FirstImpressions

First Impressions: Grimes, Chance The Rapper, EL VY And More

Grimes Image: The Fader

Grimes Image: The Fader

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick apart tracks by Grimes, Chance The Rapper, Blood Orange, EL VY, Wishes and DJDS.

Grimes
Flesh Without Blood

Ben Kyi: Ramping up the anticipation nicely prior to the release of her fourth LP, Claire Boucher aka Grimes, has dropped the catchy Flesh, Without Blood. The track showcases the smart and engaging electronic production of which Grimes is known for, while maintaining a much poppier edge compared to previous outings. Also worth noting is that Boucher’s vocals are a lot more discernible this time round than in the past. Flesh, Without Blood reaffirms the song-writing prowess of Boucher, and how much of a front runner she is within the field of electronica. The accompanying video clip is definitely worth a watch. Absolutely bonkers, though strangely brilliant. 5 Ben’s Pick

Jack Cain: I can see the indie quirky art students choking on their pencil tips after they read this next line but here goes, Flesh Without Blood sounds like it was written for and by the Veronicas. Which don't get me wrong is not a bad thing. That guitar riff is what makes this song so universal and the quicker people realise grimes as universal the better, and maybe not in the Taylor Swift style but maybe more in the Die antwoord style. This song is Grimes’ Can't Feel My Face, it's the song that people are going to go crazy over, because that's what happens when underground artists turn to pop music. even if it is just for a moment. 4.5

Sam Murphy: When I heard this for the first time last week and put it on loop and listened to it about 14 times before I convinced myself that I’d become extremely sick of it in a matter of days if I kept going this way. The last song I did that for happens to be Grimes’ Oblivion and while I can’t really explain it it’s got something to do with the way Grimes crafts her melodies. If you stripped everything back and put a singer like Katy Perry on them they would be bonafide hits but instead she gives them this alien-like quality that makes them completely enthralling. There’s something so bizarre and otherworldly about this song but then the lyrics are so real - “just let me go.” I love that she’s gaining the confidence to make those kind of personal statements. She’s a once in a generation artist and she just keeps getting more interesting. Flawless. 5 Sam's Pick

Blood Orange
Sandra’s Smile

Ben: While being a smooth and flowing R&B number, Blood Orange’s latest cut Sandra’s Smile doesn’t really get off the ground. The heavy subject matter hits all the right spots in a lyrical sense, but the track loses a bit of steam and finishes with a fairly abrupt fade out. It isn’t a bad song by any means. It’s just not overly memorable. 3

Jack:Blood Orange reminds me of Prince, but not so much the genius Prince that we all know and love. Maybe I like to imagine a prince who was formerly known as something else while figuring out how good he really was going to be/could be. I really like this song, it reminds me of the early 2000s which was a great era, but the song after a lot of listens lacks a lot of substance. On the surface it's good, but deep down if this song was released in the era where this music was popular it may of been great, but for me this has been done, and it's largely irrelevant now. The most exciting part of this song for me is the end. I want to hear more of whatever that beat fading out is. 3

Sam: To be completely honest I’ve already made my mind up about Dev Hynes and as such he could strum a guitar once and I’d find a way to wax lyrical about it. Sandra’s Smile is such a worthy and powerful story and Hynes has found the grooviest way to tell it. I feel like when dealing with subjects like this it’s so common to churn out a ballad but Hynes manages to channel the sadness and anger in this through funky guitar licks and ‘90s-tinged beat. It’s kind of like how Marvin Gaye would give real soul to his tracks dealing with the state of the world. I think Sandra’s Smile works as a song seperate to the story and just gets all the more powerful once you do know the story. 4

Chance The Rapper
Angels

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/chancetherapper/angels-feat-saba[/soundcloud]

Ben: An ode of sorts to his native hometown of Chicago, Angels sees Chance The Rapper spit intricate rhymes with ease, utilising his always dynamic flow. The backing track is giddily exciting and incorporates an infusion of jazz, topped off with the blowing of horns and the hitting of a steel drum. Along for the ride on guest vocals is the excellent Saba, who only further compliments the cadences delivered by Chance. Fantastic stuff. 4.5

Jack: LIDO, that is all. Seriously this beat is what I'm talking about when I say I want a real good hip hop beat in 2015, this beat is the hero for me it's like college dropout 2k15 edition.  I feel even Kanye West himself would be sitting in his room listening to this bouncing his head around to it while complimenting himself constantly. Chance is on fire in the verses painting a lyrical picture of life in his city and it's refreshing to hear some uplifting hip hop every once in awhile.This song is like drinking 3 litres of water after a huge weekend of no sleep and pingaz. just so good! 5 Jack’s Pick

Sam: As much as I loved Surf, I’m glad to see Chance putting out songs under his own moniker again. Angels doesn’t disappoint at all turning the joy to 100 with flaring horns and a beat that sounds drunk. Chance meanwhile runs all over it like the poetic master that he is switching up the flow at every corner. That hooks is also instantly memorable and because of that it has the potential to be Chance’s biggest single to date. He is also such a positive force in the rap game right now and that’s exactly what we need right now. 4.5

EL VY
Silent Ivy Hotel

Ben: Featuring the unmistakably smooth vocal delivery from The National’s Matt Berninger, the low key Silent Ivy Hotel harks back to the 1970’s for inspiration, with a definite Doors vibe shining through. The balance between the instrumentation is fantastic, as the two utilise vintage organs and keys, jaunty guitar work and solid drumming to great effect. If El Vy’s debut LP is anything like Silent Ivy Hotel, then the duo are sure to have an absolute winner on their hands. 4

Jack Since it was me who suggested this song be thrown in the mix I better give it a good wrap, and I will do that. This song is eerily reminiscent of the 1970s. Reminds me of haunting organs you'd hear in The Doors songs or The Animals. The song is a sad tale of never being able to work it out with someone no matter how much time you spend together, it makes you want to go get a bottle and sit on a rooftop and cry. The guitar riff bounces along with the drums and cuts in and out constantly. It's almost in a similar way the Arctic Monkeys used their guitars on Crying Lightning. So yes I like this song a lot but it's mostly here so i can talk about the fact that the EL-VY album which was also released this week is one of the best albums I've heard all year. No Time To Crank The Sun and It's A Game are pure genius. Matt Berninger from The National is no newcomer, and it shows all over this project. 4.

Sam: In my opinion, Matt Berninger is one of the best lyricists around. He’s honest and straight to the point and so is his voice which is obviously the perfect pairing. Silent Ivy Hotel is so bare particularly in the first verse that his voice is the main event and it seems to be even more croaky than what it is usually like on The National tracks. The atmosphere of the whole track is scary, a little sleazy and also sad which is not an easy thing to achieve at all and I’m completely in agreeance Jack about it reflecting The Arctic Monkeys’ Crying Lightning in some ways. I’m not a huge fan of the chorus as I feel it doesn’t really go anywhere but the bridge is really strong and the choir at the end gets me going. 3.5

Wishes
I Wanna Be Alone With You

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/wishesmusic/i-want-to-be-alone-with-you-1[/soundcloud]

Ben: Recalling the electro-pop stylings of Passion Pit and Foster The People in equal measures, I Wanna Be Alone With You is the impressive debut single from Sydney producer Wishes. The track slinks along at a steady pace and shows off some nifty production. Bound to get your feet moving and a vocal line or two stuck in the head, Wishes is one producer to watch. 3

Jack: This song reminds me of Dance The Way I Feel, While Ben recalls Foster the people and Passion pit I’m much more reminded of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, but hey those three in total are still good comparisons if you are a small Australian electronic music producer. I’m thinking there are a lot of other producers out there who wish they were Wishes, and I bet all of you who hadn't heard this song before now are all wishing you heard of Wishes earlier. I know very little about Wishes myself, but it won't be long till he is signed to a major label and all over your radio’s, Rufus watch out, There's a vocalist with a dance formula to rival the best in town. 4

Sam: Maybe it’s because I’ve had the latest Neon Indian record on repeat but the first time I heard this I was hooked in the first few seconds. Four or five years ago everyone was making this kind of indie-electro music off the back of the Passion Pit record but it’s such a difficult thing to actually get right and make interesting. I Want To Be Alone With You is effortlessly joyous with a DIY charm and it manages that without sounding messy or cheesy. The atmosphere that he creates over the hook with those swirling synths and rollicking drums is beautiful as is the paired-back climax. I will dance to this at least 20 times this summer and I will not stop summer until that is achieved. 4

DJDS
Stand Up And Speak

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/bodyhigh/djds-stand-up-and-speak[/soundcloud]

Ben: Stand Up And Speak by DJDS, formerly DJ Dodger Stadium, has real potential. Which is why it is so frustrating that the track has glimpses of sheer delight, which are unfortunately cancelled out by some really uninspired sections. What could have been a solid dance track has really been hampered by the presence of a lacklustre build and not much of a payoff. The song doesn’t take you anywhere you haven’t been previously. 2

Jack: I listened to this song once and that was enough, I listened to the whole thing only so I would know how to summarise it. And in short (because all of these are in short) it's pretty disappointingly boring. I'm a fan of djds too, and i'm just  left constantly disappointed, at every moment you think this song is going to take off, it just doesn't. It's like the musical equivalent of trying to masturbate and every time you get close to orgasming your mum walks in or your dog comes to your window. I get what the song is trying to do, but what it ended up doing was something that's been done to do death by now. 1

Sam: My favourite thing about DJDS is that you never really know what route they’re going to take. You’re not always guaranteed a climax and you’re not always guaranteed reprieve from an aggressive beat. It’s off-putitng but there’s something really thrilling about that. The first thing I noticed about this is that there’s an actual vocal in here whereas they usually rely just on one looped sentence. As such I kind of expected it to take off like a huge house tune. The second time I listened I reminded myself it was DJDS and I’m bloody hooked. I love that they continue to layer and layer leading you to a climax that never comes. It feels anxious and that’s a mood that’s underrepresented in dance music. Can’t wait to hear what the new albums like given their past three releases have been so different. 4

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Grimes Releases 'Scream' Featuring Taiwanese Rapper, Aristophanes

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Earlier this week Grimes gifted us with strong contender for song of the year Flesh Without Blood. Now she has dropped Scream, a far departure from its pop-tinged predecessor, which pretty does what it says on the tin.  The third, 'nu-metal' single from her upcoming album Art Angels features screaming, gritty electric guitar, whistles, heavy breathing and grunting, all led by a steady marching drum. Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes features as guest vocalist on the track, exploring the opposing forces of loud and soft. It's abrasive to the ears and a heightener of the blood pressure, yet has the polished production and melodic immediacy we've come to expect from the Canadian producer. Heads up, don't listen to this at work with volume on full blast.

Art Angels is due for release 6 November 2015. Tracklisting below. 

Art Angels tracklisting:

01. laughing and not being normal
02. California
03. SCREAM (feat. Aristophanes)
04. Flesh without Blood
05. Belly of the beat
06. Kill V. Maim
07. Artangels
08. Easily
09. Pin
10. Realiti
11. World Princess part II
12. Venus Fly (feat. Janelle Monáe)
13. Life in the Vivid Dream
14. Butterfly

10Songs_30Oct

10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week: Grimes, Chance The Rapper, Blood Orange And More

10Songs_30Oct

Firstly let's get the formalities out of the way. Happy Birthday to Frank Ocean and congratulations to Adele for breaking every record known to man. But let's not dwell on that because here at the interns we like to reward mostly those who take less than four years to drop an album and all the artists below tick that box (apart from the ones that haven't released an album so we'll start the four year timer for them now).

Grimes
Flesh Without Blood

Just when we thought we were beginning to nail down the best songs of the year Grimes comes in with a late entry. Flesh Without Blood is the first single from Art Angels (out next week) and it's bloody good, to put it simply. It's a little poppier and more forthright than what we heard on her last record Visions but it shows an artist who's grown up and is far more comfortable making louder statements. The video is also brilliantly weird and wild but would you expect anything less?

Nicole Millar
Wait

We've been waiting to hear a solo track from Nicole Millar ever since we first heard her vocals on Peking Duk's High last year and now we've finally got that. Wait is her major label debut and it's dripping in neon synths and smouldering vocals just like every good electro-pop track should. It's got a gorgeous production value to it which makes it feel really warm and accessible making us fall in love with it immediately.

Blood Orange
Sandra's Smile

Dev Hynes is using his status lately to make really powerful statements wrapped up in his usual Blood Orange style which means it's reaching a deservedly wide audience. His latest is Sandra's Smile which details the death of Sandra Bland who died in police custody in a Texas prison earlier this year. It's delivered with a stylistically beautiful visual and the track itself is '80s-tinged and groove-infused.

Hynes annotated the lyrics for the track too on Genius if you'd like to delve a little deeper into the story.

Bibi Bourelly
Ego

We introduced you to Bibi Bourelly with her firs track Riot a few months ago. She's the writer of Rihanna's Bitch Better Have My Money and is rumoured to have worked on a few more song with her but for now she's popping out solo tracks. Her latest is Riot - a vocally rock solid track backed by a bluesy, attitude-soaked instrumental. "You got me fucked up," she sings with her voice cracking as she pushes it to its absolute edge. She's a force to be reckoned with and we'll no doubt hear much more from Bourelly in 2016.

Alessia Cara
Wild Things

It's taken a minute but America has finally fallen in love with Alessia Cara with her debut track Here firing up the charts. She's cashing in on that momentum by wacking out an album, Know It All, straight away and Wild Things is from that album. Much like her EP Four Pink Walls, Wild Things is about being a rebel and social outcast which is an overused theme in music but you really believe it when Cara sings it because her vocals are just so damn cool. It seems like what you see is exactly what you get with Cara and the world needs a popstar like that.

Chance The Rapper
Angels (Feat. Sabo)

At this stage of the year who really knows what Chance The Rapper is planning. He's dropped a mixtape with Lil' B, released an album with The Social Experiment and been featured on what seems like hundreds of songs - most without warning. Angels surfaced this week and he immediately performed it on Stephen Colbert. There's been no word on whether it's from an album or not but it is his first track to go on Spotify apparently which is exciting. The tracks itself is classic Chance - joyful, erratic and full of weird vocal sounds. Solid gold, as always.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/chancetherapper/angels-feat-saba[/soundcloud]

Jones
Hoops

Jones is a London vocalist who put out a stunning EP earlier this year, Indulge, and is now gearing up to release her debut album New Skin early next year. Hoops is taken from that record and it's a soulful, emotional sizzler with a melody that latches onto you immediately. Like a more experimental Lianna La Havas, her vocals are effortless and she doesn't need to do much with them because her tone is so rich and sophisticated. It's an A+ from us - Hoops is beautiful.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/iseejones/hoops[/soundcloud]

Air Max '97
Passage

NLV Records is now in full swing. Last week saw the first release from Lewis Cancut and this week the label is firing on dropping Passage by Melbourne producer Air Max '97. Passage is packed with wet-sounding beats and industrial synth-work that burns away at full intensity for over five minutes. It's available as a free download for seven days so jump on it before it's too late.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/nlvrecords/air-max-97-passage[/soundcloud]

Lontalius x Cut My Lips
Mooncatch

We've already raved about Kiwi youngster Lontalius' tunes before and he just keeps giving us more reason to do so. His latest has been released via Ryan Hemsworth's Soundcloud label Secret Songs and it's a collaboration with producer Cut My Lips. "I hope everyone gets something bewitching and inspiring," Cut My Lips says of the track which exactly what we're pulling for it. It's got a really rich, emotional melody - the type that were actually all throughout Hemsworth's last album Alone For The First Time.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/shhsecretsongs/mooncatch[/soundcloud]

Dua Lipa
Be The One

Burgeoning popstar alert! 20 year-old singer Dua Lipa is poised to take over the world based off the strength of her new track Be The One. It's a supremely cool, immediately catchy track with a chorus that will make you wish you knew how to sink into people's hearts as easily as she can. It also helps that she's got the perfect look but it's even better that she has the voice to match. Don't take your eye off Lipa, she'll be huge before you even have time to blink.

SongsOfTheYear_SoFar

The Best Songs Of 2015 So Far...

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After half a year of solid listening, we gathered together a list of thirty songs that most made their mark on us to this point in 2015. 

Illustrations by Bianca Bosso.

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WhatSoNot
30. What So Not
Gemini (Feat. George Maple) 

Amidst all the tears and tantrums that followed the news that your boy Flume was 2kewl4skewwwl and had departed duo What So Not, the boys released one (probably final) absolute banger. Mysterious songstress and all round babe-town George Maple lent herself to the track and produced some seriously entrancing vocals. Literally cannot think of another team-up in the world of Electronic this year that could have been as explosive as this. The song has cemented itself in the sets of every Future Classic/OWSLA DJ…for like…ever. If that doesn’t talk of its staying power, I don’t know what will. - Meshell Webb

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TkayMaidza

29. Tkay Maidza
M.O.B.

Catchy is one word to describe this song, and it’s probably also the most apt. It’s infectiously up-beat and easily Tkay Maidza’s most polished work to date. It’s a gorgeous cross between electro and hip-hop, and not only showcases the irrepressible Maidza’s ability to both sing and rap but also her awesome knack of transitioning seamlessly between the two. Not hard to guess why it’s already been one of triple j’s most played songs this year, and when you take into account the relatable topic material, ‘money over bitches’, now who can’t relate to that? - Zanda Wilson 

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HotChip

28. Hot Chip
Need You Now

Hot Chip are the definition of an act that understand the importance of texture and layering. These guys are masters at hiding complexity in simplicity, especially with regards to the enveloping individual rhythms, instrumental lines and samples that cascade in and out of prominence throughout Need You Now. The addition of vocal counter-melodic lines gives the track another level of polish and professionalism. Need You Now is a deceptively diverse sectionally-perfect banger. - Zanda Wilson 

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Elliphant

27. Elliphant
Love Me Badder

Elliphant is known for her bad bitch personality, take no prisoners, middle fingers up whilst driving into the sunset vibes, but with Love Me Badder she’s showing some vulnerability. The track sees the singer open up a whole new world in her music. She’s at her rawest and most vulnerable but still packing a powerhouse whallop into that chorus. If versatility is the key to longevity in an artist career then Elliphant is showing that she’s got what it’s got to keep fans interested for years to come with this change up. - Alexander Wilkinson

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Nao

26. Nao
Apple Cherry

Nao properly arrived in 2015 as one of those artists you can’t help but fall hopelessly in love with from the first listen. Her use of harmony, play with rhythm and rhyme, and the minimal instrumentation playing off heavy synths in Apple Cherry make it a compelling track, which continually moves and evolves. Of course, one can draw many similarities to FKA twigs, but that’s more a sign of the times than anything else. Like twigs, Nao is one of the rare few standout artists that are nailing the future RnB genre. - Donna Maria Arendse

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TheWeeknd

25. The Weeknd
I Can't Feel My Face

If there’s anything surprising about The Weeknd's new single, it’s the departure from his usual dark, hazy efforts to this radio-friendly yet overtly capturing track. What’s unsurprising, however, is that it hits every mark that a good single should. Abel Tesfaye has been on the radar for some time now, progressing strongly since 2011’s House of Balloons. But if he wasn’t well regarded before, he will be now. This is one of the better (or best) examples of a song that explores the relationship between love and drugs. The lyrics are transparent, but there’s really no need for them to be anything but. Carrying an irresistible bassline and Michael Jackson-esque vocals, this song is an explosion waiting to happen. - Annie Cooper

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Eves

24. Eves The Behavior
Electrical

Eves The Behavior’s next move following the brilliant TV was always going to be anticipated and she didn’t disappoint with Electrical. The track and its subsequent Warpaint remix has seen Hannah skyrocket into headphones of the general public. Comparisons to female artists like Lorde, Lauren Mayberry (CHVRCHES) are common among the bloggers but Eves The Behavior’s distinguishes herself with icy synths and hushed yet anthemic-in-feeling vocals that wash through the chorus - “I’m nothing more than skin and bone, with wires that make me tremble”. Splendour In The Grass will mark her proper arrival as one of Australia’s best assets right now. - Alexander Wilkinson

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TameImpala_Eventually

23. Tame Impala
Eventually

In a Reddit AMA earlier this year Kevin Parker noted that Eventually was “still very moving” for him to listen to. And that’s seems to have translated to the rest of the public as well. Eventually has two modes - those expansive, crunching guitars that elevate the verses and the crystalline, stillness that illuminates the bridge and the chorus. “I know that I’ll be happier and I know you will too,” Parker sings, giving us both his most personal and fragile moment yet. Lonerism had its sweet, introspective moments but never did it break down the walls as much as Eventually does. Tame Impala have a break-up song and it’s not jaded nor is it angry, it’s hopeful. - Sam Murphy

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FourFiveSeconds

22. Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney
FourFiveSeconds

Rihanna has always come out all-guns-blazing on lead-singles from new albums so it’s an understatement to say FourFiveSeconds was a surprise. It’s no Only Girl, We Found Love or Diamonds, it’s not even Russian Roulette. Instead it’s an acoustic number featuring music royalty of young and old. That initial shock stumped people at first but the song eventually gained momentum and that’s because it’s got an undeniably brilliant melody that only took one instrument to orchestrate it. Rihanna’s voice is at its grittiest and even Kanye sounds like a crooner. One of the few risks in pop music this year and it turns out all that was needed was a little simplicity.

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Grimes

21. Grimes
REALiTi

After a clear division between fans over Go, Grimes shot back earlier this year with a forgotten off-cut from the fabled “lost-album” that she began and canned in 2013. The song rode the fine line between her sounds from Oblivion and something new and exciting. It didn’t matter what your thoughts on Go were…Grimes fans worldwide rejoiced at the release of the amazing single (and totally tumblr-worthy film-clip). The real baffler was that Grimes herself thought that this song wasn’t album worthy in the first place, reminding us all that she is a superior being. - Meshell Webb 

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CourtneyBarnett

20. Courtney Barnett
Depreston

It’s hard to argue now that Courtney Barnett isn’t one of the greatest songwriter is the world. She manages to take the mundane and amplify the emotions surrounding it. It’s never more clear than on Depreston - a song about looking for suburban real-estate in Melbourne. Instrumentally Depreston is her most solemn sounding track with Barnett gently spilling out her thoughts over a simple but effective arrangement. In the song’s latter parts she manages to create a stirring hook out of the line, “If you’ve got a spare half a million/You could knock it down and start rebuilding.” Not many, if any, could do that. - Sam Murphy

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Florence

19. Florence + The Machine
Ship To Wreck

The expectation for Florence + The Machine’s third LP was that they would continue aiming for the grandiose like, the at times overwhelming, Ceremonials. But they didn’t. They reigned it right in and delivered a career best with Ship To Wreck being the hallmark of that. At first it sounded limp but as time when on Ship To Wreck flourished into a loose-limbed masterpiece that evoked something freeing inside all of us. It’ll bring out the interpretive dancer in all of us and that seems to be exactly what Flo and co would’ve wanted. - Alexander Wilkinson

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TobiasJessoJr

18. Tobias Jesso Jr.
How Could You Babe

We all keep saying it but how goddamn refreshing is it to hear a plain old great ballad in a market that is saturated with overproduction? For all the bells and whistles in the world won’t write you a song as great as this one. One listen and you’re hooked. The retro recording techniques only lend to the charm of Jesso Jr. The baby-faced singer teeters on the edge of a sound that could be cheesy but the sincerity of the lyrics along with the no-bullshit presentation give this song the kind of timeless appeal that means you can totally rock out to it in the car and your grandma will love it too. How cool is that? - Meshell Webb

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Jamiexx_Gosh

17. Jamie xx
Gosh

When Jamie xx debuted this song on BBC Radio 1, Annie Mac compared it to Orbital’s Belfast. While they’re are distinct differences in terms of tempo, she was spot on. The two songs correlate because they both find their euphoria in a finessed melody that runs underneath a club-ready beat. Gosh is Jamie xx’s love letter to the British club-scene. His kisses are blown in the form an alarm-like synth that sweetens a frenetic, industrial beat. When the synth comes out at the midway points its as if the lights are completely blurring out club-goers vision. They can’t see a thing but they know they’re in good company. It even translated to Glastonbury over the weekend where you could see hearts melting. - Sam Murphy 

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FatherJohnMisty

16. Father John Misty
Bored In The USA

Father John Misty arrived back on the scene with an unusual piano ballad that that darkly scrutinises the societal problems afflicting the US of A. Different from his trademark folk, it’s a treatise on White America and its disillusionment. But hey, don’t let that deter you - the gentle piano melody is arresting paired with his voice echoing the vacant melancholy of Americans who find themselves “bored” with their lives. While downbeat, the acutely-written lyrics strike at the heart of Middle America making it both a humorous and unnerving listen. - Michelle He

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KanyeWest

15. Kanye West
All Day

Even sans flamethrowers, All Day is one of the finest gifts Kanye has blessed us with for a long while. It’s angry, substantial, and subverts any preconceived ideas as to what his next album will sound like. This is Kanye showing us what he is capable of as a rap artist, this is Kanye rapping harder, faster, sharper, so it is clear that his war waged against those running radio is not yet done, and far from. Allan Kingdom and Theophilus London both contribute vocals to the track, which glide well with Kanye’s verses, however, they are incapable of detracting any attention from the real monster here. If this track is any indication of what the bulk of his album will sound like, there's something very exciting in store for us. - Annie Cooper

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Drake

14. Drake
Energy

Try as hard as you might, there’s no avoiding Drake. In 2015 he's been everywhere - from Coachella to Apple Music to dropping a surprise mixtape outta nowhere. However, coming from someone that typically feels nothing but ambivalence for Drake, this track is an objective standout. What’s so attractive about Energy is that it’s a big fuck you to pretty much everyone. That is, everyone that uses the internet. Drake disregards us all by spitting "I got bitches askin me for the code for the wi-fi/ so they can talk about they timeline/ and show me pictures of they friends/ just to tell me they ain’t really friends". It’s tongue in cheek, it’s hard hitting, and it’s beguiling because essentially, he’s speaking about you. - Annie Cooper

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Miguel

13. Miguel
Coffee (Fucking)

It’s no surprise that Miguel can write an acutely sexy song. Kaleidoscope Dream was full of them but he’s returned with something that gives us a little more than the usual RnB sextalk. Coffee, the first single from WildHeart, is a love song centred around sex. But rather than portraying it as cheap and fleeting like so many of his contemporaries he’s tender and respectful with the same smooth charm as a song like D’Angelo’s Untitled. “Wordplay, turns in to gun play/And gun play turns into pillow talk/Pillow talk turns into sweet dreams/Sweet dreams turns into fucking in the morning,” he sings, giving us the most poetic turn of events we’re likely to hear this year. - Sam Murphy 

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HudsonMohawke

12. Hudson Mohawke
Ryderz

Ryderz is part of a new but pleasing direction for Hudson Mohawke, known affectionately to those who’ve been listening to his stuff for a while as HudMo. The new side of HudMo increasingly features vocal collaborators after an early career focussed on bizarre sounds and a genre loosely known as Wonky. His production is smooth as ever though, whilst being definitely more melodic. Ryderz features some old school HudMo samples, especially in its conclusion which draws on sounds from an earlier track of his called Hummus. - Zanda Wilson

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ActionBronson

11. Action Bronson
Baby Blue (Feat. Chance The Rapper)

The “go f**k yourself” lyrics, the production from an on fire Mark Ronson, a team up with another leader of the pack rapper and of course the ultimate coolness that drips off anything Bronson does. Baby Blue was going to be a winner even if you just looked at this shit on paper. It’s great to hear Bronson singing in the choruses-something about his drawl and tone makes me love him even more. I cannot fault Ronson’s instrumentation and production chops on this either. Top that all off with a “Coming to America” rip-off music video and you have Hip Hop gold. Also props to Chance The Rappers' contribution, featuring the most sharp-tongued quips heard this year - "I hope you never get off Fridays, And you always work at Friday's, That's always busy on Fridays." Burn. - Meshell Webb

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Years&Years

10. Years & Years
King

Crowned as the Kings of the coveted BBC Sound Of...award this year, an honour that boasts graduates such as Adele, 50 Cent and Sam Smith, British trio Years & Years had big, big shoes to fill. And fill it they did. It was a slow start but their massive single King skyrocketed to the top of the charts and, soon enough, the once relatively unknown boys from Britain (and one from Australia) firmly made their mark on the international music scene. The reasoning behind the brassy synth-driven King's popularity isn't hard to put a finger on. With a sound that's best described as radio-ready pop, transformed by elements of RnB, pop and deep-house, and impossibly smooth vocals courtesy of lead vocalist Olly Alexander, Years & Years are the much-needed breath of fresh air we've all been waiting for. Watch this space. - Bianca 

Read: Years & Years And The Pressure of Being The World's Most Hyped Band 

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Kelela

9. Kelela
A Message

Venezuelan producer Arca did masterful work on Bjork’s return-to-form Vulnicura this year and it only continued with Kelela’s A Message. With both artists he managed to make the use of space more important than what’s in between. The breath-halting pauses are what makes A Message spectacular. “If I was your ex,” Kelela sings before briefly coming to a stop and then continuing, “girlfriend.” It’s that moment that energises the song, builds its sensuality and distorts its use of time. There are definite recollections of Aaliyah here but it’s also Kelela pushing the future RnB envelope even further. - Sam Murphy 

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Kendrick

8. Kendrick Lamar
King Kunta

King Kunta is To Pimp A Butterfly’s most accessible moment. It’s funky with ‘70s boogie and where The Blacker The Berry was an angry, fierce Kendrick Lamar, King Kunta is a chest-puff. Like he did on Big Sean’s Control last year Lamar gives us a rare ego - “Now I run the game got the who world talking.” He even amplifies his own voice adding a call and response between him and his back-up singers. When he raps “I’m mad”, they reasset “he mad”. It’s Lamar mocking the rap-game to a certain point, but you also get the feeling he enjoys stirring things sometimes. - Sam Murphy 

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Skepta

7. Skepta
Shutdown

2015 arrived with a promise of being the year grime finally got his break. And it hasn’t really let us down this far. Kanye’s BRIT Awards performance of All Day with Skepta, Novelist, Stormzy and more was a big hallmark but a lot should be owed to Skepta’s Shutdown. Skepta beats out any MC on this monster of a song, centreing it around the British government's shutdown of grime gigs with a cool confidence rather than anger. With the video assisting, it also has a distinct group-mentality that demonstrates to all those who didn’t know already that grime is all about its community, and as the audio snapshot in the track proves certain people find that “intimidating.” It’s more so empowering. - Sam Murphy 

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TameImpala_CauseImAMan

6. Tame Impala
'Cause I'm A Man

Tame Impala are proving time over that psychedelic music still has a prominent place in Australia’s burgeoning music scene. ‘Cause I’m A Man drives forward in a relaxed way, but also in a manner where the instrumental line establishes a deep groove so early on means that it’s impossible not to be caught up in the depth of the funk. The chorus is undeniably the star, along with some gloriously affected vocals. The other highlight has to be the incredible and seamless shifting between conventional bass playing to the more gorgeous bass harmonics which creates undeniable diversity in both the melodic and bass layers of sound. - Zanda Wilson 

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UMO

5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love

The title track of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s 2015 LP illustrates why these guys are one of the most diverse and unique acts going around at the moment. Multi-Love is a melodic and rhythmic exploration in subtle psychedelic sounds, with gorgeous echoey vocals at its epicentre. Instrumental sounds range from mandolin-style guitars to more conventional strumming, all backed by instrumental and vocal sound effects and heavy use of delay. Part of the intrigue of the track actually lies in that some of the effects are so heavy in places that it’s hard to establish what precisely is going on in terms of vocal and melodic harmonies. - Zanda Wilson 

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Tink

4. Tink
Ratchet Commandments

Timbaland has reinvented himself a few times now. He rose to fame with Aaliyah in his hey-day and then returned with Justin Timberlake, only to also assist with Nelly Furtado’s rebirth. 20 year-old Tink is his third-coming but Tink’s not going to let Timbaland play the star in this story. Ratchet Commandments beat is unmistakably Tims but everything else is Tink - a quick-fire feminist ready to call out fake shit. “I thought we had some young Queens what you mean?” she raps as she deconstructs “phoney hoes.” A socially conscious, highly intelligent track that also manages to double as a banger. - Sam Murphy 

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Kendrick_BlackerBerry

3. Kendrick Lamar
The Blacker The Berry

Kendrick Lamar has always been an eloquent speaker when it comes to social issues but never has he been as potent as he is on The Blacker The Berry. The Blacker The Berry came after i, a track criticised by many for being too fleeting and light for Lamar. This is the opposite. Lamar is angry but he’s also totally is control. “You hate me don’t you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture?” he raps, digging to the depths of his vocal grunt. It’s without a doubt the most powerful song of 2015 and yet he still manages to add a fire Assassin hook and convert it to one of his most musically successful tracks. It’s also his lyrical peak, at this point. - Sam Murphy

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TameImpala_LetItHappen

2. Tame Impala
Let It Happen

The first track to be released off their still unreleased forthcoming album Currents, Let It Happen needed to be remarkable to set the tone for Tame Impala in 2015. Remarkable indeed, sitting at a cool seven and a half minutes, yet somehow not feeling long or overdone. This epic is a journey of exploration into psychedelic layering and texture. Typically, expressive vocal and guitar techniques are used to substantial effect, but the sectional interplay is where Let It Happen really gives a glimpse into the soul of the band and showcases the fact that Kevin Parker is one of the most talented songwriters of his time. - Zanda Wilson

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Jamiexx_LoudPlaces

1. Jamie xx
Loud PLaces (Feat. Romy)

“I go to loud places to search for someone to be quiet with,” Romy sings on Loud Places, the standout moment from Jamie xxs club-nostalgic debut solo album. Loud Places is a song caught between two emotions - sadness and joy. Romy’s verses are melancholic and beautiful while the Idris Muhammad sample is euphoric and ready for the masses.

Loud Places is that moment in the club where everyone’s moving in slow-motion and you’ve for a moment remembered some of the problems you entered with and are brought down for a split second. If you watch Jamie xx drop this song during a live set and watch the crowd’s reaction you’ll see their heart in their throat but they’ll still have their arms in the air. The dancefloor's most potent moments have always traded in heartbreak and Jamie xx understands that flurry of emotion better than anyone. A beautiful and fragile moment that’s going to be incredibly hard to beat this year. - Sam Murphy 

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After half a year of solid listening, we gathered together a list of thirty songs that most made their mark on us to this point in 2015.

Illustrations by Bianca Bosso.

WhatSoNot
30. What So Not
Gemini (Feat. George Maple) 

Amidst all the tears and tantrums that followed the news that your boy Flume was 2kewl4skewwwl and had departed duo What So Not, the boys released one (probably final) absolute banger. Mysterious songstress and all round babe-town George Maple lent herself to the track and produced some seriously entrancing vocals. Literally cannot think of another team-up in the world of Electronic this year that could have been as explosive as this. The song has cemented itself in the sets of every Future Classic/OWSLA DJ…for like…ever. If that doesn’t talk of its staying power, I don’t know what will. - Meshell Webb

TkayMaidza

29. Tkay Maidza
M.O.B.

Catchy is one word to describe this song, and it’s probably also the most apt. It’s infectiously up-beat and easily Tkay Maidza’s most polished work to date. It’s a gorgeous cross between electro and hip-hop, and not only showcases the irrepressible Maidza’s ability to both sing and rap but also her awesome knack of transitioning seamlessly between the two. Not hard to guess why it’s already been one of triple j’s most played songs this year, and when you take into account the relatable topic material, ‘money over bitches’, now who can’t relate to that? - Zanda Wilson 

HotChip

28. Hot Chip
Need You Now

Hot Chip are the definition of an act that understand the importance of texture and layering. These guys are masters at hiding complexity in simplicity, especially with regards to the enveloping individual rhythms, instrumental lines and samples that cascade in and out of prominence throughout Need You Now. The addition of vocal counter-melodic lines gives the track another level of polish and professionalism. Need You Now is a deceptively diverse sectionally-perfect banger. - Zanda Wilson 

Elliphant

27. Elliphant
Love Me Badder

Elliphant is known for her bad bitch personality, take no prisoners, middle fingers up whilst driving into the sunset vibes, but with Love Me Badder she’s showing some vulnerability. The track sees the singer open up a whole new world in her music. She’s at her rawest and most vulnerable but still packing a powerhouse whallop into that chorus. If versatility is the key to longevity in an artist career then Elliphant is showing that she’s got what it’s got to keep fans interested for years to come with this change up. - Alexander Wilkinson

Nao

26. Nao
Apple Cherry

Nao properly arrived in 2015 as one of those artists you can’t help but fall hopelessly in love with from the first listen. Her use of harmony, play with rhythm and rhyme, and the minimal instrumentation playing off heavy synths in Apple Cherry make it a compelling track, which continually moves and evolves. Of course, one can draw many similarities to FKA twigs, but that’s more a sign of the times than anything else. Like twigs, Nao is one of the rare few standout artists that are nailing the future RnB genre. - Donna Maria Arendse

TheWeeknd

25. The Weeknd
I Can't Feel My Face

If there’s anything surprising about The Weeknd's new single, it’s the departure from his usual dark, hazy efforts to this radio-friendly yet overtly capturing track. What’s unsurprising, however, is that it hits every mark that a good single should. Abel Tesfaye has been on the radar for some time now, progressing strongly since 2011’s House of Balloons. But if he wasn’t well regarded before, he will be now. This is one of the better (or best) examples of a song that explores the relationship between love and drugs. The lyrics are transparent, but there’s really no need for them to be anything but. Carrying an irresistible bassline and Michael Jackson-esque vocals, this song is an explosion waiting to happen. - Annie Cooper

Eves

24. Eves The Behavior
Electrical

Eves The Behavior’s next move following the brilliant TV was always going to be anticipated and she didn’t disappoint with Electrical. The track and its subsequent Warpaint remix has seen Hannah skyrocket into headphones of the general public. Comparisons to female artists like Lorde, Lauren Mayberry (CHVRCHES) are common among the bloggers but Eves The Behavior’s distinguishes herself with icy synths and hushed yet anthemic-in-feeling vocals that wash through the chorus - “I’m nothing more than skin and bone, with wires that make me tremble”. Splendour In The Grass will mark her proper arrival as one of Australia’s best assets right now. - Alexander Wilkinson

TameImpala_Eventually

23. Tame Impala
Eventually

In a Reddit AMA earlier this year Kevin Parker noted that Eventually was “still very moving” for him to listen to. And that’s seems to have translated to the rest of the public as well. Eventually has two modes - those expansive, crunching guitars that elevate the verses and the crystalline, stillness that illuminates the bridge and the chorus. “I know that I’ll be happier and I know you will too,” Parker sings, giving us both his most personal and fragile moment yet. Lonerism had its sweet, introspective moments but never did it break down the walls as much as Eventually does. Tame Impala have a break-up song and it’s not jaded nor is it angry, it’s hopeful. - Sam Murphy

FourFiveSeconds

22. Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney
FourFiveSeconds

Rihanna has always come out all-guns-blazing on lead-singles from new albums so it’s an understatement to say FourFiveSeconds was a surprise. It’s no Only Girl, We Found Love or Diamonds, it’s not even Russian Roulette. Instead it’s an acoustic number featuring music royalty of young and old. That initial shock stumped people at first but the song eventually gained momentum and that’s because it’s got an undeniably brilliant melody that only took one instrument to orchestrate it. Rihanna’s voice is at its grittiest and even Kanye sounds like a crooner. One of the few risks in pop music this year and it turns out all that was needed was a little simplicity.

Grimes

21. Grimes
REALiTi

After a clear division between fans over Go, Grimes shot back earlier this year with a forgotten off-cut from the fabled “lost-album” that she began and canned in 2013. The song rode the fine line between her sounds from Oblivion and something new and exciting. It didn’t matter what your thoughts on Go were…Grimes fans worldwide rejoiced at the release of the amazing single (and totally tumblr-worthy film-clip). The real baffler was that Grimes herself thought that this song wasn’t album worthy in the first place, reminding us all that she is a superior being. - Meshell Webb

CourtneyBarnett

20. Courtney Barnett
Depreston

It’s hard to argue now that Courtney Barnett isn’t one of the greatest songwriter is the world. She manages to take the mundane and amplify the emotions surrounding it. It’s never more clear than on Depreston - a song about looking for suburban real-estate in Melbourne. Instrumentally Depreston is her most solemn sounding track with Barnett gently spilling out her thoughts over a simple but effective arrangement. In the song’s latter parts she manages to create a stirring hook out of the line, “If you’ve got a spare half a million/You could knock it down and start rebuilding.” Not many, if any, could do that. - Sam Murphy

Florence

19. Florence + The Machine
Ship To Wreck

The expectation for Florence + The Machine’s third LP was that they would continue aiming for the grandiose like, the at times overwhelming, Ceremonials. But they didn’t. They reigned it right in and delivered a career best with Ship To Wreck being the hallmark of that. At first it sounded limp but as time when on Ship To Wreck flourished into a loose-limbed masterpiece that evoked something freeing inside all of us. It’ll bring out the interpretive dancer in all of us and that seems to be exactly what Flo and co would’ve wanted. - Alexander Wilkinson

TobiasJessoJr

18. Tobias Jesso Jr.
How Could You Babe

We all keep saying it but how goddamn refreshing is it to hear a plain old great ballad in a market that is saturated with overproduction? For all the bells and whistles in the world won’t write you a song as great as this one. One listen and you’re hooked. The retro recording techniques only lend to the charm of Jesso Jr. The baby-faced singer teeters on the edge of a sound that could be cheesy but the sincerity of the lyrics along with the no-bullshit presentation give this song the kind of timeless appeal that means you can totally rock out to it in the car and your grandma will love it too. How cool is that? - Meshell Webb

Jamiexx_Gosh

17. Jamie xx
Gosh

When Jamie xx debuted this song on BBC Radio 1, Annie Mac compared it to Orbital’s Belfast. While they’re are distinct differences in terms of tempo, she was spot on. The two songs correlate because they both find their euphoria in a finessed melody that runs underneath a club-ready beat. Gosh is Jamie xx’s love letter to the British club-scene. His kisses are blown in the form an alarm-like synth that sweetens a frenetic, industrial beat. When the synth comes out at the midway points its as if the lights are completely blurring out club-goers vision. They can’t see a thing but they know they’re in good company. It even translated to Glastonbury over the weekend where you could see hearts melting. - Sam Murphy 

FatherJohnMisty

16. Father John Misty
Bored In The USA

Father John Misty arrived back on the scene with an unusual piano ballad that that darkly scrutinises the societal problems afflicting the US of A. Different from his trademark folk, it’s a treatise on White America and its disillusionment. But hey, don’t let that deter you - the gentle piano melody is arresting paired with his voice echoing the vacant melancholy of Americans who find themselves “bored” with their lives. While downbeat, the acutely-written lyrics strike at the heart of Middle America making it both a humorous and unnerving listen. - Michelle He

KanyeWest

15. Kanye West
All Day

Even sans flamethrowers, All Day is one of the finest gifts Kanye has blessed us with for a long while. It’s angry, substantial, and subverts any preconceived ideas as to what his next album will sound like. This is Kanye showing us what he is capable of as a rap artist, this is Kanye rapping harder, faster, sharper, so it is clear that his war waged against those running radio is not yet done, and far from. Allan Kingdom and Theophilus London both contribute vocals to the track, which glide well with Kanye’s verses, however, they are incapable of detracting any attention from the real monster here. If this track is any indication of what the bulk of his album will sound like, there's something very exciting in store for us. - Annie Cooper

Drake

14. Drake
Energy

Try as hard as you might, there’s no avoiding Drake. In 2015 he's been everywhere - from Coachella to Apple Music to dropping a surprise mixtape outta nowhere. However, coming from someone that typically feels nothing but ambivalence for Drake, this track is an objective standout. What’s so attractive about Energy is that it’s a big fuck you to pretty much everyone. That is, everyone that uses the internet. Drake disregards us all by spitting "I got bitches askin me for the code for the wi-fi/ so they can talk about they timeline/ and show me pictures of they friends/ just to tell me they ain’t really friends". It’s tongue in cheek, it’s hard hitting, and it’s beguiling because essentially, he’s speaking about you. - Annie Cooper

Miguel

13. Miguel
Coffee (Fucking)

It’s no surprise that Miguel can write an acutely sexy song. Kaleidoscope Dream was full of them but he’s returned with something that gives us a little more than the usual RnB sextalk. Coffee, the first single from WildHeart, is a love song centred around sex. But rather than portraying it as cheap and fleeting like so many of his contemporaries he’s tender and respectful with the same smooth charm as a song like D’Angelo’s Untitled. “Wordplay, turns in to gun play/And gun play turns into pillow talk/Pillow talk turns into sweet dreams/Sweet dreams turns into fucking in the morning,” he sings, giving us the most poetic turn of events we’re likely to hear this year. - Sam Murphy 

HudsonMohawke

12. Hudson Mohawke
Ryderz

Ryderz is part of a new but pleasing direction for Hudson Mohawke, known affectionately to those who’ve been listening to his stuff for a while as HudMo. The new side of HudMo increasingly features vocal collaborators after an early career focussed on bizarre sounds and a genre loosely known as Wonky. His production is smooth as ever though, whilst being definitely more melodic. Ryderz features some old school HudMo samples, especially in its conclusion which draws on sounds from an earlier track of his called Hummus. - Zanda Wilson

ActionBronson

11. Action Bronson
Baby Blue (Feat. Chance The Rapper)

The “go f**k yourself” lyrics, the production from an on fire Mark Ronson, a team up with another leader of the pack rapper and of course the ultimate coolness that drips off anything Bronson does. Baby Blue was going to be a winner even if you just looked at this shit on paper. It’s great to hear Bronson singing in the choruses-something about his drawl and tone makes me love him even more. I cannot fault Ronson’s instrumentation and production chops on this either. Top that all off with a “Coming to America” rip-off music video and you have Hip Hop gold. Also props to Chance The Rappers' contribution, featuring the most sharp-tongued quips heard this year - "I hope you never get off Fridays, And you always work at Friday's, That's always busy on Fridays." Burn. - Meshell Webb

Years&Years

10. Years & Years
King

Crowned as the Kings of the coveted BBC Sound Of...award this year, an honour that boasts graduates such as Adele, 50 Cent and Sam Smith, British trio Years & Years had big, big shoes to fill. And fill it they did. It was a slow start but their massive single King skyrocketed to the top of the charts and, soon enough, the once relatively unknown boys from Britain (and one from Australia) firmly made their mark on the international music scene. The reasoning behind the brassy synth-driven King's popularity isn't hard to put a finger on. With a sound that's best described as radio-ready pop, transformed by elements of RnB, pop and deep-house, and impossibly smooth vocals courtesy of lead vocalist Olly Alexander, Years & Years are the much-needed breath of fresh air we've all been waiting for. Watch this space. - Bianca Bosso 

Read: Years & Years And The Pressure of Being The World's Most Hyped Band 

Kelela

9. Kelela
A Message

Venezuelan producer Arca did masterful work on Bjork’s return-to-form Vulnicura this year and it only continued with Kelela’s A Message. With both artists he managed to make the use of space more important than what’s in between. The breath-halting pauses are what makes A Message spectacular. “If I was your ex,” Kelela sings before briefly coming to a stop and then continuing, “girlfriend.” It’s that moment that energises the song, builds its sensuality and distorts its use of time. There are definite recollections of Aaliyah here but it’s also Kelela pushing the future RnB envelope even further. - Sam Murphy 

Kendrick

8. Kendrick Lamar
King Kunta

King Kunta is To Pimp A Butterfly’s most accessible moment. It’s funky with ‘70s boogie and where The Blacker The Berry was an angry, fierce Kendrick Lamar, King Kunta is a chest-puff. Like he did on Big Sean’s Control last year Lamar gives us a rare ego - “Now I run the game got the who world talking.” He even amplifies his own voice adding a call and response between him and his back-up singers. When he raps “I’m mad”, they reasset “he mad”. It’s Lamar mocking the rap-game to a certain point, but you also get the feeling he enjoys stirring things sometimes. - Sam Murphy 

Skepta

7. Skepta
Shutdown

2015 arrived with a promise of being the year grime finally got his break. And it hasn’t really let us down this far. Kanye’s BRIT Awards performance of All Day with Skepta, Novelist, Stormzy and more was a big hallmark but a lot should be owed to Skepta’s Shutdown. Skepta beats out any MC on this monster of a song, centreing it around the British government's shutdown of grime gigs with a cool confidence rather than anger. With the video assisting, it also has a distinct group-mentality that demonstrates to all those who didn’t know already that grime is all about its community, and as the audio snapshot in the track proves certain people find that “intimidating.” It’s more so empowering. - Sam Murphy 

TameImpala_CauseImAMan

6. Tame Impala
'Cause I'm A Man

Tame Impala are proving time over that psychedelic music still has a prominent place in Australia’s burgeoning music scene. ‘Cause I’m A Man drives forward in a relaxed way, but also in a manner where the instrumental line establishes a deep groove so early on means that it’s impossible not to be caught up in the depth of the funk. The chorus is undeniably the star, along with some gloriously affected vocals. The other highlight has to be the incredible and seamless shifting between conventional bass playing to the more gorgeous bass harmonics which creates undeniable diversity in both the melodic and bass layers of sound. - Zanda Wilson 

UMO

5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love

The title track of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s 2015 LP illustrates why these guys are one of the most diverse and unique acts going around at the moment. Multi-Love is a melodic and rhythmic exploration in subtle psychedelic sounds, with gorgeous echoey vocals at its epicentre. Instrumental sounds range from mandolin-style guitars to more conventional strumming, all backed by instrumental and vocal sound effects and heavy use of delay. Part of the intrigue of the track actually lies in that some of the effects are so heavy in places that it’s hard to establish what precisely is going on in terms of vocal and melodic harmonies. - Zanda Wilson 

Tink

4. Tink
Ratchet Commandments

Timbaland has reinvented himself a few times now. He rose to fame with Aaliyah in his hey-day and then returned with Justin Timberlake, only to also assist with Nelly Furtado’s rebirth. 20 year-old Tink is his third-coming but Tink’s not going to let Timbaland play the star in this story. Ratchet Commandments beat is unmistakably Tims but everything else is Tink - a quick-fire feminist ready to call out fake shit. “I thought we had some young Queens what you mean?” she raps as she deconstructs “phoney hoes.” A socially conscious, highly intelligent track that also manages to double as a banger. - Sam Murphy 

Kendrick_BlackerBerry

3. Kendrick Lamar
The Blacker The Berry

Kendrick Lamar has always been an eloquent speaker when it comes to social issues but never has he been as potent as he is on The Blacker The Berry. The Blacker The Berry came after i, a track criticised by many for being too fleeting and light for Lamar. This is the opposite. Lamar is angry but he’s also totally is control. “You hate me don’t you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture?” he raps, digging to the depths of his vocal grunt. It’s without a doubt the most powerful song of 2015 and yet he still manages to add a fire Assassin hook and convert it to one of his most musically successful tracks. It’s also his lyrical peak, at this point. - Sam Murphy

TameImpala_LetItHappen

2. Tame Impala
Let It Happen

The first track to be released off their still unreleased forthcoming album Currents, Let It Happen needed to be remarkable to set the tone for Tame Impala in 2015. Remarkable indeed, sitting at a cool seven and a half minutes, yet somehow not feeling long or overdone. This epic is a journey of exploration into psychedelic layering and texture. Typically, expressive vocal and guitar techniques are used to substantial effect, but the sectional interplay is where Let It Happen really gives a glimpse into the soul of the band and showcases the fact that Kevin Parker is one of the most talented songwriters of his time. - Zanda Wilson

Jamiexx_LoudPlaces

1. Jamie xx
Loud PLaces (Feat. Romy)

“I go to loud places to search for someone to be quiet with,” Romy sings on Loud Places, the standout moment from Jamie xxs club-nostalgic debut solo album. Loud Places is a song caught between two emotions - sadness and joy. Romy’s verses are melancholic and beautiful while the Idris Muhammad sample is euphoric and ready for the masses.

Loud Places is that moment in the club where everyone’s moving in slow-motion and you’ve for a moment remembered some of the problems you entered with and are brought down for a split second. If you watch Jamie xx drop this song during a live set and watch the crowd’s reaction you’ll see their heart in their throat but they’ll still have their arms in the air. The dancefloor's most potent moments have always traded in heartbreak and Jamie xx understands that flurry of emotion better than anyone. A beautiful and fragile moment that’s going to be incredibly hard to beat this year. - Sam Murphy 

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Albumsin2015

Here's Everything You Need To Know About The Year's Most Anticipated Albums

Albumsin2015

2015 has already gone above and beyond its call of duty in terms of dropping great albums. Sufjan Stevens, Björk, Kendrick Lamar, Jamie xx and plenty more have delivered fantastic albums that easily beat most LPs released last year. It's not stopping there though. There are impending releases from the likes of Kanye West, Rihanna and Frank Ocean all due for release this year if they get their act together. Below is a guide of what to expect and when to expect it.

Kanye West
Swish

Nobody really knows what the hell is going on with this one. It was originally called So Help Me God but it has since been renamed Swish and we’re really not sure what is going to be on the album apart from one song. During the Yeezy x Adidas launch, it was revealed that Wolves would be track one of the new album, but Yeezy himself is yet to confirm whether All Day, Only One or FourFiveSeconds will be on the album.

In terms of collaborators, there’s Theophilus London, Vic Mensa, Sia, Rihanna, Paul McCartney and apparently even Diddy on the album. He kind of revealed to Zane Lowe in an interview that he and Rihanna would be touring together, so you’d imagine she will feature quite heavily on the record.

As for a release date, we haven’t even got a hint yet. There was a period around his Adidas launch when it was looking pretty certain that it would come soon but since then things have slowed down with the rapper most relying on All Day when it comes to live appearances.

Rihanna
#R8

It feels as if we’ve been seeing tweets about #R8 for years now. It’s been a little under three years since Rihanna’s last album Unapologetic which is unheard of in the world of one-album-a-year RiRi so it’s understandable that everyone’s getting a little restless.

Hold tight because there’s a lot to get through with this one. Firstly, we’ve heard FourFiveSeconds, American Oxygen, Bitch Better Have My Money and James Joint which are all assumed to be from the album. The producer of BBHMM Bibi Bourelly has reportedly also written Higher which was teased on her Instagram. We’ve also heard the Florence + The Machine-sampling Only If For A Night which featured on the Dior ad. So there’s six songs that may or may not be on the album.

Kanye West is understood to be the executive producer of #R8 but so far no other producers have been confirmed. As for the songs, Rihanna told MTV News, “I wanted songs that I could perform in 15 years. I want an album that I could 15 years, not any songs that were burnt out.”

Surely this album will come out this year but at this point we have no idea. Rihanna is yet to really nail a full album so it seems like she’s taking her time with this one to get it completely right.

Lana Del Rey
Honeymoon

This week Lana Del Rey revealed that her third album Honeymoon would be released in September. That’s just over a year since the release of Ultraviolence showing that she’s moving things along pretty quickly. On Instagram Del Rey described the record as “a beautiful futureretro record,” and that she’s already shot two videos for it.

Mark Ronson revealed in an interview with Interview Magazine that he was going into the studio to work with LDR but there has been no confirmation as to whether any of his work will end up on the album.

In terms of songs, she revealed to Billboard that she’s doing a cover of Nina Simone’s Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood which will probably end the record just like her cover of The Other Woman did on Ultraviolence. She’s currently on tour with Courtney Love and on that tour she’s selling a tour book with the lyrics to Honeymoon printed. But that’s all the information we have. For all we know, she could be planning an EDM record.

Grimes
TBA

Grimes hasn’t had an album since 2012’s Visions but she has by no means been quiet. She’s released her Rihanna-reject Go, a brilliant demo called REALiTi and a track with Bleachers for Girls titled Entropy. It seems putting the album together has been a pretty long process. She binned a whole album worth of material because she found it “depressing” and wants the new album to be “as good as possible.”

Now details are finally starting to emerge about when to expect the album. She took to Twitter to reveal that the album will drop in October and then counter-intuitively said that it would be a surprise-drop because she wants fans to get it at the same time as press. It’s been recorded with “real instruments” and is a lot different to anything she’s done in the past. Also, every track on the album is “super different.”

https://twitter.com/Grimezsz/status/602299845995470848

https://twitter.com/Grimezsz/status/602328389601644544

Miguel
Wildheart

Earlier this year it was revealed that Miguel’s album was tentatively called WildHeart. Now it’s been confirmed that his album is definitely called WildHeart and we’ve got confirmation that the album is coming this year. Even better, we have a release date of 30 June which he revealed in an interview.

The record has been preceded by Coffee (Fucking) which features Wale and is an extended version of the song that appeared on his EP at the end of last year. He told Rolling Stone that the album was made with the intention of crafting "an ode to love of self...? [and] the ongoing infatuation with whatever you're fucking into." He also wants the record to “feel and taste like twilight in L.A." Rolling Stone also revealed that three track names being Leaves, A Beautiful Exit and N.W.A. which features Kurupt.

He’s worked with Kaleidoscope Dream producers Pop and Oak as well as Benny Cassette and Benny Blanco. He began working on it in January of 2014 and credits a trip to Australia as slowing the process down, so well done us.

#WILDHEART

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Drake
Views From The 6

Drake confirmed that the title of his fourth album would be Views From The 6 last year but since then we really haven’t heard anything off it. Of course, we got his surprise mixtape earlier this year in the form of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late but we still have no official word on when to expect his next studio album, which we’re going to assume is still called Views From The 6.

In March, Ernest Baker, a journalist who spent time with Drake during Coachella said that the rapper has two songs that he likes for the new record. The first is one that features Beyonce and the second is one that “he expects to inspire a paradigm shift.” Last week a song called Can I featuring Beyonce leaked, however, there has been no word from the OVO camp as to whether it’s bound for the next album or not.

Two other songs have also leaked this week, On A Wave featuring Tinashe and Go Out Tonight, which could be on the album, but they might also not be so, there you go.

Drake’s currently on his Jungle tour which is due to finish in a week’s time so maybe he’ll get to work when he returns from that.

Sky Ferreira
Masochism

Sky Ferreira is currently working on the follow-up to 2013’s brilliant Night Time My Time. Last month she took to Twitter to confirm that album number two will be called Masochism. Details are scarce on what to expect from the record but she told Billboard that she’s working with Ariel Rechtshaid and Justin Raisen who worked on her debut and was also looking to get into the studio with Gesaffelstein. She also revealed that she is collaborating with Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes of Primal Scream.

She’s performed one new song live, Guardian, late last year but we’re yet to get any official tracks from the record. Just this week she posted to Instagram a picture of Fever Ray’s album cover for her self-titled debut and captioned it “big big big influence for Masochism.”

Frank Ocean
Boys Don’t Cry

Back in April Frank Ocean kind of revealed on his Tumblr that his new album would be called Boys Don’t Cry and would be accompanied by a magazine. Since then, he’s been pretty much mute on what to expect from the album which is due to drop in July.

This week French pianist Christophe Chassol told BBC 6 Music that he had been asked to record piano for the album. He revealed that Ocean had been recording the album at Abbey Road and that Ocean had asked him “to do some speech harmonization on a song with him.”

Last year his frequent collaborator Nabil said, “Everyone should be excited about this new album — that shit is fire. He’s making a great record. It blows the sophomore-album myth out of the water.” Meanwhile Pigeons and Planes reckon he’s cooking up a rap album. They could be right.

Beach House
Depression Cherry

Only today Beach House announced the release of their forthcoming album Depression Cherry. It follows the release of 2012’s Bloom and is said to be a return to the more minimalistic sound of Devotion and their self-titled debut.

“This record shows a return to simplicity, with songs structured around a melody and a few instruments, with live drums playing a far lesser role,” the duo said in a press release.

“With the growing success of Teen Dream and Bloom, the larger stages and bigger rooms naturally drove us towards a louder, more aggressive place; a place farther from our natural tendencies. Here, we continue to let ourselves evolve while fully ignoring the commercial context in which we exist.”

It’s due to be released on 28th August and the cover is actually made of red vinyl. Check the tracklist and cover below:

Beach House Announce New Album Depression Cherry and World Tour

1. Levitation
2. Sparks
3. Space Song
4. Beyond Love
5. 10:37
6. PPP
7. Wildflower
8. Bluebird
9. Days of Candy

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Grimes-Endorsed Singer HANA Unleashes Brilliant Debut 'Clay'

Image: Facebook

Grimes doesn't speak out often but when she does it's worth listening, that's why we were immediately drawn to HANA who Grimes gave a shoutout too on her Twitter. The singer only has one song to her name but it is the Blood Diamonds-produced Clay and it's a stunner. It's a hushed pop tune silken with airy vocals. It's a gentle but powerful tune that is likely to find her quite a few fans whether they be Grimes' followers or not.

https://soundcloud.com/hanamusic-1/clay

https://twitter.com/Grimezsz/status/598179696908480512

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