LNWY Recommends: May’s Best New Music

Laneway Festival’s Ruby Miles picks out the best music of the month – from  a unique fusion of human voices and AI to an epic field trip into Denzel Curry’s subconscious mind.

‘Frontier’

Holly Herndon

If you’re looking to experience music like you’ve never heard it before, Holly Herndon’s third LP PROTO features choral arrangements fed into a computer and replicated by AI. Yep, she actually taught a robot to sing. ‘Frontier’ creates a harmony of human and AI voices, all chopped up with a slicing beat. The result is an extraordinarily unique and spiritual musical experience, kind of like a Frankenstein monster of dance music.

‘Prey’

Tasman Keith & Stevie Jean

In a collaboration we didn’t know we needed, Sydney rapper Tasman Keith teams up with Darwin indie/soul singer Stevie Jean. Unlike most collabs – where one artist’s sound dominates and the other’s acts as a feature – Tasman and Stevie’s aesthetics mesh to create a new sound entirely. Tasman moves away from his heavier, classic hip- hop style to make something more dance-friendly, while Stevie takes on a sultry/sassy persona.

‘Black Balloons Reprise’ (ft. Denzel Curry)

Flying Lotus

Beginning with dreamlike instrumentals and a distant voice telling you to relax and take a nice deep breath, FlyLo slips you into a meditative state on ‘Black Balloons Reprise’. Then, just like an intrusive thought, Denzel Curry cuts through the zen with an existential stream-of-consciousness flow, continuing with the black balloon motif (used in last year’s TA13OO album) to symbolise pain. With a beat that would make Madlib proud and grandiose choral arrangements nodding to Kamasi Washington’s latest LP, ‘Black Balloons Reprise’ is an epic field trip into Denzel’s subconscious mind.

‘Rolling Into One’

Jordan Rakei

New Zealand/Australian artist Jordan Rakei is bringing the much needed groove back to the world with the smooth vocals, funk-oozing basslines, and strutting drum beats of ‘Rolling Into One’. But scratch under the funked-up surface and you’ll find darker lyrical themes about straining to maintain sanity through the rise of technology and AI. Although these concerns may be no dancing matter, you can’t help but get down.

‘Weight Of The Planets’

Aldous Harding

Aldous Harding has solidified herself as one of the most unique and exciting artists to come out of New Zealand in recent memory. And she shows off her playful side on this standout track from her stunning third LP Designer. Peel back the flowery layers of strings, groovy basslines and slow-danceable tempo, and you’ll find a suffocating tale of trying to pull away from someone after finding yourselves stuck in their orbit.

‘Gimme’

BANKS

If Timbaland resurrected his iconic mid-’00s production style and thrust it into 2019 you’d have the latest single from alt-pop goddess BANKS. ‘Gimme’ is classic BANKS. It’s sexy, edgy and mysterious, but this time with a pounding hip-hop flow in the chorus not unlike Ariana Grande, Princess Nokia, and even Post Malone experimenting with auto-tune, ad-libs and trappy 808s. When the chorus hits you, the Timbaland influence is undeniable. Those powerful synths take you back to ‘The Way I Are’ days.

‘Trouble’

Ruby Fields

This track sounds like the inside of my head after three iced lattes; an anxiety-fuelled stream of consciousness bouncing around thoughts that are good, bad and apathetic. Over the top of grungy guitars and an increasingly fast drum beat, ‘Trouble’ starts out as an anthem for misunderstood youth. Ruby is caught up in the pressures of adulthood, trying to contribute to the world but also finding it’s too much effort. She also asks herself why she’s unlucky with dating, acknowledging she will never be a supermodel and would rather just be one of the boys. Sift through the rambling thoughts to find Ruby laying out an ode to the simple things in life that make her happy: beer, best mates, and trackie dacks.

‘Ipanema’ (ft. Omar Apollo & Elujay)

Still Woozy

Californian artist Still Woozy has teamed up with Omar Apollo and Elujay to make a chill, dreamy blend of indie, R&B and electronic music. Aptly titled ‘Ipanema’ the song is rich in Latin-American influence from the samba beat nodding to ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ to Omar’s sexy Spanish verse. Each making waves in their own right, the trio prove they are a collective force to be reckoned with. This swooning love song is perfect for soundtracking sunny Sunday mornings or slow-dancing with your boo.

‘Miss Shiney’

Kaiit

After the success of ‘OG Luv Kush, Pt. 2’, Kaiit confesses she’s feeling the pressure of being a successful musician. This song exists mostly for herself; a reminder that despite her stress and imposter syndrome, she is doing what she loves. Hit replay if you need a song to motivate you through your work week and remind you that you’re killing it.

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