Your Free Month Of Tidal Is Up, What Are You Going To Do?


Image: Capital Xtra

One month ago Jay Z, joined by the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Madonna and Daft Punk, launched Tidal, a streaming service that bragged high-quality audio, exclusive content and a raft of high-profile owners who could afford its $20 a month subscription. It all sounded great at the start. Jay Z gushed about the large royalties going to artists, the high-quality sound and content exclusive to Tidal but its fortunes turned pretty quickly.

With the world's biggest musicians all owning a streaming service, it begged the question - what could possibly go wrong? Well a lot apparently. Tidal has received a lot of press over the last month but not a lot of it has been good. Musicians not involved in the project have come out in droves to criticise the price and exclusivity of it while the app itself has dropped out of the top 700 on iTunes.

There are a number of benefits to Tidal. Jay Z tweeted that Tidal pays a 75% royalty rate to artists which, if true, is fantastic. It also does have great sound when played in hi-fi mode. And it does, unlike Spotify, have Taylor Swift, apart from her most recent record, 1989.

If you signed up for Tidal right from the get-go you would have received a free month subscription. That month is now up and you're going to have to fork out your $20 soon. Are you going to stick around? We've compiled a few thoughts to help you.

Here's What Artists Are Saying

Grimes is one of the few artists that has been complimentary about Tidal. A few days ago she posted an instagram of a screenshot of Jay Z's tweet along with a comment that read:

"Mad respect for tidal!! I literally know musicians who live in cars and storage spaces etc. And I know some pretty popular musicians who still struggle to make ends meet. Unless artists have a popular live show there aren’t a lot of income streams available. People have characterized tidal negatively but I promise it’s 100% artist friendly, and fan friendly since yall have the option to pay the same rate as other streaming respect to everyone involved for doing the right thing for struggling artists – this kind of thing is so important, especially for indie music! PS I AM SIGNED TO 4AD!! The misconception that I am not an independent artist anymore is incorrect, i can speak as an independent artist here. Roc nation manages me, I’m not signed to them nor do I have any investment in tidal, nor did anyone ask me to say this. Ps to everyone who buys music respect! Glad to hear many of u buy music rather than stream which is the best way to support smaller artists! ^_^ and also, for those who can’t afford streaming or buying music, I do not judge anyone for that! This is a suggestion, not a demand, in sorry it has created so much anger amongst yall"

The comment has since been deleted.

A post shared by Grimezsz (@grimes) on

Marcus Mumford
The frontman of Mumford & Sons says he never would've been part of the project because he doesn't want to be "tribal." In an interview with The Daily Beast he said, "I think smaller bands should get paid more for it. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain. When they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists... I don’t want to align myself with Spotify, Beats, Tidal, or whatever. We want people to listen to our music in their most comfortable way, and if they’re not up for paying for it, I don’t really care."

It seems he's mirroring many people's feelings about Tidal which is they "don't really care."

Lily Allen
Lily Allen has probably been one of the most vocal about Tidal. In a series of tweets she said, "unless TIDAL start sending everyone good quality headphones, the resolution thing is kinda redundant." You've got to hand it to her, it's a good point.

She also wrote, "i think i may have spoken too soon, and that there is a lot to celebrate where TIDAL is concerned."

Ben Gibbard
Death Cab for Cutie frontman, Ben Gibbard has criticised the streaming service for only appealing to mainstream artists. In an interview with The Daily Beast Gibbard said, "If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out 10 artists that were underground or independent and said, 'These are the people who are struggling to make a living in today’s music industry. Whereas this competitor streaming site pays this person 15 cents for X amount of streams, that same amount of streams on my site, on Tidal, will pay that artist this much.' I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid."

Madge is obviously going to praise the streaming service as she is one of the 16 artist-owners. She took to Instagram to defend the service against the backlash writing, "Tidal is not about consumption and greed! Its about protecting an art-form that is beloved to all of us MUSIC". She continued, "If you refer to Tidal as Illuminati, you are paying us the highest of compliments. As I've stated before it is another name for "The Enlightened Ones" a group of scientists, philosophers and artists that emerged after the dark ages. They changed and shaped the world for the better! Do the research and find out for yourself!"

Kanye West
Reports surfaced last week that Kanye West had deleted the Tidal blue as his Twitter picture and deleted tweets about the streaming service. True as it may be the same week a piece also appeared in Paper Magazine where the rapper defended Tidal fervently. Like Madonna, he touched on the illuminati comments saying, "I heard a comment -- a joke -- about the Tidal press conference being an Illuminati moment. If there was actually an Illuminati, it would be more like the energy companies. Not celebrities that gave their life to music and who are pinpointed as decoys for people who really run the world."

On 22nd April West tweeted this:

Sounds like he's sticking with Tidal. We may also take this opportunity to note that the reports about him ditching Tidal are ridiculous. Many of the 16 artists involved in Tidal changed their profile picture to blue when Tidal was launched and gradually went back to their original after a few weeks. For some reason Kanye also deleted his tweets about Tidal which is what sparked a media barrage.  He hasn't spoken out as to why he did that.

Steve Albini
Legendary music producer and engineer Steve Albini commented about the sound quality aspect of Tidal. He told Vulture, "If you want your music to play at the push of a button, convenience is going to trump sound quality 100 percent of the time."

Jay Z
As the owner of Tidal Jay Z has said a lot. Most of that is here on his Twitter. He took to Twitter over the weekend to defend Tidal with a series of #TidalFacts tweets. Time fact-checked the tweets and found that most of them are true.

Also, for those of you who were wondering, Jay Z did actually send his cousin to Nigeria as noted. Complex did a little investigative digging here.

Here's What You Might Get If You Stick Around

Nicki Minaj Material
We're not exactly sure what, but Nicki Minaj is preparing to drop something exclusively on Tidal. She tweeted this:

And then tweeted this:

A Beyoncé and Jay Z Album
This one might not happen, but we're hoping that it does. DJ Skee (yeah, us either) has said that the couple are nearing completion of a collaboration album and will be a Tidal exclusive when it's released.

There are no reports regarding this one but Rihanna has already dropped American Oxygen exclusively to Tidal so it would make sense if she also dropped the whole album on Tidal. The risk of doing this would be that less people would hear it immediately and it would make its way onto torrent sites immediately but that's the risk you take if you're going to fully dedicate yourself to Tidal.

Plenty More From Tidal's Owners
So far we've already gotten exclusives from Jay Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, Jack White, Daft Punk, Madonna and more. Surely Tidal have a strategy that goes further than just its first month so it would make sense to think that this content is going to keep coming for the next few months at least. One thing to consider though is if you're going to release something exclusively to Tidal, you're really not looking for it to chart very high. Rihanna released her single American Oxygen to iTunes the week after it went up exclusively on Tidal. Beyond a video or off-cut from an album you won't see many of these tracks remain Tidal exclusives for long if the artist is looking at nabbing a hit.

What Are We Going To Do?
All things considered we're impressed by Tidal. The hi-fi sound is excellent on good quality headphone (which is not helpful to many, mind you) and the exclusive content is definitely appealing. The issue is that that exclusive content does ostracise many that can't afford Tidal's excessive subscription fees. The interface of Tidal is arguably nicer than Spotify, making it incredibly easy to use.

Our biggest issue is that Tidal needs time to grow. It needs time to expand its library and iron out some of its problems. The streaming service needs time to stand on its own two feet. Perhaps the worst thing Jay Z did was launch it on stage with a bunch of music stars. What seemed like a great publicity stunt has backfired and taken the attention away from the actually service itself and translated to a bunch on critiques about rich people getting richer.

We couldn't care less if this adds to Jay Z's empire or not. If the artists do receive their 75% royalty rate then that's great. If it forces artists to make a decision about what streaming service to make their content exclusive too then that's problematic. Users will have to either subscribe to multiple services or resort to torrenting the content that isn't exclusive to their chosen service.

For the time being we will be sticking with Spotify as it's a more reliable and established service. If Jay Z or Jack White give us a courtesy call in a few months time and ask us to reconsider then we may think again. They need to do a number of things before that though. They need to remove their high-profile owners from the marketing strategy and they need to concentrate on expanding the music library and increasing some of the creative content on the site. Tidal has a chance to integrate articles, interviews and more written content with its music and video library and that could be what will really set it apart.

It's too early to write Tidal off but it's also too early to fork out the money in favour of Spotify or another established streaming service.

Here's the situation explained in pictorial form: 




First Impressions: Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, T-Pain + More


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 Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, T-Pain, Tame Impala + more. 

Samo Sound Boy
You Come For Me

Sam: For me this is a cut above the first track Samo Sound Boy dropped from the album, Baby Don’t Stop. This is a soulful slice of electronica which operates in slow motion. It’s only a short cut and I can imagine it’s going to bridge two tracks together beautifully on the album. On its own, there’s still plenty to get excited about, particularly the fireworks that seemingly go off in the latter part of the song. The dancefloor lives off euphoric moments and this is one of them. 4

Bianca: This is such a hands-in-the air, anthemic club track, but not in the classic, obvious sense. Driven by a constant drumbeat that whirls its way around your eardrums, glittering synths gently crescendo, before gently teetering out into nothingness. The track doesn't reach a full-on climax but that's the true beauty of it. 

Zanda: Another polished track from the American House producer, but for me, not his best. It’s the sort of track that will fit fine into a generic House music playlist, but lacks the bite, bass, and melodic interest of some of his previous work like the 2013 banger Your Love. I find myself ready for the introduction of a few more layers of sound and before I’ve even realised it’s not coming, it’s over all too soon. 3

Tame Impala
Let It Happen

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/stereogum/let-it-happen[/soundcloud]

Sam: As far as the psych-rock thing goes Tame Impala have kind of already nailed it. Operating within its realms again for the third record could have been very tedious. Luckily Parker and co have adopted a few extra sounds on Let It Happen, dabbling very subtly in electronica to help this song sound even more expansive and wonderful. Parker has always been great at writing pop melodies and it’s no different here, the chorus is a triumph. Also, the fact that he can extend this into a 7 minute epic complete with lush synth-riffs is an extraordinary feat. This is probably my favourite lead-single from the band out of all three records. 4.5

Bianca: Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, My Chemical Romance's Welcome To The Black Parade, Tame Impala's Let It Happen. They may be from varying genres but they all hold one thing in common: extended song lengths that expertly keep the viewer's attention through the transcending of diverse styles, tempos, highs, lows, crescendos and decrescendos. This experimentation gets me going like nothing else. Like a gripping novel, a flurry of emotions are felt through its course from beginning to end. And, to use the same book simile again, you can read listen to it over and over again. I'm so (prematurely) excited for their upcoming album and even more excited to see them perform at Coachella. Fingers crossed for an epic, live, seven minute outro. 4.75 

Zanda: There are barely words to describe how excited has made me for Tame Impala’s forthcoming third studio album. It’s a perfect balance of the funky, psych-fusion sound that made their second album Lonerism so popular, but Let It Happen is also upbeat and compact in a way that suggests that we might be soon be hearing a slightly different overall sound on the new album. At seven minutes in length it’s also far from Tame Impala’s shortest, yet at its conclusion I found my earbuds longing for a live, never-ending jam version. 4.5 Zanda’s Pick


Kendrick Lamar
King Kunta

Sam: Lamar’s album dropped in full today but I am writing this without fully hearing King Kunta within the context of the record. First impression was it’s far lighter than the powerful The Blacker The Berry, erring more on the side of i. To me though, it’s far more effective than i. Lamar is genuinely funky, reminding me a little of Outkast’s Aquemini. I never thought I’d hear “we want the funk!” in a Kendrick Lamar song, but here you have it and it actually works. It’s an egotistical, chest-puff of a song but that’s one of the greatest things about hip-hop - its unabashed confidence. I’m loving everything from To Pimp A Butterfly so far because it feels like Lamar is taking his newfound reach really seriously and trying to make something that will resonate with people for years to come. Nothing feels throwaway. 5 Sam’s Pick

Bianca: This track wasn't even out for a minute before the entire album, To Pimp A Butterfly subsequently dropped into our laps a week early (literally an hour ago). But before I go into that, let me take you back to Saturday when King Kunta jived its way into the airwaves. Upon first listen, it forced a smile onto my face from its unabashed tribute to funk. Unexpectedly groovy but not in a Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars tacky kinda way, it still holds some of the grunt and heavy undertones found in The Blacker The Berry. The backing melody increases and decreases in semitones (or is it tones? It's been a while since I've studied music theory so please forgive me) which alters the tension oh so subtly. The track doesn't allow you to take your attention away for even a second, with pops and brief instrumentals interrupting the groove every so often, particularly when it's stated "By the time you hear the next pop, the funk shall be within you." Lamar's given me the funk and I'm gonna take it. Phwoar. 4.75 Bianca's Pick  

Zanda: The driving bass definitely delivers a level of funk to this track that you wouldn’t normally associate with Kendrick Lamar. I can’t say I love it though, and don’t think that the use of female back-up vocals necessarily adds much. Lamar’s rapping itself is typically proficient, but I definitely prefer his slower stuff. 2.5


Young Fathers

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/youngfathers/shame-yf[/soundcloud]

Sam: That synth that runs behind this song is really becoming a Young Fathers signature. As is the fast-paced almost tribal feeling. There’s something very communal to Young Fathers that feels like they are all in a room together jamming and feeding off eachothers energy and that’s their biggest quality. What this song lacks is a release. The beat that runs beneath it sounds quite anxious and it could’ve done with a climactic moment, percussion-wise. That’s a small complaint of an otherwise brilliant group. 3.5

Bianca: There are so many great tracks in this week's First Impressions so it's kinda unfair to pit this one against the others. A Shame, really (not sorry). Despite its mish-mash of sounds, it's surprisingly well-structured in an organised mess kinda way. 

Zanda: The abrasive and often dissonant sounds that Young Fathers have become known for frequently foster debate in various comment sections on YouTube. Shame is another track that is sure to divide opinion, with its intentionally out-of-sync rhythms and coarse melodies that honestly make it difficult to listen to at times. It’s not the sort of track that will make any easy-listening list, but I have to give them props for continuing to strive boldly away from musical conventions. 3



Sam: I actually can’t believe that Grimes wrote this off as just an offcut from “a lost album.” The stuff that is going on her next album must be real-good if this didn’t even get a look in. REALiTi is Grimes’ most human song yet. Her voice sits atop the instrumental in a way we haven’t heard before and the chorus is unashamedly melodic, uncluttered with sound - a space that Grimes often fills with electronic murmurs. “Every morning there are mountains to climb,” shows the artist with a clarity that we haven’t heard from her yet and it’s refreshing to hear. 4.5

Bianca: REALiTi to me is exactly opposite to that. Through the dreamy synths and celestial vocals, Grimes takes us to another world, her own world; one of fantasy, mystery and intrigue. All I can say is thank God this was rescued out of the trash can. 4.5 

Zanda: This is definitely the side of Grimes that I prefer. Its soft, echoey timbres are kind on the ear, and its uber-chiller, but not to the point that you couldn’t dance to it. It’s hard to believe that she rated this track so low that she decided not to include it as part of any of her albums, but I guess that shows that the gap between artist intention and fan reception is a difficult one to reconcile, especially for someone like Grimes who recently has recently been exploring a new direction with her music. 4


Disa My Thing

[soundcloud width="750" height="500"]https://soundcloud.com/nappyboymail/t-pain-disa-my-thing[/soundcloud]

Sam: T-Pain’s had this weird resurgence of late where he seems out to prove his worth as an artist. I find it so bizarre that he’s such good friends with FKA twigs but it’s kind of all starting to make sense as he explores more obscure pockets of hip-hop. Disa My Thing has T-Pain rapping without auto-tune, going hard over a dancehall inspired beat. The chorus is on-point with everything Drake and Kanye are doing at the moment and it’s genuinely entertaining. T-Pain’s Soundcloud has his oldest song as four months old. It’s clear he’s trying to turn a new leaf and based on the strength of this, it’s probably going to work. Good luck to him. 3.5

Bianca: Huh. At first I thought T-Pain was in here for a lol but after listening I was surprised at how much I could actually digest this. Refreshing to see TP has lost his sea legs/obnoxious glasses and hat and is finally off the boat. 

Zanda: I’m not normally a big listener of T-Pain or melody-lacking, sound effect-filled hip hop. However I found myself strangely captivated by the incredibly smooth, rapid style of vocals used in Disa My Thing. Something about it gives me weird aural flashbacks to Busta Rhymes in Look At Me Now…3.5

If you feel the need to abuse us for our opinions, you can reach this week’s writers below:

Content Director: @sam_interns

Managing Director: @bianca_interns

Contributor: @wilso_92z

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10 Songs You Need To Hear: Tame Impala, Grimes, Active Child & More


It’s very to be easy to be down at this stage of the year. It’s March already, Drake’s visit has come and gone, Rihanna hasn’t released an album for like 17 years and we’re waking every morning only to be disappointed that a new Kanye album hasn’t arrived. Here are 10 new songs to make you feel better about mid-March and help you forget about all those resolutions to stop drinking wine under $5 that you’ve already broken numerous times.

London singer Shura has hit the nail on the head four times now with her latest single 2Shy just as good as its predecessors. Funnily enough the song itself is quite shy. Shura is characteristically hushed while its funk undertones hide beneath a bed of washy synths. It creates a warm, twinkling atmosphere that’s bound to push her profile further.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/shura/2shy[/soundcloud]


So basically Grimes said this song wasn’t good enough to go on her new album and scrapped it. Then she gave it a video and watched the internet go crazy over the track. Then she tweeted that she’ll “consider for album” but thinks she has better. This is one of the best Grimes tracks we’ve heard for a while so if it’s not good enough for the album then it sounds like she’s cooking up her own Sgt. Pepper. Please feel free to email future songs to me Grimes so I can tell you if they’re good enough. Thanks.


Beat Connection
Nothing like ending the week with a bit of funky electro-pop and thanks to Seattle foursome Beat Connection we can do that. The cover for Illusion features two men taking photos of a piece of garbage as if it’s art but this song my friends is not garbage. It’s a crisply produced, smooth pop songs that introduces the band as a potential mainstream crossover.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/beatconnexion/illusion[/soundcloud]


Ben Khan
You may remember Ben Kahn as a new artist who’s horn we tooted a few times last year. 1000 is his latest track and the first we’ve heard from him in 2015 and it once again affirms to us that we were right in tooting his horn. With a bed of synths and beats that would sound at home on a Little Dragon record, Khan lays down his soulful vocals. There are plenty of sounds here to get excited about, particularly the shrieking guitar that’s making my ears very happy right now.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/benkhan/1000bk[/soundcloud]


Take Me To Church (Frost Remix)
Hozier’s Take Me To Church is about a million years old now but commercial radio has only just decided that their Kyle and Jackie-championing listeners need to be taken to church. Thanks goodness we have people like Sydney producer FROST who’s willing to give the song a fresh lick of deep-house paint and make the song bearable once again. If people played this shit at church, I’d be there all dayyyyy.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/frostsounds/hozier-take-me-to-church-frost-remix[/soundcloud]


Jam City
When you call yourself Jam City, you’re giving yourself a hard job in that you’re promising the people jams. If you promise the people jams (or jam for that matter) you better deliver. And luckily this Night Slugs producer does. Jam City is making music to dance to but it’s not necessarily music for clubs. Today is throwback pop/RnB with sfumato edges made for slow-grinding rather than fist-pumping. This is the sort of music who exposes all those who have no rhythm when they try to dance to it. In that way Jam City is gifting humanity.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/jam-city/today[/soundcloud]


Tame Impala
Let It Happen
“When it happens/let it happen,” is the mantra of the new Tame Impala song which basically means when you get halfway through your third run of the 8-minute track and think maybe it’s time to stop, ignore rationality. Thanks to Kevin Parker and co we’ve had an incredibly unproductive week and we have this psychedelic pop piece to thank. Some have said this is Tame Impala moving into electronic music but Lonerism was always lying on that bed. Here the synths are just that bit more prevalent and we’ve probably got to get used to the fact that this would be brilliantly euphoric in a club.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/stereogum/let-it-happen[/soundcloud]


Active Child
1999 was a good year. Britney Spears released ...Baby One More Time, J.Lo dropped On The 6 and the public allowed Cher to go to number one with Believe. This song seemingly has nothing to do with all of that but it was a chance to reminisce that I just couldn’t pass on. We’ve waited almost four years for another Active Child album and now we’re finally getting it with Mercy. 1999 is a mournful piece of beauty that sees Pat Grossi’s crystalline falsetto return with a more straight-forward singer/songwriter vibe. As great as the experimentalism on You Are All I See was, this is something super special.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/active-child/mercy-1999[/soundcloud]


Sufjan Stevens
Should Have Known Better
For a while it seemed like we’d lost singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens to the dark, evil world of electronic music. On his latest album Carrie & Lowell he’s returned to his humble roots with an acoustic sound that grabs everyone’s heart and places it straight in their throat. Should Have Known Better is recount of his early memories with his late mother. It’s a heartbreaking tale of his mother leaving him in a video store at the age of three or four. Unbelievably Stevens manages to introduce some shred of life with a warming keyboard-line in the latter parts of the song which beautifully describes his brothers new-born daughter and a new reason to look forward - “the beauty that she brings/ Illumination.”


Thandi Phoenix
Judgement (Feat. B Wise)
This may sound like a sassy RnB track from the turn of the millenium but check the timestamp and I promise you you’ll find it’s from 2014. Thandi Phoenix is a singer from Sydney who’s collaborated with everyone from Ta-Ku to Coin Banks. This is the kind of thing that Rihanna would have lapped up on her Music Of The Sun debut with island vibes complemented by club-ready synths. B Wise’s distinctly Australian rap is a good way to give it a sense of identity. Australia has soul scene that Phoenix is ready to expose.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/thandiphoenix/judgement-thandi-phoenix-ft-b-wise[/soundcloud]


10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week


What a week for new music. It felt like music was gushing from every surrounding channel and we’re yet to fix the pipes. These 10 are the 10 we managed to stop in their tracks in order to chuck them on repeat and revel in their brilliance. If you haven’t heard these songs this week, here’s your chance to before your friends are all 10 steps ahead of you and you’re #oldnews. If you just want to jump straight to the Soundcloud playlist, click here.

FKA Twigs- Two Weeks

British singer/producer FKA Twigs is months away from releasing her debut album, LP1 and Two Weeks is the first single from it. If the Papi Pacify video taught us anything it’s that Twigs isn’t afraid to take on taboo subjects. Once again on Two Weeks she’s bold and revealing with her subject matter. The lyric, “My thighs are open for when you’re ready to breathe in”, should give you a few clues about what we’re dealing with here. Coming from Twigs, however, it doesn’t sound trashy. Rather she does it with the utmost grace and confidence. Slinking around the melody with sexual prowess.

Grimes- Go

Grimes loves a bit of T.Swizzle and the Biebs so it should come as no surprise that she originally wrote this one for Rihanna. Rihanna turned it down but it’s her loss. Go, produced with Blood Diamonds, is a trap-driven, ethereal pop song. It’s undoubtedly different from anything she’s released in the past and probably won’t be on her next album, but it’s a welcome detour into banger territory. Watch out Miley.


Ryn Weaver- OctaHate

When Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat and Passion Pit combine on one song, there’s really only one way it can go. American newcomer, Ryn Weaver, is introduced to the musicsphere with a cracker of a pop song. The choruses scream Passion Pit, the pop-forwardness says Benny Blanco while the synths have Cashmere Cat’s fingerprints over them. Meanwhile, Weaver is the perfect host, sounding like a seasoned pro.


Lido- I Love You

Like Cashmere Cat, Lido is a Norwegian producer, who last week dropped a stunning remix of BANKSDrowning. This week he’s dropped his EP, I Love You. The title track is the most impressive of the set, it’s a skittering, unpredictable affair that dazzles with a sonic-adrenalin rush hook. The funky bass undertones ensure that we stay around in between choruses.


Bondax- All I See

British duos making house music have a good track record. Just look at Disclosure. Bondax have been tracking along for about the same time but are yet to drop an album. All I See is the latest track from them and the sound is planted in the tropics. It’s perhaps their most accessible tune to date and is no doubt aimed towards a Mediterranean Summer.


Kyan- Cold Friend

Ever since we featured Kyan’s Shuttle we’ve been huge fans of British singer. Fresh from playing Wembley Stadium with Duke Dumont, he’s dropped the second single from his forthcoming EP, Life In A Triangle. Cold Friend is far more of a casual affair than the first single, Taking The City but it’s no less effective. Frosty tones and isolated drums make it quite a melanholic track warmed only by Kyan’s soulful voice.



And the brilliant Australian producers just keep coming. LUCIANBLOMKAMP as well as being a mouthful to pronounce, is a Melbourne-based producer who’s gearing up to release his debut LP Post-Nature on 15 August. Help Me Out is taken from that. It’s a dark track with building intensity delivered by crescendoing beats and short stabs of synth.


Zola Jesus- Dangerous Days

This may be one of the most surprising releases of the week. Zola Jesus is known for her dark, experimental music that has often blatantly stayed away any pop-influences. Dangerous Days, the first release from her forthcoming LP, Taiga, sees her let her card down. It has a big hearty chorus and beat-driven verse that doesn’t stray too far from M83’s sonic aesthetic. Taiga suddenly just got a whole lot more interesting.


Nao vs. AK Paul- So Good

I’d imagine AK Paul is feeling slightly like Solange right now. Why? His brother is enigmatic producer Jai Paul who is a hero to many although he’s only really released two official tunes. On So Good he pairs with Hackney singer Nao. So Good is all about holding back. Paul only plays with a few layers, creating a sparse yet effective backing for Nao’s popping vocal. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait as long as Jai Paul for a follow-up.


Billie Black- I Don’t Need Another Lover

Two weeks, two songs and London artist, Billie Black has ensures that she’s one to watch. Following the spectacular, I Waited For You, she’s released I Don’t Need Another Lover. The new track takes a similar, minimal formula to I Waited For You, but it kicks the pace up a notch with a gentle beat. It works the song into a subtle yet welcome groove showing that Black can be more than a Sade-like balladeer.



Listen to the full Soundcloud playlist below: 




Grimes releases song written for Rihanna, 'Go'


Grimes' breakthrough album, Visons, was a left-field pop masterpiece founded on introverted soundscapes and subtle melodies. While it wasn't explicitly a pop record, the Canadian singer has never shied away from her admiration for the genre. In her Top 10 LP's of 2012 she listed Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber with no shame. Last night on Radio 1 she debuted, 'Go', which was originally written for Rihanna. The news emerged a number of weeks ago after she performed it at the Governors Balls in NYC. We can now replace that fan recording with this polished, recorded version. What it tells us is that Rihanna made a terrible mistake. Go is a trap-inspired banger that is actually hard to hear anyone but Grimes on. She's done it with friend and often-producer, Blood Diamonds.