Originally published 18/11/2015 on ReeceListens
I love summer. I love swimming and cricket and getting burnt and sending sad Snapchats about getting burnt. There are also a lot of good tunes which drop and are great to blast during the summer. I’ll be doing a write-up of some my favourite new songs below:
Shaggy – Wasn’t Me (Viceroy Remix)
If summer had a sound, it’d be the colourful sound of Viceroy. Listening to a Viceroy mix is like lying on a Gold Coast beach, except I didn’t need to harvest a kidney to cover the cost and the I’m the only obnoxious person in the area.
Viceroy’s take on Shaggy’s ‘Wasn’t Me’ is just the latest in a long and consistently brilliant series of summer-soaked remixes from the American producer/DJ. What stands out about Viceroy is his eclectic and diverse choice of tracks to remix. Sometimes he’ll take a pop burner and breathe some new life in it, such as his version of Maroon 5’s ‘Love Somebody‘ or Wiz Khalifa’s ‘This Plane‘. On top of that, Viceroy is also very comfortable taking ironic classics from the likes of Shaggy and Mark Morrison and turning them into legit floor-fillers. He can just about do it all.
With the sun beginning to make its way out from hibernation, it’s due time to trade in the sadboi tunes (sorry Drake) for something a little happier. If you’re liking his take on Shaggy, check out what he did with ‘Gettin Jiggy Wit It‘ by Jaden Smith’s dad, Will.
Tkay Maidza – Ghost
This track is like Triple J music coordinator Richard Kingsmill’s Christmas, birthday and Coachella rolled into one. Just check out the roll call: Tkay Maidza, Baauer, What So Not and George Maple all pouring their collective talents into ‘Ghost’, the first release from a forthcoming Tkay Maidza EP. The only way this track could be more Triple J friendly is if Lindsey McDougall got a feature and Tkay spent thirty seconds at the end throwing shade at Taylor Swift.
That aside, ‘Ghost’ feels huge. The chorus has bass-heavy, Maidza’s vocals soar and the drums feel like the soundtrack to a fight. It’s the perfect marriage between Maidza’s over-the-top chaotic releases (‘Brontosaurus’, ‘Handle My Ego’, ‘Wishes’) and her more playful tracks (‘Switch Lanes’, ‘U-Huh’), following on from the progress we heard on ‘M.O.B.‘.
At the start of 2015, the Adelaide emcee was everyone’s pick to break out as Australia’s first big rap export. While we’re still waiting for that big break, ‘Ghosts’ is the first indication that the slow and steady is winning the race for Tkay and her team. She’s secured international distribution with Downtown Records (U.S.) and Kitsune (Europe) for her debut album, slated for early 2016, and the buzz around ‘Ghost’ speaks for itself. Tkay Maidza may not be doing it overnight, but she’s well on her way to becoming a big name here and overseas.
Luke Million – Archetype feat. Jeswon
Along with Tkay Maidza, Luke Million headlines a surprising boom period for South Australian music. Although lacking the cultural pedigree of the likes of Melbourne and Sydney, the city of churches have been bringing the goods for a while now – gifting us with the Jesse Davidson and Bad//Dreems amongst other legends as of late.
Luke Million’s latest offering is ‘Archetype’ and features vocals courtesy of Jeswon of rap group Thundamentals. The collaboration is hardly intuitive – Million’s nu-disco sound doesn’t mesh with the bouncy rap beats we’re used to hearing Jes rhyme over but this one works.
For starters, Jeswon’s smooth af filtered vocals come out far better than even the most ardent Thundamentals fan would have anticipated. Since expanding the group’s sound on So We Can Remember to include more melody, it’s great to see members of the group continue to push themselves and try new things. With the likes of Remi, Baro, Sampha the Great and Tkay Maidza changing the way we consider Australian hip-hop, the former torchbearers are being pushed to innovate or die out. As a result, the Hilltop Hoods jazzed up on ‘Cosby Sweater’, Seth Sentry did his best Chance the Rapper impersonation on Strange New Past and the Thundamentals are going cool stuff like this.
Proclaimed as a ‘tribute to those lady killer anthems of the 80’s’, Luke Million and Jeswon has definitely done the sound justice. Instead of trying to stylistically meet each other in the middle, Jeswon takes a full leap outside of his comfort zone and embrace Luke Million’s sound, to the benefit of us all. This is the first track we’ve heard that came from a writing session with Million, Trials of Adelaide’s Funkoars and Sydney’s Chance Waters but so far, so good.
Petite League – Not Always Happy (Slugger)
Summertime can be a bit of a feels festival. With months and months of free time, we manage to find enough time to fit in a lot of highs as well as crashing with some pretty low lows, and then everything in between. Petite League’s ‘Not Always Happy’ does a nice job of encapsulating that feeling poignantly, wrapping some summertime sad lyrics about a break-up in a tune that sounds ripped straight from a Corona ad.
On the heels of their Slugger album, Petite League are a Syracuse duo aligned with Mermaid Avenue Records, the small label probably best known for surf-punk lads FIDLAR. With their guitar-driven sound and beachy aesthetic, Petite League certainly seem a good fit on the label. Although FIDLAR comparisons are immediate and easy, Petite League is probably more closely aligned with the likes of Best Coast or Aussie heroes Hockey Dad with their breezy guitars and the saccaharine vocals of frontman Lorenzo Gillis Cook.
From the Cook’s opening line “I wrote about a book about you on my phone” to “I’m not angry oh, I swear, I’m just upset” to the catchy hook “I love the way she left me, it reminds me I’m not always supposed to be happy” , the entire song is one 😦 emoji after the next. It’s like being eye of a breakup, if you got dumped over a bonfire on a beach in Philip Island while wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Relatable, I know.
As the protagonist mourns the break-up, the surfy guitars which permeate the track just roll on uninterrupted – which is a little bit like nice weather, sometimes it doesn’t stop just because you’re having a bad day.
Classixx – Whatever I Want feat. T-Pain
I’m sure nobody was expecting Classixx’s return to come with T-Pain and the West LA Children’s Choir in tow. After all, when you line up previous Classixx collaborators Nancy Whang, Active Child and Sarah Chernoff alongside T-Pain you’ll notice one is not like the other.
Firstly, only one person on that list can wear a hat like this without any shame. There’s also only one person on that list who called their debut album Rappa Ternt Sanga and only one can boast (?) to have collaborated with Chris Brown (More. Than Once.) AND Pitbull. (Three. Times.)
But to be fair, T-Pain shouldn’t be treated like a punchline (his hats on the other hand…). He’s a proven hit-maker: he has two Grammys to his name and he showed a remarkable ability to sing without autotune in his NPR Tiny Desk Concert. He’s even retired the top hat, meaning he today looks more like ‘T-Pain, musician’ and less like ‘T-Pain, aspiring pick-up artist’.
Premiering on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 radio show, ‘Whatever I Want’ is a little more spacious than most of what I’ve heard from Classixx before, but it works out really well. Bonus marks too for getting an autotuned T-Pain to sing, “I’m a roboooot”. So with hatless T-Pain’s help, Classixx are back dropping tunes in time for the Australian summer. Of course, they’re from Los Angeles so their summertime is all the time. The rest of the States, on the other hand, must feel a little disappointed such a scorcher has dropped as they’re entering chill.
After releasing the really enjoyable club-centric Hanging Gardens album a few years back, ‘Whatever I Want’ hints at a move to a more conventional pop sound for the duo. It’s a good first release and if there’s more to come like this I guess you could say this summer will be a real Classixx… (I’ll show myself out)
Bonus: Anderson .Paak – Am I Wrong feat. ScHoolboy Q
To stop this blog becoming an Anderson .Paak fansite (it’s close enough already), I won’t do a full write-up of this song but damn. If the sun is shining and you’re playing this song outside, I’ll jump over fences (kinda like this) if it means making it to the jam. Add Q and random backing vocals from former boybander Omarion to production from Pomo and Anderson .Paak’s hot streak continues.