Black Vanilla have got the ‘Smacks’ on new track


SMACKSBlack Vanilla is a Sydney-based supergroup of sorts. It’s made up of Marcus Whale (Collarbones), Lavurn Lee (Guerre) and Jarred Beeler (Mareseilles) and separately they’ve released some pretty spectacular material. As a trio, however, they offer up something very different- RnB/Hip-Hop flavoured tunes that are arguably more straight-forward than any of their solo material. Case in point, their new track, Smacks. Smacks really have one intention- to make people dance- and it does so effortlessly. Beginning with what could be confused as a banjo it enters territory of deep, throbbing bass with a voice saying “are you willing to give in”. It harks back to the days of Beastie Boys and Basement Jaxx and is a fresh take on the 90s nostalgia genre.




5 New Badass Female Artists You Need To Hear


Urban dictionary defines a badass as an “ultra-cool mother-fucker”. In your pursuit to become such there are a number of different things you have to work on- your look, your sound, your presence and your possessions. Each of the female artists below embody one or more of these things. Some have a look that makes you want to be them while others have a slamming sound that kicks you right where it hurts. Either way, the five ladies mentioned below are about to make a serious indent on your ears.


There are new female RnB artists popping up every second day, but it’s hard to come across one that has the goods to stick around. Tinashe, Kelela and SZA have already proved they have the goods and it looks like Molia (aka. Brittney Schwenke) is set to join them. There’s very little we know of her right now apart from that she’s from the Bay Area of California and is releasing RnBass music which is a sub-genre of RnB which apparently means it has an 808 thump to it.

The track that has pricked our ears is Too Late which has Molia rejecting a boy who wants her back. “You better strap on tight, I’m coming full force at you” she sings over a bass-heavy beat that hits right where it hurts. There’s a slew of other smooth tracks on her Soundcloud but Too Late is the most tightly produced.



There’s nothing more badass than a hard-hitting pop song, just ask Kelly Clarkson. Ok, maybe Swedish pop singer Sve is in a slightly different league but Since U Been Gone was pretty badass. Experts on all things pop, Popjustice, have already called her “an alarmingly talented songwriter who we fully expect to have a hand in at least one US number one single within the next three years”. We tend to agree should she continue to release songs like Riot.

Riot is a warm track with a groovy guitar-line bubbling underneath. If you’re someone who indulges in a bit of pop every so often, you’ll no doubt love a good war reference and this song has them aplenty. In the chorus Sve howls “Let’s start a war” which is a line begging to be screamed back at her by 20-30,000 people. At this point, every popstar should just be outsourced to Sweden.



22 year-old singer, Oyinda, is about to open Lollapalooza 2014. In her bio on the Lollapalooza site they write about the way “she scans the crowd with a seductive stare”. We haven’t seen her live yet but it’s easy to imagine the intensity of such an action when accompanied with her dark, brooding voice. Her ‘likes’ on Soundcloud include Jessie Ware, Jhene Aiko and Jeremih which conveniently also describes her sound. She pulls on Ware’s subtle pop, sensibilities but also has an RnB grit like Aiko or Jeremih.

Her latest track, Rush Of You, is a beautiful piano-driven number that’s as melodic as it is intricate. Instead of firing into a huge chorus, Oyinda gentle coos “rush of you” while an electric guitar howls quietly in the background.



Forgive us for cheating, there is a female/male duo but singer, Randa Leigh is one of the sassiest vocalist we’ve heard in a while. Leight is joined by producer Brian Vincent who lays down atmospheric yet scattered soundscapes underneath subtle yet intentful vocals. Their covers of Lykke Li’s Little Bit and Aaliyah’s Are You That Somebody introduced them as a melodic, down-beat treat but it’s their original material that is really impressive.

Their latest track, She Wants, sees Leigh at her confident best. “He might be looking at her, but he’s thinking of me” she sings over a seductive instrumental. Her status as a badass is further solidified when she borrows a line from the ultimate badgal, Rihanna, singing “I say ooh nah nah ooh nah nah what’s my name?” The most pleasing thing about She Wants is that Leigh sounds sexy without being crass or forceful.



A 20 year-old making 60s jazz-infused soul is just about the baddest you can get really. So bad that she’s already worked with Snoop Dogg and Tyler The Creator and was even staying at Tyler The Creator’s place when The Fader interviewed her for a GEN F profile. Just type Uchis’ name into YouTube and you’ll be further by the singer’s auror of cool. She smokes cigars, rides in cars with boys and aims guns, all backed by a smoky, brooding style of jazz.

Her latest cut, Real, is unexpectedly sassy. A groovy, funk runs underneath her stinging tongue as she sings “You got the game fucked up”. The instrumental rarely climaxes but her vocal that sits somewhere between Amy Winehouse and SZA is enough to get you hooked. It automatically evokes images of cruising around California with euphemistic images shit going down. Kali Uchis is the girl most likely to shoot you down.



Hear a heartbreak on JJ’s new track ‘dean & me’

jj - dean & me

Swedish duo JJ have released dean & me, the second track from their forthcoming album V. It follows the RnB flavoured All White Everything and sees them appropriate Miley Cyrus‘ line “it’s my party and I cry if I want to it’s my party I get high if I want to”. Apart from that, it’s got zero similarities to We Can’t Stop. Like most JJ songs it’s heartbreakingly tender but it also has a rather stark backbeat that kicks up the tempo. The album, V, will be out 19 August.



Hear Chance The Rapper re-work the Arthur theme song into ‘Wonderful Everyday: Arthur’

"Chance The Rapper"’s avatar

Chance The Rapper has been performing the theme song of Arthur live for a while now but today he’s set free a recorded version titled Wonderful Everyday: Arthur. He’s pulled in a couple of high profile guests to help him too with Jessie Ware and Wyclef Jean among the extra vocalists. As such, the gospel-flavoured take on the track has a loved-up communal feeling. It’s hard to believe that a re-work of a TV Show theme song would be as affecting as this but it’s delivered with so much heart it’s hard not to get swept up in it. What’s next? Sponge Bob Squarepants?



Hear Shy Girls’ ‘All For Show’ produced by Jono Ma from Jagwar Ma

Shy Girls- All for Show (produced by Jono Ma)

Aussie band Jagwar Ma‘s debut, Howlin’, last year may have not exactly screamed RnB but Jono Ma does a valiant job at producing this future RnB gem by Shy Girls. Hailing from Portland, Shy Girls is producer and vocalist, Dan Vidmar. This track, All For Show, was premiered by Red Bull Sound Select and it’s bass-driven yet smooth cut. Vidmar’s voice is smooth and layered seeing him sit somewhere between MNEK and inc. If his voice sounds familiar it’s probably because you heard it on Cyril Hahn’s Perfect Form last year.



Hear FKA Twigs’ ‘Pendulum’, her favourite song from her album

FKA Twigs has dropped the second taste, Pendulum, from her debut album, LP1. Premiered by Zane Lowe, Twigs describes it as one of her favourite tracks off the album and it’s easy to see why. As the title suggests it’s a gently undulating track pushed by sporadic beats and vocal coos. She has a knack for finding melody in the most innovative of spaces. Can we just leave the best album of the year slot open for this London singer now? We’ll get to see if the album is as good as presumed when it’s released on 8 August.


Azealia Banks returns with ‘Heavy Metal and Reflective’, her first track since splitting with Universal

Heavy Metal And Reflective - Azealia Banks

It may surprise you but people are still talking about Azealia Banks. Maybe it’s because 212 still plays at least twice every night or maybe it’s because she still continues to generate headlines with her erratic behaviour. The latest thing to grab the media’s attention was her split with record label Universal after she asked them to drop her via twitter. Heavy Metal and Reflective has just dropped and it’s an industrial and bold track which is actually one of her better tracks. Her voice is slightly reserved yet you can tell that she just wants to unleash The fact she doesn’t shows that she may have learnt something. Less is always more.



Swedish/Australian duo Kate Boy unleash ‘Self Control’

Self Control

Stockholm-based trip, Kate Boy (whose lead-singer Kate Akhurst is Australian) released the bombastic, Northern Lights in the middle of last year and then virtually left us for an entire year. It was cruel but we’ll forgive them because today they have dropped Self Control from their forthcoming debut album. It’s a bass-driven pop track with a funky chorus that harks back to Janet Jackson‘s Nasty days. Swedish pop never fails to disappoint and with Australia a musical cultivation ground at the moment, it make total sense that this trio would be churning out such gold.



Take a candy-filled trip with SOPHIE’s ‘Lemonade’


Enigmatic British producer, SOPHIE, has released a new track, Lemonade and it’s total ear candy. Following last year’s brilliant, Bipp, Lemonade come from a 7″ single that also includes another new track, Hard. Like her past endeavours, the track is a mind-bending, genre-warping musical expedition. It bubbles and cascades with crystalline clarity before escalating into a pop hook. It’s sugary sweet, weird as shit and likely to take you a little time to come around to. Give SOPHIE that time and she/he will reward in droves.



10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week


For those of you not at Splendour in the Grass this weekend, here’s a playlist of the best songs of the week so you can sit in an isolated room and contemplate your decision-making processes. For those of you who are, let this be your soundtrack to hungover breakfasts, late-night boogies and long, sun-drenched car trips.

Listen to our Soundcloud playlist over here.

SBTRKT- New Dorp. New York

“It’s a funny sort of song” says SBTRKT and he’s exactly right. Unlike the formulaic Temporary View, the first single from SBTRKT’s forthcoming album is as unconventional as they come. New York ambassador Ezra Koenig joins the producer for the most inconic tribute to NYC since Jay’s Empire State of Mind. A female vocal runs underneath Ezra’s reminding us that this is British house music after all. Meanwhile SBTRKT lays down steel drums and pulsating drums to create a weird yet groundbreaking track.


BANKS- Beggin For The Thread

It’s becoming very clear now that BANKS’ debut album is not going to be sunshine and rainbows. Begin For Thread is another angsty track from the London songstress yet it ups hate tempo from her previous outputs. It’s the most immediately likeable thing she’s done yet while she retains that brooding darkness that has captivated us from the very beginning. Basically we’d like to thank the guy who fucked over BANKS because he’s made way for one hell of a record.


Shura- Just Once

Shura’s Touch is still one of the most quietly brilliant songs of the year and her follow-up track does not let down. Shura floats through mellow synths and claps, singing “we can get lost”. We accept your invitation, Shura and are currently floating right there with you.

Grand Pavillion- Weightless

Brisbane steps up once again, producing budding singer/producer Grand Pavillion. Weightless is from his EP Secrets and is doing some seriously great things to our ears. It’s a sparse, twinkling tune lifted by layered vocals. For a new artist it’s a masterfully textured and dynamic affair that should make sure his EP gets heard by more than just a few listeners.

Jessie Ware- Share It All

Share It All is the second track to be lifted off Jessie’s forthcoming album, Tough Love. It’s another Julio Bashmore production and is also co-written by Romy of the xx, so basically it’s a dream-team. The mellow number sees Ware croon through beats reminiscent of the xx. It may not be as immediate as Tough Love, but Ware’s Sade-esque vocals never fail to impressive.


Chrome Sparks- Losing You

Chrome Sparks is in Australia right now and in celebration he’s dropped a new track, Losing You. Not to be mistaken for the Solange classic, Losing You is a deep brooding track with a soulful vocal sample. Given his midday Splendour set time this one may be the most appropriate for his set. It sounds as if it’s been injected with sunshine in preparation for a morning warm-up. Loosen those vocal chords.


Rustie- Attack (Feat. Danny Brown)

When a Rustie song plays, you know that shits about to get real. From his forthcoming album, Green Language, Attack is the very definition of shit getting real. Rustie sounds the sirens and drops the beat while Danny Brown goes completely bonkers.


Hudson Mohawke- Chimes

Talking about shit getting real, let’s move onto the new track by one half of TNGHT, Hudson Mohawke. Chimes is a mongrel of a track built around huge brass-filled drops and shattering bass. It immediately demands your full attention and you should definitely not be embarrassed if when it comes on you yell “oh, yeah this is my tune”. It’s all part of the Hudson Mohawke experience.


Kimbra- Miracle

That Kimbra, she’s a perky one isn’t she. Miracle sounds like pure joy- a get-up and go anthem, the likes of which have not been seen since Break My Stride. She’s “rising up” on the track and sounds unstoppable. Think Prince, think Janelle Monae and think all things positive. If someone’s bringing you down, get right in there face and let them know through the best way possible- an ‘80s funk boogie.

Jungle- Time (Lxury Remix)

For those heading to Splendour this weekend you’ll be hearing the original of this aplenty but this remix by producer Lxury does a nice job of renovating the funky track. There’s a certain weightlessness to this track by way of its airy synths and subtle treatment of Jungle’s original vocals.


Listen to the Soundcloud playlist here.

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