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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]

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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

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

Jamie xx- Girl

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

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

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

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

Movement- Ivory

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

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

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

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

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

Twin Shadow- To The Top

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

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

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

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

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

TALA- Serbia

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

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

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

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

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

Chromeo- Ezra’s interlude

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

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

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

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

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

The Black Keys- Turn Blue

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

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

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

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

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

 

speeddate2

First Impressions 3 April

speeddate

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

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

Sam Smith- Stay With Me

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

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

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

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

HAERTS- Call My Name

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

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

Lizzie: Oh God i’m bored 2

Hannah: Yawn.

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

Jamie xx- Sleep Sound

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

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

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

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

SZA Feat. Chance The Rapper- Childs Play

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

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

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

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

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

EMA- 3Jane

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

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

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

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

Velociraptor- Ramona

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

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

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

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

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

 

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