REVIEW: Collarbones at Newtown Social Club | Return Album Launch


“Collarbones are like the Beatles of my generation.” – Travis Cook’s t-shirt, 2015

Fresh from festival appearances at Beyond The Valley and Field Day and the release of their third album, Return, Collarbones hit the road and we were lucky enough to catch them on the first leg of their tour. Managing to make the first gig of the tour their first ever sell out- it was bound to be an electric and memorable night.

Sydney synth-pop trio, Yoke, kicked off the night sending the entire audience into a hypnotic trance. Frontman Kyle’s super smooth vocals could only be described as the perfect combination of Fergie and Jesus. Paired with perfectly woven harmonies and elevating synth and keys by Jules and Corin, Yoke are definitely one to watch this year.

The stage was more than warmed up after performing crowd favourites such as Pink Crystal Heart and Burden off their latest EP, Jabiluka.

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HTMLflowers is honestly my favourite person in the world right now. As he walked onto stage sporting a Mac, thick plastic-rimmed glasses, white tennis shorts, a black zip-up jumper and mad scientist hair – I had no idea of what I was in for. Flowers yelled “TWENTY FIFTEEN!” numerous times before breaking into his first track of the set, B4 THE INTERNET WAS BORN.

The energy that this dude brought to the room was incredible – everyone was reeled in by his experimental beats and hard-hitting lyrics. Flowers’ quirky antics and rhymes won the hearts and full attention of the entire audience.

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The reception of Collarbones as they walked on stage was intense. It was a sold-out show and Travis and Marcus were noticeably excited to deliver a collection of tracks including old favourites like Teenage Dream, Burnout and Hypothermia whilst introducing newbies from Return.

The boys began their set with the atmospheric and echoic Flush which sent a captivating wave over the crowd that settled everyone for a few minutes. The tranquil quickly vanished as they dropped Only Water, which was laced with heavy synth and a hook that will stay in your mind for weeks- it was clear this was a definite crowd favourite.

It’s clear that Travis has a knack of holding the audience in his palm as he layers element upon element, keeping everyone in suspense and waiting for the drop. In I Would I Will, I felt as if Marcus’ vocals were at times subdued by the power of the synth and Travis’ decks. 

One of their earlier releases, Die Young, lacked emotion from the pair and I felt as if this was the least gripping track of the night. Emoticon brought life (and a little RnB vibe) back into the duo and the crowd, with Marcus jumping around the stage and Travis head banging behind his decks. This was their latest single released off the album and caused the crowd to lose all inhibitions and control of their bodies. Following this banger was another, Turning. The electricity that flowed throughout the whole audience was evident as members of the crowd sang along with Marcus, “I’m not giving it up!”

No, Collarbones are not giving it up. They’ve embarked on a national tour, experienced selling out for the first time (the good type) and are on their way to conquer the world. This was a gig that Collarbones should definitely be proud of.

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OutsideIn Festival Report Card


Now in its third year, Astral People’s OutsideIn Festival has quietly become one of Sydney’s best festivals. As curators of electronic music they don’t come much smarter than Astral People and as such OutsideIn always has a lineup that sparks plenty of interest.

2014 delivered another stellar lineup that brought together both international and local acts, young and old to celebrate electronica, RnB, hip-hop and everything in between. Its new venue of Manning House in Sydney Uni was a perfect spot for its compact crowd, providing two outdoor stages and the indoor mainstage.

Holding it on the same week as Stereosonic made for an interesting sight on the streets of Sydney as fluoro-clad shredders walked next to kimono-wearing, hipsters. Choosing OutsideIn was a great choice for the interns- not just because we didn’t have to back-up for #2days but because the Festival grinned with a pleasant, happy-go-lucky crowd and plenty of stellar music.

Our only complaint? Stocking Red Bull as the only mixer for Vodka. For non-beer drinkers, that equals a very unhappy heart by the end of the day. It also evokes nightmarish dreams of Schoolies at 4am in the morning when you’re trying to settle your heart down because of said Red Bull.

On a lighter note, as it was set in Sydney Uni, we thought we’d take the scholastic connection very literally and write a report card of who we caught at OutsideIn.

Collarbones (A)

With their new album, Return, only released the day before OutsideIn, there were concerns that the boys may be unprepared for their debut. Those fears were quickly squashed, however. Collarbones are fast learners and they effortlessly melded the old with the new during their set. Marcus Whale is an unbelievably charismatic frontman and he thrashes his body around along with the pulsating beats of Travis Cook. Of the new album, Emoticon and Turning were clear standouts. The latter’s explosion into a bass-heavy, triumphant finish has to be one of the finest moments in Australian electronica this year. They may have begun early, but Collarbones took advantage of some mid-afternoon tipsiness.

Performance: Outstanding

Crowd Response: Good

Overall: Good

Brenmar (A+)

Chicago-born, New York-living producer Brenmar is a crowd-pleaser if ever we’ve seen one. Working with buzz label, Fools Gold, the producer churns out a set of high-BPM, bass-heavy tunes that oscillate between Jersey club, RnB and trap. As well as including his own original tunes he dropped a perfect cocktail of tracks at times drawing heavy on the nostalgia. His spin of Daniel Bedingfield’s Gotta Get Through This, deserves a special mention as the crowd went absolutely bonkers, as they did also for Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda. He gauged the crowd’s vibe immediately and followed it through the peaks and troughs.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Outstanding

Overall: Outstanding

Basenji (B)

Young Aussie producer, Basenji, is on many people’s hype list right now and for good reason. He’s has a pretty spectacular year, topping it off with his track Heirloom which has become a staple for any fan of Aussie electronica this year. His OutsideIn set also doubled as a birthday celebration for the producer and as such he was ready to get #turnt. Looking like he could’ve also taken to Rod Laver Arena for a hit of tennis, Basenji served up a refreshing, cohesive set of future-bass. It all culminated in Heirloom - a track that just drips with sunshine-induced beats and icy synths.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Satisfactory

Overall: Good

Giraffage (A-)

San-Francisco producer Giraffage was one of the main drawcards on the lineup and drew one of the biggest crowds of the day on the mainstage. His sound may be far more down-tempo than fellow Fools Gold signee, Brenmar, but it was no less effective. His own original material like Feels and Tell Me went down an absolute treat with skittering percussion and cloud-like synths. Things really kicked into gear when he dropped his remix of Janet Jackson’s Someone To Call My Lover which had an excitable crowd in ecstasy. There was only one thing that could top that and while we never would've expected it, his spin of Darude’s Sandstorm was the greatest moment of the day, if not our lives.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Good

Overall: Good

Pantha Du Prince (C+)

Introspective acts often don’t work in festival environments, particularly when the sun is still shining. There is no doubt that Pantha Du Prince is a marvel live but his OutsideIn set felt somewhat uncomfortable given the time of day and the mood of the crowd. Wearing a hood and covered in-part by smoke he gave off the same kind of mysterious vibe that his music complimented but it felt a little bizarre. With the amount of DJs at OutsideIn relying solely on their decks it was nice to see a producer with an interesting set-up but Pantha Du Prince is definitely an act to be enjoyed in the intimacy of a solo gig. He needs closed-in walls, a midnight set and a devoted audience. OutsideIn could deliver none of these.

Performance: Satisfactory

Crowd Response: Fair

Overall: Satisfactory

Cut/Copy DJs (A-)

Cut/Copy were the eleventh hour saviours of OutsideIn after Swedish producer HNNY pulled out. In hindsight it made a lot of sense that Cut/Copy should be on the bill, given that they’ve just released their Oceans Apart mixtape which celebrates Melbourne electronica. Their DJ set at OutsideIn saw frontman Dan Whitford take to the decks to showcase many of the artists featured on Oceans Apart. The set stayed at a steady, twilight-ready tempo for the most part, detouring at the end to bring it home strong. Whitford dropped SBTRKT’s New Dorp New York (a somewhat confusing choice in a set dedicated to Melbourne electronica) to an elated crowd and followed it up with the centrepiece of Oceans Apart, Brenda by Ara Koufax. It was a triumphant, hands-in-the-air moment, that made us pretty proud to be witnessing Aussie electronica right now, as we glanced around at hefty, joyful crowd.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Good

Overall: Good

Black Vanilla (A+)

Black Vanilla’s set was the second of the day for both Collarbones’ Marcus Whale and Guerre’s Guerre but there was no drop in energy from either. Black Vanilla have embraced this abrasive RnB/electronica crossover that requires full commitment and maximum crowd participation for it to work. Luckily for them, both those things were in order for their brilliant OutsideIn set. They layed down a set of new songs and songs from their Cloaks EP that would have made Kanye West proud. Cassius Selects beats are industrial, gritty and bass-heavy, with the crowd chests pummeled by the onslaught of music. Meanwhile Whale and Guerre stand out front working the crowd into a frenzy. The two of them go back and forth at each other with the same kind of energy as an act like The Prodigy. Whales' final dance-break in a circle he’d created in the crowd was pretty breathtaking. As compact as the crowd may have been, Black Vanilla garnered the best response of the day.

Performance: Outstanding

Crowd Response: Outstanding

Overall: Outstanding

Check out our OutsideIn photo gallery below. 


10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week: CHVRCHES, Azealia Banks, Collarbones + More


It’s coming dangerously close to the end of the year which means everybody is rushing out music before people replace new music with the Mariah Carey christmas album (the first one, of course) for a good two months. That’s very good news for us, as a website that likes to dabble in new music, because we have a plethora of things to choose from each week. Here’s 10 songs that we will be keeping locked away for the Christmas period new music drought.

Little Simz x Jakwob - Time Capsule

If you don’t know Little Simz, it’s time you got on her Soundcloud and got to know this London rapper. She’s firing off some killer verses over beautifully crafted beats and her latest, Time Capsule proves that. This retrospective track, goes from warm and encapsulating to industrial and hard in a matter of seconds, providing a thrilling listen.

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Nao- Good Girl

You may know London songstress Nao from the killer track she did with Jai Paul’s brother A.K., So Good. Good Girl proves that the singer has even more to offer, with a soulful, personable voice that finds just the right route through distant beats. It’s got the same kind of effortless pop vibe as Solange’s True EP and we’re more than ok with this.

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Collarbones- Only Water (Feat. Oscar Key Sung)

We’re big fans of Australian duo Collarbones, basically just because they’re cool guys but we’re also very much obsessed with their music. A new album, Return, will find its way into your ears by the end of November but in the meantime they’ve dropped Only Water with Oscar Key Sung. The pair make perfect sense together and the track is a bubbling, dense creation of beauty.

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Klo. - Under Lie

From one Australian duo to another, Melbournites Klo. have been churned out two great songs already and their third, Under Lie, may just be the best. It seems more ambitious than its predecessors, with the vocals of Chloe Kaul far more self-assured than we’ve heard before. She ducks in and out of the heights of her range over a broken-down, minimal beat that gives plenty of space for a slinky melody. This isn’t hype anymore, these guys are good. Real good.

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BenZel- Touch (Feat. Ryn Weaver)

So Ryn Weaver popped out of nowhere to become the popstar most likely to in 2014 and BenZel also seemingly came out of nowhere (but then it turned out they were actually Two Inch Punch and Benny Blanco, so yeah). As such, this pairing makes total sense as a fresh little pop song of budding stars. Weaver delivers a few stunning verses in between BenZel’s beat-heavy assault. It’s an aesthetic we haven’t heard from them yet and makes us excited for the diversity of the Men EP

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Future- Never Satisfied (Feat. Drake)

A clip of this track was actually on Future’s brilliant Honest, which is a little odd. The album was obviously snatched from them before they could finish the song but thank goodness Drake and Future got back to work and finished the track. The difference with this version is that there’s an extra Future and Drake verse and you don’t get that overwhelming sense of disappointment that comes with a song finishing at 1 minute and 56 seconds. Ugh.

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Tourist- Illuminate (Feat. Years & Years)

One night I got drunk and proclaimed that Years & Years were going to be the biggest band this year. Obviously, that was slightly hyperbolic but I still believe they’re going to be a big deal. Maybe more in the Alt-J way than The Rolling Stones way. Anyway, they’ve teamed up with budding British producer, Tourist for the delectable Illuminate. Basically, it’s one of the smoothest cuts we’ve heard since Disclosure’s Latch. The voice is velvety and malleable and the beat flicks and rush as if to orchestrate the heart.

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It’s really not a week at all if Glasgow trio CHVRCHES aren’t in the news in someway. This week they’ve contributed to the soundtrack of small independent movie, The Hunger Games, which has actually been curated by fresh 18 year-old, Lorde. CHVRCHES suit the whole, dim-lit, serious vibe of The Hunger Games and bring a finessed loveliness to the table on Dead Air. The chorus is gloriously climatic, reminding just how freekend good this band is.

Azealia Banks- Ice Princess

If time is money, then it’s no wonder Azealia Banks is broke. Oh Azealia, how we’ve waited for this album. For all the fuss she’s created over the past few years, she dropped Broke With Expensive Taste with relatively little fanfare just dropping it straight on iTunes like she’s Beyonce. Upon first listen, Ice Princess, is the standout. A quick tongued track that oscilates between a traditional hi-hop instrumental and a four-to-the-floor dance beat. Banks sounds completely in control and refreshingly laid back.

Ryn Weaver- OctaHate (Feat. Cashmere Cat)

So this week is obviously all about Ryn Weaver, which we’re fine with if we’re going to jump on the next big popstar train. Our last mention of Weaver comes in the way of the remix Cashmere Cat did of her song Octahate, which he actually produced in the first place. The remix sounds far more CC than the original, with solemn, building verses and hell-raising drops. He keeps Weaver’s vocals pretty much intact which is nice because we quite like her voice.

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Collarbones Team Up With Oscar Key Sung For 'Only Water'

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We are only weeks away from hearing the new Collarbones record, Return, but in the meantime they've dropped Only Water featuring Melbourne artist Oscar Key Sung. Both Collarbones and OKS are doing great things for the Australian electronic music scene so it's great to see them pair up for Only Water. The track is exactly what you'd expect from them, a lush exploration of jittery RnB and dense electronica. Unlike the manic Turning, Only Water lies back in the beat more, cruising along with soulful vocals. Collarbones always impress and Return is going to be all time. We're sure of it.

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The next Australian artists to make it overseas


aussieartistsYou only have to look at the overseas festival circuit to know that Australia is a musical hotspot. Glastonbury, Coachella, Primavera, Roskilde and more have seen Flume, The Preatures, Jagwar Ma, Courtney Barnett and Anna Lunoe grace the stage to hundreds of thousands of people this year, showing that Australia is no longer the isolated scene that it used to be.

Many of these artists came from humble beginnings. Courtney Barnett started out as a Triple J Unearthed artists and was still working at a pub in Melbourne only a year ago. Anna Lunoe rose up the Australian club scene ranks with party contingent, HOOPS, with Nina Las Vegas and Bad Ezzy. And Flume, do we really need to go there? Within the blink of an eye, he’d gone from shy schoolboy to friend of Skrillex.

It was only two years ago that Gotye stormed the charts with Somebody That I Used To Know and shined a spotlight on Australia. From there, Tame Impala have become NME and Pitchfork favourites, Noel Gallagher has called Jagwar Ma the “future of the galaxy” and, dare I say, 5 Seconds of Summer have had the highest selling debut in the US of any Australian act.

At the end of 2012, NME called the Australian scene, “easily the most exciting in the world”, but two years later are we still? Below are six artists that we believe are the next to be snatched from this barren land and thrown into obscurity overseas.

Tkay Maidza

This 19 year old firecracker needs little introduction. We’ve already lauded her over a number of times on the interns and we’re not about to stop. Following her explosive single, Brontosaurus, she’s captivated festival audiences with her pop-crossover raps which place her somewhere between Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks with more cool and less tantrum tendencies. Her latest track Uh-Huh is an expertly crafted pop tune with a sheen that beats just about everything at commercial radio right now. Unlike most hip-hop coming out of Australia she is accent-neutral and clearly understands the genres that are shining through internationally at the moment.

What they’re saying overseas:  “Well it’s Friday so let’s crown a SONG OF THE WEEK. It’s Tkay Maidza’s ‘U-Huh’” Popjustice


The duo of Marcus Whale and Travis Cook have been chipping away at it for a while but we feel they’re on the edge of their international break. They’ve been championing the RnB revival far before it was in vogue and their last album Die Young, is by any standards, superb. They’re currently gearing up for the release of their next album, Return, and are embracing a more outright melodic pop sound as demonstrated by the first single, Turning. It’s likely to make them more approachable for an international audience clamoring for anything that sounds remotely like the early 2000s. Last year, The Guardian called them one of ‘The best Australian bands you’ve never heard of’.

What they’re saving overseas: “together they make some rather fine electronica-inflected R&B.” The Guardian

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Tiaan was born in Australia but she’s currently residing in LA so she’s already halfway there but it looks like this year may be the year she breaks out. If that is the case, we will, of course, hurry her back to the country for a victory run. We don’t know a whole lot about her apart from the fact that she’s just released two slices of effortless RnB in the way of, Clean and Devil’s Touch. The standout is the latter which combines the restraint of Jessie Ware with the sensuality of RnB contemporaries like Tinashe and Kelela. Its chorus slowly creeps up to you and then works away at your ears with a subtle but addictive melody. There’s a lot of people trying to emulate this sound right now and TIAAN nails it.

What they’re saying overseas: “a super-smart, smartly sparse electronic R&B 'jam' that only a colossal idiot could fail to find completely beautiful.” Popjustice

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D.D. Dumbo

This central Victorian native has already been making some serious headway overseas this year, but his takeover should be even more extensive once he releases some music. His last release was his self-titled debut EP, released in 2013, which was built upon crunching guitar riffs and industrial percussion. The standout of that was, Tropical Oceans which centred around his heavenly vocal riff. Since that release he’s played SXSW, impressing NME and NPR and he’s signed to 4AD Records which is home to artists like Bon Iver and St. Vincent. He’s set to take on Australia’s version of SXSW, BIGSOUND, next month to further spread his influence.

What they’re saying overseas: “Mystery seems to swirl around D.D.’s hard to nail down his influences.” NPR

George Maple

We’re going out on a limb with this one given that Maple hasn’t released any formal solo material since last year’s seductive, Fixed but that was enough for us to know Maple is something special. She’s currently living over in London with her heart clearly set on overseas success. Many may not know it but she’s already been casting her spell over an Australian audience with her features on tracks by Flume and Goldroom in the past year. She can be distinguished by smokey low-register and the ability to reach giddy heights when she draws her notes out. Just last week she was back in the country touring with Little Dragon as her first official gig since signing with Future Classic. Given Future Classic have had a hand in crafting the careers of Jagwar Ma and Flume, we think she’s in safe hands.

What they’re saying overseas? ““Fixed”, is an earworm that emphasizes Maple's tender, warm register.” Pitchfork

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Japanese Wallpaper

At the tender age of 17 Gab Strum, aka. Japanese Wallpaper has already made a few fans. His track, Breathe In, was chosen to feature in Zach Braff’s film Wish I Was Here alongside tracks by Bon Iver and Cat Power and he’s also been chosen as the winner of Triple J’s Unearthed High. His tracks are atmospheric, lush creations that are comfortable by lulling at a low tempo. Breathe In which features Brisbane vocalist, WAFIA, is an inspiring production. It twinkles with bedroom keys in the middle section and floats into dense instrumentation in the latter part. For a young producer, he has an impressive confidence that allows him to play things at his own pace and in the meantime mesmerize thousands. That kind of charm is likeable far beyond just Australia.

What they’re saying overseas? “There’s something oddly warming in his sound which has managed to grab a good number of ears.” Earmilk

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10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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