This Week's Must-Listen Singles: Tkay Maidza, Keelan Mak, Lastlings + more
Plus, new singles from Kilter and Stevan in our weekly new music round-up.
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, Lastlings, Kilter and more. Check out Pilerats' homepage for more brilliant music and news, or subscribe to our Spotify Office Playlist for easy listening.
Tkay Maidza - Awake feat. JPEGMafia
While Tkay Maidza's brilliance isn't something unknown to Australian markets, she's been teetering on the edge of international domination for a while now, thrusted onto both traditional hip-hop fans and those a little more left-field thanks to collaborations with people like Killer Mike and PC Music's Danny L Harle. Awake represents not just Tkay's 2019 return, but also a reminder of her international reckoning, teaming up with rapper-of-the-moment JPEGMafia for a track that feels comparative to Tkay's explosive edge. It's a thick-built, bass-heavy trap-rap tune that sees Tkay tap into heavier instrumentals and focused raps, with sharp lyricism and playful adlibs meeting a guest verse from JPEG which elevates it to the next level - his punchy vocals darting amongst the track's eerie synth and smashing beats. From Adelaide to Australia and now with the world at her reckoning, Tkay Maidza's time is now.
Keelan Mak - Sleep Talker
Keelan Mak isn't someone necessarily new to the Australian pop world - his catchy choruses and versatility in the pop space is something we've been going on about since his 2018 debut single Weigh You Down - but with a debut EP now on the way for late-September, we feel like now is the time the Brisbane musician is going to blossom into something special. His upcoming EP, September 27's Test The Shallows, is one of our most personally anticipated and Sleep Talker welcomes an exciting first tease, with lush synth and chiming melodies swirling underneath another expert hook from Keelan that sits somewhere between Weigh You Down's tall-standing confidence and Warm Blooded's soft haze, proving that no matter what side of pop music he attempts, he smashes it out the park. Co-written with Australian songwriting heavyweight Maribelle and produced alongside Mookhi, Sleep Talker is a display of Australian collaborative brilliance, and it sets Keelan up for a strong remainder of the year ahead. Catch him supporting Thomston on the east coast this September.
Lastlings - Last Breath
Lastlings are something special, and in the next twelve months, you'll probably find that they'll prove that ten times over. Once a subtle indie-electronica sibling duo occupying a similar space to collaborator Golden Vessel, the duo are now at the forefront of electrifying synth-pop, with last year's Deja Vu - their dizzying debut to RÜFÜS DU SOL's rising Rose Avenue Records - reintroducing the pairing as an act combining soaring instrumentals with one of the year's most earworming hooks, something they did once again with I've Got You earlier this year and now again, as they welcome something darker with Last Breath. Last Breath is simultaneously beautiful and brooding, with Amy Dowdle's angelic, airy vocal meeting a striking production that places a heavier emphasis on thick bass and dark melodies, showcasing a versatility we'd expect from their forthcoming debut album.
Kilter - No Time feat. Muki
Since his sound-encompassing debut album Through The Distortion, Australian electronic heavyweight Kilter has showcased his many sides as both a producer and songwriter, taking things to the next level as she combines captivating hooks from some of Australia's best - Yorke, on Overdrive - with club-centric productions like on his recent two-track Tmper/One In Hand; the former being a warping instrumental amongst one of electronic's strongest beats for the year thus far. On his new single, the Muki-assisted No Time, these two worlds seemingly meet; Muki's catchy vocal and lyrical confidence swirling amongst a dancehall-inspired trip from Kilter that sees clanging drums meet deepening synth pulses and thick bass. It's bright and tropical-tinged, yet simultaneously a display of Kilter's movement into sweatier and darker sounds, reminiscent of international mega-producers like Mura Masa but tinged with that distinct Australian sound.
Stevan - LNT
One of this year's most promising newcomers arrives in the form of Stevan, who at the start of this year, introduced us to a fully-realised vision with his debut official single Timee - a rare feat in a debut single, as we explained. "It's incredibly special when you can listen to an artist's debut single and hear a completely fleshed out and understood direction and musical personality, and that's something you can pick up on straight away when diving into Stevan's first offering," we said on the track with its arrival and with his second song, LNT, this vision is further fleshed out into new sounds and flavours. LNT is a part-Beach Boys, part-Winston Surfshirt cooler which combines tropical sways with quick-darting vocals which feel like up-tempo R&B/pop, keeping that aforementioned direction and focus but redistributing it into new sounds that add to his versatility and strengths. There's a lot to love in Stevan and LNT only proves it.