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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

fridaylockin_2

Friday Lock-in: La Roux – Trouble in Paradise

lockin_laroux

It’s been a long, five-year wait since La Roux‘s glorious debut album. Some thought it would never come, others forgot that La Roux was Bulletproof. Well, she’s still wearing that vest but this time she’s headed for paradise but rather than enjoying cocktails and learning to hula-dance she’s sitting in the hotel room weeping. Enter this week’s lock-in. We may be in the midst of winter but La Roux’s ’70s funk and tropical-synths may just be enough to pull us out of our Winter slumber.

Uptight Downtown

Lizzie: Did anyone live in the UK see Boots chemist flash mobs?

Hannah: Yeah and they do the jazz runs? Like- slide, slide, slide. Yeah they had an add campaign like that

Bianca: I think this is classier than a flash mob to be honest

Hannah: What’s classier than a flash mob

Bianca: QR codes. *laughs* This song never fails to get me moving

Sam: It’s such a perfect homage to ‘70s funk as well as re-appropriating it with the synths

Bianca: I love beginning the album with this

Hannah: Yeah, it throws you right to where she wants you to be

Sam: There’s something sombre about it too. It’s upbeat and tropical but also really dark

Bianca:  I think that’s her voice, it’s always been a bit pleady

laroux1

Kiss And Not Tell

Hannah: Both of the songs so far are very familiar. She’s hamming to those…

Bianca: Tropical beats

Hannah: Really familiar chord progressions

Bianca: It does remind me of a gameboy game a bit

Hannah: I’m jumping up and grabbing coins

Sam: Part of me wondered if her production partner, Ben Langmaid, was the melodic genius of it all and when I saw the album was nine tracks I thought she’d really struggled with it. I thought it would sound bland but I’m not worried at all so far

Hannah: It’s a modern twist on more classic combinations that we’ve already heard. She slots right back in after five years

Bianca: Yeah she’s back and better

Sam: No one writes slightly left-of-centre pop better than La Roux can

Cruel Sexuality

Hannah: It sounds like too much is happening

Lizzie: Going back to familiarity. I felt like I wanted to join in without knowing what’s going to come next

Sam: I think this one is beautiful, one of the best so far. It’s so subtle. The melody builds and builds and then the harmonies come in at the end. Everything is so non-explicit about it

Bianca: I really like the bass-line. I love that kind-of speaking part but it’s not speaking

Sam: She does a great third verse, La Roux

Bianca: I love how each song has their different ‘moments’. I remember with Klaxons it was A B A B A B, with this it is A B C B A C D…

Sam: This is so so perky but she’s talking about this guy who’s pissing her offlaroux2

Paradise Is You

Hannah: Really slow version of crocodile rock

Lizzie: Once you said that I couldn’t get it out of my head

Sam: I love this one. It’s a nice little break coming up to the mid-point of the album

Bianca: She needed a break

Sam: She does slow well. I can understand how this floats over you after listening to the whole thing

Bianca: I love how the synths sound like strings. It’s kind of like an electronic orchestra

Sam: I’m really impressed by how she’s kept the whole tropical paradise vibe running ever so slightly in the background. It’s not St.Lucia full-on or like when the Triple J thing was to sound like you’re in the Bahamas

Hannah: She’s using it as a thread to feed her way through the ‘70s and then the ‘80s. That’s the commonality but it’s such a subtle one

Bianca: It’s such a smorgasbord this one. She doesn’t need steel drums to get noticed

Sam: She’s not using obvious things. It doesn’t sound like anything in pop music today probably because she’s been isolated for five years

Sexotheque

Lizzie: Love it, love it. It’s on the money money money

Everyone: *laughs*

Lizzie: My work here is done

Sam: There’s many things I love about it. Firstly, she’s this omniscient narrator, fly on the wall that watches the whole situation go down and then comes out with this cracker “money, money, money” hook

Hannah: It’s such a funny way to express angst in a relationship with a pina colada and maracas

Lizzie: So passive-agressive

Bianca: Like crazy-eyes “I’m gonna kill you”

Sam: That’s why I love that she narrates it all. Like she’s not in the situation, well she probably was, but she’s detached and she’s watching over and dancing. There’s this girl that’s miserable because her boyfriend’s being a dick to her but it’s so upbeat. It’s like how cartoons have a way of expressing really sad moments in a really poignant and satirical way

Bianca: Comedic relief

Hannah: This is a song version of a meme

Tropical Chancer

Lizzie: It’s interesting. You can associate it with that tropical feel but she hasn’t gone too far. It’s been taken-back and it’s subtle. I love it

Sam: I think she was just born with good taste because she just knows where the line is and she treads it so carefully on her debut, holding back from going full-on into pop territory and on this one again she’s held back from getting people with maracas

Bianca: My favourite is the way she pronounces “chancer”. I really like her accent there

Sam: There’s something about the line, “You have to believe that I’m a dreamer”

Hannah: If you got back to the title Trouble In Paradise, the whole album really gives you that vibe. Everything is sweet but there’s still that darkness underneath

Sam: We’ve talked lots with other albums about not listening to the lyrics but this is the first time we’ve been picking them up

Bianca: It’s a heartbroken person on a really beautiful pacific island. Like you want to enjoy the scenery, the water is amazing but it’s not as good as it could be because you’re heartbroken

Sam: It’s like you’ve been left at the altar but you still have to go on the honeymoon

Silent Partner

Lizzie: I don’t like this song at all

Hannah: I feel a little bit anxious

Sam: It’s definitely the outlier of the album but there is something I do like about it which is on the first album she was part of La Roux and this time she sound like the lead-woman. She’s more aggressive and she’s taken control

Lizzie: Nah, I’m just anxious

Bianca: It’s a really long song. I would’ve loved for there to be a big drum break-down

Hannah: For a seven-minute song you have to have something that hooks you

Sam: But she’s been very restrained with her anger the whole time maybe this is when she’s decided to let loose. I like it actually

Lizzie: The breakdown is quite cool

Hannah: Yeah but it’s not good enough for 7 minutes

Bianca: I can definitely see how it was needed on the album. Everything was a bit crazy-happy

Sam: I feel a change. On Tropical Chancer she’s was a little bit annoyed and now she’s pissed offlaroux3

Let Me Down Gently

Bianca: That pause is just so good

Lizzie: And then the breakdown…ahhhhh

Sam: The silence just lingers almost too long

Hannah: It’s another perfect demonstration of her knowing where the line is and then pulling back

Sam: She’s just a brilliant pop writer. The whole album she’s mixed sadness with happiness and this is just total sadness

Bianca: So much angst, that guitar with the breakdown…

Sam: That brass sounds like she’s devastated

Hannah: There’s still the ‘70s feel but she’s gone from tropical to a much more subdued sound

Sam: The storm’s gone and this is the calm

Lizzie: It makes me feel sorry for her. Awww…

The Feeling

Sam: I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said apart from her voice sounds flawless

Bianca: How is her voice so high but not grating

Hannah: Or breathy

Sam: And she jams so many words into a voice…

Hannah: Without losing coherence. Ah, we’ve started finishing each other’s sentences

Lizzie: Think about the story of the album. She’s gone from paradise to the anger and the sadness and now this is mellowed out. Like, “ok now I’ve gotta move on”

Sam: The whole album sounds like a nice narrative packaged together and again, she’s found a line where it’s like “nine songs, that’s enough”

Bianca: Yeah, it doesn’t sound forced. She is just so natural. Maybe because she’s had five years to mull it over

Sam: Can you imagine that?

Bianca: Well, she couldn’t even sing for part of that because she had anxiety attacks, she thought she had throat cancer. But it was purely from stress and anxiety. I guess this is her breaking free

Sam: There was a point last year when I thought we weren’t going to see another La Roux album but the fact she’s come back and this is so impressive is amazing

Hannah: I think what’s impressive is she sounded like she never left. It’s slipped back into where you want to be

Sam: As soon as I heard Let Me Down Gently I was confident about this record

Bianca: This album also doesn’t make me pine for the old album. When we listened to Klaxons I wanted to go back and listen to their old stuff so I could remember how good they used to be

Lizzie: Yeah this stands on its own

 

Best Song

Bianca: Sexotheque

Hannah: Sexotheque

Sam: Yeah, Sexotheque

Lizzie: That one’s the money, money one yeah? Yeah, I like that one

Sam: Sexotheque and Uptight Downtown

Bianca: And Let Me Down Gently

 

Overall Score

Lizzie: 8.5

Hannah: 7, I don’t think it tops Jungle and I gave Jungle an 8. Maybe 7.5

Bianca: I’m going to give it a 9

Sam: Yeah for me it flies past Jungle. 9

 

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

junglelockin

Friday Lock-in: Jungle- Jungle

junglelockin

“Right on time/ Back by the beach/ Still gonna bring the heat” is how enigmatic British collective, Jungle begin their debut album. And it’s the perfect foreshadowing for what is an album that continuously brings the heat. Jungle have been stirring up serious hype with their brand of disco-tinged funk, so what better way to groove right on into the weekend than to spin this baby.

We locked ourselves in, took away phones and attempted to keep ourselves cool against the flurry of heat that wafts from this record. Stream the album and play along at home. Just be warned this one contains sex with guns, Grand Theft Auto references and Venice Beach cruisin’.

The Heat

Bianca: Great start to the album. I usually hate police sirens when I’m driving because I feel like I’m being chased after but this time I’ll make an exception.

Hannah: This is the perfect cruising down Venice beach- police sirens, a little bit of ‘80s grime to it.

Lizzie: Yeah, watching the world go past, all the little scenarios.

Bianca: So GTA.

Lizzie: Yeahhhhhh, it’s got a soundtrack quality.

Sam: Perfect start to the album- “right on time, back by the beach…”

Accelerate

Sam: What d’ya think bitches?

Lizzie: It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Bianca: Lovin’ the chimes.

Lizzie: Yeah, lots of surprises.

Hannah: It’s got a kind of Aloe Blacc quality to the voice that then errs onto disco

Sam: The verses just creep. Creep on up thurrrr….

Bianca: I just feel like I’m playing a game. It’s definitely the soundtrack to my life. Life is a game guys. It’s kind of rainbow road-y

Lizzie: And we’re still cruisin’. Still in the car.

Sam: It’s not cruisy in the way it floats over you.

Hannah: Yeah, you’ve got your hands out the window doing waves in the air

Lizzie: We’ve got one of those….what is it? Take the roof off…

Bianca: Convertible.

Busy Earnin’

Bianca: I do not regret putting this as number one in our Top 20 of 2014 so far…

Sam: Me neither. I’m very content with the fact I feel like someone’s in a leather jacket with a baseball in their hand coming for me to beat me

Bianca: It’s all very evocative isn’t it

Sam: I think that’s the point with jungle. They’re very…

Lizzie: Cinematic

Sam: They’re one of those band whose video clips need to be there

Platoon

Lizzie: This is my favourite. They have lots going on but it’s a perfect mix. It’s new sounds. You’re questioning what those sounds are

Sam: I’m the opposite it’s my least favourite

Hannah: Yeah

Sam: It’s not dynamic enough

Hannah: It’s a nice track for approaching the middle of an album. You’re already hooked, you can just cruise on through

Lizzie: If the next song is not good then…

Bianca: Wait, you said it was your favourite song?

Hannah: Yeah, but there’s provisions around that obviously

Sam: It’s not unconditional

Drops

Bianca: I love the door creak samples

Hannah: It’s like Bon Iver but…

Bianca: …with a gun

Sam: I’m thinking American Hustle now. It’s something really sweet with something dangerous

Bianca: Having sex with a gun on your bedside table

Sam: I love this one. It creeps in a subtle way

Bianca: This is a creep. In a good way

Time

Sam: Love it love it love it love it love it

Lizzie: I just creamed my pants

Bianca: What?!

Sam: Why do we love it so? Like all of their songs, there is almost no dynamic, it flat-lines but they have this “we’re going on a bear-hunt” creep

Bianca: His voice stays at the same level but I’m ok with that

Hannah: I haven’t stopped nodding my head the whole time

Julia

Hannah: It’s definitely changed the tone

Sam: Julia has been a bad bad girl because this beat is dirty

Hannah: We’re no longer cruisin’. We’re not happy with Julia

Lizzie: More random sounds

Sam: It’s so textured. It’s yummy

Bianca: It’s not my favourite

Sam: Why?

Bianca: Because I just hate Julia. No, I don’t know actually. I love it of course, it’s just a bit pleady

Crumbler

Sam: This one’s neither here nor there for me

Lizzie: I was worried at the start but I think they redeemed themselves- sirens!

Sam: It’s funky. I think it’s something that grows on you

Bianca: This is the police chase in GTA. This is when I’m jumping out of the car and singing

Sam: It’s a bit Starsky and Hutch even

Son Of A Gun

Hannah: Venice Beach. Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet

Sam: It’s so interesting all the visual references that are coming out

Lizzie: It blends in but I’m not sure about it

Sam: I love it

Hannah: I think the second half of the album is already noticeable different to the first

Sam: This song’s the first one on the album that we’ve all been silent through the whole time because it’s interesting and there’s many different levels

Bianca: Does anyone know what he’s saying

All: Nup

Lizzie: I just got taken away by the whole sound

Lucky I Get What I Want

Bianca: This song has so many elements to it. I love the break-down when shit gets real

Sam: Shit gets real so many times on this album. This song is just so brilliant. It’s so melodically perfect

Hannah: Yeah. This one’s a winner

Lizzie: Damn, so smooth.

Lemonade Lake

Bianca: I love that this song actually sounds like a Lemonade Lake. It’s bubbly…

Hannah: Candy, Willy Wonka land

Lizzie: Euphoric

Sam: What an end

Hannah: I feel like that was a journey guys. We’ve been on a journey. We’ve killed some people, we’ve been in and out of gang wars and I’m walking away happy

 

Most Memorable Song

Bianca: Lemonade Lake

Sam: Lucky I Get What I Want and Accelerate

Lizzie: I love Time. I’ve always loved Time. And Lemonade Lake is the nicest surprise

Hannah: I like Lemonade Lake as the close to the album more than on its own

 

Overall

Bianca: Can I give it a 10?

Lizzie: I’m going with 9.5

Sam: I’m going to say 8. 8 is a solid number and that’s what it is a solid album. I’m not going to listen to it and be like wow wow wow. The whole How To Dress Well album was full of wow moments, this is just solid.

Bianca: Can I give a 9.5, maybe?

Hannah: I’m gonna give it an 8

 

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First Impressions 7 July

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

Ariana Grande Feat. Zedd- Break Free

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

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

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

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

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

Nile Rodgers- Do What You Wanna Do

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

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

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

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

Meg Mac- Roll Up Your Sleeves

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

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

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

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

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

Chet Faker- Gold (Flume re-work)

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

Hannah: 2zooey

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

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

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

Basement Jaxx- Never Say Never

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

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

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

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

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

Bon Iver- Heavenly Father

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

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

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

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

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Friday Lock-in: Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear

sia 1000 forms of fear the interns

Australian artist, Sia has gone from being our homegrown hero to an International songwriter to an enigmatic superstar. Her latest album, 1000 Forms of Fear follows a brilliant marketing campaign which has centred around Sia being played by everybody from 11 year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler to a clumsy Lena Dunham. This is Sia’s first album since writing hits for Rihanna, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and many more.

We locked ourselves in, donned our wigs and unfortunately refrained from swinging from the chandelier. Read below our track-by-track discussion of Sia’s 1000 Forms of Fear.

Chandelier

Sam: It’s a good start the the album. I love it, it’s such a good song

Bianca: Oh yeah I can’t even explain. It’s too much

Sam: Euphoric, big pop song. If you look at it in comparison to something like Roar by Katy Perry, it’s just got so much more guts

Hannah: Unapologetic ballad

Bianca: Stunning

Hannah: Dynamic

lena

 

Big Girls Cry

Bianca: It’s the answer to Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry

Hannah: It’s perfect for 3am karaoke when you’re already slurring

Sam: I don’t understand what she’s saying to be honest

Hannah: Apart from “Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking”

Sam: Mmmm how do we go from a song like swinging from the chandelier drunk to suddenly crying. Doesn’t resonate with me

Bianca: Well, you’re not a girl

Hannah: I like it, it’s kind of here nor there for me

Sam: Nup, she could palm it off to Christina Aguilera or something

 

Burn The Pages

Hannah: It’s like a pop ballad with a lot of Regina Spektor influences and credibility

Sam: Yeah, I love how she goes full on with the words in the verse and then she pulls it back and stretches them out in the chorus. It gives it so much more punch

Bianca: And the drums are always a welcome accompaniment. That marching band drum

Sam: It’s got kind of like a hip-hoppy, trap, Ryan Hemsworth touch. It’s cool. It’s back to Chandelier good.

Hannah: You could definitely dance along to this if you saw it at a festival. Chandelier you would just scream your lungs out

 

Eye of the Needle

Bianca: I don’t think I would choose to listen to this album in its entirety. It would just be too much Sia.

Sam: It’s a bit too much of pop track after pop track after hit after hit. But that said, I really, really like this song because of the vocal run in the verse.

Bianca: Her voice shines

Sam: I can imagine singing along to this if it came on in the car

Bianca: You wouldn’t know any of the words though

Sam: Yeah just make ’em up

Hannah: Sam’s in the car practising his vocals runs to Sia

Sam: Always up in da car working on my vocal runs

Sam: As far as a pop album goes she’s hitting it on the head so far

Bianca: Oh yeah. The fact I’m actually sitting through it says something

Hannah: It does that nice bridging between having mainstream appeal without being a sell-out

 

Hostage

Bianca: I just kept hearing Cyndi Lauper‘s Time After Time in that

Hannah: It sounds like a girl band of 10 Things I Hate About You, like that ‘90s grunge updated with a pop version

Sam: Like that movie, Josie and the Pussycats

Bianca: Don’t you dare say anything bad about Josie and the Pussycats

honk

Sam: I’m not! I love this song, it’s my favourite so far

Hannah: It’s Never Been Kissed-esque

Bianca: Yeah! Definitely. I love that calypso drum in the end

Sam: This is my favourite since Chandelier

Hannah: It’s nice that this one is not trying to be ballad-y

Bianca: Shameless fun

 

Straight for the Knife:

Bianca: It feels like she’s hyperlinking back to Big Girls Cry 

Hannah: Her mascara is running in this one

Sam: I like the really pop lyric of “you went straight for the knife and I prepared to die”. It’s so over-the-top but that’s what great pop music is I think

Hannah: This doesn’t have anything particularly grabby about it

Sam: No it doesn’t

Hannah: It has these big proclamations without any ‘oomph’ in the song

Sam: It needs like strings and a massive drum at the end. If you’re going to go over the top, go over the top, fall over the cliff. The thing is with this album I don’t hate it but at the moment I’m so-so

Hannah: This oscillates between being good background music and ballads

 

Fair Game

Sam: Love it

Hannah: It has R&B moments as well as indie moments

Bianca: Was that a glockenspiel?

Sam: I think it might have been

Bianca: Always glockin’

Sam: It’s like she’s taken the R&B thing and stripped it all back to one line of keys that runs underneath it. And the verses are so subtle and wordy

Hannah: The way she bounces between her words is very ‘90s R&B but also contemporary

Sam: Less is more

Bianca: I feel it could soundtrack the end of American Pie where they all finally lose their virginities after the prom

Sam: It is the calm after the storm

 

Elastic Heart

Hannah: I really like it

Bianca: I like the backing vocals

Sam: I think Diplo’s production gives it something extra

Hannah: It has a dance edge to it. If you sped it up a bit and thumped up the bass you could be dancing to that

Bianca: It would be really good remixed

Sam: Yeah. And I like that she’s dropped The Weeknd by the way. I think if you’re going to have no guests on the album, go all Sia

Hannah: She’s enough. She’s all we need

 

Free The Animal

Sam: I love everything apart from the chorus

Bianca: The chorus ruins everything

Hannah: The verses are great. They’re hi-hoppy and poppy and have sparse beats as well as a constant groove. They’re great verses. The rest is bland

Sam: It’s pure pop candy followed by an iron boot

Bianca: The breakdown after the chorus is good. She’s experimenting. Yelling Free The Animal is just too much though. Everytime it goes to the chorus it feels like I’ve switched to 2Dayfm

 

Fire Meet Gasoline

Bianca: A match made in heaven

Sam + Hannah: Ooooooooh

Hannah: A pun 3 minutes in the making

Bianca: No it just came to me. It just sparked (Laughs)

Sam: This is one of my favourite. It’s very overtly pop but at the sametime I think I just love how it is Fire Meet Gasoline, not Meets. It’s like she’s introducing the two and there’s something I find really cool about that. Taking off the ‘S’ I’m like, I’m sold and I don’t even know why

Bianca: Does she know fire or gasoline better?

Hannah: Fire

Sam: Fire and she’s not sure how it’s gonna go and she’s bringing the fire towards the gasoline like that shit’s gonna blow her up

Bianca: I think that wig is highly flammable

Sam: This album is very dangerous. There’s knives and fire and we’re about to go into cellophane. All those things together…

Hannah: Sia likes it rough

Sam: Did she write S&M?

 

Cellophane

Hannah: Least favourite so far

Sam: Yeah me too

Bianca: Doesn’t do it for me

Hannah: I think I’m already battered and bruised from the rest of the album

Sam: It’s too much. There’s cellophane and then the electricity has done something to her brain

Bianca: I don’t know how this could be the second last song on the album

Sam: I think the second last song is always the worst because people get complacent

Hannah: This is a bit of a filler

Sam: She’s gotta end well otherwise she’s leaving with a bad tatse

 

Dressed In Black

Bianca: I think it’s a good end to the album

Sam: Me too. She’s been able to use all those dramatic metaphors and is like “yeah, I’m happy now”. At the same time, it kind of gets there but it never hits the heights of Chandelier. When I first heard Chandelier I thought it was a great start to the album but now I think I would’ve started it with Elastic Heart and put Chandelier in the middle

Hannah: Yeah, after Chandelier it just bubbles

Sam: Maybe it grows on you

 

Overall

Bianca: Good work Sia, she did well

Sam: It’s a good pop album. When it comes down to it she’s a great pop writer, she’s got a great voice and she’s an Aussie girl who made it big. It’s a nice story

Bianca: I’m going to give it a 7/10

Hannah: 7.6 because it always has to beat Lana Del Rey’s Pitchfork rating

Sam: I was going to give it the same, 7. I think it’s good.

Bianca: On that note…Sia!

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10 things I learnt from Robin Thicke’s ode to his estranged wife ‘Paula’

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Oh how the mighty have fallen. Last year, Robin Thicke was riding high on the charts with his ode to rape, Blurred Lines. This year, he’s gone through a separation, written an album about said separation and been smacked in the face by the hands of social media.

I sat through Paula (all fifteen tracks) and am now feeling understandably exhausted.

Still, I had time to reflect on what I learnt and how Paula will be feeling after this little gift turns up on her doorstep.

Paula didn’t appreciate the gesture of having her arse ripped in two

“I kept tryna tell you, you were pushing me too far” ‘Paula’ sings back to Thicke in Lock The Door. But he’s always hated “those Blurred Lines”. On Get Her Back he adds that he “should’ve held you stronger”.

On Give It 2 U from the last album he told Paula or one of the girls he was courting at the time that he has “a big dick for you”. Who’s the big dick now?

Robin Thicke made the album in a month

And it shows. Paula sounds like it was recorded in a lobby elevator. Its arrangements are bare-as-anything and the lyrics sound like his iPhone message thread with Paula. Apparently he hasn’t spoken to Paula in four months. What was he doing for the three months he wasn’t writing the album? This apparently:

Robin Thicke needs Paula to cure an STI

In Love Can Grow Back, Thicke insists that if Paula returns she’ll be “scratching and scratching his itch”. If we can offer any advice to Paula should she return, it’s do not scratch that itch. It should be treated by a medical professional.

Robin Thicke uses 9/11 as a metaphor

“I thought I was livin’ (YEAH!) / ‘Till I woke up to a siren / I thought I was over (YEAH!) / ‘Till I met those New York soldiers / They keep on working (keep on working) / They keep on fighting (keep on fighting) / America (America) / It’s time to wake up (Time to wake up).”

Please make this stop. Could this be a reference to 9/11 in a song that also features the line “Girls are pretty, streets are witty”?

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Sweet cherry pineapple black is a colour

Thicke says this is the colour of Paula’s “new new new new new new new nails” in Love Can Grow Back. I think it may look a little like this:

Paula smashed Robin’s guitar, hit him with golf clubs and still this album exists

Robin is either thicke or very forgiving. In Black Tar Cloud he tells the tale of what was surely his relationship’s last days. Paula swung his golf clubs at him, smashed his “ride” and broke his guitar. No doubt in an attempt to prevent this album from being made.

Robin hasn’t learnt anything

While he spends most of the album begging for Paula to come back, there’s glimpses of the old Thicke that pop up every now and then. In Something Bad he sings “I know you wanna fly so baby open up your wings / Then I’ll walk out with your legs shaking while you’re screaming, ‘Robin please!'” How could Paula leave such a sexual deviant? Well, he believes that he didn’t “spank” her enough.

Just quietly, I think she’s had quite enough of your spanking:

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 5.56.16 pm

Paula is the eiffel tower, the Northern lights and Mona Lisa

A woman of many talents, obviously. How could she manage a relationship when she’s three tourist attractions at once?

Paula was born when she was 21

More metaphorical brilliance from Mr. Thicke. According to Lock The Door, Paula was “born in Paris at the age of 21”. Her poor, poor mother, how did she push that thing out?

Paula’s probably not coming back but we wish she would

I’ve been doing a little reading on divorce and apparently one goes through a number of phases: denial, crazy behaviour, sadness and acceptance. Based on the lyrics throughout Paula, one would think Thicke is in the denial stage. That means that there could potentially be three more albums named after Paula. This isn’t The Blueprint or Tha Carter. No more sequels should be made and there is only one person that can prevent that. Paula, we’re looking at you. I’m sorry.

 

I won’t tell you the release date, but I’m sure you can stream it somewhere if you still feel the need.

 

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First Impressions 30 June

FIRSTIMPRESSIONS_JUNE20

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

Jhene Aiko- To Love & Die

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

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

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

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

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

Jamie xx- All Under One Roof Raving

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

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

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

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

FKA Twigs- Two Weeks

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

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

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

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

The Weeknd- Often

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

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

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

Bianca: Umbrella sales have just gone down dramatically. 1

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

Shabazz Palace- #CAKE

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

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

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

Bianca: This cake did not rise. 0.5

Calvin Harris- C.U.B.A

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

Lizzie:

Simple Recipe for an EDM song:

3 parts equal serving Heavy bass and crash

3 parts unrecognizable twangy sound

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

300 minutes of build up to the drop

2 parts “Drop”

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

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

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

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

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

 

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First Impressions 23 June

FirstImpressions_22June

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

Jessie Ware- Tough Love

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

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

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

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

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

Alt-J- Hunger of the Pines

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

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

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

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

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

Riff Raff- Lava Glaciers (Feat. Childish Gambino)

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

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

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

Hannah:  2

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

Duke Dumont- Won’t Look Back

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

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

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

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

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

BROODS- Mother and Father

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

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

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

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

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

Chloe Howl- Disappointed

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

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

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

Bianca: I still stand by my statement.

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

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

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

FNLI_HTDW2

Friday Lock-in: How To Dress Well – What Is This Heart?

FridayNightLockin_HTDW

We’ve locked ourselves in with a box of tissues for an emotional Friday Lock-in. This week’s record up for review is the third album by Tom Krell (aka. How To Dress Well) titled What Is This Heart? Listen along with us (by streaming here) as we discuss Celine Dion, tears and the many pleasures of a marching band.

2 Years On (Shame Dream)

Bianca: It takes me back to Christmas time as a child. It sounds like a Christmas carol.

Lizzie: I found myself tearing up a little bit.

Sam: Actually?

Lizzie: Yeah, a little bit. I got emotional.

Sam: First song and we need the tissues already. I’m really torn, I love his voice but what an odd start to an album.

Lizzie: Yeah, it’s like at a One Direction concert where they sing their songs and then bring out the acoustic set.

Hannah: I love that his voice holds you there. I do question putting that as the first song though.

What You Wanted

Sam: I fricken love it.

Hannah: I adore it.

Lizzie: It’s JT, but just with so much more talent. At the start I thought it was going to go a bit slow but he just built it up and built it up and brought you into the song effortlessly.

Sam: Now the first song makes sense to me. It’s so layered.

Bianca: Ohhhh, once the synths come in I was so gone. That was sooooo good.

Hannah: I love how the vocals bounce between Destiny’s Child and TLC. They bounce, they cascade down. And then it has this dirty grimes bass with a twinkle above it.

Bianca: It’s a bit poetic isn’t it?

Face Again

Sam: I feel like I can sing along early on. It’s got a pop quality but it’s also weird.

Lizzie: This one’s a bit darker than the other ones. The back sounds get broody but he’s still true to himself.

Bianca: it’s like BANKS‘ Drowning, where it has this demonic voice that’s behind the other voice.

Hannah: There’s this desperation that finishes off the end of his verses. The end of each sentence is throat, gut wrenching desperation.

Sam: It teeters on this edge where I feel like it’s going to fall off at any second.

Lizzie: It would be cool to see in the recording studio how into it he is.

Sam: He says things that I imagine I would say and they would sound really lame. I have to say I’m very happy to be third song in and still interested. Last week (Love Frequency Lock-in) I was already gone.

Hannah: Last week was dire. This one makes everyone drop about 5 inches.

Bianca: In a good way, of course.

See You Fall

Bianca: Speaking of getting low, that voice just drops.

Sam: When he says “fall” and there’s that deep voice under it. MWAH!

Lizzie: The strings is another thing you just don’t expect. He could ride a pretty good wave with his voice, it’s incredible. But he brings in new components to every song.

Hannah: Each one of his songs demonstrates an intricate knowledge of a lot of music genres. He’s really happy going between all of them. This is springy and poppy and happy but then when it starts talking about strange faces, there’s RnB/Hip-Hop.

Sam: When that throbbing bass comes in I’m just like “aww shit”. Love it. Lizzie this wouldn’t be something you’d generally listen to would it?

Lizzie: No. But it creates little experiences in your head that you don’t even think about. I wouldn’t usually listen to this but it makes me wanna have a happy time. Cry a bit more.

Sam: Disclaimer- Lizzie’s had a hard week.

Repeat Pleasure

Hannah: Still love it, still love it, still love it

Bianca: It’s nice to go to an album and hear a song you already know. It brings you back down to earth, you’re familiar with it and you can just…

Sam: …groove

Bianca: We finish each other’s…

Sam: …sandwiches.  

Lizzie: It’s a good wake up in the morning and get-your-head-together song.

Hannah: I love that he cites Celine Dion. I love that he goes there.

Sam: It’s all these potentially tacky references, and he makes them fresh.

Hannah: Love that he goes there.

Words I Don’t Remember

Lizzie: This is not my favourite

Sam: Me neither

Lizzie: I don’t like that synth sound…It’s a great song and a 3am, sexy song but…

Sam: It’s not as rising as the other songs.

Lizzie: Yeah, it’s familiar electronic sounds but just nothing new.

Bianca: It makes the album a little tiring for me. 6 songs in and I’m feeling weary.

Bianca: Oh wait, it kinda got good at the end.

Pour Cyril

Sam: That one is literally almost making me tear up.

Lizzie: Welcome to the club, honey.

Bianca: My orchestra days are all coming back to me

Sam: Ahhhh the strings. And then his voice introduces this perfect melody.

Lizzie: It deserves its own movie. A movie needs to be made around this song. I feel like I wanna go chase my lover that I don’t have…before he boards the plane.

Bianca: Can we really underline the fact Lizzie’s had a bad week.

Precious Love

Sam: I love it. It’s so everything I love in a song. His is my music in an MP3. I love my white-boy RnB.

Lizzie: It’s not your typical RnB though. You kind of have to think. It’s a new modern, but slightly old and familiar.

Sam: There’s an 80s jingle behind it.

Bianca: I really like the kick-drum, the claps. The clap is infectious. 😉

Sam: This is the most mainstream in a way. It’s good to have the beat back to. Everything on the album is ever so slightly different.

Lizzie: It’s like a good fashion collection everything’s a little different but it all comes together.

Sam: Like ya classic LBD. Everybody needs a LBD.

Bianca: ‘How to dress well…’

Childhood Faith In Love (Everything Must Change)

Sam: This one’s all about the throb.

Lizzie: Yeah, I think I can go and do good things with my life now. I feel like it’s turned me.

Bianca: This album has just been a roller coaster of emotions.

Sam: I feel genuinely excited about this album.

Bianca: You know what? This isn’t my favourite of the album.

Sam: it’s not my favourite but I feel it’s necessary. I feel like every album needs ones that don’t pack a huge punch.

Lizzie: He loses his beautiful voice in this.

Sam: No, I like the reverb in it.

A Power

Sam: Again, I love that beat.

Lizzie: This whole album I could not listen to by myself. I find it too broody and emotive. It’s brilliant but this is an album I’d recommend. I want people to listen to it. But don’t get me alone with this album because I’ll break-down.

Sam: It’s interesting to watch how everybody reacts to it and it’s made it so much better for me.

Bianca: I’d have to be in the complete right mood for it.

Sam: It’s not a bus record.

Bianca: No. And it’s not a getting ready record either. Even though it is How To Dress Well. If I got dressed to this I would not dress well. Darkest clothes and think I really need to throw my whole wardrobe out.

Sam: The way this album builds. I’m dead…it’s the best reaction I’ve had to an album all year. I think it’s amazing.

Very Best Friend

Sam: This one doesn’t pack a punch for me.

Lizzie: in the last song we were in our comfort zone and we needed something to push us to the end. At the start, the Flume-y skip gave us something.

Sam: I love the vocal break-down though.

Bianca: Nup.

Lizzie: You realise the corniness of the lyrics.

Sam: There’s too much space.

Bianca: I prefer Foster The People‘s Best Friend.

House Inside (Future Is Older than the Past)

Bianca: Such a good climax.

Lizzie: He’s done what every artist should do on an album. It was cyclical. He closed it off well. Althouht here was a bit of a clusterfuck with instruments after the start. The ending is beautiful.

Bianca: The marching band brought it home.

Sam: I felt like we’d reached the top of the mountain and we were all holding hands and hugging. You guys had mascara dripping down your face. That slow song that didn’t make sense at the start suddenly makes total sense. What an album.

Lizzie: I’m going to give it 8.5

Bianca: Agree. 8.5

Sam: I’m going to give it 9.5. I think it’s the best album of the year so far.

Hannah: I’m with you, Samos. 9.5. Touchdown!

touchdown

 

Stream the album at whatisthisheart.com 

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