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the interns joins the VICE Blogging Network

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the interns are thrilled to announce that we are now officially part of the VICE Blogging Network.

It’s a collection of independent Australasian websites which are, in VICE’s opinion, ‘the most interesting, relevant and popular ones going’ and we’re so excited to be included in such a well-respected realm of music, art and culture. 

 

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The Killers’ Hot Fuss: A Decade On

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On this month, ten years ago, it’s likely that you were anticipating Las-Vegas band The Killers’ debut record, Hot Fuss. With four albums to their name now and a greatest hits, The Killers have engrained themselves as a band that never quite made it as big as Coldplay or The Strokes but have happily plodded along as a sometimes-headliner.

On 7 June 2004, when Hot Fuss was released it was looking like The Killers were destined for giddy heights. The album went number one in Australia (such trendsetters), Ireland and the UK while it also reached the top ten in the US. At the end of the decade, the LP was the 27th and 97th highest selling album in the UK and Australia respectively.

The Singles also performed well. Mr. Brightside reached the top ten in the US and the UK while Somebody Told Me mustered a peak of number three in the UK.

Few new bands that were born around the time The Killers surfaced managed that feat with their debut. Indie-rockers turned stadium-fillers, Kings of Leon and the Black Keys, started with critically acclaimed albums but ultimately it took them the better part of a decade to turn that into commercial success. Even if it was at the cost of critical adoration.

The perfect combination of alt.rock and stadium-ready tunes

At the time of Hot Fuss’ release there was no other band, apart from perhaps Coldplay and an ageing U2, that presented alternative rock in such a straight-forward, digestible manner. Lead singer Brandon Flowers marks it best in Glamorous Indie Rock N Roll, when he preaches “It’s indie rock n roll for me/It’s all I need”. Hot Fuss was certainly not the most indie record of the time. Far from it. But it exposed ‘the rebel’ inside all of those who didn’t want to delve into garage-rock to reveal it.

Lamenting on Glamorous Indie Rock N Roll, NME wrote “The Killers’ charm is to be both clever and clueless at once”. And to this day, that is still true of Hot Fuss. They probably knew that proclaiming they love indie rock was somewhat cringeworthy but it works because Flowers’ delivery is so self-assured. Personally, as a twelve year-old kid there was a certain feeling about holding The Killers’ record and believing I’d uncovered a band that was just a tad alternative.

On paper, The Killers sounded ridiculous. They were a band from Las Vegas who sung a lyric like “somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend”, and delivered decadent, Moulin-Rouge style videos. There was nothing gritty to this indie rock n’ roll. It was clean; formulaic even. But it was also perfectly delivered and believable because Flowers and co were so convincing in their delivery of such grandiosity.

In labelling Mr. Brightside the 72nd best song of the ‘00s, Pitchfork wrote “Merging Duran Duran makeup, New Order hi-hats, and Bruce Springsteen-ian grandiosity, they gave rock fans a non-geriatric arena-ready alternative to the world’s Nickelbacks”. A year later, PANIC! At The Disco would release their first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, borrowing a similar, if not more emo-enhanced formula. Even now, bands are still using that well-balanced combination of alternative rock and stadium-ready flashiness. Has anyone seen Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys or Muse live recently?

The British influence

In 2009, Brandon Flowers told Spin that “Hot Fuss was all based on fantasy. The English influences, the makeup — they were what I imagined rock was. I’m a dreamer, you know? So I dug into that dream and made Hot Fuss.” It comes as a defence to critics saying the album held no sense of identity. Pitchfork wrote in their 5.2 review of the album, “The Killers are just the latest band to be born too quick inside the popular music vacuum, where expectations for broad accessibility kill dudes’ potential for deeper creativity quite fabulously dead.”

In 2004, the Brits dictated alternative rock, so it made sense that the Killers would follow this formula. However, it left little room for them to inject their hometown and own influences into it. Listening back to Hot Fuss, it’s hard to say that it sounds specifically British. So many bands from around the world have adopted the Brits’ alternative style of rock that it sounds universal now more than anything.

In an interview with The Quietus, after the release of their third album Day & Night, Flowers admitted the rock n roll fantasy had become “unhealthy”. He said, “I think we still can be the biggest band in the world. But maybe we were falling into traps – getting the producers and photographers U2 had. That’s unhealthy.”

Hot Fuss, iconic?

In the interview with Spin, Flowers also notes that Hot Fuss was “a very special part of this generation.” And it’s true. It would be hard for anyone to deny hearing All These Things That I’ve Done and not singing along. As Vice writer, Clive Martin puts it “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” was the “I guess that cunt gettin’ eaten” chorus for the cool clubs.”

As I listen back to the album many of the lyrics sound iconic if not slightly over-heard. Lines like “Coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine” or “It’s not confidential, I’ve got potential” are instantly nostalgic. They’re aggressive and well-timed, perfect for both the clubs and stadiums. They also induce some serious nostalgia which is a good tell-tale that the album was a signpost of the time.

When Mr. Brightside was voted in as the fifth best song of NME’s lifetime, drummer Ronnie Vanucci said “The song is basically about one being totally content and fearless and happy, and then having it totally be the antithesis in a blink of an eye – all of the sudden being the opposite of that because of someone”. Basically, it’s the topic of just about every pop song but delivered differently. Instead of a Scott Storch, Max Martin or Timbaland production it was partly-distorted and centred around a delicious guitar lick. The drum-beat is rollicking and Flowers vocals are commanding in a conversation, train-of-thought way.

It’s withstood any song from Hot Fuss and has become The Killers’ signature track. Ten years later, it sounds unaged. Radio still plays it, clubs still play it and every man and his dog knows it started out with a kiss.

Even Smile Like You Mean It sounds instantly comforting when hearing it ten years later. As does the theatrical, desperation of Believe Me Natalie.

The Strokes achieved a similar feat with Is This It?, particularly in regards to Last Night. They disguised a beautifully simple, pop melody under waves of distortion and noisy guitars. Yes, the Strokes record was more successful but it’s easy to see how and why the Killers were inspired by this. Flowers even told NME, “Is This It…just sounded so perfect. I got so depressed after that, we threw away everything and the only song that made the cut and remained was ‘Mr. Brightside’.”

The Verdict ten years on

Rolling Stones put it best when they wrote, “So what if they were from Vegas, not the U.K., and the year was 2004, not 1983?” Hot Fuss is a guilty pleasure record in every sense. It’s a big, boastful record that touches on matters of relationships, sex, bitterness and falsity. Or as Vice puts it: a record about a murderous homosexual relationship.

Hot Fuss didn’t have the gritty, indie aura that the first records by Kings Of Leon or The Black Keys did. The Killers were introduced with a flurry of glitz and glamour that lends itself more to Duran Duran than it did the bands of their own era. As such, they were able to permeate a pop/rock landscape that was dominated by the likes of Maroon 5, Nickelback and Jet.

When hearing those three bands it’s hard to argue that The Killers are not the more likeable alternative. Even their harshest critics would surely have to agree.

It’s difficult to call Hot Fuss a classic in the way that The Strokes Is This It? or Oasis’ Definitely, Maybe are regarded but it’s a key post-it note in the musical timeline of the ‘00s. It was a time when alternative rock became glamorous and digestible once again; made for huge audiences. It’s worth noting that the year after Hot Fuss, Coldplay became a fully-fledged arena-rock band with their synth-heavy X&Y. A sound not dissimilar to the foundations of Hot Fuss.

Hot Fuss was an integral part of the transition period that got us to the point where Arcade Fire and The Black Keys could headline festivals.

The positive of Hot Fuss not being Is This It? is that The Killers have not been burdened in the way The Strokes have. In different ways, Sam’s Town and Day & Age have matched Hot Fuss whereas The Strokes other albums have paled in comparison. They are not as instantly recognisable, but each of them have tracks that make worthy additions to their ‘Greatest Hits’. It’s helped their career track-along in a straight line rather than plummet like The Strokes.

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Random Access Memories: A Year On

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As of this month, a year has passed since the release of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. The hype has somewhat dissipated, the dust has settled. Now it’s time to ask: Did RAM live up to the hype? Is it a Daft Punk classic? What does Daft Punk’s journey into disco past mean for our music present and future? (for the TL;DR version of the answers, scroll to the end)

Few artists in the history of time have had the enigmatic effect on the music industry quite like Daft Punk. It takes someone or something special to cause such a whirlwind of rumours and myths to circulate constantly over two decades’ time, ranging from surprise appearances to the actual identity of the persons in question, Thomas Bangalter & Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. In the 12 year time gap between their last album and RAM, (excluding the Tron soundtrack) the rumour mill was still well-oiled and running, with people predicting release dates of the next album, asking the questions “is there even going to be a next album?”, “when are they touring again?” or, as one internet punter asked an online Daft Punk FAQ, ‘are they dead?’

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I personally found this ‘partially’ helpful.

In February last year, Daft Punk finally came out of the shadows with a solitary image of the iconic split-helmet posted on both their website and Facebook. This first contact from the pair, in what felt like decades, sent the online world into a frenzy, with Facebook, Twitter, music blogs and forums alike going into overdrive. Even their manager, Paul Hahn, was staggered by the internet’s reaction, commenting that his favourite tweet was, ‘Daft Punk posts jpeg, crashes internet.” The incredible fact was that nothing about a new album was mentioned, though everyone was taking from that simple image the same message:

Daft Punk were back (and were definitely alive).

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Rudy Mechekoff (above) makes a good point 

With tongues wagging and fingertips furiously a-typin’, Columbia Records slowly rolled out the  remainder of the Random Access Memories campaign to the bated breath of fans worldwide. But there was something different about this promotion. The helmet image posted onto the internet was typical of an album release but it was one of only a few engagements in the digital sphere. Instead, as hinted in a blog announcement by Chic guitarist and producer Nile Rodgers, it seemed that Daft Punk (with Rodgers as a suspected collaborator) were opting for a campaign encompassing all things retro. This was the first clue that Daft Punk was taking a new, funky direction.

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Billboards began to pop up along Sunset Boulevard, replacing ads for “fat-reduction pills and local car-insurance companies,” imparting a “physical, visceral quality” and creating “something of permeance,” according to Paul Hahn. A 15-second teaser advertisement also bookmarked a Saturday Night Live episode (overshadowing Macklemore’s appearance on the show), both giving a nod to “pre-MTV era of marketing”, as Paul Hahn put it, with the latter subsequently crashing the Daft Punk website within 4 seconds of its appearance. It was a delightful mix of eras, with the clever use of varied media elements thought to be antiquated in the music realm.

Columbia Records still had more surprises up its sleeve; slowly giving away more and more pieces of the puzzle that was Random Access Memories. These consisted of a retro-futuristic web series, a multi-part YouTube documentary revealing some of the collaborators, more billboards (this time at prime positions of SXSW & Ultra Music Festival) and another SNL advertisement. This was all topped off with an extended 60-second teaser projected to the audience at Coachella, revealing Pharrell as a collaborator and stirring rumours that Daft Punk would be doing a surprise set (little did they know that the two men they craved so much were actually watching the teaser from the crowd amongst them. Truly Gods amongst mere mortals).

Kermit Cintron vs Walter MathysseThe campaign continued to stir up hype and demand attention, certainly a contrast to the two Frenchmen who have insisted on keeping their identities hidden underneath robot heads since the ‘90s. It exuded a promise of something great, with Columbia’s Chief Executive, Rob Stringer, likening it to when record companies used to have the “confidence that they had a big, big record.” There was no question they had the confidence. At this point it was bordering on cockiness.

Finally, the time had come for their 4th studio album to be released and in classic Daft Punk style, the launch was to be held in where else but ‘Wee Where..?’, only adding to the mystery and intrigue of the saga.

The time came, the time has passed, and now we’re left to ponder the question:

Did the machines live up to the hype?

Now that the dust has settled, the rumours have calmed (for now) and everyone has a copy of RAM in their once-hot little hands, I beg the question: did the album live up to its hype as the most anticipated album of last year/decade/century/millennia?

Obtaining the status of most critically successful album with a score of 87/100 on Metacritic, winning numerous Grammy Award wins, including Album of the Year, Best Dance/Electronica Album and Record of the Year, and debuting at number one in twenty countries, I’d be stupid to say no. I’d also be lying.

They gave life back to music.

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As the introductory song to RAM states, Guy and Thomas-Manuel aimed to revive the magic of albums apparently lost in the riff-heavy EDM haze. Professing to be bored with the electronic music style they so happened to help create, the pair chose to shy away from samples and other immediately-gratifying features of electronic music. Instead, they opted to bask in the styles and techniques of the disco era, turning back the clock to the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. In an age where so many songs are conceived so quickly and proficiently on computers, Daft Punk’s reintroduction of disco is refreshing, with The Scissor Sisters’ frontman, Jake Shears, comparing it to a “giant, fresh glass of water that so many people have been thirsty for for so long.” This style is evident in their use of multi-layered vocals, accompanied with a slew of instruments and expert instrument implementation (dem guitar licks), adding to the intricate level of detail and musical thought rendered throughout the album.

They spared no expense to accomplish this; rounding up the best musicians, recording in the finest studios around the world and incorporating orchestras and choirs at will. With this, they’ve managed to create a new sonic-age while still maintaining their classic Daft Punk . Many would prefer for them to simply stick to what made them what they are, but at some point, purely programmed music would become tiresome. As Giorgio Moroder said, “they had to do something which is different – still dance, still electronic – but give that human touch back.” And it’s that simple idea of personifying electronic music again which has so influenced the disco/funk trend so evident today.

RAM was an Instant Crush, but was it an Instant Classic?

crushRandom Access Memories‘ cinematic nature makes it an album that needs to be heard in full, a style which doesn’t make it a classic in the way that its predecessors are. Of course discluding popular Get Lucky and Lose Yourself to Dance, you wouldn’t expect to hear many of their tracks, such as the musings in Giorgio by Moroder or the cinematic story of Touch in any old club. This is where Daft Punk’s style in RAM is noticeably different from their past works. It seems they have created this to be more of an event, more of a journey from start to finish, not dissimilar to the records of the past. This in turn requires a lot more effort from the listener, proving difficult for some, who would prefer the immediate gratification from one of their more electronic numbers such as Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.

Although this way of approaching the album may be labour-intensive, it is greatly rewarding. RAM manages to surprise you with something new every listen, whether it be the instantly funking guitar lick on Lose Yourself to Dance, the steady beat of Doin’ It Right or the Broadway production that is Touch. It’s the complete disregard for trend that makes RAM stand out as an innovator, jam-packed with music of an older-age for a future generation.

Disco is Alive and Stayin’ Alive.

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Although many artists have quietly been making disco-influenced music, it seems that all we required was the Daft Punk effect to really start the trend. Sonically, it’s re-introduced the idea of human-sounding music into the dance genre. Ironic, considering it came from a pair of robots. Nile Rodgers, one of the main collaborators on the album and the ‘Mozart of disco’, has attributed this renewed affection for his beloved disco to its “complex simplicity” and absolute “bliss of grooves.”

nilerodgersIt has the ability to encourage people to get up and dance, rather than “people standing there” and “nodding their heads”, as stated by Dec Lennon, the head of a dubstep/grime radio station, comparing the new disco wave to the dubstep era.

Mixmag’s Duncan Dick positioned RAM as a “game-changer for dance music,” getting out of the EDM comfort zone that so many artists are stuck in. “It’s as if they’re trying to turn the clock back to a time not only before EDM but before even acid house,” he wrote. “This isn’t Daft Punk trying to get back to the warehouse or the rave but back to the discothèque.” Dec Lennon has also attributed it to people “opening up, getting loose, having a drink and a dance.” Hugo Gruzman of Flight Facilities has also chimed in on the subject, comparing EDM to electronic disco, stating “it’s the difference between a quick shag and an all-night love-making session”.

It seems everyone has the fever, with artists adopting the disco trend at a critical mass. This past year, we’ve already seen artists such as Jungle, Chromeo, Chris Malinchak, Juce, Flight Facilities, Todd Terje, Blood Orange and La Roux (just to name a few) creating ‘70s/’80s-inspired tunes. Not to mention the slew of artists like Clean Bandit and Avicii who have found huge commercial success with their disco-flavoured numbers.

Pharrell Got Lucky.

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No, not in that way! Well, probably also in that way. 

Another artist who has greatly benefited from the success of Random Access Memories is none other than former N.E.R.D pioneer, Pharrell Williams. Although quietly producing tracks with a host of other artists, it seemed he’d been hiding in the shadows for the past few years, appearing his best days were behind him. Pharrell himself confessed that his first solo album, In My Mind, was a “dreadful experience”, making him think that his “days as an artist were over.”

It wasn’t until he met with Guy and Thomas-Manuel and pleaded to their manager for a chance at collaborating, saying “anything you want me to do, I’ll do. I’ll play tambourine on your next album,” that his luck began to change. He stated that he was “happy guesting” or “producing work” but the French dance stars asked much more of Pharrell,  inviting him to sing on their hit single Get Lucky and further collaborate with them for the entire album.

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This turn of events has him convinced that Daft Punk brought his solo career back from the brink of nonexistence.”Working with Daft Punk has been a huge part of the journey to where I am today… I was appreciative when I did it and I’m still appreciative of the chance I was given,” he has commented. Daft Punk, with their album Random Access Memories, helped shine the spotlight back on Pharrell, breathing life back to his career and revealing the producer for the amazing talent he is, helping him re-emerge into the music world as, what The Guardian describes him, a ‘one-man disco revival.’

TL;DR: Random Access Memories was great, Daft Punk revived the disco era, they inspired other artists to emulate electro-disco, they kick-started Pharrell Williams’ solo career and, basically, boogie is back and it’s, hopefully, here to stay (at least until Daft Punk’s next album).

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Why your ears will enjoy June

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If we’re being truthful, June should be awful. It’s the month when Winter finally hits you as a reality and you take to hot chocolates, Cheds and love handles. But, with the Northern Hemisphere joyfully ushering in Summer, we find ourselves receiving their music. Their content, Summer-ready, Festival-eyeing music. To think of the Brits whipping their shirts off when the thermometer hits 18 degrees is a sickening thought but the plethora of great records coming our way should soothe the pain. Over the next month we’ll be treated to comebacks, debuts and a track called Fucked My Way To The Top (thanks Lana). It’s going to busy, the headphones will hurt our ears but we’ll forget Winter ever laid its frosty hands upon us. Here are ten of the most mouth-watering (ear-watering?) releases scheduled for June.


Klaxons_Love_Frequency_Artwork_750_750_90_sKlaxons- Love Frequency

13 June is the day when you will be able to set your ears upon the Klaxons’ third record. The Bassist of the band, Jamie Reynolds told NME, “We have arrived. On the first two albums, we were taking off and this one is us flying. We are there.” And it certainly seems so. The band lined-up an impressive array of people to work on this album including James Murphy, Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers, DJ/producer Erol Alkan and electro duo Gorgon City. The first tracks to surface off it, There Is No Other Time and Show Me A Miracle see the band embrace a more dance-orientated sound so you best get your best boogying shoes out.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/klaxons/show-me-a-miracle[/soundcloud]

Lana-Del-Rey-Ultraviolence-2014-1500x1500Lana Del Rey- Ultraviolence

Fresh from being the headlining act at the Kimye wedding, Del Rey will release her second album on June 13. The ‘dark’ Ultraviolence features production from The Black Keys’ Dan Auberach and has been preceded by the singles, West Coast and Shades of Cool. We can confirm that the album cover is the actual cover and not a casual holiday snap. We can also confirm that the tracklist is far more exciting than the cover. Fucked My Way Up to the Top and Money Power Glory have us putting faith in this record.

Kasabian_48-13Kasabian- 48:13

With their last album, Velociraptor, Kasabian went from quirky, alt-rock band to arena-fillers. They’re set to capitalise on that status with a headline set at Glastonbury and a new album. Oddly, it looks like 48:13 will step back from the arena-sound. It’s been described by the band as ‘stripped-back’, ‘bare’ and ‘direct’. The first single, Eez-eh is groovy and chaotic bound by a dictator-like vocal and travelling beat. It’ll be an interesting one, you can count on that. 13 June is when you can hear it, just in time for a mighty Glasto show.

alexistaylor_awaitbarbariansAlexis Taylor- Await Barbarians

You may know Alexis Taylor from a little dance collective called Hot Chip. If so, then you’ll know his partner in crime, Joe Goddard, is constantly off producing and remixing everything under the sun, so Taylor has decided to pop out his second solo-album in the meantime. It’s set to be released on 13 June in Australia and features the two previously released tracks, Elvis Has Left The Building and Without A Crutch (2). If you pulled your boogy shoes out for Klaxons, put them back away for this one. It’ll be a demure but rewarding set.

Glass-Animals-ZABAGlass Animals- ZABA

British band Glass Animals set hearts-a-flutter when they visited Australia in April. Many of the shows sold out off the back of the wildly successful, Gooey. They also cranked out a pretty special cover of Kanye West’s Love Lockdown for Triple J’s Like A Version with frontman Dave Bayley sending girls gaga with his oddball voice. Since then, they’ve released the tropical flavoured, Pools and are now readying the release of ZABA. It’s geared for release on 3 June.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/glassanimals/pools[/soundcloud]

Lazaretto3Jack White- Lazaretto

Mr. White has pulled out all the stops in the lead-up to the release of his second solo album. On Record Store Day he set the record for the world’s fastest recording when he delivered the title track in less than four hours. Then, last week, he called his former half of the White Stripes and ex-wife, Meg White, the “antithesis of a modern drummer” while he himself was called an “asshole” by The Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney. Such is the life of a rockstar, I guess, and any bad press is good press in the lead-up to an album. If you know Jack White, you’ll no doubt already have guessed the sound of Lazaretto– howling vocals, raucous guitars and other bluesy instrumentation. We’ll be able to confirm that when it’s released on 6 June.


Small_Gold_Album_-_First_Aid_KitFirst Aid Kit- Stay Gold

Sweden’s not often the first place you look for Folk music with an Americana twang, but this duo is doing a damn fine job at it. Stay Gold is the third album from the pair, following on from their 2012 breakout The Lion’s Roar. The first two singles, My Silver Lining and Cedar Lane suggest that they won’t be changing up the sound too much, but it’s sure to be another beautifully harmonic and melodic record. The record is out on 6 June while they’ll be down under in July for Splendour in the Grass.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/firstaidkit/my-silver-lining[/soundcloud]

The-Antlers-Familiars-608x608The Antlers- Familiars

After a balmy Summer, June is going to get cold. During those nights, you’ll need an album to accompany you. Look no further than Familiars. This is the Brooklyn band’s first release since 2011’s sprawling Burst Apart and it’s shaping up to be just as profound. If the first two singles, Palace and Hotel are anything to go by, it’s going to be an emotional one with tip-toeing keys, short jabs of brass and haunting melodies. Prepare to weep on 20 June.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/antirecords/the-antlers-hotel[/soundcloud]


bc2dad80How To Dress Well- What Is The Heart?

Poor ol’ Tom Krell looks sad on the album cover for What Is The Heart? And judging by the album title and first two singles, he probably is. Somewhat sadistically, it’s good news for us because the music he’s churning out is A+. Taking cues from late ’90s/early millenium RnB, Repeat Pleasure and Words I Don’t Remember are melancholic strokes of genius. It won’t be a barrel of laughs, but you’re not meant to be happy in Winter anyway, right? Get personal with Krell, 20 June.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/howtodresswell/repeat-pleasure[/soundcloud]

4489534Remi- Raw x Infinity

Remi is the next big name of Australian hip-hop. His debut cut, Sangria, had Triple J audiences giddy, taking out Triple J Unearthed’s 2013 Award. It’s the feature album all this week on Triple J and from what we’ve heard so far it’s a raw yet politically and socially-charged listen, touching on everything from racism to drug-culture. Hear whether the Melbourne MC has delivered on the hype on 3 June.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/remzilla/tyson-1[/soundcloud]

 

Also I’ll just gloss over the fact that Ed Sheeran, 50 Cent and 360 also have records coming out. These are very much avoidable. Please read, listen and buy the above. Your P.I.M.P days are far behind you.

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Kimbra was inspired by Sesame St, and other things we learnt from her Twitter Q&A

KIMBRA2Details about Kimbra’s sophomore album, The Golden Echo have so far been scarce. We’ve heard the first single, 90s Music, and been treated to the album cover but any hopes we had of hearing more were dashed when her tour with Janelle Monae was cancelled last week due to illness.

Today, Kimbra took to Twitter to answer questions about the new album. Here’s a few things we learnt from #AskKimbra:

The album is out in August

Mark your calendars, you’ve got about three months to wait.

The album was produced by herself, Rich Costey and friends

Kimbra has hinted at some pretty impressive guests on the album including Muse-frontman, Matt Bellamy on the latest single 90s Music. But the man behind most of the album is LA-producer Rich Costey. Costey’s production credits stem from Foster The People to Muse and The Vaccines, so he’s a pretty big deal.

Foster The People’s Mark Foster is also set to feature on the album as is Silverchair’s Daniel Johns and the Dirty Projecter’s Dave Longstreth. She worked with Thundercat on six of the songs while she was most excited to work with Bilal and the legendary Van Dyke Parks.

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She also produced a song with Flying Lotus, however, it will not be on the album.

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It’s gonna be a deep, thought-provoking, emotional ride

I hope you’re prepared.

According to #AskKimbra, she is most excited about showing us ‘The evolution of sounds & the deeper messages of the songs’. She added to that saying it was “more fearless, rhythmically driven, sonically adventurous!” Lyrically, “There’s a strong, inspired sentiment. Starts in a place of youth & ventures many places.”

The Golden Echo’s inspirations stem far and wide

“Adventure, ideas of what is ‘sacred’, reflections (inward&outward)” are Kimbra’s main inspirations for the album. It looks like we’ll be doing a lot of soul-searching with the Kiwi which will be nice and interpersonal.

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She also revealed that she wanted 90s Music to sound like Deerhoof hanging out on Sesame St. and that the album was inspired by a dream she had and “A flower called Narcissus Golden Echo. Greek Mythology & Thomas Merton.” That is one chaotic mind.

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There is a song that features a ‘boss’

She doesn’t say who it is but she can’t wait for us to hear it. Most would assume it’s Bruce Springsteen, however, somehow that seems pretty unattainable.

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We will settle for Michael Scott.

It’s similar to Vows in ‘intention’ and ‘spirit’

So basically not at all.

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She still has more names in mind to collaborate with

Phillip Glass or Wes Anderson are the men on her hit list.

There are 12 songs on the album

Plus a few cheeky bonus tracks. The last track on the album is her favourite.

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And the one you’ve all been waiting for: there will be crazy polyrhythmic prog breakdowns in a time signature other than 6/8

Phew.

 

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New Artists You Need to Follow on Instagram

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Because dogs…

Well, mostly. Following an up and coming artist on instagram could be the most rewarding thing you’ll do all week. Not only are they not heavily monitored by a Beyonce-sized ‘team’, they’re still excited about free stuff, big crowds and willing to use many emojis. Step into the visual world of new music.

BANKS

@hernameisbanks

Being an up and coming artist just ain’t what it used to be. Snaps of Chanel bags, Paris and magazine covers make up BANKS’ jealousy-inducing collection. It’s unlikely to provide many LOLs but the girl knows how to dress and thus gathers a beautiful bunch of pics. Kids; sex, drugs and rock & roll is a thing of the past.

mykkiblanco

@mykkiblanco

At the time of writing, rapper Mykki Blanco has just been arrested in Portugal for allegedly “being gay”. Most likely driven by that, there’s a pic reading “How to heal yourself from everyday psychic poisons or repentance for dummies”. Yep, following this account is an emotional rollercoaster. One minute you’re reading that and the next you’re looking at lavish gardens or scallops. Hard to pin down, yes, but there’s no denying Blanco is a fascinating human-being.

oscar key sung

@oscarkeysung

Oscar Key Sung may be Australia’s first man of RnB. And to match he’s got a suitably 90s inspired Instagram back-catalogue. You’ll find everything here to satisfy your nostalgia including plenty of colour, Tonka trucks and a particularly badass picture of a cat. And then some more pictures of black cats.

cashmerecat

@cashmerecat

Don’t let this Norwegian DJs name fool you. This instagram is all about dogs. A ridiculously good-looking pug is the star of this account as he gives sad, happy and sleepy expressions that would make any man melt. And there’s cool pictures of the studio and the world and shit but the main point you should take away from this is dogs.

liz

@liz_y2k

If Cashmere Cat doesn’t satisfy your penchant for dogs then this is the next place to look. Mad Decent artist, Liz loves the puppies and when she’s not looking like she’s just survived the Millenium Bug with Charli XCX she’s posing with her dog. Her dogs Chloe and Jack willfully agree to ridiculous costumes, christmas frames and filters all-the-while raking in the likes. If that doesn’t do it for you, Liz also rocks a pair of sunnies and a hat like no other.

ryanh

@heemsworth

Completing our trio of dog appreciation instagrams is Canadian producer, Ryan Hemsworth. For those confused, Hemsworth even tags it ‘dog’ to avoid any misconceptions. Aside from dogs, there is also a plethora of Pokemon-related shots as well as one cheeky questionable bum shot. If none of that takes your fancy, he makes some swell remixes which are easily accessed from the insty.

SZA

@justsza

This is one of those “I’ll follow her because she’s cool and I want to be her” things. The RnB singer who’s just released her debut album, Z, is a cool cat who rocks double buns, sandals with socks and fluoro sneakers. You’ll want to try it yourself, but don’t. Just look.

dillonf

@dillonfrancis

This Diplo prodigy is the master of LOLs. Whether he’s Trever on pingaz or the super smooth Greg, the man’s a barrel of fun. It’s probably the most ironic/sarcastic collection of videos and snaps that you’ll come across but that’s the alluring factor. For a man in a genre that has become increasingly serious, he’s proof that there’s still DJs on this earth up for a giggle or two.

 

For more shits and gigs like the above, follow theinterns on instagram. 

 

DJDEGUSTATION

DJ Degustation

Awaken your senses and choose from three culinary adventures brought to you by the latest offerings from Chet Faker, Little Dragon and Todd Terje. Bon Appétit! 

(Click images for recipes)

Chet Faker – Built on Glass

DJDEGUSTATIONS2

If you’re dining to this album, your first step is to set the scene – light the candles, pull up a chair. Built on Glass is like an aphrodisiac; Faker produces a voice & melody that flows right through your body, liable to affect your hormones, brain chemistry, energy and stress levels. The songs on this album have a psychoactive property and seductive undertones so it’s recommended you pair it with an appropriate dinner plan that will be sure to make you Blush:

Hors D’Oeuvres

Oysters: the ultimate aphrodisiac. Serve fresh on ice but ensure you remove their beards before serving – Chet Faker has you covered in that department.

oyster

Entree

Figs stuffed with Gorgonzola & wrapped with crispy prosciutto. Figs are known not only for their emulation of a particular female organ but also for their association with love and stimulation.

figs

Main

Rosemary and parmesan crusted rack of lamb with potato mash and red wine jus. The key to acing this meal is to ensure the lamb is nice and tender which for some will be a Lesson in patience but worth the wait.

lamb

Dessert

Release your problems into a bittersweet, self-saucing pudding with Melted choc-caramel and raspberries. Feel free to garnish with edible Gold flakes to give it that Midas touch.

selfsaucing

Drink

If you’re cooking for that special someone, I’d recommend you both wash this down with a bottle of 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you’re dining for one, best to bask yourself in Cigarettes & loneliness.

Download Built on Glass 

Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband

DJDEGUSTATIONS3

The perfect accompaniment to the wistful, polite elegance of Nabuma Rubberband is French cooking of Nouvelle Cuisine. Unlike its Cuisine Classique predecessor, this culinary method takes a new direction and is characterised by lighter, more intricate dishes with an increased focus on presentation and palatial expression.

Let Go of all qualms you previously entertained about cooking in this style and attempt to Mirror Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano’s delicate precision and gentility for the following banquet:

Hors D’Oeuvres

Peking duck and Hoisin rice paper rolls

hoisin

Entree

Seared scallops with Little Dragon fruit Salsa

scallops

Main

Braised pork belly with a caramel sauce, served with papaya salad. This is a French-Vietnamese favourite, combining the faire of Paris with the freshness of Hanoi. For that extra spice, throw in Bird’s Eye chilli into the salad. But remember to add Only One! These hot rockets can be a little powerful for those who can’t take the heat.

pork

Dessert

Channel Little Dragon’s Scandinavian heritage with a Norwegian Pink Cloudberry Cream with lavender and vanilla. A deliciously light way to end the meal!

cloud

Drink

Pair with a dry, sweet Sémillon.

Download Nabuma Rubberband 

Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

DJDEGUSTATIONS4

The Norwegian Duke of Disco, Todd Terje, invites you to put on your dancing shoes and step into the swingin’ ‘60s with his latest album. Turn off the phones, disconnect your wi-fi and reconnect with the musical delicacies of yesteryear. The food, like the music, is leisurely and unapologetically cheesy – so just kick back and relax because, Ladies & Gentlemen, It’s Album Time!

Hors D’Oeuvres

Devils on Horseback: the perfect old-fashioned Intro for your journey to the past.

devilshorseback

Entree

Take your time to Inspector Norse traditional cookbook and you’ll be certain to find Gravlaks – salmon cured for 24 hours in a mix of sugar, salt and dill. Top this on your mini toasts and, Oh Joy, will you have a delicious treat!

gravlaks

Main

Bouillabaisse. A seafood spread as difficult to pronounce as half of the songs on the album.

bouillabaise

Dessert

Crêpe Suzette. The best part is when you get to set it alight, making this Delorean Dynamite a sure-fire way to impress your chums! Todd Terje himself claimed he likes his music ‘very fruity’ so don’t be afraid to Swing Star fruit over the top to really make your Suzette sparkle.

suzette

Drink  

Dirty martini. Be sure not to spill it though as you cavort across the dancefloor to Terje’s casual funk.

Download It’s Album Time 

 

pharrell@

Why you need to be friends with Pharrell

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

Turning 41 just last week, Pharrell Williams is a multi-Grammy award-winning, Oscar-nominated, TIME’s most influential people, chart topping superstar producer, singer and songwriter and the most popular guy in school music. Showing no signs of slowing down, this mega-producer is hot property and if it is not already hideously obvious, here a few reasons why we all need to get chummy with Pharrell.

He has seen Daft Punk without their helmets.

Actually, let us rephrase that. He has seen Daft Punk, period. Which is more than most of us will be able to say in our lifetime. Plus he has bragging rights to some of the French duo’s best new hits, “Lose Yourself to Dance” and that relatively minor sensation, ‘Get Lucky’.

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

His fashion sense is out of this world.

With his own signature Vivienne Westwood hat, Pharrell’s style evolution has been fearless and effortlessly trendsetting (and adorably goofy) over the years. He is also the co-founder of two clothing brands, and has his own Louis Vuitton jewellery line.

You can’t say the guy hasn’t got game, wearing this to the Oscars.

Picture 2 - Pharrell

He is 41 years old, and we are totally cool with that.

This Benjamin Button of the music world truly gets better with age. No really, this guy is immortal. He doesn’t look a day past 25.

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

If he had a party, everyone would come.

Pharrell has worked with literally everyone in the industry, whether it is singing for Daft Punk or Robin Thicke, or producing for Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Kelis, Britney, Lupe Fiasco, Justin Timberlake, Usher or Frank Ocean.

Coachella 2014 saw Pharrell bring the largest posse on stage, both weekends. Gwen Stefani, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Diplo, Tyler the Creator, Usher, Busta Rhymes, Rapper T.I, Pusher T and Jay-Z! Heck, even Lorde and Haim were up there dancing at one point with Beyoncé cheering fiercely on the sidelines.

As it seems his peers, just like his fans, genuinely admire and adore him.

He probably owned most of your high school iTunes library.

Recognise any of these babies? Pharrell produced, wrote, co-wrote or featured in all of them.… and they were fricken’ awesome.

I’m a slave 4 U (Britney Spears), Rockstar (N.E.R.D), Work it out (Beyoncé), Senorita (Justin Timberlake), Hot in Herre (Nelly), Milkshake (Kelis), Hollaback Girl (Gwen Stefani), Drop it like it’s hot (Snoop Dog)…..the list goes on.

His second solo album, ‘Girl’ was released this year. His first in eight years!

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

“Women are a phenomenal force in my life and in my career” and “the cornerstone of existence”,  Pharrell spoke in media conference earlier this year. He went on to envisage a future world in which “75% of it is run by women … and I want to be on the right side of it.”

So the general consensus is that Pharrell has a perfectly healthy, un-creepy appreciation for girls.

Whether it’s the charming jungle beat of ‘Lost Queen’, the cheeky disco groove of ‘Hunter’ or the punchy opener ‘Marilyn Monroe’, this album definitely offers up a little somethin’ somethin’ for everyone. He has even enlisted friends (more friends!!), Miley Cyrus, Kelly Osbourne, Hollywood’s hottest composer Hans Zimmer, Justin Timberlake, Timberland and vocals from Daft Punk to lend a hand, just because he can – marking an exciting step forward for the producer in 2014.

And I dare you not to dance to this.

Then there’s this…

Oprah. Pharrell crying. It’s all too much.

What a guy.

 Oh, and this…

Picture 5 - Pharrell.jpg

sideshows2

The best of the Splendour in the Grass sideshows

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

Making the trek to Splendour in the Grass is not often feasible for everyone- taking a sickie around that time is never easy to pull off and a cool $500 doesn’t always fall in front of you. Luckily there’s the sideshows. Those gigs in the comfort of a roofed venue with shorter bar queues, less gumboots and no sudden dust storms.

You could easily spend as much as a Splendour ticket on the sideshows so we’ve put together a few sideshows that are unmissable. While a few of the big acts, namely Outkast, are only playing their festival set in Byron, there’s a plethora of acts to wash away those Splendour blues.

London Grammar

The British trio was last in the country for Falls Festival where they impressed with their brooding, melancholic sound. Since then, they have stormed the charts with their single, Strong, and as a result will play some huge shows when they’re here in July. The first thing that will capture your attention is front woman Hannah Reid’s mammoth voice, then you’ll be drawn in by the humble, starry night feeling of the live show.

“A completely assured and quite remarkable vocal. It is as unusual as it is impressive, and warm lower registers are married with piercing high notes with maturity beyond young years.” – The Line of Best Fit

Tuesday, 22 July – Festival Hall, Melbourne

Thursday, 24 July – Horden Pavilion, Sydney

Kelis

Kelis is the chameleon of music. Her latest album, Food, is a huge departure from the dance sound of her previous album, Flesh Tones. It’s brassy, soulful and most of all full of Kelis’ big, raspy voice. It’s unlikely you’ll hear anything about Milkshakes but there will be Jerk Ribs and Fried Chicken aplenty. She’s been driving around the US serving signature dishes from a food truck in support of her new album so let’s hope we get the same service here in Aus.

“She is unafraid to let the cracks show in her signature husk, conveying a calming intimacy on Floyd and an awe-inspiring grandeur on the mariachi-tinged Change.” – The Guardian

Tuesday, 22 July – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne

Wednesday, 23 July – HIFI, Sydney

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

Future Islands

Baltimore band, Future Islands, have been floating around for a while but they have only made headlines recently with their new album Singles and by becoming David Letterman’s favourite new band. Lead-singer Samuel T. Herring is the focal point. He sings like Morrisey and dances somewhere in between Peter Garrett and Paul Simon and is unlikely to leave you without a strong opinion on the aesthetic of the show.

The verdict:

“The band’s new album Singles turns its synth-rock throb into something stickier and friendlier than it’s been on previous records, and on the evidence of last night, those songs sound amazing live.” – Stereogum

Sunday, 27 July – OAF, Sydney

Monday, 28 July – Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Sky Ferreira

Ferreira made a quick trip to Australia in March for a small, sell-out show in Sydney. The calls for a return were made loud and clear following that show and she’s delivered. Expect euphoric pop, delivered in a gothic, grungy and industrial guise. Based off recent reviews, she’s delivering one of the best live shows around at the moment and may well take the crown of Sheezus (aka. Lily Allen) as queen of Splendour in the Grass 2014.

“On stage, she’s personable, committed and raw, and while her songs carry just the right amount of sugary melody to appease those with a penchant for pop, the grinding guitars and rollicking drums suggest that, in Ferreira’s world at least, pop is a dirty word.” – Music Feeds

Wednesday, 23 July – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne

Friday, 25 July – Metro Theatre, Sydney

Jungle

You won’t see many photos of Jungle hanging around the internet. They’re as enigmatic as they come but the mysterious British duo is making some serious waves with their funk-induced sound. Jungle have mostly performed under a thick smoke-machine induced smog, but apparently most people are so busy grooving that there is barely time to notice. This may be one of the only times to see them live in a small venue before shit gets real (ie. the word spreads).

“All their soul and swagger translated to the live setting, particularly thanks to a sumptuous drum sound and some gospel-like backing vocals.” – Line of Best Fit

Tuesday, 29 July – The Corner, Melbourne

Wednesday, 30 July – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney

Tune-Yards

With just three albums under her belt it’s difficult to call Merrill Garbus a veteran of her trade but such is her competence. Her live-shows are known for being experimental, built on live-vocal layering and drum-heavy sounds and are bound to be one of the most interesting sideshows. Her new album Nikki Nack features a few RnB flavours alongside her usual chanting-soul, so a few grinds may be in order if that’s your kind of thing.

“It’s weird music, for sure. But it’s also one of the best live shows out there.” – CMJ

Thursday, 24 July – Howler, Melbourne

Monday, 28 July 2014 – OAF, Sydney

 

Tickets go on sale Friday, May 9 at 9am.

 

michelleobama

Couples that need to tour together

Beyonce and Jay Z have announced their On The Run tour which will see the two travel the US together for the first time since they got together and became the tour de force of the music industry. Crazy and Drunk in love, the self-proclaimed Bonnie and Clyde ‘03 will likely deliver shows that make everybody feel that their current and future relationships are not worthwhile.

Following a well-trodden path laid out by Sonny and Cher and Ike and Tina Turner, Mr and Mrs. Carter are not the first couple to tour together and won’t be the last. We’ve compiled a list of a few couples we believe would make just as worthy tour buddies- for better or worse.

Barack and Michelle Obama

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

Who better to rival the first couple of music than the President and the First Lady of the USA. While the pair are not specifically known for their music, each of them have proven ability. Barack infamously sang Let’s Stay Together before his 2012 re-election while Michelle is an avid dancer. Alongside Beyonce, she’s shaken her booty around the country with her Move Your Body fitness campaign and would be the perfect candidate to accompany Mr. President’s soulful crooning. With Barack’s final term in office coming to an end, they will need something else to do. George Bush turned to painting, the Obama’s can turn to Arena RnB.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

kimkanye

Kimye on tour = dollar signs. West is a formidable, stadium rapper and Kim is, well, anything but. In 2011, she released a heavily auto-tuned debut called Jam but nothing has followed since. It’s time she re-lit that flare for music on stage with Yeezus. There would be a live rendition of Bound 2 while she would have to dance alongside Kanye rapping “My trophy on that Bound bike, I gave you only pipe / If people don’t hate then it won’t be right” in I Won. It would be awkward, arrogant and feature plenty of booty. Get me my Gold Meet ‘n’ Greet ticket now.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

If we can’t get a live duet of Something Stupid between Nicole and Robbie Williams then this will have to do. Nicole’s performance in Moulin Rouge had her belting from Parisian rooftops while Keith’s polite country tang caters for the daggy Mum in everybody. We imagine the Urban Nicole tour being produced by Baz Luhrmann and landing somewhere between a country hoedown and Bewitched. If it didn’t end with an encore including Islands in the Stream, then everyone would be handed refunds.

EDIT: Our prayers were answered. Amazing.

Rihanna and Drake

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

We haven’t read Perez Hilton of late but last we heard these two were dating. Rihanna has already toured with Chris Brown so a joint tour would be the best way to consummate their new found love. They’ve already featured alongside each other on Take Care and What’s My Name, so a joint set list wouldn’t be a stretch. Rihanna could stand next to Drake during his set and hand him tissues as he wallows in self-pity about how he started from the bottom AKA. Degrassi.

Calvin Harris and Rita Ora

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

This is very scarily a possibility. The dance king and pop princess worked together on Rita’s latest single, I Will Never Let You Down, which would probably be the name of the tour, just to reassure people that they’re committed. Harris would pump out pulsating beats while Rita would try her best to sing Rihanna’s part in We Found Love before realising that she’s still a good girl, caught in the awkward phase before the good girl goes bad. #badgalriri

Matt Bellamy and Kate Hudson

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

Muse frontman, Bellamy, is no stranger to Arena rock. Kate however, although used to the bright lights, is a less than competent musician. That’s exactly why this has to happen. She last tried her hand at singing in the film, How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, proving that she’d be perfect for screeching the guitar riff of Knights of Cydonia or humming the piano line of Starlight. Given Muse’s self-indulgent Coachella performance, her version of You’re So Vein would be a perfect addition to the set.

Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

If this prediction comes true, then the(in)terns were the first to break the news of an impending apocalypse. Imagine Chad Kroeger’s concrete laden vocals alongside Avril’s bratty chanting and then imagine the two of them serenading each other at a piano to a lounge version of Sk8er Boi. It would be the worst thing to happen to audiences since Ke$ha toured with Pitbull, made even worse by the fact that there would be possible canoodling.

 

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