– by Leah Vlatko, Aliza Caruso, Dylan Smith, Tim Wilson, Tobyn Fitch-Rabbitt
It’s been a big year for music, and there’s no better way to celebrate than voting for your Top Ten in Triple J’s annual Hottest 100. This year could take an interesting turn, with Taylor Swift fans aggressively fighting to get her hits premiered on Triple J (can you believe they didn’t play any T.Swizzle songs at all last year?). If you want ‘Blank Page’ to be crowned number 1, or if you want to ‘Shake it Off’ its throne, make sure you vote before tomorrow!
If choosing your favourite songs is overwhelming (and we all know it can be), fear not! Colosoul Music Writers Aliza, Dylan, Tim, and Tobyn are here to help! Get inspired by their individual picks below.
Picking my top 10 for Triple J’s Hottest 100 is always the worst part of my holidays, purely because I am limited to only ten choices (although, even if we were allowed to select one hundred songs, I’d probably still be stressing out). So, this year I’m doing something a little different… Only voting for Australian artists. My theory is if I limit myself to only picking from the tree of juicy, home-grown goodness (support local talent, woo!) then maybe it won’t be as hard to choose my top 10?? Turns out it’s still really difficult because Australian music is amazing. Sigh.
Big Scary side project #1 Dads scores a vote for their track ‘Return To’, which features the lush vocals of Tom Snowdon. It’s just so calming and lovely and super reminiscent of Big Scary Vacation days, which is my fave BS record if anyone’s askin’.
Meg Mac’s cover of Bill Wither’s ‘Grandma’s Hands’ blows me away more and more and more (and even more) every time I hear it. It’s just got this strange, exotic power that pretty much forces you to listen to it on repeat.
Rogues is the latest dreamy tune from Perth three-piece Methyl Ethel (though you could probably credit it as more of Jake Webb solo project). The track’s cute, chill n catchy and is highly deserving of a vote.
Gunns and their musical sibling, HAMJAM, both receive praise for this year’s Hottest 100. Gunns released a rad new track called ‘The Fool’ and HAMJAM popped out little ‘Love’ which boasts Earth’s best music video of 2014*.
Spinning Top is pretty well represented in my top tracks of 2014, lucky them. My favourite band**, Pond, let ‘Elvis’ Flaming Star’ out of its cage, Peter Bibby came out with ‘Hates My Boozin’, and Felicity Groom released the sublime ‘Higher, Higher, Taller, Taller’.
Last, but hardly the least, The Preatures released their amazing, extraordinary, spectacular, debut album Blue Planet Eyes of which every single track on that record deserves a vote, honestly. However, having to narrow it down, I’ve gone with ‘Cruel’ and the Mac DeMarco inspired ‘Roll and Roll Rave’.
Thee Gold Blooms – Alana
Mathas – Doctorshopping
Tame Impala – Stranger In Moscow
Chet Faker – Lover You Don’t Treat Me No Good
*** Glass Animals – Gooey
* Probably not true
** Actually true
*** Not Australian, I know, I failed. Apart from Gooey being one of the chilliest, coolest tracks to come out of 2014, the band reckons if they make it into the top 20, to celebrate, they’re gonna slap the guitarist/keyboardist (aka Drew MacFarlane) with a salmon continuously for 60 seconds. And there’s an unusually large part of me that wants to see this followed through.
RL Grime takes my top spot this year with ‘Core’, the mega-track that has found its way into sets and mixes everywhere, alongside ‘Valhalla’ (feat. Djemba Djemba) and ‘Tell Me’, RL Grime’s collaboration with What So Not.
My next big hitters are the Perth boys responsible for Slumberjack and their game changing banger, ‘Felon’, as well as their hot off the EP, ‘Horus’. And speaking of delectable duos, Jack Ü – aka Skrillex and Diplo – released their first track this year, ‘Take Ü There’ (feat. Kiesza), which stirred a butt-tonne of hype.
Skrillex also scores a solo mention with ‘F**k That’ which echoes a laid back drum’n’ bass beat with a dancy flow that beautifully reflects Sonny’s ability to create more than just the hardcore off-chops dubstep that he’s known for.
‘One Touch’ (feat. AlunaGeorge) scores a top ten spot thanks to Aluna’s blissfully spot-on vocals superimposed superbly by Baauer’s airtight production.
Vince Staples’ ‘Blue Suede’ touches down with some on-point rap and traptacular backing.
And finally, ‘Is It A Banger?’ Yeah, it definitely is. In 2014, Odd Mob provided the solution to this age old question by sampling Tom Haverford from the popular mockumentary ‘Parks and Recreation’ (check out the original scene here for the extra layer of intertextual appreciation).
Golden Features – Tell Me (Ft. Nicole Millar)
Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD – Gunshowers
Glass Animals – Gooey
Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me (Ft. Kendrick Lamar)
Karnivool – Hey Now (Like a Version)
Caribou – Silver
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard – Hot Wax
Lower Spectrum – Khlever
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
SBTRKT Higher (Ft. Raury)
Golden Features ‘Tell Me (Ft. Nicole Millar)’: In early 2014 my mates and I started listening to more and more electronic music which is pretty much inevitable these days and stumbled across this mysterious producer who we just started pumping at every pre going out house party. The four track EP was so addicting at the time so you can imagine Circo was set to be an amazing time with him on the line-up. After Circo, I travelled to Melbourne where a friend took me to a club built into a couple of old train tunnels known as “Can’t Say”. Nicole Millar was headlining the night and no doubt the DJ played ‘Tell Me’ and it just went off hence this song being the first pick in the top ten of 2014.
Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD ‘Gunshowers’: This song was confirmed in my top ten of 2014 after seeing BBNG at Amplifier. The three piece hip-hop influenced band met in a jazz program at Humber College in Canada which resonated in their impeccably composed live set. The beginning tones and lazy bending of guitar strings in ‘Gunshowers’ hooked me from the start and deserves no.2 in the top ten of 2014.
Glass Animals ‘Gooey’: First heard these delicate beings on Triple J playing this song and I remember the lead singer Dave Bayley, mentioning his mum being slightly disgusted by the lyrics. Southbound locked in this song to be up in the top ten picks for me as their smooth set sent peanut butter vibes all through the crowd.
Flying Lotus ‘Never Catch Me (Ft. Kendrick Lamar)’: Much like BBNG composition wise, FlyLo is on point. Groovy bass lines, vocal samples of all kind and abrasive percussion pierces the ears creating a blissful explosion of wonderlust making this song an undisputed choice amongst the top ten of 2014.
Karnivool ‘Hey Now (Like a Version)’: Covering London Grammar’s ‘Hey Now,’ Karnivool stray from their typical post-metal feel to channel chills through the reverb filled guitars and spacey synths. This is what I really dig when it comes to covers, a band’s interpretation of a song not just a straight out copy which puts this song in the top ten of 2014 picks.
Caribou ‘Silver’: From the album Our Love, ‘Silver,’ demonstrates the high level of production featuring a shaker led percussive track along with panned synths for maximum aural sounding. Keep an eye out for Caribou at Laneway this year because he was an easy choice for my top ten of 2014.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard ‘Hot Wax’: Massive respect to this band as an independent artist doing so well for themselves and paving an inspirational path for Aussie bands to follow. After the third time seeing these guys live, this tune worked it’s way into my top ten picks for 2014 with such a bouncy duo of drum rolls and a really unique way of adding effects to the harmonica as a lead instrument. Awesome band, awesome song, good stuff.
Lower Spectrum ‘Khlever’: First saw this guy, Ned Beckley, supporting Andy Stott at the Bakery mid 2014 and was blown away by him as a supporting act. His set began by sending waves of sonic negative space through the air and drawing us in with punchy, reserved snares, toying with the crowd as if we were all made of metal and he was a rotating magnet. ‘Khelver,’ is such a moody tune. The lead melody can send you into a peaceful departure from earth making it an easy pick for the top ten of 2014.
Mac DeMarco ‘Salad Days’: Easy listening and music for every type of person, Mac nails the drowsy feel of ‘Salad Days.’ In contrast to the instrumental, the lyrics suggest a rather dull look on life. This really draws me in as Mac isn’t just the pretty face that compliments the sound, but a rich poet inside. I want to sit down and have a beer with Mac one day making him a pick for the top ten of 2014.
SBTRKT ‘Higher (Ft. Raury)’: SBTRKT clicked with me ever since I heard his first self-titled album in 2011. Later finding out that he grew up on a farm really took my inspiration from him to another level. Much like the Presets, the dark electronic nature of ‘Higher’ is something I find quite rare in dance music. A very talented musician who relies on random collaboration to produce an unexpected sound making this song my no.1 pick of 2014.
My ten favourite songs from the last year are all Perth acts. This wasn’t a conscious effort so much as the increased ease to love songs you see live regularly.
Pond frontman and former Tame Impala bass player Nicholas Allbrook released an excellent debut album last year but the opening track, ‘Tramadol with Fear’, is just on another level entirely, just listen to it and hopefully you’ll see where I’m coming from.
Upcoming cult hero/unofficial poet laureate (it’s only a matter of time) Peter Bibby’s ‘Hates My Boozin’ is a heartbroken love ballad about either a girlfriend or alcohol, it’s hard to tell until the last line.
I’m going to be sorely disappointed if I don’t conceive at least one kid to HAMJAM’s ‘Double Ride’, same goes for ‘Unconditional’ to be quite honest.
Dianas and Methyl Ethel perfected their dream pop sound, whilst Childsaint channeled The Jesus and Mary Chain’s noisy confidence with ‘Bury Me’.
Gunns’ ‘Give Me Sunshine’ perfectly captures living through Perth Summers.
HAMJAM get included again with their cover of iLoveMakkonnen’s ‘Tuesday’ because how could you not love it?
Doctopus and Mei Saraswati both get honourable mentions for their various releases, whilst Twerps and Roku Music miss out partly for being on the East Coast, giving me less chance to see them live as often as everyone else.