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Pop CultureJune 6, 2017

Best Songs Ever: SoccerPractice’s indie-electro-waiata, Selena’s basic perfection, and more!


Our regular round-up of new songs and singles, this week featuring SoccerPractice, Selena Gomez, Dion (D4) Lunadon, Liam Gallagher, Otoboke Beaver and Arcade Fire.


SoccerPractise – ‘Amene’

Waiata + electronic music + indie rock

From the outset, SoccerPractise vocalist Geneva Alexander-Marsters has made a point of incorporating Te Reo Māori into the group’s music, as a way to encourage others to do the same or to even pick up the language themselves. For their latest stand-alone single, the Auckland outfit – as they put it – take elements of waiata, electronic music and indie rock, and “put them through the SoccerPractise grinder to produce something hypnotic and new”.  In other words, the approach is a way for them to take note from the past as they look to the future. ‘Amene’ references and reworks ‘Piriponotia’ by the late Māori composer Morvin Simon, and beneath the vocals lies a low-key loop that helps to drive the song forward. The results are sublime and it easily makes for the highlight of their modest catalogue so far. More please. – Hussein Moses.


Selena Gomez – ‘Bad Liar’

Everything it wants to be and nothing more

I’m a few weeks late but this has replaced ‘Cut to the Feeling’ as my feel-good-pop-song-on-repeat. Gomez takes the ‘Psycho Killer’ bassline and gives it a minimalist beat approach that replaces the ubiquitous post-Lorde coldness with a friendly warmth. The whole thing is kind of unremarkable but completely successful in what it’s trying to achieve. – Henry Oliver

Dion Lunadon – ‘Move’

Ex-D4 proto-punk

Now based in New York City, ex-D4 singer/guitarist Dion Lunadon has spent the past seven years as the bassist for noise-rock outfit A Place To Bury Strangers. He’s also now juggling a solo career, one that channels the ferocity of bygone New Zealand acts like Supercar, Gestalt and Toy Love, as well as proto-punk go-tos like The Stooges and MC5. ‘Move’ is the latest release from his debut album, which is finally out this week after a drip-feed of songs from the past 18 or so months, and – like his best work – it’s grimy, aggressive, reckless, and above all else, fun. He said recently that, although he looks back on his time in The D4 with fondness, he wishes that the songs they released were even rawer. On ‘Move’, it sounds as if he’s making up for it. – HM

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Lil Uzi Vert – ‘XO TOUR Llif3’

What your younger cousins are listening to

‘XO Tour Llif3’ has a slow start but when the tempo picks up and that bass dropped it felt like a definite banger.  Lil Uzi Vert brought the new sound of hip-hop on this track with its futuristic vibe and his eccentric personality oozing through his lyrics. What started off on SoundCloud has now risen in the US charts to become one a surefire song of the summer. Released in February, it’s finally gaining the mainstream recognition that it deserves. Similar to the sounds of Future, Migos and Lil Yachty, this track has the potential to be a new club anthem with everyone shouting “push me to the edge, all my friends are dead” whilst downing a round of tequila shots. #vibes – Zaskiya Lesa

Otoboke Beaver – ‘Love Is Short!!’

Japanese fun-punk

The funnest punk song I’ve heard this year. That’s all. And isn’t that enought? – HO

Liam Gallagher – ‘Wall of Glass’  

Liam’s back, baby!

In the caricature of Oasis that exists in the minds of many, Noel is the true musician and Liam is a lagered up lout, bereft of the subtlety and skill of his brother – a stereotype that does a disservice both to the younger Gallagher, and to the essence of what made that band great. While Noel has experienced success with both of his High Flying Birds albums, Liam laboured with the remnants of latter-day Oasis, under the moniker Beady Eye (an awful name quite possibly chosen purely for it’s proximity to Liam’s beloved Beatles in iTunes), producing a couple of solid, but roundly ignored records of workmanlike rock. Going solo officially, Liam’s first single is surprisingly strong. Hooking up with pop producer and songwriter Greg Kurstin (Adele, Ellie Goulding, Tegan and Sara) ‘Wall of Glass’ is a great summation of what can make Liam great. Blasting out of the gate in a wall of guitars, drums and harmonica, Liam snarls vague lyrics rhyming One Direction with resurrection, and perhaps most surprisingly it manages to sound thoroughly modern without seeming desperate, or like an Oasis pastiche. In other words; it’s exactly the kind of effort critics would assume Liam was too conservative and lacking in self-awareness to make. – Pete Douglas

Arcade Fire – ‘Everything Now’

Arcade Fire play for classic hits radio

Ever wondered what it would sound like if Arcade Fire took their Suburbs sound and combined it with ABBA? Wonder no more. This will sound great in the supermarket. – HO

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