This Week's Must-Listen Singles: HAIM, Carmouflage Rose, Wave Racer + more
Plus, new singles from Sophiegrophy and REMI.
Every week, we're hammered with tonnes of new music from Australia and afar, so much so that at times, it feels a little overwhelming and you're not quite sure where to begin. Every week, we run down this week's must-listen singles and releases, this week featuring names like Jack River, Ngaiire, George Maple and more. Check out Pilerats' homepage for more brilliant music and news, or subscribe to our Spotify Office Playlist for easy listening.
HAIM - Now I'm In It
After the release of their sound-defining second album Something To Tell You back in 2017, HAIM have kept relatively quiet - not counting the last few months, that is. Since delivering a warm return with Summer Girl, the three sisters have come to push themselves and their sound into the outer limits, whether it be the jazz-esque stomps of their return (which was notably quite stripped back and subtle when compared to their previous work), teaming up with PC pop boundary-pusher Charli XCX for Warm, or now, with their second solo single, Now I'm In It.
Now I'm In It is a quintessential HAIM song lush with everything we've come to love from the trio across the years - thickly-layered vocal harmonies among the highlights - but it feels different, like they're unveiling a new, slick take on a sound that doesn't feel unlike their past, but just updated perhaps. There are tribal breakdowns and rough electronic pulses that really separate it from the rest of their discography and in the process, lighting a bright stone that'll build their path to a strong, adaptable future ahead. "Even when we’re writing about something dark or more serious, we like to tie it up in a bow so that there’s a bit of lightness to it," says Este from the trio on the single, and you can really feel that with Now I'm In It.
Carmouflage Rose - Million Styles
While Australia's rap culture is undergoing a bit of a transformative moment as globally-trotting frontrunners lead a new path, Carmouflage Rose wants you to remember that he was one of the people who kicked this all off. With releases encapsulated on his 2018 debut EP Taste, Carmouflage's murky groove-rap sound has helped profile a wave that many similar artists are beginning to ride, and as he marks his return this year with Sele and now Million Styles, Carmouflage Rose is making his dominance known - again.
While much of his work has been defined by pacing funk grooves and wavy vocals, Million Styles offers a strong moment of versatility for the rapper, moving things back into a more trap-rap-esque sound as his crisp vocal fights again battering bass kicks and snapping percussion. It's fierce and focused, and with blaring airhorns and growling snarls, Carmouflage Rose is marking his arrival. "Million Styles is a war cry for expressing yourself, a journey to inner beauty and peace. Some people have one style, one way, one vibe about them and some of us have millions," he says on the track. "Depending on when you meet someone, the version of them that you experience is ultimately a reflection of how you made them feel."
Wave Racer - This N That feat. Lunch Money Lewis
Speaking of big returns this year, it's hard to deny that Wave Racer's is amongst the year's most exciting. After literally paving out an entire movement of electronica, the past few years have been kept relatively quiet for the sound-defining Australian producer, until a pair of singles earlier this year - AUTO and the Kwame-assisted Summer Rain - bid for his return. With it, welcomed a consistently brilliant boundary-pusher back to centre stage, something he doesn't seem too keen on giving up as he delivers music amongst his best in 2019.
His latest, This N That, is a twisted electro-pop single featuring international break-outs Lunch Money Lewis, triggering the maximalism of his past work but combining it with a forward-thinking edge that separates it from his work thus far, much like the Kwame collab before it. He's pushing the boundaries - personal boundaries, genre-wise boundaries, country-wide boundaries - and isn't keeping ahead of the curve, instead defining it with every last release. Catch him live as he debuts a full band set-up at Falls Festival across the new years.
Sophiegrophy - American Honey
At a time where Australia's rap scene is diversifying as quickly as it grows, Sophiegrophy is continuing to stand out - as she always has done. After launching into the hip-hop space back in 2017, the Nigeria-born, Australia-based rapper has proven herself unstoppable ever since, with 2018's Bag and a string of singles since - the Jia Lih-assisted Caution; this year's Rolls Royce and Moment - constantly seeing her grow and diversify, pushing her sound into new directions with every single release.
Her new single American Honey is no different, sitting out from the crowd as one of Sophiegrophy's strongest singles to date. Once again teaming up with Perth production heavyweight Jia Lih, American Honey is a confident and tall-standing rap song that's thick with the no-holds-barred attitude that Sophiegrophy brings to her work as she strives against a clanging production amongst her career's heaviest. Catch her at Festival X, Spotify's A1 Live showcase later this month, and further dominating the live music circuit into 2020:
REMI - Brain feat. Lori
Since making his move within the Australian hip-hop space around five years back, REMI hasn't left since. Last year, he shared the Thando-featuring highlight My People before sharing a whole collaborative mixtape with RAIZA BIZA, while this year welcomed a strong return with one of his career-best singles to-date, 5 A.M.. Over the years, one thing that's really stood out about REMI's work is how he's able to strive regardless of whether he's toying with gentle rap ballads or strong, dominative trap-rap, something that's consistently being highlighted even into 2019, where he's really shining despite only sharing two songs.
Brain, his second track for the year, cements this. Featuring Melbourne's Lori, the track sees REMI - joined by Sensible J - break into a slow-burning hip-hop ballad, showcasing new energies as friends new and old unite. Sensible J's production stands out once again (although this time joined by Simon Mavin from Hiatus Kaiyote on keys), while REMI - as usual - showcases his craft in creating high-tier hip-hop, something that doesn't seem to be slowing down at all. Catch them on tour this November, more information HERE.