A quietly cocky bop.
A quietly cocky bop.
This week Chet Faker shaved his beard off and that made national news. That's a good sign that it was a really exciting week in music. Here are 10 other things that happened this week that we, unbelievably, thought were equally or even more interesting than the beard shave.
Ch-Ching feels like the biggest pop record the duo has made yet. It’s still got that distinctive Chairlift aesthetic but it’s a much bigger sounding affair for them. There are horns, trap-inspired drops and a flirty chorus. It sounds as if it’s been plucked from a new LP which will hopefully be upon us soon.
Love For That (Feat. Shura)
This is almost too much to handle. British producer Mura Masa and British vocalist Shura are two of our absolute favourite newcomers this year so the fact that they have come together for a tune is very exciting indeed. Love For That is heartbreakingly beautiful. Shura lays down her gentle, textured tones over Mura Masa's crystalline beat that flourishes at various points throughout the track. It's the first single of a forthcoming album and what an introduction it is.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/muramasamusic/love-for-that[/soundcloud]
MØ is firing off a her huge hit with Major Lazer Lean On and she’s keeping the momentum going with another Diplo-produced banger Kamikaze. She debuted the songs on BBC Radio 1 this week and it’s an instant smash. It’s bound by a greek-flavoured instrumental riff which is weird but wonderful and peppered by a sweet pop melody. It’s by far the most radio-ready thing she’s done to date without compromising her usual style.
Just Like We Never Said Goodbye
Enigmatic producer SOPHIE is gearing up to release a singles collection of sorts called PRODUCT and Just Like We Never Said Goodbye is the stirring closer on that. Driven by a sweet otherworldly vocal, it's more reminiscent of QT than his own solo work but it's so goddamn addictive. The melody is an absolute knockout and it feels like the corny but somehow emotional end to a '90s prom movie. By the time you get to the end of this you won't know why you're shedding a tear but you are and that's beautiful.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/msmsmsm/sophie-just-like-we-never-said-goodbye[/soundcloud]
Melbourne producer Roland Tings is on a hot streak right now. He’s just come off the Listen Out festival tour, has been on a national headline tour and has also lined up appearances at Paradise Music Festival and Sugar Mountain. Hedonist comes as his popularity is at a career peak but that hasn’t made him change a thing. The track is an eight minute plus, club-burner that sizzles away with crisp production and industrial beat work.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/rolandtings/hedonist-1[/soundcloud]
Quiet Minds (Feat. Emily)
Brisbane producer Feki has finally dropped the follow up to his breakthrough single Remember from earlier this year. This latest effort is called Quiet Minds and shows a much smoother side to his production, as well as some gorgeous vocals by Emily from Yuuca. You really get the feeling from this one that we’ve only just scratched the surface of the immense talent that is Feki.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/fekibeats/feki-quiet-minds-feat-emily[/soundcloud]
Jack Garratt's last track Weathered really put the British singer on the map. It was played everywhere from triple j to Beats 1 and eventually even nabbed a cover by Ellie Goulding. His next offering Breathe Of Life is just as stirring. It's a big, hearty pop song driven by funky keys and flooding electronic work. His voice is always the main draw point though. He effortlessly flicks between his lower register and falsetto making everything he touches instantly dynamic.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/jack-garratt/breathelife[/soundcloud]
MKO SUN is a Brisbane artist who's coupling left-centre pop songs with beautiful visuals from the single artwork to the videos. Her latest is Michiko - a track that fluctuates between gentle piano and aggressive electronics. It chops and changes a number of times in terms of the sonic soundscape but it's all tied together by an immediately resonating melody. It's great to see an Aussie artist really pushing some boundaries and not alienating audiences at the same time.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/mkosunmusic/michiko[/soundcloud]
BOSCO is a US artist signed to Fools Gold - the label which she released her brilliant EP BOY on earlier this year. She's followed up that release with the equally excellent PLYGRD which places her somewhere between the ethereal nature of FKA twigs and the electronica-meets-R&B vibe of Dawn Richard. Her voice has such a smooth but smokey texture to it and coupled with the interesting soundscape, PLYGRD is a knock out.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/hellobosco/plygrd-prod-reo-2[/soundcloud]
Avocado Galaxy (Lissvik Remix)
Aussie Future Classic duo World Champion got more than a few people excited when they dropped their groovey debut single Avocado Galaxy a few month back and now they're following that up with a remix EP. One of those remixes is by Swedish producer Lissvik who's transformed the song into a warped, atmospheric cut retaining the original vocal melody. The remix EP is out 23rd October and also features remixes by Tornado Wallace and Ras G.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/futureclassic/avocado-galaxy-lissvik-remix[/soundcloud]
So much music from established artists comes our way each day that it’s easy to get distracted from the vast amount of gold that’s being churned out by new artists. This is a collection of eight songs that are brilliant in their own right but also introduced us to the artist and mark them as ones to watch in 2015.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/onlygirlmusic/remains-1[/soundcloud]
London singer-songwriter Ellen Murphy, going by the name of Only Girl, has a pretty interesting story behind this track Remains. As she told The Fader, it was written after her boyfriend had spent two years recovering from a brain injury. It’s about getting back to her old self and learning to love her boyfriend again and as such it has this beautiful feeling of regrowth to it. It’s like London Grammar have been taken to church, with the stunning lyric “I will rebuild this heart, with what remains of me.” Her voice coupled with those lyrics hit you right in the heart, exactly where it should.
Can’t Give A Fuck
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/kranium1/kranium-give-a-fuck-raw-prod-by-lmr[/soundcloud]
Kranium is a New York-based, Jamaican-born reggae-dancehall artist who has been gaining momentum in the US this year. In January he signed a major label deal with Atlantic Records and last month Ty Dolla $ign jumped on his single Nobody Has To Know. He has arrived at exactly the right time with Popcaan making waves stateside and Rihanna looking for dancehall artists to work with. Can’t Give A Fuck is his latest drop and it’s a breezy, easy tune with an effortless flow.
Pray For Me
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/espamusic/pray-for-me[/soundcloud]
London-based Espa. has been popping songs on her Souncloud for the better part of a year but she’s really struck gold with this latest one. Pray For Me treads a careful line between kooky pop and throwback RnB stringing us along for the stellar chorus which shimmers. Her voice carries some serious wait but it’s also textured enough to some sweetness to her runs. It’s as if BANKS has come out of the darkness and re-emerged wearing crystals.
Just Like Honey
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/noireband/just-like-honey[/soundcloud]
Sydney has its fair-share of happy-go-lucky alt-bands but it has a dark, underbelly that is often unexplored musically. Thank goodness for four-piece NOIRE who are crafting haunting, brooding tunes that sounds so far away from a soundtrack-to-summer song. The Just Like Honey basically describes the song with a simile that’s hard to beat. It’s rich and smooth but also steeped in black and white tones which make it dark but also classy.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/vvvigilantes/elasticity-1[/soundcloud]
As soon as you hear a song has live saxophone on it, you press play straight away, no questions asked. That’s exactly how we hooked onto Elasticity by Sydney duo Angela and David who go under the moniker of Vigilantes. Elasticity is born from ‘80s pop but it still manages to sound completely current with RnB undertones finding their way into the melody. That saxophone solo we were talking about comes in at the end and elevates the track to another level, one that could define the festival season if Vigilantes play their cards right.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/rytmeklubben/girlfriend[/soundcloud]
A Norwegian four-man producer-club Rytmeklubben may confuse you a bit but don’t let that put you off this track Girlfriend. Rytmeklubben consists of producers Henrik The Artist, Hi Tom, Torjus and DJ Karaoke who have all come together for a collaborative EP which will feature this track and their own solo tracks. Girlfriend is a saccharine, pop-drenched club track which follows closely in the footsteps of PC Music. It’s so sweet and full of melody that it’s hard to believe that it came out of a country that spends basically six months of the year without sun. Whatever the climate of their country suggests, the climate of this song is hot, hot, hot.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/foolsgoldrecs/bosco-seventh?in=foolsgoldrecs/sets/bosco-boy[/soundcloud]
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, allow us to let you know that the electronica/RnB crossover genre is hot right now (heck, even Daniel Johns is doing it), but only a few are really nailing it. Here’s one of those arists that’s really nailing it - Atlanta-based singer BOSCO. She’s just realised her BOY via risk-takers Fool’s Gold Records and it’s a refined, daring collection of songs which established her as a real force to be reckoned with. Seventh is one of the finest songs from that collection. It’s a breathy, slow-burner that draws comparisons to FKA twigs and Kelela yet still manages to portray her as an artist in her own right.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/mr-jacob/grace[/soundcloud]
We’ve become overly used to hearing soulful electronic songs but none like this. London-based singer Jacob Banks’ voice goes deeper than that. He channels Muddy Waters territory (the singer, not the terrain) as he grunts over an organic instrumental that adopts beats in the second verse. It may take you a few listens to get your head around it but once you do it’s rewarding. It feels like there’s a real density to the track and at the same time it’s a spiritual listen.
Here are all the songs in a handy Soundcloud playlist:
While we started the week with The Script performing at the Logies and celebrities somewhat distastefully referencing Chinese fashion at the Met Gala, things seem to have only gotten better. These 10 songs could be the best collection we've had this year to date and it manages to put Britney Spears in the same article as Tame Impala, so there are wins all round.
This week it came out that Miguel was getting sued for that incident in which he kicked someone in the head a few years ago accidentally but the release of his new track Coffee (Fucking) still managed to outshine that news. The track is rumoured to be the first taste of his third LP Wild Heart and is an extended version of the same track that originally appeared on his late 2014 EP. This version features an added verse from Wale but it's still all about Miguel's ridiculously smooth vocal. This track stacks up to anything that was on his last record Kaleidoscope Heart and just has us hanging out for the next track.
Eventually is the forth song we've heard off Tame Impala's forthcoming third album Currents and we tend to agree with frontman Kevin Parker that it's one of the best. Apparently he dreamt it up on the back of a scooter and it's essentially a break-up song. It's not your standard break-up tale filled with bitterness though, it's a sweet tune about moving on so both parties can be happier. That sentiment is delivered in the form of a sprawling, synth-driven chorus which elevate's Parker's voice up amongst the angels. Stunning stuff once again from the Perth boys.
Why Make Sense?
What better time to release a song titled Why Make Sense? than on the same day as a particularly convoluted British election. This is the title track off Hot Chip's forthcoming sixth album and it also closes the album. To listen to it you have to head to an unbelievably confusing British election news website because, well, why make sense? It's one of Hot Chip's more organic tracks, driven by a crushing drum-line that's complimented by flighty synths.
We're used to hearing toy-like, colourful tunes from Las Vegas native Shamir but this week he slowed it down, delivering the soaring ballad Darker. It's from his debut album Ratchet which drops next week and showcases the singer really opening his lungs and letting it rip. "It doesn't get darker, unless you expect it to," Shamir sings being both melancholic and uplifting at the same time. It's good to hear another different side of Shamir, who's becoming an impressively multi-faceted artist.
Diamonds (Feat. Charli XCX)
Giorgio Moroder mostly released tunes when piracy wasn't an issue but he's really having a shit of a time keeping the tunes from his forthcoming record Deja Vu under-wraps. Diamonds his track with Charli XCX leaked this week and while it's bad news for Moroder, it's fantastic news for us as we get to hear another heavenly slice of disco-perfection with added XCX. It encapsulates Charli's rebellious energy and Moroder's disco-tinged melodies perfectly and has the potential to be his big hit from the album. Apparenly Charli wrote it when she was 15 years-old, on the same trip that she wrote Icona Pop's mega-hit I Love It on. Charli was asked how she felt about the track leaking and she responded, "I don't care that much." Great, let's dig in then.
Better In The Morning
British songstress Little Boots' tracks have often found a home in the clubs but on her new tracks she's telling everbody that things are Better In The Morning. It's the first single to come from her forthcoming album Working Girl and it's produced by Ariel Rechtshaid who's basically penned and produced every alternative hit in the past few years (HAIM, Sky Ferreira, Tobias Jesso Jr.). Boots' sweet voice sits atop a perky instrumental that stands up on its own but is also begging for some killer remixes. It's a quirky pop song but its has a subtle charm to it that begs for repeat listens. We're excited to see where Little Boots is going with this LP.
Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea
This song has seemingly been teased for longer than Britney's marriage with K-Fed lasted but it's finally here and it was probably worth the wait. Over the week Pretty Girls shot up the iTunes charts, particularly in the US and looks like it's about to give Britney her biggest hit in a little while. And that's because Britney sounds the most relevant she has in about five years. We could take or leave Iggy's parts but Britney actually really kills it alongside a hip-hop beat. This coupled with her track with Giorgio Morder, Tom's Diner, mean that 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty stellar year for the fallen popstar.
'90s RnB has probably been the most referenced genre this year and newcomer BOSCO is further proof of that. She's just been signed to Fool's Gold and this track Boy places her in the same spectrum as artists like Kelela and Tink. It's an incredibly confident, slinky track that she owns with her breathy harmonies. It may be an overcrowded genre but that just makes it easier to truly spot brilliance when it comes along and it looks like Fool's Gold have literally struck gold with BOSCO. Her Boy EP is out soon.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/foolsgoldrecs/bosco-boy-feat-jace[/soundcloud]
Believe (Feat. Chelou)
Maya Jane Cole, acting under her alter-ego Nocturnal Sunshine, is gearing up to release her LP on 22 May. Believe is the second single from that album and it features the vocal talents of up-and-coming singer Chelou. Cole is working on Chelou's debut album so it's fitting that he return the favour on one of her tracks. Believe is a dark, woozy track haunted by circling vocal samples over mind-bending keys. It's shows yet another dimension to Cole and has us hanging out for the record.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/nocturnalsunshinemusic/believe-ft-chelou[/soundcloud]
People have been mumbling Hopium's name under their breath for a while now but this should be the track that has them shouting. Right Now is the third release from the Melbourne duo and is arguably their best to date. It's a silken, angular track that's immaculately produced. What's even better is that the video shows a band that really knows their aesthetic and how to achieve it visually as well as sonically. Take these guys overseas stat, they're about to blow up.
Is it that music is getting better? Is it that we had a good week? Or is it that we’re overjoyed by the news that Adele will indeed be naming her album, 25? Whatever it is, these 10 tunes are just sounding that little bit better this week. Amongst the 10, we have the creme de la creme of hip-hop, a few triumphant comebacks and enough Ryan Hemsworth to fill our Pokedex. So go forth and check out the best 10 songs of the week. Gotta catch 'em all.
Kwamie Liv- comin THRU
Looking for Paper Planes without the tacky, dance-along moves? Look no further than the third offering from Danish-singer Kwamie Liv, comin THRU. There’s mellow, RnB undertones followed by a hip-hop-inspired chorus that pops like M.I.A’s hallmark track. Wanna' get down, pop-it and lock-it this weekend? Yeah, you do. Press play.
Vic Mensa- Feel That
It was always going to be a hard job following up Down on my Luck but Chicago rapper Vic Mensa has done a valiant job. We don’t publicly condone it, but if your Saturday looks anything like this video then you’ve had one helluva weekend. As for the track, it’s a hip-hop banger that lays a runaway train flow over sparse hip-hop beats.
The Drums- Magic Mountain
The Drums have gone from the beach to the mountains on this trippy comeback single. There’s a bit more noise, there’s a little bit more psychedelic but The Drums are still there at the core of it all. Stick around for the 2min 30 mark when it all gets a little bit spooky and we descend down the mountain and into the rabbit hole.
Tkay Maidza- U-Huh
Is there something in the Adelaide water? Motez, Allday and now 18-year old Tkay Maidza has taken to the stage as one of the most exciting new talents to watch in 2014. After seducing us with her catchy track Brontosaurus back in 2013, U-huh is Maidza's first single since signing with Brisbane label Dew Process - home to London Grammar, Mumford & Sons and Sarah Blasko. This track is crisp, sassy and the perfect blend of hip-hop and pop - in a way that Azealia Banks could only dream to replicate. Timed to perfection,this release comes as Tkay is set to play Splendour in the Grass next weekend, Listen Out and Big Sound in coming months. Be sure to catch her before the rest of the world eats her up!
Perfume Genius- Queen
Mike Hadreas (aka Perfume Genius) embraces his inner Freddy Mercury this week on the bold new track from his forthcoming album, Too Bright. It’s production is far denser than anything he’s done before with haunting whistles, brave percussion and a vocal that sees Perfume Genius take charge like never before. We’re not sure about the Perfume part but this one is definitely Genius.
Sinead Harnett- No Other Way (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)
Hemsworth is the guy you know and trust to do your work justice, and his re-work of London-based songstress Sinead Harnett's No Other Way is no exception. Production-wise, it is hard to fault him, serving up the perfect balance between soul, toyed melody and dancey electronica. The layered synths up the tempo of the catchy chilled-out original to produce the perfect mid-Winter pick-me-up.
Ryan Hemsworth- One For Me (Feat. Tinashe) (Lucas Remix)
*Wipes tears away*. Much Ryan Hemsworth this week, many feels. Seattle producer, Lucas does an emotional flip of Hemsworth's album cut, One For Me. Tinashe’s vocals are taken down a few notches to sound like a soulful male, while Lucas lays down keys and a steady beat. This song was already beautiful but this just takes it to another level. If you’re going through a breakup this weekend, press repeat. If not, press next.
MØ- Walk This Way (Lido Remix)
It’s everything video games and gaming arcades on the Lido remix of MØ’s track, Walk This Way. It introduces a whole new element of trickling synths and skittered beats that will possibly grate you and possibly won’t. Such is the joy of the democratic nature of music.
Astronomyy - Nothin On My Mind (Bearson Remix)
the interns have got tropical fever this week from La Roux’s Trouble in Paradise and the vibes are continuing with this remix of Astronomyy’s Nothing On My Mind. Oslo House producer, Bearson has reworked the already-chilled track with, taking us from beach to beach bar.
ODESZA - Memories That You Call (feat. Monsoonsiren)
Seattle-based duo ODESZA have dropped their dreamy first track from their upcoming second album, In Return. Awash with heavenly synths accompanied by purposeful percussion, Memories That You Call is an anthem of youth; painting pictures of wayward journeys across the plains.
And here's another. We're feeling generous:
Treasure Fingers & BOSCO- Names
Brooklyn label Fools Gold is quite literally a goldmine of tunes. Their latest delivery is from Atlanta Producer Treasure Fingers and it’s a disco cross hip-hop cross house number that’s exactly what it sounds like- a perfect amalgamation of sound. He’s joined by singer/songwriter BOSCO who effortlessly goes in between rapping and singing, sassiness and sensuality. Grab someone and grind them when listening to this. It will make so much more sense. Please make sure you know the person you grab.