It's that time of year where triple j Hottest 100 voting opens, and you've gotta start putting together your shortlist. It can be a stressful time, especially when you're feeling like you've forgotten something. Here's 20 tracks that we reckon you should have another listen to (or discover for the first time) so that you can be safe in the knowledge your shortlist is full of great tunes.
Hobo Johnson - Typical Story
Hobo Johnson's half-screamed/half-spoken style is one we haven't come across often on triple j, but Typical Story was a violently fun, excessively chaotic song that made us fall in love with Hobo's energy and cheekyness. His lyrics are witty, the video was wittier and we can't wait to see him over the summer playing some festivals here.
Foals – On The Luna
On The Luna isn't the most riff-packed song we've heard from British band FOALS, but it is one of their most sophisticated. The band has released a heap of music this year, with Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Parts 1 and 2 both dropping in 2019, but On The Luna pulsates along with '80s-style synths, and the result is utterly captivating. FOALS took it to another level this year, and we're very happy they did.
Vampire Weekend (feat. Steve Lacy) - Sunflower
One of the more psychedelic moments off their fourth album, Father Of The Bride, Sunflower sees Vampire Weekend teaming up with The Internet's guitarist Steve Lacy, and the result toes the line between being lame and cool. The track draws heavily from '70s influences (driven by frontman Ezra Koenig's love of the decade), and while there's a lot of moments that hit on FOTB, this track is the album's high point. Plus, the video is a ton of fun!
Thelma Plum - Better In Blak
Thelma Plum's album Better In Blak was full of iconic moments, but maybe the strongest and most powerful point was its title track, Better In Blak. Resonating with audiences of all ages and demographics, Thelma was unapologetically vocal about her place in the Australian music industry and we couldn't help but adore her for her frankness.
Charli XCX and Christine & The Queens – Gone
Charli XCX and Christine from Christine & The Queens combined on Gone to produce one of the most introspective moments of Charli's discography yet, and with it, produced a defining moment in both of their respective discographies. Charli muses about her level of fame in Gone, while flexing her vocal muscles to full effect - it's essentially the sonic equivalent of a bicep curl.
HP Boyz - Blueprint
Proudly representing Hampton Park in Victoria, HP Boyz have made a huge name for themselves off the back of just a handful of tracks. Blueprint, their debut song, announced them to the world, and it remains arguably their best yet. The Latin-inspired beat makes you feel like you're on a summer holiday (fitting given when the Hottest 100 falls), and it sounds like some mates having a great time. What's not to love?
Skrillex, Boys Noize and Ty Dolla $ign – Midnight Hour
This track is chock-full of stars, and rather than too many cooks spoiling the broth, the result is one delicious broth (if the broth was a song). This song sounds designed for the nightclub floor, and given Skrillex and Ty Dolla $ign's multiple collaborations this year, the two have developed a serious chemistry. That's why it's extra impressive that Boys Noize fit in so seamlessly - and the result is a genuine banger.
100 gecs – stupid horse
100 gecs are as much an artistic statement as they are a musical outfit, and stupid horse might be the best representation of this yet. Their album 1000 gecs is maybe the most chaotic album released in 2019, but it's also one of the most fun listening experiences of the year - and if you're thinking of throwing a curveball into your shortlist, then this is it.
Golden Features x The Presets – Paradise
When Golden Features and The Presets teamed up for this track, it genuinely felt like Paradise in a song. The track comes off their collaborative EP, Raka, and is a combination of the two respective parties' best ideas. Sometimes, the whole is better than the sum of the parts, even with such legends like Golden Features and The Presets. Get this on the stereo at any gathering, and the party will be pumping in no time.
BROCKHAMPTON – No Halo
No Halo kicks off BROCKHAMPTON's 5th album, GINGER, and with it the healing process begins. It's been a rough 18 months for the world's best boyband, and No Halo contains all the emotional weight of the events that have happened; former member Ameer Vann's departure, and the subsequent attempts by the band to regain their footing. 2018's Iridescence was a raw representation of the band's feelings at that point in time, whereas GINGER feels like a measured response. No Halo is built off of acoustic guitars, and while it's not the most raucous track in this list, it is one of the most emotion-charged.
Jack Gray – Fools
Fools comes off Jack Gray's debut EP, Nights Like This, and talks about him missing his family back home (he moved from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney to Los Angeles, so he's done a fair bit of travelling). Fools might be the first track Jack gets in the Hottest 100, but based off the quality of his EP, it definitely won't be the last - after all, he's one of the most exciting acts we've seen in a while.
Dave (feat. Burna Boy) - Location
Location comes off Dave's debut album, Psychodrama, and while there's many moments on the Mercury Prize-winning album that are memorable, this track might just be the album's peak. The track sees Dave link up with Nigerian musician Burna Boy, this track is a genuine bop, and the music video is full of stars too (see if you can reognise them). This is a track that goes down a treat at any party - maybe even a Hottest 100 party?
Kita Alexander - between you and i
Kita has been quiet the last couple years, but when she dropped a song, it was a bona fide hit. Between You & I sampled Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World and modernises it in a way that is undeniable.
The Kite String Tangle - P0L4R
The Kite String Tangle's Danny Harley radically changed his style this year from dreamy electronic soundscapes to dark, throbbing UK garage-inspired rave cave beats like P()L4R. A festival and club staple, P()L4R showed us TKST's maturation as a producer and we can't wait to see where he goes next.
Flowerkid - boy with the winfields and the wild heart
At 18 years old and his first and only release of the year, Flowerkid burst right into our hearts and feels with this song. It's poignant, emotive, soulful and ultimately hard to forget. The kid's obviously got a knack for storytelling and we'd love to see his second ever song make it into the coveted Hottest 100 list.
Harper Finn - Conversations (With The Moon)
Another song that's years beyond Kiwi newcomer Harper Finn's mere 21 years old, Conversations (With The Moon) introduced us to the young balladeer and his affecting style of songwriting. Hailing from a highly musical family, it's not surprising that he's already so tenured when it comes to songwriting.
Denzel Curry - Bulls On Parade (Like A Version)
This raucous Like A Version is currently billed to come in at #1 according to 100 Warm Tunas, which would be utterly massive if true. It would be the first Like A Version to top the list, after DMA'S cover of Cher's Believe picked up a pretty primo spot back in 2016. The cover itself is absolutely captivating; Denzel is so full of energy you can feel it coming off the screen.
Sampa The Great - Final Form
Sampa The Great has had a stellar year and it would be pretty amazing to cap it off by seeing her pick up a great spot on the Hottest 100. Final Form is a triumphant example of Black Girl Magic and that chorus "Great state I'm in (yeah) / In all states I'm in / I might final form / In my melanin" is powerful AF.
Allday - Restless (feat. The Veronicas)
When Allday teamed up with The Veronicas, he revived them from 2000s nostalgic pop legends to back in the public consciousness, now gracing festivals like Good Things and creating moshes. This song showed off Allday's introspective side and danced around a cautious dancehall beat, but the chorus featuring the twin sisters is iconic.
YBN Cordae & Anderson .Paak - RNP
YBN Cordae and Anderson .Paak's friendship is one we have to stan and RNP makes their dynamic and banter so, so obvious and it's impossible not to love. Cordae is a a massive star in the making and his verses on this prove that in spades, while .Paak continues to exude the positive energy we've come to expect and love from him.