Sydney’s best songs of 2013…

buzz kull

In the build-up to revealing its songs, albums, films and television shows of the year, Bianca Cornale gets us in the mood by offering up her personal selection of best tunes from her hometown of Sydney in 2013:

Sydney and its surrounds can patriotically boast ownership of some of the best releases for 2013. It was a great year for music in our oppressively sunny city. Bands, venues and labels crawled out of the woodwork. Releases came thick and fast. And from those, ten outstanding songs have stuck in my mind as the best of what this place can ethnocentrically claim as its own.

Every song I listened to at least twenty times.

Every song I’ve tried to explain to people with “This song! This fucking song!”

Every song I’ve touted as the best of the year at some point.

And every song deserves the top spot.

So in the wishy-washy way of saying “you’re all winners,” numerical rating has been abandoned and instead this is more of a list of songs from Sydney that made me lose my shit in 2013.

Here we go. In no particular order:

Landslide – Kirin J Callinan
Even during the first circuit of Embracism this track stood on its own. Quietly tender and compositionally perfect. Harrowing but hopeful, Sydney’s pin-up boy for the avant-garde hits it out of the park with Landslide.

This Last Year – Palms
Climatic, painful, liberating. Palms absolutely killed it with their debut album Step Brothers, with This Last Year the clincher. It rings with tough realisations and unmet expectations – filtered through a flux of melancholic quiet then bursts of chorus chaos. I recommend screaming along after fights with lovers/parents/bandmates. Trust me on this one; it helps.

In Blue – Cabins
I believe technically this track was released last December but we’ll ignore that fact for now and focus on how fucking great it is. The first time I heard this song I wept at its desperate vocals, lazy doo-wop guitar, and Spector-esque echo chamber beat. My annual count for crying-jags was definitely up in 2013; and I blame a direct correlation to In Blue’s release. So, fuck you Cabins.

Double Act – Day Ravies
Incoherent, childlike vocals and melancholic 90’s guitar. If you’re yet to be hypnotised, think Mope City taking recreational klonopin with Destiny 3000. 2013 has been a great year for these guys, and if their newly released album Tussle is anything to go by, it doesn’t look like the successes will be slowing down soon. Tracks like Double Act are a clear indication as to why.

You – Gooch Palms
Okay, okay, Gooch Palms are proud Novocastrians. But we’ll stretch Sydney’s borders north a little to accommodate. Doo-wop simplicity with rough as guts vocals and standing drum accompaniment. Not to mention an impressive range of falsetto in the chorus. Like a love song by The Ramones or an inappropriate hard-on while slow-dancing. Punches you right in the feelings.

Haircut – Rainbow Chan
Vintage samples from the Far East, a sexy bass-line and blissful vocals denouncing co-dependency. It’s little wonder why Rainbow Chan has been actively killin’ it with her Long Vacation EP. A hard choice between this and her magical cover of Love Fool from the same release. What a dreamboat.

Parallels – Angie
This garage vixen seemingly can’t make one bad song. A solo venture from the lady of Circle Pit, Straight Arrows and Ruined Fortune; the single Parallels distorts guitar, beat and our minds. It’s fucked-up fun, reminiscent of a three-day drug binge you can’t really remember but know you had a good time.

None Left – Raw Prawn
Despotic punk with a chorus line that reads like another unimpressed text from your boss; “there’s no excuses left. There’s none left.” Though released a few days before 2013 I believe None Left’s shit-kicker mentality has a life-span beyond merely twelve months. I was dancing and shit-kicking to this song all year long.

Bedroom Highs – Buzz Kull
So much about Buzz Kull’s October EP Heat hits the mark. Droning vocals and no-wave sex appeal crawling over a sullen 808. Not to mention all of the profits from its sale went to the Blue Mountains bushfire appeal. The star of this this 5-track release was undoubtedly Bedroom Highs. It’s tense, dark, seductive and memorable. Hot cold wave.

Love Delay – Kirin J Callinan
Yet another victory from our proudly out-sourced expat. Kirin’s ocker operatic howling, fits of brash guitar and the shockwave of noise mid-song. This is the last track on Callinan’s LP Embracism and it’s like he was holding it all in until the dam broke and Love Delay came out. Pure expansive genius.


bianca cornale


Words by Bianca Cornale.


Do you agree? Disagree? Sydneysiders, tell us your picks in the comments section below…