Electric Feels: Your Weekly Electronic Music Recap
The best of electronic music in the past week, including Miami Horror, Soulwax, Luke Million and more.
ALBUM / EP OF THE WEEK
Miami Horror - The Shapes
Introduced by the colourful and exciting single Leila earlier this year, The Shapes is the second EP from Melbourne indietronica band Miami Horror, arriving two years since the release of their super successful All Possible Futures full-length. Influenced by the colourful visuals and art of the 80s and 90s, The Shapes hosts more of an experimental, club-ready sound from the group, continuing the unexpected tone of the leading Leila – perhaps a sign of their changing songwriting efforts since their last major release.
The EP-opening Sign of the Times perfectly combines this newfound direction with Miami Horror’s well-known knack for strong songwriting, especially when it comes to the effortlessly cool vocal power of frontman Josh Moriarty. Trapeze continues this with a slightly more retro touch, building on the sturdy bass work and charged guitar melodies from some of the group’s early influencers and peers, before creating something new and unique with the tribal percussion rolls and vocal chants of the commanding Azimba.
Ending with the electric guitar melodies of Dark Love – the only single on The Shapes which remotely comes close to some of the group’s previous work – The Shapes is like nothing Miami Horror have ever crafted before. Their ‘natural coolness’, which has been around since they emerged in the Australian bloghouse days, still remains, but is conveyed in a far different way and sound, trading out their rock-leaning electronic sound in favour for a cleaner, dancefloor-ready pulse. The group are playing a whole heap of shows around the country soon in support of the single too, which you can check out HERE, alongside some of the group’s favourite album artworks.
SINGLES / REMIXES OF THE WEEK
Promnite - Call Me (feat. Mark Johns)
Although Miami Horror’s disco-orientated release might’ve just edged it out, Promnite’s genre-diverse Snake Charmer EP was another stellar EP arriving last week, with the Athletixx co-founder taking on a dark, bass-heavy sound for the Fools Gold-released EP. Whilst the EP may be largely built on quick-paced hip-hop verses (such as Denzel Curry and a range of others on the hefty, EP-opening Gunsmoke) the release does have one dancey moment, with OWSLA golden-girl Mark Johns being enlisted for a funked-up track that acts as a breather between the heavier singles on the release. Deep rifts of bass are the focal point of Call Me, merging with echoing synth chords and crisp percussion work for the track’s groovy instrumental. Mark Johns fuses perfectly with the single’s production, with her vocals being soft enough to add to the soulful sound without over-dominating the production or feeling out of place, a hard feat that only the best of the best of the genre can achieve.
Luke Million - Back To The Rhythm feat. Sam Sparro
In what become a rather unexpected (but welcomed) move, 2016 saw Luke Million re-return to the commercial spotlight with his Stranger Things Theme remix – a funked-up rendition of the popular OST which instantly brought us back to the nostalgic days of Arnold. Masterfully building on this hype comes Back To The Rhythm, his first full original single since 2015’s Archetype and as expected, it’s as good as a groovy, Luke Million single gets. In the true spirit of unexpected comebacks, Million has recruited Sam Sparro (of y’know – Black and Gold fame) for an ringing guest vocal, which charms above a nostalgic, old-school beat filled with quirky sampling and hand claps. It’s a strong return to form from the long-time producer, bringing back those retro, Music Sounds Better With You vibes that we come to quickly adore with Million’s early, astronomical live as a producer and live act. The track comes from an upcoming EP release of the same name due in August, which is set to feature a number of other special guest collaborators - bring it on.
Nyxen - Is It Love
She starred in our ’17 Electronic Acts to Watch in 2017’ list at the end of last year and now, like many of others in the same list, Nyxen has returned, fresh to 2017, in a big way. Toppling the immense success (and strength) of her debut breakout Running would be no easy accomplishment – a Flume and his self-titled debut album type situation – and yet in comes the Sydneysider and her new single Is It Love which not only matches her captivating debut, but completely eclipses it in every way. Opening with an almost tropical, tone-setting introduction, muffled vocals and pulses of deep synth are quickly by a catchy house beat and layers on layers of synth, percussion and vocal melodies in the single’s breakdown, pulsing with that easy-going feel that Nyxen originally emerged with last year. As much as I can go on about the tone and feeling of the single, triple j’s Dom Alessio really says it best: “[Is It Love] reminds me of the feeling of that singular joy of dancing in the rain.” It’s carefree, full of life and happy and best of all, it paints an extremely promising picture for the young producer in future years.
Jagwar Ma - Slipping (Soulwax Remix)
The list of our most anticipated albums for 2017 is a long one, with everyone from SebastiAn to Gorillaz set to drop albums before we clock over to 2018 in nine months time. On the electronic side of things, Soulwax’s new, forthcoming LP From Deewee is definitely up there, promising to delve into their unique and unmatched sound when it arrives this Friday. Although many artists would gear up for an album release with a single or two from the new record, we’re going in completely blind to From Deewee, with Soulwax instead unleashing a new remix of Jagwar Ma’s Slipping to hold us over until Friday’s release. Soulwax’s Slipping remix is classic Soulwax from the get-go, with a ticking groove that amalgamates layers and layers of synth with the hollow vocals of the Jagwar Ma original. After a mammoth two-and-a-half-minute build-up, the Belgian trio suddenly cuts things off to launch into a deep, acid-house drop, throbbing with deep bass hits and frenzied synth scales as it closes out the remix. Here’s hoping that From Deewee can keep this up.
Palais - Chimera
2017 is shaping up to be a big year for Perth young-gun Palais. He kicked it all off by slightly editing his name and re-branding (perhaps to distance himself from the Pitchfork-adored, indie-rock group Palace) before emerging last month with the synthed-up love song Instant Crush, which immediately boasted a “joyous, playful glee that dares you not to smile” when we premiered it. Last week he returned, turning up the banger-factor for the second single from his forthcoming Apolis EP – Chimera. Setting the tone with a repeated, clanging synth, Chimera doesn’t take long to heat up, taking nuances from influences in Flume and Mr Carmack for a wonky, experimental breakdown that centres around deep rifts of bass and a lush synth line. Much like its predecessor, Chimera is full of energy and dynamics, twisting and turning with the smallest of additions in each breakdown, keeping things fresh and exciting as it continues. We’re only two tracks deep thus far, but Apolis is really shaping up to be an exciting and varied EP from the Perth producer – colour us keen.