A brilliant week for pop queens.
A brilliant week for pop queens.
So many good songs were released this week that we broke our rule of 10 and chucked in two more.
Since the release of hit singles Snare in 2014 and Walk With Me some months ago, the anticipation for a follow-up EP has been steadily building for Cosmo’s Midnight. Production perfectionists Cosmo & Patrick Liney have kept us on the edge of our desk chairs, and clearly haven’t rushed anything, today releasing an encompassing 6-song record with some incredible collaborators in tow on ‘Moments’. From a spacey production with close mate Wave Racer, a super cute track with Sarah from Kero Kero Bonito, a deadly funky collab with Lido, and showing off a darker side with Ether featuring Hi Tom. It’s a diverse collection of tracks that shows off some incredible versatility, nothing more than what we have come to expect from Cosmo’s Midnight.
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’re picking apart the new Major Lazer track with Ariana Grande, George Maple’s newie, Mark Ronson’s new Bruno Mars-featuring single + more.
Hannah M: Despite its quick tempo drumbeats, Divinity is calming. The mystical, layered backing track and Kučka’s breathy voice combine to create a divine quality that’s nice and easy to listen to. Without sounding like a douchebag (hopefully) I actually feel this would make a lovely, if unconventional song to do yoga to. 3.5
Sam: This song has kind of blown up on the internet this week and there’s a reason for it. I actually think this is one of the most interesting tracks to come out of the country this year. She mixes an AlunaGeorge-flavoured RnB with Grimes’ empty-room, dim-lit pop. While her voice has an otherworldly aspect to it, it still really connects. 4
Bianca: The layers of Japanese-inspired percussion and ratchety, syncopated drums create a pleasingly dark and mysterious atmosphere. She doesn’t sound like she’s from this country nor does she even sound like she’s even from this world. 3.75
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/midnightfeature/kucka-divinity[/soundcloud]
Hannah M: I love Oliver Cean’s straight-talking yet soft-spoken voice in Candour; the Northern English accent is somehow endearing. Trailing percussion and synth beats build to the bursting chorus, though everything stays controlled and refined, restrained even. A really cool, smooth jam. 4
Sam: Usually these atmospheric, minimal productions make the voice sound really devoid from the song but here it sits right up the front and carries the melody effortlessly. The instrumental then creeps up behind it moulding its ebbs and flows. 3.5
Bianca: My interest was only piqued at around the halfway mark and by then it was all a bit too late. Don’t get me wrong, this track has some really lovely production, in particular the multi-layered, maudlin percussive elements, but it failed to keep me awake. 3.5
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/ocea-n/candour[/soundcloud]
Hannah M – Beyonce’s performance skills are unmatched and her video clips are always highly anticipated, but this particular iPhone style mash-up really brings 7/11 to life. It’s basically Beyoncé dancing crazy in a way that only Beyonce could. Just as her movements, the rhythm is staccato and punchy, though again I think it’s the accompanying clip that has garnered this song such viral attention rather than the music itself. 3
Sam: Beyoncé literally couldn’t give two f**ks at the moment and this track is proof of that. After her hugely successful solo album, she follows it up with this hook-less song that goes hard for 3 mins 30. It’s the most bonkers track I’ve ever heard by her by rapping instead of singing shows that she knows she can sing the phonebook but she doesn’t always have to use it. She’s such an intriguing, surprising person to watch right now. 4
Bianca: This track just straight-up smacks you in the face. Immediately, just like Beyoncé herself, it launches into glitchy movements with a rickety, trap-like backbeat syncopating along. Throughout the entirety of the track I’m never completely sure where she’s heading but I’m okay with that. With no definitive beginning, middle or end, it’s like three and a half minute-long, 7/11 Slurpee brain-freeze. 3
Hannah M: The only good use I can think of for Build Up is as a soundtrack for a kids cartoon show. Sarah’s high-pitched childlike voice and the Mario Cart-style sound effects are so annoying to listen to. Sorry Kero Kero Bonito – Kawaii just doesn’t do it for me musically. 2
Sam: These guys are so confused. They are a group of English people making J-pop that also sounds like PC Music. May sound like a horrible, horrible combination but if you’re prepared for it, it’s a wonderland of delicious sounds. It may be hard to swallow but it’s probably best to give it a try – this is the kind of sound that could be all over radio in a few years. Probably not, but you never know. 3.5
Bianca: Build Up sounds like an annoying jingle you’d hear on the TV that can’t help but earworm its way into your subconscious. And no matter how hard you try to fight it, you accidentally find yourself singing along to it one day, miraculously knowing every single lyric. And that’s the true magic of this ridiculous song. 3.75 Bianca’s Pick
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kerokerobonito/build-it-up[/soundcloud]
Hannah M: There are some arrogant sentiments behind Lunch Money, like spilling thousands worth of champagne; ‘too bad’ I took your lunch money. I find this entertaining and unsurprising considering Kanye produced the track, though the composition itself didn’t capture me. The under-water effects made a quirky addition to otherwise typical percussive beats, though overall Lunch Money fell flat for me. 2.5
Sam: This has Yeezus stamped all over it. From those industrial synths to the altogether minimal production, it’s easy to imagine Kanye himself rapping over it. Mixing that with a few classic hip-hop beats gives it a point of difference from Yeezus but I’m stuck in two frames of mind. I like it but I feel like it’s just too close to Kanye to give it any identity. 3
Bianca: Is that it? I was expecting something really good to happen but I’ve just been left empty-handed, just like those who were denied of their lunch money. This track is like a Kanye West song without the Kanye, and what’s the point in that? 2.5
Hannah M: Rather than the sappy romance typically associated with such croony vocals, Honne’s lyrics are a little more risqué (e.g. ‘If you spend the night I’ll make it worth your while’). This makes the track way more likeable for cynics like me, and works with their cozy synths and modern RnB sound. 4
Sam: It’s definitely pleasant in a Chet Faker kind of way but I don’t know if there’s much to distinguish it from every other after-dark RnB tune out there. The vocals are on-point and the whole mood of the instrumental is perfect but I can’t help myself thinking I would’ve loved something else – a little vocal manipulation at points to spice things up, maybe. Perhaps I’m just being picky, it is a good tune. 3
Bianca: This one’s a little too slinky for my liking. I can definitely appreciate the down-tempo, brooding affair, but will be doing so from afar. 3
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/hellohonne/the-night[/soundcloud]
It’s Friday and we know what you’re thinking- “gotta go downstairs, gotta have my cereal”. You’re completely right for thinking this; breakfast is without a doubt one of the most important meals of the day, but we’ve got one more piece of sustenance to prepare you for the weekend- new music. While you’re slurping down your high-in-sugar healthy muesli, taste some of these tunes that you might have missed during another busy week of Big Brother, The Bachelor and David & Margaret at the Movies (sigh).
You know we love a lil’ bit of PC Music here at the interns and this week we were delivered some more from the honey-nest of their Soundcloud. Danny Harle, who’s part of the PC Music bunch has remixed this super kawaii track by London group, Kero Kero Bonito. The band have already done a lot of PC Music’s work by creating a song that is incredible kitsch but Harle adds more bubblegum synths, shooting it further into the realm of video games. With Harle on board, the title holds even more relevance.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kerokerobonito/sick-beat-danny-l-harle-remix[/soundcloud]
RL Grime’s last track, Core, was a minefield of alarms and abrasive sounds, but he’s taken it down a notch on Reminder including our ultimate bae, How To Dress Well. As such, RL Grime happily obliges in making a moody RnB track that suits Tom Krell’s vocals down to the ground. If RL Grime’s latest album, Core, is meant to represent some sort of war, then this is the calm before the storm. It’s beautiful melodic, textured and probably the most gentle thing this LA producer has churned out.
Lapalux is the ultimate purveyor of smooth electronica. Guuurl off his debut album Nostalchic was one of the best songs of last year and this one doesn’t slip on quality whatsoever. As the title suggests, it’s really split up into three distinct parts. The first is gentle and atmospheric, the second features vocals and is much denser while the third lays down the beat and jitters along. I suppose you could call it the Bohemian Rhapsody of contemporary electronica. Galileo!
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/lapalux/movement-i-ii-iii[/soundcloud]
As well as serving up brilliant solo material (have YOU heard Leave Me Alone?), Kaytranada has been making a name as a formidable producer. Here here puts together a smooth, pulsating beat to lay beneath Montreal Shay Lia’s 3 Months. In many ways the track returns the favour. Shay Lia featured on Kaytranada’s Leave Me Alone. On that one, the producers future RnB beat took centre-stage but here it’s Lia’s vocals that steal the show. They are addictively sulky, sounding like the end of a burning cigarette.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/shay-lia/3-months-prod-by-kaytranada-1[/soundcloud]
If you haven’t heard Made In Heights, Death, yet we’ll give you a moment to go and right your wrongs.
Right, now you’ve done so, here’s the latest track from the American duo, Ghosts. Much like Death, the track is a masterful display of ambient, RnB with the vocal of Kelsey Bulkin sounding like candy clouds. The whole affair is completely effortless with melodies that will blow your mind without you even knowing it. If it all floats over you, give it another chance. The unobtrusive nature of it is part of its eventual charm.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/madeinheights/ghosts[/soundcloud]
Skrillex and Diplo’s Jack U’s collaboration has been teased for a number of weeks now and finally they’ve bestowed upon us the golden collaboration. Along for the ride is throwback vocalist, Kiesza who lays down a crystalline vocal alongside Skrill and Dip’s bipolar beat. The chorus is like a rush of blood to the head with Kiesza’s flighty vocals meeting the trap-based beat.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/shitnew/jack-u-take-u-there-ft-kiesza-1[/soundcloud]
This is our Australia-represent inclusion to 10 Songs this week and what a doozy it is. All-round cool chick, Elizabeth Rose has teamed up with fellow Aussie producer Frames for a double A-side single that features this tune and another one titled Anywhere. The two go together like spilt red wine and bicarb soda, with Rose sounding completely at home over Frame’s four-to-the-floor, late-night beat.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/octoberrecords/frames-elizabethrose-intentions[/soundcloud]
Jessie Ware’s, Tough Love, is shaping up to be one cracker of a record. Kind of…Sometimes…Maybe is the fourth track we’ve heard from the able and it’s penned by Miguel, meaning that it’s destined to become a bedroom anthem. Not in the late night, dirrrttttyyy way though- it’s a sweet, love song that plods along with Ware’s whispy coos. She tweeted saying, “Enjoy and have a whisky with it”. Well we’ve had seven and it’s getting better and better.
Big-ass ballad alert. If Dangerous Days taught us anything, it’s that Zola Jesus would be embracing big pop melodies on her forthcoming album, Taiga, and her new track Go (Black Sea) completely confirms that. It’s an unashamedly huge ballad in the way that I Wanna Know What Love Is , but with far less ‘80s-bizarre and a little more emotional finesse. There’s beautifully layered vocals, hard-hitting beats and a chorus that will smack you right in the stomach. Get ready for Taiga, it’s going to be more exciting than the upcoming Ninja Turtles movie and that we can guarantee.
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/zolajesus/goblanksea[/soundcloud]
On first thought, Vegas feels like bright lights, lost money and too many drinks which inevitably ends with a horror morning. You can rest easy though, Tinashe’s Feels Like Vegas sounds nothing like that. It’s effortlessly smooth and classy and gives us plenty of time to revel in her unbelievable vocals. Schoolboy Q is along for the ride but he really does nothing but adds another name to a song that Tinahse owns. Give us the album now, thanks.
First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on first (or second) listen. Each week we each review six new songs from the week passed, each giving them a score out of five and awarding one our pick of the week.
Bianca: Awash with shimmering synths and layer upon layer of electronic goodness, TOKiMONSTA’s latest melancholic offering spins around and paces back and forth. She is apparently “going through some tough shit right now” and you can sense some kind of underlying sorrow in there. The marching drums and male chants really bring this one home for me. 4
Sam: I really dug TOKiMONSTA’s Realla and this one proves she’s on a bit of a roll right now. The high-pitched vocal sample just cuddles your ears along with the mellow synths. It may be a rehash of what’s doing the rounds right now stylistically but she does a damn good job of it. 3.5
Lizzie: The back beat really strikes straight to the heart. I love the squiggle horn beats – I know that only make sense to me but that’s how it sounds in my head. That, mixed with the high pitched-voice, is just gorgeous. 4 Lizzie’s really close second
Hannah: I’m a sucker for a great vocal sample and this is filled with them. I love the juxtaposition of the high-pitched Furby vocals layered with an almost ominous beat and deep house synth. It’s a perfect demonstration of how to maintain melodic integrity while citing some of those Japanese pop-culture influences we’re loving at the moment. 4 Hannah’s Pick
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/tokimonsta/steal-my-attention-off-the-upcoming-desiderium-album[/soundcloud]
Bianca: Look, it’s not you, The Preatures, it’s me. You have so much to offer and will make someone very happy one day but I’m afraid that person’s not me. 2.5
Sam: The Preatures are going to be that band that I’m still listening to when I’m a Dad (heaven help us) and my kids will think it’s really dorky. They’ve got a certain quality of longevity to them and it feels as if they’ll go down as a classic Aussie band. Somebody’s Talking helps that legacy. It’s funky, effortlessly delectable and Manfredi, once again, is a growling, charismatic frontwoman. 4
Lizzie: Great tune. Great tune. It’s got the energy to get everyone up and dancing – coordinated or not. Sam I totally agree with you! I feel I’m going to be dragging my kids onto the dance floor at a wedding with this gem. 4 Lizzie’s Pick
Hannah: Yep, that sounds like The Preatures talking alright. 2
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/thepreatures/somebodys-talking[/soundcloud]
Bianca: Admittedly, when I was first introduced to PC Music, I was not sold. So purposefully kitsch and jam-packed full of ‘90s cultural references in the most obvious of ways, I wasn’t about to be tricked into enjoying it. SOPHIE’s Lemonade made no sense whatsoever, neither lyrically nor structurally, while A.G.Cook’s Beautiful just sounded like a song from Dance Dance Revolution. Now the two producers have teamed up and it seems that two wrongs have somehow made a right. Upon my very first listen to Hey QT when dropped in SOPHIE’s Boiler Room set, I was immediately addicted to the so-called “Energy Elixir” and everything PC Music-related started to make so much sense. Trapped in my head like a gummy earworm and played in excess as a result, I can’t get enough of the candy goodness and matter-of-fact lyrics, the latter being curiously on point with the line: “I’ve got this new song and it’s the only one I want to play.” Maybe I’ve been converted, or perhaps I’m just on a sugar high, but this track is like a delicious pick ‘n’ mix that just keeps on giving and giving. 4.75 Bianca’s Pick
Sam: I have personally been a fan of all releases by A.G. Cook and SOPHIE, seperately, but I admit that they aren’t the most objectively likeable songs. I knew, however, that they were only moments away from a breakaway hit that would suddenly see people come around to PC Music. Well, this is it. What needs to be said about this song that it doesn’t already say. “They played your new song, it’s like nothing I heard before”, sings the character in Hey QT and surely she is talking about this song. Its melody is impossibly irresistible, the beats sound like bursting bubblegum and it unlocks ‘90s nostalgia aplenty. Something new and yet something so familiar. Unequivocally brilliant. 5 Sam’s Pick
Lizzie: It sounds like I am about to break into a cheer-leading routine. A chipmunk cheer-leading routine. However, in saying that I did find myself joyfully bopping along to the chorus. This is a lot me palatable than the other PC songs I have been regrettably exposed to. 3
Hannah: In every great pursuit, there’s an initial phase of innovation brought on by a forward thinker’s desire to push the boundaries of the box ever onward. That is what PC Music has been about until now. Now, however, comes the phase where people begin to understand that innovation. When unique concepts, or in this case unique music, become attainable and more importantly accessible. This retains the PC Music we’ve come to know, but does it in a manner aimed straight at the jugular of popular appeal. 3
Bianca: I feel I’ve heard this one before, although this time with a constant, reverberating siren distracting me from what’s going on. Probably for the best. Sia’s voice is perfect as usual but the chorus renders it into tired, mainstream territory. Maybe I’m just not angry enough to relate so the impact is lost on me. 2.5
Sam: More inspirational rapping from Eminem with quips about the media and what everybody says about him. It really does feel like more of the same with Sia delivering her second hook for Eminem. She sounds floaty and melancholic but nothing could save Em from dishing up this wet cloth of a song. Also Eminem in general, ugh. 2
Lizzie: When I heard Eminem and Sia, I set the expectation bar so high…and *sigh* what a disappointment. Eminem is on a comeback and Sia is at the top of her game, why is there no chemistry? 2
Hannah: Eminem says “I just want to play my part,” and that’s exactly what he’s doing here. Still running that old poor-little-white-boy-rapper act he’s become known for, only this time he’s doing it with Sia not Rhi Rhi. Eminem peaked with Superman. 2
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/igapromotion/eminem-guts-over-fear-feat-sia[/soundcloud]
Bianca: Just a little bit too much funk in the trunk for my liking. 2
Sam: Redinho describes this song as having a “cheeky kinda optimism” to it and he’s right. The instrumentation is perky with bouncing beats and sunshine-filled synths. Brendan Reilly’s vocal harks back to ‘90s soul and does a perfect job of working up lustful butterflies. However, just like summer love it feels like this song could be forgotten once the sun weakens. 3
Lizzie: It’s very Disco Stu peppered with a bit of R&B cool. With the turn of the season, I think it a great tune to bring that little spring in the step! 3.5
Hannah: The first 30 seconds of this failed to captivate me so I didn’t listen to the rest. I don’t think I missed much. 2.5
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/nmbrs/redinho-get-you-off-my-mind[/soundcloud]
Bianca: I Shazamed this bad boy a couple of days ago so surely that’s a pretty definitive sign that it made a good first impression on me. The flurry of in-your-face nostalgic references and washes of synths and glitchy pops are enough to have me hooked. Surely trumps Taylor Swift’s ‘sick beat’, anyway. 3.5
Sam: This has the same kind of feel as Japanese producer Tofubeats. It oscillates between j-pop, indie-pop and electronica with a bubblegum instrumental alongside kawaii vocals. Like the perfect dessert, it never goes overboard with the sugar pulling the instrumentation right back at times leaving the lead-vocal spraying off, what sounds like, Japanese. Such a fan. 4
Lizzie: Of all the Japanese style songs I’ve heard (except Porter Robinson), this one actually sits ok with me. It’s definitely the chorus which grabs me and keeps me. How does one dance to this though? 3.5
Hannah: Oh no, it’s a Eurasian M.I.A. Make her stop. 1
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kerokerobonito/sick-beat[/soundcloud]