17 Aug Trading Tunes with Queen Magic

Nick Mulhall A.K.A. Queen Magic, is an artist from Melbourne who specialises in juicy, slow jams. He has three impressive singles under his belt within the past year and a recent performance at the Splendour In The Grass music festival. Queen Magic is well on his way to breaking out. However before he does, he’s sent us his Trading Tunes choices.

1. Cleopold – ‘Down In Flames’

“This is easily the song of this summer, sorry Dr. Dre, sorry Timbaland, but this takes the cake. This film clip too, Cleopold is currently supporting Miami Horror around Australia, so get down to a show! Follow that guitar jam from the bridge on over to the next page.”

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15 Aug Throwback Special: Top Twenty Tracks This Week

Earlier in the week our co-founder and all-around legend Huw Nolan had to sadly, officially depart from the site in order to focus all of his attention on his prospering label Good Manners Music. This post is a celebratory throwback special, dedicated to when Huw Nolan originally used to generate weekly top twenty posts during the sites early days. In order to make the playlists length digestible, I’ve divided the playlist into ten Australian tracks first and then ten international tracks.

We have seven tracks from Melbourne this week and we start with Harvey Sutherland. ‘That’s The Fact, Jack‘ is a cool, sleek ’80s soft jam. You can catch him at Meredith Music Festival this December. Peruw caught our attention earlier in the year with the single ‘Moons‘ and now he’s dropped the equally as intriguing single ‘City Of Gold‘. Slum Sociable are releasing their debut EP TQ on October 9th and ‘All Night‘ is the second single after the head-turning ‘Anyway‘. I’m not sure how Ella Thompson finds time to release her own solo work between her other projects GL, Dorsal Fins, The Bamboos and joining Mark Ronson on stage during his set at Splendour In The Grass this year, but she’s somehow managed to drop the single ‘Hold Me Still‘ and proved that she may be currently the hardest working musician in the country. The shoegaze band Lowtide are back with ‘Julia‘ off the split 7″ with another track called ‘Spring‘. ‘Julia’ was written by Asylum Party and you can listen to both songs in one combined music video titled ‘Julia/Spring‘. Rat Columns are David West and Mikey Young of Total Control and Eddy Current Suppression Ring. ‘Should I Leave You Alone?‘ features on their new EP Fooling Around. You can hear and buy the EP over on the Blackest Ever Black bandcamp. The last track from Melbourne was actually released a month ago, but I felt the band could use another push. Youngs latest work ‘Serasan Shakes‘ was produced by Andrei Eremin and even features artwork from Thrupence.

Up north in Sydney, Packwood dropped ‘We Drink Light‘. Their naughties influenced indie sound is very wholesome and full of swiftly crafted instrumentation. Further up in Brisbane, Joy. got intimate with the single ‘About Us‘. You can catch Olivia McCarthy performing at Beyond The Valley festival this new years. Across in Perth, Kučka dropped their new EP Unconditional. ‘Honey‘ is another example of why this trio are on the verge of being a big deal.

Now internationally the first track ‘The Mystery of Lonnie The Døn‘ combines two of my most reliable sources. The Adult Swim Singles series and the Sub Pop signed hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces. Kiiara is just a 20 year old singer-songwriter from Illinois, but she really sells her latest offering ‘Feels‘. D.R.A.M. teamed up with inform Donnie Trumpet for ‘$‘. D.R.A.M. displays his double threat skills with the ability to rap and sing at an equal level. Kenton Slash Demon out of Denmark are the latest signing to Future Classic and the bubbling and pulsing ‘Harpe‘ will feature on their EP Harpe/Syko next month. Potty Mouth remind me of Ex Hex from last year with their latest offering ‘Cherry Picking‘. It’s got that ’80s, hair in the wind, not giving a rat’s-ass vibe.

I’ve been listening to Destroyer‘s soon to be released new album Poison Season a lot over the past couple weeks and ‘Times Square‘ is the centre track. This song is a major theme to the album with two other versions opening and closing the album. AJ Tracey from West London combined two of London’s more famous trends this century, grime and future garage for ‘Wifey 2‘ and it’s hard not to bob your head and down as it shuffles along. Blondes have a new EP titled Persuasion and this title track is the perfect piece of music to play during those crazy weekends between midnight and sunrise. I wasn’t a big fan of Battles second album, but their new single ‘The Yabba‘ has made me curious about their third album La Di Da Di next month. ‘The Yabba’ displays just how talented and methodical Battles can be. The last song ‘Violet‘ is highly addictive. Helen is a led by Liz Harris of Grouper. ‘Violet’ harnesses the same atmosphere as Grouper, but it’s a far more lively and alluring project.

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15 Aug Co La – ‘Suffering (Tuesday)’

The experimental Baltimore producer Co La dropped the single ‘Suffering (Tuesday)‘ earlier in the week and it’s jagged, unorthodox patterns have been looping in my head all week as I’ve been wondering the busy streets of Buenos Aires.

Maybe it’s the crashing noise at the start or the police sirens, but ‘Suffering (Tuesday)’ sounds like traffic. However unlike the frustrations of peak-hour traffic jams, the tracks clanging and bleeping actually has some fluidity to it. It’s like watching the crazy drivers in Asia continuously, narrowly avoid each other, or one of those intersections in Japan where the lights become green for every pedestrian simultaneously, opening the flood gates for a couple hundred people to quickly weave between each other.

Although the experimental sounds of artists such as Holly Herndon, Oneohtrix Point Never or Actress tend to intrigue the casual listener. Their entire albums are generally considered to be too frustrating for a casual listener. This makes what Co La offers interesting. He is creating space for himself in between those artists and the still highly popular IDM artists.

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15 Aug Neon Indian – ‘Slumlord’

I’m always skeptical when I see new music releases from artists who emerged during the chill-wave period such as Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, Blackbird Blackbird, Brothertiger, Slow Magic, Memory Tapes, Work Drugs, MillionYoung, Chad Valley. All except Neon Indian. Despite releasing the most memorable and definable chill-wave album with his debut album Psychic Chasms, Alan Palomo has always been the purest song-writer to emerge from chill-wave.

It became more noticeable on his second album Era Extraña where he became less reliant on style or music trends and he just wrote songs that would work if re-recorded in many different styles. He’s a song-writer who happen to emerge during chill-wave, not a musician who emerged because of chill-wave. Now he’s set to release his third album Vega Intl. Night School on October 16th and the first two singles ‘Annie‘ and now ‘Slumlord‘ are the least chill-wave music he’s made to date and the most expansive instrumentally.

‘Slumlord’ opens with a dark synthesiser reminescent of Perturbator before transitioning into a dance floor groove, full of bouncy hooks and slick guitar work. His vocals are also more demanding than usual, while not sounding forceful or uncharacteristic. The chorus vocal hook sounds like a more carefully crafted Chromeo moment, but it’s not all about the vocals, there’s just so many small details all over this track that work well together. The songs appears set to break out towards the end, except then it suddenly ends. This may be because the next track on the album is titled ‘Slumlord’s Re-Lease‘, hinting that this track may indeed break out then instead, but we’ll have to wait two more months to find out.

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15 Aug Trading Tunes with Amateur Dance

Joseph Cookson A.K.A. Amateur Dance is a producer from Melbourne who caught our attention last year with his first single ‘What I Had 2 Do‘. Since then he’s made an appearance on Pitchfork for the single ‘Still Amateur‘, released the EP Talking About Yourself and uploaded impressive remixes of Chet Faker and Darcy Baylis. While we wait to see what the producer does next, he has sent us the music inspiring him lately.

1. Dusky – ‘Parakeet Feet’

“I’ve given this an embarrassing number of plays and replays over the last week. Momentarily turns me into one of those ridiculous purists who don’t understand why people listen to anything but techno. A very moving piece of music that made me want to quit when I first heard it.”

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13 Aug Blank Realm – Palace of Love

I hope this summer Australia finally notice Blank Realm in their backyard. The jangly, upbeat, wonky band from Brisbane have been consistently making indie gems for a few years now and they’re getting set to release their fifth album Illegals In Heaven on September 5th.

Palace Of Love‘ follows on from the good form of the first single ‘River Of Longing‘, with a sharp guitar riff that slices the song through any congestion a listener may feel when digesting the cloudy force of the full band. The guitar and the inquisitive vocals of Daniel Spencer serve as a torch to guide Blank Realm to where they know they want to go.

That’s always been the key for Blank Realm, despite having a stumbling sound, you always get the sense that the band know exactly what they want and where they want to take their songs. There’s no confusion about the bands direction between the band members. This quartet just never appear to lose their infectious passion when together.

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09 Aug Top Ten Tracks This Week

This week I have six Australian tracks, three international tracks from familiar names and my favourite track of the week from a little known band based in Philadelphia.

Starting in Melbourne as usual, while we wait for new material from one of our favourite new electronic producers Asdasfr Bawd. He’s dropped a remix of ‘Body Party‘ by Ciara and it’s one of those Cyril Hahn tackles pop kind of remixes, where he turns a strong pop melody into an interesting arrangement as well. It may not be new material, but it’s another example of the mans high production standards. City Calm Down released the second single ‘Wandering‘ from their debut album In A Restless House. The National comparisons are still there, but so is the bands convincing conviction in their delivery. There’s simply no other band in Australia successfully playing the deep sorrow card quite like City Calm Down at the moment. Melbourne beat maker Entro is due to drop a beat tape later this month titled New Oceanic Worldwide and ‘KDMA‘ is a nice little sample of what to expect. If you like you’re down-tempo or chill instrumental hip-hip beats, then give Entro a chance. The last song in Melbourne is from the surf, garage punk band Going Swimming. ‘Them Shakes‘ will feature on their debut album Deadtime Stories next month. If you’re looking for bands who sound like Wavves or In Utero by Nirvana, then Going Swimming have you covered.

Up on the Gold Coast, Josiah Birrell A.K.A. Govs got intimate with the second single ‘Baby We’re Outside Of Time‘ off his new album 6teenDRE’am [night xo] out next week via Yozlyn Magazine. Josiah crashes melodies and delicate notes all over ‘Baby We’re Outside Of Time’ like buckets of hot water in a bath tub. You can catch Govs opening for Holy Holy on August the 21st at Elsewhere up on the Gold Coast. Across in Perth the self described “Wharf Jazz / Deep Home” artist Arvȏ Tanty dropped ‘Elegy, Kayak (ft. Gravy Murphy)‘. It’ll feature on his forthcoming album Tender Yonder… Deep Home Music. It must be really cold in Australia this winter, if artists in generally warm places such as Perth and the Gold Coast are making tunes to be played next to a fire-pit, inside a warm blanket while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate.

In the northern hemisphere Four Tet continued to upload new material. ‘BACK2THESTART‘ may actually be my favourite release from Kieran Hebden in a while. Apparently he made it on a plane last year, but despite being the product of just a laptop, it sounds larger than most of his usual work. Its deep base and engaging vocal melody make ‘BACK2THESTART‘ one of the more radio friendly pop attempts by Four Tet, despite it’s usual extensive Four Tet length. We finally got solo material from Martin Courtney the lead singer of Real Estate. We’ve heard in the past solo material from the rest of the band, but everyone’s really been waiting on Martin. Martin is one of this generations most consistent and sharpest singer-songwriters. ‘Vestiges‘ features bass and drums from members of Woods, giving the song a full body experience not far from a Real Estate experience. The main difference would be that it’s led by a single guitar, rather than woven guitar parts and the extended outro section is less Real Estate dreamy and more dryer sounding like a Woods song. Last year Danny Brown teamed up with Rustie for one of 2014’s best bangers ‘Attak‘. However some people thought Danny was losing his jagged edge by focusing on just club hits. Now he’s teamed up with producer Clam Casino to remind people that he can still be an interesting alt-hip-hop rapper. The music on ‘Worth It‘ drops in and out like a Shabazz Palaces track, leaving the listener on his or her toes until the end.

The last track is youthful, raw, vulnerable and leaves me very intrigued about their upcoming album. The band is Beach Slang and the track is ‘Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas‘. The lead singer James Snyder grunts out “Too fucked up to love, but too soft to hate”, among many other lines about self-pity, frustration and confusion. Yet the difference between Beach Slang and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart is that it sounds like James Snyder is fighting against living in nostalgia when he shouts out “We’re allowed to be alive!”.

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08 Aug Track Of The Day: Blondes – Persuasion

There are so many electronic artists these days, that at times you wonder how any manage to stand out. Many electronic artists have either huge social media followings or critical acclaim for being different and interesting. Then there’s Blondes who are just as good as any electronic act on the planet right now, yet their Facebook following is still under 10K and any critical acclaim you’ll find is only quietly acknowledged.

It’s criminal. What’s even more bizarre is that the duo are based out of Brooklyn, a place known for skyrocketing careers faster than any place in the world and they’re signed to the not-exactly small RVNG Intl. Their first self-titled album made it very clear that when they get their formula right, it’s as intoxicating as electronic music gets. Their second album Swisher was one of those rare albums that could’ve worked as an entire single piece of music or a mixtape and yet it was broken down into tracks, that could carry themselves individually.

Now they’re dropping a three track EP titled Persuasion and ‘Persuasion‘ is the opening track. It has all the seamless transitions of Four Tet, the epic rhythmic layering of Fuck Buttons and the psychedelics of Africa Hitech. Yet it’s clearly a Blondes track and one that I can’t stop repeating. Never has eight minutes felt so short, once you click play, the swirling sounds and continuous builds draw you in. It’s hypnotising, but it’s not as if I black out for the rest of the track and not realise there’s not much else to ‘Persuasion’. When I manage to remain conscious and dig deeper into the tracks details, it arrangement becomes even more impressive. It’s liquid execution is at the highest level. It’s as if the entire track was created in just one-take, simultaneously between the minds of Sam Haar and Zach Steinman.

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06 Aug Trading Tunes with Friendships

Friendships are an electronic alt-pop audiovisual duo from Melbourne consisting of Nicholas Brown and Misha Grace. The duo have been in the thick of the Melbourne scene for a few years now and tend to remix or get remixed by the best new artists around. Four months ago they released one of the best Australian tracks of the year with ‘When I Feel Like Killing‘. The track is also accompanied by one of best video-clips of the year. Listed below are five tunes that have caught Friendships attention of late.

1. The Harpoons – ‘Falling 4 U (Martin King edit)’

Martin King on Martin King, arrogance? No. Genius? Yes. Martin King is a total sound smith. Every tone is spot on and the groove is total fire. Lifted from the biggest soul dripping, core boogie, heaven soaring album of 2014 Falling For You. Martin flips the “feel good” to “feeeel gooood”. Smart garage shaker out of 10, Marty gets a rating of champagne & Moschino.”

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06 Aug Track Of The Day: YOUNG GALAXY – Body

The Canadian dream pop band have released four albums since debuting in 2007. Unlike many other artists who tend to run out of inspiration or ideas over the course of four albums, Young Galaxy have managed to perfect their craft over time with each album release. Their last album in 2013 Ultramarine was particularly a hidden gem, full of indie hooks, classy executions and many other reasons to keep replaying it. ‘Body‘ is the first single from the new album Falsework and it’s clear that the band haven’t lost any of their momentum.

The band brought back producer Dan Lissvik for Falsework. Dan gave the previous two albums a nice lush and broad glow. He’s an important aspect of Young Galaxy’s appeal because he’s able to separate the band from flat sounding laptop producers. ‘Body’ sparkles with many different layers and sections that flow easily into one another. ‘Body’ is more tailor-made for the dance floor than their previous dream-pop work, which better suited headphones or bedroom environments. It also helps that the band still has the angelic vocalist Catherine McCandless swooning the euphoric melodies together.

Young Galaxy are just a class above many of their electronic, dream-pop peers.

Falsework is out October 30 through Paper Bag Records:
1. Wear Out the Ground
2. The Night Wants Us to Be Free
3. Factory Flaws
4. Body
5. Ready to Shine
6. Must Be Love
7. We’re No Good
8. Little Wave
9. Lean into My Love
10. Pressure

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