First Impressions: Mac Miller, Kendrick Lamar, Dillon Francis And More

Written By the interns on 09/20/2016


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 Jess Kent, Dillon Francis, GTA & Vince Staples, Seekae, BANKS and Mac Miller.

Jess Kent
The Sweet Spot

Harrison Kefford: Ah yes, one of the Future Class of 2016. If we are comparing Jess Kent to the likes of MØ, then it’s going to be exciting to watch her continual rise. The Sweet Spot is a fun filled punch and come summertime, mark this one down as a huge hit. 4

Alistair Rhodes: Straight away I’m blown away with a hit of bass and I love my bass. This tropical summertime number is awesome to listen to. Female singers within this genre are fucking killing it at the moment and I think the likes of M.I.A, MØ and Tkay Maidza have some serious competition on their hands. Jess was born in the UK but I’m proudly claiming her as one of our own seen as though she was raised in Adelaide. 4.8 Alistair’s Pick

Sam Murphy: Love, love, love that this sort of slick music is coming out of this country. The MØ and M.I.A. comparisons are spot on but ultimately this sounds like the work of an artist that knows her musical identity and is on a path to superstardom on her own merits. To me, this doesn’t sound like the work of an artist who is releasing her first single signed to a major label. It doesn’t sound forced or rushed. She lays back in this Island-flavoured beats and delivers something full of charisma. 4 Sam’s Pick

Average Score: 4.2

Dillon Francis

Harrison: Eh, I don’t know if i can get down to this. I mean i can totally see it’s appeal but Dillon Francis for me has always been about bringing the bass and moombahton. Anywhere vibes as a pop-infused, dance track. 2

Alistair: I’m a massive Dillon Francis fan and have been since 2012. Back then he was slaying it with his moombahton and personally I think that’s what he should stick to. This Mixtape Is Fire was exactly that! Anywhere is Pop EDM garbage. Anywhere will probably go really strong in the States and I guess that's why Dillon made this track, he's thinking plenty of dollar bills, those of the Benjamin Franklin kind. 1

Sam: Yeah, doesn’t do it for me. Dillon Francis doesn’t do pop very well. It always winds up sounds a little copy/paste. He’s better off when he digs further into the dance world and pulls out something a little harder hitting. The last mixtape is exactly the sort of stuff he should be doing. I know this is a reach for the mainstream but I’ll be surprised if this even picks up radio love. Also, these may be the most basic lyrics since The Hamster Dance. 2

Average Score: 1.6

GTA & Vince Staples
Little Bit Of This

Harrison: Everything that Staples appears on or releases is, no joke, instant gold. For someone who dislikes hip-hop and rap, Vince Staples has gripped me. His voice, character and ability to make some of this and last year’s best music is truly exciting, and this collab with GTA only continues that stretch. Little Bit Of This isn’t one of those big sounding dance/hip-hop collabs the world craves. Rather it’s a mid-set drop that packs flavour and punch. 4

Alistair: Before even opening this track I was excited for it. GTA know how to bring the party and it seems like Vince Staples can’t do any wrong at the minute. The remixes of this track will be killer too. Little Bit Of This is the perfect track to be listening to in a dirty rave cave especially when that slow bassline towards the end of the track turns your legs to jelly as if you’ve just had a massive hit of Amyl. 3.8

Sam: Vince Staples is a king right now. He’s gone from Clams Casino beats, to James Blake beats to GTA beats, bringing something different to the table with this. This is his most hard-hitting cut to date and the aggressive, sparse beats suit him well. Staples is wearing that bratty persona here where he sounds like he wants to cause a little bit of trouble and that’s a mode he pulls off so well. 4

Average Score: 3.93

Turbine Blue

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Harrison: This could very well be one of my favourite songs of the year. Perhaps it speaks to where I am currently placed and am feeling musically, but Seekae have smashed it out of the park with Turbine Blue. With a bit of time to go and knowledge that we still have a lot of quality releases to come, I would hope come end of year lists and best ofs, that somewhere Turbine Blue gets a mention. Harrison’s Pick

Alistair: All of the artists that have been a part of the Future Classics label have been nothing short of great producers and have been trailblazers for the industry. Seekae steps right up to the plate with no problems at all. Turbine Blue has a great feel to it, great production meshed well with solid vocals. I’m excited to see what else is to come from Seekae after hearing this number. 4

Sam: This was totally unexpected for me. I love those darker, pop-infused cuts from Seekae like Another but this one caught me off guard because I wasn’t expecting something so beautifully straight-forward and melodically. This is one of their best tracks to date because nothing sounds forced. It’s a crisp, sleek production that never sounds overcrowded with a vocal that’s emotional without being over-the-top. So good. 4

Average Score: 4.3

To The Hilt

Harrison: Huge fan of BANKS and am also really really excited for The Altar. To The Hilt is a stripped back ballad full of heart. Sultry vocals and mesmerizing piano piece, it showcases a more stripped BANKS which she total nails. Her sophomore album is going to be raw and really personal, and To The Hilt keeps to this tone. In my eyes, BANKS is one of the very few artists that translates personal experience through music perfectly. 4.5

Alistair: I can just picture BANKS jumping on her piano at home and belting out this number for the first time in front of her closest friends at a dinner party that she’s hosting. This is raw, natural and emotional to the core. To The Hilt doesn’t skip a beat and keeps you holding on right the way through the journey that BANKS is taking you on. 4

Sam: I’m personally not a fan of the dark, intimate second album because it so often sounds forced. This song is fine for me but it’s nothing more than a nice ballad. It’s meant to be an emotional song but it doesn’t even really get me on an emotional level because it plateaus the whole way through. Gemini Feed remains the best cut of the album yet because at least it pops in the chorus. Everything else has just been middle of the road. 2

Average Score: 3.5

Mac Miller
God Is Fair, Sexy, Nasty (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Harrison: Honestly, I don’t know how to read this. I'm not really a fan. Mac Miller and this track are not something I would pick up and listen to but, in saying that, I feel like this track would not have been selected in here if it were not for an impressive feature. Picking a few positives, I like the beat and Kendrick’s appearance bring some great things to this collaboration. 3

Alistair: I’m with Harrison on this one. I’m really not sure what I feel about this number. It seems like the song is a bit all over the place. For me the beat is killer and I love Kendrick’s voice so hearing that come into play really appealed to me. 2

Sam: The Divine Feminine is Mac’s best album to date and this is such a worthy closer to the record. This is the second great hook Kendrick has delivered in under a week (counting Danny Brown’s Really Doe yesterday) because it’s woozy and love drunk, perfectly suiting those jazzy undertones. Let’s be honest the vibe of this album probably would be completely different if Lamar didn’t reintroduce the funk to the scene on To Pimp A Butterfly so it’s only right that he pops up on the record. That said, Mac’s bars have never sounded more at home that over this soundscape. 4

Average Score: 3

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