This morning the five shortlisted songs for the 2019 Silver Scroll Award were announced. Here, exclusively for The Spinoff, the finalists discuss each other’s nominated songs.
Tom Scott of Avantdale Bowling Club on ‘The Barrel’ by Aldous Harding
it’s such a beautiful stunt to witness. breaking just before the cliff edge. the rush of a shot gun down your mouth. she’s like a virtuoso meth cook. but it’s a dangerous experiment to perform. if you don’t get the exact right measure of melancholia and hope, at any point the whole thing could spontaneously combust into candy floss. but she’s so playful with her blade. you almost want it to hit you. it’s masterful.
Aldous Harding on ‘Soaked’ by Benee
Big tune. Big, curling bass. Nice layers. Since been added to my morning walk playlist. Adventurous video. GREAT pop. I won’t be surprised if I lose to this one. “That’s the truth”.
Benee on ‘Happy Unhappy’ by The Beths
I luv this song! It’s energetic & upbeat at the same time as being slightly wistful which is a quality I like! I think lyrically it’s really interesting & playful :3
Elizabeth Stokes of The Beths on ‘Olympic Girls’ by Tiny Ruins
The new Tiny Ruins album was a light on the horizon last year, I was so looking forward to it. And ‘Olympic Girls’ is such a beautiful, layered piece of writing. It’s somehow specific without giving too much away. I love this song, the way the guitar part tumbles in and rumbles along, the way the melody effortlessly leaps up and twirls before crashing down, and all the small turns of phrase that stick in my mind.
On a 12 hour drive up the US West Coast we listened and re-listened to all the Scroll finalists before the deadline. We paused for a long time on this one reading the lyrics, trying to dissect it, tear apart its limbs and organs and name the pieces but we couldn’t. We all thought it was about something different, and had all created different movies in our heads that this song was the soundtrack to. In the end we agreed to disagree and just let the song float us down the road. We still had a long, long way to go.
Hollie Fullbrook of Tiny Ruins on ‘Years Gone By’ by Avantdale Bowling Club
The first bit is almost like a ledge you’re looking out over. Like the opening credits of a 50s mystery. The tension’s already there in the rattling drums, melancholy piano chords, everything off-kilter. Musically and lyrically this track achieves a feeling of epiphany that’s really hard to find but for me is the Holy Grail of music making and listening.
From the ledge, we zone in with a birds eye view on this kid, crawling, walking, running – Tom Scott’s own champion, the listener’s champion, from day one.
Then the narrator melds into the body of the kid, who takes you by the hand into a deeply personal space, whisking through each year of the 80s, 90s, 00s, each year of Tom’s life, recognising totems and signs along the way from your own. It’s a bittersweet and sometimes heavy, ugly, nostalgia – the woozy saxophones, warm bass tones, backing vocals chipping in at just right places – all cast a hazy glow over everything, but the ride goes to some gnarly places. The intensity of the rhymes, the relentless invention, emphasis on syllables that flow one after the other, all over the place like popping candy, give this story its power. Ending in a kind of cyclical, beautiful repetition of birth and rebirth.
What a great time machine of a track, in some ways it feels close to home. We went to the same high school in Avondale, same year I think – not sure we ever crossed paths, though – paths are really what this song is about, the way they’re drawn and crossed for you due to circumstances, struggles, bad luck, good luck, the roles of friends and family. Wins and wrong turns. Avondale has so many stories, and Tom’s is a one of a kind telling.