10. THE PREATURES – SOMEBODY’S TALKING Your hips were probably still recovering from the Triple-J thrashed hipster-banger-of-2013 “Is This How You Feel?” when “Somebody’s Talking” had your ears prick up again. With two stellar EPs under their belt, there was high expectation for a debut LP to drive The Preatures’ wooden stake deeper into the hearts of tacky jangly-rock contenders. The lead cut from ‘Blue Planet Eyes’ is evidence the Sydney locals have secured the holy grail of ’70s rhythm, complete with a singalong melody and punchy chorus. Gutsy lead Isabella Manfredi spearheads the track with her now-signature staccato scotch-drenched vocals, complemented by funk-infused guitar licks, up-beat drums, a slick-as-hell bassline and band mate Jack Moffat’s smokey vocal chops. Setting The Preatures up as a local musical force to be reckoned with, “Somebody’s Talking” is as radio-friendly as their first hit, sticking to the remarkably simple arrangement and message – but hey, it works! As expected, the track’s garnered attention from the US and Europe, while the band itself continues to compensate for the Shannon Nolls of Australian music. On ya, Preatures. – Mina Kitsos

9. CHET FAKER – 1998 An ode to deep house, Chet Faker’s “1998” is the lead track on his breakthrough LP ‘Built on Glass’. The Aussie crooner, born Nicholas James Murphy, carves out his signature sound in soultronic ground, this track serving as a worthy follow-up to the killer Flume collab “Drop the Game”. Penned from the ruins of a failed relationship, “1998” sees Faker’s rich baritone vocals dance over light synths and scintillating beats, with looped vocals adding depth to the mix. The track is lyrically , packaging raw sentiment in a hazey, meticulously crafted banger. It’s raw, tempered with electronic artifice – slow builds and gooey drops underscoring that heart-wrenching “we used to be friends” hook. Best served up with a glass of wine and/or some dancing shoes. – Mina Kitsos

8. OB O’BRIEN – 2 ON/THOTFUL (FEAT. DRAKE) OB O’Brien, a childhood friend and colleague of OVO Sound leader Drake, saw his music career go from 0 to 100 real quick. His first release came in January and since then he has released three other massive hits, one of which is “2 On/Thotful”. Originally by Tinashe, the DJ Mustard-produced track starts off as the type of banger we’ve come to expect from Mustard before seamlessly transitioning into the trademark Drake-like sound that fans have come to adore him for. The tone completely changes as “Thotful” sets in and Drake taegoistickes centre stage as this two-part track sacrifices its egoistic theme for an emotional ode to bad bitches everywhere. “2 On/Thotful” joins the likes of “Tipsy”, “N*ggas in Paris” and “In Da Club” as one of the immortal dance-floor anthems and turn-up tracks of our generation. OVO Sound is building an empire and, at the present time, no one can stand in their way. – Edmond Wiafe

7. THEOPHILUS LONDON – TRIBE (FEAT. JESSE BOYKINS III) Theophilus London is more than just a rapper, setting himself apart by also being a style icon and reputable fashion designer. Executive-produced by Kanye West, the Brooklyn native’s critically acclaimed sophomore album ‘Vibes!’ was released in November. Theophilus’ style is versatile, often delving into sounds, styles and genres that most rappers wouldn’t even contemplate attempting. “Tribe”, the album’s lone single, is an ode to London’s versatility, sporting a catchy and liquid flow over frenetic house production. London commissioned French producer Brodinski to assist him in creating a track that is full of energy, yet inconsistent and almost contrary to the current mould of the golden era of New York Rap. “Tribe”  will no doubt be a crowd favourite at London’s live shows on his upcoming world tour. – Edmond Wiafe

6. FKA TWIGS – TWO WEEKS Back-up-dancer-turned-R&B game-changer FKA Twigs started off as an enigmatic presence. Unveiled as Briton Tahlia Barnett, FKA Twigs’ (Formerly Known As since ‘Twigs’ had already been snatched up as a pseudonym… AWKS) lead single from her first LP “Two Weeks” continues her streak of surrealist pop, melding textured trip-hop with experimental devices – qualities mirrored in her visual releases. Her silky vocals have remarkable range and restraint, gliding across abrasive lyrics (“I can fuck you better than her”) in breathy bouts. Twigs’ “Two Weeks” is threatening yet alluring, oozing with charisma and channeling neo-soul tendencies. There is silence, but the track never sounds empty, instead brimming with an expectancy that is uprooted each time. – Mina Kitsos

5. SIA – CHANDELIER At six albums as a solo artist and numerous worldwide mainstream music hits  as a songwriter (including Rihanna’s smash “Diamonds” and David Guetta collab “Titanium”), 39-year-old Aussie veteran Sia Furler has earned her stripes in the local industry and then some across the water. With “Chandelier”, a melancholic ode to the party life originally intended to be tossed to Beyoncé or Rihanna but kept and used as the lead single for her sixth solo effort ‘1000 Forms of Fear’, Furler gained recognition from critics and the world alike. Employing electronica, RnB and even reggae influences (particularly in the slurred drone and bouncy production in the verses,) “Chandelier” really seals the deal in that soaring chorus – a tough ask of any singer and even Sia herself, who struggles to reach those lofty heights in most of her unique live performances (Furler obscures her face in all media appearances to avoid the pitfalls of fame.) The song became an even bigger pop culture moment for 2014 with the release of a now iconic music video, bringing on young dancer Maddie Ziegler (of ‘Dance Moms’ fame) to perform a routine received with serious acclaim. “Chandelier” is not just a pop hit but a cultural phenomenon that essentially pushed an enormous local and behind-the-scenes talent onto a worldwide stage. – Jordan Munns

4. CAVALIER – JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW Folk, a genre forced into the mainstream, has undergone numerous transformations and appropriations. The latest to apply his new found sonic prowess and lyrical depth, James Vincent McMorrow, takes his singular and plain early folk sound to a whole new realm. “Cavalier”, the lead single from the incredible sophomore ‘Post Tropical’, set the tone for an amazing year of music and an equally amazing year for the man himself. Sonically, the track combines elements from James Blake, a synthy and spacey progression coupled with a funky drum clap. Lyrically, he takes a leaf out of Bon Iver’s book using highly evocative language paired with vivid imagery. The track explodes towards the end with all sorts of sounds (horns, trumpets, drums) but McMorrow’s angelic voice takes the forefront. “Cavalier” is a track that lingers and refuses to leave, and it’s undoubtedly McMorrow’s strongest track ever. – Alexander Kelly

3. TOVE LO – STAY HIGH (HIPPIE SABOTAGE REMIX) 27- year-old Scandinavian Tove Ebba Elsa Nilsson is not your typical pop star package. More so than her mainstream music contemporaries, Nilsson is brash, unashamed and even over-the-top in her depictions of sex, drugs and alcohol abuse across the board. Originally released as “Habits” on her debut EP ‘Truth Serum’ in 2013, the song made a small impact, really crash landing onto charts worldwide with an overhaul from hip hop producers Hippie Sabotage this year. A decent, raw pop track is taken and moulded into a confessional club anthem relishing a drug and alcohol-fueled party lifestyle as a means of forgetting a lost lover. Nilsson’s prior experience in songwriting (penning hits for pop heavyweight duo Icona Pop and mega English-Irish group Girls Aloud) is front and centre in what is not just the remix of 2014 but possibly the best thing you’ve heard dropping in the club all year. – Jordan Munns

2. BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB – LUNA Nestled in halfway through a progressive, ambitious and sweeping fourth album for London indie rock group Bombay Bicycle Club, “Luna” leads the pack as the band’s most accessible and impressive single to date. Lead singer and main brain Jack Steadman exudes more confidence and expression than ever over a bouncy looped sample and a driving beat in the verses, eventually making way for a sickly sweet guest vocal from UK up-and-comer Rae Morris in the chorus. BBC’s joy is infectious on “Luna”; it’s hard not to feel it as the chorus quietly soars, the drums building and crashing with Morris. It also helps that the production boasts the perfect balance between being intricately layered and spacious; Steadman knows too well by now how to bring listeners along with him while at the same time giving them a little room to breathe. “Luna” is his and the chameleonic indie band that could’s most potent effort yet. – Jordan Munns

1. VIC MENSA – DOWN ON MY LUCK For years Vic Mensa had been largely unknown and, when he was known, he was quick to be labelled as just another Chance the Rapper. Whilst both share the same hometown and similar sound and looks, the release of “Down On My Luck” has created a quite clear contrast between the two. It’s Mensa’s breakout song and our number one track of the year. Its a pulsating track which follows in the vein of Disclosure (he actually wrote it whilst on tour with Disclosure) and incorporates a singing Mensa, highlighting his versatility and insane talent. It’s a track that, no matter where you are and what you are doing, you can’t help but dance and sing along to, even if you don’t know the words. The hooks are perfect, the lyrics are hugely relatable and with this track, Vic has established himself as a young talent in the rap world. – Alexander Kelly



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