REVIEW + PICS: Field Day | The Domain, Sydney

Sydney music lovers have accustomed themselves to dusting off the cobwebs from big New Year's Eve celebrations to attend this premier New Year's Day musical festival that is Field Day. The 2016 lineup gave you no choice but to attend the event showcasing international artists such as Disclosure, RL Grime, Boys Noize, Skepta, Pusha T. Mix that up with some of our homegrown Aussie talent in the forms of Golden Features, Flight Facilities, JOY. Allday, Ta-ku, forming the biggest lineup Field Day has seen to date.

Allday saw the majority of the foot traffic out of those early set times as the crowd was starting to flow past and congregate at the main stage. One of the leading aussie hip hop outfits to burst on to the scene in the last few years showcased their immense talents to a jovial crowd. You Always Know the DJ stopped people dead in their tracks as the whole crowd busted out the lyrics to the catchy number.

Ta-ku set the tone for the day with his live set drawing in people from all angles. This live set showcased Ta-ku’s immense talent and ability to find the perfect balance of progressive beats and hip hop whilst never neglecting his signature heavy basslines. I Miss You was the crowd’s favourite and by now everybody was well and truly up and dancing to what was an exhilarating performance.

A quick duck over to the left field stage situated in amongst the Domain’s famous Moreton Bay fig trees saw Daniel Avery bring the house down with his psychedelic techno. As that clock drew extremely close to four o’clock everybody frantically made a bolt over to the main stage to make sure they didn’t miss one bit of Skepta.

Skepta was the first of the international acts to hit the main stage and boy did he hit the ground running. It’s safe to say that at least three quarters of what was a sold out Field Day were witnessing UK Grime at its best. The beaming down sun and hot temperature had everybody feeding off Skepta’s high energy and massive stage presence. As soon as Shutdown came on the whole crowd went into overdrive and everyone was at a whole new level screaming out those infamous lyrics and what better way to lead into the next big name international artist.

With the massive crowd still growing rapidly at the main stage, out stepped RL Grime. One of the pioneers behind trap music, RL Grime has the arsenal to deliver a set like none other. Love Sosa was the first track that sent the moshpit into a frenzy and from that point onward each and every song had everyone finding new energy levels you didn’t know you had. The crowd was jammed right up against the front barriers and stretched has far back as the eye could see. With the recent release of his debut album Void, it was no surprise as to what tracks would ramp things up a knotch. Scylla and Core managed to do this with ease and then RL throws in one of his personal favourite tracks Kingpin. Tell Me gets thrown into the set and all you can see in the crowd is a sea of trap arms and the odd circle pit opening up. When you mix RL Grime’s passion with a pulsating crowd you’re only going to get fireworks and this is exactly what RL Grime brought.

The sun has well and truly set for the day and anyone that’s a fiend for hard hitting elctro house and techno was champing at the bit for Boys Noize. Even though he was on one of the smaller stages he pulled one of the biggest crowds of the day. You could hardly move amongst the masses of people although there was still enough room to dance and go absolutely mental. This stage had the best sound system of the festival and Boys Noize pushed it to exetrmes. There was never a backward step throughout the entire set with every track and transition just building and building, getting heavier and heavier and louder and louder. As soon has Boys Noize dropped Do You Like Bass? The whole crowd erupted in unison and at times your whole body was left feeling like it had been hit by a ton of bricks. By far the standout performance of the day went to Boys Noize and his ever so passionate bass heads.

The biggest act was left till last and closing out the main stage was Disclosure. The two brothers from England have made Australia a frequent stop in their jam-packed touring schedule. With the recent release of Caracal adding more material at the brother’s disposal, you knew you were in for a good end to the night. This album doesn’t quite have the big hits that featured on Disclosures previous album Settle. This was constantly evident throughout the entire set, especially after Latch and When A Fire Starts To Burn had been played. During both those songs you could hear the crowd belting out the lyrics way above the speakers. But sadly they were the only two highlights of the set. Quite frankly you demand more from the headline act.

Field Day once again lived up to its reputation of being the best way to spend your New Year's Day.

All photos by Brayden Smith (BCS Imaging).

10Songs_17July

10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week: CHVRCHES, Tame Impala, Lana Del Rey And More

10Songs_17July

Our internet has been down for the whole day so we contemplated sending this out via carrier pigeon but we don't own a pad and paper anymore (#GENY) and Lana Del Rey wouldn't give us the rights to send her song via a disease-ridden bird. Luckily the internet came back, our blood pressure can return to normal.

CHVRCHES
Leave A Trace

In just one album CHVRCHES have generated enough hype to make people want to leak details of their follow-up, which means that people really, really care. And by the sounds of the first single Leave A Trace people should care. Once again it centres around frontwoman Lauren Mayberry's delicate yet cutting vocals that are at their peak here. It's another bitter tale of heartbreak but nobody really does it quite as well as CHVRCHES so just keep em' coming.

Wizkid
Ojuelegba (Feat. Drake and Skepta)

This is not your regular Drake remix. In fact, on paper it's bizarre. Ojuelegba was a massive hit for Wizkid in his home country of Nigeria but now Drake and Skepta have westernised it with a verse each. It doesn't deliver up much of a hip-hop beat but the pair make it work effortlessly. This friendship between Skeppy and Drizzy just continues to develop and we're very much in favour of it.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/skepta/ojuelegba-remix-ft-drake-skepta[/soundcloud]

Cosmo's Midnight
Walk With Me (Feat. KUČKA)

There's basically nothing that could go wrong when you put together two of Australia's finest producers Cosmo's Midnight and Australia's most unique vocalist KUČKA. Walk With Me is a wonderfully perky number that sees the trio channel their inner AlunaGeorge. I imagine it will go down even better come summer festival time as its airy disposition is tailer-made for the sunshine.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/cosmosmidnight/cosmos-midnight-walk-with-me-feat-kucka[/soundcloud]

Lana Del Rey
Honeymoon

LDR is back and she's singing about bad boys once again. This time it's a man with "a history of violence," and while it's surely not possible for the singer to attract this many men with a sketchy past, she's so damn convincing as a narrator. Honeymoon is a string-driven affair with that's as grandiose as anything she's done. Her vocals and smokey and waft higher and higher with a certain Hollywood glamour to them. Bad news for the haters, you're probably not going to change your mind with this one.

Gill Bates
Didn't Mind (Produced By Feki)

Aussie hip-hop is in such a good place right now thanks to the likes of Allday, Remi, Tkay Maidza and Baro. Now we can add another name to that crew - Gill Bates. It's probably one of the most accessible Aussie hip-hop/R&B tracks we've heard in a very long time and that's thanks to that brilliant hook crafted by Gates and producer Feki. It may be only his second official single but it sounds just as polished as anything riding up the pop charts today.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/gillbates/didnt-mind-prod-feki[/soundcloud]

M.I.A
Swords

She's becoming a bit of a veteran now M.I.A but luckily she's got no less interesting as she's matured. Swords is taken from her fifth album Matahdatah which, in typical M.I.A style, could be out tomorrow or could arrive in 2019. The important thing right now is that we have this track and it's a catastrophic mess - the only way we like our M.I.A. She's the queen on organised anarchy and yes, this song features actual swords alongside tribal beats and brash raps. The track was featured in her visual project Matahdatah Scroll 01 "Broader Than A Border," featured below.

Mabel
Know Me Better

Mabel is the daughter of Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McAvy but don't for a minute think that that's all she's got going for her. Know Me Better is a confident, personality-filled debut single. It's sensual and yet brims with energy. "Now there's nothing here between us," she sings, shattering a relationship but seemingly gaining her own personal muscle to walk away better.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/mmmmmmabel/mabel-know-me-better-1[/soundcloud]

Youth Lagoon
The Knower

Trevor Powers aka Youth Lagoon caught everyone's attention with his magical debut Year Of Hibernation and then backed it up with an equally whimsical sophomore effort Wondrous Bughouse. The Knower, taken from his forthcoming LP Savage Hills Ballroom, is no less fairytale-like but there's a little more clarity to his vocals and the instrumental is more immediate. For the first time he really gives us a face. Rather than hiding behind the music, he drives it.

Leisure Suite
Sweet Gin

Leisure Suite are an electro-pop duo from Melbourne and Sweet Gin is the first track following their beautiful self-titled EP. Sweet Gin is an after-dark track with strong seductive vibes. There's a certain jazz quality to the vocals like Ella Fitzgerald picked up a synth and started listening to Ashanti. On a cold day like this it's just the warm hug we needed.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/leisure-suite-aus/sweet-gin[/soundcloud]

Tame Impala
The Less I Know The Better

Choosing just one track from the new Tame Impala record is a little like choosing your favourite kid. For now, The Less I Know The Better is our favourite. But by the time I've finished writing this we probably will move onto something else. The Less I Know The Better is the track that best combines the murky haze of Lonerism with the new-found pop-melodies of Currents. Everything from the funky guitar riff to Parker's impeccable falsetto is perfect and it melts our hearts everytime.

Read: Our review of Currents

Skepta_TripleJ

Skepta Shouts Out Triple J On New Track, 'Back Then'

Skepta_TripleJ

Grime is the flavour of the year and Skepta is leading the charge at the moment. His single Shutdown has basically taken over the world and now it looks like he's going to do it all over again with Back Then. The track was produced by Brit producer Plastician and sees Skepta on his best form. He even gives a shout out to us - yes, little ol' Australia. "Now I don't care what niggas say, I've got girls down-under tellin' me that I'm on triple j," he raps and he's not wrong. We love him down here so much so that BBE are teasing us with an impending tour. Let's hope details make themselves clear soon.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/plastician/skepta-back-then[/soundcloud]

SongsOfTheYear_SoFar

The Best Songs Of 2015 So Far...

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

Illustrations by Bianca Bosso.

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

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

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TkayMaidza

29. Tkay Maidza
M.O.B.

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

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HotChip

28. Hot Chip
Need You Now

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

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Elliphant

27. Elliphant
Love Me Badder

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

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Nao

26. Nao
Apple Cherry

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

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TheWeeknd

25. The Weeknd
I Can't Feel My Face

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

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Eves

24. Eves The Behavior
Electrical

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

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TameImpala_Eventually

23. Tame Impala
Eventually

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

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FourFiveSeconds

22. Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney
FourFiveSeconds

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

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Grimes

21. Grimes
REALiTi

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

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CourtneyBarnett

20. Courtney Barnett
Depreston

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

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Florence

19. Florence + The Machine
Ship To Wreck

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

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TobiasJessoJr

18. Tobias Jesso Jr.
How Could You Babe

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

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Jamiexx_Gosh

17. Jamie xx
Gosh

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

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FatherJohnMisty

16. Father John Misty
Bored In The USA

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

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KanyeWest

15. Kanye West
All Day

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

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Drake

14. Drake
Energy

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

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Miguel

13. Miguel
Coffee (Fucking)

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

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HudsonMohawke

12. Hudson Mohawke
Ryderz

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

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ActionBronson

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

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

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Years&Years

10. Years & Years
King

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

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

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Kelela

9. Kelela
A Message

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

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Kendrick

8. Kendrick Lamar
King Kunta

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

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Skepta

7. Skepta
Shutdown

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

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TameImpala_CauseImAMan

6. Tame Impala
'Cause I'm A Man

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

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UMO

5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love

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

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Tink

4. Tink
Ratchet Commandments

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

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Kendrick_BlackerBerry

3. Kendrick Lamar
The Blacker The Berry

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

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TameImpala_LetItHappen

2. Tame Impala
Let It Happen

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

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Jamiexx_LoudPlaces

1. Jamie xx
Loud PLaces (Feat. Romy)

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

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

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

Illustrations by Bianca Bosso.

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

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

TkayMaidza

29. Tkay Maidza
M.O.B.

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

HotChip

28. Hot Chip
Need You Now

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

Elliphant

27. Elliphant
Love Me Badder

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

Nao

26. Nao
Apple Cherry

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

TheWeeknd

25. The Weeknd
I Can't Feel My Face

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

Eves

24. Eves The Behavior
Electrical

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

TameImpala_Eventually

23. Tame Impala
Eventually

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

FourFiveSeconds

22. Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney
FourFiveSeconds

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

Grimes

21. Grimes
REALiTi

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

CourtneyBarnett

20. Courtney Barnett
Depreston

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

Florence

19. Florence + The Machine
Ship To Wreck

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

TobiasJessoJr

18. Tobias Jesso Jr.
How Could You Babe

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

Jamiexx_Gosh

17. Jamie xx
Gosh

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

FatherJohnMisty

16. Father John Misty
Bored In The USA

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

KanyeWest

15. Kanye West
All Day

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

Drake

14. Drake
Energy

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

Miguel

13. Miguel
Coffee (Fucking)

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

HudsonMohawke

12. Hudson Mohawke
Ryderz

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

ActionBronson

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

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

Years&Years

10. Years & Years
King

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

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

Kelela

9. Kelela
A Message

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

Kendrick

8. Kendrick Lamar
King Kunta

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

Skepta

7. Skepta
Shutdown

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

TameImpala_CauseImAMan

6. Tame Impala
'Cause I'm A Man

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

UMO

5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love

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

Tink

4. Tink
Ratchet Commandments

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

Kendrick_BlackerBerry

3. Kendrick Lamar
The Blacker The Berry

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

TameImpala_LetItHappen

2. Tame Impala
Let It Happen

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

Jamiexx_LoudPlaces

1. Jamie xx
Loud PLaces (Feat. Romy)

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

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

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Grime

How Grime Is Taking Everything But The Kitchen Sink In 2015

Grime

The term grime has been used a lot this year. It's a genre that's been waiting, sometimes unpatiently, for its turn at the big time and it seems 2015 is finally that year that underground British rap, defined as grime, will get its due attention. If you're going going to jump on board, there's a few things you need to know so at the risk of simplifying what is a genre entrenched in history we've compiled a little cheat guide here to help you catch up.

What Has Already Happened?

Grime may not be a new genre to British people but to this rest of the world, this is our first time flirting with the genre that was born in London. It emerged in the early 2000s in an east-London town called Bow, an area of economic deprivation. It was a reaction to the growing popularity of underground genres such as garage and jungle and saw the MC move from hype men to the main event. Music journalist Simon Reynolds , "Inherited from the period when two-step ruled the top 10, but also inspired by enviously watching the living large of American rap superstars, Grime feels a powerful drive to invade the mainstream and get 'paid in full'."

While Wiley is widely regarded as the figure-head of early grime, Dizzee Rascal's Boy In Da Corner was one of the first to gain both critical and mainstream appreciation. He took home the Mercury Prize in 2003 and grime was heralded as the new genre ready to define a generation in the same way that punk rock or '90s rave did. But it didn't happen. Inevitably Britain's biggest grime stars like Dizzee, Tinchy Stryder and Tinie Tempah all looked to more mainstream genres for success. Even Wiley released a pop album titled See Clear Now which featured the likes of Mark Ronson and Lily Allen. He has since returned to the genre.

We all embraced Dizzee Rascal a few years ago but it's hard to argue that the tracks that gained traction on the charts had much relationship to grime. His most popular songs were produced by the likes of Calvin Harris and Armand Van Helden who really wouldn't know grime from a rhyme. Dizzee's last popular single featured Robbie Williams on the hook, if you need any more convincing that he's pretty much deserted grime. A British documentary Music Nation detailed this period in which Dizzee and Wiley looked for more American sounds for inspiration as the moment that grime lost its identity.

Still, there are plenty of artists that have continued to chip away at the genre and now are being paid their dues for their loyalty. English grime label Boy Better Know, helmed by JME, Skepta and Wiley, has been releasing records from 2006 to now that sit firmly within the genre.

In 2014, Nosiey released a documentary featuring JME about the London police shutting down grime events because they were deemed as "a public safety" issue. It's well-worth a watch to understand the unstable relationship between grime and the police and elements of racism within London.

What Is Happening In 2015?

You could say that not much has changed sonically with the genre of grime in 2015, but it has finally grabbed the attention of American hip-hop heavyweights that have thrown it into the public eye. Perhaps the most obvious statement of grime's arrival on the International stage was Kanye West's performance of All Day at the Brits. Kanye took to the stage with a group of men dressed in black. Among them were Skepta, Jammer and Novelist. A lot of people complained (one complaint of which is sampled in Skepta's Shutdown), but then grime has never appealed to the British masses thus why it's spent so long bubbling under. Writing for NME, Wiley touched on the significance of what Kanye did, writing, "what he did won’t just happen again next year, but people will be more open-minded about the people he got into the building and onstage."

Drake has been a fan of grime music for a while now but not until this year has he made any audible sense of it. His verse on Lil Wayne's Used To referenced Skepta's That's Not Me, also giving a shoutout to Skepta's collective Boy Better Know, rapping, "Love for the G’s in the ends, But we don’t love no girls in the ends." It hasn't stopped there. He also posted an Instagram captioned, "Watching Skepta vs Devilman is a true reminder that whenever you think you’re good at what you do there’s most likely 2 people out there that will yam your food.” Skepta later returned the favour, sampling Drake on his single Shutdown.

Two significant mentions in a year doesn't seem like a big deal but when it's arguably the two biggest names in American hip-hop right now, it's always going to make some waves. Grime hasn't hit the charts yet in America but it's all about slowly moving into the psyche of audiences. For example, EDM was well-established and hugely popular in Europe before America caught on and now there's more attention paid to the dance-style at festivals than anything else.

If grime's going to go mainstream this year, then the UK is going to have to jump on board completely first and they have started to do that. This year Skepta's Shutdown charted in the top 40 while young-gun Stormzy managed to creep into the Top 50 with Know Me From. Skepta's brother JME also achieved his first ever top 20 album with Integrity>, peaking at number 12. It's certainly not the chart success platinum records are made of but it's significant because this is raw rap music that's often been labelled by those in the UK as dangerous. The fact that it's sitting in the same lists as Maroon 5 and Clean Bandit is a positive step.

The BBC highlighted 21 year-old newcomer Stormzy in their BBC Sound Of 2015 Award which highlights the talent most likely to excel in the year ahead. Labelling the rapper as "gritty grime from South London," he's a far cry from the Adeles and Sam Smiths that usually crowd this award.

What Is Going To Happen?

It looks like both Kanye and Drake are going to drop albums this year and while there's been no solid proof that the artists will be including grime artists and/or a nod of the hat to the genre, it's likely. American hip-hop is the main genre that grime can potentially infiltrate which would reignite the passion and aggression that the genre has often traded for sex and arrogance.

But it feels as if there is only so far grime can go. The biggest problem with grime extending its influence is that its roots are so geographically entrenched. From the accent to the attitude, grime is and will always be a product of South London and while it has extended into other areas of the UK, it's hard to imagine artists outside of Britain successfully emulating the style. Other trend-genres like deep house and RnB have easily transcended geographical borders, but their ties to their origins aren't nearly as strong as grime.

Everytime grime has moved into the mainstream it's collided with a dance-genre. It originated from garage but has also spawned genres such as bro-step (born from dubstep) and collided with genres like drum n' bass, deep house and dancehall. There's a chance it will find itself amalgamated with American hip-hop and finding favour stateside or in a perfect world it will be adopted in its most pure form.

Skepta remains positive about grime's organic growth. He said, "It will catch on and not just in America; we want the whole world to hear it, which it will one day." Let's hope he's right.

In a Red Bull Academy lecture in London, Skepta revealed that he had been in LA working with Kanye, Earl Sweatshirt and Playboy Carti on material. "I need Earl on the album," he specifically noted. The result of that will probably inform where the genre heads stateside.

Rapper Ghetts put it best when he told The Guardian, "Jay Z is bigger than rap culture, but never once does he act like he's not part of that scene. That's what I'm asking my brothers in grime to do; be proud and promote our music." It's possible to grow bigger than a scene and still rep for grime and acknowledge the heritage. That's the way that grime will be able to grow bigger than what it is right now.

Who To Look Out For

The Legends

There is a long-list of legends who have come and gone from the grime genre but below are three that, in our opinion, are still relevant in 2015 without shifting genres.

JME

JME is one of the founders of Boy Better Know and has released three albums since 2008. His latest album Integrity> which features Skepta, Wiley, Jammer and Giggs has broken the top 20 for the first time in his career and also features his highest charting single 96 F**Kries. His 2009 track Serious is considered to be a seminal grime track. JME goes against many of the stereotypes that have been cast upon the genre. He openly opposes violence, drugs and sex and is a tea-totler himself. The rapper addressed grime's popularity recently on Twitter writing, "The year of the real. Inspired by the fakes."

Skepta

In 2015, JME's older brother Skepta has had a huge part in grime's mainstream resurrection. His latest single Shutdown found recognition on international blogs after he appeared on stage with Kanye at the Brits and also simply because it's a brilliant track. He's had three albums over his career and is gearing up to release his fourth, Konnichiwa, this year. Skepta's ridden the wave of the genre, delivering classic grime, pop-based rap and, more recently, modern grime.

Wiley

Wiley is considered by many to be the head-honcho of the grime scene. The 36 year-old rapper has seen grime through all stages. He's released classic grime albums, pop albums and last year delivered a mighty return to form with Snakes & Ladders, which he also announced to be his final solo album. His influence is the genre is undeniable yet he's been unable to crack the top 20 of the British charts with any of his albums. That is despite the fact he's had a number one single with Heatwave. He's oscillated between pop and grime better than any other artist on the scene, managing to retain his credibility and penetrate the mainstream.

The Newcomers

If a movement is going to have its heyday it has to be championed by fresh blood. These are the young-guns that are set to make waves in 2015.

Stormzy

Stormzy is an interesting candidate to be grime's biggest newcomer of 2015. He's stayed away from "the raves, the girls, the glitz and glamour," as he puts it, rather building much of his career through his YouTube channel.  The rapper placed third in BBC's Sound of 2015 and appeared on Jools Holland all without being signed to a label. This year he's released his most commercially appreciated single to date Know Me From and appeared on stage with Kanye at The Brits next to his hero Skepta. Complex asked Stormzy where he'll be in 2018. His answer? "I'll be the most prominent figure from our scene." Watch this space.

Jammz

East London MC Jammz has started to cultivate attention this year off the back of his brilliant Hit Then Run EP. He produced much of the EP himself but it also featured production by established South London MC P Money and the self-appointed "DJ's DJ of Grime" Spooky. The beats are hard but there are also vocal samples that wouldn't sound out of place on a deep house track. His raps centre around radio and he finishes the title track of the EP by rapping, "No one's hitting radio like us this year/It's not a joke/It's our time."

Novelist

Novelist is another one that appeared with Kanye West at The Brits but he's been making plenty of waves by himself. The 18 year-old is part of South London crew The Square, a group of rapper and producers aged between 15 and 20. The group released a strong mixtape The Formula last year, immediately drawing comparisons to Boy Better Know. He was on the shortlist for BBC's Sound of 2015 and also released his collaborative EP with Mumdance on the tastemaker label XL Records. His work with Mumdance demonstrates his effortless adoption of more experimental forms of electronica while still retaining that relentless grime flow. Novelist is the MC most likely to try different things and extend the boundaries of what grime can be.

Izzie Gibbs

There's a proper rap war going on between Novelist and Izzie Gibbs. Grime thrives off healthy competition and something really fierce could come from this. Last year Gibbs dissed Novelist on radio, leading Novelist to challenge him to a clash. Gibbs never turned up which he later explained but don't let that make you discount him as a rapper. Not only is he releasing fire grime records but he's also taking cues from American hip-hop. His track Sex In The Open recalls Future and Jeremih. It shows that his diversity is enough to cross the seas while also impress on local turf.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/izziegibbs/sex-in-the-open[/soundcloud]

 

10songs_27March2

10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week: Rihanna, Jamie xx, Shamir + More

10songs_27March

We're going to use this space above the important stuff to describe the week using comments left on One Direction's Facebook post announcing Zayn Malik was leaving:

  • "Don't do this Zayn man! please stay,life awaits for no man, living a normal life won't pa the bill at the age of 44 build ur empire while you still can."
  • "he's the reason for my tear, yesterday, today and tomorrow. It was hard to accept those statements."
  • "im crying again damn"
  • ""I don't want you to leave!!!!!" Says my daughter Elizabeth."

This week the world mourned together but the music must go on. It's what Zayn would've wanted. Let's also hope this cheers Elizabeth up.

Rihanna
Bitch Better Have My Money

Bitch (me) does have Rihanna's money and bitch used some of that money to buy Rihanna's new single. Bitch also stayed up until 3am last night only to be directed to an app to hear 20 seconds of her new song, so bitch thinks he might keep Rihanna's money at least until she gives us her album. Ransom. Lord knows what Rihanna's doing right now. First she releases a song with Paul McCartney that both your Dad and you could sing along to and now she drops an absolute banger who's chorus has to be censored on the radio. It's not the most sure fire way to grab a number one hit but it's a song dripping in RiRi swagger and a level of ridiculousness that only she could get away with.

Jamie xx
Loud Places (Feat. Romy Madley-Croft)/Gosh

Jamie xx, the beatsmith of the xx has had a cracker of a week, announcing his debut album In Colour and dropping these two unbelievably great tracks. The first, Loud Places, features his xx bandmate Romy Madley Croft and is a stunning slow-burner that ramps up into a gospel-flavoured chorus. Gosh is centred very much in the club world with a sound that harks back to last year's All Under One Roof Raving. The synth that creeps up towards the end of the song creates so many warm and fuzzies, it's hard to imagine life beyond the end of the song.

Tei Shi
Go Slow

Tei Shi is ready to just explode all over the internet in the next few weeks with the release of her Verde EP. Go Slow is taken from that and it's the strongest cut we've heard from her yet. A humble, smooth verse explodes into an expansive, flourishing chorus that brings the track home strong. It's voices like Shi's make you believe that there is still life left in the electro-RnB genre.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/tei-shi/go-slow[/soundcloud]

Hudson Mohawke
Very First Breath (Feat. Irfane)

Producer Hudson Mohawke delivered an incredible show at the Fader Fort at SXSW last week and he continued the hype this week by dropping Very First Breath featuring French vocalist Irfane. It's taken from his forthcoming album Lanterns and sees him hold things back a little to make way for the delicious melody delivered by Irfane. Fans of abrasive HudMo need not worry though. There's still plenty of pulsating bass and dense synth-work to keep you happy.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/hudsonmohawke/very-first-breath-feat-irfane[/soundcloud]

FKA Twigs
Glass & Patron

Only FKA Twigs could have video where she gives birth to dancers who she then competes with in a voguing battle and makes it look beautiful. This is probably the most unconventional song and video we've heard from Twigs yet (and that's saying something). The track goes from plodding along at a snails pace to speeding up into something altogether extraterrestrial. It was the best video from the YouTube Music Awards by a mile and we are now convinced that Twigs would make an excellent Anna Wintour.

Shamir
Call It Off

"It's not time to get started, it's time to call it off," may be a rather negative notion to begin a song with but Shamir manages to move upwards and onwards from there on latest track Call It Off, crafting another effortlessly charismatic pop song. The cow bells from On The Regular are back and while there is notably less sass there's muppets in the video so it all equals out really. This one's taken from his debut album Ratchet which is due to change your life in about seven weeks.

Club Cheval
From The Basement To The Roof

Electronica supergroups are all the rage at the moment and by that we mean we can name one other from this year off the top of our heads - Future Brown. Club Cheval consists of French producers Canblaster, Myd, Sam Tiba, and Panteros666. It's quite the lineup and naturally this song is as smooth as the French are. An unobtrusive vocal sits atop lushes synths and candied beats creating the kind of tune you want to hear when you're popping bottles of champagne in a Parisian club. So classy, so chic.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/clubcheval/from-the-basement-to-the-roof-2[/soundcloud]

Tourist
Holding On (Josef Salvat & Niia)

UK producer Tourist is building a reputation for creating some of the best emotional electronica around and this latest track Holding On on builds on that. It features London-based Australian vocalist Josef Salvat and NYC singer Niia. That little bit of Aussie in the song probably makes it eligible to win an ARIA and it probably should given how beautifully nuanced and textured it is. It's the type of song that you'll jam to in a club but will also go home and cry in the shower to (if you have a waterproof radio).

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/touristmusic/tourist-holding-on-feat-josef-salvat-niia[/soundcloud]

Kehlani
How That Taste

Kehlani is an LA-based RnB vocalist who's been mixing in circles with Chance The Rapper and Travi$ Scott so needless to say she knows what she's doing. We've heard a few of her tracks but this is the first one that's really made out ears prick up. How That Taste is essentially a diss song for her haters which also manages to double as a victory lap. She sounds flawless throughout with a vocal that's part unbreakable and part husky. She told The Fader of the track, "It's a Tsunami Mob anthem, ready to wake people up and ask them how that shit taste!" What a rude awakening.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/kehlanimusic/kehlani-how-that-taste[/soundcloud]

Skepta
Nasty

It's always a good week when you finish it off with a bit o' Skepta. The UK grime rapper has barely allowed us to recover from the mammoth Shutdown and he's dropped out another banging cut. It may be just over two minutes but it's more than enough for him to pack in a real punch. Basically it's just like a runaway-train, free-style that sees Skepta call out all the people that have hated on him. He's no doubt enjoying his well-deserved time in the spotlight while the people who have hated on him will have their tails between their legs.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/skepta/nasty[/soundcloud]

https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/10-songs-you-need-to-hear-8

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