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FKAtwigslp1

Review: FKA Twigs- LP1

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Only two years into her recorded career, London artist and producer, Tahliah Barnett, better known as FKA Twigs, is yet to put a foot wrong. From visually breathtaking videos to sporadic, oddball pieces of pop, she’s both divided and captivated audiences with a flair for innovation not seen yet this decade.

There’s a certain fragility to the clown-like, album cover for LP1 and it’s a perfect visual companion for an album which is sexually-loaded and confidently feminine yet also gentle and soft. While some of the lyrics could be considered controversial (“my thighs are apart for when you’re ready to breathe in” from Two Weeks for instance) she washes them in synths and sings in a whimsical tone, almost as to enter your subconscious rather than affect you immediately.

Such is the presence of LP1. There’s a chance that the first listen will wash over you but it hovers with unconventional melodies and vivid soundscapes that are too remarkable to be forgotten. The first tracks, Lights Out, is a choice example of this. On the surface it’s a minimal, one-dimensional track but dig a little deeper and you’re exposed to dripping percussion, soul-rendering double bass and lyrical poignancy. It’s an after-dark tune that traverses issues of sexual self-confidence and intimacy, at that.

The whole album is sexually charged in the most graceful of ways. On Two Weeks she delicately places a microscope on the most intense of sexual attractions while Hours is a frozen snapshot into a passionate embrace, lips on lips. While the lyrics are the most vivid portrayal of that, the instrumental is equally effective in building those moments. In Hours the music rushes with intensity and then backs off, creating gradual climaxes that are quickly dispelled by a glitchy beat.

Away from sexual prowess, she also delivers on autobiographical tunes. Video Girl details her history as a dancer for the likes of Britney Spears, N’Sync and Christina Aguilera. The elongated, wobbling synths and whimsical vocals have the same fluid motion as that of a dancer, with the 808s adding an RnB flavour.

The way that Twigs marries the instrumental with the themes of the album, is one of its greatest triumphs. Pendulum sees a gently undulating beat underneath lyrics like “So lonely trying to be yours/ What a forsaken cause”. It’s both heartbreaking and fascinating listening to the beat teeter on an awkward edge, a pendulum, if you like.  While at times she’s a broken woman, at other times she’s defiant. On Give Up she digs her toes into the sand, singing “I know that sometimes you’d wish I’d go away/ But I’d wish that you’d know that I’m here to stay”.

Time could be given to dissecting her different influences from modern hip-hop to Sade-inspired RnB, but ultimately LP1 is more than that. It’s a pocket of music that has only been explored by Twigs thus far. It’s one of melodic twists and turns, intimately personal lyrics and industrial beats. She perhaps sums the album up best on Closer when she taunts, “closer, I’m here to be closer”. That she is, with LP1 giving a vivid insight into her life. Artists have been honest and personal before, but not with the same effect as Twigs. LP1 doesn’t only live up to the hype, it sets a precedent for music in 2014.

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Throwaway Thursday

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We’re always looking for things to give you and, while a few LOLs here and there go a long way, sometimes you need something tangible that you can listen to over and over again. This week was a bit of a flop, let’s be honest. The Block Glasshouse is a little slow, The X Factor Wildcard was nothing to get excited about and all we learnt was that Delta Goodrem can’t dance to hip-hop, as if we didn’t already know that. In the spirit of Delta, we’re picking ourselves up and adding some spice to this week with a collection of new tunes ready for the download. 13 tracks are up for grabs this week including blazing mixes by Adelaide beat master Motez and Swedish pair JJ. There’s also the Hey Arthur re-work from Chance The Rapper and friends and a track from the latest Future Classic signee, Thrupence. On the remix side there’s a swish remix of Vic Mensa‘s Feel That and yet another brilliant remix of Tinashe‘s 2 On by Robokid. There’ll be a few tears, a few laughs and hopefully a few smiles as you tuck that iTunes card away.

Stream the playlist and download the tracks below:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/throwaway-thursday[/soundcloud]

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TINK throws a verse down on Sway Clarke II’s ‘Secret Garden’

Secret Garden Featuring TINK

We featured Sway Clark II‘s track Secret Garden months ago but today he’s released a version of the track with fellow rising RnB artist TINK. The Bennie and the Jets-esque track sounds as soulful as ever but TINK’s addition adds a little sass to the final third of the song. She oscillates between singing and rapping with ease elevating the song to another level. Secret Garden just became even more palatable.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/sway-clarke-ii/secret-garden-featuring-tink[/soundcloud]

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Dillon Francis announces new album and drops ‘When We Were Young’

Diplo protegee and all round funnyman, Dillon Francis has dropped the first single, ‘When We Were Young’ off his debut album Money Sucks, Friends Rule. That’s the cover image above and it’s unsurprisingly colourful and playful like Francis himself. When We Were Young sees him team up with Sultan & Ned Sheppard with The Chain Gang of 1974 handling the vocals. It’s a hands-in-the-air piece of euphoria that will no doubt delight his growing crowd of followers. At Hardfest over the weekend he drew a crowd of 30,000 punters so it will be no surprise if this track becomes huge. Get ready for Treva/Dj Hansel/Francis to take over.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/dillonfrancis/dillon-francis-sultan-ned-shepard-when-we-were-young-feat-the-chain-gang-of-1974[/soundcloud]

Read why Francis has one of our favourite Instagrams here.

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Hear the B-side to SOPHIE’s ‘Lemonade’, ‘Hard’

SOPHIE - HARD (OUT NOW ON NUMBERS)

Last week enigmatic producer SOPHIE shared Lemonade and now he/she’s dropped the B-Side to the single, Hard. SOPHIE continues to sound straight from the PC Music collection with erratic sounds and a cold, computerised vocal. While that may sound unbearable, it creates an audible slide into a candy land of colourful synths and whiz-fizz beats. All in all it’s a pretty spectacular and innovative piece.

[soundcloud width=”400″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/msmsmsm/sophie-hard[/soundcloud]

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Tkay Maidza unveils video for ‘U-Huh’

Adelaide firecracker Tkay Maidza has debuted the video for her track U-Huh. In the past month she’s releases the track to rave reviews, performed an earth-cracking performance at Splendour in the Grass and signed to Dew Process. She’s one of the fastest-rising names in Australian music right now and this video should help catapult her further. It sees Maidza just being naturally cool in front of fruit, on baseball pitches and with glitchy images. She’s fierce but still friendly enough to want to be friends with her.

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Why the hell did they Shazam that? We review Tomorrowland’s Top 10 Tracks

tomorrowlandshazamTomorrowland finished up last weekend in Belgium with thousands of EDM fans heading back to their home countries to rest their sore heads and frazzled minds. inthemix has published the Top 10 Most Shazamed Songs throughout the event’s two weekends and the results are unsurprisingly full of EDM bangers. Two of our writers with the least patience towards EDM agreed to review the 10 tracks and give themselves an education in four-to-the-floor, hands-in-the-air EDM.

All jokes aside, there are many reasons why Tomorrowland is one of the best festivals of its kind.

10. R3hab- & Deorro- Flashlight

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/r3hab/r3hab-deorro-flashlight[/soundcloud]

Bianca: Had to take extra care there to include the ‘3’ in R3hab.

Sam: That trumpet synth is giving me a heart-attack. At one point I thought the build-up was never going to end. Oscillates between a trumpet and farting noises. If the farting noise was intentional, I’m in favour of the novelty.

Bianca: This isn’t a case of when will the bass drop, but why. The build up is so fucking intense, I never want it to end. :'(

Sam: Aaaaand a completely different track after 1:40

Bianca: I’m peaking.

9. David Guetta ft. Sam Martin – Lovers on the Sun

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/avicii-music-holland/david-guetta-ft-avicii-sam-martin-lovers-on-the-sun[/soundcloud]

Sam: That voice is almost as offensive as Nickelback.

Bianca: I’ve never heard a song before where the whistling was so completely unwelcome and unnecessary.

Sam: “Surprise motherfucker” one person comments when the twinkling synth comes in. Indeed. The bluegrass thing worked for Avicii but the Western stylings of this one for Guetta are woeful.

Bianca: The real question is…who in their right mind would bother to go through the process of bringing out their phone, unlocking it, opening the Shazam app, pressing the button and holding their hand up to the sky for a good 5 seconds so that they could have a record of this song?

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Oh, right. Nobody was in their right mind.

8. Zhu – Faded

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/zhu/faded[/soundcloud]

Bianca: I like this song and would Shazam it too…if Tomorrowland was 3 months ago. How does no one know the name of it by now?

Sam: I suppose it’s one of the better ones here and of course a song about getting wasted is going to appear in this list. There’s just absolutely no dynamics or anything interesting apart from a wistful voice singing he’s wasted. Jessica Mauboy’s Pop A Bottle is more successful than this.

7. Secondcity- I Wanna Feel

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/secondcityuk/secondcity-i-wanna-feel-radio[/soundcloud]

Sam: Deep house penetrates Tomorrowland, could this be the end of EDM? Judging by the rest of list, definitely not. It’s been a massive hit in the UK and is probably heading for Australia. I suppose it’s an inoffensive enough slice of disco-house.

Bianca: At least this one has words. And it’s nice to have a little Toni Braxton influence but I honestly would’ve preferred Unbreak My Heart.

6. Netsky- Running Low

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/netsky/running-low-feat-beth-ditto[/soundcloud]

Bianca: Why do EDM voices always have to be so…heavy and overly soulful? The beat is already intense, there’s no need for the double whammy.

Sam: I really like Beth Ditto’s voice but oh my goodness that drum ‘n’ bass whacks you right in the stomach. How do you dance to this? Please someone send tutorials.

Bianca: Oh, didn’t realise it was Beth Ditto. Probably shouldn’t have used ‘heavy’ as one of my adjectives…

Sam: Once again there’s a lyric about drinking a lot.

5. Ommet Ozcan- Raise Your Hand

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/ummetozcan/ummet-ozcan-raise-your-hands[/soundcloud]

Sam: At least I knew what to do from the title.

Bianca: Am I allowed to raise both? In surrender, I mean.

Sam: I’d be out as soon as those trance synths hit. Take me to the clouds above.

Bianca: Can I get a read-out on what the Soundcloud peeps are saying?

“Sweet”

“Add me”

“Sick”

“No. Just no.”

“Turkey”

“Dirty”

“And 1, 2, 3…Jump!”

Bianca: Probably agree with “No” & “Turkey”.

Sam: This is served to you right on a plate, with directions far easier than an Ikea manual.

Bianca: I think people did what the song intended them to do- to raise their hands- but they accidentally opened up Shazam in the process.

4. Dimitri Vegas & MOGUAI & Like Mike – Mammoth (Original Mix)

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/dimitrivegasandlikemike/dimitri-vegas-moguai-like-mike[/soundcloud]

Sam: I’m really beginning to feel like I’m taking multiple bullets to the head. I can imagine pulling out my phone and shazaming it for lack of knowing what else to possibly do.

Bianca: I think this hairy situation needs to stay in the Ice Age.

Sam: At this point I’m struggling to find different adjectives to describe very similar tracks.

Bianca: Might I suggest, “heavy”?

3. Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman & Steve Angello- Payback

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sizerecords/payback-original-mix[/soundcloud]

Sam: My hands are still in the air from Ommet Ozcan tune and I’m yet to be directed to put them down. Another screaming EDM banger with a drop that feels like a meteor. I’m guessing Tomorrowland was the only festival where Outkast weren’t on the bill?

Bianca: Look, it might be a bit unfair to be judging these songs from behind my computer screen, with a lemon and ginger tea in my hand on a cold Tuesday afternoon. I guess you can’t truly rate a banger like this when you’re not surrounded by thousands and thousands of your closest friends.

2. Watermat- Bullit

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/spinnin-deep/watermat-bullit-original-mix[/soundcloud]

Sam: Where’s the Titanium of this year’s Tomorrowland? I could do with a bit of Sia at this point.

Bianca: I wish Shazam had the capacity to tell you at what exact point these people Shazammed the tracks and were like “oh, shit! I need to remember this exact moment!” Was it the steady build? The peak? The drop?? So many questions!

Sam: It seems it’s all one in the same in this track. That whistling sound though is really something. Someone has commented on Soundcloud “so chill”. She must have an insanely hectic life.

Bianca: Sounds like an air raid over a Snake Charmer. Could be the second instalment to Outkast’s B.O.B: Bombs over Bombay.

Sam: Could it be the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire 2: From Rags to EDM Riches.

Bianca: When you got EDM riches you got bitches.

1. Dimitri Vegas, Martin Garrix and Like Mike- Tremor

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/martingarrix/dimitri-vegas-martin-garrix-like-mike-tremor-sensation-2014-anthem-original-mix[/soundcloud]

Sam: I am petrified. Am I ready for this?

Bianca: Number one…Everything in my life has been leading to this very moment.

Sam: Does anyone break ribcages at Tomorrowland? My poor little laptop, I promise I’ll put on some Dido for you to recover afterwards.

Bianca: Really glad they had the countdown there so I knew exactly where the drop was.

Sam: …but in all seriousness this is in every way a #banger

Bianca: So many peaks and troughs I don’t know what to do with myself. I might just have a lie down. Can I get a top up on my lemon & ginger tea?

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Joey Bada$$ drops the first single, ‘Big Dusty’, from his debut album

Joey Bada$$ - Big Dusty (Prod. Kirk Knight)

19 year-old NYC rapper, Joey Bada$$ is gearing up for the release of his first studio album, B4.Da.$$ and today he’s dropped the first single form it titled Big Dusty. Joey has had six mixtapes already in the space of six years but B4.Da.$$ will be his first official debut. Big Dusty is a raw, ’90s-inspired hip-hop track that is completely no frills. The beat is dark with plodding keys while his rap is aggressive and relentless. He sounds far beyond his years on the track and judging by the quality of it, he could have one of the best debuts of the year on his hand.

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/proeraradio/joey-bada-big-dusty[/soundcloud]

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How Ariana Grande became a Pop Princess and an Alternative Darling

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Last month when Pitchfork awarded Ariana Grande her second ‘Best New Music’ stamp for Break Free, there were a lot of people left confused. The Best New Music award on Pitchfork is usually reserved for Sufjan Stevens and Vampire Weekend types, rarely gifted to Nickelodeon child stars turned popstars.  While many have their theories, it seems regardless Ariana Grande has won over alternative media everywhere. Not just Pitchfork, but the blogosphere in general has decided to turn a blind eye to her status as a pop princess and hail the second coming of Mariah Carey.

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Grande first found fame on Nickelodeon’s Victorious as Cat Valentine. Last year, she made her ascent to pop royalty, releasing her first album Yours Truly. The album went to number one in the US and spawned a top ten single with The Way. The album received lukewarm reviews with many hailing it more for its promise than its present merit. With pipes like a young Mariah Carey and a ‘90s RnB sheen, the 21 year-old had most impressed.

This year she’s poised to release her sophomore album, My Everything, off the back of her US number two single, Problem with Iggy Azalea. The CEO of her label, Republic Records, Monte Lipman said of Grande, “she has this wildly successful fan base on the Internet unlike anything we’ve seen in some time”. And it’s being seen. On Twitter she’s got 17.1 million followers and the video for Problem has received 110 million views in just over two months. From Pitchfork-reading hipsters to delirious teen fans, it seems Grande has everyone a little starry eyed.

Below are a number of reasons why we think she’s managing to crack the mainstream and alternative markets:

RnB is kind of in right now ICYMI and Ariana knows it

Following a golden-age in which Janet, Mariah, Ciara, Ashanti and more prospered, RnB has took a back seat for much of the late 00s. It’s revival has been bubbling away on blogs for the better part of two years but this year it seems to be back in the mainstream. Pharrell has had a big part in that, as has Beyonce’s self-titled record and a few big RnB voice, one of them being Ariana.

Her first record and Problem were unapologetic throwbacks to the golden days of Mariah Carey and have, as such, put her on the radar of alternative media championing the 90s RnB revival and on the charts. With critics, in particular, RnB has become a very flavoursome genre. According to Any Decent Music, Pitchfork gave the most positive review of the latest Mariah Carey album, Me. I Am Mariah, saying “she’s rarely sounded as comfortable”. The fact that Ariana arrived with an RnB debut Yours Truly puts her right in the centre of RnB’s renaissance without having to change her sound at all.

She’s working with interesting producers

The RnB renaissance has been made particularly interesting by the prevalence of the genre within electronica. Kaytranada, Ryan Hemsworth and Shlohmo have made a name through sleek, mid-tempo originals and skittering remixes of tracks by Janet, Jeremih and Beyonce.

How does this have anything to do with Ariana? Be My Baby off her forthcoming record was produced by Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat. It’s a distinctly forward thinking move by Grande’s team who have clearly recognised what less mainstream producers like Two Inch Punch, Shlohmo and Dev Hynes have done for popstars (namely Sam Smith, Jeremih and Solange). Cashmere Cat’s remix of Miguel’s Do You Like Drugs? demonstrated how will his trap-inspired beat work meshed with soulful voices.

Elsewhere on the album she’s worked with Benny Blanco who’s done a seamless job of giving artists like Jessie Ware and Sia. Zedd has also produced the second single, Break Free, and David Guetta has produced a song, One Last Time which should satisfy America’s EDM cravings. The Weeknd also has production credits as does Ryan Tedder which seems to automatically mean massive hit.

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/waveleaks/ariana-grande-feat-zedd-break-free[/soundcloud]

It’s an eclectic bunch of producers, distinctly different from Yours Truly which was predominantly built by Veteran producer Babyface and The Rascals. It’s a collection of current and future hitmakers which shows that she and her team are aware of what’s going on in all facets of the music scene right now.

Max Martin is on board for the new album

There’s one more name that wasn’t mentioned above, because it’s probably the most important addition to the album. Swedish producer Max Martin has won the prestigious ASCAP songwriting prize consecutively for the last four years, writing for artists like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson. His hand on the album is not a guarantee of success but it’s a pretty good push in the right direction.

Proof of that is Problem produced by Martin. It’s a delectable, RnB-inspired pop song that twists the proven formula to deliver an all-guns-blazing verse with a hushed chorus. Despite its unpredictability, the song 438,000 copies in the US in its first week and topped the iTunes charts in more than 50 countries. Martin apparently came up with the pre-chorus melody and the horns which have become the songs defining feature.

Martin pops up on three more songs on the new album (including Break Free) which pretty much means there are three more songs with definite hit potential.

She’s taken a different path from TV star to popstar

It’s a well-trodden path that from children’s television to mature popstar. Many have tried and failed to break out of their mould and set the charts on fire. Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus are perhaps the two most successful but even they struggled. Lovato did a stint in rehab and Cyrus’ career was all but over following her mildly received, adult album Can’t Be Tamed. She’s gotten over that hurdle with 2013’s Bangerz.

Coming into the music scene as a Nickelodeon star, Grande’s first release was a boppy, sunshine-filled track called Put Your Hearts Up which received very little love from her fans and from Grande herself. She told Rolling Stones, “”It was geared toward kids and felt so inauthentic and fake. That was the worst moment of my life. For the video, they gave me a bad spray tan and put me in a princess dress and had me frolic around the street.”

In 2013 she returned with The Way featuring rapper Mac Miller and scored a number two hit in America and a number one album with Yours Truly. The video for The Way features Grande fully clad, mucking around with Miller in a way that reflected her age. She wasn’t explicitly presenting herself as a grown-up popstar, rather she was placing herself cleverly in-between her Nickelodeon roots and her desired popstar destination.

The album also cleverly oscillated between RnB throwbacks featuring rappers like Big Sean and pleasing piano ballads. As such, the conversation Grande growing too quickly or being risque has never really arisen. The process has been seemingly organic and as a result very much unpublicised.

The guests on My Everything are not your average pop features

There are seven featured artists on the forthcoming My Everything and while Pitchfork has labelled Iggy Azalea and Big Sean “no-talent stars” and Zedd is an EDM star, there are four which are very much of a more alternative taste. The aforementioned Cashmere Cat is one of those as well as Childish Gambino, A$AP Ferg and The Weeknd.

It looks like a move on her and her teams behalf to channel a current RnB sound with less-mainstream collaborators. Neither of those three have had a big chart hit and are much more likely to appeal to alternative blogs than mainstream fans. At this stage, Grande’s fame is enough to carry the album without big name guests. It’s a smart move that will once again see her coverage spread further than MTV. It should also be hoped that these names have been added for the benefit of the songs rather than for publicity.

There is one more name that has nearly been forgotten. None other than Harry Styles of One Direction fame (need it be said?) has co-written a track called Just A Little Bit of Your Heart. Just adorable. Truly adorable.

She’s paying Pitchfork

According to this Reddit post, Grande and her team have been paying alternative media for their coverage. The speculation is all kicked off by one user who asks in reaction to Pitchfork’s coverage, “I like a good pop song as much as the next guy but this shit is trash. Is anyone seeing something deeper here? Brings their credibility into question in my eyes, might be those radio $$ talkin.”

31 users have weighed in on the debate with some arguing that her team is paying the website because “long term critical praise is more effective than a quick hit”. There are a lot of $$$ signs thrown around but others dispel the rumour saying that the site is covering her because of “Decent voice – decent transitions – decently catchy – decent production”. One user writes it’s “because she’s a qt”. Sounds like they may be onto something.

She’s nailing nostalgia

Nostalgia is one of the most powerful emotions and often one of the most effective tools of marketing. Grande and her team have done an excellent job of touching on a number of nostalgic decades through her videos and music.

The video for Problem takes us straight back to the ‘70s with knee-high white boots, big hair and a general Austin Powers psychedelia. In the video for Baby I she’s firmly in the ‘90s with fluro coloured jackets and street-side hangs like those crazy kids from the ‘90s used to do. The track itself also heralds back to Mariah Carey’s golden days of Honey or Dreamlover. The ‘90s is the decade that Grande references the most frequently which is smart given that it is very much in vogue at the moment.

She has an Instagram full of dogs

There has been a lot of talk above about good taste but nothing solidifies Ariana’s good taste like her choice of dogs over cats. Her Instagram is full of pictures of her three dogs Coco, Toulouse and Ophelia who, of course, have their own Wikipedia pages. The dogs can do everything, as documented by her Instagram, from lying down to staring lovingly to sitting. It’s really quite a sight to see.

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I am now wondering why I bothered with the other reasons when this is all we really need. Ariana Grande is a committed Instagram dog fan and that is why she is adored by all, just like the loveable species themselves.

 

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Phantom Pop Princess, Ryn Weaver, drops ‘Promises’

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Ryn Weaver seemed to just appear out of nowhere when she released her first track OctaHate, co-written and produced by a dream-team made up of Charli XCXPassion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos, Benny Blanco and Cashmere Cat. The 21-year-old has had no problem with fitting in, however, as her debut single amassed almost 1.3 million plays on Soundcloud within the short space of a month. 

The attachment of all the big industry names on her very first track was met with plenty of speculations, with no shortage of trolls taking to Stereogum to theorise and criticise, to which Weaver responded: ““I met Benny at a party a year back and showed him my Soundcloud…he had already been working with Cashmere Cat a bit… and he showed Michael some of my music that I had produced and written on my own…and we all kinda just started to make some music.” 

Signed to Blanco’s label Friends Keep Secrets, the Pop Princess has now dropped the second single from her upcoming EP, Promises. It’s another bold track, with Ryn not holding back with her anthemic voice and the glittery synths allowing her self-proclaimed “fairy-pop” to radiate. Listen to the next big thing below:

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/rynweaver/promises[/soundcloud]

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Black Kids return after six years with ‘Origami’

It’s been a long time in between drinks for American band Black Kids. In 2008, the UK and Australia particularly fell in love with their debut album Partie Traumatic which spawned the single I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You. You’d be forgiven for thinking the band had broken up, but apparently not. Today they’ve returned with a new track, Origami. It seems the band has lost none of its youthful playfulness in six years. Origami sounds like they’ve started right where they left things. It’s an effortless pop song with lyrics like “allez oop allez oop” and “hold me, fold me into origami”. It’s a welcome return and hopefully a sign of more things to come. Along with the new track, the band will tour around America this month.

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First Impressions: FKA Twigs, SOPHIE, Kate Boy + more

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Four people holding one rose each and yet there are six songs to choose from. Among them are some of the most eligible artists in the music world* with feisty females like Jessie J, arty types like FKA Twigs and the sentimental kind like Porter Robinson and #1 Dads. While some will be left brokenhearted, two artists in particular win the adoration of the interns.

*We can’t guarantee all these artists are eligible but they sound like they’re up for a good time.

Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj- Bang Bang

Sam: Ugh. I’m all for a big diva anthem but nothing sticks with this one. The hook is like something from a Michael Buble meets the songs of Hairspray album and throughout I hear a lot of screaming cats. Nicki’s verse is fire, of course, but it feels like Ariana knows it’s shit and Jessie is way too into it. 1

Bianca: Jessie, Ariana AND Nicki? As suspected, three wrongs do not make a right. Excuse me while I go bang bang into my head. 0

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Lizzie: Although it pains me to say it, this song is going to be a hit. Ergh. 2

Hannah: Remember when Xtina jazzed up her sound in the most appropriate pop-diva way possible and released that killer cover of Car Wash with a verse from Missy Elliot…? Yeah that’s not what’s happening here as much as they wish it was. 0.5 

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/dafrican/jessie-j-bang-bang-ft-ariana-grande-nicki-minaj-2014-world-premier[/soundcloud]

FKA Twigs- Pendulum

Sam: After the above song I feel like I’m back in my happy place. I already decided off Two Weeks that Twigs is my favourite artist of the year so all this is just a bonus. Pendulum undulates with intricacy and Twigs takes all the time she needs with the melody. She’s the queen of subtlety and yet also a master at theatrics. This is supreme. 4.5  Sam‘s Pick  

Bianca: FKA Twigs is easily one of the most interesting artists right now. Pendulum is weirdly beautiful and manages to maintain power and intensity through the most delicate of nuances. It’s her ability to make these contradictions, to gently oscillate between subtle and intense, that keeps me coming back for more. 3.5 

Lizzie: Ain’t no one going to rush FKA Twigs through this one. Not too dissimilar to Two Weeks, the soft pops of her to-die-for angelic voice, blended with the slow pattering back beat make for yet another mesmerising track. I have no idea what she is saying, but I’m ok with that. 4

Hannah: This is a heart melting lullaby sung out in the heart of industry. As the pendulum cranks and croons all around, FKA Twigs’ melody is all centring and all soothing. She is simply undeniable. 4.5  Hannah‘s Pick  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw6H9YsTLek

SOPHIE- Lemonade

Sam: Oh I love dem candy noises. The trickle at the beginning of this track is total ear candy, literally. From there it’s just full of runaway melodies, Eurotrash synths and popping beats. I guess the whole experience is all a bit like eating popping candy. It doesn’t match the expertise of Bipp, but it comes close. 4

Bianca: There just seems to be no substance to this song, apart from way too many colours and preservatives. It’s a sickly-sweet, hands-rubbing-on-balloon headache of a song, although, admittedly, listening to this after I spent all day at a kids’ birthday party probably hasn’t worked in its favour. 

Lizzie: Straight out of Willy Wonka washing machine! Please go back to Oompa Loompa Land, SOPHIE. Not even Veruca Salt wants you. 1

Hannah: This sounds like Alvin and The Chipmunks found on their way to a DDR machine and now can’t decide if they want to battle it to the sounds of drum and bass or J-Pop. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/msmsmsm/sophie-lemonade[/soundcloud]

Kate Boy- Self Control

Sam: I am pretty pissed that I had to wait almost two years after falling in love with Northern Lights for Self Control, but hey, I suppose it’s worse for fans of The Avalanches. That aside, Self Control has absolutely none of what its title suggests. It’s a big, bombastic pop song with a chorus that would make Dr. Luke salivate. From this point onwards pop music should only be made by the Swedish. 3.5 

Bianca: I’m enjoying the tribal beat and poppy synths but the vocal melody, particularly in the chorus, leaves a lot to be desired. 

Lizzie: Love the thump of the start. If only this was an instrumental version I could be left bopping awkwardly by myself for hours. There must be something in the water in Sweden, because they just keep churning out hit after hit! 3.5

Hannah: There really is something in the water over there in Sweden. Want to make a great pop record? Make like Kate Akhurst, hope a flight over and take one long glassy sip from the closest crystalline lake. This is exactly how all pop music should sound. 3

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/kateboy/self-control[/soundcloud]

#1 Dads- So Soldier

Sam: Right off the bat that guitar riff hits me right in the heart, then Ainslie Wills comes in with this Cat Power-esque vocals and continues to just chip away at me. Tom Iansek and Wills sound so perfect together on the chorus. 3.5

Bianca: What a combo! Iansek’s strumming guitar has this essence of familiarity from the get-go, while Wills’ dreamy voice manages to transport me somewhere, far, far away. 3.5 

Lizzie: Definitely a Summer road trip kinda track – pack a picnic and set off! Ainslie’s voice is broody and seductive, but what truly shines in this track is the guitar, it’s just so floaty and nostalgic. 4

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/pieater/1-dads-so-soldier-feat-ainslie-wills-about-face-lp-2014[/soundcloud]

Porter Robinson- Flicker

Sam: Finally Porter just goes screw it with subtlety and includes the most explicit representation of his Japanese influences yet. This is a crescendoing, textural, dynamic soundtrack to an anime game that conveniently doubles as a great electronic track. 4

Bianca: ヽ(=´▽`=)ノ ♪♬  ☆*・゜゚・*(^O^)/*・゜゚・*☆ ♪♬ ヾ(。◕ฺ∀◕ฺ)ノ

I’m digging everything this song is throwing at me. It’s so multi-layered and kept me enthralled the entire time, first with the funky, almost disco-inspired guitar riff, punctuated by anime-inspired spoken word, before dramatically reaching its glittery finale. I feel like I’ve just successfully completed the final level of a Sega game.  Bianca’s Pick  

Lizzie: I am a bit torn with this song. Half of it sounds like my Furby keeps turning on and off. The other second half however, in typical Porter style, opens up to be a grand, layered big room sound we I know and love. He drops the bass like no one else around the 2:50 sec mark, but with his Japanese twang – genius. Not my fav on the new Worlds album, but still pretty damn good.   Lizzies Pick  

Hannah: A novice when it comes to the world of EDM and its producers, I’ve been listening to this track all week on Hype Machine (what was that about first impressions?) unsure if admitting to this kind of Porter Robinson over all others would have me vilified by those in the know. That said, as long as Sam likes it, I’m happy to admit I do too. 3.5

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