Fresh Music Fridays: 31/08/18

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Fresh music fridays: 31/08/18 

by Patrick McKenzie, Lawson Wrigley, Jamie Weiss, James Newbold, Nick Forbutt, and James Msms

We're back from our hiatus and bigger than ever! In this instalment, FIVE of our writers (+ one special guest) take on new stuff from pop prince Troye Sivan, unofficial Australian ambassador Tkay Maidza, and honey-voiced honey Shamir.

"Seventeen" — Troye Sivan

Patrick: Passionate, airy, yet intense. These are all words to describe the feeling of Seventeen from Troye Sivans long-anticipated second album Bloom. A timely release for Wear it Purple Day, Sivan sings about the giddiness and excitement at being on the cusp of adulthood and all that comes with it; 'I've heard the whispers now let's see what all the talk's about'

Lawson (w/ James Msms): Troye crafts a familiar story for many queer folk; that of age and sex. He’s aided by stunning production, very familiar to his last release Blue Neighbourhood. Overall this is a special story heightened by Troye’s innocent vocals.

James: The atmospheric production is the secret weapon of this otherwise decent pop song. Sure to soundtrack the lovelorn nostalgia of many this season.

Jamie: I don’t listen to much modern pop but I can honestly say I’m looking forward to Troye Sivan’s upcoming album Bloom, of which "Seventeen" provides a tantalising taste. This track is so lush, with sparkly vocals and production – Troye is the crème de la crème of modern Australian pop. You’re in for a treat, flower boys.

Nick: Unabashedly Australia’s premier gay pop icon, Sivan’s "Seventeen" — about youthful dabbling in online hook-up culture — is an honest track that opens the first raw petals of Bloom. The swanky soundscape, with an appropriate level of melancholy, gives the lyrics a certain weight without sacrificing musicality.

"Big Things" — Tkay Maidza

Patrick: Tkay Maidza brings trap influence to a dancey Caribbean-feel rhythm. Not much remarkable in this track. Vocals are sweet and an instrumental in the bridge builds on ideas developed in the beat throughout, albeit with not much variance in overall sound.

Lawson (w/ James Msms): Tkay is still struggling to create her own sound it seems, and this time around she’s borrowing from a Carribean influence. It's an easy going track but the mid tempo beat fails to push it out of the pack.

James: For the most part the reggae-infused beat is a mere template for Maidza, who occasionally lifts up the track with bold melodies and production choices. These instances are few and far between however (see the verses and very ending), so hopefully they are elevated into the limelight as Maidza comes into her own on future releases.

Jamie: Tkay is a great MC but this track really doesn’t do her spitting or singing ability any real justice. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad song, it just feels a little confused: its reggae vibe doesn’t really match well with its trap drums and the chorus isn’t very strong. I’ll probably end up streaming this track heaps but I can’t think of a context in which you’d play this.

Nick: "Big Things" seems to signal a tempo change for Tkay, with the roaring reggae opener seeming to place more gravity in her lyrical intentions. It doesn’t do too much, but it seems Tkay is more than comfortable with that.

"Panic" — Shamir

Patrick: Crunchy guitar punctuates a foot-tapping, head-banging slow burner by Shamir. It's glorious, a dissonant mood over the track brings vocals and instruments together in an odd but addictive sort of enlivening harmony.

Lawson (w/ James Msms): "Panic" is a more acoustic sound from Shamir, showing off his vocal talent and lyrical power with distorted guitars. It's good, it's raw and Triple J will (hopefully) eat this up.

James: It’s great to hear Shamir delve into deeper into alternative rock, bringing his unique voice to the genre. The songwriting and melodies are on the weaker side but the musical direction, with dense droning shoegaze-esque guitars and drums, is arguably an important and exciting move for both popular queer music and Shamir’s own musical growth.

Jamie: Really enjoyed this track. Let these guitars wash over me, baby – if you haven’t heard Shamir before, give this track a listen. This Las Vegas native dials the distortion in perfectly; his strings and vocals are gripping yet softly-spoken. "Panic" is just the sort of warm little number you need on a rainy Friday like today. [Editor's Note: hey, the rain's cleared up but the sentiment remains.]

Nick: After starting as a pop artist, "Panic" suggests a more subdued approach from Shamir, rocking his way through the song with edges of grunge. His rare vocal energy is a delight that takes the queer musical experience to a deeper place.

Tune in next week for our next Fresh Music Friday!

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