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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

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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

musicalspeeddating4

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

MSD2

Musical Speed Dating 19 April

singlesclub_week3_final

This week there’s some serious love in the air, while some songs go down like a gluten intolerant person eating a croissant, others stir the emotions, setting hearts a flutter. It was a week of Hip-Hop, RnB and light indie-pop, all of which got us moving but some in the wrong way.

Bayou- Airlock

Sam: This is jittery and anxious track coated in confusing twists and turns. It sounds like your favourite RnB smashed by a hammer and then put under water. And the result is pretty damn mesmerising. Perfection. 4

Lizzie: Janet Jackson song gone wrong. I struggle to see sense in this muffled mess of a song. 1

Hannah: This song is a conglomerate of perfect moments. Moments that some how shine brighter individually than together. In the name of team spirit… It’s ok I guess. 3

Bianca: Gurgly voice reminds me of the voiceover for old school Playsation game ‘Abe’s Oddyssey.’ I however enjoy the breakdown where the song mellows into a calm but steady pace which I can nod my head to. 2.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/bayyyou/airlock[/soundcloud]

Boots- My Heart Is A Stone Today

Sam: This song reminds me a lot of Haunted from Beyonces surprise drop. The trap influences are ever so subtle but just enough to turn this song from a snooze fest into a jam. I think this is the best we’ve heard from him yet. 3

Lizzie: I am broken with this song. At the start, I stopped what I was doing and got lost in the moment. Then he brought in this layered trap sound which really lost my vibe.  3

Bianca: Agree with Lizzie on the Radiohead part. The breakdown at the end is very reminiscent of Paranoid Android which is a very, very good thing. 3

Hannah: I want more from this song. It’s neither big enough nor stripped back enough to fully accomplish what it sets out to do. Instead it sits in that awkward zone of mediocrity and unfulfilled potential. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/bootsonboots/boots-my-heart-is-a-stone-1[/soundcloud]

Little Dragon- Paris

Sam: Once again they prove all you need is a minimal collection of instruments to create some serious booty-shaking. A problem they may have forever- it ain’t no Ritual Union. 3.5

Lizzie: Put on your gym gear ladies. This a boppy tune, with its slick lyrics and ‘80s vibe – great upbeat song. 3.5

Hannah: Enough motivation to move to Paris. I adore the latest offering from Little Dragon. It’s struck the ever appropriate balance between total party starter and total chiller. 3.5

Bianca: Like Khaleesi and her little Dragons, this song starts off confident and ready to lead us, vibrant and well-dressed, to the very end. 4  BIANCA’S PICK

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/hillydilly/little-dragon-paris[/soundcloud]

Tune-Yards- Wait For A Minute

Sam: This is by far the most straight Forward melody I’ve heard from Tune Yards so far and it works so well. It’s so nuanced and yet still left of centre enough to fulfill her wacky image. 4

Lizzie: I love the smooth swoops and swings of her words. Her sound is fresh and effortlessly cool. 4  LIZZIE’S PICK

Hannah: Dreamy and miles away. Anything that takes you out of the moment and into another world altogether is fine by me. 3.5  

Bianca: She carries this track with melodic ease, keeping the listeners interested with unexpected vocal loops and heavy bass strums. 3.5  

Future- I Won (Feat. Kanye West)

Sam: I think Future has been a key player in the RnB revolution both as a producer and artist. It’s part Drake, a little bit ASAP Rocky and a touch Ciara but mostly it’s quintessential Future. Kanye’s rap is as cringe-worthy as ever. But, hey, Kimye is a modern fairytale isn’t it. 4.5  SAM’S PICK

Lizzie: From what I can gather, this guy is hot property on the RnB scene at the moment, however, how is this song standing out? It’s not. Sounds like another “I got 99 problems” rant. Kanye….nothing special either. 2.5

Hannah: This song has a dark quality to it that I can’t help resist. It’s like that bad boy you’re told to stay away from but keep gravitating back to time and time again. He’s not good, he don’t love you and he won’t treat you well, but right now he’s perfect. 4.5   HANNAH’S PICK

Bianca: I find nothing unique about this song. Mentioning of ‘pussy’ is never a good quality in a song in my opinion, no matter how hard that pussy is auto-tuned. I can’t see this song winning any trophies. 1

Rainbow Chan- Fruit

Sam: It’s such a polite piece of pop that I feel rude for not personally thanking her. It’s so clean and well ordered but at the same time it sounds so freeken delicious. Fruit, sugar. Rainbow Chan, sugar. Who said you can have too much of a good thing? 3

Lizzie: Hello Australia’s answer to Lily Allen. If only I could understand what she is singing (minor detail in releasing music). Cute and inoffensive. 3

Bianca: Fruit graphicsFruit graphicsFruit graphics 3

Hannah: Dare you to swear. Double dare you. 1

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/siloarts/rainbow-chan-fruit[/soundcloud]

Duck Sauce- NRG

Sam: I hate ducks and I find quacking the most awful sound on earth ( second to Barbara Streisand ) but strangely I’ve fallen for this one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an 80s reject that sounds so distasteful and out of place in 2014 but give me a few vodkas and my NRG is all yours. Dem synths too. 2

Lizzie: Fist pump fist pump! Inside a nightclub, perfect for a dance marathon. In the real world, feels like I am continuously hitting my head against a punching bag. 3.5

Hannah: Like an over-excited virgin on his first time this song is all high NRG all of the time with no real climax. And like an over-excited virgin on his first time… a whole lot of awkward thrusting ensues. 2

Bianca: Goes down like a Jager Bomb. Awful tasting at first but gather a few friends together to partake in the activity, get that energy-filled sucker into your system and soon the dry-retching will cease and the party will begin. 3

MSD4

Musical Speed Dating 10 April

musical speed dating

This week, the(in)terns are dating pop. From the euphoria of a Cut Copy dance floor to ear candy from rising pop queen, we’ve cast our fairly invalidated judgement on a new batch of singles. While there’s plenty of love this week, there’s also a few spiteful tongues as alt-country music falls flat and Drake gets a little too sleazy.

One tune this week made us all fall in love, with three willing bachelorettes naming it the pick of the week.

Cut Copy- In These Arms of Love

Hannah: Nothing to see here folks. 2

Bianca:  As a self-confessed Cut Copy fan girl (the rest of the(in)terns can confirm this) it pains me to say that this song should have perhaps remained a left-over. Dan Whitford’s usually on-the-beat voice sounds drawly and at times whiney and the guitar riff in the instrumental breaks sound like new school Coldplay (that’s not a compliment). Luckily this gal takes a man with their flaws. 3

Sam: I’m also an avid Cut Copy fan and like Bianca I ain’t giving up. For me, this song is redemption after an album less impressive than those before it. It’s expansive, atmospheric and melancholic. The synths come on thick and fast- just the way I like it. Add glitter bombs for extra effect. 3.5

Lizzie: Errrgh my ears are still ringing. I feel like I am stuck in some weird psychedelic Star Trek episode…that never made it to air. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/modularpeople/cut-copy-in-these-arms-of-love[/soundcloud]

How To Dress Well- Repeat Pleasure

Hannah: This song is infectious. With hand-clap percussion and catchy guitar riffs, Krell makes heartbreak sound sweet like only an R&B enthusiast with a killer upper register could. Taking on Mariah with his tingling “Even broken, my heart will go on” is a bold but totally welcomed move. I repeat, Mariah territory is never bad territory. 3.5

Bianca: The clap is infectious. Now let’s talk about the song.. Straight out of the ‘90s, this head-boppin’, toe-tappin’ good time takes me right back to the day with its rhythmic beatine, surface-lying guitar strums and Tom Krell’s soothing falsetto. I’m keeping this pleasure on repeat. 4.5

Sam: Tom Krell has gone from strength to strength. And It Was You was a total jam and Repeat Plesure betters that. It’s straight out of Ashanti’s song book with a fairly flat-lined melody but buttery instrumentation aplenty. I also heard him gush over Ciara with Jacques Greene and ever since then I’ve been a massive fan. 4.5  Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: This song belongs in “Give a song a chance”! The first time I listened to it I was not sold. Second time, it really blossomed into a beautiful track. I agree with you Bianca, straight out of the 90’s. And now to listen again, again and again. 4

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

Drake- Days in the East

Hannah: The best and worst part about this is the teasing Rihanna sample. More RiRi please. 2.5

Bianca: Too R&B sex playlist for me. Keep this locked away in the after-dark collection. 2.5

Sam: Surely this is a left-over from Nothing Was The Same. It sounds in the same lane as Own It or Furtherst Thing. And I’m ok with that. It’s another understated jam where Drame proves he’s becoming a more effective singer than a rapper. Rihanna and Drake are going out now right? That sample is so kuwaii. 3.5

Lizzie: Hellooooo stripper pole. Not your best Drake. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/octobersveryown/drake-days-in-the-east[/soundcloud]

Rita Ora- I Will Never Let You Down

Hannah: It’s reassuring that in the lead up to her second album Rita Ora “will never let you down.” Good one Calvin, you’ve given this pop princess the credibility she deserves. 3

Bianca: Very simple, classic pop song. Neither here nor there for me. I didn’t have high hopes to begin with so fortunately Rita hasn’t let me down. Although in saying that, Calvin is better on his own and needs to ditch the poor man’s Rihanna – there’s no love found in this hopeless place. 2.5

Sam: So this is what talented couples do in their spare time. As far as pop songs go this is an A+. I like how Calvin tones down his synth break but I’m starting to grow tired of him. I feel he’s up for a Guetta style fall from grace as it seems he’s oversaturated the market. This could be his last moment in the sun. Rita on the other hand will surely have yet another hit record on her hands. 3

Lizzie: Calvin and Rita – bangin’ couple in real life but they do not hit it as a music duo. At all. Rita is still too cookie cutter, Aria Top 40 for me and “I Will Never Let You Down” is no different. I really want her to do something risqué with her beautiful voice. 2.5

Chrome Sparks- Goddess

Hannah: The title track off Brooklyn producer Jeremy Malvin’s forthcoming EP, Goddess is flawless. Sucking you in with deep synths and an almost Seekae sound, Goddess builds into two climatic crescendos so effortlessly imbued with vocal loops and twinkling galactic samples, you’ll be up, down and back up again before you even notice it. Scared to miss a single moment of this stellar roller coast ride, Goddess is on repeat.  Hannah’s Pick

Bianca: Love the moodiness to this track and its underlying intergalactic feel. Very Fritz Lang-esque. Hot tip: listen to this song whilst feasting your eyes on this classic on mute4  Bianca’s Pick

Sam: Such a velvety slice of ear candy. It just ticks all the boxes. A slow, brooding start and a gloriously climatic finish. It’s got so much texture and dynamic to it- impressive for such a young gun. It’s probably not immediate enough for it to really take off but a cult-following is sure to ensue. Count me in. 4.5

Lizzie: This track is beautiful- a pure, layered delight to listen to. If only the “drop” (for lack of a better word) at 4min 35 secs came earlier, thats when I experienced some serious earporn. 4.5  Lizzie’s Pick

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/chrome-sparks/goddess-1[/soundcloud]

First Aid Kit- My Silver Lining

Hannah: Sure to find itself on The Js high rotation soon, My Silver Lining brings you the midwest straight  out of Sweden (wait, what?). With big strings and even bigger harmonies, the latest offering from duo First Aid Kit promises long dusty road trips and hopelessly hopeful mornings spent in forgotten hotel rooms. Bring on Summer. 3

Bianca: Hannah: Summer’s gone and this track should go with it. Adios, Amigos! 2

Sam: The Lions Roar was a standout record for me when it was released. And I like this. It’s confident and assured but I can’t help feeling it’s more of the same. Hopefully the album has a little more variation but this is enough to whet the appetite. 3.5

Lizzie: Did Lana Del Ray go on a Western adventure? Sure sounds like it. I do like the sway this song has, and the violins, banjo and vocals work well together to produce and digestible cowboy track. Yee-haa!! 3.5

 

speeddate2

First Impressions 3 April

speeddate

A round-table review of the week’s singles featuring Sam Smith, EMA and Jamie xx.

Method to the madness: Each week we, theinterns, will select the most noteworthy new releases and take them for a spin. Each of us will score the track out of five and choose the best tune for our audio dietary requirements. Let the madness ensue as the tracks pass through the ears of an EDM queen, a nostalgic RnB revivalist, a lover of all things alternative and a 90s fein.

Sam Smith- Stay With Me

Sam: So simple, yet so effective. His voice is just so good- couple that with the choir and this song takes it to church. This is surely bound to be another hit for him. 4

Lizzie: He’s is bringing back the gospel to the masses which is something new and captivating. His voice is enchanting in the same way John Newman was with his collaboration with Rudimental. Can he carry his own album though? I am excited to see. 3

Hannah: Sam Smith knows when an understatement it is just the right statement. Consistent snare, simple piano, perfect voice. Stay With Me verges on ballad material but with  the same restraint and control as Smith’s vocals, pulls back before hitting Mariah territory. Side note, Mariah territory is never bad territory. 3.5 

Bianca: A mellow love ballad which treads along at a satisfyingly easy pace. I spent the song waiting for it to reach a gospel-esque peak and was relieved that the extent of its crescendo was maintained to modest church choir levels. The casual tambourine taps and nonchalant piano chords, accompanied by Sam’s ballady vocals, make it a bit too ‘Love Song Dedication’ for my liking but I can see how it could easily stick in the head. Begging for a remix. Over to you, Richard Mercer. 3

HAERTS- Call My Name

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/haertsmusic/call-my-name[/soundcloud]

Sam: It’s somewhat surprising that the bombacious All The Days is followed up by this mellow and warm track. For me, it has the vibe of a more tasteful Take My Breath Away, with a powerful chorus that only an 80s inspired track can deliver. 3.5

Lizzie: Oh God i’m bored 2

Hannah: Yawn.

Bianca: I’m not bored. I think it’s such a warm track that just has melody oozing out of it. 3.5

Jamie xx- Sleep Sound

Sam: Jamie xx kills it everytime. That throbbing base-line takes you to the clubs without even knowing it and those sporadic RnB samples inject just enough melody to keep it pacing along. 4

Hannah: Totally agree with Sam. Jamie XX has an undeniable ability to make 1am turn into 5am very quickly and this mix is no different. The base-line has my body pulsing before I know it and the melodic samples are doing all kinds of dreamy thangs. On repeat. 4.5

Lizzie: When was the last time Jamie XX dropped a solo single? I am so used to just hearing him play long, mesmerizing festival sets. This guy can do no wrong. I could dance, run, chill or sleep to this song and that’s no mean feat. 4.5 

Bianca: When Jamie xx was here for Laneway in February he played such an expansive and mesmerizing twilight set. This encapsulates that exact feeling whilst lulling you into another world. 4 Bianca’s Pick 

SZA Feat. Chance The Rapper- Childs Play

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/topdawgent/sza-feat-chance-the-rapper[/soundcloud]

Sam: Just another reason to be excited for Z. Somehow she makes the line “Stuck in Nintendo, you’re the controller” sound sexy. It’s not hugely different for her but the addition of Chance The Rapper is a choice move. 4  

Hannah: I love the lazy lull of this song. Totally sensual, totally indulgent, totally appropriate for the hazy hours of a sunday morning. Babies will be made to the sound of SZA and Chance wondering how we used to was. 4.5  Hannah’s Pick

Lizzie: The female vocals on this track are so seductive. I just melt into this song, but just as I thought I was going to nod off (in a good way!) Chance comes in, creating a strong a closing harmony. 4.5  Lizzie’s Pick 

Bianca: Eh. It just plods along for me. I’m not overly excited. 

EMA- 3Jane

Sam: Nothing that’s surfaced off The Future’s Void has excited me quite as much as this. EMA has such a creeping power to her voice when backed by a clean-cut melody. The ever so subtle climax at the end is pretty special. 4.5  Sam’s Pick

Hannah:  Look I understand EMA is going somewhere with this but I’m just not going there with her. It’s a solo race to this climactic finish. 3

Lizzie: You’ve gotta be in the right mood for this song. I was not. I spent most of the song contemplating my future and what not. But hey, I see potential in her voice and general “don’t give a fuck”. Maybe i’ll try again later.

Bianca: I lost interest and started paying more attention to clicking my pen. That was fun. 2

Velociraptor- Ramona

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/velociraptorband/ramona[/soundcloud]

Sam: I feel like Ramona is a guilty pleasure because the melody just melts into your ears so easily. It’s a sound that’s been flogged a lot on Triple J recently but this is one of the more enjoyable tunes I’ve heard out of a J’s band for a while. 3

Hannah: Pure Guitar Hero material – fun to master, less fun to listen to. Sorry J sound. 3

Lizzie: Look. I didn’t hate, but I didn’t love it. Its got the foundations for a great boppy, just-out-of-your-best-mate’s-garage song, great for the young Triple J teeny-boppers. But I can’t help feel like this came from the soundtrack for “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.”

Bianca: I’m enjoying this. It’s classic indie-rock done with energy and fun. Now my problem is getting it out of my head. 3.5

 

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