Top 20 Australian Songs of 2014

It’s that time of year, when I sell my soul, and conform to the expectation that all blogs, no matter how small and shitty (of which Soundly Sounds is both) needs to compile an end of year list, summarising all the great things that have been accomplished by the fair artists of the year. Now, if you’ve ever been on this blog, or heard words out of my mouth, it becomes apparent that I have a habit of hyperbole, and describing everything as “my favourite” or “the best thing ever”. Well, now it’s time to pay up, and show what I, King Deadshit, reckons is the best of the best this year.

Fuck, this shit is really hard. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do. As opposed to the Best Videos of the Year, and the Best International Records,  this list has taken me days to put together, as I’ve been more indecisive than a newspaper editor trying to decided the front page between a story in which David Beckham and Ryan Gosling have constructed the world’s most beautiful baby, or an exclusive interview with Clive Palmer’s fourth chin. A toughie, that’s for sure.

Anyway, here are the picks of the year – Aussie songs that have made people turn their heads, jaws drop in astonishment, and allow for spines to be frozen over in fascinated horror. The list was torturing me, so it’s been lengthened to 20. Also, songs that were just released as singles got preference over stuff that was on albums, simply because those are coming in the next list! OH FUCK, CAN YOU EVEN WAIT THAT LONG, OR ARE YOU GOING TO CRYOGENICALLY FREEZE YOURSELF UNTIL IT COMES OUT, WALT DISNEY STYLE?

Honourable Mentions: Step-Panther (Parallel) Solid Dad (Kewl December), Jack Ladder (Her Hands), Andras & Oscar (Looking Back), Babaganouj (Bluff), Disgusting People (I Wanna Ctrl Alt Delete My Life), The Stevens (Thirsty Eye), GL (Won’t You See), Wives (Buried), Day Ravies (Hickford Whiz) Dead Set Ledger (Buddy’s Kickin’ Screwies on the SCG).

20. Miss Destiny – The One

A lambasting surge of sound from Melbourne’s Miss Destiny, this song is like Courtney Love being thrown in a blender whilst The Donnas and The Darkness throw down.

19. White Hex – Paradise

White Hex released a badass synth record earlier this year, ‘Gold Nights’. Dangerous seduction was the game, the kind that Michael Douglas would engage in, and White Hex won. Jimi Kritzler, former Slug Guts member, also released a fantastic book this year, “Noise In My Head”, but “Paradise” makes a case for being Kritzler’s no. 1 achievement of 2014.

18. Bachelor Pad – Fried

Bachelor Pad’s garage rock enthusiasm is irrepressible – it is actually impossible to stop them. Sounding like the bratty, cone-smoking kid of Ty Segall, “Fried” is as infectious as those warts that have started collecting themselves between your legs.

17. Postblue – Ugly

Poison City Records had a fuckn’ year didn’t they? Between the release of The Smith Street Band, The Bennies and re-releasing old Screamfeeder records, they found time for Postblue’s “Ugly”. On a record that’s full of affable, catchy rock tunes, Postblue especially stuck out on “Ugly”, an early Jebediah track that went through the digestive system of Steve Albini.

16. Total Giovanni – Human Animal

“Human Animal” makes me do weird things with my arms, but I like it.The bastard child between Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem, Total Giovanni have a feverish cult of personality surrounding their music. It’s alluring, funky-as-swinging-leather-pants music that PT Anderson wished was around for the soundtrack of ‘Boogie Nights’.

15. Nun – Evoke the Sleep

Easily the most ferocious synth-punk released this year, Melbourne’s Nun provided a storming debut LP earlier this year. “Evoke the Sleep” makes the case for these guys to be considered amongst the likes of DEVO and Depeche Mode.

14. Old Mate – Requesting Permission

On the more heart-breaking end of the scale, there’s Old Mate. A member of Bitch Prefect, Pat Telfer’s “Requesting Permission” will make you start jabbering about all the random dust that’s flown in within the last 30 seconds.

13. Hockey Dad – I Need A Woman

South Coast-muzzas Hockey Dad provide a slab of feel-good surf rock that’s lathered affectionately in pop and fuzz, drives school-girls crazy, and is really fucking great. Hockey Dad just need to stop wearing their damn trousers so low, and they’ll be well on their way to success.

12. Dorsal Fins – Monday Tuesday

Pop music so good Madonna would want to rip it off. Beginning with urgent piano and stomping bass, Dorsal Fins turn things into up a dramatic notch for an 80’s singalong straight from the stolen brain of Debbie Harry.

11. Bad//Dreems – Dumb Ideas 

When the opening notes of “Dumb Ideas” ring out, it becomes fairly obvious that Bad//Dreems are going to provide another stomper of a track. A flippant flipping off, “Dumb Ideas” is a confident, surly piece of rock that Angus Young would want to call his own.

10. Liam Kenny – I’m The Ocean 

Fairs fair, when you’re covering Neil Young, you’re headed straight to the top of a best-of list. But when Liam Kenny (Peak Twins, Bitch Prefect, The Friendsters, Roamin’ Catholics) does it, it turns into a squalling guitars, and heart-clutched vocals.

9. Tempura Nights – R.I.P Chix

Brisbane’s on a roll right now, with Velociraptor, DZ Deathrays, Babaganouj and Major Leagues all kicking major goals this year with releases and singles. But Tempura Nights, a lil’ suprgroup, kicked the most amount of ass with “R.I.P Chix” a sweet garage sprinkled with Deal sister guitar and the kind of head noddin’ you’d expect from a Brissy pop band.

8. Peter Bibby – Hates My Boozin’

Peter Bibby is a moper amongst mopers, a bloke who paints his own portrait with a bottle constantly in one hand and an impossibly perfect rolled cigarette in the other, carefree and full of whimsy on the outside, but burning up within.

7. King Single – Restart Newstart Allowance

A certain Bare Grillz/Lenin Lennon member changed things up by providing gorgeous guitar-pop and glassy drum sounds that create only one reaction in all within earshot: *SWOON*.

6. Richard In Your Mind – Hammered

Richard In Your Mind say it best when they swing drunkenly upon the line “Me and my baby get hammered in the daytime”. From their latest record ‘Ponderosa’, it’s a honeyed trip into the tastily warped senses of Richard In Your Mind.

5. The Harpoons – Unforgettable

As far as breaking up goes, no one seems to have hit it on the head harder than The Harpoons. What a bunch of sultry crooners! It’s a jam that’s part Caribou, part TLC, and part doe-eyed wistfulness that feeds upon your heart like a piranha of romantic longing.

4. FLOWERTRUCK – I Wanna Be With You

Speaking of romantic longing, the best band that seemingly came out of nowhere was FLOWERTRUCK. Bursting forth from the same scene that’s brought Big White, High-tails, and New Lovers, FLOWERTRUCK make the descriptor ‘infectious’ cower in fear. They’re Sydney’s own version of Blank Realm. If David Byrne and Bryan Ferry exploded into fit of joyous crooning, amid slashing puffs of synth and guitar, it’d be about as great as this.

3. Donny Benet – The Edge. Feat Kirin J Callinan

Donny Benet. The man. The legend. The myth. There ain’t nobody like this feller in the universe, mainly because there can only be one moustache-weilding, impressively groomed prince of seduction in the world. It’s a Highlander thing. On, “The Edge” Kirin J Callinan and the Don do battle over five minutes of exhausting sexual healing.

2. Weak Boys – Hangovers

“Hangovers” sort of set the staple for what my 2014 was, along with many other budding attendees of whatever Inner West domain Weak Boys have been fortunately dominating. I’ve listened to this song more times than I’ve asked for a jug of Resch’s at the Lansdowne. My intimidatingly large beer belly nods in agreement.

1. Constant Mongrel – New Shapes

In 2014, no single came close to the grisly terror imagined on Constant Mongrel’s “New Shapes”. Melbourne’s most ferocious unleash a bass-driven hellscape that indulges primal and carnal desires. As far as finale’s go, Constant Mongrel went for an ending more taut, nail-biting and mentally draining than the conclusion of ‘Heat’. A blood-caked knuckle-duster ride into a starved post-punk oblivion, “New Shapes” is the kind of thing post-apocalyptic hero would throttle in their car as they ravaged a scorned landscape in survival mode.

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New Aus Music: Clag + Vacant Field + Postblue + Okay Cocaine + Barbiturates + Multiple Man

This one time I went to the cricket. I hated it. So instead, I expended all my Australian-ness into spreading the word about awesome Aussie bands. Queue dramatic music and Oscars acceptance speech. I’m a fucking hero.

Clag-Twozza

First up, it’s old mates Clag. And I do mean old mate. These guys were around in the 90’s, then they broke up, and went on to really good things like Beaches and Panel of Judges. I want to say greater, but really, there isn’t anything like Clag.

Case in point-the irreverant indie-pop of ‘Twozza’. How many bands do you know named after a popular form of glue that write songs about the salad days? There’s the name checking of puking in the bong, knowing absolutely fuck all about brushing girls hair and wearing shorts, all set to a delightful keyboard riff and slacker guitar that could’ve been taken from an episode of Fraggle Rock.

Vacant Field-Run Down

Speaking of absolutely delightful bands, here’s Sydney’s Vacant Field. I played the shit out of them on FBi a few weeks back, and wanted to give them a pleasant thrashing on here as well, but there was no Soundcloud! That’s been recently rectified, and the song ‘Run Down’ is now in the public eye for all to fawn over. It’s a beautiful thing, that’s simultaneously open and intimate. If you could get the innocence that Randy Newman has on the Toy Story soundtrack, and collide it headlong with the forlorn of a Smiths track, then you’d have the gorgeous ‘Run Down’. Absolutely stunning.

Postblue-Ugly

There is so much about this song to love. First of all, it’s on Poison City City Records, the go-to label in Australia for punk tunes with a dirty pop edge (see: The Smith Street Band, Clowns). Secondly, ‘Ugly’ is a finely crafted tune-from the straight forward guitars, to the emo-laden chorus, the whole thing reeks of something that Screamfeeder would’ve released back in the day. And thirdly, it’s a cocktease. The song is more in-an-out orgasm than a guy losing his virginity to Amy Adams. Spectacularly good.

Okay Cocaine-7 Hours

Okay Cocaine are a band I’ve been meaning to see for the past couple weeks, because a) amazing name, obviously and b) they’re getting stuck on these awesome lineups, so awesome by association right. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to check them out in a live setting, but their music is fucking rad. It’s an amateur, balls-out, keeling-n-kicking punk rock that never lets up for a second. It whirls, wheeling and dealing like a pimp with a death wish. Seriously, ‘7 Hours’ is more high octane than an hour with Nicholas Cage. Get amongst it.

Barbiturates-BOSS

Barbiturates have always been consistenly interesting to listen to, a strong inclusion in the list of really, really weird Brisbane bands that never fail to please (others being Cobwebbs, Per Purpose Gazar Strips, Brainbeau…it goes on). On their latest release, the aptly titled ‘BOSS’, the listener gets plunged head first into all the musical terrains one could hope for. There’s the rainbow kaleidoscope forest of ‘Woods Pt 1’, the crunchy gravel driveway of its successor, the ghoulish Rocky Horror dread of ‘Oxygen Free’ and the disturbed oceanic patterns of ‘Leech’. And that’s only naming a few. Really, Barbiturates spread themselves around everywhere on ‘BOSS’, with an effectively schizophrenic and perturbed desire. The album is amazingly riveting, so I dunno what you’re doing still reading this and not buying it.

Multiple Man-Guilt Culture

Speaking of Brisbane bands that are fantastically weird, here’s a new one from Multiple Man. And boy, is it a fucked up piece of music. It has an S&M sheen, murky and slithering in nature, never popping it’s head out of the muck just in case you might think for a second that there’s some beauty underneath. ‘Guilt Culture’ is subtly vicious, featuring a snaky synth line and flesh-crawling lyrics that would give Wes Craven a boner in no time. Awesome!