10Songs_20March2

10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week: Kendrick Lamar, Tinashe, Years & Years + More

10Songs_20March

This is for all those who were too busy listening to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly to listen to any more new music. Take some time out and hear the best songs of the week past which actually includes Kendrick too.

Kendrick Lamar
King Kunta

It was a big week for Kendrick this week. We were all waiting until next week for the release of To Pimp A Butterfly but alas it fluttered into our ears early. King Kunta is the most immediately likeable track on the album. It’s Lamar does funk complete with female backup singers and a groovy instrumental. The whole of the LP is politically and socially charged so it’s not surprising that while the instrumental may suggest otherwise, the lyrics tackle everything from ghost writers in rap to race.

M.O.
Preach

M.O. are the freshest girl group around right now and yet they haven’t completely caught their break. No doubt they’ll be hoping for that to change with this feel good anthem Preach. With typically throwback ‘90s vocals, the girls’ harmonies are tight and their solo sections are super smooth. The instrumental is pretty casual so it’s completely up to them to light the flame and they do so effortlessly.

Years & Years
Worship

These British lads have finally announced their debut album Communion off the back of their UK number one single King. This track Worship, from the LP, takes it straight to church in a club with a vocally-layered chorus bound for the heavens. Olly sounds silky as per usual while the beat tackles a future bass aesthetic. These guys have served out ace pop tune after ace pop tune and it’s no different here. Another knockout.

Tinashe
Wrong

RnB’s rising star Tinahse dropped a seven-track EP this week as a thank you to fans. For what I’m not sure given that she’s doing all the work but we’ll take it anyway. AMETHYST was recorded in her bedroom in between tour breaks and sees her serve up more warm tones over some of the tightest production in the game. Ryan Hemsworth takes the reigns on this one and offers a typically skeletal instrumental with a dab of auto-tune on some of Tinashe’s vocals. I get the feeling these two could knock together a collaboration album in two seconds. Make. It. Happen.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/tinashenow/02-wrong[/soundcloud]

Earl Sweatshirt
Grief

Rappers are having some bad luck with album releases this year. First came Kendrick’s foiled attempt to release the biggest album of the year on its proper date and now iTunes has leaked details of Sweatshirt’s album before it was meant to. He’s pissed but the good news is now we know we’re going to get new Earl next week. Grief is the first taste and it’s a dark, distressed number with an industrial beat driving the heavy tones that loom over it. Given the title of the album, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, and the general feel of this track It’s easy to assume that Sweatshirt is not a happy man right now.

Lupa J
Waiting For Her

We have our fair share of Aussie females killing it with electro-pop right now but somehow each one brings something different to the next. Lupa J is making perhaps the darkest music we’ve heard yet with a brooding vocal accompanied by icy instrumentals made for 5am cityscapes. Her latest Waiting For Her is a haunting track; the type that lingers over you the whole time never quite allowing you to feel settled. There’s an anxiety to it that makes it utterly captivating. It helps that the production is top notch too.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/lupajmusic/waiting-for-her[/soundcloud]

Jhene Aiko
living room flow

Aiko’s slow-burning debut LP is still flourishing in front of me, but she’s already onto making new music gifting us living room flow this week. The song seems to be a one-off release and it easily stands on its own two feet. She’s one of the most sultry singer around and she uses every bit of that to her advantage here, slinking around the beats with impossible ease. “Whatever turns you on, just let me know,” she sings making us all feel as if dating Jhene Aiko would be the pinnacle of life.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/jhene-aiko-1/living-room-flow[/soundcloud]

Set Mo
White Dress (Feat. Deutsche Duke)

We’re already big fans of Deutsche Duke and now we’re also big fans of Sydney production duo Set Mo based off this track. White Dress is a crisply-produced piece of deep house centring around the smooth vocals of Deutsche Duke. The keys married with the throbbing beat is absolute perfection going hand-in-hand with Duke’s imagery of a the girl standing in a white dress. Australia has dabbled with this kind of music commercially but traditionally it’s far more popular in the UK. This could be a top ten there.

[soundcloud wdith="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/setmomusic/set-mo-white-dress-ft-deutsch-duke[/soundcloud]

Boska
Saviour

In the latets instalment of Scandinavians do everything better than most, here is a thumping house track from Norwegian producer Boska. We’ve got a deep appreciation for club tracks that really dig their feet in and go hard and Saviour is one of them. The bass may be abrasive but it’s complemented by warm undertones and vocal samples which up the temperature just a tad. It spends the majority of its 6 minute plus duration working its way into your head and swirling with a delectable repetitiveness which is broken up by brief moments of solace. Saviour will be released via Norwegian label Bolsa Wood and is part of his Cascades EP due for release on 22nd May.

Rihanna
As Real As You And Me

Rihanna is seven albums deep in her career and yet she still hasn’t had a truly classic record. It looks like she’s trying for it on album number eight saying this week that she wanted it to be “timeless”. As Real As You And Me may be for the Home soundtrack but it’s definitely got that classic vibe to it. It’s a piano-led ballad featuring Rihanna’s vocals in all their raspy glory. This is RiRi at her most haunting, gloriously drifting through the keys in a sleek fashion. We’re sure she’s hiding some serious gold nuggest for #R8 but we’ll take this for the moment.

FI_16March

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

FI_16March

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
Shame

[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

 

Grimes
REALiTi

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

 

T-Pain
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

[poll id="33"]

Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar Surprise Drops Album, 'To Pimp A Butterfly'

Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly
In a surprise move, Kendrick Lamar has dropped his latest album, To Pimp A Butterfly, a week early, on both iTunes and Spotify. Featuring already-released i, The Blacker The Berry and King Kunta, it's Lamar's second album to be released on a major label following the critically acclaimed good kid, m.A.A.d city.

Before it was released on iTunes Lamar tweeted "Yesterday. March 14th. Was a Special Day" and "20 yrs. Later." It appears he was referring to 2Pac's iconic Me Against The World record which was released on 14th March 1995.  Lamar has since tweeted the link to the album on iTunes and added, "Keep calm. All is well." Indeed all is well, the album is a knockout.

Listen via Spotify below and buy on iTunes here.:

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

1 Wesley’s Theory
2 For Free? (Interlude)
3 King Kunta
4 Institutionalized
5 These Walls
6 U
7 Alright
8 For Sale? (Interlude)
9 Momma
10 Hood Politics
11 How Much A Dollar Cost
12 Complexion
13 The Blacker The Berry
14 You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Momma Said)
15 i
16 Mortal Man

9songs

9 Current Songs That Prove Interesting Music Can Top The Charts

9songs

When you turn on the radio and the first thing you hear is “Dear future husband…”, it’s pretty easy to get down on the state of music. The truth is that the commercial world of music is full of injustice. They play a song about “finding a cheerleader” but they don’t play FKA twigs and they’d rather play a song called All About That Bass than anything that actually has bass like say, Run The Jewels.

The fact is any successful business knows their audience and they play these songs because they’re popular or they want to make them popular. It’s a stubborn, unchangeable business but that’s why it’s all the more joyful when something really memorable seeps through. For those who have lost hope with mainstream music here are nine reasons why we should hold our heads up about what’s popular at the moment:

Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney - FourFiveSeconds

The trajectory of this song has been very interesting to watch. When the song dropped out of the blue earlier this month it was almost to a collective “what the fuck”. Nobody knew if it was Rihanna or Kanye’s song or what on earth Paul McCartney was doing with two of the biggest stars in urban music. After being performed at the Grammys, the song has risen to number one on the ARIA Charts and is on high rotation on commercial radio.

It only took about three different instruments to make FourFiveSeconds and yet it’s easily one of the most captivating songs of the year. Kanye is obviously going through a spout of minimalism at the moment and it’s worked wonders for Rihanna. She sounds the most raspy and powerful she has in years. She’s an artist who’s always looked for new things to do and it’s almost comical that it took her to strip a song to the bone to create one of the highlights of her career. This is a game-changer. You can expect more and more songs to sound like this in the year ahead.

Taylor Swift - Style

Who would’ve thought that such a straight-out pop album would’ve become one of the more divisive of last year (for triple j listeners at least)? The reason 1989 was so divisive is because people outside the mainstream started to show appreciation for what was a brilliantly conceived pop album. The naysayers were left wondering why they were suddenly left alone when every jumped to team Tay Tay.

Style is by far one of the highlights of 1989. It’s a slinky, immaculate pop tune with a throbbing bass-line. The song was written by Taylor Swift with Max Martin who’s made some of the biggest pop tunes of all time (Since U Been Gone, I Kissed A Girl, Shake It Off). What makes it so interesting is it actually sounds like nothing else on the charts right now. The melody is straight out of the how-to-make-a-pop-song book but the instrumental is dim-lit and brooding with the percussion taking cues from the ‘80s.

Florence + The Machine - What Kind Of Man

This may be hovering just past the top ten on iTunes’ around the world but it’s a pretty spectacular feat for a song that’s so angsty and raw. Florence has crossed over into the mainstream many time before but that was with the help of Calvin Harris or a cover, never with a song like this. A lot of its success comes from the fact that people are happy to have Florence back but this is a testing song. Her voice wails amongst growling guitars and thrashing percussion while all the while she taunts “What kind of man loves like this?”

Florence Welch has done a brilliant job over the last five years of bringing interesting, challenging ideas to a wider audience and it seems she’ll be stretching that ever more on her next album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. The best thing is, as soon as you hear one of her songs it couldn’t be anybody else in the world singing it. That’s a quality that many songs on the charts miss.

Tinashe - 2 On (Feat. Schoolboy Q)

More than a year after its release and Australian audiences are starting to catch onto this tune by US RnB singer Tinashe. It’s already been a hit in the US but radio has just put this on high rotation which is odd for such a bare urban track. You’d have to go as far back as Ashanti to find a song as minimal as this climbing up the charts.

It works because Tinashe’s melodies in the verses are so tight and she struts vocally with gusto. She’s confident and immediately gives us a whiff of her personality on 2 On. It’s obvious she’s young, it’s clear she’s cool and best of all it sounds like she’s a self-made artist. This type of song doesn’t usually seep through on the Australia charts but it could open a door for many more.

Hayden James - Something About You

Commercial radio have shyed away from many Future Classic artists in the past. They only started playing Flume’s Holdin’ On once it was a certified alternative hit and Chet Faker can owe most of his success to triple j’s build-up. It seems, however, that one artist in particular has caught their attention of late. That man is Hayden James who is currently sitting at number 24 on the Radio Airplay Chart with Something About You.

The track which appeared on Future Classic’s Teen Idols compilation and has since become a budding commercial hit. It’s warm synths and deep-house-esque beats have struck a chord with Australian audiences (he may have Chet Faker to thank for warming them up). It’s actually quite rare to find a track like this finding favour on the charts. Even mainstream Australian audiences passed on much of Disclosure’s efforts despite their obvious pop notions.

Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk (Feat. Bruno Mars)

It may be driving most insane now but don’t forget the first time you the blaring horns of Uptown Funk coupled with that infectious beat. Uptown Funk reached sales in excess of one million this week in the UK and in Australia it’s been certified platinum five times but sonically it stands by itself on the charts. Ronson was very clever in pulling Bruno Mars into this song because not only does he do a brilliant job vocally, he also brings a certain likeability for audiences that may not be so familiar with Ronson’s work.

Uptown Funk is the kind of song that demands you listen the first time you hear it. It’s almost obnoxious how in-your-face it is. It does so on its own terms though. It’s not following a mainstream trend, there’s no EDM-flavours, almost none of that typical Max Martin-sheen and no lyrics regarding forbidden love.

Charli XCX - Doing It (Feat. Rita Ora)

Charli XCX is one of the first popstars of this millenium that’s done it completely on her own terms. Nowadays jumping on an Iggy Azalea track is a planned career move but we’ve got to remember that when Charli featured on Fancy Iggy was yet to achieve any mainstream success. Charli then took her newfound fame and released a record inspired by obscure Swedish punk music. It’s an odd route to take but it’s one that have made the charts far more interesting.

Doing It sees Charli team up with Rita Ora for an unlikely pop anthem about “doin it like we’re doin it”. The video sees her dressed as a glamourised cowboy. It’s not pretty, neither of them look like models but it’s cool because it’s sets her apart from any other popstar. Even Beyonce and Lady Gaga’s Telephone (a video similar to Doing It) made them look like sex symbols. This does nothing of the sort but it makes pop videos look like shit loads of fun which is what they should be.

Calvin Harris - Pray To God (Feat. HAIM)

By the time you get to the drop every Calvin Harris song is exactly the same by LA singers HAIM bring something different to a classic Harris song. They build-up the track with a gospel-inspired grunt that makes you actually live for the drop. It sounds like they’re levitating towards the heavens as they sing “I pray to God I just don’t know anymore”. HAIM go EDM was such an unlikely headline but here they make it work purely because their own artistic identity is so strong.

It’s been a while since Calvin Harris has sounded inventive but HAIM’s super tight melodies and unbreakable chemistry means that the song sounds sleek and cool rather than being simply your run-of-the-mill EDM song with a guest vocalist plopped on for good measure. This is HAIM featuring Calvin Harris because they completely own it.

Kendrick Lamar - The Blacker The Berry

So often political and cultural statements that end up on commercial radio are “heal the world” mantras dreamt up by some big-wig in a large record company who’s decided that compassion sells. Kendrick Lamar is a rapper who knows how powerful his voice can be and when he’s at his best no message could be more clear.

The Blacker The Berry features some of the most powerful lines by a major label rapper for a long time and he’s completely committed to selling the cause. “My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide/You hate me don’t you?”, he raps with a grittiness to his voice. He calls out stereotypes and re-writes people’s thoughts in one of the most powerful moments of his career and yet he does so in a way that is managing to climb up the charts.

FI_17Feb

First Impressions: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Hot Chip & More

FI_17Feb

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. Today we pick apart tracks by Hot Chip, Florence + The Machine, Kendrick Lamar + more.

We've decided to take the chance in today's First Impressions to test whether a picture really does speak a thousand words. One reviewer is doing so through text while the other has chosen images to try and best represent the songs. Can things really be reviewed with zero words? Allow six .gifs below to answer that.

Hot Chip- Huarache Lights

Sam: I definitely was hoping that Hot Chip would go in the same sort of direction as Flutes on their next album and it seems like they are. As good as they are at pop songs, sometimes I prefer when they head straight for the dancefloor and ditch the vocal hooks. Huarache Lights sits in between those two. It still has the more organic sounding instrumentation but then sometimes like the sassy vocal sample pulls it right towards the dancefloor.

The tempo and the backbeat of the track is so mundane yet their subtle layering somehow keeps you hooked for the whole five minutes plus. At times I wish that they’d ditch the vocal and just keep with the vocal manipulation for something entirely different but that would probably ostracise a whole audience, so best they keep with what they’re known for. I feel like the bizarre, woozy soundscape of the track gives them so much room to do something a little more spectacular with the vocal though. It’s a great track but Hot Chip do great so effortlessly and maybe that’s the problem. 3.5

Bianca: hotchipgif 3

Dan Deacon- Learning To Relax

Sam: I’ve always really struggled to commit myself to Dan Deacon because in 2009 he released like three records and that’s a lot to handle. It’s kind of like never hearing The Smiths or Morrissey and then deciding you’re going to go through his whole back-catalogue with no knowledge of who is and then just deciding that it probably is more work than you’re prepared for.

Anyway that was obviously pure laziness because Learning To Relax is great. I’m always intrigued when elements of electronica combine with prog-rock. MGMT did it to a poppier spectrum with their debut and even Tame Impala did it to some extent on Londerism. Even though I can’t understand one word Deacon says, I’m thoroughly intrigued for the whole thing. That schizophrenic synth is anxious and at the same time mesmerizing while the vocal manipulation washes over you in a psychedelic haze. Maybe this is what I wanted from the Hot Chip song? Is it a coincidence that YouTube is recommending I listen to Ready For The Floor? Anyway, the final minute of this song is a hot mess and it’s utterly exhilarating. 4

Bianca: tumblr_l5iagg1MF51qa4w2fo1_400  4

Florence + The Machine- What Kind Of Man

Sam: The first time I listened to Florence’s second record Ceremonials I was impressed. It was grandiose and sophisticated and all the while had this reckless ambition but as I kept listening it revealed itself to be over-produced and too big. I had no thoughts on how she was going to tackle this third album but I’m really happy with the direction of What Kind Of Man. We haven’t heard her this aggressive since Girl With One Eye from her debut Lungs but we’ve never even heard her like this before.

The gentle beginning is beautiful but it’s the way she sings when the brass howls and the drums thrash that’s really impressive. Her accent is like nothing we’ve ever heard before, like an angsty PJ Harvey tightening the jaw. She’s lost the crystalline image of Ceremonials and roughed up to a part-primal state. She could’ve easily called up Calvin Harris and sold millions of copies but the fact she’s leading with this single shows she cares way more about her legacy than the amount of times she’s shazamed. I think this year she’ll make her upgrade to festival headliner and that will be an important talking point this year. Florence is a woman with the personality and ambition to tear up the main stage of any festival far better than a weary AC/DC or U2 can. 4

 Bianca: i-am-a-strong-woman-o3.75

Kendrick Lamar- The Blacker The Berry

Sam: It’s obvious from the first few seconds of this song that it’s way better than i. Kendrick’s last album was so successful because it was so raw and passionate and had something to say. i felt a bit Lamar-lite which wasn’t the comeback track he needed (or maybe he did. He won two Grammys), this is the track he needed. He sounds angry and it actually feels like he has something to say. “I’m the biggest hypocrite of 2015”, is a pretty powerful line to open with particular when it’s over a dark, raw instrumental that sounds like something Nas would’ve happily put on Illmatic.

The reggae samples are just as affective as they were on Kanye West’s I’m In It, giving some kind of melody to grab on to in an otherwise pretty instrumentally linear track. I wish I could give some greater insights into his comments on race in this but I really don’t feel I could do it any justice. His line are so pertinent and powerful that they need no elaboration. “I mean, it’s evident that I’m irrelevant to society/ That’s what you’re telling me, penitentiary would only hire me.” That’s some powerful stuff right there. Potently powerful. 4.5 Sam's Pick Of The Week


Bianca: rockos
4.5 Bianca's Pick Of The Week

Jesse Davidson- Laika

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/jesse-davidson-9/laika[/soundcloud]

Sam: On the surface this is such a simple song but there are so many different amalgamations of genres in it. On first listen I got a strong Chet Faker vibe but there’s so much more to it than simply labeling it with a lazy comparison like that. Davidson’s voice sounds like Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard if he spent his early years listening to R&B/soul and the instrumental oscillates between crisp electronica and expansive psychedelia with the chorus taking a turn towards Tame Impala.

What I’ve described it above makes it sound like a truncated, mess of a song but it isn’t. It’s actually quite a simple melody lifted by a melting pot of different genres that effortlessly blend into one another. Laika is definitely the strongest track from Davidson yet and the clubs are going to go crazy for this one. I’m actually keen to hear him on something even more expansive, borrowing more of those elements that he uses in the chorus of this. That’s when he sounds truly unique. 3.5

Bianca: clouds 4

Drake- Energy

Sam: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is wayyyy polished for a mixtape. Energy is definitely the best track on the record and that’s because Drake just digs in and goes hard for three minutes. There’s no singing, there’s no pop hooks, there’s no features, it’s just him being wonderfully arrogant.

It’s such an interesting track because it essentially digs at the internet (“Fuck going online, that ain’t part of my day”) and the culture surrounding it yet his mixtape drop basically centred around the hysteria of the internet. Drake has kind of always been a walking contradiction and for some reason that works for him. Energy is really paranoid and that’s what makes it fascinating. It feels like he’s sleeping with one eye open even though he’s not quite sure who his enemies are. Sometimes we just need to stop making sense of Drake. That and his memes take up way too much of my brain capacity. 4

Bianca: giphy (1) 3

10songsDrake

10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week: Florence + The Machine, Hot Chip, Kendrick Lamar + More

10songsDrake

Sorry too busy listening to Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late to write an intro.

Kanye West - Wolves (Feat. Sia and Vic Mensa)

This one is only a recording from Kanye’s Adidas launch this morning but it’s an official video and the audio beats a lot of what was hanging around this morning. It’s third song we’ve heard from Kanye in as many months but it’s the first that doesn’t feature Paul McCartney and harks back to the stylings of Yeezus more than anything else. Sia and VIc Mensa are on the track too, delivering soulful verses over an industrial, brooding beat. It’s the first track on his new album which is still yet to be officially announced. Go to 8min29secs to hear the track.

Hot Chip - Huarache Lights

Hot Chip are back! It's been a big week for album announcements this week but this is definitely one of the biggest. The group plan to release their new album Why Make Sense? soon and the first single from it is Huarache Lights. It's perfectly melds together organic and electronic instrumentation as Hot Chip tracks so often do while also incorporating some Daft Punk-esque vocals. It's good to have them back.

Florence + The Machine - What Kind Of Man

Speaking of big album releases, they don't come much bigger than this. Florence + The Machine have dropped the details of their forthcoming record, How Big How Blue How Beautiful, and it's headed up by this corker of a single What Kind Of Man. It's more aggressive than anything we heard on her sophomore record Ceremonials, with Welch also pushing her vocal comfort zone. It's electric and makes us very excited for the album.

Kendrick Lamar - The Blacker The Berry

Another big release (so many!) was Kendrick Lamar's The Blacker The Berry which follows his single i from last year. i won two Grammys this week but ironically it was one of his weaker songs. The Blacker The Berry is a return to form with Lamar in a much darker mode lamenting about racism in his signature aggressive tone. This is one of the most thoughtful hip-hop tracks we've heard in a while.

Drake - If You're Reading This It's Too Late

Drake just dropped a whole album called If You're Reading This It's Too Late while we were writing this. We haven't had a chance to listen to the whole thing so we're just going to place this one here and direct you to buy the album. This has been a huge week for music and this is an incredible way to end it. Most of us thought another Beyonce-like drop would be impossible but Drake has proved us wrong.

Chromatics - Just Like You

As if this day couldn't get any bigger, in the middle of the whole Drake saga Chromatics have dropped the first single, Just Like You, from their forthcoming album Dear Tommy. It's a melodramatic, dim-lit number with those signature drawling vocals. It's a sweet, reflective track that's a far cry from Kill For Love, which led the previous album.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/johnnyjewel/chromatics-just-like-you[/soundcloud]

Snoh - Emotional

For a new artist getting RZA on board as a producer is not too shabby at all. The raspy Swedish singer's new track is called Emotional and it's a jazzed-up track full of passion and energy. It's perfectly produced and intricate enough to keep us discovering new textures. Snoh is definitely one to watch if not only for the fact that she's a Swede and they are perfect.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/i-d-online-1/premiere-snoh-emotional[/soundcloud]

Jimmy Napes - Making Of Me

Disclosure and Sam Smith collaborator Jimmy Napes is finally taking the spotlight with his solo project. His previous effort Give It Up was a little demure but Making Of Me heads straight for the dance floor. It sounds like it could've slotted nicely into Disclosure's debut Settle with its deep house baseline and soulful vocals. And we have no problem with that at all.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/jimmynapes/making-of-me[/soundcloud]

Emile Haynie - Come Find Me (Feat. Lykke Li and Romy from the xx)

Producer Emile Haynie is gearing up to release his star-studded debut album We Fall at the end of this month. So far we've heard collaborations with Lana Del Rey, Dev Hynes and Charlotte Gainsbourg and now we have a track, Come Find Me, with Lykke Li and Romy from the xx. As you'd imagine it's a sombre affair given the choice of features but it's beautiful and stirring. It sounds more like an interlude than anything with Lykke Li barely singing more than 10 words but it makes us excited for the album nonetheless.

Jessie Ware- Champagne Kisses

This isn't a new song but goddam this video is just so good. Champagne Kisses is the fourth single to be lifted from Jessie Ware's wonderful Tough Love LP and as such it's been gifted with the video treatment. It's her most colourful video to date with director Christopher Sweeney creating an absurdist, weird and wonderful world for Ware. The whole thing is visually spectacular.

SplendourPredictions2015

10 Acts That Could Appear On The Splendour In The Grass Lineup

SplendourPredictions2015

Splendour In The Grass is still six months away but the rumour mill has already started and who are we to deny the chance to add fuel to the flame. The ten acts below are basically unfounded predictions but we think that Splendour has the potential to have a huge year with the plethora of big acts releasing albums this year. Below are a few huge headliners, a few up and comers and a few big risks that Splendour could take.

Mark Ronson

Mark Ronson is probably the first proper rumour that has arisen for Splendour 2015. The producer has had a massive year with his album Uptown Special and he's just been in the country for a quick promo trip. While here he told Matt and Alex that he could neither “confirm nor deny” rumours that he would be making a return to the country in July. Usually, that means he could confirm but the festival and his management team would kill him. So lock him in? Not so fast. He’s currently got zero live shows booked and he also told triple j, “If I can figure out a great show, I’m going to be here." He clearly hasn’t worked out just how he’s going to tour the album yet and it may not be enough time to pull it together. If he doesn’t end up on any festival lineups before Splendour is announced you can almost bet it’s game over.

Hot Chip

Hot Chip are frequent visitors of the country. Last year in June, they toured their DJ set and were also here in early 2013 playing Falls Festival and Field Day. Joe Goddard was also just here playing as The 2 Bears at Sugar Mountain in Melbourne. They would no doubt be looking for the perfect excuse to head down-under again and their newly announced album, Why Make Sense?, is the perfect one. A headline set on the mix-up stage would perfectly round up one the days at Splendour particularly if they have a whole lot of new additions to their catalogue to spruce.

Florence and the Machine

Florence and the Machine’s inclusion on the Coachella lineup marked her live return and since then details have begun to seep through about her third album. It’s rumoured to be called What Kind of Man and has been teased today with a video entitled How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Florence and the Machine has played Splendour only once, in 2010, and gave one of the most valiant performances in the festival’s history. Splendour would no doubt be looking for a euphoric headliner whose style goes hand in hand with the aesthetic of the Byron Parklands and Florence fits that brief perfectly. If you look at her fast filling tour dates, July is wide open.

Years & Years

Looking at past years of the festival, Splendour has traditionally picked up on acts who are just about to make it big. It’s usually based off the BBC Sound of... which predicts the artists set to make a splash in the year ahead. Last year the festival booked Sam Smith, the year before they had HAIM on the lineup and in 2012 Azealia Banks appeared. We think it might be Years & Years year this year.

TV On The Radio

TV On The Radio have had a pretty shit few years to put it bluntly. Their bassist Gerard Smith died from lung cancer in 2011 and just recently they had to cancel their European tour after drummer Jahphet Landis was hospitalised. They haven’t toured Australia since 2013 when they played Splendour and we reckon it’s about time they made a trip down-under. They’d be playing songs from their 2014 album, Seeds.

Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks hasn’t had a great history with touring Australia. When she played Splendour in 2012 she was criticised for only performing for 20 minutes. When she toured with Future Music she fought with Rita Ora and The Stone Rose. And when she toured with Listen Out she left the stage mid-set twice, after objects were thrown at her. Lately, she’s had a beef with Igloo Australia (Iggy Azalea) which has probably tarnished her view of Australia even more but maybe Splendour have the guts to bring her back. Her debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, turned out to be brilliant and she’s finding herself on festival lineups again. Although, she is playing in Japan at the end of March so does that mean she’ll extend the trip for some headline shows here in April?

Jessie Ware

British songstress Jessie Ware was a favourite when she toured with Laneway Festival back in 2012, so much so that we were surprised that she didn’t end up on it again this year. It makes sense, however, when you consider she’s just married and embarking on a national tour in her home country. There will be no excuses come July though. She’d fill a mid-afternoon slot expertly with tracks from her latest album Tough Love and it would give her the push she needs down-under.

Tame Impala

This will happen, right? Splendour has always been a place for bands to return to after immense overseas success and Tame Impala have enjoyed that in droves. They’re the second headliner at Coachella, below AC/DC, and with a new album on the way they’re the perfect candidates to potentially headline a night of the festival. They’re well acquainted with the festival, having played in both 2010 and 2012, so it would be a heartwarming return to see them on the mainstage as a more than worthy headliner.

Lana Del Rey

Enough playing LDR. We thought she would play Falls Festival, then Laneway and we’ve also speculated about solo shows but it’s time she just got the hell down here. 2012 was the last year she played Splendour, with good friend Azealia Banks, and she was a shy, amateur at that stage. Her latest album Ultraviolence is a massive improvement on Born To Die and her festival sets everywhere from Glastonbury to Coachella have been praised. If Banks ends up on the lineup again the pair could buddy up at Splendour once again. If not, we’ll probably have to accept she’s not going to make it down here this time round and forever call her Madonna.

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar toured with Eminem in Australia back in 2013 but now with a new album on the way he’s due for another visit. Splendour has a good history with booking big hip-hop acts. Last year Outkast headlined and Childish Gambino tore the mix-up tent apart and in 2011, Kanye West headlined. He’s playing Bonnaroo, Wireless and Sasquatch so his festival set would be well oiled by the time he got here in July. He also doesn’t have anything booked after 4th July. Lock it in.

 

 

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