Monday, July 28, 2014
Windy City veteran Common came out with his tenth album Nobody's Smiling pretty recently and proved once again that he's one of the best in the game. While not his most impressive piece of work, the album is great and will be in my rotation for a long time to come. "Speak My Piece", even though it's probably the least lyrically conscience song on the album, it's still my favorite. The B.I.G. sample is incredible when mixed with the percussion, and Common puts up a flow that errs from the usual. Check out Nobody's Smiling, on iTunes now.
English rockers alt-J drop their new single "Left Hand Free." alt-J experienced huge success back in 2012 with their debut album An Awesome Wave. Their sound combined some electronic production, awesome instrumentals, and completely incoherent vocals. When asked about their new single, alt-J said that "Left Hand Free" would be "too normal", as their label was concerned that their last release "Hunger of The Pines" was not a big enough single. While not as abstract as some of their other music, it's still far from normal, infused with their ridiculous lyrics and the "unique" organ solo. Look for alt-J's new album This Is All Yours September 22.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Tennessee rapper Case Arnold releases his new single "Hope$ and Dream$." Chiefus (Case Arnold's producer name) provides a minimal beat, giving himself an eerie backdrop to layout some bars. The song showcases Arnold's incredibly focused flow and impressive lyrics. "Hope$ and Dream$" will be featured on Case Arnold's upcoming project So(u)l Theory, due later this year.
Air Traffic Controller was definitely my favorite discovery of the past year. Their sophomore album, Nordo, continues to be one of my favorites. The Boston band always uses intriguing lyrics, whether funny or heartfelt, and combines them with emotional instrumentals. "The House" is their first new song since 2012 and sounds more like a pop anthem then their usual alternative sound, but still reflects Dave Munro's skills as a songwriter by avoiding the senseless lyrics of most other bands today. "The House" will be available on iTunes July 29th and be sure to check out their superb album from 2012, Nordo.
Friday, July 25, 2014
It's been a great year for August Alsina. The impressive R&B artist has been getting some good feature work, was one of XXL's Freshmen, and released his major label debut album Testimony. The album has features from Pusha T, Jeezy, B.O.B., Trinidad James, and more. "Benediction" is a great example of the throwback 90's sound that Alsina is bringing back. He also taps Rick Ross for a solid, radio-clean verse.
Although both are incredibly talented, neither Sango nor Waldo would be where they are today without each other. Until Then marks the duo's third project together, following up last years spectacular NSDE/OUTSDE EP and 2012's Pick Your Own Poison. "Purple Heart" and "Kobe's Room" are still played regularly in my rotation. While significantly shorter than their last album, Until Then is still equally impressive. Though it lacks that one standout track it's clear that the two have created a much more focused and consistent sound, excellently working together to bring out each other's best skills as musicians.
Ark Patrol decides to remix one of Young The Giant's older songs, "Islands", from their debut album. The Hawaiian producer strips the already eerie track of all instrumentals and adds his own backdrop. Using a beautiful combination of synth chords, AP carefully builds around the vocals of Sameer Gadhia. For more of Ark Patrols incredible work check out his Ambition EP.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I may be posting about RiFF RAFF but I still believe he's not a real artist. People say he has freestyle skills but without any meaning to his lyrics he seems pretty talentless. Even if you hate the guy, though, you have to admit he gets to put his voice over some of the best trap/rap beats in the game. "LAVA GLACiERS", off of RiFF's new project Neon Icon, is no exception, as Harry Fraud lends some great production. Luckily the beat wasn't completely wasted by RiFF RAFF, as Gambino gave a solid guest verse.
As is with most good rock bands nowadays, Catfish and the Bottlemen are a new group out of the UK. The beginning of "Kathleen" sounds like the usual catchy alternative verse, but the band quickly changes pace when they enter the chorus. The lead singer's voice gets deeper and the instrumentals follow with heavy percussion. It's this part of their sound that gets me excited for what they'll release in the future. For more Catfish and The Bottlemen, download their debut EP Kathleen and the Other Three on iTunes now.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The multicolored trio comes out with their first single since their 2013 debut RDGLDGRN EP. "Robots" demonstrates their signature style of combining upbeat instrumentals and both rapping and singing.
I'm pretty late to this one but I need to post about Capital STEEZ. STEEZ was one of the founding members of Pro Era, along with Joey Bada$$. He released a single project before tragically committing suicide. Fortunately, he left behind a legacy. He was one of the creators of the Beast Coast Movement and released an incredible album, featuring Joey Bada$$, MF DOOM, and Madlib. R.I.P. STEEZ.
Undoubtedly the best new band of the summer is Vacationer, who after releasing a couple of singles have dropped their sophomore album Relief. "In The Grass" is a song you can play over and over again before summer comes to an end.
One of my favorite projects as of late has been Russ's 3rd mixtape of the year, Silence. The man produces, writes, and puts his own vocals on all of his tracks with minimal features and is constantly releasing music. In fact, he's already released another single since this mixtape dropped featuring the long silent Chiddy. With Silence Russ is finally getting the attention he deserves, getting some radio time and a shout out from DJ Booth as one of their new top prospects for the year. Don't sleep on this guy.
Chance has been shy about releasing music for a while. Consumed by his touring, I'm unsure how much time he's had to work on his new album. However, the touring just ended and he's on a break until Lollapalooza so hopefully we'll here some of his new solo work soon. In the meantime, listen to "The End" off Sholohmoh & Jeremih's excellent new six-track EP No More, which features a short but good verse from Chano.
To me, trap is anything with a cool beat and a heavy drop. I've compiled a playlist of all the trap I've liked in the past month and a half. Including a remix of War's "Low Rider" and the theme for the addicting Two Dots iPhone game. I've also put in my favorite producer 20syl's stack patterns, which includes the beat from his and Oddisee's outstanding collaboration, "Ongoing Thing." There's also a rework of Diplo's "Revolution" which will be featured on his upcoming album Random White Dude Be Everywhere. A couple of songs by Tincup are on here as well, which seems appropriate considering the success of his Anxiety EP.
It's been more than a month since my last post but I assure you I haven't stopped finding new music. For the next few days I'll be trying to catch up on posts and then I'll return to the regular daily posts. First up is Angel. I can't find too much information on this guy but it's clear from his new EP, The Lost Tapes, that he's talented. Each song has an impressive backdrop and a pretty dynamic and interesting flow from the newcomer. "Keys", howerver, is far and away my favorite track of the project. Angel finds a perfect balance between Hip-Hop and R&B and makes the beat seem like it was tailor-made just for him.