As we thaw on over into the month of March, what better way to warm up than to bundle yourself in the latest tunes from across the music spectrum? This past week, we've trudged through the depths of SoundCloud to locate the latest in hip-hop, electronic music, and indie rock. Whether you’re in the mood for some trap-infused R&B or feeling like you want to sway around to a humanitarian indie folk ballad, we’ve got an eclectic mix to help start your Monday off right.
On this week’s SoundCloud playlist, Toronto rapper-producer hybrid NAV unveils a collab with fellow R&B star The Weeknd, Venezuelan producer Arca drops an ominous, electronic opera cut, the Internet’s guitarist Steve Lacy debuts his solo project, and much more.
NAV (ft. The Weeknd) - Some Way
Generating buzz last year with his feature on Travis Scott’s drug-laden banger “biebs in the trap,” up-and-coming rapper NAV has been busy plotting his self-titled debut mixtape. Released this past week, the Toronto native’s latest project comes equipped with “Some Way”," a dark trap cut featuring fellow hometown hero and R&B star The Weeknd.
Self-produced by NAV, the three-minute offering is equipped with rattling 808-style drums and deeply reverberated organ. Both artists throw shade at Canadian popstar Justin Bieber, who recently said “that shit’s whack” when asked about listening to The Weeknd. “I think your girl, think your girl, fell in love with me/She say my fuck, and my tongue game a remedy,” the Toronto crooner teases, presumably about Bieber’s ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez who The Weeknd is rumored to be dating. After the Starboy flexes his vocal muscle over the icy beat, NAV comes through with a boastful verse about making it “to the hills straight from the trap."
Miguel & DJ Premier - 2 LOVIN U
A few years back, R&B singer Miguel and legendary producer DJ Premier collaborated on “Damned,” a distorted psych-rock bonus track found on the critically acclaimed 2015 album Wildheart. This past week, the legendary DJ unexpectedly dropped the original version of their joint effort, a soulful three-minute jam called “2 LOVIN U.”
The unearthed mix features a much more disco-driven sound, allowing the multi-faceted Los Angeles singer to express the throes of love in a relentlessly soulful way. Miguel sings of a love so strong and damning that he’d burn every bridge again and again to keep it alive. “We set fire to these skies for our love/And I’d do it all again,” he discerns with pride. Premo’s production offers funk-infused guitars, a classic boom-bap beat, and sporadic turntable scratches, conjuring up clean instrumental blues that give it a completely new identity from the Wildheart version.
Michael Mayer & Joe Goddard - For You (DJ Koze Mix)
Considered to be one of the standout tracks on German producer Michael Mayer’s 2016 album &, the woeful disco-pop ditty “For You” featured a melancholic aura fronted by the morose voice of Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard. But when German DJ and producer DJ Koze got his hands on the mix, he pushed the bleak clouds away and allowed a little light to shine through.
Koze's remix of “For You” replaces Mayer’s disco-infused production with a more tropical vibe. Goddard’s voice drones over rhythmic shakers and the melodic clank of what sounds like a mbira, an African instrument also known as the thumb piano. “On a special day/A walk in the park would make it/I forgot to take the time,” the Hot Chip frontman hums with regret. Although DJ Koze adds a bit of brightness to the doleful cut, speckles of doldrums still trickle through onto this effervescent interpolation.
Known for his work with FKA Twigs, Bjork, and Kanye, the Venezuelan electronic producer Arca is prepared to make more waves this year with his forthcoming self-titled album, starting with single "Anoche." The ghoulishly minimalistic track sounds like a trip to a haunted opera as gloomy piano keys and a pitch-shifted voice float ominously over shuffling percussion that teeters in and out of the listener’s range. There’s no doubt that this menacing and alluring track is ripe for bass-heavy speakers and a nice doobie.
The release of “Anoche” was paired with a surreal visual directed by frequent Arca collaborator Jesse Kanda. The music video features Arca performing a sensual dance on a pitch-black battlefield filled with dead bodies.
Talaboman - Safe Changes
Talaboman, a new collaborative duo comprised of dance music favorites John Talabot and Axel Boman, just unveiled their sonically mesmerizing debut “Safe Changes." Clocking in at over six minutes, the pair’s first offering from their forthcoming full-length project The Night Land will transport your mind into the midst of a digital Tron-like world.
The hypnotic cut is built upon pulsating synths and bright neon blips, both of which undertake slight variations as the song progresses. Overall, the two producers interject an unexpected uplifting spirit in the track, bringing an optimistic vibe to their typically introspective productions. Their upcoming joint album is due out March 3 via iconic electronic label R&S.
The Mountain Goats - Andrew Eldritch Is Moving Back to Leeds
After dropping an impressive 15 studio albums over a 23-year span, indie folk aficionado John Darnielle is still spilling compelling stories over the jangling sounds of The Mountain Goats. During the Facebook Live announcement for their forthcoming 16th project, entitled Goths, Darnielle debuted an acoustic rendition of the new ballad “Andrew Eldritch Is Moving Back to Leeds.”
The folky offering tells a vivid story entailing Andrew Eldritch, the frontman for the English gothic rock group The Sisters of Mercy. Darnielle seems to envision the goth idol in a depressing predicament, swooping in with lines like “They don't throw him a parade/He just comes in on a train” and “There's indifference on the wind." The new offerings is carried by a willowy piano progression and an uptempo drum beat, while Darnielle whimsical lyrics place you into back into the ‘80s UK goth era.
Both this single and the upcoming album Goths, due out May 19 via Merge Records, will be void of any guitar, a first for Darnielle and his band.
6LACK & Jhene Aiko - First Fuck
Looking to seduce a first date or set the mood for your significant other? Then get your not-so-subliminal messaging on with “First Fuck," a sex-driven duet from R&B artists 6LACK and Jhené Aiko. The two crooners have created an audial aphrodisiac together, sending a sexually-charged message that is straight and to the point.
The Atlanta singer and renowned songstress weave in and out over the atmospheric, bedroom-ready beat, both purring “I'ma make it mine, mine for the night/Got me pulling on your hair” and variations of the titillating hook (“I bet you love me more after that first fuck”). Coming off the release of his debut Free 6lack back in November, 6LACK’s ability to seamlessly entwine his soothing voice with a sultry singer like Aiko proves that he’s priming himself to take the spotlight.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy - Treasure Map
This past week, American folk icon Will Oldham (better known under his Bonnie “Prince” Billy moniker) was featured on a four-song release to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center. His unperturbed offering, entitled “Treasure Map," depicts the folk punk artist in his typical raw light, comprised of his wistful acoustic strumming and warbling voice. “And if we’re brave it’s that we’ll have the chance to say/I own this moment and keep loneliness at bay/ by giving all of what I can during my stay,” he croons with country-styled finesse. While Oldham acknowledges the endless struggle that comes with daily life, he seems to find the most comfort in giving back.
The compilation, which features contributions from fellow folk artists by William Tyler, Patterson Hood, and Adam Torres, will be released on May 5 via The End of All Music record store in Oxford, Mississippi.
Steve Lacy - Dark Red
Since the Los Angeles R&B group the Internet wooed critics with their 2015 Grammy-nominated effort Ego Death, a recent hiatus has allowed each member to pursue their own solo projects. While most fans have been abuzz about the debuts from lead singer Syd and multi-instrumentalist Matt Martians, the Internet’s youngest member and guitarist Steve Lacy has been cooking up some impassioned grooves of his own.
On his new single “Dark Red," Lacy uses a lo-fi neo-soul approach to express paranoid thoughts about his girl leaving him. “What if she's fine/It's my mind that's wrong/And I just let bad thoughts/Linger for far too long,” he tries to console himself. Driven by chorus-heavy guitar and a uptempo beat, Lacy tastefully interjects soulful harmonies and whippy synths to deliver a potent jolt straight into the heart. After dropping his debut project Steve Lacy’s Demo last week, the emerging 18-year-old songwriter unveiled a cinematic visual for the songs “Ryd” and “Dark Red." Check it out here.
Azealia Banks x Lunice - Crown
When the outspoken New York City rapper Azealia Banks is going off on controversial political Twitter tangents (most recently directed at Rihanna) and filing battery reports against Russell Crowe for kicking her out of a party, she makes some pretty dope shit. Fresh out of the tabloids and back on the track, Banks has teamed up with Canadian DJ and producer Lunice on the liquid-y industrial banger “Crown."
This heater features the NYC quick-spitter in her best form, as she launches into a rapid fire rhyme attack dismissing her haters and gloating about her royal lifestyle. “Them bitches they jealous/I step in the room and I'm breaking your focus/I bet you your fellas be checking up on it,” she antagonizes over the drippy beat. Lunice’s production features an ethereal squirting effect over low-end bass and ghastly synth echos. The 25-year-old MC’s relentless swagger proves that her talent is radiant, even if her knack for getting into trouble often stands in her way.