First Impressions: Wave Racer, Disclosure, Carly Rae Jepsen + More

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick apart tracks by Wave Racer, Disclosure, Tory Lanez, Meg Mac, Kid Cudi and Carly Rae Jepsen

Wave Racer
Flash Drive (Feat. Baby)

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Zanda Wilson: Well I should disclose that I’ve been waiting for something new from Wave Racer for a while, and boy has he delivered. Wavey gamer vibes are what has made a name for the Sydney producer, and Flash Drive has all of it in spades. Nothing unexpected, just some great feel-good effects, and dayum that slap bass solo interlude in the middle. Just fantastic. Zanda’s Pick

Alistair Rhodes: Wave Racer's distinct and unique sound definitely shines through with this new song, as soon as you hear it you know it's Wave Racer. The addition of Baby on vocals is just wow! I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more producers use her vocals over the next year or so. That bass guitar in the middle screams 'Seinfeld intro' to me and who doesn't like Seinfeld! 4

Ben Kyi: Over a year since the release of his single Streamers, Wave Racer has returned with the jovial Flash Drive. The track utilises to full extent the sugary, high spirited electronica and video game vibes that we have come to expect from Wave Racer, but with the added bonus of killer vocals from Baby and a fantastically sporadic cut and paste bass solo. Let’s hope we won’t have to wait another year for his next release. 4

Sam Murphy: Yes, I love wavey adding vocals to his tracks. There are definite rays of PC Music in this one but it still has his signature aqua-soaked beats. It’s colourful and playful, exactly how it should be and surprisingly never gets overwhelming. I also like that it’s attached to an EP, which means we’re getting more music from the beat maestro. 3.5

Omen (Feat. Sam Smith)

Zanda: There’s something about Sam Smith’s voice that just suits Disclosure’s style of production. Anyone that loved Latch will dig this one. The British duo are able to feature Smith’s spectacular range whilst still imparting their signature bass vibe on the track. If I had to pick on something I would suggest that Smith’s vocals in the chorus are a bit over-worked and altered, but there’s no doubting the huge value of this tune. 4.5

Alistair: Disclosure really love working with Sam Smith and who wouldn't, he has an amazing voice, but in saying that I'm really not digging this one from the British lads. Omen doesn't seem to go anywhere and stays stagnant throughout the full four minutes of the song. It definitely doesn't get me moving the way that Latch did. 2

Ben: Following on from Latch, there was a lot of understandable hype surrounding the release of the second collaboration between Disclosure and Sam Smith. The pulsating bass, shimmering beats and great production that the two piece are known for, are all present on Omen, and Sam Smith’s vocals are once again impeccable. However, the track doesn’t really build to anything. This isn’t to say it is a bad track. Though instead of accelerating, Omen seems to be content with merely drifting along. 3

Sam: This one’s a tough one because the first time I heard it I thought it was a little lacklustre. It just felt like the chorus was flat. But it’s grown on me since it’s release and I actually remember thinking the chorus to Latch was a bit of a letdown when I first heard it too. Now I’ve gotten used to that fact that Omen isn’t a 120BPM banger I’m starting to enjoy it’s subtle textures. The layered vocals in the chorus suit Sam Smith to a tee and the beats are bouncy and malleable. It’s probably not the earth-shattering hit it could’ve been but it’s good. Ask me in a month I might say it’s great. 3.5

Tory Lanez
Say It

Zanda: With vocals as smooth as Tory Lanez, its hard to go wrong. However good production should always be recognised, and although there some sparse, underworked backings throughout some of the verse sections the overall use of synthetic melody and effects is good. The chorus redeems any other flaws, with free-flowing vocals sitting on top of some gorgeous bass. 3.5

Alistair: Boy oh boy Tory Lanez what a voice. I wonder if he was ever in the church choir as a little boy because those harmonies that he breaks into are truly gospel like. Tory can not only rap but he can sing and I wouldn't be surprised if this catchy R&B number races up the charts. 3

Ben: There is very warm feeling throughout Tory Lanez’s latest cut Say It. Whether it is the low key production, the gospel style backing vocals or the honesty in Lanez’s words, Say It is a mostly solid R&B number. The only drawback is the unnecessary use of auto-tune on Lanez’s vocals. This somewhat kills what would have been a pretty amazing track. 2.5

Sam: Torey Lanez is really holding us down while we wait for Jeremih to get his shit together and release Late Nites. Lanez is a smooth vocalist but it’s the sample of Brownstone’s If You Love Me that really takes this track to the next level. Lanez’s work with WeDidIt earlier this year was brilliant but this seems to tread a really careful line between alternative R&B and the mainstream. I reckon over the course of this year this one’s going to be a real sleeper hit. 4

Meg Mac
Never Be

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Zanda: Its awesome hearing Meg Mac exploring a darker side to her style here, with dominant and dark piano dominating some gorgeous phrase-ending cadences. ‘Never Be’ also shows another side of her vocal range, really delving into the lower levels of pitch, and putting Mac’s amazing versatility on display. She just keeps going from strength to strength. 4

Alistair: This song kicks off with a BANG as soon as Meg Mac starts singing. She has such a powerful voice which is perfectly accompanied by an equally powerful piano and kick drum. If you close your eyes and listen to Never Be, automatically your foot will start tapping and your fingers will begin clicking. You just want to start screaming out the lyrics with Meg Mac on this one. 5 Alistair's pick

Ben: Arguably one of the most talented musicians kicking around the country at present, Meg Mac is back with Never Be. Mac has a flair for smart and engaging composition full of heart and emotion, and this track is no different. Both the striking piano chords and sharp drum hits are anchored by the superb vocals belted out by Mac. This gal can do no wrong at the moment. Eagerly awaiting the release of her debut album. 4.5 Ben’s Pick

Sam: Meg Mac’s voice is always undeniable but it’s really good to hear her hitting it a bit harder with this one and that’s thanks to M-Phazes formidable production. There are hip-hop, gospel and singer/songwriter vibes in her and it all comes together perfectly tied together by Mac’s smokey, textured vocals. The repetition of “I will never be thank the lord” is also a really choice move. That’s the thing that takes it from being good and makes it really memorable. This is her best to date IMO. 4

Kid Cudi

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Zanda: An interesting track here by Kid Kudi, with that initial guitar riff dominating the entire song showing off a heavier instrumental emphasis than we are used to. Truthfully it gets a little repetitive, and the guitar itself sounds too synthetic for the role it’s playing in establishing the track as almost a rock tune. It doesn’t sound like the equalisation is quite finished either, with layers of sound all competing in the same register. 2.5

Alistair: Is Kid Cudi trying to channel Nirvana here? This song has taken a very different style to what we are used to hearing from Kid Cudi. Rather than being an upbeat dance number which Cudi is renowned for, this has tried to go grunge and it fails miserably. The guitar riff is just as repetitive as the whiny singing and after a minute 30 I'd already had enough. 1

Ben: I understand that Kid Cudi is trying something vastly different with Confused, but to be brutally honest, it really hasn’t worked at all. His vocals are off, the main guitar riff is flat and uninteresting and the mix is all over the place. This track recalls a bad ‘90s cover band, comprised of a group of angsty teenagers, recording a demo on an old cassette player which requires cleaning. Confused left me confused, and slightly infuriated. 1

Sam: I know Kid Cudi has a real cult following and they’re probably up with why he’s trying to be Creed but I really, really don’t get this. Melding hip-hop with rock is very rarely a good idea and that point is proven here. It’s off-tune, unfinished and really self-serving. Raury’s Devil’s Whisperer pulled off a similar aesthetic this year and that was by adding in a fire rap verse at the end. Cudi seems to ditch all his identity here and for what? A real stinker of a single and to quote a user on Soundcloud “wtf is this shit.” 1

Carly Rae Jepsen
Warm Blood

Zanda: Carly Rae has jumped on the bandwagon of using song titles to describe types of blood. This is a weird one, I can’t quite get my head around what she’s trying to do with it. With some of the spacing of the bass where the entire sound almost drops out at certain points I feel like Jepsen is trying to show that she’s not just a sweet and cute pop star. If that’s the goal here she unfortunately misses the mark, and it just sounds confused. 2

Alistair: It's clear that Carly Rae Jepsen is trying to break free from the pop star mould that she created for herself with Call Me Maybe. At times throughout this track you can get a sense that she is capable of achieving that, but not with this song. Warm Blood is all over the place, the bass line backing track keeps fading in and out at odd intervals and when at it's loudest Carly Rae's voice isn't powerful nor loud enough to compete with it. The secondary vocals are completely unnecessary. Nine out of 10 for effort for trying not to be a pop star anymore. 1

Ben: In an attempt to stray away from her pop image, Carly Rae Jepsen has concocted Warm Blood; a lacklustre and jumbled foray into electropop which comes across as a watered down version of a CHVRCHES B-side. It makes sense that Jepsen would want to shed her previous image, but this shift doesn’t feel natural in the slightest. 1.5

Sam: I’m really starting to sound like I’m one of whatever Carly Rae Jepsen calls her fans...Jeppers or something like that. Her last album Kiss was really weak but this latest one is probably the best pop album of the year. Warm Blood is a highlight from that. It’s a twisted, liquid banger, produced by Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmangli who like Dev Hynes has been really successful at making interesting pop music. Here he plays with her vocals and adds some really lovely pitched-down samples that make me wanna squeeze this song, it’s that good. Actually, now I think of it, it's the same kind of vocal manipulation they used on Ezra Koenig's voice in California English - just a lightbulb moment, may or may not be relevant. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

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10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week: Disclosure, Chet Faker, Meg Mac + More


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
Never Be

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.

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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.

Kehlani's Freestyle

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.

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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.

Jon B

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.

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Chet Faker
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.

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Vic Mensa
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.

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Wave Racer
Flash Drive

when it does it’s exactly what you wanted. Wave Racer’s newie Flash Drive is exactly what we wanted. It’s a glitchy, crystalline track that feels like it’s spewing colourful glitter. It’s 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.

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Hear Wave Racer's New Drop 'Flash Drive'


Waiting for a Wave Racer track is like waiting for the perfect wave - it doesn't come often but when it does it's exactly what you wanted. Wave Racer's newie Flash Drive is exactly what we wanted. It's a glitchy, crystalline track that feels like it's spewing colourful glitter. It's 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. Happy new Wavey Friday.


Are You Ready for Porter Robinson’s "Worlds" Down Under?

Porter Robinson developed a live show in 2014 that shared the title of his breakthrough album also released that year. Worlds has been performed across numerous continents, and is touted as one of the best examples of live mixing coupled with some of the most insanely ethereal visuals going around. It has also been the centre of massive controversy, with Robinson cancelling several shows in Germany, France and Finland throughout 2014 based on the fact that the venue wouldn’t suit the gravity of the show. Although this caused uproar at the time, Porter's fan base remains intensely loyal, especially in anticipation of his tour to Australia later this year.

In 2013 the 22 year-old made the trip down under off the back of his hugely successful 2012 EP Spirfire, but performed as a DJ only. Last year he returned with Worlds, but to the dismay of his huge Aussie fan base his performances were limited to a few shows for EDM dance festival Stereosonic. This year he’s back; not only playing at Splendour In The Grass but bringing his much anticipated live show to a number of capital cities (supported by local boys Wave Racer and Cosmo’s Midnight), also in July.

You may have heard Worlds in its pure form as an audio journey, but you’ve never heard Porter Robinson like this before. Over the last few months a dude called VGD has got his hands on and uploaded numerous remixes of surprisingly accurate live versions of various songs from the show. The choons below will give you just a small taste of what to expect from Porter's live show. Enjoy, and prepare your bodies for Porter Robinson...

Porter Robinson's Worlds Tour Dates:  

Wed 22 July | Enmore Theatre, Sydney | Tickets

Thu 23 July | Forum, Melbourne | Tickets

Fri 24 July | Splendour in the Grass | SOLD OUT


Wave Race Gives 'The Giver' A Shakeup

Fresh off being announced as one of the support acts for Porter Robinson’s Worlds Australian Tour later this year, Wave Racer has given his Soundcloud a bit of love today for the first time in almost a year.

A local Sydney boy, real name Tom Purcell, has put his wavey touches on Duke Dumont’s banger The Giver. The remix is packed with juicy goodness (including a cheeky shoutout to lovers of MLG memes) and shows without a doubt that Purcell’s production skillset has continually been improving over the last year or so.

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The American Electronic Music Scene & Australia’s Growing Influence

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America’s music scene is in a constant and blissful state of evolution. One of the fastest growing trends across the country is electronic music, and with hundreds of big-name and underground artists producing every style and subgenre you can name, its growth doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. In recent years, the skyrocketing popularity of large-scale music festivals has noticeably changed electronic producers’ experience in the creation and performance of their sound. Not only do the crowds expect to see acts they already know, the gigantic line-ups have also allowed artists from around the world to showcase themselves in an entirely new setting, leaving behind a growing influence on American artists and the scene itself. Acts like Flume, Emoh Instead (and their collaborative outfit, What So Not), Ta-ku, Chet Faker, and Wave Racer are only a few examples of Australians who are beginning to make huge waves over in the States, and it’s about time.


My own introduction to Australia’s electronic scene came a couple years ago, on a lazy day while scrolling through Spotify. After an endless train of searches, I ended up on Flume’s page and listened to his most popular hits, Holdin' On and Insane (feat. Moon Holiday). This quickly led me to check out the rest of his album and then go back to the top and start again three more times. I had no idea that years later, I would still be bothering my friends and family by insisting on hearing the album again and again, trying to breakdown each song and instrument for them, hoping to convert them to the Australian sound. I had never heard anything like it, nor been so affected by a series of strange, broken sounds and haunting, tribal melodies, and I wasn’t the only one.

While at a small show in northern California about a year ago, one of the openers played Flume’s remix of Disclosure’s You and Me. It was the first time I’d heard one of his songs played live, and naturally I made a commotion. After it ended and the crowd was able to take a breath, all I was able to hear were the people around me asking each other what song they had just heard, and who the artist was. It was a clear standout in the rest of the set. You would’ve thought I was working for Future Classic by the way I was shelling Flume’s name out to everyone. Getting to witness an entire venue’s first introduction to a piece of Australia’s sound was magical, and our immediate, frantic embrace only grew as the months went on.


The mainstream electronic music scene in America nowadays, specifically trap music, follows several trends that are worth noting when comparing it to the stuff migrating from Australia. Hear me out. First, you won’t find much trap in the States without a snare on the 2’s and 4’s and a rolling hi hat coming in after the first half of the “drop”. These are givens. To go a little broader though, the underlying vibe of the songs often seems to be the same as well. The rhythms hit the off beats hard, inspiring you to throw your body around and pump your fists in the air. The vocal samples used are very provocative, usually short phrases or words meant to stimulate the crowd, make them feel in control of the song, and offend the older generations. Basically, America likes grime. We judge the success of our raves by the number of frowning ‘stank’ faces and the music’s level of aggression or badassery. This is where Australia’s recent assimilation has really opened our eyes.


An example of a 'stank face'

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The musical formulas I described still hold true with many artists such as Yahtzel, L D R U, Sable, Basenji, and even Flume, but the big difference lies in their creation of melodies and overall intentions for their songs. They are able to match the high level of energy without a sense of anger or inflated ego found in so much of America’s electronic sound, but instead replace it with an uplifting feeling of celebration and joy. For lack of better words, Australia’s music is optimistic. Just listen to any one of Wave Racer’s tracks and you’ll know what I mean. The melodies within the songs are complex and beautiful. It feels like listening to actual music, rather than just a cool beat. Even though the colossal scale of some popular American music may shadow it at times, it fully compensates with its vast, musical detail and melodic styling.

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A perfect comparison of the two styles comes in the form of an actual collaboration between our countries: RL Grime and What So Not’s Tell Me. The build up, created by What So Not, features warped vocal samples and tribal instruments layered over each other. It creates an ominous and yet elevating vibe, which sharply contrasts with RL’s drop. Only using one leading synth and three notes, he completely changes the vibe to be very minimal and hard-hitting. This collaboration shows the difference in technique and musical atmosphere of our countries’ sounds, and as you can tell from listening to Tell Me, they go quite well together.

What So Not’s ever-growing number of collaborations with American artists such as Dillon Francis and Skrillex, Flume’s wildly successful North American tour, and Ta-ku’s heavy involvement with LA-based label HW&W are only a few examples of the major moves Australians are making in the States. With their unique and refreshing approach to electronic music, they’re blowing the dust off America’s EDM book.

 American music often feels like a one night stand.

Australian music feels like your soul mate.


10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week


It's the long weekend. You're going to need tunes and you're going to need plenty of them. Lucky we've got you covered. Here is a very beat-driven Top 10 Songs of the Week:


1. Caribou- Can't Do Without You

This one's off Caribou sixth studio album, Our Love and it's full of those warm undertones we've come to expect. The "Can't Do Without" is a deep, all-encompassing treat on the ears and teases until the song’s climax. It doesn't come until a minute towards the end, but when it does a rush of synths hit like a gustful wind, most likely bowling you over.



2. Thomston- Anaesthetic 

This New-Zealand whizz-kid will surely makes waves with his immaculately produced brand of dark-pop. His voice is crystalline and runs alongside a slowly bubbling beat. There's a certain fluidity to the song that's hard to resist.



3. Montaigne- I Am Not An End

This song’s been added to high rotation on Triple J this week and there's a good reason for it. I Am Not An End is a self-assured effort driven by a confident and pertinent voice. Its melodic strengths are too memorable for this song to just be a fleeting love.



4. How To Dress Well- Face Again

Tom Krell is certainly not churning out sunshine at the moment, but he's so good at melancholy it's hard to care. Following the fluffy Repeat Pleasure, Face Again is a much darker expedition not too dissimilar to the Weeknd's early mixtapes. It's not traditional in any way. It twists and turns in odd directions but it's confusing and thrilling at the same time.


5. DJ Dodger Stadium- Never Win

DJ Dodger Stadium are selecting some choose stadiums. The "Never Win" vocal sample speeds proceedings along nicely before it escalates into high pitched squeal. Meanwhile, the drum pads are packed on and the deep bass gets more and more pertinent. Promising stuff from Jerome LOL and Sammo Soundboy.


6. A G Cook- Beautiful

This is Nintendo music. That's what it is. And it never sounded so good. It's bubblegum pop, that seems to take cues from K-Pop. Amongst all the oddity, there's a beautiful vocal melody running alongside.



7. Foster The People- Best Friend (Wave Racer Remix)

You can tell Wave Racer has had a hand over this from the get-go. There's trap-inspired drops, Atari synths and high-pitched vocals. It's either annoying or highly danceable. Take your pick.



8. Lily Allen- Bass Like Home

This is apparently the 'unofficial' anthem of the World Cup. We'll take this any day over Pitbull. It's an extremely British, deep-house number that ratites some incredibly literal lyrics. It's a little bit kitsch but that's half the fun of it.



9. Jack Garratt- Worry

The Chet Faker brand of electronic music has grown in popularity of late and this is another one that adds to it nicely. It's full of sparse beats, delicate keys and falsetto, capping it off with an instantly recognisable chorus.




10. Polica- You Don't Own Me

Polica stick very close to the original but it doesn't matter because Channy Leneagh's voice is so perfect. It's the first time we've really got to hear it away from a coating of auto-tune. It's heighty and allows the chorus to soar.

Listen here.