Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The 2016 Jester One Music Top 20 Countdown - #1

#1 - DMA's - Lay Down

It's here, it's finally here! December 20th, the day of #1! Are you as excited as I am?
Probably not. I'll be honest here - writing the Top 20 can be exhausting. At most I can blurb out 4 or 5 songs per day, and more often than not no more than 2. It is fun to reflect but the yearly toll wears me down and I'm grateful that the month of December is overtaken by Christmas music. But, enough of that droll! It's time for #1!

If we look back on the history of #1s, it is mostly dominated by new bands making an immediately big splash. Hockey, Young the Giant and Cadets had just started their lives, while Purity Ring, Fun. and Surfer Blood were working on huge sophomore efforts. DMA's follows suit in being a brand new band who just released their first full length LP in February. The Aussie alt-rockers give Oceania a strong one-two punch for the countdown and continue the theme of trios dominating the landscape. The band first broke out with the single "Laced" which would not be lost on an Oasis album, and quickly dropped an EP in 2015 featuring the single "Delete". The new album Hills End featured our #1 hit as it's only single and doesn't really have a ton of other standout material on it.

Our #1, "Lay Down" is absolutely a bust out summer smash. It's upbeat, exciting and filled with soaring guitars and splashy cymbals. It bursts out of your speakers and makes you nod and dance and just enjoy life. Despite it's upbeat demeanor, it's a song that struck true in all moods of 2016, be it happiness, sadness or otherwise. It's just a really fun song and it accompanied by a trippy video featuring members of the band going through their lives with crazy special effects and such. I think my two favorite parts of the song are the guitar solo before the 2nd verse and at the very end when singer Tommy O'Dell yells "Lay Down" in the background. It's nothing but good for the first second to the last. It truly is a deserving #1 and I believe it will stand the test of time come next year.

Thanks for tuning in! I'll have a recap whipped together in a few days including my favorite albums and other musical nuggets. Hope to see you then!

Title: Lay Down
Artist: DMA's
Album:Hills End

Previous #1s

2015: Purity Ring - Heartsigh
2014: Cadets - A Drop In The Ocean
2013: Surfer Blood - Demon Dance
2012: Fun. - Some Nights
2011: Young The Giant - My Body
2010: Hockey - Song Away
2009: Morrissey - I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris

Monday, December 19, 2016

The 2016 Jester One Music Top 20 Countdown - #2

#2 - Broods - Free

Broods is a definitely interesting case for me. The Nott siblings dropped their debut album in 2014 which features the hits "Bridges" and "Mother and Father". The duo are wildly popular in their native New Zealand and Australia, and have been gaining traction in the US the past 3 years. I didn't really get into their first release, but for Conscious they again teamed up with Lorde's producer and co-writer Joel Little and churned out a gem. Georgia Nott had really found her singing ability between all the breathiness that she forced upon listeners on their debut disc Evergreen. Conscious has an edgier, more mature sound that is quite excellent. The album dropped at #1 in NZ, #2 in Australia and #52 on the Billboard Top 200. Other hits include "Heartlines" and "We Had Everything".

Our #2 song started slow on the year. The pulsing drums, driving synths and super infectious chorus all caught my ears, but the wailing in between verses caught me off guard the first few times I listened. I was driving to work early on a cold May morning before the wedding and somehow this song just exploded into me. It's about being allowed to express yourself and not wanting to be held down. But the chorus... holy cow. One of the greatest choruses I've ever heard. It absolutely drives the song to heart.

"Gritting your teeth, you hold onto me
It's never enough, I'm never complete
Tell me to prove, expect me to lose
Push it away,;I'm trying to move
Hoping for more, wishing for less
When I didn't care was when I did best
I'm desperate to run, desperate to leave
If I lose it all at least I'll be free"

The song made it up to #47 on the Hot Rock Songs chart but here in J1 it battled in the top 3 immediately after it's release, and inevitably ended up just barely on the outside looking in. The video features Georgia Nott in captivity and being subjected to virtual torture while a scintillating black-clad Nott accompanies with singing and dancing. She truly looks and sounds fantastic. With all that in mind it's almost amazing that this song (or POP ETC) before it didn't make it to #1. Who did end up taking our top spot? Check in tomorrow to see, and as always have a wonderful day!

Title: Free
Artist: Broods
Album: Conscious

Previous #2s
2015: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness - Cecilia and the Satellite
2014: Morning Parade - Alienation
2013: Aeon Zen - Warning
2012: Meshuggah - Do Not Look Down
2011: Owl City - Galaxies
2010: Periphery - Icarus Lives!
2009: August Burns Red - Rationalist

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The 2016 Jester One Music Top 20 Countdown - #3

#3 - POP ETC - What Am I Becoming?

POP ETC are another small band making big waves on the J1 scene. Formerly known as The Morning Benders, this California trio have been bubbling around touring with bigger bands and caught a break a few years back on the Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 soundtrack. Their most recent disc Souvenir features a bouncy and atmospheric blend of indie synth pop sounds and melodic singing. The album did not make a huge impression on me except for the songs "Please Don't Forget Me" and our #3. The album sounds like it's almost there, and the band just needs a little more polish to make it big.

It's hard to argue with our #3 hit, "What Am I Becoming?". It dropped early in January and has been blasting through the year leaving little to doubt. For a long time I considered it to be the absolute best song of 2016 and was surprised that two years in a row a song from early in the year would take the overall crown. The title tells the tale - it's a story about a person who finds love and is changed by it, except that they are changed in a bad way. "I couldn't smell the smoke, and now I watch the flames" singer Jonathan Chu laments. Easily one of my favorite choruses on the year, and an all around pounder, especially for those who have been through such a life. The video features the daily exploits of a shut-in man whose life is deteriorating. He brushes his teeth, chills on the couch, and orders copious amounts of takeout. It somewhat goes along with the song in it's bizarre nature. At the very end he decides to make a run for it, which is what the actual song essentially hints at needing to happen.

 It's such a great song. Enjoy!

Title: What Am I Becoming?
Artist: POP ETC
Album: Souvenir

Previous #3s
2015: Slipknot - (A) Skeptic; (B) The Devil in I
2014: Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting On You)
2013: The Airborne Toxic Event - Timeless
2012: Walk the Moon - Anna Sun
2011: Matt and Kim - Good for Great
2010: Fear Factory - Final Exit
2009: Owl City - Fireflies