“Terrible timing to release a very OK song.”
“An extremely transparent attempt to exploit the increasing nostalgia.”
We want to apologise to Mr. Worldwide for not including him in this list.
It wouldn’t be a songs of the week post without Kaytranada anymore would it?
First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick apart tracks by Coldplay, Craig David, Rustie, Ty Dolla $ign and more.
Craig David x Big Narstie
When The Bassline Drops
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/craigdavidofficial/craig-david-x-big-narstie-when-the-bassline-drops[/soundcloud]
Jack Cain: What do you get when you take something like what Disclosure have been trying to copy for ages and mix it with an actual artist from the era of what Disclosure were trying to copy (I’m referring to Artful Dodger)? You get this track, which has been absolutely nailed by a fairly unknown producer known as White n3rd, enlisting the RnB superstar Craig David who is just filling everyone in that in 2015 he is still relevant, still on point and still chilling on Sundays. There’s no way anyone will be walking away from this tune when it gets played in the club. 4.5
Alistair Rhodes: I’ve never actually liked Craig David ever but he has come bouncing right off the blocks with this song. It’s dance, RnB and Grime, mixed all into one song. Grime is seriously the flavour of the month at the moment, spreading out across the world from England where it’s going through a massive resurgence. 4
Sam Murphy: Ayo! Craig David is back and is going about it exactly the right way. Pairing Where Are U Now with Fill Me In was a genius move as it married nostalgia with something that’s current and he’s done it again here on this track. It capitalises on the whole garage rejuvenation that’s happened this year thanks to the grime movement and it’s also classic CG. It’s catchy, melodic and energetic but best of all it doesn’t make him sound like an old fart. 4
Can’t Get Enough Of Myself
[soundcloud width+”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/santigold/cant-get-enough-of-myself-feat-bc[/soundcloud]
Jack: I am a big Santigold fan, although I’m not a big Can’t Get Enough Of Myself fan. Maybe it’s because of all the other music I have been listening to lately but this just sits in a place I don’t want to. It reminds me of The Jackson 5 but it’s like a song that wouldn’t have ever made it to the public’s ears, and I think that just says it all. The song seems confused; I don’t know what it is, where it came from, or where it is going. I feel like Macklemore would have more luck getting me to like this song because at least I’d be expecting it from him. The bridge is my favourite part, and I wish it was the chorus. In saying that, songs like this tend to grow on me. While this is my first impression I may be swayed further down the track. 3
Alistair: I’ve also been a massive massive fan of Santigold but what the hell is this rubbish. I Can’t Get Enough Of Myself has taken a huge turn in another direction from her usual songs. The hook is really repetitive and quite annoying to be honest. 1.5
Sam: Santi is back and going about it the right way in my opinion. This is one of her lightest, sunshine-soaked tracks to date and the melody just hits you immediately. I love the way she navigates the slightly off-kilter beat and then ramps things up for the chorus. I can’t get enough of Santigold frankly. 4
Ty Dolla $ign
LA (Feat. Kendrick Lamar, Brandy, James Fauntleroy)
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/tydollasign/stream-la[/soundcloud]
Jack: I really enjoy this. It’s so good to hear some hip-hop that isn’t smashing your ear drum with a rolling snare, kick drum combo. But rather this song is layered with beautiful strings, piano, and soul. Kendrick Lamar brings to the table his lyrical wisdom and truthfulness as he ever so reliably does. This song is the one you roll a blunt to just before sex. 4
Alistair: This would have to be the first song that I’ve heard from Ty Dolla $ign. For the first couple of verses I was really starting to wonder where the song was going to go, then Kendrick Lamar stepped up to the mic and really gave it that explosion of energy that was needed. Without Kendrick I personally think this song has nothing and just meanders along. 3
Sam: I couldn’t hold it together when I saw Kendrick, Ty and bloody Brandy, of all people, on a track together. The last really obvious LA anthem was courtesy of Katy Perry and the city of angels deserves better than that. Cue LA. The track is as smooth as any hip-hop track I’ve heard this year with flawless harmonies and an A+ verse from Kendrick. It brings together so many facets of the hip-hip world of yesterday and today and it just works. Absolutely love it. 4.5 Sam’s Pick
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/rustie/peace-upzzz[/soundcloud]
Jack: I do like Rustie, always have. But how long does Rustie get to be Rustie before we are all bored of the same synths and sounds, squeaks and drum patterns? This wondrous thought of mine extends also to the likes of Flume or anyone who is just going back to their biggest hits and re-sampling the same sounds. With all that aside, I do enjoy this. It’s ambitious and experimental, though it builds for me for way longer than it needs to, considering the end result is somewhat anti-climactic. I think it could be a stepping stone away from the ultra thizz sounds of 2012. 3.5
Alistair: I’m really liking the sound of Rustie’s latest album, EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE and Peace Upzzz is indicative of that. Yes, it’s weird and a bit odd, but you can really lose yourself to it…especially when that bass drops. 4
Sam: In one way I agree with the point about this being classic Rustie once again but I think that’s only at the end. The idea of starting really minimalistic and then only hitting hard right at the end os something really new for Rustie. It feels a lot less glossy than the last album and totally bereft of label influences. This is the music Rustie genuinely wants to be making and it sounds exciting. Big upzzzz from me. 4
End Of Time
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/dewprocess/ecca-vandal-end-of-time[/soundcloud]
Jack: I saw Ecca Vandal live once and I really couldn’t get what was going on. I do remember noting that the music production was top class, that the ideas in place where good ones and I can happily say that “end of time” for me is the definition of nailing those two things firmly into place. I now know to expect huge things from Ecca; her voice is insane, her sound is mature, despite her young age, and clearly the team behind her know what they are doing. End Of Time/Ecca is Australia’s answer to MIA. Now i’m just waiting for her to take down Malcolm Turnbull in a political stage rant. 3
Alistair: What more do you want in a song…You’ve got a dirty heavy bass-line with a powerful voice that can reach notes that most singers can’t. I love this song. The production on this song is top notch. 4.5 Alistair’s pick
Sam: To be honest I haven’t really understood the hype surrounding Ecca Vandal before. And that’s probably because I haven’t given her enough of my time. I actually heard this on the radio for the first time and immediately pricked up before I knew who it was. Now I feel I’m willing to give a little more time to Ecca. This is a killer tune. It’s dark and haunting but also really melodic and accessible. Her personality comes through stronger than most new artist and makes me really want to love her. Really great. 4
Adventure Of A Lifetime
Jack: Do I like Coldplay? Yes. Do I have great memories at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre during their Viva La Vida tour with paper butterflies falling upon my head during Lovers In Japan? Of course I do. Is Adventure Of a Lifetime a refreshing step-up and away from anything they’ve done in the past two years? Fucking oath. And yet they still sound exactly how I remember them. Chris Martin has always had the ability to make the most complicated parts of life seem like simple sentences in his songs. The guitar riff makes them sound like an emerging indie band, and I think from a bunch of middle-aged men, some youthfulness is quite nice. 5 Jack’s Pick
Alistair: I can’t say I’m usually a Coldplay fan but Adventure Of A Lifetime had me moving in my seat. It’s got a powerful rhythm to it and great singing. We know these lads can write music and perform it like none other and the same goes for their production. Think I’ll put this on my iTunes to purchase list. 4
Sam: There’s something about this song that makes me feel sick in the stomach. I’m not sure if it’s the tacky cover or the over-glossy production or the chorus that doesn’t really go anywhere or the corny lyrics or…you get the point. I don’t use this word often when talking about music but I think this song is lazy so I will say that it’s just shit. Coldplay produced by Stargate should never happen. It’s not even an arena tune. It’s one made for pop radio and it just lacks any human emotion. 0.5
Now time for your vote:
The best songs from the week past also featuring Little Simz, Ty Dolla $ign and Hannah Diamond.
This week started off with a blast thanks to the MTV VMAs which seemingly featured more controversy than ever and left us with a new Tay Tay video, a new Bieber video and an entire Miley Cyrus album. With that in mind, we’d like to award every artist who released a track this week off the back of that a bravery award because it takes something really profound to outshine a shit storm like the VMAs. Luckily, there were plenty of tracks this week that did exactly that and to them we say well done and acknowledge them below with a short spiel of sorts.
Can’t Get Enough
Basenji is destroying it right now. His last single Petals picked up rotation on triple and is undoubtedly one of the strongest local tracks of the year, now he goes even one better on his new track Can’t Get Enough. It’s more of his cute poptronica hybrid driven by melodic, high-pitched vocals and a perky brass-line that are headed straight for the heavens. It’s taken from his Trackpad EP which will be sold as a USB that looks like an Evian water bottle which is just fantastic news for all involved.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/futureclassic/basenji-cant-get-enough-1[/soundcloud]
Marc E. Bassy
That’s Love (Feat. Ty Dolla Sign)
LA singer Marc E. Bassy has enlisted a big name in Ty Dolla Sign for his latest single That’s Love. The track is a total throwback to smooth, mid-tempo R&B bangers with Dolla Sign killing it with a much gentler edge than we’re used to with him. There’s a bit of autotune at play here, but it really works within this aesthetic and somehow smacks you more in the heart than untampered vocals would’ve. These two are excellent duet partners to, we must say.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/marc_e_bassy/thats-love-ft-ty-dolla-sign[/soundcloud]
Kelela‘s A Message was a stunning start to her 2015 and ever since we’ve waited for the EP is was supposedly off. Well no more supposedly because the EP is definitely coming on 9th October. It’s called Hallucinogen and it will feature the aforementioned as well as this new track Rewind. Rewind was produced by Kelela herself with help from Nugget and Kingdom – the latter had a big hand on her excellent mixtape Cut 4 Me. This one’s more upbeat than what we’re used to from her but she really delivers serving up silky vocals and crisp ’90s-tinged production.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kelelam/rewind[/soundcloud]
Miley‘s surprise album Miley Cyrus And Her Dead Petz is a real mixed bag. A REAL MIXED BAG. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t
some plenty of gold on there. In fact, Mike Will Made It, who had a big hand on Bangerz, delivers most of the good stuff on the LP including this one Lighter. Lighter is a beautiful, lingering ballad driven by big, punching drums and a raw vocal from Miley herself. It essentially uses smoking weed as a metaphor for someone always backing her (“when I need the fire, you’re always my lighter”) but it’s really not as dumb as it sounds.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/mileycyrus/lighter[/soundcloud]
Ryan Hemsworth & Lucas
Last year Seattle producer Lucas dropped a ridiculously beautiful remix of Ryan Hemsworth‘s One For Me, then later Hemsworth dropped one of Lucas’ originals through his Secret Songs project. It makes total sense that the pair have now come together for a collaborative EP led by this track Angel. It’s one of the more emotional Hemsworth tunes we’ve heard with the chopped vocals really heading straight for the heartstrings. Goosebump-inducing is the general consensus on Soundcloud and we have to agree.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/shhsecretsongs/angel[/soundcloud]
Empress Of‘s debut album Me is released next week and we’ve been given plenty of reason to get excited about it. First there was Water Water then there was Kitty Kat and this week we got How Do You Do It? and this one Standard. And it may just be the best one yet. Built upon industrial, post-pop production, Empress Of howls throughout really lengthening her notes and hitting giddy heights on many. Calling it now – Me will be one of the year’s best albums.
Pedal To The Medal
Nicholas Brown and Misha Grace are Melbourne duo Friendships who are making really tough, forceful electronic music that demands your attention on first listen. Pedal To The Medal is one half of their new double-sided single that also includes Ded Soun Konduktah and it’s a primal, tribal-inspired track with heavy-hitting bass and a grinding, repetitive vocal sample. It may sound like audible murder but it’s one hell of a thrilling listen – one that feels like your simultaneously listening to dancehall and heavy metal.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/friendships/sets/p2m-dsk[/soundcloud]
Future Classic have become known for signing some of the finest electronic acts in the country but there’s something slightly different about Julian Sudek and Will Campion’s World Champion. Their debut track Avocado definitely has electronic stylings but it also has a dreamstate, indie-rock vibe – one that we haven’t heard any Future Classic artists dabble in until now. It feels sleek and sexy bound for intergalactic travel. If we had to make a comparison we’d say there a definite nods to Jagwar Ma (probably because it was co-produced by Jono Ma) but even then this feels more bare-boned.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/futureclassic/world-champion-avocado-galaxy[/soundcloud]
Florence + The Machine
Queen Of Peace (Hot Chip Remix)
Florence + The Machine‘s Queen Of Peace centres around it’s massive chorus which on the original is elevated by huge stabs of brass. But in many ways it was crying out for a dance remix where the brass was replaced by climatic synths and that immense amount of energy was translated into euphoria. That’s exactly what Hot Chip have done, rebuilding the song on a minimal beat that just continues to build and build until we get that chorus blanketed by dense synths. It sounds just as triumphant as the original but in a completely different way.
Janet Jackson is well and truly back, gearing up for the release of her first album since 2008, Unbreakable. We’ve already heard the excellent first single No Sleeep and now we have the title track. It’s definitely not as modern and forward-thinking as its predecessor but there’s a certain charm to Janet singing about undying love over a vintage-sounding beat. The album is out 2nd October via her own label Rhythm Nation.
Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat is becoming the go to producer at the moment. He produced Ariana Grande‘s brilliant Be My Baby last year and also popped up on Kanye West’s Wolves last week. Now he’s produced the latest Ty Dolla $ign single with Stargate and got Charli XCX and Tinashe on board as well. It’s an all star lineup for Drop That Kitty which will appear on Ty’s debut album “coming soon”, according to his YouTube.
The track centres around XCX’s abrasive hook, with Ty and Tinashe delivering silky smooth vocals to perfectly juxtapose the hook. Before Fancy Charli XCX would have been such an odd choice for a hip-hop track but now she’s suddenly become the Ashanti of this decade, which we’re fine with.
Charli XCX will be in the country soon for Groovin The Moo. Dates below:
Wednesday, 29th April
Friday, 1st May
Thursday, 7th May