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WHATHTEFUCK2

What the fuck is PC Music?

WHATDAFUCK

Last week, we took on A G Cook’s latest track Beautiful in First Impressions. While Hannah compared it to Snozberries, Lizzie likened it to the Rugrats, noting that she wasn’t “sold on the whole Hello Kitty sound”. The cultural references were becoming a little overwhelming so I decided to pose myself the question, ‘What the F**K is PC Music?’

Nintendo. Dance Dance Revolution. Korea. Siri. These are all things that come to mind when you hear the music coming out of new label PC Music. Spend a moment with PC Music’s soundcloud and you’ll be both intrigued and disgraced. The music coming out of the label sounds completely inhuman but at the same time acutely reminiscent of a generation built on smartphones that talk, nostalgia and EDM.

PC Music is run by London producer A G Cook who also releases music through the label. In an interview with Tank Magazine, Cook said, “The label’s called PC Music, which alludes to how the computer is a really crucial tool, not just for making electronic music but for making amateur music that is also potentially very slick”.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pcmus/beautiful[/soundcloud]

It’s an apt way of describing it. Nowadays very little difference can be heard between bedroom and studio producers. The meteoric success of Flume from a very early point in his career is testament to this. The music coming out of PC Music is so slick, it’s being compared to candy in abundance. In a way, it’s bubblegum music. So smoothed out and computer-driven that it’s lost all imperfection. Where rock n’ roll was born on impurities, PC Music’s difference comes in its ability to sound criminally crisp.

Cook was born in 1990 and notes that he grew up using a computer at quite an advanced level. The music has both the clunkiness of Windows 98 and the effortless sheen of an Apple Mac.

A demonstration of modern technology, all the press shots for PC Music’s artists are just as devoid of humanity as the music. An artist like Hannah Diamond (below), for example, looks as if she has nothing behind the eyes. The picture’s personality is simply delivered through bright, childlike colours and its likeness to childhood cartoon characters.

Apart from creator A G Cook, one of the most notable artists on the label is the aforementioned Hannah Diamond. Her songs redefine the meaning of minimal. They’re like deconstructed Top 40 tracks that have been redone out of mockery. Her voice is like a slightly more natural Siri. In normal circumstances, these things would be criticisms. But they’re not. It seems Diamond sits so far to the left on the kitsch spectrum, that there’s a stroke of genius in how otherworldly it sounds.

Her track Attachment has her singing “Together, forever” like a children’s doll. Creepy, yes. Infectious, yes. There’s a deep sense of ‘90s nostalgia that makes it oddly irresistible. Top 40 Pop music is a guilty pleasure but it’s fairly simple to explain why. Attachment is also a guilty pleasure, however, it’s close to impossible to describe why. On Soundcloud one user comments, “Why do I like this” while another says “this is wackkkkk”. She’s also compared to “an illiterate preschooler”.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pcmus/attachment[/soundcloud]

FACTmag described it best when they wrote she’s “like the girls at your school who practised Spice Girls dance routines in the playground and smoked fags on school trips, but while her brittle, Estuary tones make her sound like a Smash Hits star from the late ’90s, her songs couldn’t be more 21st century”.

A G Cook told Tank Magazine, “My work’s constant use of instantly gratifying elements such as kitsch imagery, catchy hooks, synthetic colours and fun sound effects feels inevitable, it’s almost a compulsion rather than a choice.” The idea of compulsion rather than choice is one that defines most of the labels sound. Much of the music sounds like it’s giving into seven deadly sins. It’s particularly a result of gluttony in the way that it over-indulges in pop’s melodic demons and lustful in the way that it centres mostly round the theme of 21st century love.

Consumerism is a notion that PC Music introduces a number of times. On Lipgloss Twins’ Wannabe, a computerised voice repeats “Topman, topshop”, “fake Prada, fake Louis, fake Zara” and then “I don’t wanna be a twin”. It’s the first time PC Music has eluded to a criticism of 21st Century culture. Cook said “Challenging something’s commercial nature is a commercial tactic in itself, and authenticity is a tricky currency that is often swayed by branding and advertising.”

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pcmus/wannabe[/soundcloud]

It’s entirely possible that the musicians on PC Music aren’t purposely critiquing our culture. There’s an enigmatic nature to the label that makes it easy to overanalyse without having a specific voice to speak for the music. In an industry where everyone’s trying to keep it ‘real’, it’s ironically refreshing to have a label embracing some of the critiques of this generation.

While I’ve tried to answer the question of ‘what is PC Music?’, I fear i’ve only further confused myself. Such is the intrigue of the label. The best way to discover it, is to listen to it. On first attempt, you’ll most likely hate but like a sugar-addiction it will grow on you. Before you know it, you’ll be asking “Please sir, can I have some more?”

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pcmus/sets/top-40[/soundcloud]

 

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Mapei follows-up ‘Don’t Wait’ with ‘Change’

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If you’ve ever been to Ikea, eaten meatballs or heard Robyn you’d be pretty up with the fact that everything Sweden produces touches to gold. The latest export from the country is Mapei who released one of last year’s best pop tracks, Don’t Wait. The track has gone onto feature Chance The Rapper and be remixed by Giraffage, Benny Blanco and Kingdom. Such was the breadth of its success. Now enter, Change, the latest single from her forthcoming album, Hey Hey. Pumped along by militant drums (a la Destiny’s Child, Lose My Breath) the song blossoms into a euphoric chorus. “Don’t you worry about a thing my sister, we’re all waiting for a change” she sings, clearly playing Michael Jackson in Heal The World. 

Hey Hey is due on 23 September.

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Kimbra previews ‘The Golden Echo’ with ‘Nobody But You’ and ‘Love in High Places’

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Following the experimental, ‘90s Music, Kimbra has released two more tracks off The Golden Echo, Love In High Places and Nobody But You. Both are sultry soul numbers that don’t have less of the oddities of ‘90s Music and more of the sound that we heard on Vows. Love in High Places has a distinct Dirty Projectors vibe to it while Nobody But You is throwback RnB, with Kimbra swimming fleetingly through her vocal range. We’ll get to hear The Golden Echo in the middle of August as was revealed in her Twitter Q&A.

Nobody But You:

Love In High Places:

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Stream Shamir’s Debut EP

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Las-Vegas artist Shamir impressed with his first two singles, If It Wasn’t True and I Know It’s A Good Thing and now he’s set to groove you right down to the ground with his debut EP. The Northtown EP features five cuts that incorporate everything from deep-house to disco and motown soul. His voice has an androgynous quality that is both intriguing and captivating. His acoustic cover of Lindi Ortega’s Lived and Died Alone is the best proof of this. Heighty vocals and a stellar falsetto carry the EP home with class.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/godmodeinternet/sets/shamir-northtown-godmode[/soundcloud]

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New London artist, BARLI reveals her debut track ‘Pebbles’

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There’s so little you can do on a rainy Winters day that doesn’t include weeping/eating Oreos. Luckily, there’s another activity to add to that list- listen to the new track by London-artist BARLI. At this point BARLI is rather anonymous. A search for her debut song Pebbles reveals little else than Bali inspired-pebbles. And unless you’re thinking of paving your pool, that is of little need to anybody. The Tom Epoch-produced track, Pebbles, on the other hand is of a lot of use. It’s dark and minimal, moved along simply by an affecting 808. Her voice doesn’t strain throughout rather preferring to remain in a spectrum covered by the likes of Jessie Ware and BANKS. An EP is reportedly on the way.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/i-d-online-1/premiere-barli-pebbles[/soundcloud]

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First Impressions 10 June

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Here are six songs that we kept in our company over the long weekend. While some were pleasant, others came armed with expletives and harsh beats. We reviewed them at the end of the weekend, taking particular note of their willingness to please the ears and their likeness to snozberries.

AG Cook- Beautiful

Sam: PC Music just sounds so futuristic and inhuman that it’s hard to attach yourself with. I think I’ve finally come around to it. Beautiful is so kitsch yet so melodic and lolly-like. It’s something new and I’m loving it. 4

Hannah: This is what happens when some seriously great production goes full throttle towards those shimmery, euphoric, highs we came to know and love during the happy house wave. It really hits its stride around the 1:20 mark, and from there on in it’s all rainbow coloured streets and snozberries that ACTUALLY taste like snozberries. #PLUR 3.5

Bianca:

 2.5

Lizzie: I feel like I just stepped out of an episode of Rugrats. When the song thickens at 1:20 seconds, it’s really hard not to bounce along. However, I’m still not sold on the whole Hello Kitty sound – its a very very new sound to my ears. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pcmus/beautiful[/soundcloud]

Caribou- Can’t Do Without You

Sam: I’m still not really over Odessa so it’s hard to accept that something new has come along. In saying that Can’t Do Without You is a grower and that climax at the end is well worth the wait. The vocal sample is also a total winner too. 4

Hannah: This is what I like to call a ninja song. See, you think you’ve heard all there is to hear and then all of a sudden some new crystalline layer creeps in so perfectly you begin to wonder if it wasn’t there all along. The climax is epic. The fade out is insane. The vocal sample is too too smooth. Caribou I’m glad you’re back. Ninja’d. Hannah’s pick

Bianca: I was so ready for another Odessa-style poppy track from Dan Snaith but certainly was not disappointed in its more relaxed successor. Can’t Do Without You is a slow-burner with a satisfying climax, topped off by a lovely vocal surprise at the end. Snaith’s Album Our Love is due out in three long months’ time so I guess I’ll just have to listen to this on repeat until then. 4 Bianca’s pick

Lizzie: Please excuse me while I just go eargasm. The climax of this song is unnervingly good. I’m left a little hot and flustered. 4 Lizzie’s pick

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/caribouband/cant-do-without-you[/soundcloud]

Drake- O to 100

Sam: Drake says it best when he raps “Fuck being on that chill shit”. He’s become a bit melancholic lately and it’s good to hear him rapping hell for leather again. And then he flips to The Catch Up and we get lush synths and a melodic Drake that proves he can swap between the two effortlessly. Kanye and Future are really the only other two rappers that can do that. 3.5

Hannah: Drake, I’mma let you finish but, James fucking Blake. 3.5

Bianca: Something, something n***a. Something, something bitches. Hold up, James Blake? This song really went from 0-100 real quick. Real fucking quick. 4

Lizzie: Could not stand to listen past the first 30 seconds of this track, but I obliged. I should probably get some medal or something. This song is painful. 1

SBTRKT- Temporary View

Sam: I do like this but my problem lies with the fact that it’s just so similar to his debut. It’s three years on and yet we’re back to Sampha and a wash of synths and sporadic beats. It’s a formula that works but one I’m going to soon tire of. 3

Hannah: SBTRKT really pushed some boundaries with this one… 3

Bianca: It’s a harmless, glittery number that doesn’t really go anywhere. 2.5

Lizzie: The synth sounds like its have a seizure in the background. Completely missed the mark. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/sbtrkt/sbtrkt-temporary-view-ft-sampha[/soundcloud]

Fishing- Your Mouth

Sam: Well this is a bit of fun isn’t it? It’s full of tropical keys and a nice leaping beats. It’s really quite cruel to drop this in the midst of winter. It’s quite different to any Australian music right now. That’s refreshing to hear. 3

Hannah: Fishing have been on my “Welll… if there’s no one else playing at this time,” festival list for a good 3 years now. If I ever do get to see them, I will be suitably clad in an hawaiian-shirt and drinking from a pineapple. 2.5

Bianca: There’s a little bit too much going on for me to fully sink into this song. 2.5

Lizzie: Just another song to add to the “Made in Chelsea” soundtrack. Upbeat and a little smarmy but nothing to rave home about. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/fishing/your-mouth[/soundcloud]

Starchild- All My Lovers

Sam: Blood Orange and Solange have done such a good thing re-designing this sleek, brand of NYC RnB. Starchild hangs in that click and it shows. All My Lovers is all about subtlety. It grows ever so slowly, he sings like a male-Aaliyah and there’s this smoke-machine like haze that runs through it. I’m so excited by Starchild. Quite frankly, this is the most promising debut I’ve heard all year. 5 Sam’s Pick

Hannah: I just can’t get on board with this one. It’s too slow and too derivative and just doesn’t hold its own against all other producers with a similar sound floating around at the moment. 2.5

Bianca: Saving this one for a purple rainy day. 3

Lizzie: Toured with Solange, collaborated with Blood Orange – what could go wrong with this artist? For all its beauty (damn there is a lot of talent within this 19 year old), I struggle to digest a song this slow. It’s just sooooooo slow. 3

Sam: You’re all crazy.

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La Roux releases another new song, ‘Tropical Chancer’

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At this rate we’re going to have the whole new La Roux album, Trouble In Paradise, before its release date. Tropical Chancer, is the third track to be unleashed from the album in as many weeks. It finds itself somewhere between Let Me Down Gently and Uptight Downtown. It has the paradiso stylings of Let Me Down Gently, while its got the upbeat groove of Uptight Downtown. Trouble In Paradise arrives in Australia on 4 July.

Listen to the premiere over at Pitchfork.

Watch her perform Let Me Down Gently at the Governors Ball in NYC over the weekend:

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10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week

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It’s the long weekend. You’re going to need tunes and you’re going to need plenty of them. Lucky we’ve got you covered. Here is a very beat-driven Top 10 Songs of the Week:

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1. Caribou- Can’t Do Without You

This one’s off Caribou sixth studio album, Our Love and it’s full of those warm undertones we’ve come to expect. The “Can’t Do Without” is a deep, all-encompassing treat on the ears and teases until the song’s climax. It doesn’t come until a minute towards the end, but when it does a rush of synths hit like a gustful wind, most likely bowling you over.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/caribouband/cant-do-without-you[/soundcloud]

THOMSTON

2. Thomston- Anaesthetic 

This New-Zealand whizz-kid will surely makes waves with his immaculately produced brand of dark-pop. His voice is crystalline and runs alongside a slowly bubbling beat. There’s a certain fluidity to the song that’s hard to resist.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thomston/anaesthetic[/soundcloud]

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3. Montaigne- I Am Not An End

This song’s been added to high rotation on Triple J this week and there’s a good reason for it. I Am Not An End is a self-assured effort driven by a confident and pertinent voice. Its melodic strengths are too memorable for this song to just be a fleeting love.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/montaigne-music/i-am-not-an-end[/soundcloud]

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4. How To Dress Well- Face Again

Tom Krell is certainly not churning out sunshine at the moment, but he’s so good at melancholy it’s hard to care. Following the fluffy Repeat Pleasure, Face Again is a much darker expedition not too dissimilar to the Weeknd’s early mixtapes. It’s not traditional in any way. It twists and turns in odd directions but it’s confusing and thrilling at the same time.

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5. DJ Dodger Stadium- Never Win

DJ Dodger Stadium are selecting some choose stadiums. The “Never Win” vocal sample speeds proceedings along nicely before it escalates into high pitched squeal. Meanwhile, the drum pads are packed on and the deep bass gets more and more pertinent. Promising stuff from Jerome LOL and Sammo Soundboy.

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6. A G Cook- Beautiful

This is Nintendo music. That’s what it is. And it never sounded so good. It’s bubblegum pop, that seems to take cues from K-Pop. Amongst all the oddity, there’s a beautiful vocal melody running alongside.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pcmus/beautiful[/soundcloud]

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7. Foster The People- Best Friend (Wave Racer Remix)

You can tell Wave Racer has had a hand over this from the get-go. There’s trap-inspired drops, Atari synths and high-pitched vocals. It’s either annoying or highly danceable. Take your pick.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/wave-racer/foster-the-people-best-friend-wave-racer-remix[/soundcloud]

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8. Lily Allen- Bass Like Home

This is apparently the ‘unofficial’ anthem of the World Cup. We’ll take this any day over Pitbull. It’s an extremely British, deep-house number that ratites some incredibly literal lyrics. It’s a little bit kitsch but that’s half the fun of it.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/fletchscult/lily-allen-bass-like-home[/soundcloud]

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9. Jack Garratt- Worry

The Chet Faker brand of electronic music has grown in popularity of late and this is another one that adds to it nicely. It’s full of sparse beats, delicate keys and falsetto, capping it off with an instantly recognisable chorus.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jackgarratt/worry-1[/soundcloud]

POLICA

 

10. Polica- You Don’t Own Me

Polica stick very close to the original but it doesn’t matter because Channy Leneagh’s voice is so perfect. It’s the first time we’ve really got to hear it away from a coating of auto-tune. It’s heighty and allows the chorus to soar.

Listen here.

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