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firstimpressions_july7_2

First Impressions 7 July

firstimpressions_7july

This week’s First Impressions has something for everyone. There’s EDM, pop, disco, electronica and soul. Unfortunately, sometimes when the best things in life come together it can be catastrophic. We’re unable to agree on anything this week, as Ariana Grande’s banging anthem fails to please and Bon Iver falls at the mercy of one recurring sound. Meanwhile Flume and Chet Faker’s 3481st song together impresses some and leaves a sour taste for others.

Ariana Grande Feat. Zedd- Break Free

Bianca: Ariana has reached Grande heights around the world and I just can’t understand why. Her voice grates me in a way that I can’t describe and the higher she goes, the lower my volume goes. Just as Zedd entered the building at the 3:17 mark and it sounded like the song was peaking to something a little more exciting, it promptly ended. Well, I wasn’t entirely wrong about the exciting bit. 1  

Hannah: In need of a drinking game? Shots, shot, shots, every time this song features in a marketing campaign over summer. Plot twist? You’ll spend summer drunk and it’ll be better than remembering hearing this song. 2

Sam: I feel like the whole EDM meets pop thing is such a tired formula. But, Zedd and Ariana just get this one so right and it comes down to two things. The first is Zedd has no ego in this. He forgoes huge drops in favour of stellar verses and never overwhelms with bass. The second is Ariana has a ridiculous voice and this is the first time we’ve heard it in full force. This could be the biggest selling song of the year. 3

Lizzie: I am just going to pretend that this wasn’t in First Impressions this week. I actually had to play this on the lowest volume in my room – I just couldn’t let my housemates catch me listening to this. 1.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/canalselgomez/ariana-grande-break-free-ft-zedd-official[/soundcloud]

Nile Rodgers- Do What You Wanna Do

Bianca: Goddammit, I’m trying so hard not to dance to this song but my platform shoe-clad feet are thinking otherwise. Do what You Wanna Do is certainly a shameless little bit of fun. 2.5

Hannah: A decade in the making from the man himself, I kind of expected a little more. It’s got all the components of a ready-made disco sensation, electric guitar, catchy rhyming lyrics you can sing to slash guess at while succumbing to disco fever, a creepy voice over here and there, and when all else fails a whistle, but it just never really takes off? 2

Sam: So many warm fuzzies on this one. After five decades Nile Rodgers is still the king of disco. Yeah it’s a little corny but that synth-line puts the fattest smile on my face, so screw it. I can’t give this one a score. Rodgers is a legend, he’s paid his dues. As someone born in the ‘90s, it’s far beyond me to judge the king of disco.

Lizzie: Not my vibes at all. This feel like a dodgy karaoke song playing on a caribbean cruise ship. Please excuse me while I go jump ship. 1

Meg Mac- Roll Up Your Sleeves

Bianca: A lovely little Sunday School tune. Expect big things from Meg Mac. 3

Hannah: *Tactically side steps comparison to Adele.* It’s nice. 3 Hannah’s Pick 

Sam: Sometimes I feel like artists are trying to be so tricky nowadays that they’ve lost the art of writing a great tune. Roll Up Your Sleeves is a classic example of what can be achieved when you keep it simple. Mac sounds amazing and the song is optimistic and classy. 3.5

Lizzie: She has got these Nora Jones/Duffy soul vibes, but with a youthful kick. What a tune – I’m not usually a ballard gal, but this lady has got a gift. Bring on the next hit! 4

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/megmacmusic/meg-mac-roll-up-your-sleeves[/soundcloud]

Chet Faker- Gold (Flume re-work)

Bianca: Seems a bit same-old same-old for me. It doesn’t seem as if Flume has evolved this song much from the original and feels less like a re-work and more of a repeat. 2

Hannah: 2zooey

Sam: Another Flume and Chet Faker track. It was something unique at first but now it’s become about as common as going to the bathroom. Flume adds a skittering aesthetic with pulsating bass while Chet croons away over the top. Am I excited? Nup. I just fell asleep and dribbled a little. 2

Lizzie: Flume has once again put his Midas Touch on an already golden track. Chet Faker, you make me weak at the knees. Every song he produces is engulfed with this infectious energy and emotion, and Gold is no different. You may even convert me to beards.  4 Lizzie’s Pick

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/neighbors-hate-us-future/chet-faker-gold-flume-re-work[/soundcloud]

Basement Jaxx- Never Say Never

Bianca: Watching Bend It Like Beckham last night (I regret nothing) and hearing the soundtrack made me miss the old Basement Jaxx. In saying that, the piano chords and grooving synths are enough to get it onto my party playlist. Bianca’s Pick 

Hannah: Didn’t we already hear this one? 2

Sam: It’s a nice pleasant take on deep house. It sounds like Duke Dumont, Disclosure, Ben Pearce but it’s got no hint of Basement Jaxx’s identity in it. If I heard it in a club I’d love it I’m sure but right now just nothing sticks out to me. Blah. 2.5

Lizzie: Love love love the vocalist. There’s something very smooth about him. It’s definitely a step up from any of the other new tracks they have released this year, but would have loved for them to pushed the boundaries a little more. C’mon, surprise me. 3.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/basement-jaxx/never-say-never[/soundcloud]

Bon Iver- Heavenly Father

Bianca: I feel I can’t properly score this song because it seems my speakers are broken. Oh wait, it’s meant to sound like that? All I can say is this song would certainly not be an ideal remedy to a hangover. Thankfully, I didn’t drink last night and can appreciate Vernon’s beautiful-as-ever song amongst the mess of repetitive lulls of noise. 2.5

Hannah: This week. Just go home new music, you’re drunk. This is exactly what happens when Bon Iver sings over your 6th grand band rehearsal. While I love Bon Iver with the deepest crevice of my heart, and in many respects the redeeming feature of this song is indeed Bon Iver himself and his undeniable voice, I can’t help but want more. It feels kind of… lazy. 2.5

Sam: Justin Vernon strikes something for me that no other songwriter at the moment does. He always writes with a hint of sadness yet induces this peering glimmer of sunshine.  As a fan, it’s great to hear another track from Bon Iver but also bittersweet knowing that another LP may be a while off. 4 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie:Is the tape recorder stuck? There seems to be a terrible whiney sound on repeat, destroying what could have been a beautiful Bon Iver track! My ears are still ringing. 2

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First Impressions 30 June

FIRSTIMPRESSIONS_JUNE20

Lust at first sight is all the rage in this week’s First Impressions. This week features a steamy collection of songs moving from the club to the bedroom. We move from The Weeknd‘s bedroom, to Shabazz Palace‘s kitchen and to the club with Jamie xx. This week we play the fly on the wall.

Jhene Aiko- To Love & Die

Sam: It’s difficult to be straight-up impressed with this one because Aiko’s charm is so effortless. Major throwbacks to Ashanti and I’m completely ok with that given that I’ve spent the last decade clinging onto Murder Inc.’s back catalogue. The bridge before the third chorus delivers straight-up attitude. 4

Hannah: Doing Rihanna better than RiRi herself and brimming with a serious injection early 2000 RnB, this is a sound I’m totally ok with. 3.5

Lizzie: Ooft just like slicing hot butter, this song melts me. I’d like to slip into something more comfortable, pour myself a bath and be serenaded by Aiko’s sweet tones. 3.5

Bianca: A silky-smooth RnB gem that’s bringing flashbacks of a much simpler time when hair was accessorised with butterflies and couches were made of poppable plastic. My head bounce increased ten-fold at the fervent 56-second mark. 3.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jumpoffhiphop/jhene-aiko-to-love-die-feat-cocaine-80s[/soundcloud]

Jamie xx- All Under One Roof Raving

Sam: It’s winter in England, everyone’s checked their coats at the cloakroom and is now surviving off each other’s body heat in a club in East London. It’s also 4am. Jamie xx just gets this one so right. It’s such a vivid homage to rave culture in London with nuanced additions like those British vocal samples. The beat? Sparse brilliance. Hannah, if you don’t like this, I’ll eat my hat, literally. 4.5

Hannah: As much as I’d like to see you eat your snapback Samos, Jamie xx and steel drums? Just 5. Just 5. 5 Hannah’s Pick

Lizzie: Very interesting. 4.5 from Sam & a 5 from Hannah? I was almost ready to pack it in and give up on this track but then the 4 minute mark crept up and made much more sense. Thank god – I didn’t want to ever hate him. 3.5

Bianca: Jamie xx has just transported me to an underground, tin-walled club in London. Between the hectic cockney-accented vocal samples and the always-welcome steel drums, I am in love. TUNEEEEEE. 5 Bianca’s Pick

FKA Twigs- Two Weeks

Sam: How can I put it more eloquently than Twigs herself? I can’t but I’ll try given it’s the nature of First Impressions. Two Weeks is such a dignified take on something that is often delivered in such a trashy way: sex. Her voice builds intensity and then lets it all go with a detour into her higher register. All the while, the beat just shudders in the background with the bass working the track into a steamy climax. Absolute, experimental perfection. Show me something more impressive than this, this year. 5 Sam’s Pick

Hannah: This is quivering perfection. A score of pure staccato moments vibrate and bounce below FKA Twigs insane vocals. At once Aaliyah and Mariah at her best, this song knows exactly what it wants, and how to tease and toy with you until it gets it. I have a feeling FKA Twigs has even more to give, but she ain’t gonna give it up easily. 4

Lizzie: What a cheeky lady – the moment I thought I could pass this song on to my Mum for some light listening, she brings out “motherfucker” in the most majestically elegant way. I am hypnotised by her tomfoolery. 4.5 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: Had this been released just a week earlier than it did, I’d have no doubt it would feature in the top 10 section of our Top 20 Songs of 2014. The way she so eloquently slips in a few ‘fucks’ and ‘mother fuckers’ into this piece of art makes me think this song could slide its way onto commercial radio without the ACMA blinking an eye. 4

The Weeknd- Often

Sam: And if Twigs deals with it in a dignified manner, then The Weeknd does the opposite. The Weeknd has gone from being one of the pioneers of modern RnB to being sleazier than R.Kelly. “Make that pussy pop and do it how I want it?” Really? The track is slick but he’s just too much for me. 2

Lizzie: “I can make your pussy rain often?” What would your mother say!? I feel like I want to give him a slap on the wrist and send him to his bedroom without ice-cream. Such a beautiful voice but such a dirty mind. 3

Hannah: If the last couple of weeks have been all about disco fever, this week is about thumping, pulsing, quivering, teasing and down right sexy slow jams. I’m totally ok to be used and abused by this latest offering from The Weeknd. 3

Bianca: Umbrella sales have just gone down dramatically. 1

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/theweekndxo/the-weeknd-often[/soundcloud]

Shabazz Palace- #CAKE

Sam: In Shabazz Palace’s world you can have the cake and eat it too. It’s such a psychedelic, woozy take on the hip-hop genre that almost skews your immediate view for four minutes. I love the middle-eastern influences and the melodic change-ups that waterfall back into that M.I.A-like beat. 4

Lizzie: I hate it. But I do crave cake for some reason. 0.5

Hannah:I don’t think this cake is gluten-free. I’m out. 1.5

Bianca: This cake did not rise. 0.5

Calvin Harris- C.U.B.A

Sam: Let it be known, I find Calvin Harris more unbearable than a world without cronuts, but I’m going to challenge myself to be positive about this. I like that he’s detoured from slick, pop-based EDM, to deliver what is a banging big room-track. It builds well with assaulting if not slightly-predictable synths and it drops like a mutha-f***ker. My only issue? I hate it. 2

Lizzie:

Simple Recipe for an EDM song:

3 parts equal serving Heavy bass and crash

3 parts unrecognizable twangy sound

1 part moment which makes you nostalgic about those fun times in Summer

300 minutes of build up to the drop

2 parts “Drop”

1 part realising that this song is like every other EDM song

C’mon Calvin I love you man, but it’s an Invention Test and your recipe is just so pedestrian. 2

Hannah: Picture this. The sun is setting over Coachella 2014, Calvin Harris has just walked on stage to a 45,000-strong crowd and just as that first jarring note reigns out over a sea of sweaty EDM heads, you realise Little Dragon is also walking out on a stage somewhere else and would have been a far better option. Through the sea of meat, there is no escape and for the next hour not only will you be subjected to aural torture but you will forever have to live with the knowledge you, for whatever brain-fart of a reason, chose Calvin over Little Dragon. I just can’t even go there. 0.5

Bianca: I feel like I have to dance otherwise someone is going to shoot me. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/calvinharris/calvin-harris-cuba[/soundcloud]

 

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First Impressions 23 June

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Truth be told, this week we were feeling a little confused after First Impressions. We heard Alt-J sample Miley, Riff Raff team with Childish Gambino and we gave tough love to everything apart from Tough Love. It may raise more questions than answers but such is the appeal of a first impression: the mystery.

Jessie Ware- Tough Love

Sam: I was wondering what Jessie was going to do following Devotion, sound-wise and this is a perfect answer. The upper-echelons of Ware’s vocals are crystalline and Benny Blanco’s production is sleek and sophisticated. That strobing synth off the back of the second chorus is a more than welcome punch through to the song’s third quarter. Stunning. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Bianca: I had this strange feeling of knowing this song at very first listen. The soft sweeps and subtle backbeats are homely and comforting and Jessie’s stirring vocal-layered crescendo at 2:48 makes me just melt. 4.5 Bianca’s Pick

Lizzie: “You have me crying out, crying out for more.” Um yes, her words exactly. You know what is real tough love, the fact that her album is not here yet. This song is elegant, slick and effortlessly bouncy. Tick, tick, tick! 4.5 Lizzie’s Pick

Hannah: This song has been on repeat since theinterns shared it early last week. It’s a perfectly restrained combination of poppy bouncy beat, synth and can’t-help-but-sing-a-long lyrics. Said before and will say it again, ain’t nothing tough about listening to this one. 4

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jessieware/tough-love[/soundcloud]

Alt-J- Hunger of the Pines

Sam: Miley and Alt-J, these are a few of my favourite things…but for some strange reason Hunger of the Pines is not. There’s no huge change in sound from An Awesome Wave and it sounds odd for odd’s sake. The Miley sample is beyond clumsy. 2

Bianca: This song sounded like it was about to go somewhere and then Miley came in with her big wrecking ball and ruined any chance of that happening. The cutting of her sample at 3:37 seems very odd to me. Points for the strings & sax though, and the return of Alt-J onto the scene. 3

Lizzie: The strings, the sax, it sounds like an orchestra warming up for a concert. Instruments are a little all over the place, but I am at peace with that. I am so glad Alt-J is back in my life, and…what the heck, I’m gonna go ahead and say that I’m a-OK with the Miley sample. #sorrynotsorry 3.5

Hannah: Having Miley Cyrus sing “I’m a female rebel,” really? Good one Alt-j, you’re so meta. With that said, I am never opposed to a Miley appearance, I love the slow climb crescendo and I do love where this song goes from 3:07. Welcome back Alt-j. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/alt-j/hunger-of-the-pine[/soundcloud]

Riff Raff- Lava Glaciers (Feat. Childish Gambino)

Sam: I can’t help but think this song would be more of a success with James Franco rapping. Riff Raff’s rapping goes down like a poor person at the Opera, while the hook is just, ugh…I kind of like it, it’s frustrating. Luckily Childish Gambino comes in and guides the song through the storm. It’s the first time I’ve felt relaxed with Troy Barnes at the helm. 3

Bianca: “It’s pointless like the use of Emojis.” Umm…how else would I let my friends know I feel like eating a dragon head from a plate while wearing my finest red ball gown? Despite that minor misdemeanor, and Raff’s overuse of similes, this song is surprisingly inoffensive. 2

Lizzie: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. No. Just no. I have no idea what I just heard. 1

Hannah:  2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/riffraff/lavaglaciers[/soundcloud]

Duke Dumont- Won’t Look Back

Sam: It’s a bit more of the same for Duke Dumont. ‘90s rave keys, a deep house beat and a soulful female vocal sample. It’s enjoyable but very safe, a bit like a glass of water- it’s hard to dislike, but it ain’t gonna get you drunk is it? 2.5

Bianca: Won’t Look Back is like the poor man’s Ride on Time (see, Riff Raff? I can do similes too!). The raspy vocals, purposeful keys and ‘90s groove are all the right ingredients for a dancefloor anthem but unfortunately the ingredients used here are Home Brand. 2

Lizzie: I am massively underwhelmed by this track. Duke Dumont, why did you go back to your 90s safe place? You were nailing it with I Got U and Need U – I feel you have gone back 20 steps (…or 20 years). 2

Hannah: Well this all sounds very familiar doesn’t it? 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/dukedumont/wont-look-back[/soundcloud]

BROODS- Mother and Father

Sam: BROODS’ debut EP was just so solid, it was hard to imagine how they’d top it. But they have. Mother and Father is their most abrasive pop moment yet. It packs an emotional punch and is just so damn hard to dislike. 2Dayfm will pick it up, Triple J will pick it up, heck, it may even be the Royals of 2014. 4

Bianca: Ooo, well isn’t this lovely? The defiant drum beat and gushing lyrics are definitely bringing back the memories and emotions of leaving home. brb, going to call my Mum. 4  

Lizzie: Am I “wowed” by this track? No. Would I run and tell my friends about it? Probably not. But in saying that, Broods have delivered a sweet musical gem that blends very well into my uni study playlist. 3.5

Hannah: I am having a solid BROODS’ moment right now. Mother & Father bridges the gap perfectly between what was and what is to come. 4.2 Hannah’s Pick

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/broods/broods-mother-father[/soundcloud]

Chloe Howl- Disappointed

Sam: Howl was part of the BBC’s Sound of 2014 and unfortunately the title of this song is a good indication of her career since. Ironically, this song may be the one to turn her fate around. Her vocals in the verses are buttery and the melody has a straight-up, Katy Perry-esque likeability. Surely this will find her a home in the British charts, it’s as if Adele has had a firecracker stuck up her arse. 3

Bianca: Sam, Mother and Father has no place in between Sophie & Jules on 2Dayfm. Disappointed, however, does. Ugh. 0.5  

Sam: Bianca, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Broods have been added to 2Dayfm’s playlist.

Bianca: I still stand by my statement.

Lizzie: I am not angry or annoyed, I am just disappointed. 0.5

Hannah: Did she just say “You think I’m stupid-o?” I’m not even going to check that lyric. I like my version better already. 0.5

Don’t forget to cast your First Impressions vote in our poll on the right! (Not available for mobile users) 

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First Impressions 16 June

FirstImpressions_16June

For this week’s First Impressions, theinterns travel to East Africa with Bag Raiders and find some Love in High Places with Kimbra before being seriously weirded out by a Trippy Turtle Theme Tune. It’s OK though because we’ve brought Bianca’s mum Trish along for the ride and she’s grooving to Anna Lunoe!

Bag Raiders- Nairobi

Trish: Too processed. Sounds like stomach gurgling and teeth chattering. I think I’d only enjoy it if i were in Brazil, celebrating the World Cup (with a few Mojitos under my belt). 2

Sam: Agree with Trish. Unless I’m swilling a mojito round in my hand, this song does very little for me on a cold winter day. That marimba almost had me. Almost. 2.5

Lizzie: Is everyone ready for Mardi Gras, cause this song sure makes you want to don a giant sequin feather head piece. I had high hopes for this song and I was smacked right in the face with a conga line. Just a bit much, but I will try and give it another chance in a couple of days. 3

Hannah: I lost interest the second I heard that horrible old car horn sample. Not even steal drums can redeem this colourful collision. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/modularpeople/bag-raiders-nairobi-1[/soundcloud]

Kiesza- Giant In My Heart

Trish: I don’t mind her. Nice new sound. (Male vocals come in) Oh. I don’t like him. The male vocals spoil it. She’s got a nice singing voice and a lot of potential but the song doesn’t do her justice. 3

Sam: Kiesza is the next Roisin Murphy in my opinion. That voice hits giddy heights and provides a great juxtaposition over a deep, massaging beat. There’s more in here. This is a little generic. Hopefully an album will give her some space to explore, less trodden territory. 3

Lizzie: I cannot decide whether I like the roughness in her voice, or I am utterly pained by it. It’s got a very 90s/early 2000s vibe. Yep, I’ve decided I like it. The male vocals just make me laugh though. 3.5

Hannah: WOW I was just getting into it when that I’m-not-quite-a-Scat-Man male vocal came in. Despite that, the beat’s pumpy, the desperation in Kiesza’s voice during the chorus is truly addictive and the melodic samples are perfect placed. There’s a lot of fun to be had here. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/seanxcx/kiesza-giant-in-my-heart-radio-rip[/soundcloud]

Kimbra- Love In High Places

Trish: I really like her. There’s a lot of variety in her voice. The vocals, the percussion, they all fit together nicely like a jigsaw puzzle, to make for a complete listening experience. 5 Trish’s Pick

Sam: Oooh the vocals at the start of this just melt with every syllable. I love that construction-wise it’s quite a textbook soul track, yet she adds subtle oddities that make it so much better like the little synth-breaks. The people saying this album is a desperate attempt to draw attention back after Somebody I Used To Know need to pull their heads out of the sand. What she’s doing right now is supreme. 4 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: Oh thank god Kimbra, I really didn’t want to be as harsh as I was with 90s Music a couple of weeks ago (that was horrible). She’s slowed it down in this one, swollowed a chill pill and taken us on a 5:17 minute journey, a real Flight Facilities Claire de Lune style lengthy journey. Such an improvement!! 3.5

Hannah: Guys, guys, guys. It’s finally happened. I actually like, NAY love a Kimbra song! The verses in particular really have me swimming in a pool of smooth 90s RnB-flavoured nostalgia (Hey Kimbra, here’s your 90s Music). I say quit forcing your usual “oh I’m a quirky female artist and I have a quirky female artist sound” and stick with this new buttery-soft goodness. 

Trippy Turtle- Trippy’s Theme

Trish: Very disjointed. It’d be really good if you were tripping. But I’m afraid that’s not my cup of tea. 1

Sam: At first I was a little disappointed that this one wasn’t more like Schnappi das Kleine Krokodil but I’ve moved past that now and am utterly confused. It sounds like Boyz II Men remixed by Cashmere Cat. I really don’t know. The tune is half decent but the whole Trippy Turtle thing…am I late to the party? What on earth is it? A jamster mobile creation? 3

Lizzie: This song starts so well, so smooth, almost J.T like. Then, I am not sure what happens – a squeeky bed appears? The song is called called Trippy Turtle so I should not have been surprised! In all its nonsensical-ness, I can have fun with song. 3.5

Hannah: Trippy Turtle? More like Awkward Turtle. I totally agree with Sam. I’m pretty sure this IS just a Cashmere Cat song in poor disguise and now I feel weirded out by the additional turtle-themed vocals. I just don’t know… 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/maddecent/trippy-turtle-trippys-theme-jeff075[/soundcloud]

Anna Lunoe- Bass Drum Dealer

Trish: Oh no, not more of this stuff. *puts head in hand* It delivers like yesterday’s sour bottle of milk 0.5 (sorry)

Sam: I love that an Aussie girl has delivered this beefed-up EDM track that cracks most of the male big-room names over the head. It uses a lot of cliche sounds but that deep bass wins me over every time. Aussie gal does good. Bravo. 3.5

Lizzie: The lyrics put it perfectly. “And I always deliver.” She delivers alright. Flying the Aussie flag for dance music and female producers, this song has a Swedish House Mafia style pull but with her own distinct breakdown. You are not teased into a drop like most big-room EDM songs (thank god), and she brings this modern electro jungle vibe. Go girl. 4 Lizzie’s pick

Hannah: This is just a great dance track. It’s not particularly preoccupied with forging new ground but hey, is new ground always necessary? Lunoe’s just happily captislising on some seriously great sounds we already know and love. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/nesthq/anna-lunoe-bdd-nest031?in=nesthq/sets/anna-lunoe-bass-drum-dealer-nest031[/soundcloud]

Fractures- Won’t Win

Trish: Very easy listening. I just arrived in cold Sydney and his voice makes me feel like I’m sitting in front of a fire, all warm and comfortable. His voice is husky like a good cognac and seems to have a lot of soul to it. I enjoyed the vocals and change in tempo at 2:30 in particular. 4

Sam: I too enjoy the change of tempo but this is just all very pleasant. It’s good and his voice is wistful in a great way but it plants its foot too far in James Blake territory to carve his own identity. Lyrics like  “You won’t win, I’ll rid myself of this war you started” are so loaded yet the music is so placid. Me a little confused. 3

Lizzie: This song has a Matt Corby pensiveness to it. Beautiful sound to come out of Melbourne, I’ve never heard them before. I really loved the thick breakdown of instruments towards the close of the song, a nice touch to finish. 4

Hannah: I really should like this song shouldn’t I? It hits all the Seekae come James Blake, electronica meets wistful, longing vocals that usually appeal to me, but truth be told, I’m just a little bored. 2.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/fractures-music/wontwin[/soundcloud]

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First Impressions 10 June

firstimpressions10june

Here are six songs that we kept in our company over the long weekend. While some were pleasant, others came armed with expletives and harsh beats. We reviewed them at the end of the weekend, taking particular note of their willingness to please the ears and their likeness to snozberries.

AG Cook- Beautiful

Sam: PC Music just sounds so futuristic and inhuman that it’s hard to attach yourself with. I think I’ve finally come around to it. Beautiful is so kitsch yet so melodic and lolly-like. It’s something new and I’m loving it. 4

Hannah: This is what happens when some seriously great production goes full throttle towards those shimmery, euphoric, highs we came to know and love during the happy house wave. It really hits its stride around the 1:20 mark, and from there on in it’s all rainbow coloured streets and snozberries that ACTUALLY taste like snozberries. #PLUR 3.5

Bianca:

 2.5

Lizzie: I feel like I just stepped out of an episode of Rugrats. When the song thickens at 1:20 seconds, it’s really hard not to bounce along. However, I’m still not sold on the whole Hello Kitty sound – its a very very new sound to my ears. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pcmus/beautiful[/soundcloud]

Caribou- Can’t Do Without You

Sam: I’m still not really over Odessa so it’s hard to accept that something new has come along. In saying that Can’t Do Without You is a grower and that climax at the end is well worth the wait. The vocal sample is also a total winner too. 4

Hannah: This is what I like to call a ninja song. See, you think you’ve heard all there is to hear and then all of a sudden some new crystalline layer creeps in so perfectly you begin to wonder if it wasn’t there all along. The climax is epic. The fade out is insane. The vocal sample is too too smooth. Caribou I’m glad you’re back. Ninja’d. Hannah’s pick

Bianca: I was so ready for another Odessa-style poppy track from Dan Snaith but certainly was not disappointed in its more relaxed successor. Can’t Do Without You is a slow-burner with a satisfying climax, topped off by a lovely vocal surprise at the end. Snaith’s Album Our Love is due out in three long months’ time so I guess I’ll just have to listen to this on repeat until then. 4 Bianca’s pick

Lizzie: Please excuse me while I just go eargasm. The climax of this song is unnervingly good. I’m left a little hot and flustered. 4 Lizzie’s pick

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/caribouband/cant-do-without-you[/soundcloud]

Drake- O to 100

Sam: Drake says it best when he raps “Fuck being on that chill shit”. He’s become a bit melancholic lately and it’s good to hear him rapping hell for leather again. And then he flips to The Catch Up and we get lush synths and a melodic Drake that proves he can swap between the two effortlessly. Kanye and Future are really the only other two rappers that can do that. 3.5

Hannah: Drake, I’mma let you finish but, James fucking Blake. 3.5

Bianca: Something, something n***a. Something, something bitches. Hold up, James Blake? This song really went from 0-100 real quick. Real fucking quick. 4

Lizzie: Could not stand to listen past the first 30 seconds of this track, but I obliged. I should probably get some medal or something. This song is painful. 1

SBTRKT- Temporary View

Sam: I do like this but my problem lies with the fact that it’s just so similar to his debut. It’s three years on and yet we’re back to Sampha and a wash of synths and sporadic beats. It’s a formula that works but one I’m going to soon tire of. 3

Hannah: SBTRKT really pushed some boundaries with this one… 3

Bianca: It’s a harmless, glittery number that doesn’t really go anywhere. 2.5

Lizzie: The synth sounds like its have a seizure in the background. Completely missed the mark. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/sbtrkt/sbtrkt-temporary-view-ft-sampha[/soundcloud]

Fishing- Your Mouth

Sam: Well this is a bit of fun isn’t it? It’s full of tropical keys and a nice leaping beats. It’s really quite cruel to drop this in the midst of winter. It’s quite different to any Australian music right now. That’s refreshing to hear. 3

Hannah: Fishing have been on my “Welll… if there’s no one else playing at this time,” festival list for a good 3 years now. If I ever do get to see them, I will be suitably clad in an hawaiian-shirt and drinking from a pineapple. 2.5

Bianca: There’s a little bit too much going on for me to fully sink into this song. 2.5

Lizzie: Just another song to add to the “Made in Chelsea” soundtrack. Upbeat and a little smarmy but nothing to rave home about. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/fishing/your-mouth[/soundcloud]

Starchild- All My Lovers

Sam: Blood Orange and Solange have done such a good thing re-designing this sleek, brand of NYC RnB. Starchild hangs in that click and it shows. All My Lovers is all about subtlety. It grows ever so slowly, he sings like a male-Aaliyah and there’s this smoke-machine like haze that runs through it. I’m so excited by Starchild. Quite frankly, this is the most promising debut I’ve heard all year. 5 Sam’s Pick

Hannah: I just can’t get on board with this one. It’s too slow and too derivative and just doesn’t hold its own against all other producers with a similar sound floating around at the moment. 2.5

Bianca: Saving this one for a purple rainy day. 3

Lizzie: Toured with Solange, collaborated with Blood Orange – what could go wrong with this artist? For all its beauty (damn there is a lot of talent within this 19 year old), I struggle to digest a song this slow. It’s just sooooooo slow. 3

Sam: You’re all crazy.

firstimpressionshomepage

First Impressions 2 June

firstimpressions

For this week’s reviews we’re delving into all things pop. Whether it’s straight up, glitter-pop or left-of-centre pop, we’re dipping our toes in all things melodic. It takes us to some unsettling EDM territory, vintage Hollywood and the ’80s. Those things combined have to mean a good time…right?

La Roux– Uptight Downtown

Sam: I did love Let Me Down Gently but this is what I expected from La Roux. Elly Jackson is an exquisite pop creator and this sort of reminds me of Bowie’s Let’s Dance . Mandating everyone to ‘move, move move’ is always a good idea. I’ve probably played this in excess of 20 times this week. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: Can I really understand what she’s saying? No not really. Do I care? No a cent. I’m mesmerised too much by her boppy poppy beat. La Roux delivers again and again. My vote for consistently giving me chills! Lizzie’s Pick

Hannah: This song reminds me of a long lost old friend that suddenly walks back into your life. It’s familiar, it’s comfortable and it’s damn good to see them again. Now move, move, move. 3.5

Bianca: So good to have Elly back in my ears. Does my vote still count if this listen was about my 30th impression? 4.5 Bianca’s Pick

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/la-roux-official/la-roux-uptight-downtown[/soundcloud]

Kylie Minogue- Crystallize

Sam: Damn Dev Hynes is such a brilliant pop-producer. There’s a glistening charm to this, which he’s done, without much help from Kylie I’m sure. It’s for a good cause but my goodness the video is a stinker. Truth be told, I really don’t mind the song though. #TeamKylie. 3

Lizzie: NOTE:  DO NOT WATCH THE VIDEO CLIP. It is god awful. The song on the other hand, follows yet another perfect recipe for pop catchiness. Produced by Blood Orange (say what!?), I feel I’ve been transported back to a 90’s Blue Light Disco…may have even caught myself singing this in the shower this morning. Miss Minogue you’ve done it to me again. 3.5

Hannah: ….but… but… it just doesn’t go anywhere? 2

Bianca: I want to hate this video clip so bad but it takes me back to my hairbrush-singing-in-the-mirror days that I can’t help but feel nostalgic. That’s probably where my affection ends though. To put it bluntly, I certainly wouldn’t be turning my chair around for this one. 2

The Preatures– Two Tone Melody

Sam: Isabella Manfredi’s vocals are pure sex. I feel like they hark back to Chrissy Amphlett in the way of that really gritty, smokey tone. I’m so glad they’ve gone for a slow tempo and understated melody so that Manfredi can take the spotlight. 4

Lizzie: Well hello Ministry of Sound Chill Out album 2014. It kinda makes me want to move to Byron Bay for some reason. I feel that’s a good thing…The vocals by Manfredi, really own this song. Simple, majestic and fluid. 4

Hannah: Manfredi, I’m yours, I’m yours I’m yours. Simultaneously melancholic, whimsical and strangely hopeful, this song is destined for “soundtrack to your life” type lists everywhere. Excuse me while I go back to staring dreamily out of my rain strewn window. 3

Bianca: It’s an emotionally genuine, honest song but it wouldn’t feature on the soundtrack of my life. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thepreatures/two-tone-melody-album-version[/soundcloud]

Wife- Tongue

Sam: Haxan Cloak’s production on this is the beginning is minimal brilliance but it’s all about 2:13 when it takes flight. The rollicking beat really smacks you in the stomach. It’s a very bold move for Wife to introduce himself this way, but it captures your attention. It’s all about the ebbs and flows. 3.5

Lizzie: This song does nothing for me. It’s too slow, harsh for the ears and general vibe is too intense for me. Just not my cup of tea sorry. 2

Hannah: The perfectly practised, totally atmospheric restraint of the first half of this track, coupled with the dark seduction and bone shattering anger of the climactic second has me hooked. Big, big, big fan. 4 Hannah’s Pick

Bianca: Probably not the best song for a hungover Monday morning but I can appreciate the raw emotions of the track. Hot tip: Do not search ‘wife + tongue’ on Youtube. Unless you’re into that kinda thing. 2.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/tri_angle_records/wife-tongue[/soundcloud]

Lana Del Rey- Shades of Cool

Sam: This is Lana’s second album and I still feel like we’re as far away from knowing who she actually is as ever. It’s still very vintage Hollywood. I like that she’s roughed it up a bit for Ultraviolence but it sounds like something I’d do at Karaoke at 4am in the morning, swaying, slightly off pitch and thinking I’m seducing everyone around. 2.5

Lizzie: Bond… James Bond. Is anyone else feeling that vibe – Daniel Craig shooting his gun into the distance in his newest franchise with this track echoing in the distance? I have utterly succumbed to the sexy broodiness of this song. 4 Lizzie’s very close second

Hannah: This week we’ve got the work of two major songstresses featured on First Impressions. First Kylie and now Ms Del Rey and yet I really feel neither of them delivers a track that goes anywhere I’m willing to go. Kylie’s chugs along a predictable pop princess route and Del Rey’s just crumbles into a sepia-toned car crash of messy guitar and percussion. It probably doesn’t help I hate Lana Del Rey at her best. 1.5

Bianca: If you’re a Lana Del Rey fan, you’ll no doubt be singing her praises for her latest track. If you’re not a fan, don’t worry, nothing’s changed. She’s the same Lana you know and don’t love. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/north-bound-beats/lana-del-rey-shades-of-cool[/soundcloud]

 

Deadmau5- Seeya (Feat. Colleen D’Agostino)

Sam: Frankly, it’s a cheap rip-off of Daft Punk and the disco flavoured-EDM sound that has followed. The vocalist is devoid of any type of human-appeal and the instrumental is so bland I’d rather be eating wet wipes. If Deadmau5 took me for a ride in his car and made me endure this, I’d open the door and roll-out. Seeya! 0.5

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Lizzie: He said he had this track lying around for a while, waiting to be released. He should have released it way back when…now it just sounds like a shitty electro attempt to cover the current funk disco vibe doing its rounds atm. (deadmau2.5)

Hannah: Yes Colleen D’Agostino you can move my body… away from the speakers pronto. And my mind is already well and truly asleep. Mission accomplished. Total yawn. 0.5

Bianca: Colleen’s voice makes me want to put a giant mouse on her head just so I don’t have to hear that screech. The track certainly has amiable disco vibes about it but fails to take me to funky town. Points for effort, I guess. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/mau5trap/deadmau5-featuring-colleen-dagostino-seeya[/soundcloud]

 

FIRSTIMPRESS

First Impressions 26 May

firstimpressions29may

It seems new music is caught in a funk. In the best possible way. This week everything has been struck by the rhythm stick, with funky guitars, wobbling synths and MJ-esque vocals permeating the collection. Get out your favourite Disco Stu boots and let’s boogie through this week’s collection.

Juce – (H)ours

Sam: Juce are tomorrow’s big news. I’m getting flashbacks to All Saints, Jamiroquai and Macy Gray. I can understand how that combination sounds awful but I mean it in the best way. This is a modern, disco classic. 4

Bianca: I’m really enjoying the girl band revival that’s going on right now. Juce’s sound is kind of a disco and ‘90s hybrid which makes for a delightful funk when teamed with lead singer Chalin’s raspy vocals. Juce are certain to be the next big thing, with their unique groove, a touch of sass and a whole lotta girl power. 4

Lizzie: 

This track really warms up after about 40 secs, so hang in there. It’s a real flare-pant-wearing, hustle-inducing, head bopper. 4

Hannah: To be honest, I was really hesitant to get involved in this week’s First Impressions, mainly because it would mean putting down Chromeo’s White Woman album for the first time in a long time. Having done so, I think we can safely say disco is having a very happy revival and I’m loving it. 4

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/annie-mac-presents/fmm-juce-hours[/soundcloud]

BANKS- Drowning

Sam: I’m struggling to keep finding different words of praise for BANKS. That bellowing voice, those ball-crushing lyrics, that skittering beat- it’s all perfect. This album needs to be in my ears stat. And I swear, if people start adding this to ‘chill’ playlists, I’ll burst a blood vessel.  4.5  Sam’s Pick

Bianca: The sultry vocals accompanied with the ratchety backbeat certainly paint a picture of Banks’ entrapment in a bad relationship, further hammered into us by the ghostly echo of her lyrics. Her style is verging slightly on Lana Del Rey territory but thankfully is unique in her right. 4.5

Lizzie: This is a darkly seductive track. A Lana Del Rey on steroids, Banks just oozes raw talent. You find yourself just melting into a song like this, I’m literally itching in excitement for the release of her debut album. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Hannah: BANKS does Lana Del Ray better than Lana Del Rey. Let’s just go ahead and replace her on the Gatsby soundtrack and forget that god awful Young and Beautiful blip ever happened, Ok? Every hair on my body stands up as that bass drops heralding the chorus. Quite simply put, I’m hooked. 4.5 Hannah’s Pick

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/banksbanksbanks/banks-drowning[/soundcloud]

Chris Malinchak (Feat. Mikky Ekko)- Stranger

Sam: First things first, this will be a massive hit, no doubt. Secondly, it deserves to be. It’s got an effortless disco groove that’s only bettered by Ekko’s crystalline vocal. Malinchak and Ekko do MJ better than posthumous MJ does MJ. 3.5

Bianca: Digging the on-trend shimmering disco vibe of this track. Ekko’s going to find it hard to Xscape from Michael Jackson comparisons and, admittedly, his vocals are almost too ‘a-hee hee!’ for my liking but he’s definitely got something special going on. 3

Lizzie: What’s with the funk, disco vibe going around at the moment? It’s everywhere! It’s going to take every ounce of effort not say this song sounds like Michael Jackson. This is a glittery performance by the up and coming DJ/producer. It doesn’t shine as much as So Good To Me did for me last year, but I am still excited to see what else this guy offers up in 2014. 4

Hannah: Lizzie, apparently I don’t have the same restraint as you. This is a Jackson sound. This is a Daft Punk meets Pharrell sound. This is a Chromeo sound. This is a GREAT sound that makes you want to break out your brightest Lycra and throw on a Jane Fonda workout video or two but this is by no means a new sound. I like it because well, how can you not? Now where are my sweat bands? 3.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/chrismalinchak/stranger[/soundcloud]

Nicki Minaj- Pills and Potions

Sam: Minaj is a great rapper. It took Starships for people to forget her insane verse on Monster, but this one may regain her some cred. Its barebone production makes it hard to get overly excited but she’s heading in the right direction. 3

Bianca: This is somewhat different from Minaj’s other work. Good for her for trying something new, I guess. 1.5

Lizzie: Well, this is different. A big departure from her usual sassy geddup. This raw, stripped back track, is well…meh. Hats off for her trying something different, I just can’t see her fitting into the whole cookie-cutter vibe. 3

Hannah: When Rihanna momentarily steps down from her pop princess pedestal, she produces raw, stripped back, KILLER tracks like Stay that remind you why she’s held in such high esteem to begin with. When Minaj tries to do the same thing, you find yourself imploring her to jump back on her throne (slash Starship) and stick to what she knows. Who needs creative diversity anyway? I do like the bass though. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/hits-only/nicki-minaj-pills-and-potions[/soundcloud]

Zeds Dead and Twin Shadow- Lost You

Sam: It’s very last-year-Disclosure, but as an imitation it does a good job. Twin Shadow’s vocal is wonderfully soulful and the chorus he musters is hands-in-the-air stuff but Zeds Dead’s production just feels a little bland. But I suppose who cares when you’re getting down at 4am. 2.5

Bianca: The Disclosure-esque syncopated percussion could get me dancingbut can’t see this getting stuck in my head any time soon. 2.5  

Lizzie: I totally agree with Sam on this one, it sounds like some un-released (shitty) Disclosure stuff.

Why it works? Great catchy vocals.

Why it doesn’t work? The backbeat runs too light and too fast fast for me – it doesn’t really pack a punch. 3

Hannah: Sam, we live in Sydney. Ain’t nobody getting at 4am these days. Why bother with imitation when the real thing is just so darn good at any time of the day or night? 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/zedsdead/zeds-dead-twin-shadow-lost-you-feat-dangelo-lacy/[/soundcloud]

Jungle- Time

Sam: Tune after tune after tune, Jungle are funking me over. I feel like the whole cast of Saturday Night Fever is marching fervently towards me to the beat, backing me into a dark corner. It’s awesome. 4

Bianca: Jungle win me over time and time again with their modern day Bee Gees vibe. 4.5 Bianca’S Pick

Lizzie: This is groovy track with some damn sexy vocals. I just want to break down and boogie! 4

Hannah: Something, something, disco. Something, something, funk. 3.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pierre-della-monica/jungle-time[/soundcloud]

 

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

First Impressions 19 May

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

A song is all about the first impression. That first 30 seconds, that first 808, that first velvety melody. All the while, your hand hovers eagerly over the ‘next’ button ready to take on another unassuming song. First Impressions captures that very essence as we take on tracks from the week past. Only we don’t press skip. This week our ears have been led to Kimbra’s experimental newbie, M.I.A’s feisty remix and La Roux’s long awaited/forgotten return amongst others.

M.I.A- Baddygirl 2

Sam: Everything M.I.A touches is gold to me. In this, she calls out “surfboard bitches”, “flawless bitches” and “Beyonce” and then segues into Beyonce’s Diva. In other words, I’m sold. 3.5

Lizzie: Talk about timing. Dropping this track the week of that elevator incident. I’m pretty sure the Knowles camp weren’t looking for any extra press, especially not a fierce remix of ‘Flawless’. M.I.A does what she wants, when she wants and I am totally happy to oblige. 4

Bianca: The Bey-kdown was a refreshing break from the M.I.A part of the song. 2

Hannah: I’m torn. M.I.A is telling me I’m more than just a butts and titties girl and more than just a slutty girl, meanwhile the beat is urging me to grab the nearest surfboard and grind up on dat wood. Such is life for a 21st century feminist. 4 Hannah’s Pick 

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/miauk/baddygirl-2-mia-party-squad-beyonce-flawless-remix[/soundcloud]

Kimbra- ‘90s Music

Sam: Big props to Kimbra for delivering up something so left-centre. It’s boundary pushing, Bjork-esque and has a big sugary-chorus for good measure. A lot of people will hate this but I think that’s brilliant. Maybe it’s time people stepped out from their Coldplay-laiden comfort zone. 4

Lizzie: No no no. There’s experimental and then there’s this. I feel she’s just pulled a variety of samples out of a hat and vomited them onto this track. 1.5

Bianca: I think Kimbra’s a little confused…I don’t remember the ‘90s sounding anything like this. This needs to be laid to rest along with scrunchies. 2

Hannah: This song really excited me… until Kimbra opened her mouth. I’m probably still in an M.I.A flavoured haze, but I can’t help thinking if only it was M.I.A’s vocals on this track it’d be a killer. As it stands, I find myself straining to hear a track of musical gold (I don’t even mind Bellamy’s guitar) through the sound of some very unhappy cats. Meow. 2.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/kimbramusic/kimbra-90s-music[/soundcloud]

La Roux- Let Me Down Gently

Sam: La Roux, you drop one of the most addictive pop albums of the decade and then leave us out in the cold for five years. It’s bordering on torture but this new one has you easily forgiven. This is a pop TUNE if i’ve ever heard one. And I’ve heard a few of them in my time. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: The queen of synth-pop is back, thank god! We needed someone to step back in and show us how its done, and “Let Me Down Gently” is a blissful dream. Massive fan of the sax breakdown. Not a big fan of the fact we had to wait 5 years for this track surface. 4

Bianca: Such suspense at 2:35! That pause is so pregnant, it’s carrying triplets. 4.5 Bianca’s Pick

Hannah: Phil Collins of the best kind. 3.5

Gorilla-Drumming

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/la-roux-official/let-me-down-gently?in=interscope/sets/la-roux-let-me-down-gently[/soundcloud]

Mariah Carey- Thirsty

Sam: Based solely on the album title (Me. I am Mariah), I’d be happy to call this album of the year right now. This song is everything I’ve come to expect from Mariah- full of unintentional LOLs. Attach this to a Pepsi commerical and it will reach its utmost potential. 2.5

Lizzie: This song is offensive to my ears. 1

Bianca: Someone, please, get Mariah a drink. 1

Hannah: Like trying to rehydrate with a big old glass of milk, this song ain’t going to leave you with nuttin’ but a belly ache.

Andy Bull- Talk Too Much

Sam: Eh, I really want to love this because I’ve been such a fan of his previous two singles but this one’s just too middle of the road. It starts to climb the mountain of melodic brilliance but it never quite reaches the top, leaving me with an unsolved sweet tooth. 3

Lizzie: He’s got a really unique sound – upbeat but not too in-your-face. The lyrics are a winner for me, offering up a message to just shut up, stop bitching and live a little. 4  

Bianca: Keep talking to me, Andy. This poppy little number blooms more with every listen.

Hannah:It says a lot that we found this song on indieshuffle. It’s cute, it’s poppy, it’d be right at home alongside Phantom Planet on The OC Soundtrack. It’s just another one to add to the pile. Shuffle on. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/andybullmusic/talk-too-much[/soundcloud]

Rhodes- Morning

Sam: So many Jeff Buckley vibes which I’m completely OK with. I’m going to forego all masculinity here and say this is damn beautiful. It goes to show that so little needs to be done when you’ve got a fine voice and brooding melody. 4

Lizzie: Excuse me for a second, while I just compose myself….Phew! Thats what I call a moving song. So minimal, yet effortlessly packs a punch. This guy has a got a gift 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: Zzzzzzz. But in a soothing, bedtime audiobook kinda way 2.5

Hannah:  Well that was nice.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/rhodesmusic/rhodes-morning[/soundcloud]

singlesclub_week6_2

Musical Speed Dating 9 May

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

If you clicked on this article purely for Usher’s abs then you’re in luck. Scroll further down and there’s an entire video. For the remaining few of you who clicked on this for the music, you’re also in luck. We’re delving into tracks from the ever-impressive Antlers, Aussie wonder-DJ Alison Wonderland and Xtina revival queen K Stewart. This week it’s all about the king and queen of the dance floor with Alison Wonderland and new kid on the block, Shamir, proving to be favourites with polar opposite versions of booty-shaking tracks. Keep scrolling for more puns and Usher pick-up lines.

Antlers- Hotel

Sam: There’s something about the chord progression on this that just melts me from the outset. My only problem is that there’s not a lot of dynamic to the song which means it becomes slightly stale towards the end 3

Lizzie: This is a floaty, smooth track which really makes you drift away to a different place. The vibe is moody and slow – I can almost feel my face mushed against a window on a rainy day, staring pensively into the distance..“In the hotel, I can’t remember how the past felt.” 3

Hannah: Go into your living room, put on a track by The Editors, or maybe even The Cold War Kids, leave the room and listen to the now toned down, slightly muted track from the other side of the door. This is what’s happening here. Same, same but different. I do love the plucky guitar outro though. 3

Bianca: Peter Silberman’s lilting vocals seem to be heavily influenced by Jeff Buckley’s ‘Mojo Pin’. I’d request a late checkout from this Hotel 3.5 Bianca’s Pick 

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

Usher- Good Kisser

Sam: Dat falsetto, am I right? I am unnaturally obsessed with the verses and bridge of this song and then completely underwhelmed by the chorus. 3.5

Lizzie: Why does Usher always write songs about me, it’s embarrassing. I kid, I kid…

But what I am not kidding about is how pumped I am to see Usher back in full force in 2014. The cowbell is fresh and funky – really makes this song for me. Only problem, stick to singing your lyrics Usher, ‘saying’ them just sounds plain weird. 3.5

Hannah: Basically you had me at Usher. Good Kisser is doing for Usher what Sexy Back did for Mr Timberlake after his hiatus: Pair it back, throw a bit of funk in there and remind the world you have some sweet dance moves and BOOM! Nobody will even care you left them for awhile. 3.5

Bianca: My confession Part I: ‘Good Kisser’ doesn’t do it for me. You’re not wrong about dat falsetto, Sam, but other than that, the song never makes it past first base.

Basement Jaxx- Unicorn

Sam: I’m not sure if I like this song or I’m just nostalgic for Marky Mark’s Good Vibrations. Either way that thumping bass and acid-synth line is giving me damn good feels. Basement Jaxx always succeed in updating their sound but keeping true to their style. 3.5

Lizzie: It’s got all the elements that should make you want jump up and dance. A quick pulsing beat, the lyrics want us to get us up “jumping”, but am I just not feeling it at all. Sadly, I only have room for one British electronic dance duo in my playlist, and that’s saved for Disclosure. 2.5

Hannah: This is a car crash of synth and bass and off-tune samples beneath a whingey vocal. Put bluntly, it does not want to make me get my body jumping. 1

Bianca: Sounds a little too aerobics dance class for me- more Jumping Jaxx than Basement Jaxx. Unfortunately these guys have taken a few Box Steps backwards from their previous album. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/basement-jaxx/unicorn[/soundcloud]

Alison Wonderland- I Want U

Sam: A little bit of trap, a little bit of Flume and a little bit of Crystal Castles and you have a song that sounds very similar to everything else right now. Alison Wonderland is super cool and I love the warehouse tour idea but this doesn’t really dish up anything new. 2.5

Lizzie: Love love this track. Everything fits for me – the vocals are echoey and haunting, but with the layering of samples, crashes and all sorts of sounds, it all makes sense. No wonder why she was snapped up by Diplo & Friends. 4.5 Lizzie’s Pick 

Hannah: Remember when TNGHT gave us Higher Ground? Yeah, well so does Alison Wonderland… only now it’s called I Want U. 3.5

Bianca: A smorgasbord of everything hot right now which has regrettably left me with a touch of heartburn. 2

Shamir- I Know It’s A Good Thing

Sam: It’s two from two for newcomer Shamir. This is another slice of disco-heaven delivered by a buttery melody and throwback vocals. It’s time to restart Studio 54. 4 Sam’s Pick 

Lizzie: What a voice, that heavenly voice. And the heavy thump of the piano. It’s not gospel, it’s not electronica, it’s not disco as we know it. Its Shamir. A new and bewitching sound and I love it, and this is only his second release! 4

Hannah: This kid was born in the wrong decade. He shows some skill, easily playing with disco, Rnb, house and a whole lotta soul here. I Know It’s A Good Thing is such a good thing. 4 Hannah’s Pick 

Bianca: Shamir’s androgynous voice provides a melodious juxtaposition to the heavy-handed piano strokes. 3.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/godmodeinternet/shamir-i-know-its-a-good-thing[/soundcloud]

KStewart- Tell Me ‘Bout That

Sam: Xtina is alive and well in this one. And there’s no problem with that. The chorus is just A+ RnB and the song as a whole is a testament to the strength of RnB music at the moment. More and more great stuff continues to come out of the woodwork. I would love for something like this to make it to radio. 4

Lizzie: I feel like I’m hosting a very suave party in an elevator, somewhere stuck on the level between Christina Aguilera circa 2000s and some fresh new RnB pop/electronica. What may seem confusing to the ears at first, but it actually turns out to be a little gem of a song after 2-3 listens. Shame she shares the unfortunate name with some bitchy–faced Twilight vampire. 3.5

Hannah: So I listened to KStewart do her thang… and now I’m in the middle of a Christina revival. Did someone say derivative? 3

Bianca: The bubble sound effects, in addition to a melody reminiscent of The Sims ‘Buy Mode’, give this song a playful groove. Something tells me this girl will be bringing in the §§§s in due time. 3.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/kstewartmusic/tell-me-bout-that-produced-by-karma-kid-1[/soundcloud]

musicalspeeddating2

Musical Speed Dating 25 April

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Another week, another bunch of unsolicited attacks on unsuspecting musicians in the form of the Musical Speed Date. The selection this week is a hot and sweaty mix of RnB, electronica and rock spiced up with some hands-in-the-air 80’s nostalgia. Sit back and we’ll take you on a cosmic journey through the week’s best (and worst)- just remember to scroll.

Jamie xx- Girl

Sam: The vocal sample is super nice but I feel like the rest just plods along unambitiously…until the end when the drums kick in. I like that. A lot. 3.5

Bianca: More like Jamie XXX. Dayuuumm Girl, that was smooth. 4

Lizzie: Bit too slow for me. The start grabs you but then I feel it slipped away very quickly. Vocals are echoey and cool but not his best. 3

Hannah: The walking bass runs through this track at that perfect, effortlessly cool tempo. It’s a deeper, darker, offering from the DJ and in many ways more concise, dare I say even more predictable than what we’re used to receiving from him.  With its big brass samples and tongue-in-cheek play with soulful blues rhythms it has me even more excited to hear what’s in store from his forthcoming release. 4   HANNAH’S PICK

Movement- Ivory

Sam: Movement are just the most exciting thing in Australia right now. Not only is the voice unbelievable, but the music is also dark, creeping and alluring. When the piano kicks in and the vocals take it up a notch, I get a little bit clammy. And then that guitar. Someone get me water. 4.5   SAM’S PICK

Bianca: Haunting and breathy vocals transport me to the dark, tattooed alleys of NYC. In a good, non-rapey kind of way. The guitar riff is an interesting touch to the finale. 4  BIANCA’S PICK

Lizzie: Great pace in this song. Simple, beautiful voice, and love the rocky guitar solo! 4.5   LIZZIE’s PICK

Hannah: It’s 3am and the throbbing bass is the highway that stretches infinitely in front of you while the world around you changes, throwing up new towns and strange characters. The only speed bump is that god awful guitar solo, but other than that it’s smooth sailing to dawn. 3.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/modularpeople/movement-ivory-2[/soundcloud]

Twin Shadow- To The Top

Sam: It’s so explicitly ‘80s that it falls into Simply Red territory and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. When he pulls it back a bit in the verses I follow, but the chorus is OTT. Add black cat, wind and a smoke machine for full effect. 3

Bianca: The chorus is too John Farnham on his fifth (and final) comeback tour. He’s the voice and I’m trying to understand it. 1.5

Lizzie: Errgggh. Not my style at all. Go back to the ‘90s Baywatch film set. 2

Hannah: This just in: Twin Shadow announces John Farnham collaboration. 2.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/twin-shadow/to-the-top[/soundcloud]

TALA- Serbia

Sam: A tribal expedition through R&B, TÃLàpulls all the tricks on this one. The percussion hits hard, the vocal manipulation tugs at the ears and the brassy synths rattle the bones. It’s a melting pot of all the right sounds. 4

Bianca: The intro gets straight into it and sets the scene for good things to come. Energetic drums and poppy vocals ensure that dance, tribal and R&B lines are blurred harder than Robin Thicke. 4

Lizzie: I like the layering in this song – not too much to irritate the ears, just enough to keep you bopping. I like the male/female dynamic in the vocals, really works for this track. 4

Hannah: I don’t know what this is? Vaguely drum and bass, electronica, indie? I initially thought it was going in Lykke Li direction before it took what was the first of many turns and left me stumped again. Whatever it is, I like what TÃLÃ Is doing here. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/talaofficial/serbia[/soundcloud]

Chromeo- Ezra’s interlude

Sam: There’s a lot to be said for a simple piano and vocal line. Ezra’s falsetto is like honey and is complimented beautifully by Chromeo’s subtle guitar stabs. My only problem: I want more. It’s like buying anything under a king-sized Cadbury bar. You’re always gonna want the extra inch. 4

Bianca: From the get-go, Ezra’s voice melts in my ears. Chromeo adds a groovy touch to his chocolatey falsetto. Short & sweet. 4

Lizzie: A little too corny for me. Yeah, ok, his voice is sweet. Sickeningly sweet. 3

Hannah: Chromeo do Chromeo so well their obsession with the sweet sound of the ‘80s can be forgiven. Happy memories from Coachella may have me a little biased. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/chromeo/ezras-interlude[/soundcloud]

The Black Keys- Turn Blue

Sam: It’s nice and polite. My problem is the Black Keys are seemingly on the Kings of Leon path to rock n roll beige. RIP. 2

Bianca: Would probably press ‘next’ on iTunes Shuffle. 2

Lizzie: Not what I am used to from the Black Keys, but I am pleasantly surprised. This belongs in a smokey downtown Jazz club, but not something to go and rave about. 3.5

Hannah: Psychedelic surf rock. Been there done that. 2

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