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The 10 Commandments of Kanye West: Concert Review

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When Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and North West touch down in a country, there’s always going to be some fanfare. While Kim has been visiting the the country’s hotspots like Paramatta Westfield, Kanye has been making headlines with his powerful Yeezus tour. Despite the rants and reportedly telling disabled people to stand up, Kanye’s tour has been met with adoration. With Kanye in mind as the modern messiah, we analysed his 10 commandments while devouring his Sydney show.

I

The audience was incredibly responsive on Saturday night, whether it be from a single note in Runaway or the slight mention of Kim & North . The night before, he ranted about people not standing up, but on Saturday the crowd both started and ended the evening standing up, of their own accord, albeit a little more sweaty. Energy permeated the whole room with punters yelling to the hook in Gold Digger or calling back, “can’t a young nigger get money any more?” on Cold. It felt like a room of his biggest fans and of course, when he replaced a lyric in Good Life to say “It feel like Sydney”, everyone went batshit cray.

II

Kanye is an exhibitionist – an artist who’s made a career on being larger than life. His last album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, brought with it a live show with dancers, cranes and pyrotechnics, however, with Yeezus there has been a remarkable shift in attitude. The Yeezus tour was formed on the pretense that less is more. All he was accompanied by were two large screens and a few smoke machines; it was up to him to create the energy by aggressively rapping and stirring the crowd. Visually, it looked stunning, placing real Kanye as a mere ant against the god-like projections.

III

Kanye’s rants and general big headedness would have people believe that he’s self-centred but his setlist says a very different thing. He showed appreciation for his entire catalogue and formed a setlist that pleased the crowd and also pleased him. He only chose four cuts from Yeezus, spending much of the time churning out hits like Good Life, Jesus Walks and All Of The Lights. Much of his onstage energy seemed to be induced by the crowd’s energy and a greatest hits set that recognised what the crowd wanted was his greatest strength. And by the way, they all sounded incredible, from the hearty Rihanna hook of All of the Lights to that stomping brass sample of Touch The Sky.

IV

Throughout the night, Kanye paid homage  to his past inspirations, The Rolling Stones, U2 and his favourite artist of all time, James Brown. “I had the opportunity to open up for U2 on my second album”, he said, bringing up a particularly topical point, given the release of U2’s iTunes-infiltrating album. Despite having an ego larger than Darling Harbour, West has always been able to admit the brilliance of others, offering praise to rappers like Jay Z and Lil Wayne. Even when Pusha T came out in Runaway, he gracefully shared both the stage and the spotlight.

V

When Kanye released his difficult fourth album, 808s and Heartbreak, everyone scoffed at his use of auto-tune, yet on Yeezus, he used auto-tune from Hold My Liquor to Blood on the Leaves and no one flinched. His commitment to auto-tune seems to have paid off and in concert it’s actually quite emotionally affecting. He extended Runaway into a 10 minute-plus epic, ad-linking with auto-tuned vocals that sounded more Maxwell than T-Pain. Auto-tune seems to be one of the few ways that Kanye shows fragility. When he sang ,”all things are possible”, it created one of the more delicate moments of the night.

viKanye has always held his mother, Donda West, who tragically passed away in 2007, in high regard. On his last tour for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, he finished every set on his knees to Hey Mama, in one of the hugest, most humble moments of his career. On the Yeezus tour, he’s dropped Hey Mama from the set but her presence is no less felt. He called her his greatest influence alongside U2 and the Rolling Stones, to which everyone in the crowd cheered.

VII

Kanye’s rants weren’t extremely aggressive in Sydney but he said a few poignant things. “I take my responsibility very seriously”, he remarked at one point, referring to the way people are influenced by him. With it, he thanked those who stood by him through his artistic detours (808s and Heartbreak) and noted that he takes his audience’s opinion on board, whilst at times it may not seem like it. Although Yeezus was not the most radio-friendly album, the tour was crafted by a Kanye that was there to stir the audience into complete anarchy.

VIII

One of the highlights of the night came with Yeezus standout, Blood On The Leaves. Returning for an encore, the Nina Simone sample bellowed through the arena before Kanye emerged with auto-tune fragility. For those who didn’t know the song, it would’ve lulled them into a false sense of security. When the TNGHT sample dropped, the entire arena shook. Kanye threw himself around within an inch of his life, the lights strobed in anarchy and the bass absolutely tore a hole in the roof. It was a valiant, triumphant moment that even beat set-closer, Niggas In Paris. 

IX

It may seem hard to believe, but arena-tours can often swallow performers. If you don’t have the stage presence or the audience on your side, it doesn’t matter how many dancers you throw on, you’ve already lost. Standing against two large screens, Kanye looked like a mere man against a huge projection of himself, but he was by far the biggest person there. The reason? He was committed from the beginning to the end. If it didn’t feel right he’d start the song again, as he did on Runaway and Blood On The Leaves, and if the huge crowd was dipping, he’d let out a primal scream. From the minute he entered the stage to the thundering finale Black Skinhead, he was like a boxer attempting to knock-out the air around him. The music was loud, real loud. Songs like New Slaves and Power threatened to belittle him but his menacing confidence meant he always won, stealing the limelight by just having himself- one body- on the stage.

XKanye did a talk at SXSW where he said that if he’s going to work with something, he wants it to be the best. That’s why he waxes lyrical about Apple, works with Jay Z and married Kim K- he believes they’re the best. Incidentally, he also believe he’s the best and while it’s easy to take it as reckless arrogance, none of Kanye’s music would work if he didn’t believe he was the best. At the height of his popularity, he released an album like Yeezus, which is an industrial and, at times, difficult record, yet live, he has an audience of 15,000+ rapping along with him to New Slaves. “Don’t get too caught up in the hate,” he says at one point in the show and while at many times in his career he has, tonight he seems at peace. His last Australian tour was perfect, glued together by a pristine white set and flawless dancers. Yeezus is nothing like that. At times it’s gritty, raw and imperfect, yet Kanye wholeheartedly believes in it and as such, so does the crowd.

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First Impressions: SBTRKT, Kiesza, Flight Facilities + 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 week passed, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week.

SBTRKT- Voices In My Head (Feat. A$AP Ferg and Warpaint)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sbtrkt/sbtrkt-voices-in-my-head-ft-asap-ferg[/soundcloud]

Sam: I was really worried when I heard Temporary View that SBTRKT was going to be offering up the same ol’ thing but how wrong I was. Everything since that track has been out-of-the-box, bordering on bizarre. A$AP’s rap over SBTRKT’s jazz-infused beat sits somewhere between Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar. It shouldn’t work, but my goodness, does it. 4

Lizzie: This track is very muddled and maddening – a real departure from what I am used to hearing from my beloved SBTRKT. Yes, it does emulate the “voices in my head” weirdly well, but it just doesn’t gel together well for me. A$AP is the only thing that cures my insanity when listening to this. 2

Bianca: Everything that SBTRKT has offered us from his new album has been so diverse and challenging to the norm. Once again, he has enlisted more talented counterparts to create something multi-faceted and weirdly wonderful. Elements of jazzy brass, combined with A$AP’s infectious spit of words and the piano solo finale create a jilted atmosphere, oscillating between confusion and calm. In essence, the environment of someone who actually is suffering from voices in their head. So so excited for Wonder Where We Land to land. 3.75 

Kiesza- No Enemies

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kiesza/kiesza-no-enemiesz[/soundcloud]

Sam: Lay on the bass, reference ‘90s rave and throw down a killer melody and you’ve got me hook, line and sinker. This track is all about the powerhouse verses with Kiesza shredding with the vocals. It’s all very of the moment and throwback at the same time isn’t it? 3

Lizzie: I could definitely see myself dragging my friends onto the dancefloor with No Enemies. The ’90s beats and killer vocals are a fresh sound, and the breakdown at the end provide an easy and effective recipe for you to let your hair down and party on into the night. 3.5

Bianca: Every now and then, I question whether certain songs from the past would be successful if they were released in this day and age. No Enemies, with its thumping bass, power keys and Kiesza belting it out on the vocals, is the perfect case of a ’90s track subbing quite nicely into modernity. The ’90s is currently the new ’80s and this gal is so on-trend right about now. 

Arca- Thievery

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/arca1000000/arca-thievery/[/soundcloud]

Sam: This guy’s already produced for Kanye West and FKA Twigs so he’s got some serious cred and you can tell why on this first offering from his debut, Xen. The dense tones of this one really anchor in your brain, with the only relief being those flighty synths that permeate the track. The ebbs and flows, where he layers on the intensity and then pairs it back is what makes Thievery as captivating as it is. 4

Lizzie: Thievery has a soul, not quite sure why or how but it exudes an electricity which gets right to the core. I am still undecided whether I actually like the song, but it had definitely caught my attention, and opened my eyes to a new artist, which is not usually my style or taste. 3.5

Bianca: While some parts of the track bring back memories of my initial, screechy violin lessons back in primary school, there are some really nice sonic elements to this. Mind-bending and totally manic, Thievery ignites a kind of angsty emotion but I’m not sure I’m ready for just yet. 2.5 

Flight Facilities- Two Bodies

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/flightfacilities/two-bodies-feat-emma-louise-extended-version[/soundcloud]

Sam: Flight Facilities have made a name for themselves making music that’s suited to a boutique hotel lobby, but a little more melodic and interesting. Two Bodies has that same low-key vibe to it but Emma Louise hops on to give this sensual, personal vocal that saves the track from mediocrity. 3

Lizzie: Claire de Lune proved to the world that Flight Facilities are the great at creating ethereal, floaty, ‘Chill Out Album’ tracks with a killer female vocalist. Two Bodies is yet another example of this trend that the Sydney duo seem to be keeping. Sadly, this just misses the mark a bit for me – pushing the ‘minimal’ envelope too far, creating a boring vibe more than anything else. 3

Bianca: Flight Facilities are electronic masters and always seem to create the perfect vibe for drinks on a balmy Summer’s afternoon. Two Bodies paints the same kind of picture for me although it feels as if I’ve had a few too many beers in this situation. Love the steady synth and Emma Louise’s saccharine vocals but it’s verging on too dreamy for me that I almost want to nod off to sleep. 

Kid Ink- Body Language (Feat. Usher & Tinashe)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kidinkofficial/kid-ink-body-language-ft-usher-tinashe[/soundcloud]

Sam: This is just a straight up hip-pop record with Usher delivering a silky vocal hook to give it some sort of commercial-sensibility. It’s got the same sort of beat we heard earlier this year on Chris Brown’s Loyal and will most likely have the clubs going up, with alcohol-fuelled punters convincing themselves they can rap (I include myself in this). I wish Tinashe’s part was more prominent. Even by just harmonising in the background she steals the show. 3.5

Lizzie: This threesome works in complete harmony, proving three is definitely not a crowd. Body Language is little hip-hop gem which is not too in your face, very infectious and sure to be a hit on Kiis FM. I am glad I got to hear it before it becomes tainted by the dreaded radio overplay. 3.5

Bianca: It’s bouncy, it’s radio-ready and it’s honestly a bit boring for my liking. The melody leaves a lot to be desired and Usher doesn’t bring as much to the table as I would’ve expected. If this were to come on in a club, my body language would read that I was in desperate need of another drink. 

Sam Tiba- Deguisement

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/bromancerecords/bromance17-sam-tiba-deguisement[/soundcloud]

Sam: This is so off-centring that you’re almost made to stick around until the end just so you can make sense of it all. It wafts in and out of pulsating beats, crescendoing strings and stirring keys, traversing between the mellow and the club-ready. At every moment, there’s something delicious for the ears whether it be the perky vocal sample or the fluctuating levels of intensity. A surprise winner for me this week. Flawless. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: The start just grabs you instantly! It’s so jumpy and playful in all the right ways and weirdly, unlike Sam it made complete sense to me right off the bat. Tiba has struck gold here, producing a track which could be played almost anywhere and at anytime and provide the exact mood pick-me-up you need. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: What a wonderful array of thumping beats, hand claps, synths and strings. There’s an element of Nintendo game in here, but it’s been squashed and stretched, muddled and mushed into an energetic, driving force that immediately hits you smack bang in the face. In a good way, of course. 4 Variety is the spice of life but unfortunately that’s not the case this week. Deguisement is also Bianca’s Pick 

 

 

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the interns’ Saturday Mix #9

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This week was all about the highs and lows. The highs? Redfoo-headlined iHeartRadio Aus festival was cancelled (rejoice!). The lows? We were left wanting more when Ariana Grande graced our shores – more of her right side that is. the interns’ Saturday Mix is about smoothing out those high/low kinks in your week and bringing you a little something to make the weekend tolerable, before the excitement and fun of a new work week begins.

Nest HQ Bobby Tank: Music to game to

Nothing is more on trend right now than PC music. The glittery lollipop lyrics and arcade-style beat are the perfect accompaniment to your weekly gaming gathering. The door is locked, the blinds are down and you’ve ordered-in the greasiest food known to man – and now it’s time to LAN. Dust off your old PlayStation or even that ancient SEGA Megadrive – sorry Gen X that’s probably way before your time – and gather the nerdy troops because Nest HQ has got you covered for the next 48-hour lock in.

Martin Garrix BBC 1: Music to take you by surprise

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Okay, now I have your attention. I had to do what it takes to get you to listen to this mix. The majority of the world’s population want to switch off when they hear the name Martin Garrix but prepare to be surprised. This is his Garrix’s first Radio 1 Essential Mix, and to put it into context he starts with Flume, and there is no ‘Animals’ within a 60 minute radius of that. A perfect mixer to your pre-drinks (preferably before seeing Kanye tonight!), your friends will not know what just smacked them in the face. The second hour is a lot more dancey, but you will be too drunk to care at that stage.

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Nina Las Vegas: Music to spring clean to

We all have flat mates, and we get to that comfortable time of the year where you are perfectly happy to live in a house which is slightly messy, slightly dirty and/or an absolute pigsty.

NO! It’s Spring-time and you know what that means, house parties and guests. It is the month were you need to sort through all the stuff you have kept under your bed for 9 months, because no one wants to be friends with a hoarder. Blast this alternative mix through your speakers – only to be drowned out by the beautiful sound of the vacuum cleaner!

 HPNTK: Music to box to

*Ding Ding*

Round One and it’s time for you to take the ring. You’ve just watched Christian Bale in The Fighter and now you’re inspired. Whatever anger, energy, or badass-ness you want to release, now is the time. Boxing is one of best fitness work-outs going around, but you need something to push you harder as the lactic acid builds up and the skipping rope gets tighter. HPNTK is sure to pack a punch when it’s needed!

 

 

10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week

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Quality over quantity they say, but it seems we’ve been able to enjoy both recently. BIGSOUND delivered us a plethora of great new Aussie talent, SBTRKT offered up not one, but two new songs and Tkay Maidza has seemingly dropped about seven albums worth of material recently. Here at the interns we also believe in quality and quantity and that’s why we’re serving up not one, not five but 10 songs you need to hear this week.

SBTRKT- Higher (Feat. Raury)

SBTRKT’s Wonder Where We Land is only weeks away from release already we’ve heard four tracks from it. The latest, Higher, features much-hyped Atlanta artist Raury, who lays down some masterful verses before a triumphant chorus. Raury is great but the hero of this track is the British producers instrumentation. The lightly laid-on triumphant-synth in the chorus takes us to the club and to church in the same moment.

TĀLĀ- Black Scorpio

British producer/singer TĀLĀ’s latest delivery, Black Scorpio, feels like four songs in one. It goes from a Mission Impossible-like beginning into a triumphant, trumpet-synth which elevates the song to a new level. It’s the first time we’ve heard her solely focus on the instrumentation and as such she establishes herself as a formidable songwriter as well as a finessed producer.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/talaofficial/black-scorpio[/soundcloud]

SAFIA- You Are The One 

Canberra trio SAFIA are riding a wave of success at the moment of the back of Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds and it’s most likely set to continue with the release of You Are The One. You Are The One kicks off with a brooding, piano-led verse which sees lead-vocalist, Ben Woolner-Kirkham, show off his incredible vocal chops. The beat eventually kicks in but none of the magic is lost as the instrumental heads straight for the stars. Strap yourself in.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/safia-music/you-are-the-one[/soundcloud]

Ryan Hemsworth- Difficulties (Feat. Trim)

It seems every week we are talking about Hemsworth. Whether he’s releasing other people’s music through his Secret Songs series or just dropping his own stuff, just cos. Difficulties sees him team up with British Grime artist Trim who puts down a strangely melodic rap that is softened by Hemsworth’s gentle instrumental. For a track that has a lyric like, “hung like a horse, scuba-dick” it’s actually quite affecting. Good work Hemmy and scuba-dick.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/djoneman99/ryan-hemsworth-feat-trim-difficulties-taken-from-solitaire-vol3[/soundcloud]

Becky Hill- Losing

Becky Hill is mostly known as the vocalist on Rudimental’s Powerless but know she’s stepping out on her own, with Losing marking her official arrival to the pop spectrum. Losing is a soulful, MNEK-produced number that is more of a groove-inducer than a fist-pumper. It has a massive final chorus with layered vocals and dense synths making it almost impossible not to dance. BRB, we’re gonna go boogie.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/becky-hill-official/losing-3[/soundcloud]

JONES- Deep

From one pop-newcomer to another, Deep is the first taste from British artist JONES and it’s groovy-looped affair. It’s been produced by Jai Paul’s brother Anup, who’s probably the only person who knows what the hell Jai Paul is doing right now. That aside, he does a brilliant job here holding JONES’ hand with mellow undertones. The Solange-influence is very prominent, but hey, there’s room for two in this elevator.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/iseejones/deep-2[/soundcloud]

Kilter- They Say (Feat. Tkay Maidza)

At this point we may aswell turn this site into a Tkay Maidza fansite. The Adelaide rapper has been churning out tracks at a rapid rate recently and this latest track comes courtesy of fellow Australian, producer Kilter. Kilter has already released They Say without vocals on it but this version sees Maidza jump on the track and lay down soulful vocals that see her sing rather than rap. It takes the already brilliantly anarchic track to another level and once again we find ourselves saying bow down bitches – Tkay is in the house.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kilterbeats/they-say-feat-tkay-maidza-1[/soundcloud]

FKA Twigs- Stay With Me

We’ve heard plenty of covers of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me as its become the year’s Adele – Someone Like Me, but Twigs’ one is particularly different. She’s never been one to do things by the book and this cover is a left-of-centre, late night re-work. At times the original song is almost unrecognisable as she picks and chooses lyrics and cuts up the song structure. The result is an arresting, illuminated version.

Flight Facilities- Two Bodies (Feat. Emma Louise)

Two Bodies is the first single to come from Flight Facilities long-time coming LP, Down To Earth and it’s a surprisingly demure affair which recruits Emma Louise on vocals. The video does the best job of explaining the songs charm. Two pale figures dance around in a dark room, sliding in and out of each others embrace, quite like the way Louise effortlessly slips her vocals into a soundscape built from unobtrusive beats and windy synths.

Seekae- Monster

Seekae‘s latest album, The Worry has just been released via Future Classic and with it they announced the next single from it, Monster. Monster is perhaps their biggest departure from a predominantly electronic aesthetic. Gentle guitars accompany a delicate, brooding vocal that’s eventually joint by jabs of brass. As the title would suggest, it’s a little bit creepy but it’s also one of the best offerings we’ve heard from new-era, Seekae.

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BIGSOUND day 2 wrap-up

Brisbane has once again been transformed into a new music haven with BIGSOUND rolling into town. With it, the annual music conference has brought some of the most hype-worthy names in music to play over a number of venues in Fortitude Valley.

It says something about the state of new Australian music that despite it being a lineup of many fresh faces, it stands up against many major festivals. In the past year, DMA’s have become NME darlings, Oscar Key Sung has become one of the internet’s most buzzed names and Tkay Maidza has attracted the attention of International producers Ryan Hemsworth and Bok Bok. The talent at BIGSOUND 2014 lineup doesn’t just stack up locally, the artists playing are garnering international attention as well with many of them likely to pop up on the SXSW roster next year.

The head may have been a little bit sorer than day one, but our new music caps were still firmly on for day two of BIGSOUND. It was a night that moved from dulcet electronica to rambunctious hip-hop, once again proving the sheer quality of Australian music right now.

Click on the tabs to move through the artists.

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The power of satirical music videos

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This week saw an unlikely pairing between 22 Jump Street star Channing Tatum and innovative mega-producer Diplo, to create this year’s hottest new music comedy reel Dick Graze. While at first, it may appear to be the rapid decline of music production as we know it, this awkwardly playful music video represents quite the opposite.

‘Dick Graze’ joins a long line of successful satirical videos to be released in the last decade, alongside Psy’s ‘Gangman Style’ to anything and everything by Weird Al Yankovic. But what makes them so successful? Believe it or not, satirical video clips are not always easy to spot. While some are created just for laughs, many have gained their notoriety and viral internet success by addressing important, and often untouched messages about society in a playful and digestible manner. Her are some of the best and worst satirical music videos produced over the last 10-years which have captured the hearts of YouTubers around the world.

Psy – Gangnam Style

If someone had told you two years ago, that a music video about a South-Korean man dancing like a horse to a song called Gangman Style would be one of the biggest viral successes of 2012 – would you believe them? Would you believe that a K-Pop could take centre stage at Australia’s Future Music Festival in 2013 for  6minutes and get away with it?

Park Jaesang, the mastermind behind Psy (short for psycho) and unlikely poster boy for South Korea’s youth-obsessed, vacuous pop music scene created overnight stardom in a K-Pop entertainment industry, where many have failed many times before. American Rapper T-Pain was retweeted 2,400 times when he wrote, “Words cannot describe how amazing this video is,” while The Wall Street Journal voted it as one of its “5 Must-See” response videos. However, beneath the catchy dance beat and hilarious dance moves this relatively ancient 34-year old pop sensation has perpetuated a subversive message about wealth, class and value in contemporary South Korean society. What might appear to be one of the most ridiculous music videos we have ever laid our eyes on, is actually a big deal in South Korean society – a far cry from the usual cookie cutter lollipop K-Pop music they are used to.

Chainsmokers – #Selfie

Given the nod of approval by dance-music king Pete Tong, Selfie has been the surprise success story of 2014 in dance music industry and in clubs around the globe. Treading the fine line between stupid and smart, and satire or reality, the New York-based duo have caught onto a narcissistic truth we all face everyday. Their first big studio single, ‘Selfie’ holds a mirror up to our Generation Y society (literally), with their hyperbolic reference to the current club scene of the ‘me me me’ tech generation. While we don’t want to admit there is a great deal in truth in the monologue of the track, the playful, tongue in cheek demeanour of the song is utterly infectious. It’s got my viral tick of approval!

 The Lonely Island – I’m On A Boat

Trying not to give too much away in their song title, The Lonely Island’s ‘I’m On A Boat’ parodies many of the ridiculous clichés found in rap songs and videos. Exessive wealth, gold-plated grills, drinking, bitchez and swearing, plus some glorious Auto-Tune provided none other than the man T-Pain himself. Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone, the mischievous threesome who have also bought you Dick in a box with Justin Timberlake, and this year’s infamous EDM dance parody When will the bass drop have racked up over 84million hits on YouTube with I’m on a boat.

This video is clearly just for laughs, poking fun at the music industry and all its excessiveness. However, what may surprise you is that this SNL Digital Short proved to be successful far beyond the cyber-world, picking a nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 52nd Grammy Awards as well as a glowing review from Rolling Stone, who said it is “one of the strongest Saturday Night Live hip-hop hits since Eddie Murphy was funny.”

 

Ylvis – The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)

Little words can be used to describe how and why this song has become so successful, but it has – 450million views successful. Running in the same vein of Rebecca Black’s Friday, Norwegian duo, Ylvis’ The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?) is so ridiculous it makes sense. The video, which involves people dressed up as animals dancing around in the woods while Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker croon “dog goes woof/ cat goes meow/ bird goes tweet/ mouse goes squeak”. It is utterly maddening, and in essence does not really give back much to society – except to make us laugh at its absurdity. Hats off to these two jesters for making us weirdly question, “what does a fox really say?”

Weird Al Yankovic – ‘White & Nerdy’

At the ripe age old of 54 and with a career which has spanned over two-thirds of his life, Weird Al Yankovic is showing now signs of slowing down. Perfecting the satirical cover song, this curly haired viral wiz released his 13th studio album in 2014, Mandatory Fun. Yankovic’s biggest hit to date, the 2009 White and Nerdy, an obvious parody of Ridin’ by Chamillionaire and Kravzie Bone, is deliriously funny and quick-witted – truly committing to the cause of nerd culture and the awkwardness of society. To add to his backlog of satirical genius, he has also produced covers of Offspring (Pretty Fly For a Rabbi), Michael Jackson (Eat it) Nirvana (Smells like Nirvana) – deservedly crowing him the king of the satire.

Bound 2 – Kanye West

Kanye West is one artist who does not shy away from excess and controversy and Bound 2 is no exception. This masterpiece, featuring a wingless Pegasus, landscape time-lapses to rival any David Attenborough documentary and of course – a 15-year teenage boy’s dream – a topless Kim Kardashian, has been met with consequent criticism and ridicule in its release in November last year. Namely the parody re-imaging of the video created by James Franco and Seth Rogen.

Is it, or is it not meant to be a joke? Directed by British fashion photographer Nick Knight, the video is an Americana0influenced wet dream fantasy, practically breaking the internet, leaving many fans confused and shocked. Under the guise of a seamlessly outdated tacky video, this brilliant wizardry of satire, is a sarcastic portrait of media consumption and the fizzling idea of the American Dream.

In true Kanye style, he stated:

“I wanted to take white trash t-shirts and make it into a video. I wanted it to look as phony as possible. I wanted the clouds to go in one direction, the mountains to go in another, the horses to go over there. I wanted to show that this is the Hunger Games. This is the type of imagery that’s being presented to all of us, the only difference is there’s a black dude in the middle of it…”

– Kanye West |Breakfast Club 105.1

 

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LDRU and Yahtzel join forces as Carmada; drop ‘Maybe’

MaybeYou may not be familiar with the name Carmada but you will know the sum of its parts. Carmada is a collaboration between LDRU and Yahtzel and the pair will be releasing an EP, Realise in November. Maybe is the first track dropped off that new EP and its a smorgasbord of electronic music genres, traversing trap, deep-house and ’90s rave styles. Te result of it is a ridiculously energetic track, with a delectable vocal sample and some out-of-control drops. At this point, it seems like joining forces is going to pay off handsomely for LDRU and Yahtzel.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/carmadamusic/maybe[/soundcloud]

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BIGSOUND day 1 wrap-up

Brisbane has once again been transformed into a new music haven with BIGSOUND rolling into town. With it, the annual music conference has brought some of the most hype-worthy names in music to play over a number of venues in Fortitude Valley.

It says something about the state of new Australian music that despite it being a lineup of many fresh faces, it stands up against many major festivals. In the past year, DMA’s have become NME darlings, Oscar Key Sung has become one of the internet’s most buzzed names and Tkay Maidza has attracted the attention of International producers Ryan Hemsworth and Bok Bok. The talent at BIGSOUND 2014 lineup doesn’t just stack up locally, the artists playing are garnering international attention as well with many of them likely to pop up on the SXSW roster next year.

Last night we took a trip deep into the Valley to discover and celebrate the state of Australian music right now. And yes, we can confirm that it’s healthier than ever. Spanning countless venues, we donned our runners and zig-zagged around the Valley to check out the best new talent and for your convenience, we overcame our lack of sleep to make a cheat-sheet of BIGSOUND’s highlights from night one.

Click on the tabs to move through the artists.

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Introducing Scarlett Rush and her debut EP, ‘Dark Nights’

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Australia has no shortage of great electronic/RnB female voices right now and Sydney singer Scarlett Rush looks set to join them based on the strength of her debut EP, Dark NightsDark Nights is a collection of late-night RnB tunes, peppered with electronic stylings that echo the sound of producers like Shlohmo and Giraffage. Lead single, The Morning is an effortless number, that sees Rush croon like Jhene Aiko, unphased by tempo or time. Throughout the EP she takes total control on songs like Jealous and also gets lost in hazy production like on Schemes. It’s a confident, assured debut that understands the sound-of-the-moment and uses it to its advantage.

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Yacht’s latest A/B side single ‘Where Does This Disco’

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Yes, you are seeing double. Yacht have blessed us with not one, but two tracks. Their latest track, a Gameboy-groove twist on the disco aptly titled ‘Where Does This Disco?’ as well as a remix of the song by Jerome LOL. If this isn’t enough to tickle your senses, the LA-based duo – who are currently on tour around the US – have developed their own app, Every Day, which suggests five interesting things to do in Los Angeles everyday. Not just a pretty sound!

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Genre-pushing pop princess pairings of 2014

popprincessSomething’s been happening in the world of pop this year. Well, duh. Let me rephrase. A lot  has been happening in the world of pop this year. From Beyonce’s sly-dog release of Beyonce, to the alarming growth that’s firmly attached itself to Nicki Minaj’s behind, to Tay Tay getting busy exacerbating racial stereotypes while she’s shaking it off to Lily Allen’s comeback tour, it’s been a busy year for pop and its chart toppers. Controversial MTV appearances and obligatory twitter beefs aside though, what’s really interesting is that, in its fatigued 2014 state, pop just isn’t pop anymore. Blame exhaustion or simply growing out of that awkward preteen stage, pop is increasingly becoming less and less like the pop of the the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Once guarded by boy bands in matching outfits and bad die jobs, pop was a pristine domain reserved for the Britney Spears’ and Christina’s -before she was X-tina – of the world. A clearly defined realm, with the occasional true diva slash pop princess flourishing amongst a sea of Mandy Moore’s and Jessica Simpson’s. This year however, those same pop princesses that, in say 1999 or even 2009, would’ve been left to their preordained place on So Fresh of Summer and Ryan Seacrest’s weekly Top 40, have become, for all intents and purposes, transcendent. Chameleon-like, female pop artists of 2014 are opting to work with some seriously unlikely producers, and no, we’re not just talking about the David Guetta’s and Calvin Harris’s of the world. Suddenly, Ariana Grande is bosom buddies with Cashmere Cat and Miley’s a female rebel with Alt-J. And, do you know what’s even more interesting? As pop fatigues of its own pop game, and grows out of its own pop boots, those same unlikely producers are choosing to work back and undeniably helping to carve a new path for the future of a now more mature, dynamic pop. Here we have a look at just 5 unlikely pop princess pairings released over the last year that are helping to push the boundaries of the genre ever onward.

Ariana Grande and Zedd: Break Free

When Break Free dropped earlier this year, Grande’s Zedd produced mega hit broke all the rules on its way to freedom. Music camps everywhere sat perplexed facing the same conundrum, to like or not to like. Here was a song with undeniable pop appeal. With vocals bellowing out from yet another sequin-clad Disney Channel escapee, and a house-anthem quality to its thumping bass and roller coaster rise and falls, this song was surely destined for Top 40 success, buoyed by the starry eyed 12 to 16 year old girl market, while simultaneously anticipating ridicule from more discerning music snobs. Remarkably, however, it wasn’t just the aspirational tweens that found themselves crooning along to Grande’s grammatically incorrect chorus. Zedd’s production gave not only the song a level of unexpected credibility, but Grande herself. Instead of lampooning the 21-year-old for, well, what else are Disney graduates for? Pitchfork evoked comparisons to “Swedish pop mastermind, Robyn,” while noting Grande’s “sky scraping voice” was in top form. And Slate called it a “soaring pop ballad… propelled by synth chords and a pounding bass beat.”

Ariana Grande and Cashmere Cat: Be My Baby

Grande’s debut album My Everything is riddled with collaborations from Nicki Minaj and Jessie J, to The Weeknd and Childish Gambino. It’s well and truly old news, but in case you’ve been living under a rock, everyone wants a piece of this intergalactic pop princess. Perhaps the album’s most unexpected cameo however is by Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat who, not only produced Be My Baby, but in more recent weeks has released an alternative version to the sanitised edit that made its way onto Grande’s album. Brimming with blippy synths, all out gun shots and punch-packing chorus breakdowns, Cashmere’s re-edit is effortlessly cool in a way that the original could never be. While superficially the two artists find fans in diametrically opposed walks of life, collectively the same-same-but-different tracks somewhat unashamedly demonstrate a rumbling conversation currently taking place between chart toppers and the underground. It seems intrigue and a genuine desire to bust genre wide open is a priority on all fronts at the moment: Alien-pashing pocket rocket or super-side fringed cat alike.

Miley Cyrus and Alt J: Hunger of the Pine

Of all the pop princess collabs on this list, Miley’s sample on Alt-J’s track Hunger of the Pine was critically the least well received. Lifted from 4×4, a non-single track on Cyrus’s Bangerz album, Sam called the sample “beyond clumsy,” while Bianca vilified Cyrus for bringing her “big wrecking ball” in and ruining the track’s chance of truly “happening.” Billboard simply lamented Alt-J’s oversight in not sampling Nelly’s verse from the same song. A non-appearance by Nelly on any track is already disappointing enough, let alone when it’s replaced by Miley. Hunger of the Pine remains however, a crystalline example of how reworks, samples and collaborations between unlikely bedfellows attribute a fresh sense of credibility artists and their music. Suddenly Miley was not just Miley of Robin Thicke infamy, but Miley, an artist in the eyes of incomparable (thank god) Alt-J.

Jessie Ware and Cyril Hahn: Tough Love

Labeled breakout producer of 2013, Cyril Hahn has steadily been making a name for himself remixing and sampling the lofty vocals of female artists at the top of their game. From Destiny’s Child, to baby sister Solange and Californian outfit HAIM to a truly x-rated, quivering pants-party rendition of Mariah’s Touch My Body, it’s not surprising that the Swiss R&B re-animator quickly turned his hand to Jessie Ware’s Tough Love. Described as “the missing link between SBTRKT and Sade,” Ware was praised for the release of her down-tempo R&B, synth-infused pop album (yes, there is such a thing), Devotion, earlier this year. While there ain’t nothing tough about the original Tough Love, when in Hahn’s hands, the breathy pop-ballad is easily transformed into a house beat that bubbles frenetically under a vocal tapestry rich in high highs and slow burn crescendos. A Hahn remix is quickly becoming the tell tale sign of a true pop princess. Watch out Ariana Grande, he’s coming for you.

Sia and Four Tet: Chandelier 

Sia’s Chandelier caught attention for a myriad of reasons. Firstly it was her bold, unapologetic announcement of return after an extended hiatus between albums. Secondly, dat video clip, am I right? And thirdly, the incredibly powerful press and TV talk show performances that accompanied its debut, all seeming to herald the return of this unique artist, while firmly maintaining her shadowy space, just beyond the limelight’s desperately creeping finger tips. Read, Lena Dunham’s doppleganger act on Late Night with Seth Meyers and her back-to-the-camera recreation on Ellen. Pitchfork claimed Chandelier made “her previously released solo material seem impossibly minor by comparison,” while our own writer Sam noted a presences of guts in Chandelier absent in the work of contemporaries like Katy Perry. In the face of such pop stardom, producers and DJ reactionaries have two choices, run in the opposite direction, save daring to take on soon-to-be pop classic or conversely dive straight in, rework and take the track in a totally new direction. For his take on Sia’s Chandelier, British producer Four Tet chose the latter. Stripping out the instrumentals, Four Tet left Sia’s impossible audio intact, twanging over an fresh hip-hop inspired beat and softly sparkling keys. Like the Cashmere Cat re-release of Grande’s Be My Baby, Four Tet’s Chandelier is more than a remix or mere dialed up BPM. It reinforces pop’s sky rocketing power to transcend what has been a chaste genre and a willingness on the behalf of certifiably non-pop producers to encourage this fresh approach to limits and genre. As Sam says, the Four Tet interpretation just “adds extra edge as if to take it from the hands of Commercial Radio and plop it in Triple J’s lap.”

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A.G. Cook gives How To Dress Well’s ‘Repeat Pleasure the PC Music treatment

Repeat Pleasure (A. G. Cook Remix)

If you’re a regular on this website you’d be no stranger to the PC Music label run by British producer A.G. Cook. Love it or hate it it’s one of the most interesting labels in the world right now and A.G. Cook’s proved it once again with his PC Music makeover of How To Dress Well’s Repeat Pleasure. In true PC Music style., Cook manipulates Tom Krell’s vocal in the beginning before reigning it back in and letting Krell’s flawless melody takeover. The remix whips in and out of the absurd with a constant wave of synths providing some sort of regularity.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/howtodresswell/repeat-pleasure-a-g-cook-remix[/soundcloud]

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