Officially cracking the halfway point now and things are set to get very interesting. Who’s bubbling under? Who’s leading the way into the top end of the countdown? Who is screwing with the lights? Make sure you’re up to date with parts one and two, won’t you?
60. Amy Shark – Blood Brothers
You’re probably most familiar with the first two singles from Amy Shark’s debut EP – the first was the runner-up in 2016’s Hottest 100, the second was recently certified gold. To take in the best of her songwriting abilities, however, one has to venture a little further into the tracklist. “Blood Brothers” gurgles a chopped-and-screwed vocal sample over a hypnotic boom-clap and irresistible vocal melodies. “I feel like a million dollar bill,” Shark purrs in the track’s chorus. Old mate sounds like one, too – courtesy of M-Phazes (good gracious) on the ones and twos. This shark can smell blood.
59. LCD Soundsystem – call the police
There was hours of debate, both online and off, regarding the reunion of LCD Soundsystem. Some claimed it was too soon for the band to get back together after such a definitive end, others found solace in Murphy’s inspiration from the late David Bowie to continue. Wherever you stood prior to the release of american dream, it’s worth noting the band putting out new music did bring a lot of people together. “call the police” was our first proper taste of things to come, and its urgency felt like the rush of blood that we needed. Thus began new life.
58. Gang of Youths – Let Me Down Easy
Here goes David Le’aupepe again on his own, going down the only road he’s ever known. Go Farther in Lightness is an album about starting again and bouncing back from your lowest. On an album that’s at times exhaustive in its triumph, it’s nice to have a nice middle ground: low on fanfare and high on hooks. It’s a baroque-flavoured indie-disco – call it ELO Soundsystem if you have to. It’s charming, understated and engaging on its own accord. Plus, it’s the only single of 2017 to drop both Journey and Whitesnake references. Oh, and the word “solipsism.” Just ’cause.
57. Neil Cicierega – Annoyed Grunt
Because where else are you going to find Larry King, Home Improvement, Disturbed, Annie Lennox, Phil Collins, Mungo Jerry, Korn, Barney Gumble, M.I.A., Homer Simpson, Austin Powers, Yoshi the Dinosaur, Rammstein, Third Eye Blind, Green Day and David Lee Roth under the same roof? Fucking nowhere else, that’s where. Oooh-WA-AA-AA-AHH!
56. Lil Uzi Vert – XO Tour Llif3
The kids call it “emo rap.” Instead of guns, bitches and bling, these mainstream hip-hop stars are all about pills, depression and AutoTune. Traditionalists may bristle, but it’s clear this music is resonating. There was perhaps no greater example than Lil Uzi Vert’s breakthrough smash, far removed from his “yah-yah-yah-yah”s of “Bad and Boujee.” “XO” takes about 30 seconds to lock into your brain and will refuse to leave for weeks on end. It’s brash, it’s booming and it’s not afraid to talk about its feelings. All his friends are dead, but Uzi made plenty of new ones in 2017.
55. Julien Baker – Appointments
You can hear a pin drop when Julien Baker sings. The Tennessee native has a way of turning every song she performs into the quietest place on earth. Adults weep like babies in her presence. She reduces the strongest person you know into an inconsolable mess. Unsurprisingly, this has not changed for her second album. If anything, songs like “Appointments” have served to reinforce her resonance. There was nothing in 2017 that was quite like Baker – defiantly, resolutely – singing the phrase “I have to believe that it is” into the ether. She’ll make a believer of you yet.
54. DEAFCULT – Rubix
Here’s the skinny on DEAFCULT: Loud guitars. Four of them. Interested? Right this way. Watch in awe as these Brisbane natives find their own way of making this quadruple-attack work entirely in their favour, eschewing maximalist overcooking in favour of tactical dynamic shifts and strict sensibilities. Few songs in the calendar year were able to find the balance between heaviness and accessibility the way “Rubix” did. It resulted in one of the year’s best singles from a band that you’d understandably only expect album cuts from. Lift your fixed gazes like antennas to heaven, from your shoes to the horizon.
53. Charly Bliss – Percolator
First impressions stick – so Charly Bliss ensured that every second of the opening song of their debut album absolutely mattered. We’re talking right down to the wire here – even the second where everything drops out and there’s complete silence needs to be there. It allows for the cacophony of cymbal smashes and shrieking guitar to jump out at you with even more adrenalin and aggression. It’s all packed in here, about as tightly as one could hope for, and it’s a rollercoaster of a listen. One of the few tracks in 2017 to leave one genuinely exhausted afterwards.
52. Pale Waves – Television Romance
Very little is known about Pale Waves, the goth-pop curiousities that appeared more or less out of nowhere in 2017 with their retro-friendly take on new wave, new romantic sounds. They appear to be under the mentorship of throwback pin-ups The 1975, and the through-line is ever apparent on “Television Romance.” It should be noted, however, Pale Waves aren’t just cool by association – they’re forging some fashionable chops of their own at a crucial developmental period. The chorus melts in your mouth, the guitars are crystallized delights, the gated snare thwacks in the sweet spot of your heart. Delightful.
51. HAIM – Little of Your Love
The love of choreography displayed by HAIM in their music videos isn’t just cheap nostalgia. The siblings are wholly committed to indulging in this bygone era, while simultaneously pulling it through the vortex and into the present day. “Little of Your Love” could sit comfortably in the discography of, say, the Jackson 5 or The Supremes – yet it still sounds as vital as any state-of-the-art chart-topper. It’s insanely catchy and righteously harmonious, with its double-claps and horn-section honks peppering what’s already a tasty dish. Once the sisters are done, you’ll be willing to give more than just a little.
50. Tigers Jaw – Window
“You couldn’t stop it if you wanted to,” sing Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins in their unmistakable dual-vocal approach on the closer of Tigers Jaw’s fifth LP. It’s specific to the narrative, but also entirely apparent to their own. Losing three-fifths of their line-up in one fell swoop would have entirely derailed a lesser band. As luck would have it, Tigers Jaw are one of the most resilient and resolute acts to emerge in the fourth-wave emo revival. spin, as an LP, proves it. “Window” allows for the album to flicker and fade, its burn slow but ever so beautiful.
49. Jen Cloher – Forgot Myself
Picture this, dear reader: Jen Cloher, Courtney Barnett, Bones Sloane and Jen Sholakis enter a room. They take up their respective instruments, all facing one another from their respective stations. Greg Walker presses record. As R.E.M. once sang, sweetness follows. Jen Cloher abandoned her folk-rock roots some five years ago and has never looked back. It’s given her a Dylan-goes-electric reinvention, a second shot at glory and unquestionably her strongest LPs to date. It all starts here for Cloher’s eponymous fourth album, and once that groove is locked in there’s no getting out of it. You’ll see it coming, believe.
48. Calvin Harris feat. Future and Khalid – Rollin
Whether it’s Dizzee on the dancefloor or Rihanna finding love, Calvin Harris has always known the right people to put in front of his many sonic landscapes. His eye as a curator has never been keener than on Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, where he tees up a seemingly-endless array of guest stars to bask in the sunshine of his G-Funk inspired beats. Teen wunderkind Khalid takes the impeccable chorus on “Rollin” (not to be confused with Limp Bizkit’s), while messianic mumbler Future vibes out the warbling synths and boom-bap rhythms. Name a more iconic duo? On “Rollin,” you can’t.
47. Dune Rats – Braindead
It’s class warfare whenever the topic of Dune Rats comes up in conversation. They’re simultaneously one of the country’s most beloved and most despised bands – and there’s not a lot of grey area to work with. It’s mostly green, actually. January’s The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit didn’t convert any non-believers, but it nevertheless expanded their empire beyond their wildest dreams. “Braindead” gets by on some churning chords, a Lemonheads-y detour and one of their most primitive, simple bunny-mosh choruses. It showed exactly what could happen when these hazy-eyed slackers get their collective shit together – cutting the bullshit, if you will.
46. Tropical Fuck Storm – Chameleon Paint
After nearly 20 years at the helm of The Drones, Gareth Liddiard wanted to try something different. Enter Tropical Fuck Storm, a Melburnian supergroup containing the DNA of Harmony and High Tension for good measure. What’s ensued thus far is unlike anything the four members of the band have ever done before – not quite like this, anyway. Processed beats. Hyperdrive guitars. Haunting dissonance. It’s still unmistakably Liddiard out front, rattling off snarky mumbo-jumbo with the best of them (“FYI, a POV/Don’t make an NGO”). This time around, however, his voices bristles against the winds of change. Blowing a gust.
45. Future – Mask Off
Our scene is set care of Selma, a late-70s musical penned by one Tommy Butler. A song from a key part of the musical, “Prison Song” is a remorseful gospel number that swells with strings and a distinctive flute. The latter is what breathes life into “Mask Off,” which arrives some 40 years after Selma and serves as a true breakthrough moment for one Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn – whom you probably know better as Future. His drug-addled chants and moment of indecision turned into one of pop’s most inescapable choruses for 2017 – and with good reason, too. Percocet, anyone?
44. RAAVE TAPES – k bye
The band name is all-caps. The single title is all lower-case. Don’t let the latter fool you, though – THERE’S A LOT OF SHOUTING. There’s also a buzzing, electric riff that blasts through this motherfucker, too. Joab Eastley is a man possessed, sending his humble six-string into outer-space while he shrieks from the bottom of a K-hole just to be heard. Everything about “k bye” is decidedly batshit – and, in all honesty, it should not work nearly as well as it does. Maybe there’s something in the water up in Newcastle. Maybe their drinks got spiked. Who’s to say?
43. Azim Zain and His Lovely Bones – Dreams I Could Recall
Some 286 kilometres separate Sydney and Canberra. For just over a year, Azim Zain lived between the two – finding conflict and dead-ends, but also slivers of beauty. All of it was contained on his second EP, recorded with his Canberra-based backing band in Sydney. Keeping track so far? A little insight and introspection comes through on the EP’s single and easy standout, in which our hero stargazes and looks for solace in the in-between of his split-life living. The guitars glisten, his voice aches with pensive unrest and the poetic outro is one of the year’s most quietly-devastating moments.
42. Turnover – Super Natural
The cover of Good Nature, Turnover’s third album, depicts a utopian forest filled with animals. It’s based on reality, but doesn’t feel real itself. The same can be said of Good Nature itself – it sees and glistens in the same sunlight as us, but its sound drifts listeners away to somewhere beyond. It’s bathed in light, hazy on the horizon and gentle to the touch. The term “supernatural” has been used in every corner of music, from Santana to the Sugababes to last year’s Carly Rae Jepsen banger. Turnover, however, seem to incorporate it in an entirely new sense.
41. TOTTY – RIFF
Yes, “RIFF” has a sick riff. It’s jangly, it’s catchy and it’s all fuzzed out. “RIFF,” however, is more than just about shredding your geet. It’s an acronym, a YOLO for the burnouts: Remember, It’s For Fun. Wollongong’s TOTTY know all too well about having fun – they’re named after their singer’s dog, after all; and what’s more fun than dogs? Their sole purpose seems to be bringing a little bit of their own joy into the lives of others. To achieve that as early as your debut single is hitherto unheard of. Now sit, stay, roll over and enjoy.
Hope you all had a great holiday period! Back next week for part four. Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #DJY100, and follow the Spotify playlist below to listen to (nearly) all of the songs we’ve talked about so far: