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Introducing… 仙 Senzu Collective

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Look, the new music and visual art collectives thang circulating at the moment are hard to get a hang of, we get it. As a general rule, they are groups born from the hazy, unchartered dreamland of the interwebs specifically devoted to communicating in, slash navigating, a terrain of foreign symbols sans hashtag and @ symbols. And really, what is the internet for if not to #hashtag? Although these web-based collectives only began as a popular way to share the creative love in the late noughties, they come laden with what appears to be a prehistoric history of internal dialogue and communication, and an inherent assumption that, late as you are to the party, you’re already well versed in most of the underground-as-fuck artists on their bill. Right? Beyond their use of keyboard mash symbols, a sign of their internet savviness if nothing else, accessibility to these clicks-of-soundcloud is further complicated as very little is actually externally written on them. Take solace in the fact that while you were late to this weird bubblegum flavoured soundscape, Wikipedia’s invite probably got lost in the mail.

With that said, this week the interns would like to continue our cheat sheet initiative and introduce you to the musical stylings of the originally LA based Senzu Collective/Netlabel/Community of Artists. Self professed as a DIY NEXT LEVEL INTERNATIONAL CANOPY// (a huh), Senzu Collective consists of a group of hip hop producers and MCs from around the globe, pushing the creeping boundaries of experimental hip hop ever onwards with welcomed infusions of UK bass and LA’s beat scene. Roughly translated as a sage or enlightened person, in addition to their musical and visual stylings, Senzu works in collaboration with international relief groups and other artist collectives to create compilations as fundraising tools for those in need.

With 24 producers including Scott Xylo, Elyphant, and LA based producer ☿bluecrew☿aligned under their NEXT LEVEL INTERNATIONAL CANOPY// alongside 5 visual artists, the ‘Zu is one collective growing at an unstoppable rate, helped along by their monthly compilation series featuring artists such as RL Grime, Giraffage and Knxwledge and a more recent dive, along with the rest of the world, in the direction of the Future R&B offerings of The Weeknd and Jamie Woon.

Below we have a look at 5 of the must-know songs from the collective’s infinite back catalogue.

☿bluecrew☿ Elyphant ° Fairy Drops {☿bluecrew☿ gloomy gulch rework}

https://soundcloud.com/bluecrew/elyphant-fairy-drops

This is a distant memory of hazy summer afternoons spent somewhere between white-light lens flares and barely there white sheets, as Facebook bounces promisingly in the sun-drenched background. All brown legs and skin, ☿bluecrew☿ takes the undeniably smooth feels inherent in future R&B production right back to basics, allowing your imagination to run wild alongside the scaling xylophone and suggestive vocal samples.

falls everything different. everything same.

https://soundcloud.com/falls-2/everything-different-everything-same

everything different, everything same is an atmospheric example of flawless production. Blending an extended intro seamlessly into a soft, percussive baseline and echoey vocals, falls immerses you in his soundscape without a hint of reprieve. 

Bubblegum Crisis Loud Moves

The influence of Miami Vice is undeniably present in the San Francisco native, Harrison Pollock, aka Bubblegum Crisis’s production. Loud Moves has struck a dark chord in a way only retro can. While slick and shiny on the exterior, the song deals in a currency of debauchery lingering in the backstreets of a 1983. Bubblegum Crisis offers a little something different to the ambient stylings of falls and ☿bluecrew☿.

Sun Glitters / サングリッターズ Too Much to Lose

Different again, while Sun Glitters’ / サングリッターズ Too Much to Lose remains ambient and echoey, the strumming base billows with surprising strength beneath the vocalists longing dialogue. Pulsating forward, Too Much to Lose is defiant in a way Fairy Drops could never be.

SageVideōs L E M O N A D E B A T H S

https://soundcloud.com/sagevideos/l-e-m-o-n-a-d-e-b-a-t-h-s

Joining Senzu Collective in June 2014, South African lo-fi dream wave producer SageVideōs is a new comer to the Zu’s mix. In the same vein as Cashmere Cat, L E M O N A D E B A T H S is a track offering expertly mashed together bedrooms samples and bouncy feels.

To dive even further down the Senzu Collective rabbit hole, click here.

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Jessie Ware shares demo track, ’12’

jessie ware 12Jessie Ware‘s forthcoming Tough Love album release date is nigh and in the lead-up to its launch this Friday, the English songstress has shared 12, a demo which didn’t make it onto the record.

Ware has said of the track:

“I made 12 with Robin Hannibal last year at Red Bull Studios London. Loved him since hearing Quadron’s Average Fruit and although this track never made it onto ‘Tough Love’, it was a joy to work with Robin finally. This is a song for my Sam and I hope you like it, play it late and go kiss someone x”

It’s free to download so head over to Soundcloud immediately and prepare to pucker up!

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10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week: Jessie Ware, Röyksopp, Nina Las Vegas + more

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It’s the 10th of the 10th and why don’t we just throw another 10 in the mix, in the form of the latest and greatest tracks from the week. Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, these are the 10 most important things you should be listening to this week.

Anywhere – Young Franco x UV Boi

When two of the hottest young Australian talents team up, you know you’re in for a treat. Very much like the duo themselves, Anywhere is a fresh, youthful track that bounces along with a playful charm and vigour. Referencing R&B, trap bass, tropical disco funk and modern day sound samplings, it’s a smorgasbord of genres and textures that the boys have successfully amalgamated into the next dancefloor ditty.

Yumi Zouma- Alema

When you’re touring with Lorde, you know you’re doing something right. Fellow Kiwis, Yumi Zouma, are a fairly new band but by no means any less accomplished. First making an impact with their debut track, The Brae, they’ve now released the first track since their EP, Alema. Summery, hazy and evoking feelings of holiday nostalgia, the feather-light vocals and lush synths are carried confidently along by carefully-restrained ‘90s dance-keys. Feel free to add this one to your road trip playlist.

Years & Years- Desire

Sometimes it’s just inevitable that a band is going to breakthrough. Years & Years give us that feeling of inevitability with their dance/indie-rock/RnB crossover sound. They’ve got a sound that pleases the bloggers as well as having the potential to crossover onto radio. Desire is a perfect example for the aforementioned. It’s an upbeat, delectably melodic track with a tropical dance-vibe to it taking us to a jungle we haven’t seen since Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda track. Terrible timing to release this for British winter. Perfect timing that we get it for our Summer.

Danny L Harle- In My Dreams

We’re still unable to put a face to a name for any of these PC Music releases but who cares when they keep churning out the most mind-bending, divisive songs since Aqua’s Dr. Jones. The latest is from Danny L Harle and it’s actually one of the more digestible tunes we’ve heard from the label. In saying that, it still sounds like Siri’s debut single built on manic strings and climaxing toy beats. This may sound like a bad thing but it’s not at all. Brilliant, again.

Jessie Ware- Pieces

Oh, Jessie, Jessie, Jessie; you can do no wrong! Pieces is another bold statement from the London songstress as she executes each and every note and its subtle nuances like a true goddess. Bordering on pop territory but restraining just enough, Ware has pulled off another stunning ballad to add to the Tough Love collection. Just try not to shout this one from the rooftops.

https://soundcloud.com/jessieware/jessie-ware-pieces

Jerome LOL- Burton Hall

Jeremo LOL and Samo Sound Boy’s DJ Dodger Stadium record is one of our favourites of this year so it’s with absolute delight that we accept a new Jerome LOL song into our hearts this week. Burton Hall sees LOL step away from the abrasive personality of the DJ Dodger Stadium tracks and embrace a gently undulating tune that’s far softer but no less effective. The man is a genius in choosing the most easily swallowed vocal samples. Every time that high-pitched vocal makes an appearance we melt.

Nina Las Vegas & Swick- Flash Auto

Nina Las Vegas has dipped her toe into the world of production and the result is most excellent. Teaming up with fellow beatmaker, Swick, Flash Auto is an instant club banger that delves into trance heavy electro and is just anxious to be tested out on a real-life dancefloor. Nina’s sure to get people’s blood pumping and heart racing when she (hopefully) tests this one out at her NLV Presents tour, kicking off in Perth tonight.

BADBADNOTGOOD – Velvet  

No, we haven’t picked up a CD from your parents’ dinner party music collection. Toronto trio, BADBADNOTGOOD, have taken the jazz from the smokey club and transformed it into a modern day melody. While jazz can be a tricky one to get a hold of, why not just let the smooth grooves of Velvet get a hold of you, and allow them to whisk you away to yesteryear. Crack open a cigar and ask for another scotch on the rocks; you’re in this one for the long haul. Good times and great classic hits, brought to you by BBNG.

Shan Vincent de Paul – Some Girls

You heard the euphoric, full-bodied melodies of La+ch’s, Nights, and now the Toronto producer has laid his midas touch on Shan Vincent de Paul’s, lush, anthemic, Some Girls. Donate all your clothes to this collection bin, ladies and gentlemen, cos’ this tune is hot, hot, hot. Summer is here and de Paul’s smooth melodies will get you grooving all night long.

Röyksopp – You Know I Have To Go (Feat. Jamie McDermott)  

In a somewhat pensive reflection of their dance-pop extravaganza that was their pairing with Swedish singer, Robyn, Röyksopp’s latest offering, You Know I Have To Go provides a different mood to what we’ve seen from the Tromsø synth duo lately. They’ve taken the mood down several notches, reducing the thermostat from red hot and plunging it right down to sub-zero temperatures. Slow-building with a sense of foreboding, the frosty synths combined with Jamie McDermott’s imploring vocals create a tension that teeters on the edge, right until the very end, so don’t expect any kind of relief from the finale. In a statement about the song, Röyksopp has said:

“The attraction and the doubt; the dilemma as whether to succumb to one’s feelings or not. The sheer length of the track is meant to illustrate the prolonging internal struggle between reason and lust.”

Catch the song and the accompanying, ellipses-abundant lyrics here.

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ARIA Awards nominations in a perfect world

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Every year when ARIAs time rolls around, we’re left with an awards show that is diminishing every year and an artist that will be nominated 27 times, only to be snubbed the succeeding year. Gabriella Cilmi, Empire of the Sun, Angus and Julia Stone, Sam Sparro – these are all names that were once ARIA gold and a now a mere blip on ARIA’s radar. In fact, this year Angus and Julia Stone only find themselves nominated in the Category for Best Rock Release, probably only because Rick Rubin produced it.

Yes, it’s an odd, kitsch award show that always pulls in the best International talent to celebrate Australian music, but it’s our award show and we love it. Afterall, all we have to look forward to is the Logies and The Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. For somebody who loves award shows, it’s pretty slim pickings.

As I eluded to before, the 2014 ARIA Award Nominations are out and they tip their hat to our best homegrown talent like the realest Aussie out there, I-G-G-Y. The list, which unbelievably includes 5 Seconds Of Summer in a category with Violent Soho, almost makes it feel like Australia has had a pretty miserable year. But, it’s quite the contrary actually.

So, our dear, underfunded piss-up, the ARIAs – what do we do with you? Below are how we would’ve set out the nominations, if that counts for anything.

Album of the Year

Aria

The Album of the Year category has been a kiss of death for most that have won it. Angus and Julia Stone, Boy & Bear and Empire of the Sun have all suffered downturns on their follow-ups, so we were tempted to fill this category with artists we hate. We didn’t though. How could you hate Sia’s mega-album 1000 Forms of Fear that came after writing for nearly every superstar on the planet. It’s a pop album in every sense- there’s huge melodies, an even bigger voice and fire metaphors aplenty. Kimbra’s, The Golden Echo has been criminally underappreciated since its release but it’s one of the years most wildly adventurous records. It’s a complete curveball from the Kiwi singer that combines soulful melodies with instrumental detours at every turn.

It’s ridiculous to even imagine two hip-hop artists up for Album of the Year but this is a perfect world and Allday and Remi’s albums were pretty perfect. Both the records were slick and world class. They were personal, yet also upbeat and dance-worthy, showing that Australian hip-hop has plenty more to offer. Finally, DZ Deathrays addition is the punch in the guts this category needs. They’re one of those bands that have quietly become one of Australia’s most successful exports, particularly in the UK. Black Rat saw them carve out the melody amongst grinding, raucous instrumentals revealing a band that is more than just a garage-rock outfit.

Female

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This is a pretty prestigious category. It’s been won by the Queen of the ARIAs in 2008, Gabriella Cilmi and was last year won by Jessica Mauboy. Kimbra has already won this category twice but her second album The Golden Echo is far superior to the first. It’s an opus of sprawling melodies and daring instrumentals that should’ve seen her win for a third time. Courtney Barnett is the most obvious snub of the ARIAs. She’s been killing it overseas with performances at both Glastonbury and Coachella but unfortunately she ain’t good enough to share the stage with Iggy Azalea in Aus. Elizabeth Rose and Tkay Maidza would be great additions to help along young Australian talent instead of pushing the oldies up an inevitably ending hill. And Sia is there still on our list because she just writes dem melodies that make us kill. It’s been a phenomenal year for her and her win will make people forget about her fellow nominees.

Male

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Australian hip-hop is reaching its peak right now. A peak which could see it embraced by the rest of the world rather than leaving a bad taste in the mouth like truffle oil eaten by a despiser. Remi and Allday are the golden boys of hip-hop this year. They’ve both released great albums that effortlessly embraced overseas influences and still made it sound like it could’ve only been made here. On the other end of the spectrum, Tom Iansek of Big Scary released a delicate, nurtured record as #1 Dads and further proved himself as one of the best voices in the country. While that record was criminally underappreciated, Mr. Chet Faker’s hasn’t. Built On Glass has helped him become the Flume of 2014 and while you could argue the album was a little over-indulgent, it’s done good things for Aussie music. Andy Bull took five years to release his second album but it was well worth the wait. A Sea of Approval is an anxious, cohesive-set.

Group

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Yes, these groups were denied of an official nomination because of 5 Seconds of Summer. Lets take a moment for that to sink in. The Preatures will most likely have their moment next year when the album is eligible for nomination but they had some cracker singles in 2014- like the gritty anthem, Better Than It Ever Could Be. Talking of groups with a killer frontwoman, The Jezabels continued to show themselves as the country’s best moody songwriters with an album that saw the band embrace pop and Hayley-Mary’s voice sore once more. Ball Park Music started off in the eyes of the public as a bit of fun but with three album to their name now, they’ve etched themselves a place in Australian music history. Puddinghead is their best release – humorous, upsetting and melodic.

Breakthrough

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We don’t want to take away from Andy Bull but a breakthrough nomination five years after a debut album feels a little like the Grammys awarding Bon Iver on his second album. This category’s an absolute corker this year, managing to find room for Iggy Azalea and 5SOS in the SAME category. We’ve talked about Allday a bit already but will just finish on saying if he started a cult, we would join it. A cult we would also join is one started by Adelaide rapper Tkay Maidza. Her single U-Huh is the best number one hit that was never number one. Surely, she’ll get a nod next year. Oscar Key Sung has been kicking around the Melbourne scene for a while but his Holograms EP truly felt like his breakthrough. Combining electronica and RnB, it spawned one of the best singles of the year All I Could Do. That track is almost as good as Future Classic signee, George Maple’s Talk Talk. It’s a seductive stunner with warm undertones that’s begging to be snapped up overseas. D.D. Dumbo has already been snapped up overseas becoming somewhat of a poster boy for NME in the UK because Tropical Oceans has one of the best vocal riffs of the year.

 

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DMA’s on Oasis comparisons, Danny DeVito & other Little Bastards

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DMA’s were hyped even before their debut EP was released. With a look that drew comparisons to English bands from Oasis to the Stone Roses, NME took no time in hailing the band as the next big thing and Aussie media has swiftly followed. Their self-titled EP ranges from firing bursts of angst to tender ballads that juxtapose their harsh image. Delete has become somewhat of an anthem in a very short time, with the Splendour in the Grass audience lapping up a chance to sing-along to one of the year’s most poignant melodies.

We sat down with DMA’s bass player, Johnny Took at BIGSOUND in Brisbane to chat about the copious comparisons, what’s next to come from the band’s tune-cannon and what DMA’s stands for.

How’s it all going? Are you stoked about the tour selling out?

Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. I‘m looking forward to going to Adelaide in particular. Adelaide will be cool.

Have you been before?

I have, I’ve got some family that live down there. But I’ve only played a couple of random shows so I’m looking forward to really understanding the music scene down there a little bit.

Does it feel like it’s all happened quite quickly? I guess, to us, it looks like it did but was there a bit more going on behind the scenes before you got signed by I OH YOU and it all took off?

Yeah, a lot more, man. We were writing for a good couple of years. Between the three of us, we could record everything because Tommy’s a drummer, and most of the songs are just done with drum loops when they’re demoed. It kind of has happened quickly but we were writing and recording for quite a while before that, which is good because now that things have happened quickly, we’re kind of prepared for it and not completely freaking out.

Did you have a plan going into it? Was it like, “we want to release this music?” or was it just for fun?

We planned it about 3 years ago. So I wanted to hide away, record and then drop some tunes. We had about 50 or 60 songs.

Are there songs in the EP that were written really early on in the piece?

Yeah, like Delete was written six or seven years ago. Some of the next tunes that we’ll be bringing out I wrote when I was like 19, 20. So they’re all kind of picked from a six or seven year period.

Do you think they developed in those years?

Some of them have, if you ever heard the originals. Like, Delete is completely different with electric guitars and shit at the start and also an extra part added. When I think about it, Your Low, which is on the EP, has as well. Some of them have grown and some of them haven’t needed to. You know, a song is a song. In hindsight, growing up in the time I was in when I wrote it, it doesn’t need to change. It represents that part of my life and vice versa.

Did it feel like, coming from different musical ventures like Little Bastards, that you wanted to separate, in your mind, DMA’s and have a different sound? Were you trying to channel something different?

Yeah, Little Bastard is more a live band. Like people, wasted and shit, big hoedowns and whatnot. DMA’s was always meant to be more of a studio thing. Eventually we had to cater for that for a live audience.

The songs are kind of melodically strong and sound like, as you said, they’re meant to be played out loud. Was melody a massive thing going into it? Particularly, vocal melody?

Yeah, when I was younger and writing songs, I used to just do verse/chorus things and they quickly got boring so now, when we write, I always like to have a verse, a pre chorus, a chorus and then a riff. So as long as there’s five strong melodies in a song, I feel like that should hold it together. Tommy and Mason are both really strong melody writers and if Mason brings in the tune, a melody he’s been working on, that stimulates you to have an idea you never had and vice versa.We find that we bounce off each other really well in that aspect.

How did the three of you come together?

I met Mason when I was doing solo stuff, like folk music. I met him at a folk festival when we were about 21. And then I met Tommy when I was 19 and in a psych band. He was the drummer and I was playing bass. And then the other two guys were songwriters in their own right and there wasn’t really enough for space for us to write, so that’s when Tommy and I first started writing together.

So you’ve obviously been through quite a few genres. Was there an influence or certain music that you were listening to at the time that kicked off DMA’s?

Nothing in particular but between me and my mates, and I’m sure it’s with everyone with the internet, you listen to so much music. Like, one day I’ll be listening to Doc Watson and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and then Neil Young and all of a sudden you start crossing into heaps of stuff like Primal Scream, Stone Roses (Tommy’s a big fan), Dinosaur Jr, The Jesus Mary Chain…all those noisy guitar bands but, like I said, the way I think of it, Little Bastards is classified as a country band and the only thing that makes it country is the arrangement.

The lines are a bit blurred.

Yeah, you can play any song. You can play Made of Stone by The Stone Roses and put a banjo over it and all of a sudden it’s a country song. A good song’s a good song, that’s what I’ve always believed. How you want to arrange it, that’s your prerogative.

Do you guys like reading on the internet “they sound like this”, do you find the comparisons interesting to have a look at?

I think it’s pretty funny when people say stuff like that. We get the Oasis thing a lot. I like Oasis but they wouldn’t be in my top 10, you know what I mean? It doesn’t really bother me too much.

I guess you get those comparisons because you’ve got a ‘90s aesthetic about yourselves. Do you think that’s because you’re drawing reference on growing up?

Yeah, I guess there’s a bit of nostalgia, like early ‘90s. I was in kindergarden in ‘94 and it’s just like all those tunes that were being played at the house while growing up.

Have you been surprised by the attention you’ve received overseas?

Yeah, it’s been surprising but at the same time, a few years ago when we started writing, we felt the songs were strong and we were attached to them. But like I was saying before, we never really thought or cared too much about what other people think. The beautiful thing about the internet is that anyone can have their opinion. It’s an amazing thing and also the beautiful thing about this world is that it doesn’t take a lot for it to go around. I’ve never really listened to other people’s opinions and I’m not going to start now.

So you’re headed off to CMJ this year?

Yeah, man!

Will this be your first overseas tour?

Well, I went to New Caledonia with Little Bastard one time, which was pretty cool. We’re apparently huge in New Caledonia? That’s the only time I’ve done it. I went to Europe when I was 19 and I came back and told myself I wasn’t going to go back until I was doing music. Because I felt like I was pissing my money against the wall, not playing gigs there and whatnot. That was about 6 years ago.

So I suppose in that way it feels like a massive achievement to be going back there and playing?

Yeah man, it’s exciting and the live set’s come together. So I’m just looking forward to going there and having a laugh really.

What’s the timeline then? The Aussie tour and then pretty much straight overseas?

Yeah.

Are you recording at the moment?

I’m always recording!

Do you have a next release in mind?

I think we’ve got a couple of things in the bag, but…we’re…actually, I don’t think i’m allowed to say too much about it.

We don’t want to get you in trouble.

*laughs* Yeah, I tend to do that a lot.

Is it sounding good, though? Can we ask you that?

I’m happy with it. It’s been a bit of a process. I love recording at home because you can take  your time. But I’m pretty happy with how they’re sounding. I feel like I’ve been in bands before where people can get really precious about that stuff, I think you can get too precious sometimes. I’ve seen so many amazing, beautiful songs by friends that never get released because they think about it too much or they’re scared of what people think.

5 Wacky Questions

Your band’s name is an acronym. What’s your favourite acronym?

Oh, DMA’s isn’t an acronym! It doesn’t stand for anything. It’s basically a bunch of letters we decided on with an apostrophe.

Favourite Danny DeVito movie?

Oh, woah…Matilda!

Will you be purchasing the newly unveiled Apple Watch?

Nah, I think it’s a bit lame, huh?

If you had to merge into another band to create a super group, who would it be?

There’s too many. Maybe War On Drugs would be pretty cool. Big fan of Kurt Vile.

Favourite board game?

*pause* I used to play a little Risk when I was younger…that was pretty cool. Twister can get pretty whack as well. I’m gonna go with Twister.

DMA’s have completely sold out their Australian tour. 

Yeo (Promo 2)

Melbourne producer, Yeo releases his EP, ‘Come Find Me’

Yeo (Promo 2)

Melbourne producer, Yeo has just released his brand new EP, Come Find Me. Featuring two unreleased tracks, Always Open and Move It Or Lose It, as well as the popular hits, Girl and Kobe, this release is a testament to his vibrant and diverse style as he oscillates seamlessly between pop, electronica and R&B. Amassing over 80,000 on his hit single, Girl, and dazzling audiences (namely, us) with his energetic set at this year’s BIGSOUND, Yeo has evolved into a confident keyboardist, bass player, vocalist, drum programmer and producer. And you don’t see many of those too often.

Catch Yeo at his upcoming Melbourne and Sydney shows:

Melbourne Headline Show 

Saturday November 8 | Shebeen, Melbourne

Sydney Headline Show 

Thursday December 11 | Brighton Up Bar, Sydney

young franco uv boi

Hear what happens when Young Franco and UV Boi team up for ‘Anywhere’

young franco uv boi

Brisbane whizz-kids Young Franco and UV Boi have been busy as of late. While Franco has been making appearances at Laneway Festival and Splendour in the Grass, as well as playing alongside fellow Aussies, Alison Wonderland, Wave Raver and Flight Facilities, UV has been making some serious waves on the internet with his glitchy mixups, while also recently teaming up with Ryan Hemsworth and announcing a national tour in October. Now the duo have paired up for the vibrant, R&B-infused, Anywhere. Have a listen to the energetic track below and also don’t be tricked into thinking you’ve received about seven messages, as the iPhone notification noise makes several appearances.

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The American Electronic Music Scene & Australia’s Growing Influence

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America’s music scene is in a constant and blissful state of evolution. One of the fastest growing trends across the country is electronic music, and with hundreds of big-name and underground artists producing every style and subgenre you can name, its growth doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. In recent years, the skyrocketing popularity of large-scale music festivals has noticeably changed electronic producers’ experience in the creation and performance of their sound. Not only do the crowds expect to see acts they already know, the gigantic line-ups have also allowed artists from around the world to showcase themselves in an entirely new setting, leaving behind a growing influence on American artists and the scene itself. Acts like Flume, Emoh Instead (and their collaborative outfit, What So Not), Ta-ku, Chet Faker, and Wave Racer are only a few examples of Australians who are beginning to make huge waves over in the States, and it’s about time.

Flume_USA

My own introduction to Australia’s electronic scene came a couple years ago, on a lazy day while scrolling through Spotify. After an endless train of searches, I ended up on Flume’s page and listened to his most popular hits, Holdin’ On and Insane (feat. Moon Holiday). This quickly led me to check out the rest of his album and then go back to the top and start again three more times. I had no idea that years later, I would still be bothering my friends and family by insisting on hearing the album again and again, trying to breakdown each song and instrument for them, hoping to convert them to the Australian sound. I had never heard anything like it, nor been so affected by a series of strange, broken sounds and haunting, tribal melodies, and I wasn’t the only one.

While at a small show in northern California about a year ago, one of the openers played Flume’s remix of Disclosure’s You and Me. It was the first time I’d heard one of his songs played live, and naturally I made a commotion. After it ended and the crowd was able to take a breath, all I was able to hear were the people around me asking each other what song they had just heard, and who the artist was. It was a clear standout in the rest of the set. You would’ve thought I was working for Future Classic by the way I was shelling Flume’s name out to everyone. Getting to witness an entire venue’s first introduction to a piece of Australia’s sound was magical, and our immediate, frantic embrace only grew as the months went on.

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The mainstream electronic music scene in America nowadays, specifically trap music, follows several trends that are worth noting when comparing it to the stuff migrating from Australia. Hear me out. First, you won’t find much trap in the States without a snare on the 2’s and 4’s and a rolling hi hat coming in after the first half of the “drop”. These are givens. To go a little broader though, the underlying vibe of the songs often seems to be the same as well. The rhythms hit the off beats hard, inspiring you to throw your body around and pump your fists in the air. The vocal samples used are very provocative, usually short phrases or words meant to stimulate the crowd, make them feel in control of the song, and offend the older generations. Basically, America likes grime. We judge the success of our raves by the number of frowning ‘stank’ faces and the music’s level of aggression or badassery. This is where Australia’s recent assimilation has really opened our eyes.

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An example of a ‘stank face’

[soundcloud width=”750″ heigh=”200]https://soundcloud.com/wave-racer/wave-racer-streamers[/soundcloud]

The musical formulas I described still hold true with many artists such as Yahtzel, L D R U, Sable, Basenji, and even Flume, but the big difference lies in their creation of melodies and overall intentions for their songs. They are able to match the high level of energy without a sense of anger or inflated ego found in so much of America’s electronic sound, but instead replace it with an uplifting feeling of celebration and joy. For lack of better words, Australia’s music is optimistic. Just listen to any one of Wave Racer’s tracks and you’ll know what I mean. The melodies within the songs are complex and beautiful. It feels like listening to actual music, rather than just a cool beat. Even though the colossal scale of some popular American music may shadow it at times, it fully compensates with its vast, musical detail and melodic styling.

[soundcloud width=”750″ heigh=”200]https://soundcloud.com/whatsonot/sets/tell-me-rl-grime-x-what-so-not[/soundcloud]

A perfect comparison of the two styles comes in the form of an actual collaboration between our countries: RL Grime and What So Not’s Tell Me. The build up, created by What So Not, features warped vocal samples and tribal instruments layered over each other. It creates an ominous and yet elevating vibe, which sharply contrasts with RL’s drop. Only using one leading synth and three notes, he completely changes the vibe to be very minimal and hard-hitting. This collaboration shows the difference in technique and musical atmosphere of our countries’ sounds, and as you can tell from listening to Tell Me, they go quite well together.

What So Not’s ever-growing number of collaborations with American artists such as Dillon Francis and Skrillex, Flume’s wildly successful North American tour, and Ta-ku’s heavy involvement with LA-based label HW&W are only a few examples of the major moves Australians are making in the States. With their unique and refreshing approach to electronic music, they’re blowing the dust off America’s EDM book.

 American music often feels like a one night stand.

Australian music feels like your soul mate.

MissingPeace_DreamBeach

Download Ryan Hemsworth’s latest Secret Song: Missing Peace

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Ryan Hemsworth introduced us to his first compilation of Secret Songs, a spotlight of his ten favourite songs at the time, last month and now the Canadian producer has released another secret song, Missing Peace, by Dream Beach. 

Dream Beach has noted the song was, “originally composed as a gift for someone special to me. It’s supposed to emulate the feeling I get when she calls me in the morning.” Set your alarm clocks as this shimmering track transports you from the land of Nod, to the bed, to the beach, and everywhere in between.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/shhsecretsongs/shh011-dream-beach-missing-peace[/soundcloud]

Amateur Dance

Stream ‘Talking About Yourself – a Drake-sampling EP by Melbourne producer, Amateur Dance

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Incase you haven’t heard Australian music is kind of something to write home about at the moment. And keep that pen scrawling because Talking About Yourself by Melbourne producer Amateur Dance is a slice of house perfection. Released by Australian label October Records (who also released the Elizabeth Rose/Frames collaboration), Talking About Yourself is full of deep, rumbling bass and sprawling synths. One of the biggest triumphs of the EP is his use of vocal samples. On the title track he samples an interview Drake gave with a Canadian radio station. Rather than sounding blindingly vain, Drake’s statements sound resounding, almost like Gil Scott-Heron. This is music for the 5am, club-floor dwellers. It’s the type of music that demands you re-enter the world to sunrise and street-cleaners.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/octoberrecords/sets/ad_tay_ep[/soundcloud]

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First Impressions: AlunaGeorge, Avicii, Röyksopp + 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 AlunaGeorge, Les Sins, Maluca, Avicii, Röyksopp + Tinashe. 

AlunaGeorge- Supernatural

Bianca: The vocoder sampling and club-driven beat make this latest track a bit more mysterious than what I’m used to hearing from the duo. The subtle Summery, tropical-inspired percussion gives it a dancey feel with Aluna’s vocals floating effortlessly over the synths. 4 

Sam: AlunaGeorge are becoming a very reliable group. George’s instrumentals are delectably minimal and Aluna’s vocals are sweeping and melodic. Supernatural sees the duo embrace more of a dance-beat than we’ve heard previously and it’s a perfect fit for them. Let’s hope album no.2 comes very soon. 3.5

Lizzie: I’ve fallen hard for AlunaGeorge, really hard. This duo has gone from strength to strength with their effortlessly cool pop beats, and Aluna’s voice taking a commanding lead. Supernatural is not overwhelming like other tracks I’ve heard, but still holds it own as a gorgeous tropical dance-floor treat, just in time for the Summery months. 3.5

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/alunageorge/supernatural[/soundcloud]

Les Sins- Why

Bianca: This is funky in every kind of way. Really enjoy the shimmying vocals which make for the perfect accompaniment to the disco-inspired guitar licks and shoulder-swaying bass. Would have liked to hear it reach a bit more of a climax but other than that it’s a great addition to my ever-growing Summer playlist. 4  Bianca’s Pick 

Sam: I’m loving everything coming from Les Sins at the moment. Why takes on that disco-funk style that is very much in vogue at the moment and does so brilliantly as if Nile Rodgers fingerprints are on the track. It’s actually reminding me of Deadmau5′ Seeya with a whole lot more soul and human touch. A little genuine love in a song goes a long way. 4

Lizzie: If you are not really a fan of the disco-jam, I have a gut feeling you will find a soft spot for Les Sin’s newest track Why. The strong back beat grabs you and doesn’t let go for the entire duration of the song, and the synths and vocals offer an inviting soft dancefloor vibe, not too different to Daft Punk’s releases in 2013. 4

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/company-record-label/les-sins-why-ft-nate-salman-1[/soundcloud]

Maluca- Trigger

Bianca: This is some serious ghetto booty-shakin’ stuff. Maluca’s Dominican background and American/New York upbringing have collided brilliantly to create a unique sound of Latin-esque, tribal hip-hop. Her voice shines in the chorus in particular, as she really lets loose on top of a thumping bass. 3.5

Sam: Ooh, there’s nothing I love more than a muffled synth that exposes itself in the chorus as it does here. There’s EDM, dancehall and RnB undertones in this song, all colliding to form a rhythmic, vibrant track. Why doesn’t radio latch onto this kind of stuff. It’s so goddamn catchy that it’d be a crying shame to file it next to Robyn as songs that should’ve been number one but never made the top 100. 4 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: This oozes a very Major Lazer party vibe, with the layered build to the chorus, then a nice bouncy drop to get you up dancing on the table. Around the 2 min the song climaxes beautifully, only to be finished with these off-putting police siren cuts – they could have gone without them! 3.5

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/maluca-mala/trigger_single[/soundcloud]

Avicii- The Days (Feat. Robbie Williams)

Bianca: The pensive guitar, uninspired melody and the try-hard anthemic lyrics, all topped off with a screeching finale, make for one of the worst collaborations I’ve heard since Bang Bang. Between this and his God-awful alliance with Coldplay earlier in the year, why does Avicii continue to choose artists who aren’t doing anything revolutionary anymore and are just past their use-by date? 1

Sam: The concept of this is just so bizarre. It’s got these youthful, “we’re in our prime” lyrics sung by Robbie Williams, who is, no offence, far past his prime. Surely Avicii has a huge array of artists he can pick from? Not that it would’ve saved the song. I feel like it’s been made for a water-park commercial. Lame even by Avicii’s standards. 2

Lizzie: Huh? I’m confused. I thought a) Robbie Williams had retired & b) Avicii was in hospital, not touring and sick as sick could be??? If only this was true, but alas this song exists. Avicii continues to stamp his signature hillbilly style on every track without fail, and Robbie seems to think that this track will completely revive his career. Despite the chorus being somewhat catching, this still remains an incredibly odd mix. 2

Röyksopp- Skulls

Bianca: This is honestly a bit of an uneventful one from Royksopp. I love the brooding synths and overall tension of the track but the robot voice seems a bit tired and I can’t help but feel that they could have pushed this one a bit further. Perhaps an addition of a certain someone beginning with ‘R’? 

Sam: The songs on the EP with Robyn had such a strong, unforgettable presence that it’s quite hard to really get into this one. It’s certainly more demure and much more intricate which gives off a totally different vibe. In saying that it does grow expertly into a climatic, robot-built track. Definitely one that will talk a few listens unlike Do It Again which smacked you in the face from the get-go. 3

Lizzie: Well this is an almighty head-bopper. The levels of bass and sound are little all over the place, but that’s not what sits weirdly with me. I am not a fan of the warped voice at all, I didn’t sign up for the next installment of the Tron legacy! 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW1_IIn3W6s

Tinashe- Bet (Feat. Dev Hynes)

Bianca: This has great R&B undertones and Tinashe’s voice is smooth as per usual but I’ve unfortunately never been able to get into her style for some reason. Beautiful production at the hands of Hynes with the guitar ending providing a peculiar surprise but I’m afraid I’m just going to appreciate this one from afar. 2.5 

Sam: Not what I was expecting from a Dev Hynes-produced song but I’m loving it nonetheless. It’s the most contemporary sounding track that we’ve heard from him, sounding right in Tinashe’s lane. I love that all Tinashe’s tracks so far haven’t been immediately loveable. They just subtly grow on you, giving long-lasting value rather than a short-lived shot of ecstasy. That guitar solo at the end is brilliantly unexpected and would have to be a Hynes edition. 4

Lizzie: This could easily fit perfectly into the slow dance moment which always happens in every Step Up movie. HOWEVER, the production behind Tinashe’s beautifully moving voice plucks her right out of any chick flick and right into my radar as one of my favourite artist of the year. The guitar at the end is completely surprising, but heck, why not! I am instantly more relaxed and carefree when I listen to her voice and I love this! 4.5 Lizzie’s Pick

The 2 Bears

Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard & Raf Rundell stream ‘The Night Is Young’ under moniker, The 2 Bears

The 2 Bears

The Two Bears, a collaboration of Hot Chip‘s Joe Goddard and London producer Raphael Rundell, announced the release of their sophomore album, The Night Is Young, back in April and they’re now streaming it exclusively through Pitchfork. Encompassing a strong house influence with a heavy emphasis on brash ’90s keys and funky bass, the album is an animated offering from the duo, with Goddard’s vocals making the record feel instantly familiar. Stream The Night Is Young, along with captivating visuals, here.

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