ANTHM-Debbie

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I picked this as my second release to celebrate my sister on her birthday. She turns 11 today. Anyone who has ever been close to me knows that we have a special relationship. It runs deep. I hope this record remains as timeless in her life as our bond will be. Happy birthday, Debbie.

ANTHM has been relentless these past few weeks, and follows up the first release from Handful of Dust rapidly with this strong effort. A much more bouncy and upbeat track too, with Blu’s production comprising uplifting keys, quick and sharp percussion and a sprinkling of additional samples and effects for a deep production that’s enjoyable on many levels. It’s every bit as summery as Nina, but clearly comes from a much different, more positive angle that suits ANTHM down to the ground: he’s regularly demonstrated his range of flows, and here his quick flow keeps pace with this vibrant production. It’s a solid performance throughout, capped off nicely by his vocalised hook section, which makes for a smooth and necessary break from those relentless raps. Another good all-rounder, and that EP’s shaping up very well.

Tyler, The Creator-Treehome and Domo 23 (Live)

It’s crazy to think it was two years ago on Jimmy Fallon’s show that OFWGKTA’s popularity soared, literally overnight, on the back of their crazy performances of tracks from Tyler’s then-upcoming Goblin album. Flashforward to now, and Tyler’s gearing up to release his follow-up LP Wolf, and returns to the scene of his arrival to perform Domo 23, and the previously-unheard Treehome.

As a big Quadron fan, having Coco feature on Treehome is an excellent surprise. Whilst I’m sure there’s plenty more to the track than performed here, it’s her vocals that really dominate this song, with her relaxing and mellow voice synergising wonderfully with the soft yet lively backdrop produced by The Roots in this case. Tyler’s only real contribution for this appears to be occasional adlibs and a nice stint on the piano, a skill we rarely get to see him demonstrate. Domo 23′s up next, and of course the energy shoots through the roof on that one; it’s reminiscent of the aforementioned debut Fallon performance with a chaotic, frenzied approach that draws heavily on punk influences, and gives the song a much more aggressive edge than its studio version. A fun performance with two very opposing styles of music, look out for more from Wolf to land soon.

Supa Dupa Fly @ Jazz Cafe - Friday 8th March

Supa Dupa Fly
SDF has quickly become the monthly necessity in any 90s hip-hop lovers diary. Since launching in March 2011, the events have gone from strength to strength, receiving press features from the likes of The Guardian Guide, The Evening Standard, Time Out, The Metro, SB.TV and hosting acts including Rita Ora, Conor Maynard, Rizzle Kicks, Stooshe, Josh Osho, Cleo Sol & loads more! For our 2nd Birthday, we’re pulling out ALL the stops, and we have a VERY special secret guest… last year it was Rita Ora – says it all!

Expect 90s & early 2000’s Hip-hop from the likes from Dr Dre, Snoop Dog, Nas, Bigge, Tupac & A Tribe Called Quest, DMX, Luda, & RnB from TLC, Montell Jordon, 112, SWV, Salt N Pepa, Destiny’s Child & A LOT more!

That’s right, Supa Dupa Fly celebrate their second birthday! Click on the pic on the left to check the flyer out in more detail, or visit one of the links below.

Concessions: £5 before 9pm / £8 after via itssupadupafly@gmail.com / £8 on the door
Tables: Available to book for groups of 10+ with a ticket
Time: 8pm-3am – early arrival is a must.
Address: The Jazz Café, 5 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW1 7PG
Transport: Camden Tube
Contact: www.twitter.com/itssupadupafly / www.facebook.com/supadupaflylove

Pac Div-Savages (Video)

It seems like that GMB album opened Pac Div up to new corners of the hip-hop audience, with their move to more aggressive, ‘harder’ productions being a welcome change for some and a strong introduction for others. In either case, this is about as good an example of that paradigm shift as any, the latest single from the aforementioned album.

The production is dark, speaker-rattling and hugely intense; with thudding bass, stuttered, choppy samples, and an almost horror-esque distortion sitting on top of it all, at times it’s easy to think this production is threatening to punch you in the face. Of course, the Div aren’t lazy with the raps, and instead of opting for the easy route of playing ‘violent rappers’, they stick to their skill with arrogant, brash raps delivered in a nice range of flows. At times, the sheer power of the beat does overshadow their vocal output though, and hence the video plays a good part in remedying that: the graffiti-heavy, desolate surroundings add a heavy dose of realism and grit to the clip, whilst the trio’s unfussy, performance-centric actions and movements remove distractions and keep the focus firmly on their raps. A solid video backed by a good audio, be sure to grab that GMB album now.

Joey Bada$$-Wendy N Becky ft. Chance the Rapper

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Joey has declared this week #ProEraWeek, and opened last night with this collaborative effort produced by the underrated Thelonius Martin.

Here, Thelonius serves up a delightfully vintage production, throwing soft, smooth jazz instrumentation in with strong, pounding percussion for a simple yet fantastically effective production, giving the track a backdrop with a debonair and easygoing vibe. Joey’s hard touch and in-your-face style plays off that sound well, giving it a bit of intensity and combining effectively with the sharp edges of the drum work, and it’s another good performance from the young ttalent. Chance’s name seems to be coming up more and more in my life, and it seems he’s certainly one of the next young MCs to get a good footing in the hip-hop game, his contribution here being a smooth, confidently delivered verse that has a relaxed quality, and in contrast to Joey’s raps Chance opts to work more closely with the melodic section of the beat. A really enjoyable chunk of hip-hop, and a good way to kick off Pro Era week.

AlunaGeorge-Attracting Flies

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Having been suitably impressed with AlunaGeorge on the recent Disclosure feature, it’s a good time to let loose of some new material of their own and capitalise on that buzz.

Taken from the upcoming Body Music album (1st July), this is a lively effort with a good kick of attitude to prevent it from becoming sickeningly sweet. The synths are positive and energetic, with a funky, summery vibe that bounces the track along nicely at the tailend of the hook, whilst the verses are packed with prominent percussion and a softer electro melody, which itself scales up for the bulk of the hook. It’s a good contrast that builds a strong anchor around the post-hook production, one which is contained within the excellent consistency of Aluna’s vocals, themselves being mellow and easygoing to offer their own distinction from the production. Capping it off is the aforementioned attitudinal edge, which comes in the form of honest lyricism that makes for a very fun listen. Good all-rounder for sure, and plenty of mainstream potential in this.

Jared Evan and Statik Selektah-Boom Bap Blues

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About as descriptive an EP title as you could ask for in truth. Statik’s hip-hop stylings combine with Jared’s pop/R&B work for this crossover project, with plenty of big names in tow lending their support.

Is it me or does almost everyone who works with Statik want to put an EP out with the guy? It’s a huge compliment to him in truth, and credit where its due as he’s certainly becoming a go-to producer in circles beyond hip-hop. Here though, his rap influence is apparent as Joey Bada$$, Lil’ Fame, Termanology, Action Bronson, Hoodie Allen and Wais P make appearances (several of whom have worked with Stat before, of course), whilst Jared’s strong vocals and versatility will surely help offer a good balance to that. I’ve caught a couple of tracks from this to date and have been suitably impressed, with Jared’s once hugely-diverse sound seeming as though it’s been refined and improved a little more. Stream and download over at Jared’s website.

ANTHM-Nina

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He’s been on a tear with remixes in recent weeks, and finally lets loose some brand new original work. Taken from his highly-anticipated Handful of Dust EP, released on 4th March and set to be entirely produced by Blu, a prospect with much potential given their previous success when working together on the Joy & Pain EP.

The backdrop is trademark Blu: soft, summery melodies and crisp percussion combines for a warm, mellow production with an easygoing quality that makes it instantly replayable. ANTHM rides along that drum line nicely with a slick, sharply-delivered flow that once again packs in those ambitious, relatable and desire-laden raps, which themselves contain a few smart tricks and memorable lines. A strong release ahead of the EP.

Little Boots-Motorway

It’s good to hear from the reclusive Little Boots again. Her 2009 debut Hands had some great highlights, and as far as alternative pop goes it clearly influenced the works of many artists who’ve followed. Her follow up, Nocturnes, is due on 5th May and appears to signal a slight change in direction: Much of the ‘dance music’ we’ve been bombarded with of late leaves me cold…a big part of what I wanted to do on this record is show that you can produce dance-pop that’s both interesting and artistic, but maintains the magic of classic pop songwriting.

Goal achieved. This production is layered very well, combining wistful synths, reflective keys and a percussion that evolves smoothly through the track into a cohesive sound of bittersweet introspection with a lively, energetic twist. The vocals are solid throughout, catching the high points of the beat well whilst scaling back for the verses, and generally allowing the production plenty of room to fill every crevice of the soundscape. The accompanying ‘video’ is a nice enough fit, and though it’s just a few different clips looped, the contrast of pitch black background and bright, slightly ghostly images in the foreground gives the production’s darker elements a boost. Good single, and look out for that album soon.

Shannon Hope-Block You Out

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Once the singing, drumming, songwriting half of GLORY GLORY, Shannon Hope appears to be embarking on a solo career inspired by the works of Bjork and Cat Power. Whilst I’ve never been into the former, the latter’s amassed some decent playtime for me over the years and this should appeal to her fans, as well as any admirers of acoustic-style music.

The guitars have a unique quality to them here, sounding like a stunted, muzzled punk guitar line with an overlay of acoustic work. Clearly, her punk origins cross over with the new direction there, and it’s a very effective addition to an otherwise-stripped back soundscape, with the only accompaniment being a quick but hushed percussion. Whilst that instrumentation is refreshing, the vocals are the highlight here, with the same influences present but a much stronger focus on melody and structure, giving this a slight hint of a pop sensibility and hence giving it a much better chance amongst casual music listeners. An easy listen for sure, and look out for the EP on 18th March.

Tanya Morgan-For Real

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A great slice of hip-hop from the Tanya Morgan duo, as Von Pea and Donwill come together for the lead single from Rubber Souls, their first full LP as a duo since 2009′s excellent Brooklynati release.

The production’s a great blend of soul and hip-hop, with smooth vocal samples and flashes of horns adding the jazzy soul vibe, whilst the raps combine with the steady percussion to root the track in a hip-hop sensibility. A little touch that helps elevate the atmosphere of the track is the ‘outdoor’ noise sample playing throughout, with what sounds like kids playing outside and such, adding a nice summer warmth and aura to proceedings. The raps are paced nicely to allow the beat to breathe, with sharp but mellow deliveries from both packing in reflective lyricism, whilst their slightly different cadences make for a good contrast to one another. Really enjoyable hip-hop piece, and look out for more from that album.

Cheri Coke and MeLo-X (X/COKE)-The Garden of Eden (Maths Time Joy Remix)

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Another of the superb tracks from the X/Coke EP gets a rework, this time the incredibly laidback The Garden of Eden, a personal favorite of mine from the original EP.

The additions here combine to add a little more urgency to the track, doing so in a freeform manner that infuses the vocals with a touch of energy, and hence moves them away from their mellow origins. The range of samples, instruments and effects used here is far too numerous to list, with influences from island music to deep electro, and it ends up fragmenting the track into 5 or 6 distinct sections; some won’t like that, but given the consistency of tone in the vocals, it works well enough to showcase the adapatability and versatility of that vocal performance. The level of activity will be too much for some, but for me its a grower that packs plenty in.

Foals-My Number (Hot Chip Remix)

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Foals’ Holy Fire is certainly an an early album of the year contender, and here electronic outfit Hot Chip opt for a stab at their excellent lead single from that LP.

With a track as upbeat, lively and frenetic as the original, you’d think adding an electronic twist would be quite simple, subtle work. Unfortunately, Hot Chip have completely over-engineered this and mostly torn out the heart of what makes the original so deliciously replayable in favour of a rather aimless backdrop. In isolation, the layers they’ve used are fine, with a huge range of synths, sharp percussion and a couple of funky electro elements, but they don’t ever seem to go anywhere or have any discernable structure. The vocals help to give the song some sense of direction, and as the track builds across its final third the Hot Chip beat does definitely improve, but once again it seems to drag and never actually climax anywhere, particularly when that fantastic hook vocal comes back in. With tracks like this, less is more, and unfortunately in attempting to keep up with the original’s dynamism, they’ve rather overcooked it.

Kendrick Lamar-Poetic Justice ft. Drake (Video)

There’s little doubt Kendrick’s been sitting on a potential chart favourite with this track, and he’s now cutting it loose with the video release.

With such a track, it would have been easy to deliver a visual that has them fawning over women, and vice versa. Thankfully, this isn’t that. The clip opens in that manner to some extent, with Kendrick eyeing and talking to a lady of interest, before things quickly turn sour as the club is attacked by a gang, with the dark, relatively grimy environment adding a believable realism to that encounter. Drake’s verse would have been easy to isolate into a visual serenade due to the lyricism, but again a surprise is sprung and his verse ends up being the anchor of the video: it’s revealed he’s calling someone who was apparently caught up in that skirmish (whilst another is in his bed, no less), who is then revealed to be the target of Kendrick’s own affections. The heartwarming and tragic finale of Kendrick’s lifeless body sprawled protectively over their shared love interest perfectly sums up the level of depth they’ve added to the audio with this visual, and it isn’t the kind of video you can look away from for a minute and still know what’s going on (which you can do with 90% of music videos, thanks to their pointlessness); that might make it less of a contender for mainstream airplay, but it’s still an excellent video that enhances the audio greatly.

ANTHM-Black (Waves Remix)

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Given the plethora of excellent beats on Joey Bada$$’ 1999 mixtape, it’s either lazy or downright odd that more rappers haven’t grabbed a couple for their own use. ANTHM’s not in either category though, and comes through with a remix dedicated to Malcom X.

Whilst he rides the beat with consumate ease and of course delivers plenty of memorable lines, what’s really notable here is the passion in his voice. ANTHM’s generally displayed a good command over melody and emotion in his tracks, particularly compared to some of his more monotonous colleagues, but here it’s a little different: as the track grows, his intensity and anger audibly grows and that frustration bleeds into his lyricism, which grows more aggressive in tandem with those emotional deliveries. Culminating with a short spoken word section, this is a thoughtful, intelligent turn with the instrumental that’s most definitely worth a listen.

Diplo-Butter's Theme ft. Gent and Jawns (Video)

Dynamic and incredibly hypnotising, in and amongst all of the Major Lazer talk these days (their album is delayed but they’ve released a free tape here), Diplo drops off this latest solo single from his Express Yourself EP.

Somewhere between dance, alternative, Dirty South hip-hop and more, this is hugely rhythmic and should surely be a club favourite for months to come. Things open in a bassy manner, along with the stuttered vocals which comprise the vocal stylings of the entire track, whilst the percussion that arrives shortly afterward has a clunky, tribal style to contrast those electronic elements. That stop-start vocal style is represented superbly in the visual, with short scenes looped over and over, each containing plenty of people and activity. Piercing, lively synths are then thrown into the mix, with a Middle Eastern flavour that’s also visualised well with a flash of belly dancers, and we pretty much interchange between these synth heavy sections and down to the bassy style for the rest of the track. It’s an exhausting track (in a good way) that moves in about 30 different directions at any given point, making for a great feat of production, whilst the use of stuttered vocals adds a bizarre yet likeable layer of consistency to everything. EP available now.

Frank Ocean-Eyes Like Sky

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A track that didn’t make the final cut of Channel Orange, this one surfaced earlier and is already garnering unanimous praise from the Frank Ocean fans. Rightfully so too.

The backdrop’s considerably different to almost anything on the LP, with an acoustic style created by the live percussion and soft guitar strums, whilst the relative lack of anything else helps spotlight the stripped-back yet incredibly atmospheric combination of the aforementioned elements. Most of that aura arises from the percussion, which really adds space and grandeur to the soundscape, whilst the guitars help ground that impact slightly, and of course Frank’s vocal and lyrical work is once again perfectly suited to both sides of that. The verses pack in simple storytelling that creates a rich tapestry of mental imagery, largely down to the distinct theme of each verse, whilst the hook makes for a smooth, soft break in between those engaging sections. Sonically, it’s clear to see why this wouldn’t have quite fitted in with the album’s overall sound, and rather it seems closer to his Nostalgia Ultra material; in any case, it’s an excellent track that will certainly impress many.

Mike Posner-OshFest ft. Blackbear

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I was gonna save this song for my album but you deserve it now. A glimpse into Posner’s upcoming work it seems, and a welcome one given his releases in recent months haven’t had much by way of a confirmed home. If the rest of the project is in this vein, it should be a favourite with those who’ve been longtime Posner fans

From the whispery vocals through to the atmospheric production there’s a warm aura created throughout this one, whilst the patches of grounded lyricism help to channel that vibe smoothly, and hence there’s a vibe of relatability that will find favour with fans of his breakout A Matter of Time tape. Good to hear a couple of deliveries from Mike too, as he raps and sings alternately, and fingers crossed there’s more of this ilk on the way.

Trey Songz-F**kin Problems Freestyle

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The original still gets a lot of play from me, and whilst it’s probably not in need of a refresh, it’s good to get someone else on the beat nonetheless. It’s the sort of fast-paced track that would theoretically suit many rappers (looking at you Slaughterhouse), but few of note seem to have really tackled it, or at least done so with any conviction.

He’s not a full-time rapper but Trey’s up for the challenge, releasing his first ‘Trigga mix’ in a while, and though I’ve criticised his choice of rapping over singing on occasion with these remixes, this is a good example of his ability at the former. His flow is pretty slick throughout, adjusting to the movements in the production well and generally adding a good layer of confidence to his bragger raps. Only a short verse, and there’s particularly outstanding to displace the original, but a nice complement to it. Free grab courtesy of the man himself below.

Trey Songz-F**kin Problems Freestyle

JAWS-Friend Like You

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It’s incredibly rare that I get to post music from any act vaguely near my hometown, but that changes with the newest release from the Birmingham-based band.

Wonderfully laidback with an injection of tenacity, the instrumentation blends delayed guitars with strong percussion and a touch of additional sample and effect for a backdrop that engulfs the soundscape, but not in a pushy or overly piercing manner. The vocal work acts skilfully as a tempering tool on that instrumentation, preventing it from escaping its confines and nudging it toward the easygoing, summery side of things rather than being carried away with the momentum of the backing work. The guitars and drums are allowed to cut loose a little for the track’s bridge, before heading back into routine accompanied by backing vocals, adding a further layer of atmosphere and scale to close the track out well. I don’t get to hear many bands from the Midlands any more, but this is about as good a track as I’ve heard come out of the region in recent times. Look out for the single release on 1st April, with the Milkshake EP following on the 22nd.

Disclosure-White Noise ft. AlunaGeorge (Video)

Almost immediately after posting this single, it’s profile seemed to shoot through the roof and get all sorts of mainstream coverage and club play. Of course, I’m not taking credit (I am), but it’s good to occasionally see deserving tracks get some wider appreciation.

It’s certainly not the type of video most would associate with a mainstream dance track, and for me that’s a great thing. It opens up in rather gritty circumstances, with grim skies, unexciting buildings and the general setting of the rough towns and cities we’re all familiar with-in that vein, this actually feels decidedly British despite being filmed in Detroit. When the hook arrives however, the fun begins; the security guard decides to cut loose and get down, having plenty of fun dancing on his own with a torch. It’s a ray of positivity in grimy surroundings, a contrast which rears its head again as the track builds towards the second hook, with the flashes of activity including a little dancing and smacking golf balls. The video ends warmly, with the guard joined by the female attendant, closing off what’s a nice departure from the strobe lights and sweaty dancefloors found in most videos from this genre.

Juicy J-One Of Those Nights ft. The Weeknd

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Having thought this had been released some time ago, I was surprised to see it loitering in my inbox this morning. Pleasure to have it though, and despite my general avoidance of Juicy J’s material, this is pretty much a Weeknd track with a bit of Juicy J thrown in (much like his recent Rich Hil feature).

The production’s packed in a massive amount of layers, containing dark synths, percussion that moves between piercing and atmospheric, distant vocal samples, and what almost sounds like a distorted accordion somewhere in there: it’s a fusion between their two worlds, as it combines The Weeknd’s aura-filled style with the punch and verve of Juicy’s energy. The former has exclusivity over almost the entire first half, crooning out a smooth intro that segues nicely into his confident verse that switches between blunt near-raps and soft vocals, before moving down into the drifty hook. It’s a diverse and enjoyable performance, setting Juicy up for a passable extended verse, and finally switching back to the vocals that most listeners will want. Undoubtedly, The Weeknd dominates this, and hence it’s a strong effort.

Bat For Lashes-Lillies (Video)

For some reason, this was a track I seemingly bypassed whilst enjoying the many other highlights on The Haunted Man album, but all will be put right with this excellent accompanying visual.

There’s a good contrast throughout of stripped-back minimalism and bright activity, whilst Natasha’s slow physical movements also contrast with the sharp scene cuts and stop motion effects. She’s barely clothed throughout (no complaints here), with the verses set on a starry backdrop for an engulfing darkness that’s occasionally brightened by sharp cuts to various objects, before the chorus comes in and she’s surrounded by all sorts of monster and oddities. The progression from fear in the first chorus to embracing those bizarre creatures is notable throughout, as she’s then ‘coated’ in her own unusual outer shell, a demonstration of the deeper-than-surface nature of the audio and also a nice sonic progression with both its production and vocal output.

It’s decidedly leftfield for sure and represents the audio very well, going so far as to embellish it with a very engaging video. Get that album now.

HAIM-Falling (Video)

Quick turnaround, as the trio’s single from last week is rapidly backed by a video. The lead and title effort from their upcoming EP (1st April), it’s an audiovisual that should help their burgeoning reputation for sure.

Though it’s far moodier than their other popular singles, there’s still a heavy dose of pop-funk that makes for a repeatedly unique listen. The clip plays upon that, with their foggy, bleak forest surroundings capturing the more downcast, helpless elements of the track, and their actual activities gradually leading to an overwhelming positivity. They begin as foraging for food, and eventually find the group dancing, catching arrows, and seemingly thriving in their environment: clearly, the evolution is designed to represent their emotional maturity, and it’s nicely done. There’s a fun 80′s style to some elements too, particularly the distant camera shots of a lone member that zoom dramatically, and the slightly angled face shots, whilst their tradition of a little co-ordinated dancing continues towards the end as the track hits its peak.

It’s a track that’s mellow enough to allow their personalities and performances to shine through the video, whilst having the right level of liveliness to match up to the climactic sections. A good complement to a strong audio, be sure to grab that track now.

Jimi Hendrix-Earth Blues

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It was a great treat to have some unreleased Hendrix a short while back, and we’ve been gifted even more ahead of People, Hell and Angels‘ digital release on 5th March (the physical release lands on 1st April, for those that way inclined).

Whilst the aforementioned track had a much stronger rock and roll vibe, packed full of Jimi’s glorious wailing guitar, this one fits firmly within the ‘more experimental’ nature this album is said to take. The guitar’s are much more funk-driven, operating more as supporting melody rather than taking prominence, whilst the consistent, steady percussion offers a sense of regularity throughout that defies Hendrix’s slightly more freeform nature. The backing vocals on the hook also add a touch of structure and glamour, giving the track a real ’70s pop feel, and they cap off what’s probably going to be one of the more rounded and accessible tracks for new fans looking to ease into Jimi’s back catalogue. Certainly worth several listens, and be sure to get that album in a few weeks.

Yelawolf-Way Out (Video)

It feels like Yela’s career has stalled slightly, of course not helped by his health issues a short while back, but he’s looking to get back into gear with this release from his upcoming Trunk Muzik Returns.

The track in isolation won’t revolutionise anyone’s day, but when packaged with the video it’s much better. The audio’s got a dark backdrop, with urgent melodies comprised of keys and bassy synths and a slow, menacing percussion line, with the production as a whole creating lots of atmosphere. Yela’s raps are as watertight as most would expect by now, his rapid flows being interspersed with slower work on the hook, though the verses are a tad monotonous at times.

The video utilises the production very well, beginning in relative light before quickly darkening into a horror-esque journey through the woods. Plenty of creepy goings-on featuring alien-style characters, all whilst Yela defiantly cruises through on his quad bike, and the video culminates with a little paranormal activity at the hands of his unwanted visitors. It’s all a little odd, but blends ever so well with the production, and hence is worth a couple of watches.

Quadron-Hey Love

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Rather belatedly, I’ve immersed myself in their self-titled 2010 album in recent weeks, and it’s quite nicely timed that they’ve let loose of a new effort.

Those familiar with Quadron (and some of you unknowingly will be) will wholly expect a slice of easygoing electronic soul, based on their previous works. Think again. This is a much more lively, upbeat track that’s got a stronger pop influence: driven along by a rattling, tribal-esque percussion and mesmerising vocal sample in the verses, the track undergoes a huge upgrade for the hook with a crisp, speedy percussion and a hint of keys, whilst the vocals follow suit with a progressive approach that increase smoothly in intensity from verse to hook. It’s good to see some diversity from the duo, especially when the execution is as effective as this, and there’s definite potential for this to open Quadron up to a much wider, more mainstream audience. Hopefully, more material is coming soon as this is an all-rounder with plenty of replayability.

ANTHM-1 Train (Remix)

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As far as I’m aware, pretty much no-one has put out a good remix of this track, which is not altogether surprising given the track’s original lineup contains many of hip-hop’s best talents.

ANTHM didn’t quite make that cut (though he made his way into my 13 for ’13), so he’s grabbed the production for himself and let loose with a few decent rhymes. He throws forth a couple of likeable flows here, riding along with the production with seeming ease and comfort, whilst his lyrical output packs plenty of the desire and hunger rightfully expected of an upcomer in his position. Just shy of 2 minutes, so it’s a quick listen (unlike the original!) with enough replayability.

A. Chal-Ballroom Riots (EP)

The talented A. Chal almost single-handedly soundtracked my summer last year, with his selection of productions making for superb sunny day listening, and now we’re finally given something more than the occasional track with this 7-track EP.

Interestingly, many of his more recognised tracks aren’t on here, including his (arguable) breakout effort Come Back of almost exactly a year ago, which makes for a strong statement on his part in terms of his confidence in the new material. Credit to him for not using any samples too, a fact explicitly stated on the back artwork, whilst features are kept to a minimum. Both are self-assured decisions, and I thoroughly hope this new work can hit the lofty expectations he’s now set.

The clip here’s a nice trailer for the project, beginning with pictures of angst, isolaton and darkness, before exploding into life with lively dancefloors, sharp scene cuts, bright lighting and much more. It’s a fun intro to the EP backed by what sounds like a solid track, and you can grab the full EP for free here.