"Dig too deep into it and you'll pull your hair out."
What to cop from this week's New Music Friday.
An avalanche of great music that fell right in our laps this week...
We're not sure where it came from but it's the version featuring all three and it's brilliant.
Has James Blake comeback strong? Did Kanye go too far with the Taylor diss? Is Dua Lipa still worth getting excited about?
Vic Mensa has been messing around with the production style behind a bunch of his tracks recently, showing some incredible diversity whilst keeping his insane flow. 'All That Shines' represents a return to the smooth synth style of production that suits both his singing and rapping equally. Definitely more radio friendly, this latest track is easy on the ear but still has that classic Mensa sound.
First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick apart tracks by FKA twigs, Slum Sociable, CHVRCHES, Vic Mensa, Deer and Disclosure.
Zanda: More sparkly goodness from FKA Twigs here. This is actually one of the simpler tracks that Ive heard from her, and it benefits from not trying to do too much. The modest melodic aspect of it ensures that her incredible vocals remain the centrepiece of the whole track, with strong bass lines also giving it another dimension and some depth. 3.5
Sam: All the most recent tracks weve heard from FKA twigs have all been pretty sparse and electronic but this one feels the most accessible. Its bound by this early 2000s R&B aesthetic but then peppered with heavy, affecting electronic sounds. twigs sounds gentle and sensual bringing a real direct honesty to the song - the lyrics help that too. When twigs sings over a sparse beat she has this knack of making it feel startlingly intimate and thats what in time achieves. This could actually be her best track since Two Weeks. 4.5 Sams Pick
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/slumsociable/all-night[/soundcloud]
Zanda: Im immediately taken by the gorgeous, twinkly piano line that sits in behind the vocals. Its an accompanying line but it sits above the vocals in pitch which makes it stand out. and thats just one aspect of the superb layering that makes this track so impressive. With various piano, bass, guitar and synth/effect lines coming in and out of prominence, Slum Sociable explore a massive range of textures and timbres within a relatively limited melodic space. Oh and its funky as hell. 4.5 Zandas Pick
Sam: Wow. First single Anyway was good, but this one really makes you sit up and take notice. It sounds like an old-soul brought forward to the future with smokey, crackling vocals accompanied by a jazz-infused instrumental. Australia has really found its sound in terms of electronic music recently but its beginning to sound a little tired. No one else is really doing this in the country and its so damn refreshing to hear. 4
Never Ending Circles
Zanda: So far CHVRCHES new album sounds like its going to be exactly what youd expect, an exploration in synth pop. They stick to a relatively simple formula, but it works incredibly well and happy melodies make people happy. Gorgeous contrasting sections of Laurens pure vocals vs affected vocals give this track another catchy dimension to it as well. 4
Sam: Totally with Zanda - CHVRCHES have delivered up a few solid tracks now and its exactly what you expected it to sound like. Thats a good and a bad thing. On one hand, Leave A Trace and this one are really excellent, which they are, but on the other hand it sounds like the album may be a bit of a sequel to The Bones Of What You Believe and it may get a little boring. In saying that, weve only heard two tracks so they could have some really interesting stuff lined-up for the album. In the meantime Im just going to take Never Ending Circles for what it is which is a big, bold, sparkling electronic track that features Lauren Mayberry killing it once again. 4
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/vicsavemoney/i-been[/soundcloud]
Zanda: I remember listening to an interview Vic Mensa did on triple j about the huge success of Down On My Luck and he was honestly quite surprised as it was very different to most of his stuff. I Been is probably a bit more reflective of his true style; its grimier and definitely not as easy to listen to as DOML so if thats what youre expecting youll be disappointed. Having said that this is a dank track and his flow is excellent. 3
Sam: The first 15 seconds of this is so good. It sounds really dark and also builds you up for a tempo-raising, fire-spitting rap but we dont really get that in the end. Its a solid track thats right up the alley of his most recent stuff particularly U Mad but in many ways its predictable and a little forgettable. It would be good to hear Mensa rapping over some more interesting beats - something a little faster and even a bit glitchier. I Been is demonic and abrasive but it needs a moment that really punches you in the gut - we never get that. 3.5
Cry For Help
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/deermelb/deer-cry-for-help[/soundcloud]
Zanda: Theres a lot to like in this track. The effects and synths all work nicely to create some positive vibes and an overall pleasing aural aesthetic. However I feel like the EQing sounds unfinished and overall the tune is lacking depth. There is also very little melodic development, it just seems like two very recognisable sections alternating back and forth. Lots of potential though, as this is in fact Deers first single release! 3
Sam: This ones a really interesting one. It takes a few cues from that tropical, cartoon-like sound that producers like Paces and Sable have nailed but it darkens it a bit with darker, rumbling beats. Those beats really dig it into the ground and give the track a bit of strength. Its kind of like TNGHT have been stripped-back to their bare-bones and recreated in paradise. As such, were left with ear-candy aplenty but alongside a hip-hop influenced weightiness that makes it feel less fleeting. Really promising stuff from the new producer. 4
Willing & Able (Feat. Kwabs)
Zanda: This track really showcases Disclosures ability to tailor their production to the style of any vocalist that they are featuring. Willing & Able has so much soul, and that is just as much to do with the tempered version of house music that lives underneath the awesome and catchy, soulful vocals by Kwabs. The typical bass used is held back in tempo, really allowing Kwabs to shine, whereas when featuring guys like Gregory Porter theyll really up the anti and produce a track with much more intensity (ie. Holding On). It may not sound like it on first listen, but Disclosure are genuinely becoming one of the more versatile acts going around. 4.5
Sam: Kwabs is one of my favourite new vocalists and him teaming-up with Disclosure is an absolute no-brainer. Willing & Able is smooth as hell, soulful and built around a swelling chorus - but so are all Disclosure tracks really. At this point Im starting to get a little nervous about the Disclosure album based on the fact that so far all the tracks have been solid but nothing has been different enough from Settle to really capture attention. I thought Bang That was a really positive step for the duo, delivering something with a little more gusto but since then its been a little predictable. Thats not to take away from the song as a standalone product - if I was hearing it with no context Id say it was a banging song. The unfortunate fact is, Im not and Im just craving something that really catches me off-guard. 3
Now it's time for your vote:
Here at the interns we give our ears and proper workout so we thought we would give our eyes a chance to prove their worth. Trash or treasure gives us a chance to look over the week past's most eyeball worthy looks and decide if we're going to copy them or appreciate them from afar.
Beyoncé has bought out a line of temporary tattoos and has announced this with a smouldering black and white photo series featured in CR Fashion Book. Because if you want to make your product launch cool, who else to associate yourself with but Carine Roitfeld. The new festival accessory. Still... Chanel did it first.
You’re not my favourite person right now Frank. He was looking very unimpressed in New York last week, probably because he’s sick of being heckled. I get it, it’s annoying but god dammit Frank, hurry up, just HURRY UP! Ooo is that an Acne bag I see.
Well isn’t this a nice change from those Borat mankini things Miley frequently seems to wear. She should definitely channel this Edie/Twiggy look more often. Whilst the dress screams disco chic, her hair and make-up are the flawless feature of this cover. One of her best looks to date.
Vic Mensa & ASAP Rocky
Lollapalooza attendees were prettyyyyy excited to see these two together on stage. Chilling backstage at the festival posing with some major attitude, this duo has legit street cred in the fashion world (Vic Mensa has his own shoe deal with Puma and well A$AP is the number one pretty boy).
A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on
Dear Lord. She looks like she could easily fit into the Capulet party scene in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, which has pretty much been my costume goals ever since I saw that movie 17 years ago . So in my eyes, she’s winning. The native was attending the Barbados Crop Over Festival which held annually to celebrate the end of the sugarcane harvest. She wearing a custom made Kadooment Day ZuluIntl Mockingjay costume.
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“I like to wake up with none of my clothes or phones by me and just not know what happened and try to spend the next day figuring it out.” But by the look of his colour coordinated outfit, I still think he has his shit together.
A post shared by Burberry (@burberry) on
Music is a huge part of the brand Burberry. If you didn’t know this, just have a look at one of their advertisements and fashion shows frequently featuring new musicians. More so they have dedicated a component of their website to showcasing them. In 2010, Christopher Bailey (Creative Director) established Burberry Acoustic to use the brand as a platform to expose local music talent.
17 year old indie folk singer songwriter Rachel Clark from Cambridge, who plays the guitar, cello and piano was selected for the latest shoot. Judging by her online following she is still very unknown. For now.
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Stealth. The new face of Balenciaga has definitely upped his fashion game since he emerged onto the scene.
An icon photo series shot by icons themselves. Carine Roitfeld and Jean Paul Goude have collaborated for Septembers issue of Harpers Bazaar and Willow Smith was chosen to represent one of Carine’s favourite figures, Hindu goddess Kali of power/empowerment.
Woah… Drop it like it’s hot Lenny. The trending story last week: Lenny’s wardrobe malfunction. This guy really does stay true to his style, accessories are his thing.... His necklace. I was talking about his necklace.
Post-Splendour comedown has been hard. Real hard. Everyone's immune systems are shot and you're probably still finding mud in places you didn't know existed. Luckily we've gathered together 10 songs from the week that are mud-free and only contagious in the way that they'll get stuck in your head. Not in the flu way. Ew.
Meg Mac packed out her tent at Splendour In The Grass and she's capitalised on that momentum by dropping her new track Never Be. Never Be was produced by M-Phazes and is the most up-beat, attitude-filled track she's delivered to date. Those smokey vocals work magic over a full-bodied, throwback beat and the repetition at the backend of the chorus is so addictive.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/megmacmusic/meg-mac-never-be-1[/soundcloud]
Omen (Featuring Sam Smith)
After weeks of teasing their new collaboration with Sam Smith, Disclosure finally dropped it and it was worth the wait. It's definitely more of a slow-grower than Latch but the pair of them working together are always going to make gold. This one is all about those layered, church-inspired vocals that bring the chorus into holy territory.
We weren't privvy to the information that Canada's PARTYNEXTDOOR was having relations with R&B princess Kehlani but this song suggests that it's definitely on. Funnily enough the aptly titled Kehlani's Freestyle sounds like it could've easily fit on Kehlani's record You Should Be Here. The OVO singer is also channelling some serious Drake vibes on this one with that monotonal but somehow alluring vocal.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/partyomo/partynextdoor-kehlanis-freestyle[/soundcloud]
Tink dropped a mixtape Winter's Diary 3 this week and it's full of great tunes but this Timbaland-produced one is a sure-fire winner. Tink fires-off over an uminstakeably Timbaland beat. The best thing about how Tink works with Timbaland is that she genuinely makes him better rather than just moulding to his sound. She flicks between singing and rapping better than anyone in the game and continues to prove that she's got a better feel for melody than most rapper out there at the moment. Below is the full mixtape to listen and download. Win.
Lianne La Havas
Green & Gold
Lianne La Havas finally dropped her sophomore album Blood today and it's a gorgeous set of boundary-pushing soul tunes. The second track on the record Green & Gold is one of the highlights. She caresses a late-night instrumental with her crisp, profound voice and works the verses up to a chorus that ever so subtly takes you over. La Havas' greatest strength has always been subtlety and as such this one could float by without you knowing, but give it one spin with your full attention and you'll be enchanted immediately.
We've been waiting a little while for new material from US R&B duo Abhi//Dijon and now in the space of a week we've been gifted two songs. Jon B is actually a career highlight for them drawing upon strong Channel ORANGE vibes. It plods along with a beat that Janet Jackson would've very happily plucked from them and they take their time working it into a total R&B jam. This is bedroom music.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/abhidijon/jon-b[/soundcloud]
1998 (Feat. BANKS)
Basically someone decided that there was more money to be made off Chet Faker's 1998 and so they got the closest sounding female artist and popped her on it and put it back on sale. That's how BANKS ended up here and whatever the motive is we don't really care because she really brings a severe darkness to it.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/chet-faker/1998-feat-banks[/soundcloud]
Heir To The Throne (Freestyle)
In the Soundcloud description Vic Mensa has described this freestyle as "2001 shit," and he's right. This is 2001 shit. This is Mensa rapping at his finest, going for the rap throne like he's battling against Nas and Jay Z. In the freestyle he addresses the people who think his success has come from his affiliation with Kanye West rapping, "I made u mad before I met dude-ass." No disrespect to Kanye, he clears up.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/vicsavemoney/heir-to-the-throne-freestyle[/soundcloud]
when it does its exactly what you wanted. Wave Racers newie Flash Drive is exactly what we wanted. Its a glitchy, crystalline track that feels like its spewing colourful glitter. Its taken from an EP of the same name which will feature three more tracks and drop on 16th October via Future Classic. You can pre-order it here.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/wave-racer/wave-racer-flash-drive-feat-bby-1[/soundcloud]