun, ‘Loose Screws’ combines a Bronx-like assault on the mind, with accusatory, finger-pointing lyrics. For example, the opening line of ‘WALKING ‘ROUND WITH A KNIFE IN YOUR BACK-AYE!’, was pretty par for the course. Packed to the roof with disgusting, abused sludge-punk, I don’t think any other hard ‘n’ heavy track of 2013 came as close to being so blatantly fuck you and good as Batpiss’ ‘Loose Screws’.
SUPER EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS ELECTRONICA TRACK (s): Touch Sensitive-Pizza Guy/Hayden James ‘Permission to Love’
Okay, I get it, this isn’t a Top 10 tracks, it’s expanded to 13. I actually don’t even care anymore, because I was having brain seizures trying to fit in my electronic loves of Touch Sensitive and Hayden James in the list. If anyone asked me what my favourite electronic music was in 2013, it’d be these two guys (and Jon Hopkins’ ‘Open Eye Signal’, but shush). Anyway, both these songs succeeded were so many other club bangers fail, because they were simply, back-to-basics tracks. They flowed like no other, with a happy, smiling vibe that not really any other producers of 2013 managed to capture. Well, not with the same authenticity anyway. Regardless, both these songs had such vibrancy and greatness that I couldn’t not include them somewhere.
Everything about this song contains an eerie beauty to it. Its like travelling down the back alleys of 1970’s Berlin, led by a sultry, stockinged temptress in slow motion. Either that, or a lingerie-clad, slightly sad but incredibly sexy high-profile callgirl watching a snake coil its way around herarm. I know that’s a very specific set of images to garner from a song, but that’s what springs to mind. Deal with it.
9. Unity Floors-Nice Fit
One of the more addictive slacker rock songs to come around as of late, ‘Nice Fit’ epitomises everything there is to love about the genre. It shows you don’t have to try and come up with some mad, sick riff or do a million solos to make something that’ll live on for a long fucking time. ‘Nice Fit’ manages to be both super chilled and super endearing at the same time. And what’s more, you will never get sick of this song in all its headbopping glory.
For their first track in absolutely ages, Seekae went and tried something completely revolutionary-adding original vocals. It was a risky move that made everyone wonder why the hell they hadn’t done it before! Dripping keys, a wobbling bass and tear shedding claps round this very simple track into being a tiny ball of furious emotion. I don’t think a more beautiful track was made this year.
7. Step-Panther-Maybe Later
There were a whole bunch of stunning picks to choose from in regards to established local shredders. New ones from Straight Arrows, Royal Headache, and Bloods all crossed my mind many times when compromising this list. And The Fabergettes and Palms absolutely murdered it this year as well. But Step-Panther reigned supreme with a rip-snorting anti-ambition anthem. Loud, crude and full of head banging potential, ‘Maybe Later’ is voted as No. 1 track to shout back at a band whilst in the front row of a shitty pub in the Inner West.
6. Amateur Drunks-My Favourite Stories
I really have to thank Polaroids of Androids for this one, because without them, this wonderful, sobering song wouldn’t be in my life, and that would be a fucking travesty. Feature a punk riff inspired by the likes of Frenzal Rhomb, the song is passed out in the gutter and moaning along to itself about how shit life is. And all the other degenerates gather around and sing along together, until its the loudest chorus in the city. Goddamn, being in the shits has never sounded so good as when these guys do it. Cheers POA, and cheers Amateur Drunks.
5. The Gooch Palms-We Get By
Another one that’s on the side of being down in the dumps, but instead of getting super miserable about it, The Gooch Palms decide to band together and tough it out. If you’re immersed in the ways of the Gooch, you’ll know that Kat Friend and Leroy Macqueen are damn fine songwriters/musicians. If you’re yet not on board with El Palmarama, just take a fucking listen to this song, and try and convince yourself that its not one of the greatest things you’ve heard all year. Tear-jerking, heart-swelling, mind-melting audio awesomeness.
4. Dollar Bar-Diff’rent 4 Gurls
From the very first bars, I knew that this would be a song I would love. What can I say, I’m a sucker for anything that has its roots in Guided By Voices and Pavement. But Dollar Bar take it a step further than that on their standout track ‘Diff’rent 4 Gurls’. They add that drawl and observatory demeanour that makes the average slacker rock lover wet between the thighs. The fact that Dollar Bar could combine the slacker romanticism of those amazing 90’s bands with a unique Australian outlook is too good for words.
3. Courtney Barnett-Avant Gardener
Honestly, what is there not to love about Courtney Barnett? That’s a rhetorical question, because Barnett has absolutely no faults. This all comes to a head on her track ‘Avant Gardener’, a song that could not be more perfect. A simple tale of how an attempt at gardening led to an anaphylactic attack. However, Barnett weaves this tale into one of the most masterful narratives this side of Hunter S. Thompson. There’s references to Pulp Fiction, bad bong-taking skills, and the unsung heroes that are ambulance drivers. All this, tied down with Barnett’s addictive underdog tone and a strumming guitar. Beautiful.
2. Bad//Dreems-Hoping For
Most will say there’s fuck all to do in Adelaide. As true as that might be, there are some fucking great musicians from there right now. Oisima, Horror, My Friend and Ride Into the Sun are just a few artists who’ve taken the country by storm in their respective genres. But Bad//Dreems have risen above the pack with their infectious garage rock anthems. Although ripped from a backyard/paddock in fuck-knows-where, Adelaide, these four blokes, strapped in with their singlets, instruments and a fuck-tonne of beers, are making tunes that could be planted on any stage in the world to raucous applause. You could say they’re the second coming of Cosmic Pyschos!
It was hard deciding which track from their debut EP was to be included on the Top 10 tracks for 2013, as any could have made it onto here. But in the end, the honour (?) goes to ‘Hoping For’. The track just wraps up everything there is to be about being a down on your luck, but still holding out for something great. Man, if that doesn’t ring true just even a little bit, then you’re a wanker.
1. TV Colours-Beverly
Of course it was going to be ‘Beverly’. This song is fucking fantastic! Everything about this song makes you want to jump up, start moshing like a victim extra in ‘Saving Private Ryan’, and do everything you’ve ever wanted to do, ever. ‘Beverly’ is perfect from start to finish; there’s not a single moment when you’re mind isn’t completely focused on the awesomeness of the song. When you’re listening to this track, a weird rush of elation lifts your soul, you feel powerful, and for a short 4:37 (or shorter 3:42, if you’re listening to the edit) you’re happy and in control.
Personal anecdote alert: I was having a hard time deciding which TV Colours track to include, as the entire album doesn’t have a bad song on it. ‘Bad Dreams’, ‘The Kids Are All Grown Up’, and ‘The Neighbourhood’ all went through my mind. But I chose ‘Beverly’ because I have personal history with this song. Up until ‘Beverly’, I had no clue about TV Colours, but listening to the song for the first time, I became instantly infatuated and obsessed. From there, it led me to the album, which became my favourite record of 2013, and in turn it led me to the album launch, which was one of my favourite gigs of 2013. Overall, this song opened up my eyes, and you really can’t thank a song enough for that.
You know that scene in Scanners where that guy’s head blows up…well, this is more mind-blowing than that. Enjoy.