Songs of the year

Five songs that blew my mind in 2016.

5. Radiohead, Burn the Witch

It’s Radiohead. It’s good. It’s creepy. You know this. I’m just relieved that A Moon Shaped Pool strongly suggests that the incredibly dull and unformed The King of Limbs was an aberration in their otherwise-unimpeachable catalogue and not a harbinger for their future.

4. Heart Beach, Brittle

Hobart’s most exciting export – and I mean that literally, since they’ve apparently relocated to Canada (it’s an All the Rage double play!) – proves that their phenomenally accomplished 2015 self-titled debut wasn’t a fluke. Abrasive guitars and duelling male-female vocals are only part of what this band does as well as any in my memory. This is music that is simultaneously uplifting and melancholic. In other words, it’s perfect pop music. Now if only they’d release their second album, Kiss Your Face, in North America. If they’re delaying its release so they’ll be eligible for my best-of-2017 list, it’s a good move – they’re almost guaranteed a spot on it. (Seriously, though, don’t keep us waiting.)

3. The Jezabels, Smile

On their third album, Synthia, The Jezabels knock it out of the park, delivering on the promise of their first two releases. Their sound is suitably epic, easily matching the singer Hayley Mary’s operatic range. Their songwriting and lyrics are uniformly strong, including this song. Smile is as much about the wants and desires of woman Mary’s singing about (herself?), as about dudes who tell women to smile. It’s a refreshingly feminist perspective to hear in a genre that’s still dominated by dude-rock. Anyway, this is a great collection of songs. From here, the sky’s the limit.

2. Police Force,
Freakin’ Out the Squares

I’ve already sung these guys’ praises, so you know how I feel about them. Police Force makes cool, cool music, and Freakin Out the Squares is, without doubt, the coolest song of 2016. Think Primal Scream circa Vanishing Point and XTRMNTR. That’s some pretty
heady company.

1. Camp Cope, Lost (Season 1)

So many feelings in this song. Just shattering.

And since it’s the end of the year, a shoutout to the great, if infrequently (at the moment) updated, blog Soundly Sounds for introducing me to them, and so much other great Australian music.

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