the big list: the best in music for 2013

End of year lists are pretty much…the best part of the year. So here’s our (heavily biased) idea of what happened in music in 2013: 

Album of the Year:

(the nominees…)

 – Haim : Days Are Gone

– Kanye West : Yeezus 

– Arctic Monkeys : AM

– Arcade Fire : Reflektor

– Disclosure : Settle

– Jagwar Ma : Howlin’

– Rudimental : Home

– Tegan And Sara : Heartthrob

– Laura Marling : Once I Was An Eagle

– James Blake : Overgrown 

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WINNER: Haim – Days Are Gone 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Record Of The Year:

(nominees…) 

– “Royals” – Lorde

– “Days Are Gone” – Haim

– “The Wire” – Haim

– “When A Fire Starts To Burn” – Disclosure

– “Latch” – Disclosure

– “Black Skinhead” – Kanye West

– “Blood On The Leaves” – Kanye West

– “Still Into You” – Paramore

– “DNA” – Empire Of The Sun

– “Master Hunter” – Laura Marling

– “Reflektor” – Arcade Fire

– “R U Mine” – Arctic Monkeys

– “I Knew You Were Trouble” – Taylor Swift

– “Q.U.E.E.N.” – Janelle Monae ft. Erykah Badu 

WINNER: Haim – “The Wire” 

Gig of the Year:

– Tegan And Sara – Sydney Opera House

– Lorde – Splendour In The Grass

– Laura Marling – Splendour In The Grass

– Haim – Splendour In The Grass

– Alison Wonderland – Splendour In The Grass 

– Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – The HiFi 

– James Blake – Splendour In The Grass 

WINNER: Tegan And Sara

(Honourable mention to Alison Wonderland, for delivering the most badass/hectic DJ gig this year)

Best/ Weirdest/ Freaky Music Video of the Year: 

– “Bound 2” – Kanye West

– “Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus

….actually that just about covers it.

WINNER: Miley Cyrus…for making demolition work thoroughly traumatising. 

Biggest Musical Fuck Ups of 2013

– The One Direction Movie

– Festivals Cancelling (that’s you Harvest…Homebake)

– Bottle throwing at gigs (it’s not cool, see Azealia Banks) 

WINNER: The One Direction Movie

Biggest Musical WTF?? 

– Miley Cyrus

….there’s no need for any other nominees. 

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…yep. 

 

Breakthrough Artist

– Haim

– Lorde

– Jagwar Ma

– Vance Joy

WINNER: Lorde

Quote of the Year:

“Now is an important time not to Google myself.” – Miley Cyrus 

 

Let us know what you think (i.e. we want your outrage.) 

 

 

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Splendour Psych Up: Laura Marling

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Laura Marling

Master Hunter

 

Laura Marling’s last release (2011’s A Creature I Don’t Know) spun jazz arrangements with folk sensibilities and came up trumps, with Marling’s voice inching ever close to the untouchable Joni Mitchell.

New single “Master Hunter” is a slightly different beast, a low slung blues creeper that probably won’t sooth you as much as chill you to the bone. Joni Mitchell is not too far ahead.

 

Once I Was An Eagle is out now.

BREAKING ARTIST: Owl Eyes

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Owl Eyes

Closure

As lead single from her debut record, “Closure” does what it’s supposed to: deliver a scintillating hook amidst a tornado of laptop electronica.

Another Australian Idol alumna, Brooke Addamo has successfully sidestepped the world of bubblegum pop, choosing to blend glittering disco pop with heavy doses of indie. Luckily for her, it works.

Nightswim is out now.

BREAKING BAND: Haim

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Haim

Falling

The leather wearing, guitar slinging, California slacker sisters Haim* may look like they’ve just broken out of St. Trinians, but at least they can craft one hell of a tune.

Courting a median age of 23, sisters Alana, Danielle and Este topped the BBC Sound of 2013 list – a huge indicator of impending world domination (Adele topped 2008’s list, for example.) Single “Falling” name checks everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Destiny’s Child, chopping up wistful harmonies over some heavy, scattered percussion. It’s a big single that may just be worth the hype.

haim

 

Haim will play Splendour In The Grass in July.

*Pronounced ‘Hime’ not ‘Haym’

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Abbe May – Kiss My Apocalypse

640x640-cAbbe May

Kiss My Apocalypse 

– (Independent/MGM) –

By the sound of her guitar slashing 2011 debut, Design Desire, Abbe May seemed ready to unleash 70’s rock/sex hell on the world. Influential blog Popmatters declared that she was “ready to destroy the rock world”, and she snatched up a nomination for the Australian Music Prize. She seemed ready to take up the mantle of modern rock heroine.

Which makes the screeching U-turn of her followup intriguing. Or perhaps not to her, at least: “I’m bored with standard rock”, May states in the press release, “I’m bored with the standard cool.” That probably explains why Kiss My Apocalypse eschews rock in favour of minimalist, pulsing R&B and laptop driven synth-pop.

Produced by May and Sam Ford, It’s an oddly incoherent collection – tracks are stitched together with quiet interludes that often only contain a throbbing drum machine (opener ‘Hurricane Heartbeat’), or screwed up vocal harmonies (the aptly named ‘Cyberpunk Choir’).

When the songs do take form, often they’re more like imprints than actual structures, ‘T.R.O.U.B.L.E’ exists on a pumped up vocal hum with some doomsday synths providing the backbone, and ‘Want Want Want’ doesn’t go much beyond the same formula.

May described her new style as ‘doom-pop’, and even beyond the world-is-ending song titles it’s a curious description. May revels in darkness and sensuality, the lyrics full of post-coital cigarettes and sexual imagery. Singing of betrayal and heartbreak, May definitely resembles the victor, and the songs burn with a distinct ‘screw you’ mentality.

The better cuts on the record play to this strength: single ‘Karmageddon’ is built on a hellish synth shudder and thick vocal lines, and the title track is a slow, sonic kick in the teeth to her foes.

As a slinking pop experiment, it excels, the songs belonging to the kind of late night meet ups that it so describes. As a contemporary pop release, it’s also interesting, owing as much to The xx as it does to Frank Ocean. Whether or not it’s the successful genre cross over that May desires may remain to be seen.

Rating: 6.5/10

Kiss My Apocalypse is in stores now.

The Love Junkies thrash it out on single ‘Maybelene’

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The Love Junkies

Maybelene

Built on a spine crunching bass line, new single from Perth thrashers The Love Junkies is a bruiser of epic proportions.

If you’re still able to resist, the throat tearing rasps from singer Mitch McDonald probably will get you in the end, but there’s a surprising amount of melody hidden within the chaos that keep you interested even when you’re ears are exploding.

Daft Punk return with disco jam “Get Lucky”

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Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams

Get Lucky

You might not expect the new track from French electronic duo Daft Punk to be an old school disco ode – but that’s exactly what it is.

Featuring Pharrell Williams on vocals, the track has more in common with Earth, Wind & Fire than “Around The World”, with sleek synth lines and a jaunty melody. But lord, it’s nice they’re back.