This Week's Must-Listen Singles: Maggie Rogers, Tkay Maidza, KUČKA + more
Plus, an all-new single from Baker Boy and JessB, and Tyde Levi's long-awaited return.
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 Tkay Maidza, Tyde Levi, Maggie Rogers and more. Check out Pilerats' homepage for more brilliant music and news, or subscribe to our Spotify Office Playlist for easy listening.
Maggie Rogers - Love You For A Long Time
One of this year's unexpected pop highlights came from Maggie Rogers, who after years of being unfairly tagged as a discovery of Pharrell Williams - who did play a large part of her early success three years ago now - broke out with a record of her own: Heard It In A Past Life. It was 12 tracks of shimmering indie-pop spanning the confidence of Burning to the subtle intimacy of the album's more tender moments, further introducing Rogers as a musician on the cusp of pop music's next big push; reinforced with an Australian tour a few months later accompanied by Stella Donnelly.
Last week saw the release of Love You For A Long Time, Maggie Rogers' first piece of new work since Heard It In A Past Life which, as expected from a musician who spent their debut album consistently showcasing their many strengths, sees her switch it up once again. Love You For A Long Time takes the rich romanticism of some of the record's opening moments and gives it a country-pop-esque twist, exploring the middle ground between musicians like herself and Kacey Musgraves - an unstoppable combo bound to further define pop music's versatility in the years ahead.
Tkay Maidza - IDC IF U BE DED
To say that Tkay Maidza is at the top of her game at the moment would be a mammoth understatement. While the Adelaide-raised rapper has twisted and turned across a variety of sounds in the past few years, her latest - as hard-hitting and fierce as it's ever been - feels like a new arrival of the Australian favourite, her JPEGMafia-assisted single Awake being a burst of newfound confidence for the rapper quickly refinding her feet after a fair time spent away from the Australian spotlight.
Skip forward to her latest single IDC IF U BE DED, and it's clear that Tkay Maidza has found a home in this aggressive, focused rap sound. Using a backing of thickly built bass kicks and snapping percussion as a platform, Tkay Maidza feels re-energised in IDC IF U BE DED - the witty playfulness of her past work is still evident, just reborn into a sound that feels more forward-thinking. At one point, Tkay shouts: "They want me done, I’m just getting started!" You get the sense that with her new single - back to back with Awake - we haven't even seen the start of what Tkay has in store for us.
KUČKA - Real
One of the recent months' big comebacks comes from Perth ex-pat KUČKA who, now finding fame in international waters, joined a host of remarkable electronic label tastemakers - Soothsayer and Lucky Me - to host a warm return with Drowning. After years of quietness in the spotlight (only emerging for a handful of collaborations with Flume, Vince Staples and SOPHIE), Drowning was an experimental pop twist on KUČKA's once-recognisable sound; a taste of an album yet to come that features Flume, Nosaj Thing and a host of others.
Real, her latest single, showcases another side of KUČKA to be expressed across the greater album package. Contrasted to the glitching matrix of Drowning, Real is notably more subtle and relaxed; Nosaj Thing crafting a twinkling, but at times warping production for KUČKA's swooning vocal to dance over the top of. "Real is about how important the imagination is in connecting to yourself and your needs," she says on the single. "We are living in a world where we are constantly stimulated externally - but this can feel shallow after a while." Catch her return to the Australian live stage at Laneway Festival next year.
Baker Boy - Meditjin feat. JessB
Baker Boy is an artist that shortly, will need no introduction. The indigenous Northern Territory has been a fierce face of indigenous rap since his KIAN-featuring debut single Cloud 9 back in 2017 and in the time since has only grown and evolved ten-fold - playing Laneway Festival amongst a constant leak of singles that have since his signature sound morph into something incredibly exciting and dynamic. At times, it feels like you have no idea what to expect when diving into a Baker Boy single.
His latest single Meditjin keeps this up. On one side, it's characteristic of Baker Boy's charm: He sings in both English and his native Yolngu Matha, proclaiming that "Music is the Meditjin" - music is the medicine, it translates to - above a clapping production thick with didgeridoo and snapping bass. On the other side, rising New Zealand rapper JessB offers something we haven't seen yet, bringing a Missy Elliott-comparable vibe as she snaps above a stripped-back take on Meditjin's thickly-layered instrumental. It's heavy and hard-hitting, and does the job well of solidifying Baker Boy's place in 2020 hip-hop.
Tyde Levi - Flying So High
One of our favourite new discoveries of the past year belongs to Tyde Levi. Once known as a YouTuber most familiar for being the younger brother of Troye Sivan, the Perth-raised Melbourne-based musician stepped out on his own foot with last year's debut self-titled EP - a collection of three tracks (alongside acoustic versions of each of the songs) that showcased his ability to switch between indie, pop and R&B at the drop of a hat; introducing us to a reckoning force of Australia's future working closely with Silverchair's Daniel Johns and Cosmo's Midnight to do so.
Now, a year later, Tyde Levi's growth has been phenomenal. He's played arena-sized shows across the country and has shows in China lined up for the year ahead (!), while his new single - his first since the self-titled debut EP last year - sees him solidify his sound in thick, hazy R&B. Flying So Far is a heaving match to PARTYNEXTDOOR and Frank Ocean; shimmering vocals positioned alongside a sample-laden production rich with warping synth and fierce bass kicks. It's gritty and dark yet slick and refined, showcasing why Tyde Levi should be a name people are familiar with entering 2020.