fbpx
FirstImpressions15Sept_2

First Impressions: SBTRKT, Kiesza, Flight Facilities + more

FI_15Sept

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the week passed, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week.

SBTRKT- Voices In My Head (Feat. A$AP Ferg and Warpaint)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sbtrkt/sbtrkt-voices-in-my-head-ft-asap-ferg[/soundcloud]

Sam: I was really worried when I heard Temporary View that SBTRKT was going to be offering up the same ol’ thing but how wrong I was. Everything since that track has been out-of-the-box, bordering on bizarre. A$AP’s rap over SBTRKT’s jazz-infused beat sits somewhere between Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar. It shouldn’t work, but my goodness, does it. 4

Lizzie: This track is very muddled and maddening – a real departure from what I am used to hearing from my beloved SBTRKT. Yes, it does emulate the “voices in my head” weirdly well, but it just doesn’t gel together well for me. A$AP is the only thing that cures my insanity when listening to this. 2

Bianca: Everything that SBTRKT has offered us from his new album has been so diverse and challenging to the norm. Once again, he has enlisted more talented counterparts to create something multi-faceted and weirdly wonderful. Elements of jazzy brass, combined with A$AP’s infectious spit of words and the piano solo finale create a jilted atmosphere, oscillating between confusion and calm. In essence, the environment of someone who actually is suffering from voices in their head. So so excited for Wonder Where We Land to land. 3.75 

Kiesza- No Enemies

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kiesza/kiesza-no-enemiesz[/soundcloud]

Sam: Lay on the bass, reference ‘90s rave and throw down a killer melody and you’ve got me hook, line and sinker. This track is all about the powerhouse verses with Kiesza shredding with the vocals. It’s all very of the moment and throwback at the same time isn’t it? 3

Lizzie: I could definitely see myself dragging my friends onto the dancefloor with No Enemies. The ’90s beats and killer vocals are a fresh sound, and the breakdown at the end provide an easy and effective recipe for you to let your hair down and party on into the night. 3.5

Bianca: Every now and then, I question whether certain songs from the past would be successful if they were released in this day and age. No Enemies, with its thumping bass, power keys and Kiesza belting it out on the vocals, is the perfect case of a ’90s track subbing quite nicely into modernity. The ’90s is currently the new ’80s and this gal is so on-trend right about now. 

Arca- Thievery

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/arca1000000/arca-thievery/[/soundcloud]

Sam: This guy’s already produced for Kanye West and FKA Twigs so he’s got some serious cred and you can tell why on this first offering from his debut, Xen. The dense tones of this one really anchor in your brain, with the only relief being those flighty synths that permeate the track. The ebbs and flows, where he layers on the intensity and then pairs it back is what makes Thievery as captivating as it is. 4

Lizzie: Thievery has a soul, not quite sure why or how but it exudes an electricity which gets right to the core. I am still undecided whether I actually like the song, but it had definitely caught my attention, and opened my eyes to a new artist, which is not usually my style or taste. 3.5

Bianca: While some parts of the track bring back memories of my initial, screechy violin lessons back in primary school, there are some really nice sonic elements to this. Mind-bending and totally manic, Thievery ignites a kind of angsty emotion but I’m not sure I’m ready for just yet. 2.5 

Flight Facilities- Two Bodies

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/flightfacilities/two-bodies-feat-emma-louise-extended-version[/soundcloud]

Sam: Flight Facilities have made a name for themselves making music that’s suited to a boutique hotel lobby, but a little more melodic and interesting. Two Bodies has that same low-key vibe to it but Emma Louise hops on to give this sensual, personal vocal that saves the track from mediocrity. 3

Lizzie: Claire de Lune proved to the world that Flight Facilities are the great at creating ethereal, floaty, ‘Chill Out Album’ tracks with a killer female vocalist. Two Bodies is yet another example of this trend that the Sydney duo seem to be keeping. Sadly, this just misses the mark a bit for me – pushing the ‘minimal’ envelope too far, creating a boring vibe more than anything else. 3

Bianca: Flight Facilities are electronic masters and always seem to create the perfect vibe for drinks on a balmy Summer’s afternoon. Two Bodies paints the same kind of picture for me although it feels as if I’ve had a few too many beers in this situation. Love the steady synth and Emma Louise’s saccharine vocals but it’s verging on too dreamy for me that I almost want to nod off to sleep. 

Kid Ink- Body Language (Feat. Usher & Tinashe)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kidinkofficial/kid-ink-body-language-ft-usher-tinashe[/soundcloud]

Sam: This is just a straight up hip-pop record with Usher delivering a silky vocal hook to give it some sort of commercial-sensibility. It’s got the same sort of beat we heard earlier this year on Chris Brown’s Loyal and will most likely have the clubs going up, with alcohol-fuelled punters convincing themselves they can rap (I include myself in this). I wish Tinashe’s part was more prominent. Even by just harmonising in the background she steals the show. 3.5

Lizzie: This threesome works in complete harmony, proving three is definitely not a crowd. Body Language is little hip-hop gem which is not too in your face, very infectious and sure to be a hit on Kiis FM. I am glad I got to hear it before it becomes tainted by the dreaded radio overplay. 3.5

Bianca: It’s bouncy, it’s radio-ready and it’s honestly a bit boring for my liking. The melody leaves a lot to be desired and Usher doesn’t bring as much to the table as I would’ve expected. If this were to come on in a club, my body language would read that I was in desperate need of another drink. 

Sam Tiba- Deguisement

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/bromancerecords/bromance17-sam-tiba-deguisement[/soundcloud]

Sam: This is so off-centring that you’re almost made to stick around until the end just so you can make sense of it all. It wafts in and out of pulsating beats, crescendoing strings and stirring keys, traversing between the mellow and the club-ready. At every moment, there’s something delicious for the ears whether it be the perky vocal sample or the fluctuating levels of intensity. A surprise winner for me this week. Flawless. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: The start just grabs you instantly! It’s so jumpy and playful in all the right ways and weirdly, unlike Sam it made complete sense to me right off the bat. Tiba has struck gold here, producing a track which could be played almost anywhere and at anytime and provide the exact mood pick-me-up you need. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: What a wonderful array of thumping beats, hand claps, synths and strings. There’s an element of Nintendo game in here, but it’s been squashed and stretched, muddled and mushed into an energetic, driving force that immediately hits you smack bang in the face. In a good way, of course. 4 Variety is the spice of life but unfortunately that’s not the case this week. Deguisement is also Bianca’s Pick 

 

 

fi_9sept_2

First Impressions: Aphex Twin, Calvin Harris, Mary J Blige + more

FI_9Sep

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the week passed, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week.

Aphex Twin- minipop 67 [source field mix]

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/warp-records/aphex-twin-minipops-67-1202source-field-mix[/soundcloud]

Sam: I was nine when Aphex Twin’s last album, Drukqs, was released so excuse me for not being overly excited about his return. Coming at this with fresh ears though, it’s an introverted, intelligent tune that bubbles along, working itself further and further down the rabbit hole. This is jam-packed full of sounds and melodies, but it sounds completely removed from dance music today. It’s weird, unexpected and yet totally captivating. 4

Bianca: This is a weirdly wonderful assortment of sounds that don’t even hint at a 13-year hiatus. I feel like a ‘How It’s Made’ episode could be made for minipop 67 [source field mix] to unravel the mystery behind the mash-up of analog and digital which have somehow been smooshed together to create a strange, yet, perfectly functioning piece of music. 4

Lizzie: This is very cyborg, I feel like I should be hurtling into another galaxy with Dr Who. I am really sorry to say but the last 30secs made me actually giggle out loud, just not my cup of tea! 1.5

Kindness- This Is Not About Us

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kindness/this-is-not-about-us[/soundcloud]

Sam: I’m loving Kindness’ whole aesthetic for this new album. It has the immaculate tailoring of ‘80s MJ, the smoothness of Sade and the effortless cool of Dev Hynes. I’m not sure if this is the most exciting thing we’ve heard from him but it helps to formulate that image and sound that I imagine will all make sense on the album. There’s plenty of bells and whistles looping under Kindness’ most soulful vocal yet. In the words of the wonderful Britney Spears, “gimme more”. 3

Bianca: Came for the swinging vocals, stayed for the cowbells. The percussion and Kindness’ croon are honestly a bit too minimalist for my liking but the funky bass line manages to keep it from falling too flat. 2

Lizzie: The “sssssss” in his vocals are unshakeably distracting. Take him out of the equation, its actual are really nice mellow track. Great for running errands and what not, and who can say no to a cowbell! 2.5

Swick & Lewis Cancut- Wishes (Feat. Tkay Maidza)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/shhsecretsongs/swick-lewis-cancut-wishes-ft-tkay-maidza[/soundcloud]

Sam: This is just a melting pot of a few of my favourite things really. Ryan Hemsworth is releasing this cut on his Secret Songs compilation and it just so happens that the first release is an all Aussie affair. Swick & Lewis Cancut’s beat is popping bubblegum born from the PC Music era while Tkay just kills ‘em all, singing rather than rapping for the first time. I know we’ve seen a lot of Aussies do well overseas recently but, my goodness, if this girl doesn’t beat them all, somebody strip me of any music credentials. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Bianca: Tkay is just like Vegemite in the way that she goes with everything. Whether she’s laying down R&B rap or singing stylised, sugary-sweet tunes over a glitchy 8-bit beat, this girl is multi-faceted and is about to be Australia’s hottest export. And, unlike Vegemite, I feel the US is going to develop a taste for Tkay instantaneously. 4

Lizzie: This is such a pleasant surprise! It’s not my usual style but this is a great example of how to make a lollipop PC track and not drive anyone crazy (i.e me)! The two minute mark is a glittery treat, and something fresh and more feminine from Tkay. 4

Calvin Harris- Blame (Feat. John Newman)

Sam: My biggest tip here would be don’t look at the lyrics. It was only when I looked at them that I realised just how repetitive this is. Until then, I was content listening to Newman’s gravelly tones. In terms of Calvin’s beat it’s more of the same, isn’t it? It’s the same breakdown we’ve been hearing since Rihanna’s We Found Love. Then, it was a rush of blood to the head, now it’s a rush of nausea to my stomach. This guys the highest paid DJ in the world and he’s practically doing it in his sleep. Definitely a hit, but a personal triumph? I don’t think so. 1.5

Bianca: It’s just the same tried and tested formula from Calvin. Last year, he claimed he was “doing more dance music that probably won’t get into the charts” but it feels he’s slipped right back into over-familiar territory and mass-producing hits suffering from a serious case of same shit, different day. Where is the old Calvin we used to know and love??? 1.5

Lizzie: O oh spagettio, he’s got me again. As much as I want to resist his dance floor charm, Calvin has got me under his EDM spell with ‘Blame’. And the worst thing it’s totally not his best hit by FAR! John Newman delivers yet another whiny heartfelt overlay which is tolerable, Calvin brings his classic Calvin geddup…and sadly I can just see myself shamelessly dancing to this all Summer.  3.5

Theophilus London- Tribe (Feat. Jesse Biykins III)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/theophilusl/tribe[/soundcloud]

Sam: Theophilus is relatively unknown but he has some damn cool friends including Solange, Big Boi and Karl Lagerfeld who shot the album cover for his forthcoming record. I played this out loud the other night and lost my shit. It’s got an effortless flow that’s both groovy and hard-hitting. This is a party-tune that would sound best to popping champagne corks and the trickle of spirits hitting ice. Smooth and so, so trendy. 3.5

Bianca: There is such an effortless groove to Theophilus’ vocals which have been deliciously contrasted by Brodinski’s eccentric, accelerated production. So many good vibes from this track with my only issue being that it ends too prematurely. 4 Bianca’s Pick

Lizzie: I feel instantly so much cooler for listening to this song. I am in love with the beat, the swagger and the CHORUS – oh the chorus. I have not heard a track like this in forever, it’s brilliantly layered and keeps you on your toes the entire time 4.6 Lizzie’s Pick

Mary J. Blige- Right Now (Prod. by Disclosure)

Sam: Disclosure are no strangers to working with Mary J. Blige, so where her guest spot on F For You felt a little intrusive, here she sounds completely at ease. Blige is 43 right now and constantly changing up her sound yet always keeping her gut-wrenching soul. Disclosure have toned it down on a notch on this one, as to not let their own exuberance flood Blige’s vocal and the give and take does them good. I can just see Blige strutting across the stage to this, glaring through people’s souls. Take not Swifty, Blige is the original queen of breakup songs. 3.5

Bianca: Disclosure’s trademark syncopated rhythms and poppy synths are all over this track with the duo laying down a flawless beat for Mary J to work with. These guys are just the right people to breathe life and ‘cool’ back into her music career. 3

Lizzie: I had such high expectations for this combo – Mary J and Disclosure – what could go wrong? The thing is nothing is really wrong with it, I am just not digging Mary J’s vibe, she just flatlines for me. Hats off of to Disclosure however, their backing production is a lovely tickle to the ears. 3

fi_1sept

First Impressions: TOKiMONSTA, The Preatures, Eminem + more

fi_1sept

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on first (or second) listen. Each week we each review six new songs from the week passed, each giving them a score out of five and awarding one our pick of the week.

TOKiMONSTA- Steal My Attention

Bianca: Awash with shimmering synths and layer upon layer of electronic goodness, TOKiMONSTA’s latest melancholic offering spins around and paces back and forth. She is apparently “going through some tough shit right now” and you can sense some kind of underlying sorrow in there. The marching drums and male chants really bring this one home for me. 4

Sam: I really dug TOKiMONSTA’s Realla and this one proves she’s on a bit of a roll right now. The high-pitched vocal sample just cuddles your ears along with the mellow synths. It may be a rehash of what’s doing the rounds right now stylistically but she does a damn good job of it. 3.5

Lizzie: The back beat really strikes straight to the heart. I love the squiggle horn beats – I know that only make sense to me but that’s how it sounds in my head. That, mixed with the high pitched-voice, is just gorgeous. 4 Lizzie’s really close second

Hannah: I’m a sucker for a great vocal sample and this is filled with them. I love the juxtaposition of the high-pitched Furby vocals layered with an almost ominous beat and deep house synth. It’s a perfect demonstration of how to maintain melodic integrity while citing some of those Japanese pop-culture influences we’re loving at the moment. 4 Hannah’s Pick

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/tokimonsta/steal-my-attention-off-the-upcoming-desiderium-album[/soundcloud]

The Preatures- Somebody’s Talking

Bianca: Look, it’s not you, The Preatures, it’s me. You have so much to offer and will make someone very happy one day but I’m afraid that person’s not me. 2.5

Sam: The Preatures are going to be that band that I’m still listening to when I’m a Dad (heaven help us) and my kids will think it’s really dorky. They’ve got a certain quality of longevity to them and it feels as if they’ll go down as a classic Aussie band. Somebody’s Talking helps that legacy. It’s funky, effortlessly delectable and Manfredi, once again, is a growling, charismatic frontwoman. 4

Lizzie: Great tune. Great tune. It’s got the energy to get everyone up and dancing – coordinated or not. Sam I totally agree with you! I feel I’m going to be dragging my kids onto the dance floor at a wedding with this gem. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Hannah: Yep, that sounds like The Preatures talking alright. 2

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/thepreatures/somebodys-talking[/soundcloud]

QT- Hey QT

Bianca: Admittedly, when I was first introduced to PC Music, I was not sold. So purposefully kitsch and jam-packed full of ‘90s cultural references in the most obvious of ways, I wasn’t about to be tricked into enjoying it. SOPHIE’s Lemonade made no sense whatsoever, neither lyrically nor structurally, while A.G.Cook’s Beautiful  just sounded like a song from Dance Dance Revolution. Now the two producers have teamed up and it seems that two wrongs have somehow made a right. Upon my very first listen to Hey QT when dropped in SOPHIE’s Boiler Room set, I was immediately addicted to the so-called “Energy Elixir” and everything PC Music-related started to make so much sense. Trapped in my head like a gummy earworm and played in excess as a result, I can’t get enough of the candy goodness and matter-of-fact lyrics, the latter being curiously on point with the line: “I’ve got this new song and it’s the only one I want to play.” Maybe I’ve been converted, or perhaps I’m just on a sugar high, but this track is like a delicious pick ‘n’ mix that just keeps on giving and giving. 4.75 Bianca’s Pick

Sam: I have personally been a fan of all releases by A.G. Cook and SOPHIE, seperately, but I admit that they aren’t the most objectively likeable songs. I knew, however, that they were only moments away from a breakaway hit that would suddenly see people come around to PC Music. Well, this is it. What needs to be said about this song that it doesn’t already say. “They played your new song, it’s like nothing I heard before”, sings the character in Hey QT and surely she is talking about this song. Its melody is impossibly irresistible, the beats sound like bursting bubblegum and it unlocks ‘90s nostalgia aplenty. Something new and yet something so familiar. Unequivocally brilliant. 5 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: It sounds like I am about to break into a cheer-leading routine. A chipmunk cheer-leading routine. However, in saying that I did find myself joyfully bopping along to the chorus. This is a lot me palatable than the other PC songs I have been regrettably exposed to. 3

Hannah: In every great pursuit, there’s an initial phase of innovation brought on by a forward thinker’s desire to push the boundaries of the box ever onward. That is what PC Music has been about until now. Now, however, comes the phase where people begin to understand that innovation. When unique concepts, or in this case unique music, become attainable and more importantly accessible. This retains the PC Music we’ve come to know, but does it in a manner aimed straight at the jugular of popular appeal. 3

Eminem Feat. Sia- Guts Over Fear

Bianca: I feel I’ve heard this one before, although this time with a constant, reverberating siren distracting me from what’s going on. Probably for the best. Sia’s voice is perfect as usual but the chorus renders it into tired, mainstream territory. Maybe I’m just not angry enough to relate so the impact is lost on me. 2.5

Sam: More inspirational rapping from Eminem with quips about the media and what everybody says about him. It really does feel like more of the same with Sia delivering her second hook for Eminem. She sounds floaty and melancholic but nothing could save Em from dishing up this wet cloth of a song. Also Eminem in general, ugh. 2

Lizzie: When I heard Eminem and Sia, I set the expectation bar so high…and *sigh* what a disappointment. Eminem is on a comeback and Sia is at the top of her game, why is there no chemistry? 2

Hannah: Eminem says “I just want to play my part,” and that’s exactly what he’s doing here. Still running that old poor-little-white-boy-rapper act he’s become known for, only this time he’s doing it with Sia not Rhi Rhi. Eminem peaked with Superman. 2

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/igapromotion/eminem-guts-over-fear-feat-sia[/soundcloud]

Redihno- Get You Off My Mind

Bianca: Just a little bit too much funk in the trunk for my liking. 2

Sam: Redinho describes this song as having a “cheeky kinda optimism” to it and he’s right. The instrumentation is perky with bouncing beats and sunshine-filled synths. Brendan Reilly’s vocal harks back to ‘90s soul and does a perfect job of working up lustful butterflies. However, just like summer love it feels like this song could be forgotten once the sun weakens. 3

Lizzie: It’s very Disco Stu peppered with a bit of R&B cool. With the turn of the season, I think it a great tune to bring that little spring in the step! 3.5

Hannah: The first 30 seconds of this failed to captivate me so I didn’t listen to the rest. I don’t think I missed much. 2.5

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/nmbrs/redinho-get-you-off-my-mind[/soundcloud]

Kero Kero Bonito- Sick Beat

Bianca: I Shazamed this bad boy a couple of days ago so surely that’s a pretty definitive sign that it made a good first impression on me. The flurry of in-your-face nostalgic references and washes of synths and glitchy pops are enough to have me hooked. Surely trumps Taylor Swift’s ‘sick beat’, anyway. 3.5

Sam: This has the same kind of feel as Japanese producer Tofubeats. It oscillates between j-pop, indie-pop and electronica with a bubblegum instrumental alongside kawaii vocals. Like the perfect dessert, it never goes overboard with the sugar pulling the instrumentation right back at times leaving the lead-vocal spraying off, what sounds like, Japanese. Such a fan. 4

Lizzie: Of all the Japanese style songs I’ve heard (except Porter Robinson), this one actually sits ok with me. It’s definitely the chorus which grabs me and keeps me. How does one dance to this though? 3.5

Hannah: Oh no, it’s a Eurasian M.I.A. Make her stop.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kerokerobonito/sick-beat[/soundcloud]

fi_25Aug2

First Impressions: Taylor Swift, The Drums, Les Sins + more

fi_25aug

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on first (or second) listen. Each week we each review six new songs from the week passed, each giving them a score out of five and awarding one our pick of the week.

Taylor Swift- Shake It Off

Hannah: I was a little M.I.A when this song dropped last week and promptly broke the twittersphere. While I knew that  Earl Sweatshirt put his always relevant 2 cents in and called out a pancake-assed Tay Tay for being “inherently offensive” in her efforts to “exacerbate racial stereotypes,” and I caught glimpses of the video as it made its way around every morning show in this galaxy and the next, I’ve somehow managed to avoid listening to it until now. While I may be a little late to the party, this is a tongue-in-cheek “fuck you” like only Tay Tay could deliver and quite frankly, closet Swift fan I am, I love it. While the message is overt (shake it off was it?), her latest release heralds, in a much more subtle manner, a mature departure from her previous album. The beat is up, the brass is in and the octave a little less squeaky-girl-next-door and a little more I-might-surprise-you-yet. Yeah Taylor! 3.6

Sam: Unlike Hannah, I’m not a Tay Tay fan. Until now, I’ve found her to be alarmingly self-obsessed and overwhelmingly whiney. This, however, is a massive win. She’s not afraid to be dorky or 100% pop and the result of that is she comes off as a far more likeable artist. Max Martin’s inclusion of brass is perfect and the rap, as ridiculous as it is, is perfect. 4

Bianca: I have been in two minds about this little ditty all week. On one hand, this is a pop ballad that is catchy and purposefully kitschy in every single way; it stands as an expert transition from country to pop. However, it is for those same reasons that every fiber of my being is telling me to dislike it: the cheesy lyrics, Tay Tay’s attempts at acting ‘dorky’ in the video, the tired joke of impersonating other musicians, the spoken word/rap…I’m going to have to go ahead with the latter. In short, all aspects of why I object to it outlined here (in a blog aimed at promoting the exact opposite).

Lizzie: This is not the first time I have heard Shake it off, admittedly. Every single ounce of me wants to not like it, not dance to it and not have it stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Alas, this is exactly what happened and this will continue to happen. Well played Taylor, you got me this time! 4

[embed width=”750″ height=”415″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM[/embed]

Caribou- Our Love

Hannah: This is yet another example of Caribou’s flawless production. A bass heavy gurgle pulsing endlessly beneath a tapestry of vocal samples that expertly crescendo to a place of synth, snare, strings, rockets, 3am and deep house. I love a slow burn and Caribou’s restraint here delivers exactly that. 4 Hannah’s Pick

Sam: This is very much in the same vein as Can’t Do Without You in terms of song structure. Thankfully I was a huge fan of Can’t Do Without You and I am of this one too. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the latter parts of the song. The bassline melts my ears and the beat injects some much-needed energy into it. 3.5

Bianca: Caribou has once again perfected the art of delicacy. Gently placing subtle layer upon layer of heavenly vocals, defiant drum kicks, string synths and dat throbbing bassline, if completing a Buzzfeed ‘Which French dessert are you?’ quiz, Our Love would be a mille-feuille. 4 Bianca’s Pick 

Lizzie: It’s just so gloriously minimal. Caribou does not have to try hard to produce a track that you instantly fall in love with. The start goes against every EDM banging bone in my body and I’m happy to admit it. Then violins just sneak up on you and tickle your ears – and when you think it’s almost over, 3 mins 22 hits and you are up and at it again. 4

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/caribouband/our-love[/soundcloud]

Shannon Saunders- Sheets

Hannah: Sheets is a melting pot for everything good that’s happening at the collision of pop and electronic music right now. To that avail, it’s a good song but not a great song. It shows Saunders has a great ear for a great sound but hasn’t quite found her sound. When she does, I’m sure it’ll be killer but for now it’s just a little done. 3

Sam: I always love a healthy slice of understated electro-pop which probably explains my feelings towards this song. Saunders doesn’t need to exaggerate vocally in Sheets, rather letting the delectable melody hook you in. I feel like she’s a mini- Ellie Goulding in the making. 3

Bianca: Doughy, cooing female voices have never really sat well with me but in this case, Saunders’ has been diffused well into the synths and bassline which pleasantly prevent this track from verging into dangerous pop territory. 2.5

Lizzie: Right off the bat, you are drawn into her unique girly sound. Then the backbeat comes in as a beautiful compliment. It is exactly the pop song I feel like listening to right now. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/shannonsaunders/sheets[/soundcloud]

Run The Jewels- Blockbuster Night P.1

Hannah: Did he just rhyme oodles with noodles? I’m out. 2

Sam: Run The Jewels’ debut cut through in all the right places with aggressive raps and organic yet affecting beats and the same happens here. It feels removed from the current hip-hop climate ditching pop hooks and electronic stylings for something that just goes hard. It’s only a short one but it’s long enough to know that RTJ2 is going to be fierce. 4

Bianca: The grungey guitar, heavy lyrics, and general bloated sound of this track are of a nature that usually would not gel with me. But I’m feeling a bit badass tonight so I’mma just go ahead and leave a 3.5 right here while I go do some badass shit like not wait for my English Breakfast tea bag to infuse for the recommended 3-5 minutes.

Lizzie: I just feel angry after this song. My muscles are tightening and my face is getting wrinkled. Where’s my punching bag!? 2.5

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/massappealrecs/rtj-blockbuster-night-part-1[/soundcloud]

The Drums- I Can’t Pretend

Hannah: This is light and dreamy and some serious road trip music, but I’m over the whole wasted youth sound and the latest offering from The Drums falls irrevocably into that category. Cheer up. 2

Sam: I liked Magic Mountain when I first heard it but it’s since escaped my mind. Of course, this is once again a First Impression of the song but I have a feeling its fate might be different. I do agree with Hannah regarding the wasted youth sound but I’ve always felt The Drums pushed the envelope a little further. They are a band who have always been very aware of the aesthetic they want to give off and as such never sound lazy. I Can’t Pretend revels in woozy vocals and reverb-soaked instruments and is hopefully a good sign of what is to come on Encyclopedia. 3.5

Bianca: The Drums have personally always treaded on that fine line between being pleasantly whimsical and being tediously whiney; there’s only so much reflection and melancholy I can handle. In I Can’t Pretend, while still staying true to their signature nostalgia, they’ve also experimented into more assertive territory with electric glitches and jangly guitars. Let’s hope their Encyclopedia continues along this focus. 3.5

Lizzie: This just screams youth and summertime nostalgia. I feel like packing my bags and heading down the coast for a mid-week escape. That, or just locking myself away and watching the entire OC box set again. 3

[embed width=”750″ height=”415″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzuobjUuxAQ[/embed]

Les Sins- Bother

Hannah: If Taylor’s appearance in this weeks First Impressions’ is a ‘fuck you,’ then this is Budnick’s ‘fuck off.’ With an album out on November 4th under Les Sins and Toro y Moi continuing to pump out tracks, “don’t bother me, I’m working” is right! This is a house beat with just the right about of hip-hop influence running alongside an infectious vocal sample. While I’m not entirely sold on the detour via the frilly electronic explosion featured on the second half of the track, I’m excited for the rest of the album to drop 3

Sam: This is the track I’ve come back to time and time again this week. It’s a tune for those pumping it through the work day and sweating it out on the dancefloor and perfectly caters to day and nighttime crowds. I’d place myself in the latter category and can happily say this one would make me work for my next drink. The beat pumps the blood, the vocal-sample creates the groove and the final minute is a hands-in-the-air triumph. Damn, damn, damn, I love this. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Bianca: Don’t bother me, I’m twerkin’. 3.5 
twerking

Lizzie: This is a snazzy little jam isn’t it? It really has that I don’t give a fuck vibe, the samples in the background however, are terribly distracting. The close is a psychedelic surprise, an interesting end to an even more interesting song – nothing makes sense, but together it all kinda works. It’s weird how it all comes together nicely. 3.5

[embed width=”750″ height=”415″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyScqu7jEMc[/embed]
fi_18aug

First Impressions: Kindness, Drake, Anna Lunoe + more

fi_18aug

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on first (or second) listen. Each week we each review six new songs from the week past, each giving them a score out of five and awarding one our pick of the week.

Kindness- World Restart

Hannah: Apparently the world restarting sounds a lot like sax, bass, shaking cow bells and a whole lot of groove. Suddenly the apocalypse doesn’t seem so bad. 3.5

Sam: Just when the whole world is seemingly dabbling in future RnB, Kindness throws it back to a time before throbbing bass while still keeping future RnB queen, Kelela on board. It just lays right back on the beat and cruises by with funky guitars. The whole visual aesthetic of Otherness beside this sound works so well. So well. 4

Bianca: Funky guitar riffs and sexy sax samples are always a sure-fire match made in heaven. Ade’s vocals are smoother than peanut butter but unfortunately I always prefer mine with a bit more crunch. 3

Lizzie: I feel I should be strutting down the streets of Brooklyn with this tune. I love the harmonising, and the snazzy saxaphone – it offers an effortlessly layered style which I wouldn’t usually have on repeat, but Kelela has converted me. Top tune! 4

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kindness/kindness-world-restart-feat-kelela-ade[/soundcloud]

TEED and Anna Lunoe- Feels Like

Hannah: There’s something very familiar in the glitchy samples and rolling crescendos here. I feel as though this is TEED all grown up. He’s ditched the 12am curfew and is out to party all night, bringing with him party gurl-done-good Anna Lunoe. 3.5

Sam: I love that this just goes all out, four-to-the-floor for about four minutes before even introducing the vocal. And once TEED comes in it detours into a hazy post-tropical land, before yanking us straight back out into club-territory. Feels like people are going to go hard for this one (not in that way, get your mind outta the gutter). 3.5

Bianca: I got a little lost and on the verge of disinterested somewhere around the middle but once TEED reared his dreamy head at the 3:55 mark, all the jigsaw puzzle pieces just came into place. 4 Bianca’s Pick

Lizzie: Wow, just wow. Anna is going from strength to strength in 2014. You can’t really go wrong with a TEED remix, EVERYONE loves TEED. I can feel myself getting trapped in a repetitive dance move with this, which is fine, but may lead to some serious cramping on the d-floor. Keep up these thumpers, Miss Lunoe. 4

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/t-e-e-d/totally-enormous-extinct-dinosaurs-x-anna-lunoe-feels-like[/soundcloud]

Collarbones- Turning

Hannah: I love the bass on this track… Such a shame it’s hidden beneath a whole lot of duck quacking samples and those jarring vocals. 2

Sam: It’s always been Collarbones style to disguise pop songs unders a sea of samples and glitchy synths and nothing’s changed in that regard. What has happened is it sounds way more explicitly melodic, with Marcus laying down some crazy pop vocals. I love how they so effortlessly melt together club, pop and RnB styles. 4

Bianca: I’m loving this smorgasbord of flavours and effects. One would think that the vocals and sporadic synths have no place in the same room but Collarbones have proved the exact opposite; a surprising pairing that will live happily ever after. 3.5

Lizzie: I like to call this “Pimp My Pop Song”. The poppy vocals of Marcus have totally been transformed to make this layered, bass thumping, catchy track. The 2 min 40 moment it just a bundle of joy, and sets up for an epic climactic close. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/collarbones/turning[/soundcloud]

ILOVEMAKONNEN- Tuesday (Feat. Drake)

Hannah: I love this. It’s a paired back, get low grind, totally appropriate for midweek debauchery. I think Tuesday is my new favourite day. 4 Hannah’s Pick

Sam: I was already digging the original of this but Drake takes it to a whole new drunk-level. In fact the whole thing sounds drunk. Not messy drunk, but hazy drunk with slightly slurred raps and swirling synths. Yes it is true, I do LOVEMAKONNEN. And Drake. 4 Sam’s Pick

Bianca: This track gets extra points from me purely because it has fulfilled the role of my musical companion on this rainy day. The slow grooves and lazy vocals are doing a fine job of replacing my big woollen jumper or cup of hot tea while the rain cascades outside. 3

Lizzie: I knew Sam and Han would choose this baby! I am not going to sucumm to peer pressure. His autotuned voice is agitating and slurry. Do I like it more than Rebecca Black’s Friday? Yes. Would I shout it out on top of a rooftop? No. 3

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/octobersveryown/makonnen-ft-drake-tuesday[/soundcloud]

Ella Henderson- Glow

Hannah: And here we have the title track from the next Twilight-esque film. 2

Sam: I know you’re never really meant to admit it but I do have a bit of a penchant for a pop song with a triumphant chorus. This one’s a little formulaic (think Katy Perry Fireworks) but it achieves what it sets out to do. Ella’s voice is a cracker and speaking of crackers I’m always a fan of a bit of ‘fire’ personification. 3

Bianca: Does she have the X Factor? Yes. But that should not be taken as a compliment. This song is as annoying as those people who think they’re clever for informing you that tomatoes are a fruit and not a vegetable. 1

Lizzie: And I get all this flack for EDM music!!! This is just a big no, no. It belongs alongside Shakira and Vanessa Amorosi – it just reeks of terrible song releases made exclusively for the World Cup or the Olympics. 1.5

Jessie Ware- Say You Love Me

Hannah: This a much softer Ware than the one we’ve come to know but she still hits all those R&B notes so effortlessly, it’s impossible to deny her talent as one of the best songstresses circulating at the moment. Admittedly though, this is a little too pop, too country and too aimed at popular appeal for my liking but if someone’s going to do it, she does do it well. 3

Sam: This is the first-time Ware has taken on a straightforward love song and she can’t really do anything wrong can she? Her vocals are just so enticing and seductive that she could cover the crazy frog and I’d be happy. I’m hoping the album is more in the lane of Tough Love but if this Ed Sheeran co-write gets her a little bit more exposure, then I’m happy. 3.5

Bianca: Jessie’s voice is perfect and on-point as per usual but the tempo and sappy lyrics are a bit too cringe-worthy for me. I think the root of the problem here is Ed Sheeran- the acoustic guitar plucks need to go. 2

Lizzie: It ain’t no Tough Love, but it is definitely the perfect Chick Flick accompaniment. Time to invest in a pack of Kleenex. 3

FirstImpressions11Aug_2

First Impressions: Nicki Minaj, Dillon Francis, BenZel + more

FirstImpressions11Aug

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on first (or second) listen. Each week we each review six new songs from the week past, each giving them a score out of five and awarding one our pick of the week.

This week, we’re taking on all things pop with BenZel’s love lorn new single, Say Lou Lou’s collaboration with Lindstrom, Nicki Minaj’s ode to big buns and more. Read below as we clash heads, sync opinions and make our pick.

Say Lou Lou & Lindstrom- Games For Girls

Lizzie: I feel like i’ve gone back in time about 20 years. This is a sweet, poppy gem which make me instantly happy. I kinda want to invest in a Xylophone… 3.5 Lizzie’s Pick

Sam: I like everything apart from the fact that we have to wait until February for the album. Of all the stellar tracks these twins have released, this one sounds the most polished, confident and delectable. It’s also the most different sounding thing they’ve released, probably thanks to Lindstrom’s groove-heavy production. 3.5

Bianca: This has such a great groove to it. I’m really digging the nu-disco vibe that Lindstrom is laying down below the twins’ poppy vocals. Double trouble! 3.5 Bianca’s Pick.

[soundcloud width=”740″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sayloulou/say-lou-louxlindstrom-games-for-girls[/soundcloud]

BenZel- Wasted Love

Lizzie: Love the chorus breakdown, it’s very textured and evocative – especially her voice it just draws you straight in. I have many many feels after this song. 3.5

Bianca: I’m really getting a Jessie Ware vibe from this track but one that’s been injected with a warm dose of R&B. Stevie Neale’s honey-smooth vocals are an inviting addition to the already super-smooth beat. 3.5

Sam: The fact that BenZel are not two Japanese teenagers makes them no less impressive. Every pop act is surely champing at the bit to work with this duo following Jessie Ware’s Tough Love and now this. It’s a beautiful, understated pop song with a verse that rushes like a hit of sugar to the head. 4

[soundcloud width=”740″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/officialbenzel/wasted-love[/soundcloud]

Nicki Minaj- Anaconda

Lizzie: After I managed to draw my eyes away from her derriere for just a second I was able to listen to hear this song in all its glory. Maybe “glory” was not the right word to use. This track is a royal pain in my tiny (comparatively) arse. 1.5

Bianca: She just butchered a classic fave from my childhood and Sir Mix-a-lot deserves a written apology. Yes, we get it. You’ve got buns, hun. A baker’s dozen worth. 1

Sam: I couldn’t agree less with Bianca. The original is far from a classic. As far as I’m concerned this is more palatable. I’m just going to put the fact that this is completely ridiculous to the side and give Nicki some cred. She’s really the only artist on radio right now churning out stuff with a bit of colour and personality. She’s ditched the dance-pop side of things and is heading for a much more well-rounded third album. 3

Andras & Oscar- Everytime I Go

Lizzie: Has someone put the morning coffee run yet, cause I’m gonna need a strong shot of something to wake me up after this track. ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz 2

Bianca: Stop, collaborate and listen! It seems like every song so far has been a joint venture with Andras Fox & Oscar Key Sung leading the pack. It’s soulful and seductive in its own right, with Sung’s vocals grooving effortlessly over the delicate synths and crescendoing melody. 3.5

Sam: Lizzie, you’re killing me. This is such a warm, bassy treat. Andras Fox and Oscar Key Sung are two of the finest in Australian electronic music right now and this proves why. This one’s light on the tricks and heavy on the groove with an ever so subtle dance break at the end. 4

[soundcloud width=”740″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/chaptermusic/andras-oscar-everytime-i-go-album-version[/soundcloud]

Dillon Francis- When We Were Young

Lizzie: Not a fan of the vocalist at all. He sounds whiney, gaspy and just plain annoying. I usually rely on my man Dillon to produce a head banger which everyone will enjoy, not something that sounds like David Guetta’s sloppy seconds. 2

Bianca: If being young sounded like this then I would’ve had a very intense childhood. 1.5

Sam: Dillon, why? You only have to see one of his sets to see how much personality this guy has got and yet this is completely devoid of any personality. I could literally compile a list of 102 EDM songs that sound exactly like this. An attempt to break into the commercial market that sounds a little desperate. 2

[soundcloud width=”740″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/dillonfrancis/dillon-francis-sultan-ned-shepard-when-we-were-young-feat-the-chain-gang-of-1974[/soundcloud]

xxyxx- Untitled (Feat. Vanessa Elisha)

Lizzie: I am not one to play games, but this song has you sitting on the edge of your seat gasping for more at the start. The elongated (almost) silence around the 40 second mark is enticing and unpredictable but as the song progresses I am not blown off the edge of my seat if you get my jist, i’m just intrigued. Meh, it was alright. 3

Bianca: My feelings towards this are similarly untitled. At times, I’m hovering over the next button at other times I’m captivated by Vanessa Elisha’s smooth vocal. I think I’ll call the feeling content. This is definitely an interesting tune. 3.5

Sam: There’s so much depth and intricacy to this offering. Vanessa Elisha’s vocal on this is sliced-up and bubbles under the myriad of percussion and mellow synths, lulling you into a subconscious state. When the beats drop out and she comes through, it’s a pretty glorious moment. Everytime I think future RnB is getting a bit old, something like this comes out. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

[soundcloud width=”740″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/xxyyxx/unknown[/soundcloud]

FirstImpressions_4Aug_2

First Impressions: FKA Twigs, SOPHIE, Kate Boy + more

FirstImpressions_4Aug

Four people holding one rose each and yet there are six songs to choose from. Among them are some of the most eligible artists in the music world* with feisty females like Jessie J, arty types like FKA Twigs and the sentimental kind like Porter Robinson and #1 Dads. While some will be left brokenhearted, two artists in particular win the adoration of the interns.

*We can’t guarantee all these artists are eligible but they sound like they’re up for a good time.

Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj- Bang Bang

Sam: Ugh. I’m all for a big diva anthem but nothing sticks with this one. The hook is like something from a Michael Buble meets the songs of Hairspray album and throughout I hear a lot of screaming cats. Nicki’s verse is fire, of course, but it feels like Ariana knows it’s shit and Jessie is way too into it. 1

Bianca: Jessie, Ariana AND Nicki? As suspected, three wrongs do not make a right. Excuse me while I go bang bang into my head. 0

blam

Lizzie: Although it pains me to say it, this song is going to be a hit. Ergh. 2

Hannah: Remember when Xtina jazzed up her sound in the most appropriate pop-diva way possible and released that killer cover of Car Wash with a verse from Missy Elliot…? Yeah that’s not what’s happening here as much as they wish it was. 0.5 

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/dafrican/jessie-j-bang-bang-ft-ariana-grande-nicki-minaj-2014-world-premier[/soundcloud]

FKA Twigs- Pendulum

Sam: After the above song I feel like I’m back in my happy place. I already decided off Two Weeks that Twigs is my favourite artist of the year so all this is just a bonus. Pendulum undulates with intricacy and Twigs takes all the time she needs with the melody. She’s the queen of subtlety and yet also a master at theatrics. This is supreme. 4.5  Sam‘s Pick  

Bianca: FKA Twigs is easily one of the most interesting artists right now. Pendulum is weirdly beautiful and manages to maintain power and intensity through the most delicate of nuances. It’s her ability to make these contradictions, to gently oscillate between subtle and intense, that keeps me coming back for more. 3.5 

Lizzie: Ain’t no one going to rush FKA Twigs through this one. Not too dissimilar to Two Weeks, the soft pops of her to-die-for angelic voice, blended with the slow pattering back beat make for yet another mesmerising track. I have no idea what she is saying, but I’m ok with that. 4

Hannah: This is a heart melting lullaby sung out in the heart of industry. As the pendulum cranks and croons all around, FKA Twigs’ melody is all centring and all soothing. She is simply undeniable. 4.5  Hannah‘s Pick  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw6H9YsTLek

SOPHIE- Lemonade

Sam: Oh I love dem candy noises. The trickle at the beginning of this track is total ear candy, literally. From there it’s just full of runaway melodies, Eurotrash synths and popping beats. I guess the whole experience is all a bit like eating popping candy. It doesn’t match the expertise of Bipp, but it comes close. 4

Bianca: There just seems to be no substance to this song, apart from way too many colours and preservatives. It’s a sickly-sweet, hands-rubbing-on-balloon headache of a song, although, admittedly, listening to this after I spent all day at a kids’ birthday party probably hasn’t worked in its favour. 

Lizzie: Straight out of Willy Wonka washing machine! Please go back to Oompa Loompa Land, SOPHIE. Not even Veruca Salt wants you. 1

Hannah: This sounds like Alvin and The Chipmunks found on their way to a DDR machine and now can’t decide if they want to battle it to the sounds of drum and bass or J-Pop. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/msmsmsm/sophie-lemonade[/soundcloud]

Kate Boy- Self Control

Sam: I am pretty pissed that I had to wait almost two years after falling in love with Northern Lights for Self Control, but hey, I suppose it’s worse for fans of The Avalanches. That aside, Self Control has absolutely none of what its title suggests. It’s a big, bombastic pop song with a chorus that would make Dr. Luke salivate. From this point onwards pop music should only be made by the Swedish. 3.5 

Bianca: I’m enjoying the tribal beat and poppy synths but the vocal melody, particularly in the chorus, leaves a lot to be desired. 

Lizzie: Love the thump of the start. If only this was an instrumental version I could be left bopping awkwardly by myself for hours. There must be something in the water in Sweden, because they just keep churning out hit after hit! 3.5

Hannah: There really is something in the water over there in Sweden. Want to make a great pop record? Make like Kate Akhurst, hope a flight over and take one long glassy sip from the closest crystalline lake. This is exactly how all pop music should sound. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/kateboy/self-control[/soundcloud]

#1 Dads- So Soldier

Sam: Right off the bat that guitar riff hits me right in the heart, then Ainslie Wills comes in with this Cat Power-esque vocals and continues to just chip away at me. Tom Iansek and Wills sound so perfect together on the chorus. 3.5

Bianca: What a combo! Iansek’s strumming guitar has this essence of familiarity from the get-go, while Wills’ dreamy voice manages to transport me somewhere, far, far away. 3.5 

Lizzie: Definitely a Summer road trip kinda track – pack a picnic and set off! Ainslie’s voice is broody and seductive, but what truly shines in this track is the guitar, it’s just so floaty and nostalgic. 4

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pieater/1-dads-so-soldier-feat-ainslie-wills-about-face-lp-2014[/soundcloud]

Porter Robinson- Flicker

Sam: Finally Porter just goes screw it with subtlety and includes the most explicit representation of his Japanese influences yet. This is a crescendoing, textural, dynamic soundtrack to an anime game that conveniently doubles as a great electronic track. 4

Bianca: ヽ(=´▽`=)ノ ♪♬  ☆*・゜゚・*(^O^)/*・゜゚・*☆ ♪♬ ヾ(。◕ฺ∀◕ฺ)ノ

I’m digging everything this song is throwing at me. It’s so multi-layered and kept me enthralled the entire time, first with the funky, almost disco-inspired guitar riff, punctuated by anime-inspired spoken word, before dramatically reaching its glittery finale. I feel like I’ve just successfully completed the final level of a Sega game.  Bianca’s Pick  

Lizzie: I am a bit torn with this song. Half of it sounds like my Furby keeps turning on and off. The other second half however, in typical Porter style, opens up to be a grand, layered big room sound we I know and love. He drops the bass like no one else around the 2:50 sec mark, but with his Japanese twang – genius. Not my fav on the new Worlds album, but still pretty damn good.   Lizzies Pick  

Hannah: A novice when it comes to the world of EDM and its producers, I’ve been listening to this track all week on Hype Machine (what was that about first impressions?) unsure if admitting to this kind of Porter Robinson over all others would have me vilified by those in the know. That said, as long as Sam likes it, I’m happy to admit I do too. 3.5

FirstImpressions_28July2

First Impressions: SBTRKT, BANKS, Jessie Ware + more

FirstImpressions_28July

In the midst of the Splendour in the Grass weekend bender we found some time to sit down with a few new tracks. Here’s our slightly sleep-deprived reactions to those tunes.

Jessie Ware- Share It All

Bianca: It reminds me of Intro by the xx. It’s really dreamy, it lulls you into a dream state. It could be on repeat and I wouldn’t realise.  4                        

Lizzie: it feels soft and whimsical. I feel I’m floating away on a cloud with it. It’s not too sickly sweet though. 4    

Sam: her voice is extraordinary. It just floats when she holds those notes. Romy’s co-write is also very evident. It has the same sparseness that the xx do and that does wonders for Ware’s voice.  3.5

HannahHer voice. It just floats and lingers. It pitches and ungulates so smoothly over the sparse, can’t hide nothing, melody. It’s got a really welcomed breathy quality complimented by her RnB grid. Admittedly, it errs on the repetitive, slightly predictable side but let’s be honest, if you’re listening to this song you probably have other things on your mind. So sexy. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jessieware/jessiewareshareit-all[/soundcloud]

SBTRKT- New Dorp. New York (Feat. Ezra Koenig)

Bianca: It’s weirdly wonderful. I love Ezra’s voice and it’s good to hear it accompanied by something so different. It’s a great mixture of chaotic percussion and funky guitar that drives a subtle groove. 4.5 Bianca’s Pick

Lizzie: I don’t love Ezra’s talking voice on this it sounds a little bit like Flight of the Concords. But I love everything else about it. I feel that it would be crazy in a club.  4 Lizzie’s Pick

Sam: I thought Temporary View was way too safe so I am suitably thrilled that this one takes huge risks. That female vocal under Ezra’s voice is so New York chic. It’s very pretentious but done so well that it’s hard not to love. Wildly chaotic yet comfortably familiar.  4.5

Hannah: This is a totally new sound for SBTRKT, and a totally welcomed one at that. The licking bass and subtle, building percussion is irresistibly catchy, while the chorus brims with perfectly selected samples just long enough to remind you that this isn’t all funk. It’s a great way to reintroduce his new album, especially after that blip of a release last month. New York, New York! 4

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/detailsofmylifenet/sbtrkt-new-drop-new-york-feat[/soundcloud]

BANKS – Beggin’ For Thread

Lizzie: With all due respect to BANKS I feel like it fits in a Mandy Moore teen flick. It’s a bit teenie-bopper for me.   3.5  

Bianca: I’m with Lizzie on the 90s vibe but there’s an RnB vibe that’s much cooler than Mandy Moore. The broodiness of Drowning is there but this time it feels like she can breathe a bit better. The creeping quality is sexy. 4

Sam: This is her most forward pop moment yet and it’s brilliant. She’s so dark yet so so alluring. It’s great to hear a sound so consistent but also daring. The man who did BANKS wrong has done us all a favour.  4.5 Sam’s Pick

Hannah: This is a perfect example of how sultry, sexy pop should be done. The lyrics are hard hitting and belted with the type of confidence that comes when you’re being so bad it’s good. The breakdown that crescendos into her final chorus is impeccably placed, securing Banks as one to watch. Hannah’s Pick

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/banksbanksbanks/banks-beggin-for-thread[/soundcloud]

Ryan Hemsworth- Gods (Feat. UV Boi)

Bianca: It’s got nothing particularly distinctive about it other than giving me false hope that I recieved a few messages. In saying that it would be a fun addition to a dj set as a filler song. 2

Lizzie: there’s artists that use real sounds and others that use it in an annoying way. It’s like hearing a siren in a song when you’re driving. I thought it was going to go somewhere but it didn’t for me. 2.5

Sam: From the computer age straight to my heart. It’s got a PC Music quality to it and I love how he uses unconventional sounds to create melody. At this point, Hemsworth is one of electronic music’s most important names. This further proves that. 4

Hannah: Ryan Hemsworth can do no wrong. That effortlessly melodic intro, glitchy samples and surprise drum solo is the perfect introduction to what is a track perhaps ever so slightly less whimsical than what we’ve come to know him for. While playful and full obscure samples, this track has march, pace and guts, at times teetering on the side of too much but pulling right back before it falls. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/ryanhemsworth/gods-with-uv-boi[/soundcloud]

Rustie- Attack (Feat. Danny Brown)

Bianca: I like it. But I couldn’t listen to it on my own. I’d rather hear it in a club. I think I’d get low. But not that low. Medium low.   3.5

Lizzie: I really like this song. I think it would be much better live with a crowd of people. I love Danny Brown’s flow. 4

Sam: I just got smacked in the head with a bat and then thrown in a monster truck. This one goes so hard. Rustie and Danny Brown are a great pairing but I’d need anti-anxiety pills to hear this again.  3

Hannah: This is has the guise of being something you’d happily get low to in a dark club at 3am, before you quickly realise it’s just a cheap imitation and a headache waiting to happen. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/rustie/attak-feat-danny-brown[/soundcloud]

Joe Goddard- Endless Love (Feat. Betsy)

Bianca: Hot Chip can never do anything wrong in my eyes. I liked the slow build and the 90s vocals but it didn’t have much body to it. 3.75

Lizzie: I really liked it. It wasn’t too weird to annoy me and it was interesting enough to keep me occupied. I could get lost on the dance-floor to this. 4

Sam: I found this alarmingly annoying. I like the one part where Betty got to sing a full voice but her chopped and screwed vocals had me clenching my teeth. Surely he could have done something more with that mediocre beat too. Love Joe usually but not today. 2

HannahI really don’t want to say this. But is anyone kind of bored? As far as lounge music goes it’s great and there’s some really crystalline moments, like the flickering “endless love,” vocal and the percussive samples that sneak in underneath that, but otherwise… Snooze. 2.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/greco-roman/joe-goddard-endless-love-feat-betsy[/soundcloud]

 

FI_21July2

First Impressions: Tkay Maidza, Perfume Genius, TOKiMONSTA + more

FI_21June

This week, dance-music reigns as we review a number of different takes on the genre from smooth RnB to EDM to PC Music. Enter the madness that is First Impressions below:

Tkay Maidza- U-Huh 

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/tkaymaidza[/soundcloud]

Bianca: U-Huh is a more than palatable pop song with some serious hip-hop influences. The hook is instantly infectious and I’m excited to see what else is to come from the Adelaide-born, PG-rated, Azaelia Banks Jnr. firecracker. Bianca’s Pick

Sam: This is a perfect example of when you let a great pop song eventuate under the most natural of circumstances. Every major label in Australia take note- this is how you craft a hit. It’s effortlessly melodic, full of personality and fun to boot. Tkay is surely bound for huge things. 4

Lizzie: I have been a Tkay fan for over a year now, I just think she is the shiz – not just because she is from Adelaide but she has this incredible universal appeal and at just 18 years old, her production skills are impressive. It’s not as punchy as Brontosaurus, but I feel this Summer-time nostalgia – similar to that, after listening to M.I.A‘s Paper Planes4

Hannah: Alright Lizzie, we get it. You’re from Adelaide, she’s from Adelaide, you can claim her. I agree though, Tkay Maidza is a much more bearable Australian answer to M.I.A. She raps across the beat with effortless attitude. It’s fun and instantly infectious. 4

Airhead- Believe

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thump/a1-believe?in=thump/sets/airhead-believe-ep[/soundcloud]

Bianca: The ping pong echoes put the club into the church, evoking visualisations of a Sunday sermon that offers a little less bread and a helluva lot more wine. The record crackling sample also adds a subtle, nostalgic touch. The TV beep effect, however, is a little less welcoming on my ears. 3.5

Sam: The industrial production of this one makes sure that the bass bangs you right into next Saturday. The production feels icy cold, yet the preaching vocal sample that runs under it is comfortably familiar. Some of these sounds just echo around my head, bouncing off dead space (and believe me, there is quite a lot of that). 3.5 

Lizzie: I can feel myself float away with this track. This song could be on repeat for hours and I would have no idea – it’s very much a song that just blends into the background. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just has its own special place in my iTunes library. 3

Hannah: The bass on this one is pure, paired-back house. Something you’d expect to find during the early hours of a Berlin warehouse rave or beneath a Jimmy Edgar track. Its intricate  and complex use of layered sampling keeps you interested, while the vocal pleads with you to believeee in the track just enough  to keep you pulsing right on through. 3.5

Steve Angello- Wasted Love (Feat. Dougy from Temper Trap)

Bianca: This song feels like it belongs in 2009 and I think my 19-year-old self would have loved it. Dougi Mandagy’s voice has a nice familiarity to it but, sadly, I ain’t 19 no more. 2.5

Sam: Dammit. Don’t get me wrong, this is more same, same EDM with barely anything to set it apart from the rest but I’m such a sucker for a crisp, pop hook. Dougy brings that in abundance but I’m so confused. I usually can’t stand the whiny aura of The Temper Trap but there is something somewhat euphoric about this. Also is this not Sky Full Of Stars p.2? DM me if you have answers. 2.5

Lizzie: This track is all about Dougy’s voice, and not about Steve Angello – his production here is subtle, and I think it works really well. It’s the perfect Summer tune; uplifting, all about love and just in time for the Tomorrowland after-movie soundtrack! 3.5

Hannah: This is just more of that tried and tested EDM formula circulating at the moment. Chiefly, hide the fact it’s yet another unbearable, stock standard EDM song, beneath some very cleverly placed, makes-you-want-to-sing-along vocals. Eh. 2.5

TOKiMONSTA- Realla (Feat. Anderson Paak)

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/tokimonsta/realla-feat-anderson-paak[/soundcloud]

Bianca: Was it really necessary to spell ‘real’ the way it’s being pronounced? Ugh this track is way too smooth for my liking. 4 realz. 2

Sam: *Adds Anderson Paak to iPod* TokiMonsta kills the productions of this one with those jabbing, brass undertones but Anderson Paak, am I right? The man just murders it on this one flicking between drawn-out RnB vocals and singing rap-like verses. 4 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: Please listen to this track with your eyes closed. It is the only way to truly appreciate the layered sounds and surround-sound experience this song creates – it’s spine-tingling. Then the horns come in, oh when the horns come in. I’m sold! 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Hannah: For Realla baby, this track hits you with an instantly welcomed Frank Ocean, Channel Orange nostalgia. That brass, that bass, that cascading vocal sample that falls between Paak’s third verse rap. Grind. Just grind. 4.5 Hannah’s Pick 

Bianca: Yeah, okay. I see how it is…

GFOTY- Don’t Wanna/Let’s Do It

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pcmus/dont-wanna-lets-do-it[/soundcloud]

Bianca: I really can’t seem to get into PC music. A kid pressing random buttons on a soundboard would produce better noise than this techy headache. 0

Sam: Unlike Bianca, I think PC Music is one of the most interesting and exciting things to happen in the last year or two. Like everything we’ve heard from the label, this is bonkers but it’s even more so than the others. The bipolar flick between I don’t wanna do it/Let’s do it is something I deal with on a daily basis. I have the same conflict with this song. I love it, I also hate it. I’m going to flick to I love it, purely because I keep going back to listen for more. There’s so much hidden melody in this, it’s just chopped up and displaced everywhere. Beautifully incoherent. 3.5

Lizzie: Please, I beg of you, tell me this is not music!? It sounds like a toy-store coming alive when everyone’s asleep. Wake me from this nightmare!! 0

Hannah: When an EDM queen dishes out a zero, you know the song’s clutching at straws. That said, this song has moments of rhythmic crescendo and almost satisfying bass, but ultimately it’s riding an escalator to nowhere. Is that the point of PC music? Who knows. I feel though in the hands of a remix master, that sample could have potential. 2

Perfume Genius- Queen

Bianca: Mike Hadreas is truly making a statement with his comeback track. The steady, marching beat sets the tone with more pomp than a high school graduation. His haunting vocals and synths are gloriously juxtaposed with the cheerful whistling instrument, giving Queen a slightly creepy quality. 3.5

Sam: I found Perfume Genius’ last album a little too introverted to completely get into but Queen is a different story. It’s so outwardly bold, that it feels like a different artists altogether. I would’ve liked a bit more of a climax in the final quarter but apart from that I’m captivated. Please sir, can I have some more? 3.5

Lizzie:  I took one whiff of this Perfume Genius and can’t say I am a fan of the broody and creepy vibe, it’s just not my style. While I can appreciate all the elements – the slow beat, variety of kooky instruments and echoing vocals – I just can help but feel a little sad after listening. It’s a Monday and I need a pick-me-up! 2.5

Hannah: If I was still the Hannah that listened to The Editors and Cold War Kids, I’d be right on board with this suburban angst track. As it is, the languid vocals over what feels like an incredibly lazy guitar-meet-drum-kit production just doesn’t do it for me. Why the dog barking sample? 2.5

Firstimpressions_14June_2

First Impressions 14 July

firstimpressions_july14

Another six new songs up on the chopping block. This week we walk a tight-rope between electronic music and pop with one curveball thrown in just to make sure everybody’s paying attention. While J-pop is appreciated by some other’s fail to get on board.

Read our reviews below:

Usher- She Came To Give It To You (Feat. Nicki Minaj)

Lizzie: Is it as good as Pharrell’s Hunter? Unfortunately not. However, on its own merit this track is a very groovy funk/disco number. I feel like it is a right of passage for every pop-artist to have Nicki Minaj feature in song – feels a bit like old news to me. 3.5

Bianca: I’m getting Blurred Lines vibes from this. Points for not actually featuring Robin Thicke and for the funky percussion and sassy backing singers. 2.5

Hannah: This is equal parts hits and misses. The walking bass? hit. Nicki M’s rhyming of Ush-her with her as the song fades out? Miss. There’s no climax here, but it certainly won’t crash and burn either. 2

Sam: I like that Usher is taking a different approach this time around. Both this and Good Kisser don’t sound like they’re reaching only for the charts and I suppose when you’ve been in the industry this long you can afford to be a bit creative. Pharrell’s production always sounds so effortless that sometimes his songs can sound too cruisy. Luckily, here Nicki Minaj steps up with this attitude-filled, sassy verse that brings the track home hard. 3.5

Arty- Up All Night

Lizzie: The vocalist packs a real punch here. It definitely has a that European summer festival vibe about it – getting people up and pumping. Annndddd, the build-up to the drop does not go for hours, thank god! I am curious as to who will tackle a remix of this baby. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: The ‘drop’ was completely predictable but such is the life of an EDM banger? 2

Hannah: For a song about staying up all night… it’s really a little bit of a snooze-fest, isn’t it? Sounds like every other mediocre EDM song striving for popular appeal with a female vocalist. 2

Sam: EDM always gets a pretty hard wrap on First Impressions but I honestly think this is the best one we’ve had yet. Angel Taylor’s hefty vocals compliments Arty’s dense production and the drop shakes the room just like a big-room EDM track should. Is it groundbreaking? No. Is it enjoyable? Yeah, it is. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/interscope/arty-up-all-night-feat-angel-taylor[/soundcloud]

Juce- Burning Up

Lizzie: C’mon everyone, do the hustle! This a lovely rosy little jam. It’s got that sassy edge that makes you want to get up in the morning and do great things with your self. I love the cheeky inclusion of “Juce it up” – that’s a little bit of fun isn’t it. 4

Bianca: So much sass, so little time! This track is hot, hot, hot and Chalin’s vocals are as smooth as ever.  3

Hannah: This is just so catchy. Despite being in the middle of a fairly non-existent winter, I’m still transported to a rooftop party in the middle of summer. 3.5 Hannah’s Pick

Sam: I always lose it when I hear lyrics directed towards a hometown and when a song is released in conjunction with a season. So, this week Juce get two big ticks from me for doing both. They earn a third gold star for the lyric “Juce it up”. If I was in a boy band I would make sure our name was used as innuendo in every second verse. Burning Up induces so much nostalgia. Juce have yet to put a foot wrong yet in my books. 4

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jucelovemusic/juce-burning-up[/soundcloud]

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu- Kira Kira Killers

Lizzie: I don’t know what I just heard. Is it a song or a hyperactive chipmunk? 0

Bianca: A candy-pop, sickly sweet J-Pop number that would slip in quite easily to a Dance Dance Revolution track list. And I love Dance Dance Revolution so: 3

Hannah: For a j-pop track it’s incredibly insightful. The only english words used are happy, happy, happy, F-U-C-K and killer. It’s about a bad break up right? Digging the empathy. 2.5

Sam: Hang on give me 30 seconds to digest what I’ve just seen.

If pop music in this country was this interesting, commercial radio would be a much safer place. This sound is being appropriated into so many electronic tracks right now, which makes this sound very current, actually. I’m not sure if Kyary meant to be so of-the-moment but it is. And for that reason I love it. Please somebody insert me into this video so I too can dance with that odd looking beast-like character. 4 Sam’s Pick

Banoffee- Got It

Lizzie: The warped male voice in the background is just weird and unnecessary, and to be quite honest, it’s a little creepy. Martha’s voice on the other hand, is a tantalisingly fresh and unique sound that I’m totally diggin’. 3.5

Bianca: This is a quirky, RnB little number with Martha’s subtle vocals complimented by 80s-inspired synths. And the male voice? Unlike Lizzie, I like my men warped. Bianca’s Pick 

Hannah: Simultaneously sickly sweet, yet smooth and a little too heavy, just like the dessert itself, Banoffee gives us an Australian female voice that doesn’t sound like The Jezabel’s on one side or Rainbow Chan on the other and that is fine by me. 3

Sam: When stuff as interesting as this comes out of Australia I get so excited. Recruiting Oscar Key Sung on this one is a choice move by Banoffee and the production is just so particular and finicky. It’s almost hard to make out when one syllable ends and another one starts yet the track is so dynamic and melodic. Yeah, I’ll take this Banoffee. Even sweater than the real one. 4

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/banoffeeme/banoffee-got-it-1[/soundcloud]

RL Grime- Core

Lizzie: I did not think it was humanly possible to cram this many annoying sounds into one song. Well done RL Grime, you have successfully given me a migraine. 0.5

Bianca: Sounds like an apprentice snake charmer learning his scales for the first time. In the middle of a bomb raid. 2

Hannah: For about 3 seconds I want to get low to this track, and then I’m put off by the wailing siren sounds. I’m not sure if I should drop it low, or run for the hills. 2

Sam: This is murder on the dance floor. That alarming synth make me very anxious but at the same time I’m captivated by the war-like take on trap. Points for innovation but this one will have to sit with me for a little longer if it’s going to appease my tastebuds. 3

Stay in the loop with new music and events by joining our newsletter list.

Polls

Best First Impression Of The Week?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

©2017 THE INTERNS MUSIC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.