With springtime in full bloom, this month has been off to a roaring start in terms of fresh tunes from across the music spectrum. Last week, the April showers rained down new music from the likes of Joey Badass, Freddie Gibbs, and even an unexpected collab between Mary J. Blige and Kanye West. On our latest SoundCloud playlist, we’re bringing you even more heat, including a rabid freestyle from Gucci Mane, a hazy club number from experimental electronic producer Actress, a strapping acoustic anthem by Canadian singer-songwriter Feist, and more.
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - A Song Of Summer
Looking to get washed away in a sea of distorted haze? San Francisco noise mucisian Jefre Cantu-Ledesma has recently conjured up the perfect remedy. As the weather continues to thaw that seasonal depression away, his latest offering “A Song Of Summer” will completely liquify any remaining winter frost.
The ten-minute piece begins with a comforting fuzz and delicate synth that seems to rain down from the heavens. Suddenly, an elated guitar solo tears through the lo-fi backdrop, creating a tender dreamscape that carries on through the entire misshapen ballad. Once you reach the final third of a “A Song of Summer,” the jarring instrumentation dissipates into something more stripped down, before building back up towards a graceful finale. The track features glossy vocals from the Argentinian singer Paula Garcia (aka Sobrenadar), which seamlessly blends in with the rest of the epic track.
Beach Fossils - Saint Ivy
Based out of Brooklyn, the dream pop-tinged rock outfit Beach Fossils was once a strong force on the indie circuit before they went into hibernation back in 2013. Over the following four years, the band seems to have undergone an extensive period of rediscovery. Their latest single, entitled “Saint Ivy,” depicts the group emerging from their element in a more sagacious form.
The group has expanded its sound, and its new single is a far throw from the lo-fi bedroom pop of 2010's Beach Fossils. A brightly lit piano acts as the foundation of "Saint Ivy," which is excessively paved over with baroque-styled orchestration, glittery guitar work, and a soothing flute solo that freely flutters over the song’s chorus. The finely-crafted song comes equipped with optimistic visual set in New York City, depicting gleeful ranks of diversity and even graffiti the reads “Not My President.” “Saint Ivy” follows in the wistful footsteps of “This Year,” the first single from Beach Fossils' forthcoming album Somersault, due out June 2 via Bayonet Records.
Actress- Dancing In The Smoke
After revitalizing the experimental electronic scene with his menacing song “X22RME” a few weeks back, the UK producer Actress is keeping his sinister sound in the darkest of clouds with his follow up single “Dancing In The Smoke.” Darren Jordan Cunningham’s latest joint evokes an environment not unlike a haunted graveyard that was recently renovated into a basement dancefloor.
Clocking in at just over six minutes, Actress weaves together a gritty beat laced with brooding synths, sporadically interjecting punchy vocal samples that repeat the words “dance” and “future.” As the track enters its final phase, the revered producer blasts open the doors to a glitchy labyrinth, creating a dissonant vibe that will have you spinning into electronic oblivion. The bewildering cut is reminiscent of his 2014 LP Ghettoville, creating a disorienting atmosphere that strangely provides solace in a despondent world. “Dancing In The Smoke” will be featured on Cunningham’s upcoming project AZD, due out April 14 through the label Ninja Tune.
Kodak Black (ft Future) - Conscience
Despite spending a majority of the last year wrapped up in legal issues, the Broward County young gunner Kodak Black has maintained his hype long enough to turn heads with his latest album Painting Pictures. Throughout the 18-track project, the ruthless rapper occasionally drops the gangster bravado to offer us insight into the street life that made him who he is.
This unrestrained honesty is exemplified to a T on the standout track “Conscience,” featuring some promethazine-laden crooning from Atlanta rapper Future. Although the sharp percussion and tolling bells gives this banger a triumphant feel, the two rappers lament on their depleted consciences that resulted from their rugged lives. With lines like “I'm sorry mom ain't mean to bring you through so much pain” and “These streets took my conscience,” it’s clear that Kodak is cognizant of his past mistakes. But still, his stark upbringing is what led to his infamous persona, and Kodak knows that reckless attitude is what thrusted him into the spotlight.
Feist (ft Jarvis Cocker) - Century
Widely acclaimed as both a solo musician and early member of indie rock supergroup Broken Social Scene, the Canadian singer-songwriter Feist has long mastered the art of acoustic pop. In anticipation of her fifth studio album Pleasure, out on April 28, the Calgary native recently shared the single “Century,” a powerful ditty featuring Jarvis Cocker of the iconic '90s UK rock group Pulp.
Backed by ferocious drums and snappy guitar strumming, Feist airs out her frustrations with social norms and fleeting time. Spewing lines like “I wanted feelings, that got in my own way” and “Singing to a mountain that was empty all along,” her crooning voice tumbles down alongside the crashing instruments. “Century” is filled to the seams with slow-burning aggression, but the tension is alleviated through Cocker's contemplative feature, where he openly wonders how many seconds, days, and hours are in a full century.
Kevin Gates - What If
Kevin Gates might be locked up behind bars for battery and an outstanding weapons-related warrant, but the Baton Rouge rapper is still keeping his loyal fanbase fed with fresh content. On his latest tune “What If,” Gates tries to personify God as another disenfranchised person from the ghetto.
Pensively rhyming over a sentimental trap beat, Gates unearths an unlikely interpolation of Joan Osborne’s famous 1995 single “One of Us.” What if God was one of us/Just a thug like one of us/Looking for love in the club like one of us/Tryna make it out the slums like one of us,” he ponders out loud. Gates goes on to speak candidly about his court sentence, also sounding off about the deceptive lies that the media has pinned on him. His wife, Dreka Gates, told fans to be patient as the rapper awaits his release from prison, heading to Instagram to share his new track and claim that “although Kevin is not a free man yet, he will be soon!”
RAC (ft Rostam) - This Song
The indie electronic artist André Allen Anjos made history earlier this year by becoming the first Portuguese musician to ever win a Grammy with his remix of Bob Moses’ “Tearing Me Up.” Now in the tenth year under his solo moniker RAC, the seasoned producer is ramping up for his forthcoming album, currently nameless and due out sometime this summer. This past week, Anjos unveiled the first single from the imminent project, a bubbly ballad entitled “This Song.”
The electronic pop offering is loaded with vivacious synths and endearing vocal work by Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij. As the gentle production swirls around this masterful mix, an undertone of an arpeggiated analog adds a vibrant waterfall of sound. Although the song itself explodes with colorful spirit, Rostam uses his lyrics to exhort fond memories of love. “We used to say this song made us feel some type of way/ it used to make us both feel free/underneath the colors you would grab my hand/ you said you’d never listen to it without me,” he sings in the wistful chorus.
Gucci Mane - Drop Top Wizop Freestyle
Since his release from a lengthy prison stint last year, Gucci Mane has been on a prolific rampage, releasing an array of projects, including the studio albums Everybody Looking and The Return of East Atlanta Santa. Now, the trap legend is back in the lab plotting his 11th studio album, called Drop Top Wizop. This past week, the Atlanta rapper offered his fans a sample of what’s to come by dropping the Murda Beatz-produced “Drop Top Wizop Freestyle.”
Prompted by uptempo hi-hats and a creeping piano scale, Guwop smothers the tasteful production with his relentless flow. In just under two-and-a-half minutes, Gucci Mane manages to boasts about his string of post-incarceration success, riding the beat in everything from a Lambo to a Bentley. “Why they call you Guwop? 'Cause a lotta guap, bra/Haters done tried everything but ain't no way to stop us,” he reminds us in the final lines of the freestyle. Aside from the upcoming LP, Gucci Mane La Flare is continuing to broaden his horizons outside of the studio, planning to release a book entitled The Autobiography of Gucci Mane later this year.
Objekt - Needle And Thread
Relatively quiet since his 2014 full-length release Flatland, electronic producer Objekt has returned with a pair of new tunes that pay tribute to Basement Q — a now-closed club in Berlin that was once a city staple. On the A-side of the new record, titled Objekt #4, is “Needle And Thread,” a nine-and-a-half minute journey through a minimal techno wonderland.
Objekt’s latest cut is a tight juxtaposition between reservation and explosion. The lengthy offering starts slow with a chill four-on-the-floor beat before teasing listeners with some constrained bass pulses and other meticulously-crafted flourishes. By the middle of the track, layers of percussion are added (including some next-level break beats) until the whole composition surges with intensity. The mind reels at what the master stems or Ableton file for this intricate beast must look like. If you dig the hypnotic vibes of "Needle and Thread," check out Objekt’s B-side “Theme From the Q,” which utilizes an array of recorded samples taken from the historic nightclub..