The AO Live Stage has well and truly done it again
New Music / New Music
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This wasn’t a team-up we asked for, but now that we have it we realise it was everything we ever needed. Alice Ivy has become well-known for bringing the best – and sometimes unexpected – side out of her collaborators, and ‘In My Mind’ is no different. We’ve heard Ecca Vandal in all her ferociousness before, and we’ve heard her lend her fierce vocals to rap and rock tracks alike, but we have never heard her in this dreamy kind of setting. Together, they’re bringing that endless summer feeling, and in the dead of winter, that’s exactly what we want.
Dreamy, floating melodies combine with chugging guitars and stunning vocal harmonies on ‘Hollywood’. With a chorus perfectly made for singing along to at the top of your lungs, while calling back to the best ’90s rock ballads, there is a lot to love with this Australian duo.
On her latest single, Sydney singer-songwriter Iluka is ticking every single box. The retro, nostalgic side of her sound is definitely on show here, and it’s definitely giving us the warm and fuzzies. But as always, there are also the contemporary, indie-pop elements that bring Iluka’s tunes into the now. Soaring guitars, floaty synths, and dreamy vocals all shine on ‘Fall Apart Again’ – a track that is equal parts shimmery and heartbreaking.
Auckland rapper JessB says her latest track ‘Mood’ is about “being a boss ass woman with my friends,” and we feel it. We’ve been shouting about how great she is for a while now (read more about that here) but here she has truly hit her stride. She’s delivering bucketloads of confidence, swagger and power, further cementing her status as New Zealand’s queen of hip hop. She’s lining up headline shows, support slots, and festivals on her resume and taking her tunes to new audiences (hello Splendour) and we are absolutely loving watching her rise.
On ‘Good Girl’, Kat Edwards demands attention – not because she is loud or boisterous but because she is undeniably powerful. Slowly burning, ‘Good Girl’ is stunningly beautiful. Edwards’ vocals are warm and commanding as the melody slinks along – imagine a smoky jazz club, whiskey on the tables, add in a french horn for the drama. There’s a sense of mystery here, and a fire too. We’ll definitely be checking out Kat when she takes to the Bigsound stage.
Whether he’s writing and producing for other people or working on his own music, Australian producer Lucianblomkamp has cemented himself as an absolute force in the industry. From writing with the likes of 6LACK, Eliott, Clams Casino and Snakehips or collaborating with Khalid, Lucianblomkamp has shown just how versatile his work can be, but it’s through his own catalogue that his sound truly shines, and new single ‘Come To Light’ might just be his most potent yet. Dreamy synths combine with some trap-inspired production to carry a silky-smooth vocal – it’s a little different to what we’ve heard recently from the producer, but we aren’t complaining.
When you think about absolutely perfect musical pairings you can’t look any further than powerhouses Matt Corby and Tash Sultana, so thank the heavens that we finally get to hear them collaborate. Their track ‘Talk It Out’ was originally written by Corby during his Rainbow Valley sessions but didn’t make the cut, so he enlisted Sultana to fill in the gaps. You’ll recognise the psych-groove that runs throughout Corby’s most recent album, but it’s the extra layer brought by Sultana’s warm vocal and guitar lines that takes this tune to the next level. Let’s hope we get to hear more from this pairing in the future.
It’s been a little while since we’ve heard new music from Remi and Sensible J, so it’s real good to have another tasty treat from the pair. From rolling percussive beats and hazy synths into a smooth R&B chorus, Remi leads the way, bouncing between raps and velvety vocals before Whosane injects the track with a ’90s R&B tinge. Underneath it all, producer Sensible J creates one of the slickest grooves we’ve heard this year. This is the standard for Australian hip hop right now.
If you’ve spoken to me at any time in the last ten or so months I’ve probably told you to listen to Sam Fender and if you check my Spotify listening on any given day, I’ve almost certainly been listening to Sam Fender. It’s safe to say we’re pretty big fans over here, so news that his debut album is finally arriving in the coming months is huge. ‘Will We Talk?’ is the latest cut from it, and damn is it a goodie. It’s a euphoric, ultra-catchy anthem, employing the same guitar-led indie-rock we’ve come to love, but feeling a little brighter than some of his previous tunes. We absolutely cannot wait to hear this one go off live while he’s in Australia.
After a couple of incredible mixtapes, Sampa The Great has announced her first official album, The Return, will drop this September. Coming in at a huge 19 tracks long and featuring a trove of incredible artists, we are expecting mind-blowingly brilliant things when the album arrives. Giving us the second taste of the record, ‘OMG’ is pure Sampa brilliance. With similar toughness, confidence, and attitude as her previous single ‘Final Form’, Sampa’s flow is next level, as she showcases her skills as a lyricist and vocalist while flexing her cultural heritage. This track is ready-made for dancing.
Thelma Plum’s debut album Better In Blak is a masterclass in pop songwriting, we have been spinning it non-stop since its release and we could talk about all of its intricate layers, beauty, and vulnerability all day. While the Paul-squared (that’s right, Kelly and McCartney) on ‘Made For You’ is stunning, ‘Homecoming Queen’ is beautifully heartbreaking, and songs like ‘Woke Bloke’ make you crack a smile – when two of our favourite Australian voices and songwriters get together, we can’t not listen. Cue Gang Of Youths’ Dave Le’Aupepe on ‘Love and War’. His smokey vocal plays of hers perfectly, while a simple melody carries this devasting tune.
Freshly rising out of West Yorkshire, Working Men’s Club are the post-punk four-piece you need to get your ears around. With only a couple of singles under their belts, they absolutely have us hooked but it’s new single ‘Teeth’ – their bitiest yet – that really shows their promise. The electronic-infused melody is a different side of the band, built around a robotic drum loop and jagged guitars, while the snarling vocals are hard to ignore. While their debut single was a much brighter affair, you can still definitely hear those classic Britpop elements in this darker tune. The hype is well worth it.