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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]

 

RAM_2

Random Access Memories: A Year On

RAM

As of this month, a year has passed since the release of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. The hype has somewhat dissipated, the dust has settled. Now it’s time to ask: Did RAM live up to the hype? Is it a Daft Punk classic? What does Daft Punk’s journey into disco past mean for our music present and future? (for the TL;DR version of the answers, scroll to the end)

Few artists in the history of time have had the enigmatic effect on the music industry quite like Daft Punk. It takes someone or something special to cause such a whirlwind of rumours and myths to circulate constantly over two decades’ time, ranging from surprise appearances to the actual identity of the persons in question, Thomas Bangalter & Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. In the 12 year time gap between their last album and RAM, (excluding the Tron soundtrack) the rumour mill was still well-oiled and running, with people predicting release dates of the next album, asking the questions “is there even going to be a next album?”, “when are they touring again?” or, as one internet punter asked an online Daft Punk FAQ, ‘are they dead?’

daftpunk_dead

I personally found this ‘partially’ helpful.

In February last year, Daft Punk finally came out of the shadows with a solitary image of the iconic split-helmet posted on both their website and Facebook. This first contact from the pair, in what felt like decades, sent the online world into a frenzy, with Facebook, Twitter, music blogs and forums alike going into overdrive. Even their manager, Paul Hahn, was staggered by the internet’s reaction, commenting that his favourite tweet was, ‘Daft Punk posts jpeg, crashes internet.” The incredible fact was that nothing about a new album was mentioned, though everyone was taking from that simple image the same message:

Daft Punk were back (and were definitely alive).

helmet2 copy

Rudy Mechekoff (above) makes a good point 

With tongues wagging and fingertips furiously a-typin’, Columbia Records slowly rolled out the  remainder of the Random Access Memories campaign to the bated breath of fans worldwide. But there was something different about this promotion. The helmet image posted onto the internet was typical of an album release but it was one of only a few engagements in the digital sphere. Instead, as hinted in a blog announcement by Chic guitarist and producer Nile Rodgers, it seemed that Daft Punk (with Rodgers as a suspected collaborator) were opting for a campaign encompassing all things retro. This was the first clue that Daft Punk was taking a new, funky direction.

billboard
Billboards began to pop up along Sunset Boulevard, replacing ads for “fat-reduction pills and local car-insurance companies,” imparting a “physical, visceral quality” and creating “something of permeance,” according to Paul Hahn. A 15-second teaser advertisement also bookmarked a Saturday Night Live episode (overshadowing Macklemore’s appearance on the show), both giving a nod to “pre-MTV era of marketing”, as Paul Hahn put it, with the latter subsequently crashing the Daft Punk website within 4 seconds of its appearance. It was a delightful mix of eras, with the clever use of varied media elements thought to be antiquated in the music realm.

Columbia Records still had more surprises up its sleeve; slowly giving away more and more pieces of the puzzle that was Random Access Memories. These consisted of a retro-futuristic web series, a multi-part YouTube documentary revealing some of the collaborators, more billboards (this time at prime positions of SXSW & Ultra Music Festival) and another SNL advertisement. This was all topped off with an extended 60-second teaser projected to the audience at Coachella, revealing Pharrell as a collaborator and stirring rumours that Daft Punk would be doing a surprise set (little did they know that the two men they craved so much were actually watching the teaser from the crowd amongst them. Truly Gods amongst mere mortals).

Kermit Cintron vs Walter MathysseThe campaign continued to stir up hype and demand attention, certainly a contrast to the two Frenchmen who have insisted on keeping their identities hidden underneath robot heads since the ‘90s. It exuded a promise of something great, with Columbia’s Chief Executive, Rob Stringer, likening it to when record companies used to have the “confidence that they had a big, big record.” There was no question they had the confidence. At this point it was bordering on cockiness.

Finally, the time had come for their 4th studio album to be released and in classic Daft Punk style, the launch was to be held in where else but ‘Wee Where..?’, only adding to the mystery and intrigue of the saga.

The time came, the time has passed, and now we’re left to ponder the question:

Did the machines live up to the hype?

Now that the dust has settled, the rumours have calmed (for now) and everyone has a copy of RAM in their once-hot little hands, I beg the question: did the album live up to its hype as the most anticipated album of last year/decade/century/millennia?

Obtaining the status of most critically successful album with a score of 87/100 on Metacritic, winning numerous Grammy Award wins, including Album of the Year, Best Dance/Electronica Album and Record of the Year, and debuting at number one in twenty countries, I’d be stupid to say no. I’d also be lying.

They gave life back to music.

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As the introductory song to RAM states, Guy and Thomas-Manuel aimed to revive the magic of albums apparently lost in the riff-heavy EDM haze. Professing to be bored with the electronic music style they so happened to help create, the pair chose to shy away from samples and other immediately-gratifying features of electronic music. Instead, they opted to bask in the styles and techniques of the disco era, turning back the clock to the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. In an age where so many songs are conceived so quickly and proficiently on computers, Daft Punk’s reintroduction of disco is refreshing, with The Scissor Sisters’ frontman, Jake Shears, comparing it to a “giant, fresh glass of water that so many people have been thirsty for for so long.” This style is evident in their use of multi-layered vocals, accompanied with a slew of instruments and expert instrument implementation (dem guitar licks), adding to the intricate level of detail and musical thought rendered throughout the album.

They spared no expense to accomplish this; rounding up the best musicians, recording in the finest studios around the world and incorporating orchestras and choirs at will. With this, they’ve managed to create a new sonic-age while still maintaining their classic Daft Punk . Many would prefer for them to simply stick to what made them what they are, but at some point, purely programmed music would become tiresome. As Giorgio Moroder said, “they had to do something which is different – still dance, still electronic – but give that human touch back.” And it’s that simple idea of personifying electronic music again which has so influenced the disco/funk trend so evident today.

RAM was an Instant Crush, but was it an Instant Classic?

crushRandom Access Memories‘ cinematic nature makes it an album that needs to be heard in full, a style which doesn’t make it a classic in the way that its predecessors are. Of course discluding popular Get Lucky and Lose Yourself to Dance, you wouldn’t expect to hear many of their tracks, such as the musings in Giorgio by Moroder or the cinematic story of Touch in any old club. This is where Daft Punk’s style in RAM is noticeably different from their past works. It seems they have created this to be more of an event, more of a journey from start to finish, not dissimilar to the records of the past. This in turn requires a lot more effort from the listener, proving difficult for some, who would prefer the immediate gratification from one of their more electronic numbers such as Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.

Although this way of approaching the album may be labour-intensive, it is greatly rewarding. RAM manages to surprise you with something new every listen, whether it be the instantly funking guitar lick on Lose Yourself to Dance, the steady beat of Doin’ It Right or the Broadway production that is Touch. It’s the complete disregard for trend that makes RAM stand out as an innovator, jam-packed with music of an older-age for a future generation.

Disco is Alive and Stayin’ Alive.

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Although many artists have quietly been making disco-influenced music, it seems that all we required was the Daft Punk effect to really start the trend. Sonically, it’s re-introduced the idea of human-sounding music into the dance genre. Ironic, considering it came from a pair of robots. Nile Rodgers, one of the main collaborators on the album and the ‘Mozart of disco’, has attributed this renewed affection for his beloved disco to its “complex simplicity” and absolute “bliss of grooves.”

nilerodgersIt has the ability to encourage people to get up and dance, rather than “people standing there” and “nodding their heads”, as stated by Dec Lennon, the head of a dubstep/grime radio station, comparing the new disco wave to the dubstep era.

Mixmag’s Duncan Dick positioned RAM as a “game-changer for dance music,” getting out of the EDM comfort zone that so many artists are stuck in. “It’s as if they’re trying to turn the clock back to a time not only before EDM but before even acid house,” he wrote. “This isn’t Daft Punk trying to get back to the warehouse or the rave but back to the discothèque.” Dec Lennon has also attributed it to people “opening up, getting loose, having a drink and a dance.” Hugo Gruzman of Flight Facilities has also chimed in on the subject, comparing EDM to electronic disco, stating “it’s the difference between a quick shag and an all-night love-making session”.

It seems everyone has the fever, with artists adopting the disco trend at a critical mass. This past year, we’ve already seen artists such as Jungle, Chromeo, Chris Malinchak, Juce, Flight Facilities, Todd Terje, Blood Orange and La Roux (just to name a few) creating ‘70s/’80s-inspired tunes. Not to mention the slew of artists like Clean Bandit and Avicii who have found huge commercial success with their disco-flavoured numbers.

Pharrell Got Lucky.

durex

No, not in that way! Well, probably also in that way. 

Another artist who has greatly benefited from the success of Random Access Memories is none other than former N.E.R.D pioneer, Pharrell Williams. Although quietly producing tracks with a host of other artists, it seemed he’d been hiding in the shadows for the past few years, appearing his best days were behind him. Pharrell himself confessed that his first solo album, In My Mind, was a “dreadful experience”, making him think that his “days as an artist were over.”

It wasn’t until he met with Guy and Thomas-Manuel and pleaded to their manager for a chance at collaborating, saying “anything you want me to do, I’ll do. I’ll play tambourine on your next album,” that his luck began to change. He stated that he was “happy guesting” or “producing work” but the French dance stars asked much more of Pharrell,  inviting him to sing on their hit single Get Lucky and further collaborate with them for the entire album.

pharrellhelmet

This turn of events has him convinced that Daft Punk brought his solo career back from the brink of nonexistence.”Working with Daft Punk has been a huge part of the journey to where I am today… I was appreciative when I did it and I’m still appreciative of the chance I was given,” he has commented. Daft Punk, with their album Random Access Memories, helped shine the spotlight back on Pharrell, breathing life back to his career and revealing the producer for the amazing talent he is, helping him re-emerge into the music world as, what The Guardian describes him, a ‘one-man disco revival.’

TL;DR: Random Access Memories was great, Daft Punk revived the disco era, they inspired other artists to emulate electro-disco, they kick-started Pharrell Williams’ solo career and, basically, boogie is back and it’s, hopefully, here to stay (at least until Daft Punk’s next album).

applause

FIRSTIMPRESS

First Impressions 26 May

firstimpressions29may

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

Juce – (H)ours

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

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

Lizzie: 

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

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

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

BANKS- Drowning

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Malinchak (Feat. Mikky Ekko)- Stranger

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

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

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

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

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

Nicki Minaj- Pills and Potions

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

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

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

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

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

Zeds Dead and Twin Shadow- Lost You

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

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

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

Why it works? Great catchy vocals.

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

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

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

Jungle- Time

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

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

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

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

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

 

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

First Impressions 19 May

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

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

M.I.A- Baddygirl 2

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

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

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

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

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

Kimbra- ‘90s Music

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

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

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

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

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

La Roux- Let Me Down Gently

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

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

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

Hannah: Phil Collins of the best kind. 3.5

Gorilla-Drumming

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

Mariah Carey- Thirsty

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

Lizzie: This song is offensive to my ears. 1

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

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

Andy Bull- Talk Too Much

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

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

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

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

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

Rhodes- Morning

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

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

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

Hannah:  Well that was nice.

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

singlesclub_week6_2

Musical Speed Dating 9 May

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

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

Antlers- Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

Usher- Good Kisser

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

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

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

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

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

Basement Jaxx- Unicorn

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

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

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

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

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

Alison Wonderland- I Want U

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

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

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

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

Shamir- I Know It’s A Good Thing

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

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

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

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

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

KStewart- Tell Me ‘Bout That

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

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

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

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

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

xscape4

The Definitive track-by-track guide to Michael Jackson’s Xscape

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

We seem to have an obsession with reviving stars from the dead. 2Pac appeared as a hologram at Coachella, 12 posthumous Jimi Hendrix albums have been released and a Drake-lead Aaliyah album is rumoured to be in the works. There’s been a lot of talk around whether Jackson’s second studio album since 2009 will tarnish his reputation. After one listen, it’s unlikely. Does anybody remember Michael from 2010? You’ve all probably tried to erase it from the memory, mostly because it featured Akon.

Thankfully this one isn’t half as much of a rush job as Michael. Xscape sounds polished and true to Jackson’s style. Executive producer of the record, Jimmy Iovine said that the intention was to make it sound like a record Jackson would’ve made – and it does. The only problem is whether or not that’s a style people want to hear in 2014.

With that considered, let’s take a journey and escape to Xscape.

Love Never Felt So Good

Dim the lights, pour the champagne and start spinning the circular bed. This one is classic MJ, harking further back to his Jackson 5 days than any other era. It’s a disco-flavoured affair, with a guest spot from Justin Timberlake but it still feels so old fashioned. Everyone’s aware that funk is back thanks to Pharrell but this feels dusty. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pulling out the daggy Mum moves and loving every second.

Chicago

Opened by deep synths, we’re immediately out of disco-Jackson and into 2000s-Jackson. Apparently this one was originally recorded for his 2001 album, Invincible, and it shows. Timbaland has waved his magic over it and it’s moderately successful. If anything, it’s good to hear that classic MJ grunt again as he sings “Lie to you, Lie to me”.

Loving You

Lets jump backwards again, because now we’re firmly in the motown era. Timbaland and J-Rocc have brought this track into 2014 but I can’t help but wonder whether it would’ve been better left untouched. Or am I just thinking about the whole Jackson legacy in general? Either way, this one’s about as memorable as the last season of the Biggest Loser.

Edit: I’ve just listened to the original version and my earlier thoughts have been confirmed. It would’ve been better left alone.

A Place with No Name

Rihanna’s producers, Stargate fiddled with this one and it’s probably the most successful so far. It maintains a funky baseline but peppers it will a deep pulsating beat. Jackson’s vocals on this are so on point, it’s hard not to enjoy this track. His licks, runs and grunts are all there in abundance and he feels more present than 2Pac’s Coachella hologram. Unlike the previous song, the original version doesn’t hold a candle to the 2014 update.

Slave to the Rhythm

Timbaland’s back on this one and you can tell. It sounds similar to Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience with a shuffling beat and futuristic synths. This is apparently about a house-wife who’s caught in a mundane life but would rather be dancing. Pretty emotional stuff. The track doesn’t really pull through until the euphoric fourth quarter when Timbaland pairs it all back in favor of a glistening synth.

Do You Know Where Your Children Are

This one’s a difficult listen given Jackson’s history with alleged sexual abuse. The industrial percussion and ‘80s synths are there in glorious abundance but it’s hard to just focus on that and not give all your attention to lyrics like “She wrote that she is tired of stepdaddy using her”.

Blue Gangsta

The opening verse of this is Timbaland’s finest moment on the album. The brooding start makes me imagine Jackson emerging onto stage in a smoke machine-induced haze and it’s all sorts of magic. He’s then joined by a brass-heavy beat and everything goes awry. The original of this is so uncomplicated but Timbaland seems to have added and added to it until it’s almost unbearable to listen to. I’m a huge fan of anything brass-related but apparently you can have too much of a good thing.

Xscape

Nothing says contemporary like a misspelt title track. It’s so will.i.am, so Gen-Y, so 2014. Unfortunately that’s where the contemporary aspect of this track ends. Like a large portion of this album, they’ve tried to keep it true to Jackson’s style and still bring it in to 2014. In the end it sounds confused and irrelevant.

 Xscape is out in Australia on 13 May.

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

5thingsilearnt2

5 things I learnt from the St Lucia concert

St Lucia Concert

St Lucia and his crew make for a colourful bunch. Jean-Philip Grobler (AKA St Lucia), along with Nick Brown, Ross Clark, Nicky Paula and Patricia Beranek have been tearing up the airwaves with various songs from their indie-pop album When The Night.

Naturally they arrived on stage to an excited room ready to dance to the highly moveable South African flavours. And taste them we did.

Apart from sore feet, here’s what I took from the concert:

1. Choir classes pay off 

Starting off the night off with radio-favourite The Night Comes Again, Jean-Philip’s choir-boy background really shined through; his vocal capabilities exuded a quality only years of dedicated practice could do.

2. St Lucia can smash a cover 

Jean-Philip and his backing band surprised everyone by performing a boppy rendition of Chaka Khan’s ’83 hit ‘Ain’t Nobody’. It’s hard to believe that this ’80s hit could become any more balmy but St Lucia and his band worked the crowd into a hot sweat.

3. There is such a thing as too much wind machine. 

stlucia_hairLucky his bouffant ‘do could handle the gale force.

4.  He likes it loud (his clothing, that is).  

Keep updated on his appealing apparel that would make even Solange Forest Green with envy on his Twitter account.

 

5. The energy translated from album to dancefloor 

Despite the set occasionally lulling into a few too many la-la-las, by and large it was an energetic, sunshine-driven affair. Towards the end of the night, effortless transitions between songs ensured the dancing pit never quit. Elevate was as euphoric as you’d expect and the glistening island-inspired percussion transformed the room into a Caribbean getaway. The more dance-centric September delivered perfectly constructed climaxes, driving the evening home before we were willing to call it a night. That enthusiasm was (unfortunately?) noticed by a fellow punter who complimented my friend and me on our ‘enthusiasm’ which ‘made her night.’ I, myself, would pass the compliment onto St Lucia but, hey, my pleasure.

stlucia2

 

St Lucia wrapped up his National tour in Melbourne on Tuesday before making his way back to the US.

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

 

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