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The continuing influence of The xx’s debut 5 years on

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2009- a year in which Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors ruled the internet and The Black Eyed Peas and Kings of Leon ruled the charts. It’s always hard to revisit these memories. Boom Boom Pow in your head is never a kind gift and Sex On Fire only reminds us of the time when we ‘almost’ had the next U2. Five years later, The Black Eyed Peas are seemingly over and Kings of Leon are no longer on their rock n’ roll pedestal.

Fortunately there is fonder memories of that year. There’s one release from 2009 that has spread a subtle yet lasting web over the music world. The xx’s self-titled debut. While the band had an auror of hype surrounding them thanks to the blogosphere and NME, the album only reached number 16 on the British charts upon its release. Chart success never felt like the goal for the band, but it seemed like an inevitable byproduct of the minimalist, melodic music that quickly spread its influence by providing the soundtrack to shows like 90210 and Misfits.

While not so much an immediate chart success, it was a critical darling. Pitchfork called it “nuanced, quiet and surprising” while The Guardian said it “will win many friends for its beautifully haunting, understated charms”, further labelling it the best album of 2009. It took a while, but the “many friends” eventually gravitated towards the record. In 2010 it won the prestigious Mercury Prize over records by La Roux, Florence and the Machine and The Horrors.

Following the win, album sales rose by 448% in the UK to take them to a new chart height of number three. When their less critically-lauded second album, Coexist was released in 2012 it shot to number one, much off the merit of the first album, one would presume.

However, the legacy of the xx’s debut five years on is detached from sales. Rather it’s left a prominent impact on the face of music today with many artists making music that is a little more minimalist, has more space and breathes more vocally. Their debut was a record that relied solely on delectable melodies, coated in subtle emotion. When Romy and Oliver flip between telling each other “sometimes I still need you” on Heart Skips A Beat it’s not forced. It’s a statement of sincerity born in the darkness of the early morning when the club music mutes and the lights begin to blur.

The record always sat in the pocket of electronic music but further than that it was difficult to define. Looking on five years later, it shares many qualities with the recent outburst of future RnB. The vocals are placed on top of beats that are given adequate space to breathe. Guitars and synths are left to provide the emotional lacing for the music. In many ways the record championed an RnB revival far before critics and the public alike were talking about its emergence.

It’s a testament to the band’s ability to hold back and Jamie xx’s nuanced beatmaking that even pop remakes of the tracks were unable to make them sound more commercially appealing. Rihanna’s use of Intro fell far short of the xx’s stormy album opener and Shakira’s latin-flavoured version of Islands proved the songs always grew better in darkness than in sunlight.

Below are five artists that have taken a little something from the xx’s debut whether it was intentional or not.

London Grammar

Fellow British-band, London Grammar’s lead-vocalist, Hannah Reid, undoubtedly has more of a booming voice than Romy but there are definite instrumental comparisons between the two. While London Grammar’s brooding debut errs more to alternative-pop that electronic music, the delicate guitar plucks and use of space hark back to the xx’s discovery that melody could be crafted out of little to nothing. Place crescendoing beats and more immediate piano-work on top of the xx’s minimalist soundscape and you’ve got London Grammar’s Wasting My Years.

Reid recently told Gigwise, “I think we’re in a kind of post-xx era where a lot of people are quite influenced by that atmospheric pop vibe.” It’s a pertinent comment that very much reflects the state of alternative pop right now.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/londongrammar/london-grammar-wasting-my[/soundcloud]

Drake

Jamie xx held production duties on tracks from Drake’s Take Care record so it makes sense that he would be directly influenced by the xx. The title-track with Rihanna takes Jamie’s remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s I’ll Take Care of U,  with Drake singing and rapping over it. It’s arguably one of the first times Drake truly embraced his singing voice, delicately cooing over the track in a similar way to the xx’s Oliver. While Jamie didn’t have a hand over Drake’s latest effort, Nothing Was The Same, the influences still remain. Own It is hauntingly minimalist and also sees the rapper sing while From Time, has him add Jhene Aiko to the mix with the two flipping back and forth vocally a la Romy and Oliver.

FKA Twigs

Could it be that the most innovative artist of 2014 is in fact influenced by the biggest innovators of 2009? It doesn’t seem Twigs’ notable xx influence is something she is conscious of, but it’s hard to imagine her debut existing without the xx breaking down some walls before it. LP1 is impossibly sparse with Twigs rarely having to raise her voice to convey her point. She said in an interview recently that she didn’t like the RnB genre-label and she’s right, she’s not an RnB artist. But neither were the xx, explicitly. By making music that is so minimal, both artists carefully traverse a line of many genres including RnB, electronica, pop and hip-hop. You can’t really sit comfortably inside a genre and be innovative, can you?

Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware is a product of a time in music when Sampha was toning down SBTRKT’s dance music and RnB and electronica were beginning to combine, partly thanks to the xx’s debut. While she has a huge, booming voice, we never truly heard it on her debut Devotion, which was part of its sophisticated charm. The title-track is perhaps the best indicator of the xx’s influence of the record. Subtle jabs of guitar lay beneath Ware’s breathy vocal. Synths sit underneath simply for substance with not much else used to convey the smokey, lovelorn atmosphere. Tell me that description doesn’t also work to describe the xx’s Infinity.

In fact, only weeks ago Ware released a cut, Share It All, from her upcoming album, Tough Love, written with Romy.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/jessieware/jessiewareshareit-all[/soundcloud]

Beyonce

Beyonce’s latest self-titled effort is very much a thoughtful and educated take on the current wave of future RnB. As we’ve discussed above, the xx have had a part in formulating that genre and the minimalist nature of it. Much of the appeal of Beyonce’s latest album is the way she creates delectable melodies from very little at all. On Superpower with Frank Ocean her only real-backing is vocal harmonies Ghost/Haunted is born from a thumping bass and haunting synths. It’s a far cry from the brass-laden, pop/RnB of her previous albums. As Spin said, Haunted is “Janelle Monaé’s delivery meeting the xx’s reverb-y stare”.

In an example of how meta the world is becoming, the xx covered Beyonce’s Frank Ocean-penned I Miss You which is the first track of hers to show obvious similarities to the xx. I Miss You dims the lights, clears the clutter and sees Beyonce in the most gentle vocal display of her career. When the xx covered it, they barely had to do a thing to bring it into their lane.

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Hear Charli XCX ‘Break The Rules’

Charli XCX - 'Break The Rules'

Charli XCX is quickly becoming the queen of anarchy with yet another song that shares the same sense of reckless abandon as I Love It. Break The Rules is lifted from her forthcoming album Sucker and was recorded after time spent listening to Swedish punk records. It’s shows too. While Break The Rules is firmly planted in ’90s pop, there are chaotic undertones to it that align with the punk genre. With a chorus that yells, “going to the discotheque, getting high and getting wrecked”, this one’s sure to reignite ‘that cocaine scene’ from Girls which had I Love It behind it. After the success of her feature on Iggy Azalea‘s Fancy and Boom Clap, Sucker could well be her breakthrough record.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/charlixcx/charli-xcx-break-the-rules[/soundcloud]

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Caribou shares the title track from the forthcoming, ‘Our Love’

It feels like it’s been a long and painful wait since Caribou dropped the delicious first track, Can’t Do Without Youfrom his forthcoming album Our Love. Today he’s put an end to that pain by releasing the title track from the new record, Our Love. In the same lane as Can’t Do Without You, it’s a subdued, mellow-burner that utilises delicate vocals before bursting into a club-ready beat. The producer has a knack for chosing how long to hold a song back before releasing it into its full potential and he demonstrates that expertly here. Really it’s just another reason to pick up the new record when it’s released on 3 October in Aus.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/caribouband/our-love[/soundcloud]

 

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Haters gon’ hate in Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’

Read our for & against arguments here. 

Just like clockwork, two years after we heard Tay Tay’s We’re Never Getting Back Together, she’s delivered the first single, Shake It Off, from her new album 1989. The track sees her move even further away from her country roots but keeps very much with the theme of ex-boyfriends, rumours and haters. It’s all good though because she’s just gonna shake it off. She shows this in the video from parodying pop clips with twerking, cheerleading and Gaga-esque oddities. Love her or hate her there’s no denying this is another huge hit and will most likely leave another ex quivering in the corner.

 

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London newbie Shannon Saunders unveils her debut ‘Sheets’

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Though the one-track on her SoundCloud tells a very different story, British songstress Shannon Saunders has been releasing music since she was 14. Starting off on YouTube, she eventually self-released her debut single and made a video from nine pounds. It seems she won’t have the same budgetary constraints now as she’s been snapped up by Warner Records who have released her single Sheets. With a Kate Bush trill and Ellie Goulding‘s electronic stylings, Saunders is set to make a bit of a splash. Sheets is an effortless track that ditches a huge pop chorus in favour of bolstered-up bass and subtle synth-work. It’s a grower and a fast one at that. Watch this space.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/shannonsaunders/sheets[/soundcloud]

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Hear ‘PS’, the collaborative single from DJ Q & Flava D

DJ Q & Flava D - PS [LOC018]

The start of the week may not sound like the optimum time to drop a deep club throbber, but it seems it’s exactly what we needed. Both hailing from the UK, DJ Q has teamed up with Flava D on PS to mesh garage and grime together with an infectiously massaging bass-line. Alongside skittering yet soulful vocal samples, the pair lay down a tempo-raising, yet paced instrumental. Both of them have released stellar remixes of Tinashe‘s 2 On this year and this seems to be the lovechild of the two. Could it be? Could DJ Q and Flava D have the club going up on a Monday?

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/localactionrecords/dj-q-flava-d-ps-loc018[/soundcloud]

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First Impressions: Kindness, Drake, Anna Lunoe + more

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First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on first (or second) listen. Each week we each review six new songs from the week past, each giving them a score out of five and awarding one our pick of the week.

Kindness- World Restart

Hannah: Apparently the world restarting sounds a lot like sax, bass, shaking cow bells and a whole lot of groove. Suddenly the apocalypse doesn’t seem so bad. 3.5

Sam: Just when the whole world is seemingly dabbling in future RnB, Kindness throws it back to a time before throbbing bass while still keeping future RnB queen, Kelela on board. It just lays right back on the beat and cruises by with funky guitars. The whole visual aesthetic of Otherness beside this sound works so well. So well. 4

Bianca: Funky guitar riffs and sexy sax samples are always a sure-fire match made in heaven. Ade’s vocals are smoother than peanut butter but unfortunately I always prefer mine with a bit more crunch. 3

Lizzie: I feel I should be strutting down the streets of Brooklyn with this tune. I love the harmonising, and the snazzy saxaphone – it offers an effortlessly layered style which I wouldn’t usually have on repeat, but Kelela has converted me. Top tune! 4

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kindness/kindness-world-restart-feat-kelela-ade[/soundcloud]

TEED and Anna Lunoe- Feels Like

Hannah: There’s something very familiar in the glitchy samples and rolling crescendos here. I feel as though this is TEED all grown up. He’s ditched the 12am curfew and is out to party all night, bringing with him party gurl-done-good Anna Lunoe. 3.5

Sam: I love that this just goes all out, four-to-the-floor for about four minutes before even introducing the vocal. And once TEED comes in it detours into a hazy post-tropical land, before yanking us straight back out into club-territory. Feels like people are going to go hard for this one (not in that way, get your mind outta the gutter). 3.5

Bianca: I got a little lost and on the verge of disinterested somewhere around the middle but once TEED reared his dreamy head at the 3:55 mark, all the jigsaw puzzle pieces just came into place. 4 Bianca’s Pick

Lizzie: Wow, just wow. Anna is going from strength to strength in 2014. You can’t really go wrong with a TEED remix, EVERYONE loves TEED. I can feel myself getting trapped in a repetitive dance move with this, which is fine, but may lead to some serious cramping on the d-floor. Keep up these thumpers, Miss Lunoe. 4

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/t-e-e-d/totally-enormous-extinct-dinosaurs-x-anna-lunoe-feels-like[/soundcloud]

Collarbones- Turning

Hannah: I love the bass on this track… Such a shame it’s hidden beneath a whole lot of duck quacking samples and those jarring vocals. 2

Sam: It’s always been Collarbones style to disguise pop songs unders a sea of samples and glitchy synths and nothing’s changed in that regard. What has happened is it sounds way more explicitly melodic, with Marcus laying down some crazy pop vocals. I love how they so effortlessly melt together club, pop and RnB styles. 4

Bianca: I’m loving this smorgasbord of flavours and effects. One would think that the vocals and sporadic synths have no place in the same room but Collarbones have proved the exact opposite; a surprising pairing that will live happily ever after. 3.5

Lizzie: I like to call this “Pimp My Pop Song”. The poppy vocals of Marcus have totally been transformed to make this layered, bass thumping, catchy track. The 2 min 40 moment it just a bundle of joy, and sets up for an epic climactic close. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/collarbones/turning[/soundcloud]

ILOVEMAKONNEN- Tuesday (Feat. Drake)

Hannah: I love this. It’s a paired back, get low grind, totally appropriate for midweek debauchery. I think Tuesday is my new favourite day. 4 Hannah’s Pick

Sam: I was already digging the original of this but Drake takes it to a whole new drunk-level. In fact the whole thing sounds drunk. Not messy drunk, but hazy drunk with slightly slurred raps and swirling synths. Yes it is true, I do LOVEMAKONNEN. And Drake. 4 Sam’s Pick

Bianca: This track gets extra points from me purely because it has fulfilled the role of my musical companion on this rainy day. The slow grooves and lazy vocals are doing a fine job of replacing my big woollen jumper or cup of hot tea while the rain cascades outside. 3

Lizzie: I knew Sam and Han would choose this baby! I am not going to sucumm to peer pressure. His autotuned voice is agitating and slurry. Do I like it more than Rebecca Black’s Friday? Yes. Would I shout it out on top of a rooftop? No. 3

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/octobersveryown/makonnen-ft-drake-tuesday[/soundcloud]

Ella Henderson- Glow

Hannah: And here we have the title track from the next Twilight-esque film. 2

Sam: I know you’re never really meant to admit it but I do have a bit of a penchant for a pop song with a triumphant chorus. This one’s a little formulaic (think Katy Perry Fireworks) but it achieves what it sets out to do. Ella’s voice is a cracker and speaking of crackers I’m always a fan of a bit of ‘fire’ personification. 3

Bianca: Does she have the X Factor? Yes. But that should not be taken as a compliment. This song is as annoying as those people who think they’re clever for informing you that tomatoes are a fruit and not a vegetable. 1

Lizzie: And I get all this flack for EDM music!!! This is just a big no, no. It belongs alongside Shakira and Vanessa Amorosi – it just reeks of terrible song releases made exclusively for the World Cup or the Olympics. 1.5

Jessie Ware- Say You Love Me

Hannah: This a much softer Ware than the one we’ve come to know but she still hits all those R&B notes so effortlessly, it’s impossible to deny her talent as one of the best songstresses circulating at the moment. Admittedly though, this is a little too pop, too country and too aimed at popular appeal for my liking but if someone’s going to do it, she does do it well. 3

Sam: This is the first-time Ware has taken on a straightforward love song and she can’t really do anything wrong can she? Her vocals are just so enticing and seductive that she could cover the crazy frog and I’d be happy. I’m hoping the album is more in the lane of Tough Love but if this Ed Sheeran co-write gets her a little bit more exposure, then I’m happy. 3.5

Bianca: Jessie’s voice is perfect and on-point as per usual but the tempo and sappy lyrics are a bit too cringe-worthy for me. I think the root of the problem here is Ed Sheeran- the acoustic guitar plucks need to go. 2

Lizzie: It ain’t no Tough Love, but it is definitely the perfect Chick Flick accompaniment. Time to invest in a pack of Kleenex. 3

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the interns’ Saturday Mix #5

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The weekend has inevitably rolled around once again and we’re borrowing a line from Vic Mensa as our motto this weekend, “fuck that, get down”. If you’re feeling down on your luck, then the best mixes of the week are sure to get you “down” wherever you may be. Couch-side, club-headed or dance floor-situated, we’ve got all moods covered this week.

AO Beats- The Ripe Guest Mix: Songs to beat lock-out

AO Beats is an American producer to keep a firm eye on. He founded the future bass collective, Moving Castle, whose Soundcloud is filled with skittering, RnB-flavoured gold and AO Beats is responsible for much of that. This mix is made for those that stick around late enough in the night to get your second wind. It’s 3am, drink-service has stopped (if you’re in Sydney :'( ) and the only thing left to do is hit the dance-floor. In it, he throws down his own remixes of Foster The People and Bobby Valentino while also including the GANZ flip of our homegrown girl, Alison Wonderland’s Want U. It’s a schizophrenic affair full of chipmunk vocals and tempo-raising 808s.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200]https://soundcloud.com/theripe/guest-mix-with-ao-beats[/soundcloud]

Diplo and Friends – La Vegas: Music to gamble to

While we do condone the action of  excessive gambling, everyone now and again we all get that little urge to put all of our weekly wages down on red.  Who could blame you – the bright lights, fancy drinks and noticeable lack of time and space -it’s time to suit up, grab your 5 best mates and head to that flashy big building in the centre of the city, the Casino. Diplo, is as suave as it gets, and his recent Las Vegas mega-mix is set to get your blood pumping, your alter-ego throbbing and those casino chips flowing.

Mix available here

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Feed Me: Music to trump your gym work-out

Press play and prepare to move. Playing most of their own head-bangers, Feed Me serve up an all original mix which is sure to make you burn off any hamburgers you ate drunkenly last weekend. Screw the gym and there overpriced yearly membership fees, this is all the motivation you need to pump out a solid sweat session.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/feedme/pete-tong-feed-me-mix-04-08-14[/soundcloud]

Mr One Hundred- Hi Tech Soca: Music to Carnival to

Any mix that manages to slot in Jason Derulo and Outkast alongside David Guetta and underground jungle, techno and juke jams is one worth listening to and that’s exactly what London via Chicago producer, Mr One Hundred has delivered. While we’re not the biggest fans of Jason Derulo’s ridiculous track Wiggle, kicking off this mix with a high-energy, dancehall-flavoured bootleg of the track is the perfect mandate for the rest of the mix. From there on it’s relentless, turning the carnival vibes up to 11 with tracks by Gant Man and Kes assisitng. Pick this one when you’ve still got plenty left in the tank and want to go explore the weird and wacky. This ain’t no mix for the faint-hearted.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/top-nice/mr-one-hundred-hi-tech-soca-carnival-2014-mix[/soundcloud]

Ibiza BlaKKout – Episode 2: Music to Disco Stu to

Hey ladiesssss….yeah that’s right, you have been seduced and you didn’t even realise it. Was the flared jeans that caught your eye, or the mad twirl I just pulled on the dance floor? Disco Stu is in the house, and we have to show a little respect to this living dance-floor legend the only way we know how. Dance. D.A.N.C.E.

Shimmy to the left, and shimmy to right. Time to hustle.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/blakkoutrekkords/ibiza-blakkout-episope-2-the-power-plant-edition[/soundcloud]

 

 

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Kindness re-works Royskopp & Robyn’s ‘Monument’

A Monument To Everything (Kindness mix feat. Busiswa)

It’s been a big week for British producer and artist in his own right, Kindness. He announced the release of his sophomore album, Otherness, dropped the first single, World Restart with Kelela and Ade and now has released his re-work of Royksopp and Robyn‘s Monument. The original of the track is almost 10 minutes long but here Kindness cuts it down to six and adds South African poet/singer Busiswa. As such the track takes on a dancehall vibe while retaining Robyn’s brooding chorus, albeit with a slightly pitch-altered voice. It’s also been retitled A Monument To Everything.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/royksopp/a-monument-to-everything-kindness-mix-feat-busiswa[/soundcloud]

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Listen to a new track from Panama, ‘Stay Forever’

Panama - Stay Forever

Earlier this year Sydney band Panama released their most successful offering to date, the Always EP, with it’s title track seemingly still growing in popularity. Today, they’ve dropped a free track Stay Forever ahead of their North America and Europe tour. Stay Forever is very much what we’ve become accustomed to hearing from the band. It’s a mellow, supremely produced indie-rock track that glistens with breathy vocals. Subtlety is definitely the band’s biggest strength and once again they’ve carved an iconic, eternal chorus with little fanfare.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/futureclassic/panama-stay-forever[/soundcloud]

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10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week

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Love was in the air this week. Jessie Ware was asking her man to say he loves her, Saint Pepsi was falling hard and Omarion and Jeremih got steamy in Show Me (not together, obviously). All the while Kaytranada was asking to be left alone. I suppose we can’t all be luck in love. That aside, here are 10 songs to catch up on if you’ve been living under a rock this week, or simply had better things to do.

Jessie Ware- Say You Love Me

Jessie Ware is quickly becoming the queen of love songs. Say You Love Me is the latest love lorn tale to emerge from the songstress and sees her in her most straightforward vocal state yet. She trills through the verses and reaches full flight in the chorus delivering a number of heartfelt moments. It’s beginning to feel like a week without new Jessie Ware is not worth living at all. Another gem from the forthcoming LP, Tough Love.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/jessieware/jessie-ware-say-you-love-me[/soundcloud]

Jeremih and Omarion- Show Me

Jeremih has consistently released new material for a few weeks now and this week he hasn’t disappointed, delivering a new cut with RnB veteran Omarion. The minimalist track provides the perfect battleground for the two to show-off their smooth, run-laden vocals. Once again, Jeremih proves that he’s the most versatile man in RnB, flipping from this to his Shlohmo produced material with ease.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/dam-im-dope/show-me-omarion-x-jeremih-x-internz-x-ls[/soundcloud]

Saint Pepsi- Fall Harder

Fall Harder is the b-side to Saint Pepsi’s Fiona Coyne and it compliments it perfectly with a breezy, indie-pop tune. While he’s known as a producer, Fall Harder sees him almost shed that title, opting for a more straightforward melody that oozes smiles. This is summer love, teen heartache and love at first sight all in one, tightly constructed song.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/carparkrecords/saint-pepsi-fall-harder-1[/soundcloud]

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Anna Lunoe- Feels Like

Feels like a bass-heavy stomper, that’s what. This is the first release from Orlando Higginbottom (dat name) aka. TEED’s new label, Nice Age and features Aussie girl, Anna Lunoe. Together, the pair embody energetic, colourful dance music that easily translates from small clubs to mainstages. Feels Like is a slow-burner that gradually flowers into a soundscape of crystalline synths and washed-out vocals.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/t-e-e-d/totally-enormous-extinct-dinosaurs-x-anna-lunoe-feels-like?in=t-e-e-d/sets/totally-enormous-extinct[/soundcloud]

Collarbones- Turning

Given that Marcus Whale is doing just about everything musically possible right now (We wrote about his latest track with Black Vanilla last week), we doubted that we’d see a new Collarbones record this soon. Thank goodness our doubt was unnecessary. This week, they returned with a new track, Turning and news of a new album, Return on its way. We’re suitably excited about it too. Turning is a glitchy, schizophrenic take on a pop track with Marcus’ ever brilliant vocals leading the way.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/collarbones/turning[/soundcloud]

Arcade Fire- Afterlife (Flume Remix)

Two years and the Flerm hype still hasn’t died down. It’s partly due to the sheer enthusiasm of his fans and also the fact that he continues to churn out tracks. The latest is a remix of Arcade Fire’s Afterlife from last year’s Reflektor. Flume retains the triumphant quality of the track while dimming it down a bit. In place of tropical percussion, he lays down mournful synths that hover in the background, growing ever so gradually.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/flume/arcade-fire-afterlife-flume-remix[/soundcloud]

Kindness- World Restart

News of UK artist and producer, Kindness’ impending new album, Otherness, was one of the best pieces of information we recieved this week. To match that, World Restart with Kelala and Ade was one of the best sounds we heard all week. It’s a brass-lathered groover, with plenty of space for the pair to lay right back with their vocals and vibe out. It’s definitely sitting in the lane of Blood Orange’s last record, Cupid Deluxe and we’re more than ok with that.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kindness/kindness-world-restart-feat-kelela-ade[/soundcloud]

Felicita.- Doves

PC Music have once again offered up a challenging piece of production this week. Felicita.’s Doves feels like a conversation with Siri made to beats. It’s convoluted, over-crowded and toy-like, yet completely fascinating and strangely melodic. If you can stand it, give it 10 listens, it will eventually reveal itself to you as much as you may feel that’s impossible. This is Felicita.’s first track and we can confirm whether the artist is a boy or girl or whether they’re human.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/felicita/doves-1[/soundcloud]

Read more about PC Music in our feature ‘What the fuck is PC Music?’.

Kwabs.- Walk

British artist Kwabs is producing some of the most dense soul music around at the moment and Walk is no different. Kwabs’ thick, deep vocal is joined by marching drums and heavy-hitting keys. Premiering it earlier this week on Mistajam’s 1Extra Show, he said “”my statement of intent: the first time I’m saying, here I am”. That it does. Walk is his most self-assured effort yet.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kwabs/walk[/soundcloud]

Kaytranada- Leave Me Alone (Feat. Shay Lia)

This week we learnt that Canadian producer Kaytranada will be hitting our shore over New Years to play the Beyond The Valley festival in its debut year. In perfect timing, this week he also unleashed Leave Me Alone off his forthcoming So Bad EP. It harks back to his remix of Janet Jackson’s If, with a paired back house beat and some featherlight vocals. Now signed to XL Records, it’s one of his most established efforts yet and will no doubt bolster up an already fantastic live set.

[embed width=”750″ height=”415″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGdtbgSvVzw[/embed]
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An Infographic Review: Kimbra- The Golden Echo

It’s been three years since Kimbra‘s last record Vows and in that time she’s clearly done a lot of exploration. Kimbra’s first taste off the new album, 90s Music, left many people scratching their heads. Gone were the days of the conventional songster and in its place an artistic innovator and risk-taker had emerged. While 90s Music is the most out-there cut on The Golden Echo as a whole it’s an album that has different surprises at every turn. Whether that be an explosive chorus, vocal manipulation or an orchestral fanfare, The Golden Echo is not a record to act as background music.

For those who were a fan of Kimbra’s well-crafted debut, Vows, there is still plenty to enjoy on this new one. Carolina is a straight-forward soul number with oozing melodies while Miracle is an 80s-tinged funk jam that has seemingly been inspired by Prince. For every conventional moment there is a left-of-centre turn. Teen Heat‘s staccato-driven chorus explodes from mellow instrumentation and Waltz Me To The Grave has the grandiose of a slightly skewed Viennese Waltz. Below we’ve summed up our review of the album in an infographic to make it simpler to dissect some of our many thoughts about this ever-surprising record.

For those who want to play along at home you can stream The Golden Echo here.

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