For better or worse, these are the artists that dominated our year.
This week started off with a blast thanks to the MTV VMAs which seemingly featured more controversy than ever and left us with a new Tay Tay video, a new Bieber video and an entire Miley Cyrus album. With that in mind, we’d like to award every artist who released a track this week off the back of that a bravery award because it takes something really profound to outshine a shit storm like the VMAs. Luckily, there were plenty of tracks this week that did exactly that and to them we say well done and acknowledge them below with a short spiel of sorts.
Can’t Get Enough
Basenji is destroying it right now. His last single Petals picked up rotation on triple and is undoubtedly one of the strongest local tracks of the year, now he goes even one better on his new track Can’t Get Enough. It’s more of his cute poptronica hybrid driven by melodic, high-pitched vocals and a perky brass-line that are headed straight for the heavens. It’s taken from his Trackpad EP which will be sold as a USB that looks like an Evian water bottle which is just fantastic news for all involved.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/futureclassic/basenji-cant-get-enough-1[/soundcloud]
Marc E. Bassy
That’s Love (Feat. Ty Dolla Sign)
LA singer Marc E. Bassy has enlisted a big name in Ty Dolla Sign for his latest single That’s Love. The track is a total throwback to smooth, mid-tempo R&B bangers with Dolla Sign killing it with a much gentler edge than we’re used to with him. There’s a bit of autotune at play here, but it really works within this aesthetic and somehow smacks you more in the heart than untampered vocals would’ve. These two are excellent duet partners to, we must say.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/marc_e_bassy/thats-love-ft-ty-dolla-sign[/soundcloud]
Kelela‘s A Message was a stunning start to her 2015 and ever since we’ve waited for the EP is was supposedly off. Well no more supposedly because the EP is definitely coming on 9th October. It’s called Hallucinogen and it will feature the aforementioned as well as this new track Rewind. Rewind was produced by Kelela herself with help from Nugget and Kingdom – the latter had a big hand on her excellent mixtape Cut 4 Me. This one’s more upbeat than what we’re used to from her but she really delivers serving up silky vocals and crisp ’90s-tinged production.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kelelam/rewind[/soundcloud]
Miley‘s surprise album Miley Cyrus And Her Dead Petz is a real mixed bag. A REAL MIXED BAG. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t
some plenty of gold on there. In fact, Mike Will Made It, who had a big hand on Bangerz, delivers most of the good stuff on the LP including this one Lighter. Lighter is a beautiful, lingering ballad driven by big, punching drums and a raw vocal from Miley herself. It essentially uses smoking weed as a metaphor for someone always backing her (“when I need the fire, you’re always my lighter”) but it’s really not as dumb as it sounds.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/mileycyrus/lighter[/soundcloud]
Ryan Hemsworth & Lucas
Last year Seattle producer Lucas dropped a ridiculously beautiful remix of Ryan Hemsworth‘s One For Me, then later Hemsworth dropped one of Lucas’ originals through his Secret Songs project. It makes total sense that the pair have now come together for a collaborative EP led by this track Angel. It’s one of the more emotional Hemsworth tunes we’ve heard with the chopped vocals really heading straight for the heartstrings. Goosebump-inducing is the general consensus on Soundcloud and we have to agree.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/shhsecretsongs/angel[/soundcloud]
Empress Of‘s debut album Me is released next week and we’ve been given plenty of reason to get excited about it. First there was Water Water then there was Kitty Kat and this week we got How Do You Do It? and this one Standard. And it may just be the best one yet. Built upon industrial, post-pop production, Empress Of howls throughout really lengthening her notes and hitting giddy heights on many. Calling it now – Me will be one of the year’s best albums.
Pedal To The Medal
Nicholas Brown and Misha Grace are Melbourne duo Friendships who are making really tough, forceful electronic music that demands your attention on first listen. Pedal To The Medal is one half of their new double-sided single that also includes Ded Soun Konduktah and it’s a primal, tribal-inspired track with heavy-hitting bass and a grinding, repetitive vocal sample. It may sound like audible murder but it’s one hell of a thrilling listen – one that feels like your simultaneously listening to dancehall and heavy metal.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/friendships/sets/p2m-dsk[/soundcloud]
Future Classic have become known for signing some of the finest electronic acts in the country but there’s something slightly different about Julian Sudek and Will Campion’s World Champion. Their debut track Avocado definitely has electronic stylings but it also has a dreamstate, indie-rock vibe – one that we haven’t heard any Future Classic artists dabble in until now. It feels sleek and sexy bound for intergalactic travel. If we had to make a comparison we’d say there a definite nods to Jagwar Ma (probably because it was co-produced by Jono Ma) but even then this feels more bare-boned.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/futureclassic/world-champion-avocado-galaxy[/soundcloud]
Florence + The Machine
Queen Of Peace (Hot Chip Remix)
Florence + The Machine‘s Queen Of Peace centres around it’s massive chorus which on the original is elevated by huge stabs of brass. But in many ways it was crying out for a dance remix where the brass was replaced by climatic synths and that immense amount of energy was translated into euphoria. That’s exactly what Hot Chip have done, rebuilding the song on a minimal beat that just continues to build and build until we get that chorus blanketed by dense synths. It sounds just as triumphant as the original but in a completely different way.
Janet Jackson is well and truly back, gearing up for the release of her first album since 2008, Unbreakable. We’ve already heard the excellent first single No Sleeep and now we have the title track. It’s definitely not as modern and forward-thinking as its predecessor but there’s a certain charm to Janet singing about undying love over a vintage-sounding beat. The album is out 2nd October via her own label Rhythm Nation.
This week is absolutely huge for new music. Today The Weeknd, Foals, JOY., Alessia Cara, Halsey and Beach House, among others, have released records meaning we’re not leaving our headphones for the entire weekend. On top of that though we have a plethora of new tracks that have dropped during the week making our listening duties even more extensive. We’ve carved through everything that has come out this week and we think you should start with these 10 and see how you go.
What Do You Mean?
After teasing it for a lifetime Biebs finally dropped his Skrillex-assisted single today and it’s a really pleasant surprise to be completely honest. It takes the dance route of Jack Ü’s Where Are Ü Now but goes with more of a tropical house vibe that drips with an effortless pop melody. We belieb this one is going to do really well heading into Australian summer and might actually signal a shift in the sound of the mainstream into more of this kind of stuff.
The Weeknd‘s drops his record Beauty Behind The Madness today off the back of the massive Can’t Feel My Face. Even though this is technically his turn towards the pop world, he hasn’t sold-out and the album still features plenty of “pussy”, “pills” and “trills”. There’s plenty we could pluck from the album and put here but its pretty hard to beat the triumphant closer Angel. It’s a huge sounding ballad with the boldest instrumental he’s sung over yet and brings the album to a close with a giant crash.
Alessia Cara‘s Here is so good that she probably could’ve just ridden on its coattails for the rest of the year but she hasn’t. Instead, she’s dropped an EP Four Pink Walls with four other tracks that are just as strong. I’m Yours is potentially even stronger giving us an infectious pop melody delivered through Cara’s textured, smokey vocal. The lyrics are a stroke of pop brilliance too in the way she hates this guy because she’s falling in love with him – “I’m mad at your for being so cute”. Awwww, you guys.
Ready For Your Love
The Harpoons‘ debut album Falling For You was one of the strongest releases of last year and now so soon after it, they’ve followed it with the brilliant Ready For Your Love. Making us gush once again with their loved-up lyrics, they’ve chosen a more stomping electronic beat this time round. They have also pushed the chorus into gospel territory with the help of fellow Aussies Habits and it sounds glorious. Total jam.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/the-harpoons/the-harpoons-ready-for-your-love[/soundcloud]
The chart rise of Jamaican artist OMI‘s Cheerleader is one of this years most unlikely success stories but as always with an unexpected hit, you’ve then got an inexplicable amount of pressure for the follow-up. Well said follow-up has arrived today in the form of Hula Hoop and he may just of pulled it off. It’s basically Cheerleader part two in the way that it uses the same tropical house aesthetic but that’s probably exactly what he needed to do. It’s not our favourite song of the week but it’s certainly satisfied our curiosity of how he was going to avoid being a one hit wonder.
World’s End Press
Melbourne’s World’s End Press knocked it out of the park with their 2013 self-titled debut and followed it up this year with the equally brilliant but more dance-orientated Spirals. Now they have unleashed Tall Stories from a forthcoming EP moving even further in the direction of the dancefloor. Tall Stories is a thumping effort from the boys combing joyous deep house vibes with woozy vocals. It’s a damn smooth return that makes us real excited for the EP of the same name to drop 25th September.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/worlds-end-press/tall-stories-2[/soundcloud]
TĀLĀ & Sylas
London producer and vocalist TĀLĀ has teamed up with newcomers Sylas for this track Praise and they apparently came together through a mutual love of Boyz II Men. It’s a slightly bizarre connection but it actually comes through in Praise which feels like it has the gospel, R&B flavour of a Boyz II Men track albeit distorted by dense synths and scattered beats. TĀLĀ is great at taking what could be conventional songs and turning them on their head. She did it with How To Dress Well on The One and she’s done it here again.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/talaofficial/praise-featuring-sylas[/soundcloud]
We were hooked immediately by Sydney trio Noire’s Just Like Honey and now they’ve returned with something even better. Baby Blue is the new cut from them and it continues in the sonic direction of dark, lazy alt-rock. “When the lights go down and you’re beside me, Well baby do ya, love me like I do,” sings vocalist Jessica Mincher every so gently wrapping her voice around the honey-soaked guitars. It’s rare that you get a band in its infancy that can really take their time and melt into a slow tempo but these guys just do it so well. It feels like Anna Calvi met Savages and taught them how to trade intensity for sensuality. Beautiful.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/noireband/baby-blue[/soundcloud]
We gave you a banger alert on this one earlier in the week and we’re going to give you it one more time just incase you missed it. Zak Abel is a British vocalist and he’s teamed-up with Kaytranada on this one, together delivering certified pop-dance hit. Abel’s vocals are gritty and soulful and they blend so effortlessly into the crashing beat of this one. It’s kind of like a rougher, gutsier version of Disclosure and it’s sure to capture the attention of radio in the UK, at least. Hopefully here too.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/zakabel/zak-abel-say-sumthin[/soundcloud]
Clip My Wings
Montaigne rise in the past year has been nothing short of spectacular. She’s captured the attention of the triple j audience very quickly and that’s because her voice is so immediately affecting. Pair that with sweeping, grandiose tracks and you’ve got a product that you can’t help but notice straight away. Her latest Clip My Wings is just another step on her journey to stardom. It’s a huge sounding track that leaves nothing at the door. From the first second it sweeps you up with its heavy-strummed guitars and skyrocketing vocals never once dipping in energy.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/montaigne-music/clip-my-wings[/soundcloud]
It’s not easy to write and produce a song. Believe me if it were we’d be doing it and not writing about it. That’s why we should give these ten songs, the best of the week, our tender love and care. Listen to them, caress them, spend time with them. If you do that for seven days, we promise you next week we’ll bring you ten more and you can chuck the ones you hated from this week and move on. Sound good?
Melbourne’s LUCIANBLOMKAMPF only release his debut album Post-Nature this time last year and now he’s already smacking us with round two. From Afar is the first single from his forthcoming second album and it’s probably his most impressive output to date. It’s a track that just continues to flourish over its four minute duration, ending in a dense, affecting climax. He had a little chat with us following the release of the track to let us know a few things about it.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/lucianblomkamp/from-afar-2[/soundcloud]
Every so often there comes along a track like this that is just a certified banger and there’s not much else you can say about it. That’s exactly what Portland newcomer Grace Mitchell has delivered this week with Jitter. It premiered on Beats 1 Radio this week and her Raceday EP followed very soon after. The whole thing is excellent but start with this one and see how you go.
DJ Dodger Stadium
You Don’t Have To Be Alone
DJ Dodger Stadium, the collaboration between LAs Samo Sound Boy and Jerome LOL, have followed up 2014s Friend Of Mine with a brand new cut You Dont Have To Be Alone. Following the same repetitive aesthetic that made their debut so mind-bending, the pair have also drawn on sunshine-coated house vibes. Its definitely one of their lightest tunes to date and comes right on time for the end of Summer in the US.
Lights (Feat. Little Dragon)
ODESZA are gearing up to repackage 2014s excellent In Return with a few instrumentals and new tracks including this one with Little Dragon titled Light. If youre familiar with Little Dragons work on SBTRKTs Wildfire (If not, youve been napping since 2011), youd be aware that frontwoman Yukimi Nagano is a damn good dance vocalist and she proves it once again here with Light. Its a little more blissful than Wildfire – a slow-burning jam that makes way for Naganos beautiful harmonies.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/odesza/light-feat-little-dragon[/soundcloud]
Surrender (Produced By TOKiMONSTA)
Earlier this year TOKiMONSTA told us that she was working on a record with newcomer Gavin Turek. “I want this record to lift her up as an artist on her own but it will definitely have the sort of aesthetic that we have together,” she said and listening to Surrender from that record it seems like she’s nailed the brief. It doesn’t sound like TOKiMONSTA’s solo work, instead it’s a blend of electronica and more funk/disco influences that seem to come from Turek. It’s a smooth record proving that these two are an unlikely but perfect combination. It’s taken from the mini-album You’re Invited out 28th August.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/young-art-records/surrender-1[/soundcloud]
Loves The Jobs You Hate
Electro-pop duo HONNE are starting to gain some momentum and this week dropped Loves The Jobs You Hate from their forthcoming EP Over Lover out 2nd September. The track was debuted as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World on Radio 1 meaning it’s some seriously good shit and we agree. It’s got a definite Chet Faker vibe to it but they have traded the electronica for the funk giving us more Nile Rodgers than Flume. It also has one of those choruses that effortlessly takes flight and gets under your skin immediately. Keep an eye on HONNE.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/hellohonne/loves-the-jobs-you-hate[/soundcloud]
Lana Del Rey
Terrence Loves You
Lana Del Rey revealed the tracklist to her forthcoming LP Honeymoon this week due out 18th September. She was then asked by paparazzi as she was exiting an airport which song was her favourite on the album. She actually responded and said this one, Terrence Loves You. Why? “Because it’s jazzy,” she says. And she’s not wrong. It’s a beautiful, sweeping, jazz-tinged number close to the title-track than High By The Beach. LDR just keeps getting better and it’s an excellent thing to watch unravelling.
Alessia Cara has only released one original and done a cover of Bad Blood and now Drake’s Hotline Bling and we’ve already decided she’s the best thing to happen to 2015. This latest cover she did for Channel V, once again turning raps into sung verses. Her voice has these rich, soulful undertones that means she can insert personality into even the shortest of notes. This track is a perfect match for her voice and she hits it out of the park. Her EP Four Pink Walls is out next Friday, 28th August.
If youre like us youve been hanging out for Martha Brown AKA Banoffees next move following 2014s Got It and judging by her latest track With Her it was worth the wait. The song, which was co-produced by Oscar Key Sung, is taken off her forthcoming EP Do I Make You Nervous? out 2nd October. The track sees her channel some more deep-house influences melding them with R&B vibes (the tail-end of the track appropriates the lyrics of Marios Let Me Love You). Its probably the first time weve got to call a Banoffee song a banger and we couldnt be happier.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/banoffeeme/with-her-2[/soundcloud]
Habits are a Melbourne duo who have been working their way up the Aus music chain supporting the likes of Banoffee Oscar Key Sung and Black Vanilla. This track Ether is taken from their forthcoming EP Ugly Cry and it’s a twinkling yet industrial cut haunted by whispy vocals. There are pop cues in their but also a few R&B influences apparent. Best of all it sounds like not much else in the Aus music spectrum right now and that’s what interests you straight away.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/habits4ever/ether[/soundcloud]
After a few quiet weeks it feels like this week has been jam-packed with new music. We got a new FKA twigs EP, a new Lana Del Rey song and an unexpected Joanna Newsom album announce. We probably could’ve done 30 songs you need to hear this week but we know you’re busy people and so we won’t take up too much of your time. Here is a much more concise 10 songs that you must hear.
Make It Up
Lorde and Fourtet love London artist Tirzah and that means so must the world. This latest single has been floating around for a while now but it’s only officially just been dropped on British label Greco-Roman’s Soundcloud. Produced by Micachu, Make It Up is a muted pop song with mumbling bass but crystal clear vocals. It’s an understated banger but after a few plays it really starts to sink under your skin.
tirzah make it up is the track right now
— Four Tet (@FourTet) June 17, 2015
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/greco-roman/tirzah-make-it-up[/soundcloud]
Lana Del Rey
High By The Beach
It’s hard to believe this has only been out for a week. High By The Beach already feels like Lana Del Rey‘s best song to date and by the looks of it, it’s also going to be her highest charting – it’s held the number one position on the US iTunes for much of the week. The video revealed today is everything you’d imagine it should be. It’s melancholic, dramatic and hyperbolic. You don’t really see her getting high by the beach but she is by the beach and she shoots down a helicopter with one hell of a gun so we’ll take that as good enough.
Never Ending Circles
Glasgow trio CHVRCHES are well and truly back into the swing of things. They have announced their second album Every Open Eye, given us the first single Leave A Trace and now we have the second taster Never Ending Circles. With it’s sprawling synths and thudding bass, the track is probably a little more accessible than Leave A Trace. That’s not to say they give us a huge chorus here. Like many a CHVRCHES songs they cruise into the chorus and use the instrumentation to really swell the emotion and build climaxes – not pop hook.
Willing & Able (Feat. Kwabs)
After spending so long without Disclosure it feels like the new tracks are starting to flood in. Willing & Able featuring British soul singer Kwabs is the fifth track we’ve heard from Caracal and quite honestly, it’s probably the best. Kwabs’ voice is perfect for Disclosure’s deep house soundscapes and he brings the soul with a little more depth than Sam Smith does on previous single Omen. There are still plenty of feature to look forward too though with The Weeknd, Lorde and Miguel all set to appear on the album.
Reece is an 18 year-old singer from Virginia who struck us earlier this week with this brilliant track Don’t Go. With so much stuff flooding Soundclpoud everyday, it’s often hard to stop upon something for more than a few seconds but Don’t Go is a song that immediately demands your attention. It’s the falsetto that hits you first and then those weighty beats that he sits back in so beautifully. Then by the time the chorus hits you’re already searching for more information about him. It’s an exceptional mid-tempo banger and given his young age, he’ll probably deliver plenty more of these in his time.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/officialreece/dont-go-prod-jumpa[/soundcloud]
When you’ve woken up for the past month hoping to see a new Frank Ocean album it’s good to wake up and see something that’s equally exciting. FKA twigs‘ new EP M3LL155X is exactly that. Both because it’s new twigs and because it’s utterly arresting. In Time is the highlight of the five-song set. It’s a distorted, twisted track that manages to weave in both pop and R&B melodies making us think we’ve got a grasp on it before taking us on another detour. Her voice sounds fragile and the lyrics have this beautiful dark optimism to them – if there’s such thing.
Melbourne duo Slum Sociable make it two-from-two with the release of their latest track All Night. Anyway released earlier this year is still one of the better Aussie tracks this year and now they’ve delivered another surefire winner. It’s a bluesy hip-hop flavoured track with a hook that grabs you in the first second of the song. The production feels polished yet organic and the samples are old school without sounding gimmicky. We just have so much hope for these guys now – a big one to watch for the rest of the year.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/slumsociable/all-night[/soundcloud]
It’s stuff like this that makes us tick. Mallrat is a sixteen year-old rapper/singer/ridiculously talented citizen of Brisbane and Suicide Blonde is her debut. It was produced by Adelaide’s Tigerilla and sits somewhere between US rapper Kitty and Australia’s very own Allday. She manages to carefully tread a line between hip-hop and pop, serving up some thumping bass – the type that Robyn makes sure all her tracks don’t go without. It’s quite frankly ridiculous to think how young she is but so exciting to think of future possibilities. Also, sorry we’re late on this one – not exactly sure how this gem passed us by.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/lilmallrat/suicide-blonde-prod-tigerilla-1[/soundcloud]
Ginger & Drum
Sydney duo Ginger & Drum really caught our attention with the shimmering electro-pop song Ticking Boxes and they have us pricking our ears up once again for their latest Habits. They have this knack of easing you in slowly with the verse and then hitting you with a chorus that makes your heart bleed. The melodic undertones on the chorus of Habits are just ridiculously delicious and that’s not even mentioning the vocal which also gets us right here <3. They’re playing a few free shows in the next few weeks that if you have half a brain you’ll be at before someone plucks them out of this country and spits them overseas. Head to their Facebook for deets.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/gingeranddrum/habit-2[/soundcloud]
It’s been five years since Joanna Newsom‘s triple-disc masterpiece Have One On Me but you can’t blame her for taking a little while with the follow-up because greatness simply doesn’t happen overnight. Sapokanikan is the first taste of the forthcoming Divers (out 23rd October) and it’s a delightfully perky number with a marching-band tempo that reminds us a little of Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel. That is, of course, a great thing and we find ourselves smitten once again by Newsom’s grace and delicate expertise.
This week everyone was talking about Lenny Kravitz and Jarred Leto’s penis’. Yep, it’s been a really (sh)long week and we’ve tried to keep ourselves concentrated the only way we know how – by dissecting and gathering the tunes. Turns out once we did that we realised there was actually a lot more going on this week than dick talk.
Autre Ne Veut
World War Pt.2
Arthur Ashin aka. Autre Ne Veut is gearing up to release the follow-up to his 2013 record Anxiety. The LP is set to be called Age Of Transparency and he’s preceding it with the first single World War Pt. 2. The track is accompanied by a definitely NSFW video that features some pretty confronting scenes. The track itself is a brilliant, expanding electronic-cross-R&B cut not straying too far from what we heard on Anxiety.
We’ve waited four years for the follow-up of Jamie Woon‘s debut album Mirrorwriting but it seems it’s finally on the way. This week we got the first track from Woon in a long, long while titled Sharpness. It’s an effortlessly funky track that sits somewhere between D’Angelo and Miguel. Woon’s voice is undeniable. So much so that even an acapella of this would be compelling.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/woon/sharpness[/soundcloud]
‘Cause I’m A Man (Tame Impala Cover)
HAIM know exactly how to keep us in love with them. When they’re not posting pictures with everybody’s best friend Taylor Swift they’re covering one of the best tracks of the year and nailing it. The latters comment refers to this cover of Tame Impala‘s ‘Cause I’m A Man which in the hands of HAIM is transformed into a sensual, distorted track. There’s something really sassy about hearing a girl sing Kevin Parker’s already sarcastic lyrics and in many ways it actually works better than the original.
FKA twigs is gearing up to release an EP after a year of non-stop touring because she apparently doesn’t know how to rest and stop being consistently brilliant. Figure 8 is taken from said EP and it’s a far darker cut than anything that appeared on LP1. It’s inspired by learning to vogue in New York and as such is has an effortless fluidity to it but is also twisted and experimental. Everytime you think twigs has reached her limit she expands her capabilities once again. Truly a once in a lifetime artist.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/alex-ia-5/fka-twigs-figure-8-zane-lowe-beats1-premiere-interview[/soundcloud]
Take It All Back
Melbourne-based artist Becky Freeman who goes under the moniker of Sui Zhen is gearing up to release her debut album Secretly Susan. Take It All Back is the second single from that record and it’s a pristine electro-pop track channelling the sonic stylings of Grimes. The track is accompanied by a wonderfully kitsch video that features the album’s namesake Susan – a blonde wig-wearing, disconnected character who, according to Zhen, is “someones digital doppelganger.”
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sui-zhen/sui-zhen-take-it-all-back[/soundcloud]
KH – BACK2THESTART
“Made this on a plane end of last year… not sure what I was thinking or why it exists,” Four Tet tweeted as he released this track. KH – BACK2THESTART is not your usual Four Tet track so his confusion makes sense. It actually samples Cheryl Cole’s Fight For This Love, pitching-down her verses and accompanying it with a woozy dance beat. For something that was made on a plane, it’s pretty hard to fault.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/four-tet/kh-back2thestart[/soundcloud]
Chance The Rapper & Lil B
The Based God himself Lil B and Chance The Rapper have teamed-up for a freestyle mixtape and it’s plain and simple one of the best hip-hop projects of the year. The whole of Free Based Freestyles needs to be heard but if we had to choose one track it would have to be the opener Last Dance. After his work with The Social Experiment it’s so good to hear Chance rapping straight, particularly when it’s over a delectable vocal sample.
A Knife In The Ocean
A Knife In The Ocean is the third track to be released from Foals‘ upcoming fourth album What Went Down. It’s a cold, desolate sounding track that starts as one of the more sparse songs they’ve released so far and ends as one of the more epic. At nearly seven minutes, it’s a test of endurance, made easy by the fact that it just gets bigger and bigger. Foals have really developed as a band and these tracks just keep showing it.
Olivia McCarthy aka. JOY. is probably one of the finest songstresses Australia has to offer and her ethereal new single About Us proves that again. It’s a breathy jam that flicks between R&B and atmospheric electronica. Her crisp voice elongates itself throughout the whole thing, never sounding stressed and always sounding effortless. “You know that I was too good for you,” she sings at one point. Slay girls. Slay. It’s taken from a new EP called Ode which will be out 28th August.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/joy-aus/about-us-1[/soundcloud]
We’re right in the thick of winter right now here in Aus so it’s good to hear someone who has been unaffected by the cold. Bamboo is the second single to come from homegrown producer Paces‘ Hold It Down EP and it’s a sunshine-soaked, perky track. The title track of the EP featured Reija Lee but this one is a strictly instrumental affair. There’s plenty of melodic vocal samples in there though to keep it bouncing along. It’s refreshing to hear something like this at this time of year. Good vibes all round.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/pacesmusic/bamboo-2[/soundcloud]
Post-Splendour comedown has been hard. Real hard. Everyone’s immune systems are shot and you’re probably still finding mud in places you didn’t know existed. Luckily we’ve gathered together 10 songs from the week that are mud-free and only contagious in the way that they’ll get stuck in your head. Not in the flu way. Ew.
Meg Mac packed out her tent at Splendour In The Grass and she’s capitalised on that momentum by dropping her new track Never Be. Never Be was produced by M-Phazes and is the most up-beat, attitude-filled track she’s delivered to date. Those smokey vocals work magic over a full-bodied, throwback beat and the repetition at the backend of the chorus is so addictive.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/megmacmusic/meg-mac-never-be-1[/soundcloud]
Omen (Featuring Sam Smith)
After weeks of teasing their new collaboration with Sam Smith, Disclosure finally dropped it and it was worth the wait. It’s definitely more of a slow-grower than Latch but the pair of them working together are always going to make gold. This one is all about those layered, church-inspired vocals that bring the chorus into holy territory.
We weren’t privvy to the information that Canada’s PARTYNEXTDOOR was having relations with R&B princess Kehlani but this song suggests that it’s definitely on. Funnily enough the aptly titled Kehlani’s Freestyle sounds like it could’ve easily fit on Kehlani’s record You Should Be Here. The OVO singer is also channelling some serious Drake vibes on this one with that monotonal but somehow alluring vocal.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/partyomo/partynextdoor-kehlanis-freestyle[/soundcloud]
Tink dropped a mixtape Winter’s Diary 3 this week and it’s full of great tunes but this Timbaland-produced one is a sure-fire winner. Tink fires-off over an uminstakeably Timbaland beat. The best thing about how Tink works with Timbaland is that she genuinely makes him better rather than just moulding to his sound. She flicks between singing and rapping better than anyone in the game and continues to prove that she’s got a better feel for melody than most rapper out there at the moment. Below is the full mixtape to listen and download. Win.
Lianne La Havas
Green & Gold
Lianne La Havas finally dropped her sophomore album Blood today and it’s a gorgeous set of boundary-pushing soul tunes. The second track on the record Green & Gold is one of the highlights. She caresses a late-night instrumental with her crisp, profound voice and works the verses up to a chorus that ever so subtly takes you over. La Havas’ greatest strength has always been subtlety and as such this one could float by without you knowing, but give it one spin with your full attention and you’ll be enchanted immediately.
We’ve been waiting a little while for new material from US R&B duo Abhi//Dijon and now in the space of a week we’ve been gifted two songs. Jon B is actually a career highlight for them drawing upon strong Channel ORANGE vibes. It plods along with a beat that Janet Jackson would’ve very happily plucked from them and they take their time working it into a total R&B jam. This is bedroom music.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/abhidijon/jon-b[/soundcloud]
1998 (Feat. BANKS)
Basically someone decided that there was more money to be made off Chet Faker‘s 1998 and so they got the closest sounding female artist and popped her on it and put it back on sale. That’s how BANKS ended up here and whatever the motive is we don’t really care because she really brings a severe darkness to it.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/chet-faker/1998-feat-banks[/soundcloud]
Heir To The Throne (Freestyle)
In the Soundcloud description Vic Mensa has described this freestyle as “2001 shit,” and he’s right. This is 2001 shit. This is Mensa rapping at his finest, going for the rap throne like he’s battling against Nas and Jay Z. In the freestyle he addresses the people who think his success has come from his affiliation with Kanye West rapping, “I made u mad before I met dude-ass.” No disrespect to Kanye, he clears up.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/vicsavemoney/heir-to-the-throne-freestyle[/soundcloud]
when it does its exactly what you wanted. Wave Racers newie Flash Drive is exactly what we wanted. Its a glitchy, crystalline track that feels like its spewing colourful glitter. Its taken from an EP of the same name which will feature three more tracks and drop on 16th October via Future Classic. You can pre-order it here.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/wave-racer/wave-racer-flash-drive-feat-bby-1[/soundcloud]
There are two reasons you could be reading this. One because you’re not at Splendour In The Grass and the internet is the only interesting thing you’ve got going for you this weekend (sorry, love you all, but how ’bout dat FOMO?). The second reason is you’ve somehow found internet at Splendour In The Grass and you’re so addicted to tunes that the live music is just not enough, you need more new music. We get it. Don’t fret, here’s more music for you to devour.
Mountain At My Gate
UK outfit Foals premiered their new single, Mountain At My Gates on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 this week. This is the second single Foals have released from their forthcoming album, What Went Down, after releasing the highly-anticipated title track and clip last month. Mountain At My Gates is a more uplifting pop affair than its aggressive predecessor, What Went Down, turning into an all-out rock affair once the outro makes it appearance. The 10-track album is said, according to a press release, to be a “primal, intense, sometimes harrowing album of extremes” verging “upon the depths of madness whilst also exhibiting some of the most beautiful pop songs the band have ever written.”
When I Rule The World
Mad Decent’s pop princess Liz has always been a lover of all things kitsch and nostalgic so it’s no wonder that her and SOPHIE ended up with each other eventually, musically that is. When I Rule The World is their sugar-crazed collaboration which combines bubblegum beats with rushing soda-stream synths. Liz sounds completely in her element here, poised to give PC Music’s pop princess Hannah Diamond a run for her money.
Moving Mountains (Feat. Brendan Reilly)
Disclosure have been teasing a collaboration with Sam Smith called Omen for weeks now and what do they do? When anticipation is at its peak, they go and drop and completely different song Moving Mountains. Once the feeling of being let down subsides this track will win you over. It features the soulful vocals of US singer Brendan Reilly. It’s a classic Disclosure track with deep house vibes complimented by honey-soaked vocals in the same vein as much of their debut Settle. Caracal is the record it’s taken from and that is out at the end of September.
Now, that Sam Smith track next?
Listen to Moving Mountains here at the 1 hour and 30 minute mark.
Vic Mensa & Skrillex
A few weeks ago a clip surfaced of Vic Mensa performing this track No Chill, produced by Skrillex. It sounded huge just from the low-quality recording but now the studio version is here and we can confirm it’s MASSIVE. Driven by violent horns, it sees Skrillex enter Mensa’s world rather than the other way round. It sounds as if Mensa’s U Mad was a 10 and on this one he’s turned it up a notch to 11. Granted, Skrillex is very hit and miss but this is a bullseye if ever we’ve heard one (and we’ve heard a few in our time).
Major Lazer & MØ
Lean On (Frank Ocean Cover)
Just when everybody is on edge about a new Frank Ocean album, which we still don’t have, Major Lazer go and put Franky into the headlines for different reasons by covering Lost. It’s a great cover, very much in the lane of Lean On, but for goodness sakes Diplo and co do not stop our hearts with any new music from Frank Ocean unless it’s actually by Frank Ocean. Ps. MØ is in the country right now! That’s fun, isn’t it?
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/majorlazer/major-lazer-lost-feat-mo-frank-ocean-cover[/soundcloud]
Look Over Your Shoulder
If you haven’t heard of London electro-soul singer Kwabs yet, nows the time to get your head around him. He has this deep, wise voice that simultaneously melts your heart and makes you groove. Look Over Your Shoulder was produced by SOHN and is a dense, affecting track with a melody that really sticks the boot in. This is one of SOHN’s greatest works let alone Kwabs who’s absolutely nailed the vocal on this.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sohn/kwabs-look-over-your-shoulder-produced-by-sohn-1[/soundcloud]
Codeine Crazy (Icarus Story)
Vic Mensa is a fire rapper but he’s also got a pretty great crooning voice. We heard it on Kanye West’s Wolves and it returns here for a cover of Future’s Codeine Crazy. This is Mensa in full on Miguel-mode. He howls over a hip-hop-meets-rock beat and just continues to get more and more intense. If he find a way to effortlessly meld this with his rapping on an original he’s going to be one of the greatest rapper of our time. Yep, we said it.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/vicsavemoney/codeine-crazy[/soundcloud]
East Londonder Alxndr London is your newest electro-pop addiction. His latest track DATE X is a soulful, tribal-fused track that showcases his voice in all its seducing-glory. With The Weeknd’s Can’t Feel My Face finding favour with everybody that has at least one ear, it’s obvious the world is craving more of this stuff and London could be just the man to deliver it.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/mxiiixm/datex[/soundcloud]
Said That You Wanted
Melbourne’s Queen Magic will hit the Red Bull Music Academy Stage at Splendour In The Grass this weekend and he’s coming armed with a new track Said That You Wanted. Australia isn’t exactly the most obvious breeding ground for late night R&B jams but Said That You Wanted is exactly that. It’s a soulful and smooth track reminiscent of How To Dress Well. His falsetto is on-point and that snare is doing things to us.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/queenmagic/said-that-you-wanted[/soundcloud]
It’s been a little while since Empress Of returned to the alt-pop scene with Realize You but she’s finally given us a new single in the form of Kitty Kat. Kitty Kat goes bigger than Realize You, powering through with sprawling synth-work and a confident vocal. She shifts between being delicately purring and powerfully roaring as she builds each verse to a stunning climax of a chorus.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/empressof/kittykat[/soundcloud]
Our internet has been down for the whole day so we contemplated sending this out via carrier pigeon but we don’t own a pad and paper anymore (#GENY) and Lana Del Rey wouldn’t give us the rights to send her song via a disease-ridden bird. Luckily the internet came back, our blood pressure can return to normal.
Leave A Trace
In just one album CHVRCHES have generated enough hype to make people want to leak details of their follow-up, which means that people really, really care. And by the sounds of the first single Leave A Trace people should care. Once again it centres around frontwoman Lauren Mayberry’s delicate yet cutting vocals that are at their peak here. It’s another bitter tale of heartbreak but nobody really does it quite as well as CHVRCHES so just keep em’ coming.
Ojuelegba (Feat. Drake and Skepta)
This is not your regular Drake remix. In fact, on paper it’s bizarre. Ojuelegba was a massive hit for Wizkid in his home country of Nigeria but now Drake and Skepta have westernised it with a verse each. It doesn’t deliver up much of a hip-hop beat but the pair make it work effortlessly. This friendship between Skeppy and Drizzy just continues to develop and we’re very much in favour of it.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/skepta/ojuelegba-remix-ft-drake-skepta[/soundcloud]
Walk With Me (Feat. KUČKA)
There’s basically nothing that could go wrong when you put together two of Australia’s finest producers Cosmo’s Midnight and Australia’s most unique vocalist KUČKA. Walk With Me is a wonderfully perky number that sees the trio channel their inner AlunaGeorge. I imagine it will go down even better come summer festival time as its airy disposition is tailer-made for the sunshine.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/cosmosmidnight/cosmos-midnight-walk-with-me-feat-kucka[/soundcloud]
Lana Del Rey
LDR is back and she’s singing about bad boys once again. This time it’s a man with “a history of violence,” and while it’s surely not possible for the singer to attract this many men with a sketchy past, she’s so damn convincing as a narrator. Honeymoon is a string-driven affair with that’s as grandiose as anything she’s done. Her vocals and smokey and waft higher and higher with a certain Hollywood glamour to them. Bad news for the haters, you’re probably not going to change your mind with this one.
Didn’t Mind (Produced By Feki)
Aussie hip-hop is in such a good place right now thanks to the likes of Allday, Remi, Tkay Maidza and Baro. Now we can add another name to that crew – Gill Bates. It’s probably one of the most accessible Aussie hip-hop/R&B tracks we’ve heard in a very long time and that’s thanks to that brilliant hook crafted by Gates and producer Feki. It may be only his second official single but it sounds just as polished as anything riding up the pop charts today.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/gillbates/didnt-mind-prod-feki[/soundcloud]
She’s becoming a bit of a veteran now M.I.A but luckily she’s got no less interesting as she’s matured. Swords is taken from her fifth album Matahdatah which, in typical M.I.A style, could be out tomorrow or could arrive in 2019. The important thing right now is that we have this track and it’s a catastrophic mess – the only way we like our M.I.A. She’s the queen on organised anarchy and yes, this song features actual swords alongside tribal beats and brash raps. The track was featured in her visual project Matahdatah Scroll 01 “Broader Than A Border,” featured below.
Know Me Better
Mabel is the daughter of Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McAvy but don’t for a minute think that that’s all she’s got going for her. Know Me Better is a confident, personality-filled debut single. It’s sensual and yet brims with energy. “Now there’s nothing here between us,” she sings, shattering a relationship but seemingly gaining her own personal muscle to walk away better.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/mmmmmmabel/mabel-know-me-better-1[/soundcloud]
Trevor Powers aka Youth Lagoon caught everyone’s attention with his magical debut Year Of Hibernation and then backed it up with an equally whimsical sophomore effort Wondrous Bughouse. The Knower, taken from his forthcoming LP Savage Hills Ballroom, is no less fairytale-like but there’s a little more clarity to his vocals and the instrumental is more immediate. For the first time he really gives us a face. Rather than hiding behind the music, he drives it.
Leisure Suite are an electro-pop duo from Melbourne and Sweet Gin is the first track following their beautiful self-titled EP. Sweet Gin is an after-dark track with strong seductive vibes. There’s a certain jazz quality to the vocals like Ella Fitzgerald picked up a synth and started listening to Ashanti. On a cold day like this it’s just the warm hug we needed.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/leisure-suite-aus/sweet-gin[/soundcloud]
The Less I Know The Better
Choosing just one track from the new Tame Impala record is a little like choosing your favourite kid. For now, The Less I Know The Better is our favourite. But by the time I’ve finished writing this we probably will move onto something else. The Less I Know The Better is the track that best combines the murky haze of Lonerism with the new-found pop-melodies of Currents. Everything from the funky guitar riff to Parker’s impeccable falsetto is perfect and it melts our hearts everytime.
This week, Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick broke up confirming that real love doesn’t exist. In light of that, we’ve tried to eradicate all love songs from this week’s 10 songs. There are a few that are late to the news and have gone ahead and released a love song this week so we’ve forgiven them but this is the last week. Love is dead. RIP.
When you cover Tay Tay and then Tay Tay tweets that she loves it, you’re basically one below God (God being Tay Tay). Alessia Cara who might have caught your ears earlier this year with the excellent Here, took on the track, Kendrick Lamar-verses and all with a soulful, nuanced rendition. The tone in Cara’s voice is remarkable and this performance really solidifies her as one of the most important new artists this year.
Say My Name (Feat. Benjamin Joseph)
Well this is a bit of a curve-ball from the Aussie duo. Say My Name is not the dancefloor winner you were imagining but instead it’s a rock-inspired cruncher that’s more Black Keys than Calvin Harris. In a weird way the boys manage to make it a banger that will no doubt light up the Splendour stage when they drop it in a fortnight. It may take a little time for everyone to come around but it looks like they have another hit on their hands.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/pekingduk/saymyname[/soundcloud]
Rodney (Feat. Erick Arc Elliot)
We frothed over Espa.’s debut Pray For Me and now she’s gone and done it again with the follow-up Rodney. This introduces us to a much more sensual side of the singer complete with sex sounds and steaming vocals. On top of that there’s a rap planted firmly in the bedroom. It’s daring but it’s damn sexy.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/espamusic/espa-rodney-feat-erick-arc-elliott[/soundcloud]
HANA was introduced to many as Grimes’ mate on her debut track Clay, but know she’s got two brilliant tracks out there I think she’s earned the right to be known for more than just that. Avalanche, the second track, is a twisted pop song that drips with icy beats and a melancholic melody. It’s more delicate and personal than Clay and shows she’s carving out a nice musical identity.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/hanamusic-1/avalanche[/soundcloud]
Crystal Clear Ice
Whatever your opinion on Yung Lean, it’s hard not to be swayed by the watery opulence of Crystal Clear Ice. The song is drunk and/or high but it channels that moment when everything is beautiful before it all inevitably goes wrong. It’s not going to appeal to the masses but it’s actually Yung Lean’s most accessible song yet.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/adultswimsingles/yung-lean[/soundcloud]
If you’ve ever seen a Caribou show you’ll know that the song’s take on a much bassier, club aesthetic than they do on record. Dan Snaith’s side project Daphni captures that feeling on tape. Vikram is pure beat candy. The basis of the track is a throbbing instrumental that barely uses synth-work to create a melody. It sounds like the kind of track that would be used to extend a Caribou song and send it into the stratosphere live but as a standalone it’s also intricately interesting.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/caribouband/daphni-vikram[/soundcloud]
My Love (Feat. Drake)
You may best remember Majid Jordan as the Canadian duo that featured on Drake‘s Hold On, We’re Going Home. They have been silent for a little while but they have finally returned with My Love featuring none other than fellow Canadian Drake. It’s a down-trodden, muted dance track that sees Drake sing rather than rap alongside Majid Jordan’s caramel vocals.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/majidjordan/mylove[/soundcloud]
Once you get over the brilliant video clip for this you’ll start really falling in love with this track. Choreography is by New York newcomer Gilligan Moss and it’s a crystalline, happy-go-lucky track that effortlessly sets its self apart from anything electronic around at the moment. It feels frantic and confused like the inner-workings of a teenage mind but somehow it amounts to something captivating and actually really accessible.
One And Only
Perth producer Sable has gone 100 percent with the PC Music vibes on his latest One And Only. it’s a sweet, hyperhuman love song full of delicious ear candy. Stylistically, it’s probably the biggest risk Sable has taken but it pays of completely. It’s hard to use the chipmunk vocal without sounding like a gimmick – here, it actually sounds heartwarming.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sablemusic/one-and-only[/soundcloud]
Years & Years
Years & Years are about to bag their second number one in the UK with Shine and they have just dropped their debut LP Communion which will most likely scale the same heights. Gold is Communion’s golden moment, if you like. It’s a throbbing, gospel-tinted pop song full of impossibly delicious melodies. Vocalist Olly Alexander is a phenomenal popstar with the goods to make your heart melt every time he completes a vocal run.