Well, that time of the year again, so let’s do what everybody else does and make a yearend list of the best of the year, shall we? But then again, we’re not really a legitimate music blog, so we’re just going small-term by talking about us, us, us. Like last year, this is by no means a representative list of the best music of the past year: these are all, really, my favorite tracks. But it has been an interesting year in music. The girls came out; the dance floor got quiet and merged with hip-hop; and guitar music is, well, still not quite back… but not all that gets a mention. Again, sorted in alphabetical order, my favorites: ten songs that you should soak in while we take a two-week break. We’ll be back on 6 January, unless, of course, surprise gigs get in the way, much like last year. [NB]
“Avant Gardener” by Courtney Barnett | New single from Melbourne-based musician (and friend of the blog) Courtney Barnett, something that almost just passed me by because my listening habits of late meant the Aussies got a bit of a breather. Well, I wasn’t too late. “Avant Gardener” was just released online a couple of weeks ago (download it here for an Aussie dollar) and it still has that laid-back, I-don’t-give-a-damn, actually effective drawl she’s shown on “Lance Jr.” and “History Eraser”. (Oh, by the way, the latter song has since taken on a special thing for me, since I requested it on my birthday and it got played. One guess where.) Yeah, it’s five minutes long, longer than usual, but I like it for its slow-motion take on the stream of consciousness best seen on that R.E.M. song. I don’t know. It just is, you know, effective. [NB]
“History Eraser” by Courtney Barnett | Five months ago I mentioned Courtney Barnett, writing about the Aussies’ thing for language warnings (officially). Since then she’s released a new song, “History Eraser”, which still features her lovely laid-back drawl that oddly draws you in. “In my brain I rearrange the letters on the page to spell your name.” You mean my name? Anyway, she dropped me a line last week and sent me three recommendations from her friends over at Milk! Records (which she is part of). “I promise there are no swear words in these next songs,” she wrote, although her mentioning masturbation in “Lance Jr.” didn’t really shock me, but definitely caught my attention. Hmm. There’s a tactic right there! Anyway, if you’re in Australia (and I’m not) this single’s already out in stores, and her second EP should drop next year. (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)
I’ve listened to a fair amount of English-language radio stations, but the Aussie ones amaze me because of how relaxed they are with cuss words… but really, I finally found an excuse to write about my radio crush, Linda Marigliano. (She loves colors. She loves them all.) I was listening to my recording of her June 12 show on Triple J and she, in her casual, slightly sleepy, quite cool manner, just said, “holy shit!” when she finally got a winner for her 90s trivia contest. Threw me off, then the complete opposite. Minutes later, a song with a language warning (“there are bad words”): DZ Deathrays’ “No Sleep”. And then, a bit later, a request for unsigned Melbourne-based singer Courtney Barnett, with a song that starts with “I masturbated to the songs you wrote” or something. (Download “Lance Jr.” here.) No language warning, but she made a bit of a fuss about it. Casual, slightly sleepy, quite cool manner. Yeah, this is really an excuse to write about Linda Marigliano.