This week's must-listen singles: Triple One, Hi Life, Keelan Mak + more
Plus, new singles from Australian electronic supergroup Ok Moon and STUMPS.
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 Body Type, Angie McMahon, Ruby Fields and more. Check out Pilerats' homepage for more brilliant music and news, or subscribe to our Spotify Office Playlist for easy listening.
Triple One - Butter
When were initially introduced to Sydney rap crew Triple One last year, they were seemingly going from strength to strength off the back of their second EP The Naughty Corner, a six-track collection of the group's unique take on hip-hop that brings this 'classic' Australian rap sound forward into the future, bringing the energetic, group collaboration of an act like BROCKHAMPTON and giving it a strong twist you wouldn't quite expect. In the time since, they've only continued to become a dominant force in our hip-hop scene, playing Falls Festival and Listen Out while they consistently up their game with single after single, introducing new names like Raj Mahal into the mix as they offer versatility and dynamism with every release. Their latest, Butter, sees this continue, combining honest lyricism on mental health with a blend of crisp percussion, thick bass kicks and twinkling keys that provide a simplistic platform for the group to really shine over. It's an important, defining single for a collective that perhaps get unfairly grouped with the rest, cementing their place as a front-runner in a quickly-blossoming hip-hop scene on the verge of international dominance.
Keelan Mak - Warm Blooded
Keelan Mak is an artist on the edge of a break-out. With only two singles under his belt, the Brisbane-based musician has put himself forward as the next frontier for Australian pop music, with his one-two-punch of singles - Weigh You Down and Flicker respectively - introducing us to an artist uniting the confidence of Troye Sivan with an unmatched versatility, floating between slick, synth-driven electro-pop and soothing, R&B-inspired numbers at the drop of the hat. His new single Warm Blooded once again offers something new, following up on the refined slickness of his second track Flicker but in a way more vocal-led, leaving the production quite soft and subtle as his voice soars over the top. "I spent the last year trying to over-compensate with the production, but Warm Blooded was almost like a homage to my young indie rock lover past," he says on the single's refined sound. "I listened to a lot of Frank Sinatra and Matt Corby and was trying to be a little more vocally interesting. The verses are super low in my register and they’re borderline theatrical in performance, on top of a fairly simple groove and production." Warm Blooded is a single that carries the confidence and drama of his past work but in a bit of a different way, and it's something we can't wait to see continue to grow over the next year ahead.
Hi Life - In My Head
Sydney-via-Canberra production duo Hi Life are an over-looked act within our electronic scene that we've come to champion over the years, with their bubbly, saccharine-sweet approach to pop music being one of our favourites ever since their sugary Sidechains debut So Good a solid three years ago. In the time since, the pairing have kept to a quality over quantity approach to releases, with another 2016 cut When I Get To The Club being their only other release until their 2018 comeback Slide, which saw them debut a far more refined and polished take on the pop songwriting as they team up with Harvie for their Future Classic debut. Now, they're kicking off 2019 strong, hinting at an exciting year ahead as they return with In My Head. In My Head is a single that marries the two sides of Hi Life, with a sample-filled, twinkling production often changing into moments a touch more brooding and emotive, before the lead vocal's bright, pop hook re-welcomes a little more lightness. It's a single that really solidifies what Hi Life are about nowadays: mixing together forward-thinking, futuristic production with sharp pop hooks and excellent songwriting that, if their release schedule remains consistent in 2019, may place them forward as an act to be reckoned with.
Ok Moon - Loved You Right
What happens when you get some of Australia's best songwriters and chuck them all in a room together? Ok Moon. Composed of Dustin Tebbutt, LANKS, Hayden Calnin and Xavier Dunn, Ok Moon is a new songwriting super-group that showcase a rare chemistry you often can't find in similar acts, mixing the strengths of each individual member as they, on their debut single Loved You Right, welcome us into their expansive, cinematic world. Loved You Right is three-minutes-forty of subtle indie-electronica beauty, with lush layers of glistening keys, stripped-back guitar and soft synth palettes uniting underneath harmonic vocal melodies which are nothing but a dream. "Loved You Right began with all of us huddled around a piano, murmuring some sort of a sentence which rang 'if I only loved you right,'" they say on the single. "From there we started surrounding those chants with acoustic guitars and some bass, which turned the song musically into something a bit more playful than what we may have intended, but it felt right in that world. Lyrically, Loved You Right starts as an exploration of regret and getting stuck on the what if’s that can be attached to lost relationships or past decisions. As the song progresses, however, it becomes more of an admission and celebration of our flaws as humans."
STUMPS - Your Old Man
"New South Wales four-piece STUMPS are one of the most exciting names on our up-and-coming indie-rock lists," is how we've introduced the band in the past and look, we're still right. Since we've last covered the north Sydney group, their signature blend of blistering indie-rock and brit-pop have only become stronger, building off their debut EP Just Another Stay at Home Son to release Conversation, Conversations last year. They've played alongside Trophy Eyes, Maddy Jane, Dear Seattle, Luca Brasi and West Thebarton and have been added to festival left, right and centre - the regional touring festival The Drop the latest of which, adding STUMPS to their Manly leg as the triple j Unearthed winners - and with a new single now under their belt, STUMPS are only bound to become more prominent. Your Old Man is their first release for 2019 and it's a moment a little more subtle and stripped-back, building off the emotive shadings of their frontman Kyle Fisher and completely fleshing it out, layering heartfelt, but simultaneously tongue-in-cheek vocals with a glittery, guitar-backed instrumental that despite being relatively pulled back and soft, still carries a bit of weight. Watch as STUMPS continue to grow and evolve in 2019.