This Month In Music – December 2016

As Summer heats up and Christmas rolls in, we’re taking a look at some of the biggest music releases over the past month. Hip-Hop royalty A Tribe Called Quest have stolen the show this month, with their album being one of the most talked about releases of 2016. Check out what else we’ve been digging this month below.

 

Flume – Heater

Days after cleaning up at Australia’s ARIA award ceremony, Flume has followed up his highly-acclaimed ‘Skin’ record with an accompanying EP titled ‘Skin Companion EP I’. Now if you’ve been paying close attention to Sydney’s ‘Keep Sydney Open’ campaign, you may have noticed ‘Heater’ featuring in the video homage to Sydney’s nightlife a little while ago.

With a special mention to lead single ‘Trust’ and the vocal talents of Isabella Manfredi, we can definitely see why Flume made sure that these ‘Skin’ offcuts would eventually see the light of day.

 

Alicia Keys – In Common

Forget everything you know about Alicia Keys, even though she is one of the best female singer/songwriters of our time, take her new album ‘HERE’ with an open mind and open ears. Alicia has us right at her very first single ‘In Common’ a feisty tropical/dancehall infused track that departs on her renowned R&B sound of the past. ‘In Common’ will get you remembering why she is one of the most respected artists in the industry.

 

The xx – On Hold

London 3-piece The xx are back with ‘On Hold’, an emotion-filled song that can be best described as a phase of coming into romantic maturity. From the get-go this is one of those ‘stop everything and listen’ types of tracks, one that you can sit and feel all of the feelings that were poured into the single. While bandmates and extraordinary vocalists Oliver Slim and Romy Madley-Croft trade verses as per The xx’s winning formula goes, the single takes a striking influence from Jamie xx’s highly regarded solo record of last year. The single depicts a small but unsurprising change in the bands evolution as they make their way from ‘forward thinking indie band’ to ‘international alt-pop pioneers’.

Recognise the sample in the hook? – yep that’ll be 80’s icons Hall & Oates.

 

Bonobo – Kerala

Eclectic UK producer Bonobo has built quite the reputation over the past 16 years, and while his fans eagerly anticipate a new album, Bonobo has pleased fans with their first taste through the new single ‘Kerala’. Taking a sample from a Brandy R&B classic, Bonobo does his thing, reworking the sample into a journeying club beat.

 

Nick Murphy (Formerly Chet Faker) – Can’t Stop

After a recent name change and claiming “a lot of things changed in my life, including me” Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker) has returned with his second single under the new moniker with ‘Can’t Stop’. While taking a slightly more experimental route so far, the only thing that hasn’t changed is his ability to belt out an intellectually heartfelt jam.

 

Childish Gambino – Redbone

Just when you couldn’t love Childish Gambino any more, he returns with two sound-defying singles, swapping out his rap textures for an impressive falsetto on this funky number.

At first listen it is understandable why some might struggle to get past his style change, as he delivers something that you’d expect on a Tame Impala record, however overall Childish Gambino has delivered a phenomenally blissful single, which will be leaving you blocking out an entire Sunday afternoon to listen to the rest of the forthcoming record.

 

PNAU – Chameleon

The band responsible for some of Australia’s biggest party records during the mid-2000’s have returned after a 4-year hiatus with ‘Chameleon’. Featuring one half of Empire Of The Sun member Nick Littlemore, PNAU is a 3-piece group (previously duo) who have been putting out records, winning the support of Elton john, and being all round pioneers/influencers for Australia’s electronic music scene – for the better part of the past 15 years. ‘Chameleon’ sees the group do what they do best, bringing it home with a fun club record inspired by ‘Peruvian ayahuascan art’. Get ready for this will be sticking around all Summer long.

 

THEY. – What You Want

When your track is labelled as ‘The Hottest Record In The World’ by UK tastemaker Annie Mac and you’re signed to Mind Of A Genius (the home of Zhu, Gallant and Klangstof), you know you’re heading down the path of imminent stardom. ‘What You Want’ is the latest release from the LA Singer-Songwriter duo who play homage to Kurt Cobain, reworking the guitar line from Nirvana’s ‘Polly’ into a raw and uplifting original.

 

Album of The Month:

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service

It has been a rumour for 18 years, but legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest have returned with their 6th (and final) album. Coming months after the devastating passing of founding member Phife Dawg, who’s contributions made the final cut on the record, there had never been a better time for the group to have their say and close their chapter on their own terms. The album features one all-star feature artist lineup with notable verses from Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes and Anderson Paak as well as surprising features from Jack White and Elton John. Sometimes awaiting an album from a major artist after a long hiatus can lead to major disappointment, not this one though. If you’re a day 1 ATCQ fan, you’ll have no trouble getting right back into this…and if you’re new to the party, well there is no better place to get started (just make sure you hit their back catalogue after). If there is one good thing to take out of 2016, make it this.

 

Mix – Bonobo & Chet Faker – Live from NTS Los Angeles

We’re leaving you with a mix from two of our featured artists this week. Bonobo has gone back to back this week with Nick Murphy, following the opening of the LA branch of NTS Radio. The mix spans a couple of genres and styles, preferably enjoyed on a Sunday session. Listen to the mix here.