III by The Lumineers

III by The Lumineers

Hello friends.

I hope you’re all well and enjoying your weeks, as far into the week as you are whenever you’re reading this post.

Today I wanted to speak about an album that I wasn’t really sure I was going to enjoy when I first realised I had to listen to it. For that to make sense, I’ll have to share a little bit about what I’m doing with my life at the moment, and that’s contributing writing to arguably Melbourne’s most loved freely distributed music magazine, Beat. Feel free to have a Google and see if you can spot any of my writing!

Anyway, amongst reviewing concerts and interviewing an artist every now and then, one of the other things I get to do is listen to new albums and review them for the fortnightly album review section of the mag. I put my hand up to have a listen to the recent Lumineers album, III, and was lucky enough to get it.

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If you’ve read a few of my other posts or checked out any of my playlists, you’d know that I enjoy a couple of songs from the band, namely Sleep On The Floor, which I’ll forever and always be in love with, but I wasn’t sure what to expect.

That said, I was beautifully surprised, shocked, and incredibly moved. I nearly got emotional several times while listening through the album.

The album follows the story of a fictional family, the Sparks, and it depicts the struggle and evolution of this family having to live with a member fighting an addiction, and how that impacts the various members of the family. It’s a harrowing story and while it’s not a topic I’m incredibly close to personally, it made me really emotional.

There’s so much that I respect The Lumineers for, sonically, especially. Wesley Shultz has one of my favourite voices ever, and his vocal performance only amplifies the emotion and empathy behind all the lyrics in each song.

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They also tread the line of allowing the album to really live and become energetic in songs like Gloria and Leader of The Landslide. I love how some of the songs sit so gently in your chest, either gently strumming a guitar or a melody on the piano, while others really hit you in the gut, songs like Life In The City and Jimmy Sparks. I also really enjoyed listening to the different parts of the story and understanding the story of how the family unfolds. The entire record really allows you to build this cinematic movie within the music and a really clear story that can only really be put together once you’ve listened to the album in it’s entirety.

highly recommend you read the album review done by Atwood Magazine on each song, their meanings and the intricacy within the album, You can read that HERE.

This was such a beautiful album to listen to, it’s already been saved and playlisted on my Spotify. An absolute gem of a release.

x

Priya

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Still Lovin’ Mahalia

Hello friends and family, hope you’re all well.

Today’s post is going to be another artist spotlight. I haven’t done one in a hot minute, most of them have been interviews from up and coming artists, so it’s been a while since I just shared an artist I’ve been genuinely enjoying.

That said, here we are with precisely that, and if the title didn’t allude to it enough, I’m gonna be rambling about Mahalia.

As of recently, she’s announced that she’ll be releasing her debut album, LOVE AND COMPROMISE in September, so now we truly have something to look forward to.

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I first discovered Mahalia when she released Sober in 2017. It’s the slanky type of RnB that I just love, throws you right back to the 90s, and I instantly fell in love with her voice. The acoustic version came shortly after that, as well as the Jarreau Vandal remix, and I was obsessed.

The next song to really have me hooked was I Wish I Missed My Ex which she put out in 2018. The music video to date, is still one of the coolest ones I’ve seen.

 

It took me a little while to jump onto the Mahalia train straight away, and unfortunately, it was in this time that I attended Falls Festival, where Mahalia had a set. And I missed it. I can’t even remember what I saw instead of going to her set, but in short, I didn’t see her when I had the chance. Lesson learnt.

Since then, I’ve become obsessed with several of Mahalia’s songs. That’s OKSimmer which she released super recently, Do Not Disturb and one of my absolute favourites, Honeymoon. 

There’s something about Mahalia that violently throws me back to being a little kid and listening to artists like Ne-Yo, Brandy, Destiny’s Child, Usher, Alicia Keys and so many other incredible RnB artists from the 90s and early 2000s. However, she does so without compromising what makes her unique and so current today. All of her songs have ridiculously catchy hooks and melodies and the musicality in her records is always impressive, regardless of how subtle it may be.

Her EP, Seasons, which she released last year is a collection of five songs which I reckon were a great way to really introduce Mahalia to a brand new audience who were only just discovering her. The five songs are all so cohesive with each other, but have their own little things to celebrate, whether it’s the incredible chorus in Honeymoon, the simplistic structure yet impressive lyrical rhythm in That’s OK or the smooth jam that is Good Reason.

Most recently, her single Simmer, which features Burna Boy has been really stuck in my head, and it’s made for a great warm, summery tune to keep me going through the winter that’s been keeping us all hostage here in Melbourne. If you haven’t had a listen to it already, I can’t recommend it enough. Get around it.

I think everyone, especially fans of soul music and RnB like myself, should take the time to listen to the EP and definitely the album when it comes out, all the way through, back to back. I’m genuinely so excited for what Mahalia’s going to be sharing with this upcoming record, what she’s delivered so far has really hit it’s mark.

She’s a front-runner for 2019.

x

Priya

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Nick Lopez // One To Keep An Eye On

Nick Lopez // One To Keep An Eye On

Hello everyone! Today’s post is going to be dedicated to a singer/songwriter who genuinely excites me, Nick Lopez.

I’d initially heard of Nick through Justin Escalona’s Daily Docs, which is how I also came to discover Christian French, so when I was given the opportunity to chat to Nick about his latest single, Posters, a song that’s been over a year in the making, I couldn’t pass it up.

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Posters is a song that perfectly slips into that cruise-y, atmospheric pop sound, as does a lot of other songs Nick as released. The story behind the song, which features LA singer Dominique, is equally as beautiful. “It’s about missing someone important to you, and “making friends” with things that remind you of them”, according to Nick.

The song is the product of a completely new and fresh collaboration for Nick. “Me and Dominique were introduced at an event and we set up a writing session
with one of my favourite producers Midi Jones. The first time we ever worked
together we made this song!”

“It was a duet from the get go. I knew it felt right.”

Nick is no stranger to the music scene though. Having written for artists like Lady Gaga, ASTN, Annie LeBlanc and You Should Hear favourite, Christian French, it’s always a little different releasing music for himself. “Releasing my own music is great because I am in complete control and people are fully aware that it’s me who wrote the song, but I also love writing with up and comers like Chris and many others because they are so talented and bring their own unique abilities and vision into the session.”

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However, his experience means he’s already a professional at pulling together these contagious songs that stick in your head, garnering himself fans all over the world.

His 2016 single Pink Champagne found huge success in China, and finally getting to go over there was an experience in itself for the LA artist. “Most insane experience of my life. Every teenager in the country knows that song. You walk around the mall and hear it playing, in restaurants, bars, on the radio, everyone knows it. They freak out when they realise it’s me haha. I can’t wait to go back.”

Posters is a step away from the upbeat pop track however, and Nick describes the sound perfectly. “It’s a lot more mature in my opinion, it’s also the first “moody” song I’ve ever
made, it’s slower, more emotional, less mainstream pop.” The maturity of the song really makes the lyrics stand out with this song, and it’s something Nick is excited for fans to hear.

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You can stream Posters HERE, and make sure to follow Nick on Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube!

x

Priya

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Another Jon Bellion Post

Another Jon Bellion Post

Hello friends! Hope you’re all doing well, it’s your resident President of the the Jon Bellion fan club here, coming at you today with a brand new song, from the gift that keeps on giving, the man himself.

As if an album, a magnificent album too, Glory Sound Prep, wasn’t enough, Jon had to drop some ridiculously reasonably priced merchandise – I’m talking $70 total for a hoodie and t-shirt – with shipping to Australia included – he also then had to announce a tour. A tour I’ve been waiting for, for close to five years. And because that wasn’t enough, without any promotion or warning he dropped a surprise documentary about the make of GSP, and now? Now he’s gone and released another track.

It’s obviously been a wild couple of months for me, as you can tell.

Let’s just get into the song.

Crop Circles.

It’s honestly so good, and I’m not just saying that because I’m unprofessionally biased. Jon shared a few videos on Instagram and Twitter of him setting the song up, finding loops and percussion pockets, which by now, we know he’s somewhat a god at.

It follows the story of a relationship that just seems  to crumble, and the different stages of it coming to an end. There’s some wicked sampling and production in this song, but are we really surprised?

It’s another collab with his producers Mark and Volta who’ve contributed heavily to the creation of this sound that Jon’s seemed to have nailed down. I feel like this song has the potential to reach All Time Low success. I mean, I hope so.

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CROP CIRCLES MIDNIGHT

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The chorus is such a contrast to the verses, which have so much energy and punch to them. That’s not to say the chorus is any less impressive than the rest of the song. It’s a nice stretch of Jon’s beautiful vocals and I love the rhythm within it, especially towards the end of the song where it keeps vamping and vamping.

I’ve been so impressed and inspired by all the developments and growth that’s taken place with Jon and his music since the release of The Human Condition in 2016. Instead of remaining comfortable with the success he’s achieved and how well that record did, it’s like he used everything he gained from that to push the envelope even further.

I’m so excited for the tour man. Can’t wait.

 

x

Priya

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Goodnightmare // Fake Fake Are An Absolute Dream

Goodnightmare // Fake Fake Are An Absolute Dream

Hello friends. Welcome to another distastefully late post from ya girl. However, this one has me genuinely excited, so hopefully that somewhat makes up for it?

Today I’m gonna take some time to introduce you to a dynamic duo if I’ve ever heard one, Fake Fake, comprised of  Justin and Leith from Canada. The boys found their way into my email inbox, and as per usual, I was keen to have a listen to their new single, Goodnightmare.

Friends. Friends. So happily surprised. By this point you all know there are very few things that get me hyped like a really tasty bass line paired with some smooth vocals. Fake Fake deliver both, and I’ve been listening to their debut single over and over again since first hearing it.

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Justin, who lends his as previously mentioned, smooth as heck vocals to the track, shared with me what the song is all about.

“‘Goodnightmare’ is an ode to the friendships and romances where you find yourself deeply relying on someone else. How that dependency is a freeing and also paralysing place to find yourself in. There are some very personal elements to it, but also a wider commentary on that idea of dependency. Lines like “talk me out of all these bad cliches” and “all of us need a crutch for a lover” really speak to that.”

It’s also entirely self-produced by Leith, who’s the production mastermind behind this machine, and Justin explains why.

“The track was produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Leith (producer & instrumentalist) with the two of us collaborating on aspects of that process. We had talked about outsourcing parts of the mixing and mastering process but when it came time, it felt right to self produce and have our debut single really reflect ourselves as a duo and our personal stake in creating this track. We also self-produced the visuals for ‘Goodnightmare’.”

“What are the visuals?” I hear you ask? Have a look for yourself.

Super different, not like anything I’ve ever seen before, but I love it. There’s nothing too fancy, it’s pretty simple, but I genuinely think it’s one of the coolest things ever. It suits the song perfectly.

Like I mentioned, there’s so much in this song sonically, that I think makes it such a winner for me. The bass line really drives the song along, but Justin’s voice is such a great contrast to it, plus there’s that funky guitar riff that pops up here and there within the verses. And the chorus. Ooft. Plus, the lyrics?

It’s such a groovy conveyance of such a universal message that Justin sings about, one that literally anyone can relate to either already or in the future.

“I think that feeling of being in love with and also terrified of dependency really comes across in the lyrics, but more importantly in the music and production as well.”

He’s not wrong. There’s so many different dynamics within this song, it vamps and vamps continuously, even using the chorus as a build -up within the bridge to lead into the final hook. I think it’s a really smartly produced and structure one.

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This tune is genuinely one I wish everyone was hearing on the radio. I definitely can’t wait to see how Justin and Leith will pull it off live…

You can listen to Goodnightmare on Spotify and SoundCloud, and you can follow Fake Fake on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

x

Priya

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Hey Billie Eilish … Calm Down Please x

Hey Billie Eilish … Calm Down Please x

So we’ve had some time to marinate in the absolute sauce that is WHEN WE ALL FOR ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? and I feel like I can confidently say we’re all just basking in how amazing it is?

Like Billie said she’d deliver, and she came through. Sorry, Billie and Finneas came through and delivered one of the most streamed albums of the year so far. Literally, nearly every single song on that album was charting the week it was released.

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The fact that !!!!!!! (boy you do not know how hard it was counting those exclamation points) is only 13 seconds long? Love that. Love it. It confused me at first, but now I can basically quote the 13 second Invisalign monologue by heart. And I love how it just jumps straight into bad guy, which is one of my favourite songs off the entire album.

This song had me hooked from the second it started. It had my jaw on the floor and my head bopping up and down the entire time. It’s such a bop but it’s an intricate bop. There’s so many layers to this song, especially vocally, and all of it combines to create this really unique sound that I haven’t really heard before, which is what I think contributes to how much this album exploded.

xanny is another one of my favourites. I kinda overlooked it at first, but one of my friends mentioned that it was her favourite of the album, so I returned to it and now I’m loving it so much. Every time I listen to it I pick up on something new in the lyrics to be amazed at. I can imagine this absolutely blowing the lid of a stadium when she takes this on tour. She better.

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you should see me in a crown doesn’t even need a bit. A banger. A bop. A hard, hitting, slap.

all the good girls go to hell is another song I kinda shamefully overlooked, cos I felt like I’d heard it before. The piano really threw me off for some stupid reason, but it literally only took one more listen for me to restore my senses. Her vocals in this song are so clean and crisp.

wish you were gay is a great song. Not my favourite, but it’s definitely not a bad song by any means. I love the backing vocals in this song and the nursery rhyme kinda of vibe they have, especially during the verses. The chorus is also one I can imagine going off during an arena tour.

when the party’s over makes me emo. I don’t know what it is about this album, but again, I didn’t really grasp the emotion or the intent behind the song until a second listen. I think it was because I was so caught up in listening to her vocal performance and the production when I first listened to it, that I never really took in the lyrics, which for me are the best part of the entire song. They’re so beautiful and vulnerable and I love how open it is.

 

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I really like 8. It’s so simple and sweet but it’s such a sad song. The vocal mixing and the production is so perfect and it works really well with the lyrics.

my strange addiction made me scream, purely hearing The Office being sampled throughout it. It’s got a really groovy synth bass line that’s super bouncy and I can definitely get around it. The melody in the chorus is also insanely catchy, and this song was stuck in my head hours after listening to the album.

Obviously you then have bury friend which kinda kicked the whole aesthetic of the album into second gear. I think the more and more I listen to the album, the more I’ll be able to bring some of the other songs up to this level. At the moment this song and bad guy are so far up on my favourites list, it’s not even funny, it’s kinda disrespectful.

ilomilo is an interesting one. Probably my least favourite song out of the album. Again, not a bad song at all, it just doesn’t stick in my mind as distinctly as the other songs do.

listen before i go nearly made me cry when I first heard it. The first line is so ridiculously sad, and it’s hard to fathom that someone so young could pen these type of lyrics. I desperately want to do a cover of this song.

 

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Another tear-jerker. i love you is another beautiful song, but one of my favourite parts is undeniably how distinct Finneas’ voice is in it. Their voices gel and blend so well together and this song is a great example of it.

goodbye gave me shivers the first time I heard the vocal harmonies. Such a fitting song for the last track of the album. I love how she managed to weave the rest of the songs from the album into the final song, I got major Jon Bellion, Hand Of God – Outro vibes from it because he does it in that song as well. It’s something I’ve always admired and I love when artists mesh their songs into one another. She’s done it before when she references Ocean Eyes, one of her first songs, in you should see me in a crown so goodbye just seems like the perfect way to wrap up the album.


 

So that’s WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO.

But I’m not done. I think one of the most crucial parts, one of the biggest assets to the entire album, one of the reasons the album is as good as it is, is Finneas. If you aren’t aware of Finneas, Billie’s older brother, he’s the other half of the team that’s really built this artist and all these songs from the ground up. I probably can’t really do Finneas justice or explain his process or his thoughts, so I highly recommend watching the video below. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the album. Let me know in the comments below!

x

Priya

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Ariana’s Gift To Us All

Ariana’s Gift To Us All

Hello, hello.

Unless you’ve been living under the world’s largest rock recently, you’d be aware that Ariana Grande currently has the world in the palm of her hand, and is killing the game. I thought 2018 was her year, but 2019 has barely started and she’s already claimed this year as her own.

She recently released her album, titled after the first single she dropped, ‘thank you, next‘ and my god, this album is everything she’s been promising and more.

I’ve never considered myself a ‘fan’ of Ariana Grande if we’re being honest. Up until last year I only ever really listened to her when she popped up on the radio, but I rarely went on to Spotify with the intent to literally binge her entire album, which up until today, I could never say I had done. That’s over.

That said, let’s get into this play-by-play rundown. Sadly this isn’t a reaction post, because I was too busy hyping every second of it to think about typing down my thoughts. But it’s close enough.

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imagine
Ok. I know this song is cute. I know it’s a sweet lil tune, and heaps of people are around it. But it’s taken me way too long to get into it and now I’m only just jumping on the bandwagon. It took me a little while to even bother listening to it, even though it was released as a single. I don’t know. I just wasn’t hooked straight away.

needy
Did someone say me? No, they just said ‘needy’, but that’s practically the same thing. This song gets me. The simple piano is something that makes it such a catchy song, and the record just sounds like a dream, really kick-starting the entire ethereal aesthetic of the overall album. I kinda want to do a cover of this song, plainly for how simple it is, but how great it is to listen to.

NASA
How genius. This is a great tune. Such a great song. The play on words and the open-ness about just needing, space? I love the content of this album, Ariana’s so honest and raw in it, and it’s an honesty that I think her audience have come to expect from her. I think with everything she’s been through, in such a short time span, she can’t afford to be anything other than honest and true. However she still manages to do so in a way that gets you off your feet and bopping.

 

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bloodline
This is undoubtedly, in my top three songs on this album. The trumpets, how simple and catchy the chorus is, the story-line, everything. This song to me, in a nutshell, throws all the necessary shade at Pete Davidson, in one, pent up go. Considering how many times Pete decided to use their ended engagement as the butt of a joke, compared to how silent she kinda was, the whole ‘letting go’ part of the song kinda points fingers at a comparison between the two and how they handled the ended relationship so differently. Regardless, the song is a really fun anthem, and I find myself searching for it while I’m getting ready to jump in the car, purely so I can sing along.

fake smile
I love the intro to this song. So much. I mean sampling Wendy Rene?? Yes please. This song is probably one of the most honest songs on the album. She’s so candid about that fact that she’s been through hell. So much, and for someone so young who’s constantly on show, being scrutinised every second, it’s gonna be hard regardless. The song remains cute and playful, but provides a really vulnerable insight into Ariana’s mind.

bad idea
This song’s just really strong and energetic, but in a ridiculously cool way. She doesn’t sound like she cares at all and funnily enough it’s what I love the most about it. I don’t know if this song reaches as high as some of the others on the album for me personally, but it’s a good song to fit into the middle of the record. It genuinely fits the aesthetic of the record and I think a lot of time has gone into crafting the perfect selection of songs that contrast yet still manage to compliment each other.

make up
We love a cheeky play on words.

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ghostin
Possibly the saddest song on the album. It’s all about giving someone so much and getting little in return, and I think it’s possibly one of the strongest yet vulnerable songs on the album for how much it says. I think the song could possibly be about how much she had to go through, especially considering she was in a relationship while at the same time dealing with fall outs and issues from other relationships. The song is so clearly about that balance between Pete Davidson and Mac Miller, and the repercussions of his death not only on her personally, but also possibly on her relationship, and the fact that’s she’s so open and honest about it is a bold move considering how much flack and hatred she received when Mac passed away.

in my head
I think Ariana’s killing it with the introductions on all her songs, as well as the sampling. It’s all done tastefully, there aren’t any voice memos included simply because it might sound good, and samples are being used in a fresh way for her music. The fact that the voice memo is of her close friend Doug who ‘was a major help’ to her through some of her hardest moments speaks volumes. I think the song could be speaking about the way she sees someone, compared to way the rest of the world sees them, and the reality in between all of that, and I love it.

7 rings
A bop. An anthem. I sing this song all the time, nearly once a day, and it’s constantly being rewound and played back again. At first I was kinda confused, but then the confusion passed, the clouds moved away and I saw the light, and now I can’t get enough.

thank u, next
The song that shook us all. The song that announced her rebirth, her resurrection, her re-brand. A lot of love for this song, man.

break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored
Ah yes, we’ve arrived. My favourite song on the entire bloody album. I feel like this song is the bad-ass sister song to thank u, next, which is quite subtle about it, but this song is so in your face, I love it. I haven’t listened to it as much as 7 rings, but boy am I getting there.  Wait for this song on my February Tunes, cos it’ll be there, I promise.

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So yeah! That’s my song-by-song wrap up of Ariana’s album, thank u, next. I’ve been loving Ariana and her music since she released God Is A Woman and I’m sure she’s gonna give us a lot more in 2019. Let me know what you think, in the comments below.

x

Priya

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