With 4/20 just a few days away, it’s time to start building up your smoke sesh playlist for the upcoming stoner holiday. Want to make sure you’ve got some freshly baked tunes ready to amplify your high? We’ve got you covered with an eclectic collection of new tracks from SoundCloud to set you off on the right foot. On this week’s playlist, we’re featuring an unreleased cut from Danger Doom’s 2005 project The Mouse and the Mask, a synth-powered ballad from indie sweetheart Mac Demarco, a star-studded collab between Frank Ocean, Jay Z, and Tyler the Creator, and more.
Danger Doom (ft. Black Thought & Vinny Price) - Mad Nice
Nowadays, it seems seldom that we hear from the elusive and iconic MF Doom. But back in 2005, the rhyme scheme maestro was at the peak of his career, coming fresh off of his certified classic Madvillainy — a collaborative album with the esteemed beatmaker Madlib — and forming Danger Doom with the Grammy award-winning producer Danger Mouse. This past week, fans were treated to an unreleased cut from the latter’s The Mouse and the Mask, an emphatic track called “Mad Nice.”
The unearthed outtake starts with a bonafide verse from Black Thought of The Roots, rapping with emphasis on the struggles that he faced during his upbringing. Doom shines through on the second verse, spitting scatterbrained lines with his untouchable wordplay, like “Take it all back in a tall pack, don't stack, bozack/Hit him if you need some more crack, go pro-black." Danger Mouse provides a climbing piano-heavy beat, generously littering samples of Vincent Price’s villainous horror movie laughter. “Mad Nice” is the first of two unreleased songs from the Danger Doom duo, both of which will be featured on the upcoming reissue of their 12-year-old joint project.
Do Make Say Think - Her Eyes On The Horizon
After a lengthy eight year hiatus, the Canadian post-rock outfit Do Make Say Think recently announced their forthcoming LP Stubborn Persistent Illusions. Known for their blistering guitar work and sedative instrumental jamming, the band’s latest single “Her Eyes On The Horizon” is one of their most placid offerings yet.
The eight-minute ballad starts atop a serene piano progression, gradually morphing into a powerful array of untamed horns, distorted guitar, and rambunctious drums. By the time this epic piece reaches its final stages, the explosion of sound slowly fades and returns to a state of ethereal ambiance. The single follows suit with the theme of the new album, which Do Make Say Think has stated will be based on Buddhist themes. “Her Eyes On The Horizon” is the second single unveiled from the new project, which is due out May 19 via Constellation, following up the previously released single “Bound and Boundless.”
Mac Demarco - On The Level
When indie rock sensation Mac Demarco released his album Salad Days back in 2014, his project took a momentary detour from his usually breezy guitar-driven tunes with the synth-powered number “Chamber of Reflection.” Now gearing up to drop his next project This Old Dog, the Canadian artist has shared the single “On the Level," which he described as “kind of a sister song” to the atypical offering from his prior release.
The track features prickly synths and dusty drum sequencing, creating a sluggish groove that places you on an oily astral plane. Ironically, though they share a similar electronic style, “On the Level” is actually far more self-reflective than “Chamber of Reflection.” Mac softly croons about the straining relationship between him and his father, warbling lines like “Boy, this could be your year/Make an old man proud of you/Forget about your tears.” This meditative track joins the ranks of two other songs previously unveiled from This Old Dog, which is due out May 5.
Girlpool - It Gets More Blue
Based out of Los Angeles, the indie folk punk duo Girlpool has matured quite a bit since their stripped down 2015 album Before the World Was Big, building up their sound by adding a drummer and divulging from their vocal murmuring. In their latest number “It Gets More Blue,” Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad aren’t shy about openly examining the desperation that oftentimes attaches itself to love.
Sporadic explosions of distortion shake up this otherwise-mellow rock piece, reminiscent of the jangling ‘90s rock made popular by bands like Pavement. Sharing lyrical duties on wistful lines like “I faked global warming just to get close to you,” the pair of musicians have created a heart-wrenching anthem about going to great lengths to preserve faltering relationships. Their sophomore project Powerplant is due out May 12 via Anti-.
Frank Ocean (ft. Jay Z & Tyler, the Creator) - Biking
In the time in between Frank Ocean’s 2013 phenomenon Channel Orange came out and the release of both Endless and Blonde, the iconic rapper-singer hybrid went into isolation mode and completely depleted his fans of new music, sending them into a frenzy of constant anticipation. Thankfully, this time around, Frank seems to be sticking around for a good while. The elusive singer has been spoon feeding us unreleased music on his Apple Beats 1 show blonded RADIO, first with “Chanel” and now with “Biking,” a philosophical joint featuring Jay Z and longtime collaborator Tyler, the Creator.
Hova starts the song off with a staticky verse that sounds as if it were phoned in, sticking to the theme of biking while maintaining his drug dealer bravado with lines like “E.T. on the handles/handle bars like a Xanax.” Frank Ocean comes in to belt out the cycling-themed chorus, followed by an impeccable rhyme scheme that sounds inspired by the outlandish Atlanta rapper Young Thug. “Thinkin' maybe the feeling just comes and it goes/Think I want me a lil' one that look like my clone,” he rapidly spits over the acoustic and piano-driven beat. Tyler, the Creator pedals across the finish line with a bombastic verse of his own, proving that this sonically different trio can work wonders on the same track.
The xx (Four Tet remix) - A Violent Noise
The xx is widely known for creating soft-spoken and minimalist indie rock, a trend that they carried over into their latest album I See You. But when London producer Kieran Hebden (better known as Four Tet) gets ahold of these moody ballads, all notions of hopelessness and despair dissipate into a tropical club banger.
The renowned electronic maestro recently remixed the song “A Violent Noise,” churning the original version's dreariness into an eight-minute dance groove. Using the xx’s spacious guitar lines, Four Tet pushes these loops into hyperspeed, creating a dynamic track that is commandeered by staggering and bass-heavy percussion. Although the remix maintains a hint of weariness in its distinct arrangement, the producer ultimately transforms the song from something you’d listen to alone on a rainy day into a stepper that begs to be played from the most prestigious dance club sound systems.
Peaking Lights - Everytime I See The Light
When it comes to interjecting psychedelic weirdness into electronic pop songs, few do it better than the husband and wife duo of Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis, also known as Peaking Lights. After announcing their forthcoming 80-minute double LP The Fifth State of Consciousness, the pair released the manic track “Everytime I See the Light.”
Sonically mustering up a surging flood of arpeggiated blips and dub-inspired percussion, this six-minute offering will toss your mind into a frantic trance. The chaotic synth and rupturing guitar work is smoothed over by Dunis’ distant vocals, providing an anchor for the otherwise disorderly jam. “Everytime I See The Light” exemplifies the unique methods that Peaking Lights used to create their next project, which consisted of breaking open and modifying electronics, writing melodies backwards, and recording it all through old school tape machines.
Knox Fortune - Help Myself
Quietly emerging as one of the up and coming artists in Chicago’s music scene, Knox Fortune has positioned himself for success through a unforgettable feature on Chance the Rapper’s “All Night”, as well as providing production for Joey Purp, Vic Mensa, and other local Midwestern rappers. This past week, he began paving his own path towards a fruitful solo career with the soul-warming funk jam “Help Myself.”
In just his second public track as a lead artist (the first being last year’s “Seaglass”), Knox’s voice flourishes over shuffling percussion and finger-picked guitar. The Chi-town newcomer warbles away about the throes of letting the past go. By layering his vocal lament over the sluggish boom-bap beat, fluttering strings, and an attention-grabbing organ, Knox has meshed hip-hop beats with a chillwave aesthetic in a newfound way. The artist is planning to release his debut project later this year, which will likely make him a staple in the eclectic Chicago circuit.
Woods - Bleeding Blue
Inspired by the shocking results of the U.S. presidential election, the Brooklyn indie folk band Woods decided to saddle up and combat the rise of Donald Trump by writing new tunes centered around the power of love. This zen-like message is far from hidden — hence the name of their upcoming album Love Is Love — but their latest single “Bleeding Blue” examines the plight of having to co-exist with hate.
The tender anthem is driven by jangling acoustic guitar and a swirling organ, while the mantras of singer Jeremy Earl are divvied up by a triumphant brass section. Although the instrumental orchestration of the song bursts through like a ray of positive light, it takes some serious contemplation for the lyrics to catch up. "The city's not sleeping in today / Have you heard the news? / Hate can't lose," Earl admits with a tinge of defeat. But ultimately, by the end of “Bleeding Blue,” Woods comes to the realization that focusing on love is the only way to overcome the negativity that has unfurled since November.
Télépopmusik - Breathe (Cezaire & Duñe Remix)
When the French electronic group Télépopmusik released the song “Breathe” back in 2001, they had unleashed a timeless dance club anthem that would remain in the repertoire of DJs for decades to come. The Grammy Award-winning cut was recently remixed by Cezaire and Duñe of the Roche Musique collective, giving new life to this well-seasoned masterpiece.
This unique interpolation takes the sultry vocals of singer Angela McCluskey and tucks them underneath an atmosphere of pulsating synths and expressive guitar riffs. The two producers transform the light and airy original into a dark and modern rendition that rarely strays from its low-end mixing. Spanning just under four minutes, Cezaire and Duñe’s tastefully renovated cut is one of the four “Breath” remixes that will be featured on Roche Musique’s upcoming EP, out on April 21.