May 20 – 25th saw the return of QUT’s ambitious push to record 100 songs in 100 hours at Gasworks Studios in Brisbane. Now in its 3rd year, the event spans three recording studios, 16 hour days and involves 72 artists and bands, chosen from a huge application pool. Each artist gets four hours to set up, record and mix one or more tracks with talented producers including Magoo, Adam Quaife and Mike Howlett.
The talent that came through the doors this year has been outstanding and I regret I couldn’t be there for every single minute of it! It seems an impossible task to pick out favourites from the first fifty tracks that have been released. This is the hardest list I’ve ever put together and it’s by no means in any order. But check out the exclusive free streams on Bandcamp and make your own mind up!
‘Will I Ever Really Know?‘ by Josh Tuck
The frontman for Bandito Folk (who were featured on last year’s compilation) goes solo with this thoughtful track, which I guarantee you will be able to relate to in some way. The ethereal music suits Josh’s identity search, and it fades out beautifully leaving you to ponder the question.
‘When the Weekend Comes‘ by The Reversals
There’s a very Britpop feel to this song which I absolutely adore. The lyrical melody is really memorable, and the intro riff is superb, it gets you hooked in an instant. If these guys keep writing songs like this, I’d be surprised if they didn’t make it big.
‘Note to Self‘ by Neighbor
This song has a lovely vocal melody, sung by a voice that reminds me of Chris Cornell. The piano line is excellent and drives the song whilst the guitar and bass take a step back. Can’t wait to hear more of their stuff!
‘Not Enough Honey‘ by Amela
Amela is one of the nicest, genuine artists you could ever meet, and believe me when I say that this song is such a reflection of her personality. It’s a simple song but very thoughtful, with its ups and downs. Keep an ear out for that delightful ending with its organ sounds.
‘Parachutes‘ by Grand Pavillion
There are some fantastic harmonies driving this song, which hook you in from the outset. There’s some beautiful sounds and effects which create a nice chill out vibe – I don’t have to make any effort to enjoy this music.
‘Pepache‘ by LeSuits
‘Pepache’ seems quite tame and serious for a LeSuits song, but it’s full of everything you expect from the nine piece. Beautiful arrangements support clever vocals, and the subtle brass weaving in and out is really enjoyable. Check out Mind the Music’s review of their recently released EP, Snuts here.
‘MOTOR‘ by Flannelette
I like me a bit of classic sounding rock, especially when it’s emotional like this track. It’s great to see Flannelette on such top form after the tragic accident in 2011 which saw them lose two band members. With a voice reminiscent of Chad Kroeger, their singer Scramble is one to listen out for.
‘Never Got Over You‘ by Hannah Rosa
Hannah Rosa’s vocals have Sarah McLachlan feel about them – no exaggeration, her voice is stunning. This track outshines ‘Drifting in Outer Space,’ her previous year’s submission for the 100 Songs Project. It’s both haunting and driven, starting out slowly then followed with some amazing piano and groovy drum and bass – it’s gorgeous, listen and you’ll see what I mean.
‘Burial‘ by Gravity Scam
They are fifteen, and I’ve heard nothing but good things from everyone who spoke about them. I can see why – what an amazing track! There’s a lot going on in this song but it doesn’t feel bloated at all. It’s really something you need to hear for yourself so have a listen!
‘Wynnum West‘ by Whipbird
Whilst this song doesn’t inspire me to visit Wynnum, the humour of the song is balanced beautifully by the empathy I have for the character’s story. And who doesn’t love hearing the beautiful sound of a cello, the emo of instruments? Check out Mind the Music’s review of the Whipbird EP here.
‘Phosphenes‘ by New Manic Spree
Phosphene is an effect where you see light that isn’t there (think whiting out, or LSD). New Manic Spree’s new track won’t induce Phosphenes (I hope) but will definitely stimulate your sense of hearing in a good way. I love the sexy guitar in this song and the almost trance like feel. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing New Manic Spree perform and you can catch them yourself in Brisbane in June.
‘Love is Gone‘ by Kior
My final song choice for this list is this beautiful ballad by Kior. This song epitomises the way we’ve all felt for someone when we can’t be with them. To me, each instrument is so symbolic of the way our emotions contrast in this situation. The strings are arranged well against that gentle piano, and the percussion is a beautiful contrast to both.
That’s it for Part One of my Indie 100 Artist Highlight. Keep an eye on the YouTube channel for exclusive interviews featuring Dave from The Sunday Washup, such as this one with Sahara Beck.
Part 2 to come soon! What are your favorite songs from the Indie 100?