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First Impressions: Charli XCX, Migos, Middle Kids And More

Written By the interns on 01/24/2017

First Impressions are our weekly roundtable reviews sifting through all the fresh new music. Our writers take a listen, slap a score on it and then justify said score. This week Charli XCX, Paces, Middle Kids, Maggie Rogers, MUNA and Migos face the jury.

Yasutaka Nakata
Crazy Crazy (Feat. Charli XCX and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu)

Matt: This sounds like all my favourite 90s video games in the best way. There’s not a lot to be said about this track – it’s catchy, fun, and super simple -, but it’s amazing to see Charli hooking up with Kyary and Yasutaka and coming out with something listenable. It gives me hope that my favourite J/K-Pop stars could make the jump to the West in the right hands!

On that note: someone get SOPHIE on the phone with Utada Hikaru immediately, thanks x 3

Sam: I think as a Charli XCX and Yasutaka Nakata song, this really works. It takes parts of XCX’s latest sugary vibes and merges it with Nakata’s J-Pop stylings. The chorus is perfectly euphoric and hypnotising and the verses are aptly bonkers but Pamyu Pamyu’s presence just isn’t felt at all. Her vocals sound turned down compared to XCX and as such, she feels like a bit of an unnecessary inclusion. I would like to hear Pamyu Pamyu given her own verse in Japanese. 3

Paces
Savage (Feat. Nyne)

Matt: I mean… it’s fine? I guess? I think I’ve said before that I’m suffering from EDM fatigue at the moment – it’s very rare anything happening in this particular subgenre of broody, super-serious tunes is new or exciting enough to pique my interest. It’s the same style of overly-FX’d vocals and trop-lite beats I’d hoped we would leave in 2016. 2

Sam: I get that it doesn’t sound like nothing you’ve ever heard in your life but I feel like Paces has done a pretty superb job here. NYNE’s R&B stylings automatically make it one of the darkest things he’s ever done and the drop is actually pretty exciting even though now we’ve been conditioned to expect it in these sort of songs. I genuinely think this will be one of the more interesting tracks you’ll hear on the Australian festival circuit this year. 3.5

Middle Kids
Never Start

Matt: Ah! That first chorus in this song really got me excited! This track has that sort of anthemic potential that could see it absolutely take off on Triple J and potentially even make a dent in the mainstream airwaves with the right promo (read: the right prime time TV tie-in). I’m really into it. Well done, everyone. 4

Sam: I fell in love with these guys at BIGSOUND because they were the most dynamic and personable performers but it’s so cool to see them growing and really moving towards becoming one of the biggest bands in the country. That chorus packs such an emotional punch that if you’re not sold by the first one then you’re probably hollow inside. Hannah Joy holds so much wisdom in her voice, it’s kind of like a young PJ Harvey writing more approachable melodies. It takes so, so much for me to get excited about Australian rock music but here we are. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

MUNA
Crying On The Bathroom Floor

Matt: Oh wow. That melody didn’t go where I expected at all. This track sounds like Robyn meets the Eurythmics with a splash of Carly Rae – it’s got that great combination of 80s nostalgia meets forward-thinking production and clever lyrical moments. I genuinely can’t get over how much I love the melody. The vocal is bright, spacious and soaring, but the underlying beat is grainy, aggressive and progresses in unexpected ways. It’s extremely satisfying. 5 Matt’s Pick

Sam: I Know A Place was a very late favourite of mine last year and while this one is a little less immediate, it’s still a slamming tune. You really have to stick with this one though because it takes almost two minutes for the first chorus to kick in. It’s lucky that the verses are flickering, pulsating pieces of beauty because otherwise they would’ve lost me. I think it will sound spectacular on the album but as a single it may take a few more listens than its predecessor. 4

Maggie Rogers
On + Off

Matt: The more I listen, the more I’m reminded of different artists – I hear bits of Florence, Lorde and even Marina and HAIM in this -, but there’s something distinct and fresh about Maggie that sets her apart. There’s a sort of innocence and a sense of wide-eyed wonder throughout this track that makes it feel really authentic. It’s got the small-town charm and folk style Maggie is known for mixed with the dance-pop influences that one expects from a Pharrell-approved producer. Definitely an artist to watch! 3

Sam: I find Maggie Rogers so endearing. She’s got a really infectious way of talking about music and that enthusiasm translates into all her songs. On + Off is the most poppy cut she’s given us yet but it still bursts with personality. The chorus is warm and floating while the verses are anxious and racing. It’s a beautiful juxtaposition. 4

Migos
What The Price

Matt: I’m really not into this at all, but it is very in-keeping with their whole schtick. Maybe I just don’t get it? Actually, reading the comments, turns out these guys made that Hannah Montana song AND that Versace song. I thought those songs were pisstakes. So there we go. 1

Sam: I have this very strong feeling that Migos’ Culture is going to be the album that everyone has to own this year. It will be that record that even if you don’t really dig it, you’ll have to pretend because all your friends will be playing it. If that’s the case, I’m not mad about it. They’ve clearly improved a lot over the last few years and it’s no coincidence that Bad And Boujee is blowing up. Their flows are spot on right now and they’re finding melodies in the most sparse of beats. I love the howling guitar at the start of this one and the Lil Bibby-borrowed keys throughout it. 4

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