With a barrage of new albums coming from the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Gorillaz, the past few weeks in music have been booming with a prodigious array of tunes. But if you’ve already had your fill of Kung Fu Kenny and Damon Albarn's cartoonish wonderland, we’ve got some freshly-baked tracks to keep you satisfied for the weekend ahead. On this week’s SoundCloud playlist, we’ve got a West Coast banger from G Perico, a drum line-infused cut from electronic producer Jlin, a stunning sci-fi epic from the band Japanese Breakfast, and more!
Majid Jordan - Phases
At the start of 2016, the Toronto R&B duo Majid Jordan emerged from Drake’s label OVO Sounds and wooed the mainstream scene with their self-titled debut album. Since then, Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman have been plotting on their next release, which they hinted at this past week with the single “Phases.”
This heartfelt piece is commandeered by Majid’s personal lyrics, as he shares his story about immigrating to Canada from Iran when he was a teenager. “I came to this country, didn't know a damn thing/18 year old and in need of planning/Thought I was ready, I wasn't ready,” he croons. Although the soulful ballad kicks off with a sentimental piano progression, a pulsating electronic beat eventually swoops in to kick the track into full swing. Just as Majid Jordan’s frontman sings about going through phases, the instrumentation follows suit, ultimately creating a piece that will sting your heart and make your feet move all in the same moment.
Demdike Stare - Savage Distort
Recognized as pioneers on the UK experimental bass and techno scenes, the influential production duo Demdike Stare has built an underground cult following with their record label Modern Love. When they’re not putting out acclaimed records from artists like Andy Stott, producers Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker are cooking up dark and ambient electronic music.
The influential pair recently collaborated with the English rock band Savages to create “Savage Distort,” a four-minute mix comprised of scattering percussion and pitch-shifted vocals from Jehnny Beth. The sonic depth of this number is seemingly endless, as a distant bass rumbles behind a barrage of frantic samples. The ominous atmosphere of the track matches the chilling lyrical content, which includes lines like “Please don’t disappear before I’m done/Before I’ve come back home with something you can be proud of.”
Slowdive - Sugar For the Pill (Avalon Emerson’s Gilded Escalation)
Known as a pioneer of ‘90s shoegaze and dream pop, the English group Slowdive faded into limbo after their 1995 album Pygmalion. But after reuniting for a string of live shows a few years ago, the iconic band returned on Friday with a long-awaited self-titled effort via Dead Oceans, their first release in 22 years. While the new album Slowdive is nostalgic of the band’s spacious guitar-driven jams, the standout single “Sugar For the Pill” was transformed into a dance-infused gem by San Francisco-born, Berlin-based electronic producer Avalon Emerson.
While the original song is perched upon twinkling guitar reverb and pungent bass lines, Emerson’s official remix substitutes this for springy synths and an echoey drum sequence that stays in constant motion. Although the vocal murmurs of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell are obscurely planted in the first mix, she takes centerstage in this rubbery 9-minute interpolation. The eclectic electronic producer manages to keep the brooding atmosphere of “Sugar For the Pill” while also priming it for a foggy dance floor, giving fans a little extra flavor for after they float through the band’s new self-titled album.
Kweku Collins - Dec. 25
Although he’s only 20-years-old, Chicago rapper Kweku Collins has the ability to finesse the track like a seasoned hip-hop veteran. Coming off of the release of his debut album Nat Love, the up and coming rhymer recently dropped the emotionally gripping number “Dec. 25,” an ode to lost friends and family.
Circulating around a repetitive hook of “I remember, I remember you,” Kweku Collins lets out a spontaneous outpour of memories, traveling through fleeting personal experiences from eating sweet potatoes out of styrofoam to driving down back country roads. Although his mind seems to wander around random memories, this piece acts as a cohesive memorial to his great grandmother and friend he recently lost to gun violence. The youthful rapper shares these moments over a pungent bass line and metallic samples that will rattle around your brain. This wistful cut is featured on Kweku’s new nine-track effort entitled the Grey EP.
Japanese Breakfast - Machinist
When she’s not cranking out emo jams with the band Little Big League, multi-faceted musician Michelle Zauner is piecing together experiment indie pop under her solo moniker Japanese Breakfast. After breaking out with the 2016 lo-fi release Psychopomp, the Philadelphia stalwart recently announced her follow-up project and unveiled its first single “Machinist.”
Utilizing ‘80-style synths and groovy guitar plucking, Japanese Breakfast’s latest offering showcases a dancier approach than she’s ever taken before. Floating above the retro-futuristic disco cut with Daft Punk-esque vocals, Zauner explores a sci-fi musical setting packed with robotic undertones. The song tells a fantastical tale of unorthodox love, as she warbles out enamored lines like “Let go a piece of your heart/All the pleasure it gives.” The release of “Machinist” comes equipped with a mesmerizing visual where the lead artist desperately battles between her disdain and undying love for technology. Japanese Breakfast’s upcoming album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, is set to drop July 14 via Dead Oceans.
Jlin - Challenge (To Be Continued)
Based out of Gary, Indiana, the electronic sorceress Jlin helped bring experimental footwork to the masses with her 2015 debut Dark Energy (and previously through contributions to Planet Mu’s Bangs & Works compilation). The acclaimed producer is now poised to drop her sophomore full-length Black Origami later this month, and is building up hype with a new single entitled “Challenge (To Be Continued).”
Her latest offering sounds like a college football game tossed inside of a high-powered hadron collider, packed with boisterous whistling, aggressive drum rolls, and spliced-up animalistic samples. The intense shuffle continues to build throughout the fiery mix, putting the listener within a disorienting trance that teeters between a pep rally and all-consuming sound odyssey. With an onslaught of rapid percussion, this twisted tune is sure to keep your mind, feet, and heart all racing in unison. If this track gets you going, be sure to check out Jlin’s previously released single “Nandi,” which was featured on our SoundCloud playlist back in March.
Institute - Powerstation
Emerging from the anarcho punk scene of Austin, Texas, the band Institute gained traction with their highly touted 2013 Demo EP. Now, the menacing group have returned to voice their political and social anxieties on Subordination, their upcoming full-length debut coming out June 2 via Sacred Bones. This past week, Institute unleashed the single “Powerstation,” a ripping tune that proves that band hasn’t lost it’s touch.
Their latest offering will certainly satisfy fans of raw and thrashy punk, as frontman Moses Brown yowls away with a tinge of soulful darkness, throwing the patriarchal world onto the ground and stomping it out on the gravel. Backed by walloping drums and antagonizing power chords, “Powerstation” brings a sound akin to EU punk MVPs like Brainbombs and Iceage. When speaking about their new single to THE FADER, Brown stated that the track is “about how the root of all power and control boils down to insecurities that are so trite and sexual in nature." Bureaucratic and authoritarian entities might be running the world, but Institute clearly has no qualms calling them out in a way that's guaranteed to perk your ears up.
G Perico - All Blue
After gaining traction last year with his heavy-hitting mixtape Shit Don’t Stop, rapper G Percio returned this past week with his debut album All Blue. On the album’s self-titled track, the South Central Los Angeles spitter channels the spirit of ‘90s West Coast hip-hop, creating a G-funk banger that could have very well been spinning on a California radio station 20 years ago.
The Weft Coast native Kacey Khaliel conjures up a smooth beat with hydraulic sub-bass and soulful samples that glisten above the percussive groove. “All Blue” offers a first-hand look at G Perico’s Crip-affiliated hood, giving you a raw perspective of the gang banging and dope slinging that transpires in South Central. “I'ma take you all around my turf in a day/Show you how I live, bring you where I stay/Let me show you what I do, so you can see that I'm true/I see the world in all blue,” he rhymes on the hook.
Wavves - No Shade
The indie surf punk outfit Wavves has been churning out scorching jams since 2008, and although nearly a decade has passed since Nathan Williams started the project, time hasn’t extinguished any of the band’s flames. Gearing up to release their sixth studio album You’re Welcome next week, the San Diego group has just unveiled “No Shade,” a distorted ditty that will leave your ears ringing well after its completion.
Clocking in at well under two minutes, their latest single is a powerful jam that reinvigorates the soul of their critically-acclaimed 2010 album King of the Beach. “No Shade” is short and strapping, built upon a fuzzy guitar progression and the simmering chorus “If my baby don’t come/Neither will the son.” Smack dab in the middle of this densely packed number, Williams rips through the track with a whirlwind of a solo, forcing you to bang your head until the final chord is strummed.
B.o.B. (Ft. Young Thug) - Xantastic
Just a few years ago, Atlanta rapper B.o.B. was on top of the hip-hop world, dropping chart-topping hits like “HeadBand” and “Nothin’ On You.” But after making headlines last year for his outspoken belief that the Earth is flat, people have forgotten that Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr. has the potential to create hits.
Now that the dust from his highly criticized statement has settled, B.o.B. is back in the studio trying to jumpstart his career again. And let’s be honest, when you’re trying to drop a banger, who better to bring onto the track than Young Thug. On his new song “Xantastic,” both Georgia-bred rappers croon away about taking Xanax and enjoying life. The 30 Roc-produced beat is extremely tranquil and atmospheric, setting the perfect backdrop for the content matter. Though B.o.B. puts in a valiant effort, Thugger unsurprisingly shines with his drug-laden warbling, cooing melodic lines like “I can be your ring tone/I'm flyin' to the clouds, yeah/And no I ain't comin' down, yeah.” This offering will be featured on B.o.B’s upcoming album Ether, due out May 12.