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Surprising New Music To Listen For In 2016

WWKD OCTOBER 2013

It’s January, and already there’ve been some incredible albums that have dropped (looking at you, RUFUS). But let’s be real, there’s a long year ahead, and so you’re probably wondering what surprises wait in store for you, music lovers! There are some seriously anticipated records coming soon, so I’ve together a list of some potentially ground-breaking ones, plus a few I personally can’t wait for, in chronological order. You’re welcome!

 

St. Lucia (South Africa) – Matter (January 29)

Been waiting for an album where you can indulge in your guilty pleasure for pop hooks and excellent dance beats? I have already had a listen to this one and can tell you that you’re in for an absolute treat from this South African muso. Spotify that ASAP.

 

Kanye West (US) – Swish (February 11)

Whether you love or hate his attitude, Kanye is influential. And this album could conquer or divide.

 

Jack Garratt (UK) – Phase (February 19)

Garratt has already released some very polished singles from the forthcoming album, and I LOVE what I hear so far. They’re catchy, modern and a mix of R’n’B, pop and electronic that you can’t put your finger on.

 

DMA’s (AUS) – Hills End (February 26)

This band will always have a special place in my heart, because they’re Newtowners through and through (pretty much where I have spent most of my time since I moved to Sydney). Their debut is long overdue and I bet they’ve spent that time making it a good’un.

 

Matt Corby (AUS) – Telluric (March 11)

There are some stunning songs waiting for us on this new album with Corby really challenging his sound in the first two singles he’s released. One thing’s for sure though, the result will no doubt be beautiful.

 

Flume (AUS) – Skin (TBA)

This is probably the album I’m personally anticipating most. After his self-titled debut pretty much influenced a whole generation of electronic artists in Australia, let’s just say there are very high expectations for his second. I’m not sure how he’s going to beat his first effort, but his first singles (like the most recent ‘Never Be Like You’ have built the anticipation even more – they explore his sound…but to me don’t seem to lead anywhere, so am waiting for the signature Flume drops in his new tracks.

 

Meg Mac (AUS) – Unknown (TBA)

She’s got big vocals and tells great stories with her work – I haven’t heard such raw soul vocals in so long so she will surely make waves with her debut album!

 

Big Scary (AUS) – Unknown (TBA)

One of the saddest music moments from 2015 was the end of #1 Dads! Tom Iansek left to focus on Big Scary which I guess means that they’ve got some awesome stuff planned for us in 2016 – awesome!

 

NGAIIRE (AUS) – ‘Diggin’ (TBA)

She’s collabed with some cool people – but 2016 could be the year that Ngaiire really makes it on her own, because she’s got an incredible voice! She’s got a new single set to be released super soon, so keep your ear to the ground.

 

James Blake (UK) – Radio Silence (TBA)

It’s been been less than three years since we were graced with James Blake’s new music, but it feels like a LOT longer. He’s confirmed collabs with Kanye West and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) so it could well be a goodie.

 

Radiohead (UK) – Unknown Title (TBA – probably around June/July)

Rumour has it that Radiohead could be dropping their new album this year, and if so… YAY.

 

One more artist that I can’t wait to hear more from is Gordi, who won the Josh Pyke Partnership last year and has since signed two global booking deals. Nothing confirmed on if she will release new music this year or next, but I will be listening!

 

By Erin Rooney

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Gig Review: 10 Years Of Future Classic Feat. Flume + Flight Facilities + Seekae + Hayden James + Touch Sensitive

Future-Classic-Vivid

With some of the biggest names in Australian electronic music signed to their label, Future Classic have built quite the empire for themselves over the past decade. As their name suggests, they’ve been pretty strategic with the artists they’ve recruited – they’ve got a signature sound with a large amount of cred and influence on the Australian music scene. So really, they would expect no less than to host their 10th anniversary celebration on the peninsula of the Sydney Opera House with evening views of Vivid lights in the harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Friday night show kicked off super early for the day job workers of Sydney, with Touch Sensitive on stage at 4:10pm. It’s a shame that more people couldn’t make it out to see the Sydney producer rock out on the bass to hits like Teen Idols and Pizza Guy. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, producers that play a ‘real instrument’ on stage along to their electronic tracks have a sort of performance X-factor that makes them stand out.

Then Hayden James hit the decks and showed off his subtle rhythm pad hits and moulded the crowd with his music. They danced, they swayed, they jumped to the beats he put out – it was almost as if everyone forgot where they were for a second and were just taken away. He even got Touch Sensitive back on stage for some smooth bass beats.

Seekae were probably the most unusual sounding artists of the night, with strange rhythmic drum beats and atmospheric sounds that floated across the harbour. It was a nice break to warm up for the headlining acts to come, providing a chilled vibe at the event.

Flight-Facilities-Owl-Eyes

Flight Facilities feat. Owl Eyes on vocals

There was an immediate atmosphere change when Flight Facilities blasted onto the stage with an encompassing set. True to form, they viewed their performance as an aeroplane flight, from lift off to landing with voice overs to match. Owl Eyes provided shimmering vocals, and there were even guest appearances from The Presets‘ Julian on keys and Kurt Kristen on vocals for “Sunshine”. But one of their most exciting surprises on the night was a cover of “Another World” by The Chemical Brothers which fit so seamlessly into their set that it easily could have been written by them.

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Flume rocking the tropical look on stage.

Finally, Flume, the leader of the Future Classic pack, graced the stage, and quite frankly it was like being in the presence of music royalty. Since 2012 when he first dropped his iconic self-titled album, he has been incredibly influential in bringing Australian electronic acts to the international stage, so seeing him on a home stage is few and far between and a very special experience.

Highlights included hearing a new track from his What So Not project (with such a dirty beat that I for one can’t wait till he drops the recorded version of this), a guest performance from Collarbones‘ Marcus Whale in a new track, and hearing Miike Snow‘s Andrew Wyatt perform their latest track together.

But it was clear that Flume is one of the greats not just because of his songwriting and producing but for his ability to work a crowd – he had people dancing from start to finish, with crazed fans shouting out “Flume is the king!” He ended with his remix tribute to Lorde’s “Tennis Court” and it almost seemed like an anti-climax because with so many hits he could have kept the party going long afterwards.

The night was an important celebration of Future Classic’s influence on electronic music in Australia – but was also just a whole lot of fun! However, it did bring to light the lack of female producers signed by the label – over the two nights there was only one female act (George Maple) which is such a shame with so much talent up and coming. Nonetheless, a great night and an incredible setting for such influential music talent in Australia.

By Erin Rooney

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Music Video Highlights: Some Minds by Flume

Flume

With his unsurprisingly kick ass track ‘Some Minds’ debuting today, Flume has hit another home run for Australian music with this shady tune featuring vocals and lyrics by Miike Snow‘s Andrew Wyatt.

More importantly though, Flume has released this epic music video for ‘Some Minds’ featuring three of our favourite things: Sydney, visually pleasing content and Flume (of course). This spectacle of stunning Opera house visuals and chaotic computer edited dance routines is on point. Director Clemens Habicht has brought his A Game and we are very impressed, giving it the title of Music Video of the Week!

Check it out here and let us know what you think!

By Sophie Henry

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Producer Spotlight: Nice Girls Can’t Dance

Alex5FenceFlare

While by day Alex Eldridge runs a children’s guitar school in Manly, by night he produces electronic music that could melt faces with its heavy melodies and beats, under the moniker of Nice Girls Can’t Dance. We had a chat to Alex about his new track, “This Town” and what he’s got in the works at the moment.


E: Describe your sound in five words.

Alex: Synth folk acid pop … synth.

E: What drew you to become an electronic music producer, despite teaching rock ‘n’ roll?

Alex: I have always loved collaborating creatively with other artists and I’ve been in bands for years and years but there’s something very satisfying about having an artistic creation that is completely your own. It’s like a little secret, like writing, where you can just totally not have to listen to anyone and let your creative impulses run amok!

The aesthetic of electronic music is also very important to me – it comes from growing up with video game music which is a bit of a touchstone for lots of producers today. The soundtrack to Final Fantasy VII was a huge influence on me! Probably going to Mosman High with guys like Flume and Jagwar Ma and Gang of Youths (Davo from that band actually sung for my HSC major work) was also an incredibly inspiring environment to grow up in, which made me consider music as a viable option.

E: How do you experiment with your sound?

Alex: I work very well with essentially a blank canvas. Like, actually a blank Logic project file. Then I kind of listen for something to grab onto and I’ll load up a synth or grab a guitar and kind of just follow that inspiration. It usually starts with either a melody or a beat and then I write from there. I’d compare it to sculpture: you’re chiselling a song out of the ether, it’s in there, you just have to gently chip away at it and hope you don’t knock off the nose or something. Samples are good too but I use them more for utility and less for inspiration.

I try to make sure that the lyrics are fitting in and literally telling a story too; not so much “I see you in the club, I wanna dance with you” kinda thing. I grew up listening to guys like Bob Dylan and Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys and those dudes actually say something when they sing. I think thats important. I want to create songs in an electronic medium that reference the past, specifically a lot of rock n’ roll stuff but kind of bring it up to date.

E: What do you like most about seeing electronic producers live? 

Alex: I really love it when producers are actively programming tracks in real time or playing instruments. DJing is great and I’ve done that myself which can be lots of fun, but there is something special about actually making something live, giving the music a chance to come alive of its own. I personally like to play live with a Novation Launchpad, which is kind of like an MPC (a media player) that works with Ableton Live.

E: What are you working on at the moment, what can we expect from you?

Alex: I just put out a new track called “This Town” with lots of woozy synths and vocals that I’m particularly stoked on. But there’s no rest for the wicked, so now I’m actually putting together a collection of songs with my friend Travis Keller of Buddyhead.com with some LA vocalist friends of his. Other than that, I’m putting on a live show at “legal and legitimate social events in Sydney’s industrial inner west” around Sydney. Just don’t tell your mum!


We’re really digging the subtle builds in “This Town” and looking forward to seeing how Alex’s sound develops in the future! You can check out this new track from Nice Girls Can’t Dance here:

By Erin Rooney

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Song of the Week: Lay Me Down by Sam Smith (Flume Remix)

Flume

In case you missed it, yesterday the internet went crazy because Harley Streten AKA Flume came out of hiding and released a teaser remix (Sam Smith‘s track, “Lay Me Down”), leading up to his upcoming album which is coming to your ears real soon.

Though Flume has experimented with remixing some different genres of music (from indie rock like Arcade Fire to pop electronic like Lorde), typically there are some markers that give him a signature sound, such as his distinctive drops.

Yet more recently he’s started to develop and mature his sound and this can really be seen in this track – he hints at drops, draws them out and uses more restraint in this remix. Have a listen:

 

Needless to say, we are waiting with bated breath for his second album which is bound to be jam-packed full of bangers. No pressure though, Harley.

By Erin Rooney

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Song of the Week: Through The Roof by Hermitude

Hermitude Music

Remember Hermitude? Flume remixed a little track by them called ‘HyperParadise‘ a couple of years ago. Well they’ve gone and done a thing, and that thing is release another awesome single. It’s called ‘Through The Roof’, featuring Young Tapz.

 

Being based in Sydney, we were always bound to love them. But what they’ve done with this new single has just given us even more reason to love them. Not only does it consist largely of a pretty badass horn section, but it’s also very aptly named, as it’s likely to be a favourite on the dancefloor.

Hermitude have been pretty quiet of late so we hope this means they’re breaking back onto the music writing scene. Can’t wait to see what remixes come out of this very satisfying track.

By Erin Rooney

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EP Highlights: Mesa by Akouo

mesa EP akouo

Artist: Akouo
Album: Mesa EP
Hometown: Northern Tasmania, TAS
Genre: Indie Electronic

After seeing Ryan Farrington AKA Akouo support SAFIA on their single tour, he demonstrated to the audience pretty quickly that he’s one to keep a close eye on. Transforming dance floors with his heavy beats, and more importantly, his electrifying energy, one listen to this EP will give you only a snapshot of his talent.

“Last Time” is a perfect example of Akouo’s ability to drop a beat. Listen, and just try not to bounce. Alternatively, if you want to ease into his beat-heavy style of producing, take a look at what he’s done with Flume/George Maple’s “Bring You Down”:

 

“Not Enough” follows on from this strong start, leading with important vocals but dropping back to bring fluctuating rhythms forward. “Passing Through” and “Seas Roll On” are more restrained tracks, exploring simpler themes and repeating vocal lines.

There is a lot of variety on this EP which can be easy to overlook, exhibiting a number of influences from indie music to soul pop and hip hop.

 

A solid release from Akouo, but if you want to truly experience his music, catch one of his live shows. Word on the street is that he’ll soon be moving to mainland Australia so there should be many more of those!

By Erin Rooney