Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Ten Songs for 2011

Another year is coming to a close which can only mean one thing- time for all those end of year top ten lists.  Not to be left out, here are my top ten favorite songs for 2011 (aka songs that make me want to hit repeat after having just listened to them).

10. Slow Dancer "Leave It To Me"
Slow Dancer is the solo project of Simon Okely from Oh Mercy.  "Leave It To Me" is the first song he has put up online and I really love the laid back feel to Simon's music as well as his excellent guitar playing.  Definitely one to watch for 2012.

  Leave It To Me by Slow Dancer

9. The Good China "No More Maps, No More Roads"
2011 saw the return of The Good China to the Melbourne live scene after nearly a year's hiatus.  The single "No More Maps, No More Roads" was a live favorite and has all the great hallmarks of a Good China track, including lots of hand claps.

8. Boy & Bear "Feeding Line"
It has been a monster year for Sydney's Boy & Bear, having won 5 ARIA awards for their debut album Moonfire.  "Feeding Line" was the first single off the album, and signaled a new musical direction for the band from their previous EP.

7. The Harpoons "Keep You Around"
Another favorite band of mine that reemerged this year was The Harpoons.  "Keep You Around" showcases Bec Rigby's soulful voice in this song about love with the great lyric "when you smiled at me I was a hopeless case."  I am definitely looking forward to their debut album coming out in 2012.

  The Harpoons - Keep You Around by twobrightlakes 

6. Liam Finn "Don't Even Know Your Name"
This song was not a single but it's my favorite track off Liam Finn's latest album FOMO.  "Don't Even Know Your Name" has a driving beat and an optimistic energy to it, and I absolutely love the chorus (which for some reason reminds me of "Panic" by The Smiths).  Here's a live version of song, but do seek out the album track.

5. Brous "Streamers"
The first single off of Brous' self-titled debut EP, "Streamers" sounds like a song from a 1960s James Bond film.  Sophia Brous' voice is quite amazing and I love how the first verse of this song keeps speeding up.  There is a definite cinematic quality to her music and it will be interesting to see what she produces next.

4. Seeker Lover Keeper "Even Though I'm A Woman"
Seeker Lover Keeper is the female Australian supergroup made up of Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby.  One of the initial singles off of their self-titled debut album, "Even Though I'm A Woman" is a song about long distance love sung by Holly and written by Sally with some biting lyrics such as "I love you more when I'm missing you, it's why I'm always away."  The song is a bit of an anthem for female independence.

3. Kimbra "Cameo Lover"
Kimbra is originally from New Zealand but has been living in Melbourne the past few years.  "Cameo Lover" come off of her debut album Vows and won her the 2011 Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition as well as an ARIA award for best female artist.  I love the contrast between the verses and chorus of this song as well as its fantastic video.

2. Gotye "State Of The Art"
You may have thought that I would pick Gotye's biggest hit to date, but no, my favorite song off of his latest album Making Mirrors is "State Of The Art."  Only Wally would write a song about his beloved Lowrey Cotillion organ.  My favorite part of the song is when the bossa nova rhythm kicks in to the lyric "start the bossa nova beat and limbo from the living to the kitchen."  The video animation by Rubber House is also exceptional.

1. Oh Mercy "Stay Please Stay"
My most played song of the year is Oh Mercy's "Stay Please Stay," the first single off their second album Great Barrier Grief.  I absolutely adore the chorus of this song, especially Thomas Savage's beautiful jangly guitar.  It also has a great closing lyric by Alexander with "what can I do with a love that gathers dust in a busy room?" An indie pop classic.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!  I hope you have had (or are planning to have) a great day.  This year my manager Elvira took pity on me and invited me to join her family for Christmas lunch.  We had quite the traditional/Italian feast with antipasto dishes, snapper, turkey, stuffing and roast vegetables.  As we were resting from this yummy meal the hot weather became thunderstorms and we got hit with a massive hail storm- some of which were the size of golf balls.  It was pretty insane and the ground was covered in hail (a white Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere, if you will).  This kicked off a series of about four different massive thunderstorm episodes throughout the rest of the afternoon/evening with thunder, lightning, hail, torrential rain and even a tornado warning throughout Melbourne.  I've never seen anything like it before.  We watched each storm in amazement as we continued into our dessert of fruit, cheeses, pavlova and Christmas pudding.  At one point lightning struck one of the transformers on the street and the power went out with a huge explosion.  It will definitely be a day we won't soon forget.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Seeker Lover Keeper- Heavenly Sounds Tour

Last night I went to St. David's Cathedral in Hobart to see Seeker Lover Keeper play a sold out show.  This Heavenly Sounds tour is taking place in churches and cathedrals around the country.  Not only are the venues and acoustics amazing, but the crowd is silent and attentive during the songs.  What a luxury these days for an Australian show.

The opening act was Henry Wagons of the band Wagons.  He was great and played a set of country tinged music solo on acoustic guitar.  Henry was very entertaining with his stage banter and had a song about "Willie Nelson," his own version of "The Gambler," and requested that guys don't date his sister on "Keep Your Eyes Off My Sister."

Seeker Lover Keeper started the evening with "Bring You Back."  Sarah, Sally and Holly were in a relaxed and fun mood throughout the night, and their voices and harmonies in that cathedral sounded fantastic.  They played the entire Seeker Lover Keeper album and highlights included "Light All My Lights," "Everytime," "We Will Know What It Is" and the always moving "If The Night Is Dark" (with my favorite lyric "This is my home, this is where I belong").  We even got their They Will Have Their Way contribution of Neil Finn's "Sinner," which was an interesting cover choice considering the venues on this tour.  They also each played one of their own songs, with Sarah doing "Bird On A Wire," Sally playing New Buffalo's "Emotional Champ," and Holly doing "What I Thought Of You."  The main set ended with "Rest Your Head On My Shoulder" and for the encore they played a cover of Stevie Nick's "Wild Heart" and then finished with "Even Though I'm A Woman."  It was exciting to see these three ladies play together live again before they head back to their respective solo careers.

Here's the video for "Light All My Lights"

Farewell Hobart

Today was the final day of the AARE Conference.  I attended a session on improving success in pre-service teachers field experience, and an invited symposium on teachers and leaders in low SES schools.  The conference finished at midday and I have learned a lot over the past four days.  I am fortunate that I got the opportunity to attend and also present.  After eating lunch I had a wander around Hobart with a new friend and then headed off to the airport for the flight back to Melbourne (the whole plane may have been full of conference attendees).
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