July has us feeling like...2020 is more than halfway done, and wow it has been a ride so far. Luckily we have some incredible July new music treats to keep us company.
Alice Ivy – Don’t SleepOn her second album (following up her incredible debut, 2018’s I’m Dreaming), Alice Ivy – AKA Geelong-raised producer/multi-instrumental star Annika Schmarsel – is showing the absolute power of teamwork. Across its 13 tracks, Don’t Sleep features 14 guest artists – each one adding something extra to Ivy’s already vivid sonic palette. Her early years were spent being compared to The Avalanches, and that nostalgic, glitchy jungle sound can still be heard across tracks like ‘Sunrise’ and ‘ All Hit Radio’. But it’s clear Ivy has also grown past that, with tracks like the woozy ‘In My Mind’, pop-ballad ‘Ticket To Heaven’, and the soulful ‘All In For You’ lining up Alice Ivy as a producer ready to take on the world.
Chaii – Lightswitch EPWe’ve had our eye on Persian/Kiwi rapper CHAII for a little while, and on her genre-bending debut EP Lightswitch, she has definitely peaked our attention. Combining big, futuristic-pop-laced hooks, commanding production, and smooth rap grooves, alongside throws to traditional Persian music, CHAII showcases a confidence and energy we have been missing.
Cxloe – 12 StepsAfter a huge 2019, pop artist Cxloe is flying into 2020 with her first single for the year ‘12 Steps’. Though the infectious hook and huge production might make you feel differently, the single covers some pretty dark territory. Cxloe’s vocals soar, showcasing her strength as a pop force and an artist that continues to do no wrong. Taken from a forthcoming record, we can’t wait to hear what Cxloe throws down next.
Declan Mckenna – Daniel, You’re Still A ChildEnglish singer-songwriter Declan McKenna is one of the most exciting artists to watch right now. We thought his 2017 debut album What Do You Think About The Car? was incredible, but the tunes he is throwing down now – especially his latest ‘Daniel, You’re Still A Child’– are taking things to a whole new level. Witty lyrics, big singalong hooks, huge riffs, smooth drums – basically, we’ve got a big bop on our hands.
DMA’s – The GlowWhen we think of the perfect sunset festival band, DMA’s are always top of our list. But on their latest album The Glow, the trio are taking their sound to a whole new galaxy. And it just might be their best yet. Still rooted in the Britpop sound they’ve become so closely aligned with, The Glow sees DMA’s dive into psych-punk and dance, hazy nostalgia and dreamy pop – every turn even more exciting than the last.
James Bay – Chew On My HeartWe’ve heard many different sides to James Bay over the years, from the folk-blues troubadour aesthetic of his debut Chaos and the Calm to the grittier, electronic, edgy sounds of its follow-up Electric Light. Now, with the first taste of album number three ‘Chew On My Heart’, we are hearing something new again. Bay is no stranger to sappy love songs but this is the first time we’ve seen this vulnerable side of him, and with its pulsing drum beat and bouncy guitar lines ‘Chew On My Heart’ hits differently to anything we’ve heard before.
L-Fresh the LION – South WestWestern Sydney rapper L-Fresh the LION has delivered his third record, an empowering block of anthems called South West. Toasting his Sydney roots as well as his Sikh tradition, South West sees L-Fresh reaching out to his younger self. After shying away from his mother tongue, Punjab, in his younger years, growing up through hip hop has seen the rapper reconnect with his heritage. Through South West’s big hooks and heartfelt messages, he hopes to inspire other young people to do the same.
Lupa J – Perfect WeekendGood things come in threes, and so far for Lupa J, their 2020 is off to a flier thanks to a trio of fabulous singles. The latest, ‘Perfect Weekend’, is the icing on the cake. The hard-hitting, emotional single will have you wrapped up from the very beginning. Subtle yet powerful production carries Lupa’s stunning vocal, the slow-burning electro-ballad showcasing another side to the Melbourne producer as we head into their forthcoming mini-album.
No Frills Twins – Big HeartBig pop moments aren’t something Sydney-based duo No Frills Twins have ever shied away from, but on their second single for the year – and most personal yet – ‘Big Heart’, the pair are diving deep. Alongside huge harmonies and a gloriously, strut-worthy beat, No Frills Twins open up about growing up and the journey of finding comfort in your sexuality. This is a big, self-acceptance anthem.
Sinclaire – I Needed YouFloating emotional pop leads into ‘I Needed You’, but when the track really opens up we get to see Sinclaire in full flight. Dreamy instrumentation and The 1975-esque synth-pop production are the foundations of this anthemic single, but when combined with the little hints of pop-punk that hark back to Sinclaire’s old days, the band keep us guessing about what could come next.
Slow Pulp – IdahoLet us introduce you to Chicago-based rockers Slow Pulp. On ‘Idaho’ – the lead single from their forthcoming debut album – the band are in full flight, showcasing their dreamy-shoegaze-meets-indie-rock sound with a more emotionally-charged edge. The guitars shimmer while singer-guitarist Emily Massey’s vocals float and soar, leaving us desperately hanging for more.
Sycco – DribbleIs Brisbane-based pop artist Sycco one of our favourite new music finds of 2020? Absolutely. And on her latest single ‘Dribble’ she is proving why she should be yours too. Gritty guitars, shimmering pop, and grooving neo-soul production can all be found here, while Sycco’s smokey warm vocals hold it all together. ‘Dribble’ is sassy, packed with attitude, and has hooks for days. Is it too early to call Sycco our breakout star of 2020?
The Beths – Jump Rope GazersThe Beths are two-for-two on the record front with their latest release Jump Rope Gazers. Where their debut, 2018’s Future Me Hates Me was packed with fuzzy power-pop laced with tongue-in-cheek wit, Jump Rope Gazers sees the band moodier and more direct. Liz Stokes’ vulnerable, self-deprecating lyrics are still here, only now they are surrounded by studio work that’s a little sleeker. This in no way means they’ve lost their spark, and whether The Beths are romantically longing or taking a dig at themselves, their gritty rock meets dreamy pop production blend is a vital step in the band’s career.
Tkay Maidza – Don’t Call AgainTkay Maidza is an absolute master of her craft, and on her ‘70s-inspired single ‘Don’t Call Again’ she continues her reign as one of Australia’s best hip hop artists. Teaming up with American rapper and producer Kari Faux, the track showcases the strength of Maidza’s lush pop-leaning vocal – ensuring she won’t ever be pigeonholed – as the slinky, vintage groove-laden track rolls along.
Troye Sivan – EasyWe’re on the dancefloor but we’re also crying, that’s how Troye Sivan’s latest single ‘Easy’ has us feeling. The slow-burning ‘80s-pop number is another taste of Sivan’s forthcoming concept EP, In a Dream – the first collection of music since 2018’s incredible Bloom. Discover more:
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