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Semplesize Block Party – Second Announcement

If you thought the Semplesize Block Party that we announced at the beginning of the month couldn’t get any bigger, we are here to prove you wrong. Along with SemplesizeSpook Magazine, Hessian MagazineBeat Magazine and Trumpeter’s Alcoholic Ice Tea, we’re proud to announce the latest additions to the lineup: pop duo De̊ ǰa, the boisterous Twin Beasts, art-rock duo The Stiffyselectronic/hip-hop outfit Fortunes and hip-hop DJ Fletch. Joining the already huge lineup of BanoffeeMilwaukee Banks and House of Laurence, the latest additions to the bill only further ensure that this New York-style block party is set to be the biggest soiree of the Summer. We’re also excited to announce that fellow co-presenters Hessian Magazine will be hosting a runway fashion show which will feature the latest offerings from talented local designers.

Early bird tickets of a discounted rate of $15.00 are almost sold out so head over to Howler now before stock runs out!

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Drake celebrates his birthday by giving away three new tracks

istd2vbjoswpcqwqktni Stream and Download Three New Drake Songs

This week shall forever be known as Drake week. The Canadian rapper was announced to be coming to Australia for the first time with Future Music Festival, a new track, How Bout Now leaked and now he’s gone all out releasing three new songs for download. The first is a higher quality version of the leaked How Bout Now, with 6 God and Heat Of The Moment rounding out the three. The three tracks show just how much sonic ground Drake is capable of covering. How Bout Now, is a minimal gospel-flavoured track, Heat Of The Moment sits more in the lane of something like Marvin’s Room and 6 God is an agressive, bass-heavy cut. Drake has described them as “Just 3 songs that I knew some hackers had.” Take that hackers/haters.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/octobersveryown/drake-how-bout-now[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/octobersveryown/drake-heat-of-the-moment[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/octobersveryown/drake-6-god[/soundcloud]

 

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10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week: Iggy Azalea with MØ, CHRVCHES, Les Sins + more

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Truth be told we hate writing intros for these kind of things. It’s like explaining why you need to hear these songs, without mentioning them, in a shorter way than below but in a longer way than the title. If you’re the kind of person who just reads the first three or four songs and then clicks out maybe save your time and just head go straight to reading and listing below. Who knows, you may make it to five?

Yeo- Secret Powers

Melbourne artist Yeo has been very firmly on our radar since the brilliant Kobe. The electro-pop brilliance of Kobe has set a high benchmark for Yeo but we reckon this one may just match it. It’s a flickering, pop-ballad with dimly-lit verses and an explosive chorus. It also sees him swaps lines with Yule Post, working so well we are happy to crown them the Sonny and Cher of this generation.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/snackswithyeo/secretpowers[/soundcloud]

CHVRCHES- Get Away

Look, to be honest we haven’t really got our heads around this wholde Drive soundtrack revamp but we have got our ears around this new CHVRCHES track this week. CHVRCHES’ twilight electronica suits the aesthetic of Drive down to the ground and Get Away easily gives off that twinkling, mysterious vibe that songs like Nightcall did on the original soundtrack. This band is yet to put a foot wrong. We’d like it very much if they kept the momentum going and popped out a second album before we stop listening to the first. Thanks.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/chvrches/chvrches-get-away[/soundcloud]

DELS- Burning Beaches (Feat. Rosie Lowe)

British rapper DELS is about to release his second album Petals Have Fallen and he’s picked an opportune time to release one of his best tracks. The down-beat, sizzler features the vocal prowess of the sultry Rosie Lowe, who delivers a stunning chorus. The match of these two makes this track smoulder, with DELS’ tough verses perfectly complimenting Lowe’s velvety chorus.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/bigdadasound/dels-burning-beaches-feat-rosie-lowe[/soundcloud]

Jerome LOL- All That I Am (Feat. Sara Z)

Jerome LOL has a knack to transporting you straight to 4am with a simple thud of bass. As half of DJ Dodger Stadium, he’s delivered one of the best albums of the year and is now dropping a steady slew of solo singles proving that he’s just as brilliant on his own. All That I Am is more accessible than anything by DJ Dodger, helped by a melodic vocal by Sara Z. It’s soulful, bouncing and best of all, affecting. There’s nothing quite like an emotional dance floor banger and we’d be happy to shed a tear to this while tearing up the floor.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/fofmusic/jerome-lol-all-that-i-am-ft-sara-z[/soundcloud]

La+ch- Hi-Life

We’ve been lapping up everything that’s come from this enigmatic artist so far and the latest, Hi-Life is another perfect injection of sensual electro-RnB. The voice is in full falsetto mood for this one taking the chorus straight to the clouds. Meanwhile the dim, minimal synths that run below the song give it this hollow yet warm feeling. These are the kinds of songs that you’re meant to sweat to while you’re proving to your friends that you can hit dem notes. And for the record we can hit these notes.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/la-ch/hi-life[/soundcloud]

Sportsman- Begin Again

It may feel a little like Taylor Swift has been pushed down our throats recently, but she’s probably the biggest pop star in the world right now so we’ll give her, her moment while RiRi contemplates whether she’s going to hurry the hell up and release that album. With so much Swizzle Dizzle around, it’s nice to hear a completely different approach to it. Swedish artist, Sportsman has teamed up with producer HNNY for a down-trodden, mournful take on Begin Again. With the sheen taken off, the song actually becomes quite a heart-hitter, sounding emotionally dense. HNNY will be in the country this month, FYI, for OutsideIn. Not sure how this will go down on the DF.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sportsman1980/begin-again[/soundcloud]

Liv- Special

One of my favourite records is Corinne Bailey Rae‘s The Sea because it has this ability to be so subtle yet also have so much feeling allowing it to creep up on you unsuspecting. Special by new London songstress Liv has that same kind of allure to it. On the surface it could be mistaken for lounge music because it’s so understated, but listen a little closer and there is this delectable, smokey voice running alongside smoking guitar plucks and altogether warm instrumentation. It’s sexy, slinky and sung with total confidence.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/liv-songs/special[/soundcloud]

Iggy Azalea- Beg For It (Feat. MØ)

Is it just us or does this sound suspiciously like Fancy? Whatever IDGAF because Scandinavian badass MØ is on the track and she sounds like a total badass. Azalea’s raps are in the pocket but steals the show because she so effortlessly adopts this sassy personality and delivers a ripper of a chorus commanding, “imma make you beg for it”. If this gets her to the top of huge charts, justice will be restored in the world.

Les Sins- Talk About

This dance floor banger aesthetic is really working for Toro Y Moi right now. He’s dropped three songs from the forthcoming album, Michael, which each of them giving something a little different. This one has a woozy synth-line which runs below a commanding, When A Fire Starts To Bun-esque vocal sample. We immediately want to start thrusting out arms back and forth, bobbing that head and picking our feet up from the ground.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/company-record-label/les-sins-talk-about[/soundcloud]

Sweater Beats- Cloud City

This Brooklyn-producer is supporting Chance The Rapper on tour and while they don’t really share the same sound there is no doubt this it good. Good in like a 9/10 kind of way. The other thing we think is good is that it sounds like Australia (you know, Flume and the like). Lil’ Island done good.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sweaters/cloud-city-1[/soundcloud]

 

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Five New Artists You Should Tell Your Friends About

 

TELLYOURFRIENDSStop talking about the weather! We’ve got a new topic of conversation for the water cooler. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing; stop. Log on to a chat room, pull out that phone or simply yell from your bedroom window. Whatever it takes to get the word out. These new artists are funky and fresh and will probably soundtrack Laneway 2018.

After a bit of Soundcloud surfing we’ve think we’ve come up with five new artists, that have quite the knack for crafting great songs.

Chloe Black

London artist Chloe Black may only have one song to her name but in 2 days it’s racked up 30,000 plays. Why? Because it’s a smoking, sultry track that sounds a little like Lana Del Rey, if Del Rey wasn’t afraid to growl a little.

27 Club sets out to be dark and it’s successful in doing so because Black is so committed and naturally gritty. If her Cruella Deville-inspired hairdo doesn’t give it away, the girl’s got a little bit of evil in her blood and it doesn wonders. Of course, it’s reckless to spruik an artist after just one song, but something you just know.

The answer to her question re: “27 Club can I get in?” is no, by the way. She’s staying right here.

[soundcloud width=”720″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/chloeblackofficial/27-club-chloe-black[/soundcloud]

Feel So Real

According to his Soundcloud Harriet Brown has “descended from the heavens”, so I suppose it’s quite cool that a modern day messiah is so keen on becoming a pop star. Might have made Jesus a few more fans.

All the silliness aside, Harriet Brown who goes by the name of Feel So Real has crafted a pretty impressive EP, New Era, built from lo-fi ‘80s nostalgia and expertly crafted pop-melodies. “Romantic funk”, is the label Brown has attributed to it and he’s spot on. The tracks evoke that same kind of steam that comes from a Prince slow-burner.

The hero of his Soundcloud is New Machines – a synth-heavy, retro cut which has Brown sounding like a more colourful Twin Shadow. It steadily builds but never explicitly, allowing you to lay-back in it and enjoy it for the loved-up gem it is.

Drippin

This producer may just be the most badass producer to ever come from Scandinavia. For the better part of two years Norwegian producer, Drippin, has been crafting hard-line beats of hip-hop influenced, industrial electronica.

Drippin rarely has time for hooks, rather he serves up relentless, abrasive beats that pelt away at your head, cracking the hard exterior. His latest track, Kyoto, sounds like ice dropping on cold aluminum. Its enthrallment comes in its darkness, in the same way that Yeezus makes your skin crawl at times.

Kyoto has been released by experimental New York label, Lit City Trax run by J Cush of electronica super-group (of sorts), Future Brown. While he’s from Scandinavia, all Drippin’s music sounds like the sort that could only have been given birth to in a city bound by masses of concrete and steel.

Liv

It wouldn’t be a week at all really, if we didn’t stumble upon a brilliant female RnB singer from London. 20 year-old singer, Liv is our latest find and boy are we pleased with ourselves. Her debut track, Come A Little Closer, effortlessly blended together elements of hip-hop, RnB and industrial electronica with Liv running alongside it with a whispered, silently fierce vocal.

This week she released the follow-up to that track, Special, and flipped the tempo, showing a completely different side. Special, is a sexy, romantic number peppered with plucked guitars lounge-found beats. She maintains that hushed vocal that we first heard on Come A Little Closer, finding a pocket in between Jessie Ware and Aaliyah.

Her voice may be interesting enough to carry any old song, but it’s an extra perk that the tracks carry some serious melodic weight. They’re not in your face but they’re slender enough to bend around your airwaves and slide right on in.

Flyte

After all the sex, steel and romance we had to finish on something a little more light-hearted. London band Flyte are about as much fun as a bubble tea on a sunny day. They’re in the business of crafting effortlessly catchy, chorus-centred songs.

There’s a healthy amount of hype surrounding this London band and it’s because they have the nostalgic cool to appeal to the underground and also the pop-sensibilities to take hold of a mainstream audience. Their latest track, Light Me Up, is an airy, weightless track that swoops in with a big chorus bolstered by perfect melodies. The great video also perfectly references ‘80s coy, cinema. It shows that the four of them have more than enough charisma to make a Flyte show equal parts intriguing and fun.

They are currently working their way around the UK on a two month tour which will surely get the UK press shouting. And once they start making some noise, Australia will start shouting.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/flyte/flyte-light-me-up[/soundcloud]

 

 

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Yeo and Yule Post team up for ‘Secret Powers’

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Oh how we love us an ’80s-inspired, power ballad from Melbourne artist Yeo. His latest single is titled Secret Powers and features fellow Melbourne vocalist, Yule Post. With a stomping beat, Secret Powers features dense instrumentation that creates a dark, mournful atmosphere. The two artists together sound brilliant particularly when they launch into the final bridge which sees, Post pump it up an octave, just like any good slow-number should. After seeing Yeo at BIGSOUND, we’re positive that he’s tapped into something brilliant – a sound that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but also sounds finessed and textured. Beautiful stuff.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/snackswithyeo/secretpowers[/soundcloud]

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J.Cole jumps on Jessie Ware’s ‘Kind of…Sometimes…Maybe’

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Jessie Ware‘s love just got a little tougher with addition of US rapper J.Cole to the Miguel-penned, Kind of…Sometimes…Maybe. Cole hops on the intro of the song delivering a nursery rhyme-esque verse that’s perfectly in-line with the playful nature of the song. Apart from that the song doesn’t really change much but why should it when it’s already one of the most effortlessly dignified tracks on the album. Ware is no stranger to having rappers on remixes of her tracks. A$AP Rocky added a few verses to one of her trademark tracks, Wildest Moments, last year.

Jessie Ware‘s second album, Tough Love, is out now and it’s excellent.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/jessieware/jessie-ware-kind-ofsometimesmaybe-j-cole-remix[/soundcloud]

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I’lls release two tracks: ‘Fifty-Phiphti’ & ‘Asaksua’

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Melbourne trio I’lls (pronounced ‘isles’) have dropped a double track feature on their Soundcloud page: Fifty Phiphti and Asakusa. Taking cues from their jazz-infused backgrounds, Fifty Phiphti is a slow-burning, sobering affair, travelling along a rolling drum beat. Atmospheric in nature, the synths twinkle alongside ambient vocals, as the layers gently build onto each other to create a final conclusion. Asakusa is a shorter but no less poignant offering from the trio. Tranquil and slightly haunting, various percussive elements flutter ethereally amongst cascading synths, creating no definitive beginning, middle or end. The band has said of the two tracks:

‘Fifty-Phiphti’ is a collage of separately recorded ideas taken over a long period of time. We tried to really hone in on each and every element of the song, attempting to reach the level of quality that most of the artist we admire. Oppositely, ‘Asakusa’ is a track in which one element was broken down and extended in several ways. A glass marimba recording was manipulated to point where it became the kick drums and percussion that are featured in the track.” 

Listen below:

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What will be the song of Summer 2014?

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If you haven’t heard already, the Northern Hemisphere has already had Summer and by the sounds of it they did it quite well. One thing they got wrong, however, was the track they chose as the song of Summer, with Billboard crowning Iggy Azalea’s Fancy with the title after it ruled the charts for seven weeks.

The benefit of hindsight is that we can correct the wrongs made by America. Don’t get us wrong, Fancy is a #banger but it is not appropriate for the song of Summer. The song of Summer (or the SOS, if you like) should be a euphoric number – a song as sexy as Drunk In Love with the anthemic nature of DJ Otzi’s Hey Baby.

In the interest of finding a song vaguely similar to that odd combination, we’ve set out to find the SOS, and you know what? We just may have found it.

The Mainstream Players

Alesso- Heroes (We Could Be)

This one is making its run up the charts just in time for Summer. Big-voiced Swede, Tove Lo, leads proceedings and delivers a mighty chorus that will likely have Steresonic goers in all kinds of ecstasy. It may be the least original song you’ll hear this year, but Summer people don’t want to think.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/alesso/heroes[/soundcloud]

Avicii- The Days

The thought of hearing this more times than one is making us feel a bit sick but it’s a very real possibility that Avicii and Robbie will be the kings of Summer. Summery guitars. Tick. Youthful lyrics sung by a 40 year-old. Tick. Plenty of “woooohs”. Tick. Crack open a Corona and switch the wireless to this one, these are the days you won’t forget.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/wilver-perez-gomez/avicii-the-days-feat-robbie-williams-original-mix-1[/soundcloud]

Nick Jonas- Jealous

Lil’ Jonas went and listened to a JT record and now he’s grabbing things in untasteful ways and sending his voice into giddy heights. He told Today Show in America that he was “starting a conversation” about male jealousy with this song so, we may as well call this the charity single of 2014. Thanks for starting the convo, Nick.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/aziliz-cxndi/nick-jonas-jealous-audio[/soundcloud]

 Gwen Stefani- Baby Don’t Lie

It’s too early to tell whether this is a flop or a hit but it’s certainly got plenty of Summery vibes to it. She’s no stranger to a Summer hit if you can remember The Sweet Escape and wouldn’t it be good to see the ol’ Harajuku gal on top once more.

Taylor Swift- Shake It Off

Look, to be honest, this is probably going to be the song of Summer so if you have that attitude, maybe just stop reading now. For the optimists here, shake off that last comment and continue to explore the possibilities of a song of Summer that doesn’t mention haters.

 

The Dark Horses

The Magician- Sunlight

This one is named after one of Summer’s attributes so it’s a no brainer really. There are tribal drums, a big, euphoric chorus and a video clip filmed on a beach. If anything is going to rise up the charts in the next few weeks it’s this one.

Peking Duk- Take Me Over

So, High is probably going to top triple j’s Hottest 100 but it’s a bit old to steal this Summer’s crown so leave it to their second single. It’s a little bit darker thanks to the vocals of SAFIA’s Ben, but it’s no less climactic than High.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/pekingduk/take-me-over-ft-safia[/soundcloud]

Jack U- Take U There

The song of Summer has got to be rousing. It’s got to move you and make you feel things in places you’ve never felt before. Thanks goodness for the voice of Kiesza alongside the production of Skrillex and Diplo. The verses of Take U There are a climatic, rushing force of glory.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/diplo/jack-u-take-u-there-feat-kiesza[/soundcloud]

Vic Mensa- Down On My Luck

This has done the rounds on triple j but it could easily crossover to a place where Kyle & Jackie O would mention his name. We don’t want it to happen but if it does, we’d happily join along with the rest of the country in commanding, “fuck that, get down”.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/fuck-vic-mensa/down-on-my-luck[/soundcloud]

 

For the Indie Kidz

The Preatures- Somebody’s Talking

Is This How You Feel? was one of Summer’s best creations and this one could very well recreate its glory. It’s got pleasant, plucking guitars and a gritty chorus that will be chanted by many a flower-headdress wearing punter this summer.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/thepreatures/somebodys-talking[/soundcloud]

Royksopp & Robyn- Do It Again

This captures the very essence of what Summer is about. Get burnt, do it again. Get drunk, do it again. Reconnect with an old flame, do it again. If you want euphoria, if you want that “holy fuck” chorus that you’d give your whole piggy bank to hear- this is the song. THIS IS THE FREEKEN SONG.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/royksopp/royksopp-robyn-do-it-again-on-annie-mac-bbc-radio1[/soundcloud]

Kendrick Lamar- i

It’s true, we’re an egotistical bunch, so what better way to celebrate the season than with a song that literally expliques “I love myself”. i sounds like it was made for a beach hut in LA, so when you hear it, just work it whether you’re bikini or speedo-clad.

Jungle- Time

If you want an album to keep rolling all summer, look no further than the self-titled set by British band, Jungle. If you only have the patience for 3 minutes of a sound, then best you pluck this one to listen to as you lay by the pool, tipping those shades to check out all the qties.

 

What we think should take the title…

Para One- You Too

This one tips too far into the after midnight category to ever qualify for the people’s choice for the song of Summer, but wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if it was? If Summer is about throwing your arms in the air like you just don’t care, then the climatic-nature of this one is just the trick.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/spinninrecords/para-one-you-too[/soundcloud]

Popcaan- Number One Freak

The people of Australia collectively cannot dutty dance, so this is automatically ruled out. But for those of us who can booty-shake like Riri in Barbados, this should, and will, soundtrack the hotter months. It radiates heat, rhythm and melody.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/mixpak/03-number-one-freak[/soundcloud]

QT- Hey QT

If we were writing this immediately after Aqua hit number one with Barbie Girl, we would be placing this in the mainstream category. Unfortunately, this is 2014 and people are uncomfortable with Siri singing their favourite song. For the bourgeois, Siri is there to work, not cavort around in the pop world.

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Hear: Lorde, Miguel & The Chemical Brother’s collaboration for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, ‘This Is Not A Game’

 

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Following on from her recent Yellow Flicker Beat, Lorde has teamed up with fellow hit-makers Miguel and The Chemical Brothers for This Is Not A Game, the aptly-titled, latest addition to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack. Curated by Lorde herself, the soundtrack is set to also feature HAIM, CHVRCHES, Tove Lo, Charli XCX and Tinashé, as well as an exclusive Kanye West rework of Yellow Flicker Beat. 

Premiering exclusively on BBC Radio 1, This Is Not A Game is available to stream here.

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Hear Chvrches’ contribution to the new Drive soundtrack, ‘Get Away’

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Zane Lowe, along with BBC Radio 1, is curating a project that will see a number of artists contributing towards a brand new version of the Drive soundtrack. In honour of the neo-noir arthouse action/thriller, the compilation will feature a selection of notable artists, including Foals, SBTRKT, Banks, Bauuer, Bastille and The 1975. The massive undertaking was announced today with the premiere of Chvrches‘ contribution to the soundtrack, Get Away. Encapsulating a style and sound not too dissimilar from the 2011 movie’s original score, which featured Kavinsky, College with Electric Youth and Chromatics, this anthemic track is a glimmering offering from the Scottish band, with Lauren Mayberry’s ethereal voice floating angelically atop a thumping backbeat.

Zane Lowe has said of the project, “Honestly, this is the most exciting thing that this show has ever been involved in. It’s the most ambitious, awesome thing we’ve ever done. We’ve been working on it all year and we’re super-proud of it – you don’t want to miss this!”

Drive‘s director, Nicolas Winding Refn also weighed in, saying, “I consider it a great honour that my movie Drive inspired so many wonderful artists to come together and create one ultra-cool glam experience.”

The film, along with its new soundtrack, will be broadcast in its entirety on October 30 on BBC Three. Any excuse to see Ryan Gosling in his full gloves and hammer glory again, amirite?

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First Impressions: Chance The Rapper, Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris + more

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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 Taylor Swift, Tkay Maidza, Chance The Rapper, Calvin Harris, Marina And The Diamonds & Marion Hill. 

Taylor Swift- Out of the Woods

Lizzie: We can’t say Taylor doesn’t mix it up a bit. This carries very much a Broods ‘Mother and Father’ sound for me – the running track style. I am a massive fan of her voice in this, and while it is yet another Taylor Swift break-up heartache track, I wouldn’t be totally embarrassed to blast this song from my car… in public. 3.5

Bianca: The first verse was actually quite easy on my ears, which is quite a departure from my usual feelings towards Tay Tay. And then…the chorus came. Like a yapping chihuahua that keeps nipping at your ankles, begging for attention, so is the effect of the continuous repetition of the mind-numbing lyrics. In saying that, overall, this song was as mildly enjoyable as reading its accompanying YouTube comments debating whether or not this was written about Harry Styles. 2.75

Sam: Goddamit. It was a big step for me to admit I was a fan of Shake It Off but two tracks in a row is ludicrous. This is good isn’t it? I think it is. It’s like a HAIM-inspired, slightly left-of-centre track that’s like nothing she’s really done before. The final bridge is a little bit over the top, but for all its repetition, the chorus is golden. Maybe I’m out of the woods. Maybe it’s finally time to admit I’m a Tay Tay fan :/ 3.5

Hannah: I am a big, BIG closet Taylor Swift fan. Think Narnia big. But I love her for all her poppy, catchy, pretween, sappy tendencies. This is just a little… Well it’s a little too grown up for the pigeon hole I’ve put dear Taylor in. Yes it sounds like Broods. Yes it sounds like Haim. Yes it sounds like all those slightly left of field female artists making it big in the mainstream at the moment. Off the back of Shake it Off though, what’s wrong with just sounding like Taylor? 3

Tkay Maidza- Switch Lanes

Lizzie: Tkay continues to shine her versatile young talent to the world! I love the flow/switch lanes in and out of singing and rapping -an almighty talent in itself. But I what I really like is the stripped-back style and noticeably tight production (by Paces), very unlike her usual hard bass-heavy beat. 4

Bianca: Aaaaand, Tkay has done it again. What a delightfully minimal track with just enough  sass and badassery to keep things interesting. The contrast between her trilling vocals and quick-witted roll of the tongue is a perfect marriage, creating a multi-faceted layer over Paces’ minimal, plonky, yet polished, production. 

Sam: I feel like a broken record gushing over Tkay but she’s really yet to put a step wrong. Switch Lanes gives us more of that bratty, attitude over a wonderfully spacious beat courtesy of Paces. I love how effortlessly she flips between singing and rapping. It makes me think she’s got the potential to have a crossover hit like Nicki Minaj did with Superbass.  4

Hannah: As far as interns darlings go, Tkay takes the cake.I have to admit however, I’ve never quite been as ready to board the Tkay train bound for stardom as the rest of the interns. Switch Lanes is changing that though. It’s skillful and perfectly isolates between the sweet sounds of a new comer and bratty spits handled like a pro. All aboard! 3

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/tkaymaidza/switch-lanes[/soundcloud]

Chance The Rapper- No Better Blues

Lizzie: So Chance apparently hates a lot of things, we get it. From the opening of the track I thought this was going to be a bit more of an optimistic track, but no “it don’t get no better, it just don’t get no better.” I am feeling a little bit blue too now (sigh). 2

Bianca: Nothing like a bit of negativity to get me interested. After all of Pharrell’s Happy-ness and Taylor’s shaking off of the haters, finally Chance tells it like it is and lets loose with his take on the realities of life. Much like life, though, this track plods along but, unlike life, it doesn’t bear any exciting twists or turns. 2.5

Sam: Along with the Arthur cover, Chance has been getting pretty emotional lately and it works for him. For a song that starts every line with the same few words, it’s pretty profound. The beat never really alters but somehow Chance injects an infectious personality in with his spoken-word. He may hate everything, but I am very much a fan of this. 4

Hannah: Does anyone else find this song incredibly relaxing to listen to? Chance’s spoken word is so melodic and perfectly paired with the intimate piano and bass-heavy backing track. I find myself kind of being lulled by this out pouring of hate. And hey, at least he hates hate, right? 4

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/chancetherapper/chance-the-rapper-the-social-experiment-know-betta-blues[/soundcloud]

 Calvin Harris- Slow Acid

Lizzie: I may have to eat my words on this one. I have spent to year slamming Calvin Harris for his lack of originality and experimentation with any of his tracks of recent. Slow Acid is a definite departure from his usual stadium hit recipe. Something you would find at the end of a Bourne film – the slower pace, less bass heavy and noticeable lack of Florence and the Machine/ Rihanna is refreshing and hopeful for his LP release next month. Phew! 4

Bianca:  Well, this is certainly a new sound from ol’ Calvin. It’s a hectic, grungey track with a similarly-sounding name. I guess it’s a nice change of pace from the regular, textbook method of song structure and irritating guest vocalists that Calvin usually follows but I can’t help but find the entire package- the ‘rough’ video clip, the contrived name, the ‘90s trance-esque “Woo!” vocal sample- a little bit, for lack of a better word, lame. It just feels it was made for the purpose of soundtracking an anti-piracy commercial. “You Wouldn’t Steal A Car”… and I definitely won’t be stealing this song. 1.75  

Sam: I’m the first one to rat on a Calvo song, but I’m in two minds over this one. I do hate it, but that’s more of a personal taste. I do applaud that he’s finally doing something different that’s not so explicitly made so that more dollar signs rain on him. But then again, I don’t praise every album for having a second track that sounds different to the first so I’m just gonna go right ahead and place this here: 2

Hannah: In terms of the typical Calvin sound, sure let’s call this track experimental and ok, we can even bandy around the phrase underground. In terms of the rest of the EDM catalogue or history of dark beat dance tracks, let’s just say YAWN! Calvin’s experimental track sounds remarkably like The Matrix soundtrack. 2

Marina and the Diamonds- Froot

Lizzie: Oh my word this is a long track. I am eerily attracted to Marina’s voice, but I thought I was listening to Eurovision for a second there! I do not really see the reason to push past the 5-minute mark. ‘Froot’ is a bit of a marathon if you ask me. 3.5

Bianca: Marina really makes us work for the chorus (which doesn’t come in until around the 1:20 mark) but the fructose-laden result is certainly worth it. Her gooey, honey-like voice drawls in the most positive of ways over the groovin’ bassline and jazzy melody. This one’s going straight to the fruit bowl. Bianca’s Pick 

Sam: If nothing else, I’ve always been a fan of Marina’s chorus’. She doesn’t go in all guns-blazing ever, rather subtly weaving in melodies with that drawling voice. On Froot, we really have to work to get the chorus. It feels like 17 verses before it finally arrives, but my goodness is it worth it. Those funky guitars roll-in and she just climbs up that vocal ladder, ever so slightly. Props for the title too. Too often is the power of ironic spelling ignored. 4.5 Sam’s Pick 

Hannah: Hey Chance, how do you feel about adding the line “I hate Marina and The Diamonds and ironic pronunciations of 5 letter words,” to your list of grievances? 1

Marian Hill- Got It

Lizzie: This performance offers up a little taster-plate of swagger, hip-hop sass, quirky production and raw vocal talent. I haven’t heard something like this smooth in a long time – oh and the sax is perfectly placed, that’s my favourite! 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: Samantha’s gossamer voice is the winner here, truly shining when paired with jangly cymbals and a pulsating backdrop. Once the trilling brass comes in, I’m immediately transported into a smokey club in the ’40s. Getting plenty of sultry Jessica Rabbit vibes from this. 3.5 

Sam: Love the almost-tinny, throbbing bass on this one. It would be nothing though if it wasn’t for the vocal personality of Samantha Gongol. The heights she reaches at some points is pretty breathtaking. That weird instrumental break helps it sound like a far more tasteful version of Jason Derulo’s Wiggle which is nice. I have been asking for that this year. 3.5

Hannah: This is as irresistible as a promising bowl of the richest chocolate cake mix and equally as seductive. Just try to say no. I love the bounce, the clap, the vocal acrobatics, the instrumental break and the bass. This ticks so many of the right boxes. 4 Hannah’s Pick 

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/marianhill/got-it[/soundcloud]

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