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First Impressions: Charli XCX, A$AP Rocky, Tei Shei + more

Written By Bianca Bosso on 10/14/2014

FI_13Oct

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. Today we pick apart tracks by Tei Shei, Nina Las Vegas, Swick, Cold Clinical Love, Charli XCX, BC Kingdom & A$AP Rocky. 

Tei Shi- Bassically

Sam: This is unbelievably smooth. I feel like Tei Shi has been doing cool things but this is her absolute standout moment. The moment when people actually look up from what they’re doing. It’s a thundering, late-night pop track with Shi slinkily winding her voice around the instrumentation like some sort of velvet scarf. 4 Sam’s Tied Pick

Hannah: I love the running, pulsating, synth laden bass line that quivers effortlessly below Tei Shi’s simultaneously sickly sweet yet totally seductive vocals. If this doesn’t get you in the mood for all kinds of debauchery, I don’t know what will. 4

Lizzie: This utterly seductive track does not need all the bells and whistles to capture my attention. It is soft and sensitive, yet punchy and interesting, plus there’s a healthy amount of bass and synth – all at the same time. Basically, what I am trying to say is that this is 100% my kinda jam. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: This is so immediately affecting. Launching straight into a throbbing bass, further intensified with the help of Tei Shei’s dreamy vocals, it had me in a state of reverie that made me not realise that perhaps my speakers were up a little too loud for my neighbours’ liking. One extra point for the pun in the song title. 4  

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/tei-shi/bassically[/soundcloud]

Nina Las Vegas/Swick- Don’t Send

Sam: Oh lord. That PC Music-esque vocal sample on this just kills me every time. And then those string-like synths follow. And then the beat marches towards you. And I die. Ignore what Nina & Swick say! Send. Send to everyone you know. 4 Sam’s Pick

Hannah: I love everything about this collision. It’s drum, bass, *insert requisite PC music mention here,* jungle music, house music and all out synthy, bangers perfection. Perfect party starter, perfect party finisher. Wait, no. If this song is on, it’s all party, all of the time. Nina for da win. 4

Lizzie: Nina brings that same relatable PC sound which Porter Robinson does on his Worlds album – I cannot get enough of it. At the 1:50min mark I am truly booty hypnotised if that is even a thing. Wait, it’s called twerking. Killer track by Nina.

Bianca: Don’t Send has everything: throbbing bass, strings, dreamy, computerised vocals, drum n bass-inspired beat and, most importantly, horns. My word, those horns! Oscillating carelessly between the internet depths of PC Music territory and a full-on club-thumping beat, this track ebbs and flows with confidence. I was hooked at first listen but hearing this banger played at Nina’s own NLV: Presents show on the weekend further sealed the deal for me. Bianca’s Pick

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/nesthq/nina-las-vegas-swick-dont-send[/soundcloud]

Cold Clinical Love- Bullet Youth

Sam: Some super impressive, melodramatic production on this. It feels very cold and isolated but at the same time his delicately auto-tuned voice is quite warm. The good/bad thing about Soundcloud is you can see exactly when the drop is coming and I was expecting a big one for this. I wasn’t disappointed, it detours into this CHVRCHES-esque state of euphoria. 3.5

Hannah: This is a mixed bag of goodies and like any pick’n’mix, and their promise of overindulgence, I’m just left with a sugar headache and sore teeth. While individually pieces of this production work, as a whole I feel Cold Clinical Love have cast their net too wide and tried to appeal everyone without really appealing to anyone. Less is more. 3

Lizzie: While it only clocks in at around 2 ½ minutes, there is a lot of layers crammed in to create this universally appealing track. The confident warm vocals and pluck of the guitar are effortlessly indie-cool. If you haven’t already had CCL on your radar, after listening to Bullet Youth you will sure to have your ears pricked with curiosity – as this is the only their 2nd release. 4

Bianca: Unexpected twists and turns make this track continuously intriguing. The doleful, yet beguiling vocals in the beginning tricked me into expecting a very different point B but I was overall pleased with the end destination. There is nostalgia aplenty with the gradual build-up of glittery synths, brooding guitar and a thumping backbeat spicing up its life. Looking forward to hearing more from Cold Clinical Love. 3.75  

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/coldclinicallove/bullet-youth/[/soundcloud]

Charli XCX- London Queen

Sam: I love that Charli finally finds mainstream success and then she rolls out two singles inspired by Scandinavian punk. She’s in her own world and it’s probably going to give her much more longevity than her peers. This one just bundles through like a runaway train. It’s Charli XCX down to the ground. 3.5

Hannah: I skipped through a lot of this song. Charlie XCX never really did it for me and as much as I want to like this song purely because at times I feel like I am a London queen myself, she’s continued to not do it for me. I find it all horribly derivative and well… Boring. 2

Lizzie: Definitely a “wake up in the morning, got lots of things to do” kinda song. I also feel like this track was produced in your neighbour’s back garage. This is not suggesting it is an ameteur prodution, it is just exudes ’90s Clueless youthfulness – with its fast beat, claps and “ois”. I feel like I need to get a perm to fully appreciate the track. 3

Bianca: Isn’t this song in the bar scene from 10 Things I Hate About You when Heath Ledger *sigh* meets up with Julia Stiles? Whilst I’m more than happy to watch that ’90s classic over and over again, London Queen is a bit too ’90s alternative rock for my liking and I won’t be re-listening to this one in a hurry. Now where’s my local Blockbuster… 1.5 

BC Kingdom- Colours

Sam: This one is such a creeper. It really didn’t smack me in the face during the first verse but throughout the five minutes it really took grey. The chorus sounds pretty iconic in a very unaggressive way. Tucked in between tracks on an album, I think this song will really get its moment. Particularly with that preaching outro. A track with this much presence is too good to be by a fleeting hype-artist. 3.5

Hannah: Proving once again men are slightly colourblind, I’m pretty sure grey is technically a shade not a colour… Other than that I don’t really have an issue with this song but I don’t really like it either. He clearly has some stand out vocal moments that the misbehaving hairs on the back of my neck can’t help but raise to, and I do find it difficult to speak ill of anything featuring steel drums, or Moby for that matter, so I’m just going to evoke the age old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say….” 2

Lizzie: I am ok with this song, the nice little Moby insert at around 3 minute mark was a weirdly welcome surprise. However, the robotic style siren that pops in every 3 seconds is just way too familiar – it’s the same sound they use on the Magic Mike soundtrack and that makes me think of all the wrong inappropriate things when really I should appreciating the track. It’s distracting. 3

Bianca: This is brooding, soulful and smooth; it’s like a box of chocolate all wrapped up with a tidy, velvet bow. The confident backbeat and feathering of steel drums are the heroes this track deserves, and also the ones it needs. Also, dat Moby sample and gospel sermon outro…Preach! 3.75 

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/bckingdom/colours[/soundcloud]

A$AP Rocky- Multiply

Sam: I love this video so much that I almost forgot to listen to the song. It feels like the real A$AP is back on this one. It felt like his debut album was very much made to appease a wider audience and this ones back to the mixtape Rocky we loved. The hook may not be as melodic as, say his Santigold track Hell, but I feel like it has more of a long-lasting effect. Exciting stuff. 4

Hannah: Sam, be honest… You like the video clip so much because he dances just like to you. You can’t help but like A$AP Rocky. His songs are infinitely rappable and come laden with hefty serve of get low. Guarantee everyone will be preaching along to “when the really niggas die, fake niggas going to multiple,” while they sip on their vodka, fresh lime, sodas come the weekend. 3

Lizzie: This song falls incredibly flat for me. I find myself cruising in slowwwww motion so much that I almost fall asleep. Especially around the 1 minute mark, as the sound falls that bit lower I struggle to keep the motion going. 2.5

Bianca: The first half kinda treks along but 2:37 is really where this track gets going for me. The dramatic switch-up to the menacing, pulsating backbeat, introduced by the high-pitched siren, was enough to give me chills. It’s heavy and I like it. 4 

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