The best tunes of 2010 (and ones to watch in 2011)

Yes, it’s that time of year again: triple j Hottest 100 time, and this year seems harder to call than ever. Unlike last year, where Mumford and Sons‘ rollicking swear-fest ‘Little Lion Man’ was my hands-down favourite, I’m struggling to peg who’ll take out the Number 1 spot in tomorrow’s countdown. Will the power of a cheeky f-bomb win out for a second year, seeing Cee-lo Green take the top spot; or will quiet favourites The National sneak to the peak with the haunting ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’?*

God knows, most of us will be too drunk by the time the top 10 roll around to really care that much – unless Kings of Leon make it in again, in which case, shit is going to get real. But if I had my way, this is what things would look like:

My shortlist: (to appear in the top 100, in no particular order)

Adrian Lux – Teenage Crime
Arcade Fire – Ready To Start
Bedroom Philosopher, The – Northcote (So Hungover)
Ben Folds/Nick Hornby – From Above
Best Coast – Boyfriend
Art Vs. Science – Magic Fountain
Big Boi – Shutterbugg {Ft. Cutty}
Blud – Sarah Is For Lovers
Cee Lo Green – Fuck You!
Chiddy Bang – Truth
Children Collide – Jellylegs
City Riots – She Never Wants To Dance
Crystal Castles – Not In Love {Ft. Robert Smith}
Drums, The – Saddest Summer
Eagle & The Worm – All I Know
Example – Kickstarts
Flight Facilities – Crave You {Ft. Giselle}
Foals – This Orient
Fyfe Dangerfield – When You Walk In The Room
Groove Armada – Paper Romance
Holidays, The – Broken Bones
Hot Chip – One Life Stand
Interpol – Barricade
Janelle Monae – Tightrope {Ft. Big Boi}
John Steel Singers, The – Overpass
Jonathan Boulet – You’re A Animal
Junip – Always
Kanye West – Power {Ft. Dwele}
Kate Nash – Do-Wah-Doo
Katy B – Katy On A Mission
Kele – Everything You Wanted
Kele – Tenderoni
Kid Cudi, Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend & Best Coast – All Summer
Klaxons – Echoes
Klaxons – Twin Flames
Last Dinosaurs – Honolulu
Little Red – Rock It
Marina & The Diamonds – Shampain
Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – Bang Bang Bang {Ft. Q-Tip & MNDR}
Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – Somebody To Love Me {Ft. Boy George & Andrew Wyatt}
Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – The Bike Song {Ft. Kyle Falconer & Spank Rock}
Melodics, The – Donkey Kong Suicide
Marina & The Diamonds – Mowgli’s Road
Naked And Famous, The – Punching In A Dream
Naked And Famous, The – Young Blood
National, The – Afraid Of Everyone
National, The – Conversation 16
National, The – Terrible Love
Nicholas Roy – It’s All My Fault
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool – Jackson’s Last Stand
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool – The Key
Papa Vs Pretty – Heavy Harm
Papa Vs Pretty – Wrecking Ball
Professor Green – Just Be Good To Green {Ft. Lily Allen}
Richard In Your Mind – Candelabra
Robyn – Dancing On My Own
Subs, The – Mitsubitchi
Tim & Jean – Veronica
Two Door Cinema Club – Come Back Home
Yeasayer – Ambling Alp
Yeasayer – O.N.E
Yolanda Be Cool/DCUP – We No Speak Americano

and the Top Ten of 2010:

Boy & Bear – Fall At Your Feet

Photo by Max Knight; image courtesy of Myspace

It’s rare enough to find a cover of a classic song that doesn’t completely blow, let alone one that’s better than the original. Which is why Sydney lads Boy and Bear deserve every inch of praise they get for this cover of Crowded House’s hit. I must have heard it a thousand times, but the emphatic pauses, rich vocals and sincere folk stylings never fail to tug at my heartstrings (my chest does this weird contraction thing whenever I listen).

I was fortunate to see B&B live at Falls Festival recently, and they barely got to sing this track; the packed out Grand Theatre audience (myself included) sang every word at the top of their lungs,Β  making for one hell of a musical moment. Still classed as one of triple j’s Unearthed acts, I cannot wait to see what happens for these guys in 2011.

Gold Fields – Treehouse

Image courtesy of Gold Fields

Every so often, I fall instantly in love with a band. I guess I’m a bit of a floozy like that; all it takes is one incredible song to ignite a spark of musical obsession, and I’m hooked. It happened with pretty much all of the songs on this list, but most recently with these Ballarat lads.

Earning stacks of airplay on the J’s with their debut ‘Treehouse’, Gold Fields scored the coveted triple j Unearthed slot at Falls Festival, playing first thing on the morning of New Years Eve. It was hot, I was mistakenly trying to smother my hangover with a fresh layer of alcohol, but as soon as the opening “ooo”s sounded I dragged my mate all the way down the hill to the front of the stage, and didn’t stop dancing ’til the boys vacated the stage. And that’s the refreshing thing about Gold Fields – they’re an indie band that you can properly dance to. Not bounce or half-assed sway; fucking dance.

The boys have stacks of dates lined up for the coming months, including a spot playing Plus One with Bleeding Knees Club at Adelaide’s Ed Castle on Saturday, Feb 19th. Better earn your “I loved them before they were cool” stripes now, because I predict 2011 is going to be big for these guys.

Gotye – Eyes Wide Open

Gotye has been around for a few years now, and I’ve always loved the off-beat nature of his work; but I’m a sucker for some good, meaningful lyrics, and this song has probably the best I’ve heard all year. I’m a complete hippy at heart, so the environmental aspect of this song easily elevates it to Top 10 of 2010 status for me. I really hope other people have listened closely and taken to heart Wally’s lyrics as well.

Gypsy & The Cat – Time To Wander

Image courtesy of Myspace

Anyone who’s read this blog before should know that I have a big, fat musical crush on these guys, and this was the song that started it all. Since I first heard it, ‘Time to Wander’ has attracted connections and connotations to people that I wish it hadn’t, but there’s still something wistfully optimistic about the track that makes it immune to the disappointing memories and folks it’s associated with.

Having seen these cats twice already in 2010 (when they supported Foals; and at Parklife), I can’t wait to bop my little heart out again when they play the Adelaide Big Day Out. Fingers crossed they’ll find time to play an Adelaide sideshow before jetting off to Coachella and the wonders of overseas.

Oh, and their track ‘The Pipers Song’ is also well worth a listen.


The Jezabels – Mace Spray

Image courtesy of Myspace

Another day, another triple J Unearthed act to fall head over heels for. Sydney’s The Jezabels were also on the Falls bill for 2010/11, playing the slot straight after (or was it before? I was a bit tipsy…) Boy & Bear. Whilst ‘Mace Spray’ is perhaps not their biggest song, it’s easily my favourite: it carries such an intensity of emotion rarely heard that you can’t help but want to cry out every word to the chorus, and beyond. Doing so is quite cathartic, too; I’ve tried.

Happily enough, The Jezabels are headlining Adelaide Uni’s annual O’Ball (relocated to the Unibar and given the sparklingly retarded new moniker of O’Live), so spend your 20 bucks wisely for once and get yourself a ticket.


The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

Image courtesy of the Irish Times

Ah…what can I possibly say about Matt Beringer and co.? I loved this song from the first time I heard the first chord; I chanted affirmations in the lead up to the Falls lineup announcement in the vain hope that their name would be listed on the bill; and in the actual event of seeing them at Falls, I had one of the most horrible nights possible (don’t listen to depressing music when you’re already fragile. You’ll only end up playing Cassie and drinking some Sangria, vodka and Malibu concoction on a shadowy hill).

But. Even though the experience was balls, The National were freaking incredible: professional showmen yet not uptight; ballsy yet tender in all the right places. ‘Slow Show’ and ‘Terrible Love’ were probably highlights from their set, but nothing will ever top ‘Bloodbuzz’.


Ou Est Le Swimming Pool – Dance The Way I Feel

Image courtesy of Michael Robert Williams

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool were going to be epic. I knew this from the first time I heard their debut, ‘Dance the Way I feel’; and I was sure of it when my ears found ‘Jackson’s Last Stand’ and ‘The Key’. I raved about them to anyone who’d listen, as evidenced by the following text from my best mate Kristin on May 9th of last year:

‘I believe i’m listenin to el swimming pool stop dance song and i lov it x’

…and when the boys were announced as part of the Parklife 2010 lineup, I was beside myself.

So when my mother sent me a text on August 20, telling me that lead singer Charles Haddon had killed himself, I thought she’d been the victim of some wacked-out triple J prank (can you tell I don’t listen to any other radio stations?) I couldn’t believe that a young man with so much talent, so much promise ahead of him, would take his own life. And when I found it to be true, I couldn’t understand, simply couldn’t comprehend. It sounds kind of ridiculous – I mean, I obviously didn’t know the guy – but I was crushed, and also kind of angry. They were meant to be my new favourites.

‘Dance the Way I Feel’ has such an oustanding message behind it. It’s the quintessential ‘fuck it – this is me’ track; one of the best to turn up as loud as your stereo will allow and just lose yourself dancing to it. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to dance more, as I’d forgotten how incredible it feels to just completely let go and get lost in a song. In accordance with that resolution, this song is my mantra.

R.I.P. Charles Alexander Haddon. You were fucking incredible. I hope you know that.


Sleigh Bells – Infinity Guitars

Image courtesy of Nylon

Alexis Krauss rocks my world. Her “miscellaneous screams” (cheers Sammy O) may not be to everyone’s taste, but when paired with the rip-roaring bass, it’s impossible to stand still whichever way your musical tastebuds swing.

Another Falls act, this time with happy memories: I can’t rememeber the last time I danced as hard as I did to these guys. They were freakin’ epic, and epitomise every possible reason why I ache to move to New York. If there is a God, I hope he lets me see these guys live again real soon; because as rad as their CD is, it doesn’t come close to the real thing.


Sparkadia – Talking Like I’m Falling Down Stairs

Image courtesy of Myspace

I don’t think I’ve ever loved Australian music as much as I have in the past year. The Sparkadia story confuses me a little: a lovely boy I met on the Oaktree roadtrip named Dave used to be their bassist; but I now get the impression that it’s only the lead singer doing his thang. Whichever way, this song is melancholy yet catchy, haunting yet in some strange way hopeful (the recipe for a Jacquie favourite, judging by this list). Yet another act touring in the coming months, I hope the rest of their stuff is even half as ace as this song.


The Wombats – Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)

Image courtesy of Myspace

Unlike almost every other song in this top 10, ‘Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)’ makes me happy. Unfailingly happy, every time I listen to it. And we’re not talking a simple smile; this is Cheshire cat-grinnage, bounce around the room happy; and thank fuck, because there’s only so much stomach-churning, emotion-dredging music a twentysomething girl can take. And when it comes to feel-good hits, these Liverpudlian lads (I’m pretty sure they’re from Liverpool…) always deliver. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

So there you have it. I’d love to hear what your top Ten’s are; and if any of these make it to number 1, you heard it here first bitches.


*I kinda hope so, even though that song breaks my heart with every listen.


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