Toro y Moi-Rose Quartz (FaltyDL Remix)

Rose Quartz is definitely one of my favourite tracks from Toro’s excellent Anything In Return album (add Harm In Change and Say That to the list), and whilst remix is probably putting it mildly here, it’s good to see that piece get refreshed here.

This remix essentially reworks the entire track, taking its laidback, progressive nature and filtering it through an electro style that’s experimental and atmospheric in equal measure. There’s a ton of echo throughout, with the percussion reverberating heavily throughout this to create a sense of space and desolation, whilst the crisp drum hits add a slight edge in with that spaced-out vibe. It’s then built on with intermittent melodies, from short vocal samples from the original to distorted keys, and the end result is one that’s a relatively mellow listen, but with a dynamic, unpredicatable edge. Fundamentally, it bears very little resemblance to the original, and hence those looking for a slight tweak on that will be disappointed, but as an independent track its slightly dark, sombre nature makes it worth adding to a winter playlist.

The Jet Age of Tomorrow-Bonus Tracks

jet age
With their third album now released and picking up plenty of hype and praise, the talented duo let an extra four tracks loose that didn’t quite make the cut.

Unlike the LP, there aren’t any huge guest features, which will be just fine for fans of the duo. With that said, Pyramid Vritra is credited on the album, and given that’s actually the alias of TJAOT’s Hal Williams, it should be interesting to hear how that’s going to work. Not a great deal to add here, and I’m sure Jet Age fans will be scrambling for that download link. Free grab courtesy of the duo below.

The Jet Age of Tomorrow-Bonus Tracks

Gold Panda-We Work Nights

Next month is not one to miss in music, it seems. Gold Panda’s Half of Where You Live lands on 10th June, and ahead of that release he lets another single go, and it’s another with plenty of international influence.

This one packs in a huge range of layers in the production, from sharp, piercing mandolin through to the pillowy percussion, and not forgetting the atmospheric synths that lie between them. There’s plenty more, and it’s a typically-detailed effort from Gold Panda that doesn’t merely throw them all in a heap, but rather lays them out intricately into a piece that moves very organically; there are one or two brief periods of downtime that serve as nice recovery points, swallowing up the lively, vibrant production that precedes them before it becomes overbearing, and gently bringing the listener back around to another dose of the high-pitched melodies. Aside from those brief turns, the more energetic aspects of the production evolve well throughout the track, with the first half centred more around the thick percussion and guitar strums, before the mandolin enters the fray to really command the second half of the piece. It’s a great release from Gold Panda, and makes for a strong sign ahead of the album release in a couple of weeks.

Mac Miller-Objects In The Mirror ft. The Internet

I’ve never had anything against Mac’s music at all, but equally I’ve not been fully coerced into launching properly into his work. With that said, his upcoming Watching Movies With the Sound Off album is shaping up to be excellent. Due for release on 18th June (with Kanye and J. Cole, of course), features and producers are set to include Jay Electronica (yep, he’s alive), Earl Sweatshirt, Pharrell, Flying Lotus, ScHoolboy Q, Action Bronson and more. It’s a great lineup, and time will tell if Mac holds his own in such company.

The album’s tracklisting doesn’t have Odd Future’s The Internet featuring on this track, but here they hook up with Mac for a first listen to the Pharrell-produced number from the LP. My lack of exposure to Mac also means his live work is a mystery to me, and here he’ll definitely win some fans with a solid performance; he steps between singing and rapping with a vocal delivery that smoothly hovers the two, and commits either way in small segments and where required. It’s a show of versatility that works for him- he’s not a natural singer and hence isn’t vocally perfect at all, but his imperfections add to what is a raw, committed performance, and the slick instrumentation from Matt Martians and co. not only helps set the mellow vibe, but also fills any gaps in Mac’s vocal work with smooth, relaxing production. I’m very much into this; more of this quality, and there may be a dark horse in the race for the best album on 18th June.

Dinner At The Thompsons-Something About You

Genre-bending Franco-American duo Dinner At The Thompsons present their new EP “DATT: digital audio trip together”. The duo have garnered much praise, ranging from their video “It All Began” to the BBC deeming them a “thoughtful, leftfield success” for trip-hop fans, and including them on their yearly “best-of” roundup.

Fun electro-pop from this duo, with a track that should find a home in many libraries with the summer days drawing nearer. The production throws together lusciously thick percussion and a plethora of electronic samples, effects and melodies, with the track heavily driven by the former in the opening third, before the latter’s impact grows into a more contributory factor. It’s certainly a dynamic piece, with the movement of those electro elements being rather unpredictable at times, and hence there’s a lot of energy buzzing through this one that supports the high-pitched yet rather mellow vocals very well. Those vocals are certainly an enjoyable piece of the jigsaw too, with a strong singalong nature that’s also intermittent enough to allow the production room to breathe.

The video is a series of landscapes projected onto a woman’s back, which sounds remarkably uncomplicated, but will definitely feel trippy; that’s largely due to the calming blue tint that masks each scene’s freneticism, whilst also tying them all together. A psychedelic watch and a positive, upbeat listen, look out for DATT on 24th June.

Joey Bada$$-Word Is Bond

joey badass
On 12th June last year, Joey dropped off his 1999 project. Taking many hip-hop heads by surprise, its throwback nature was impressively nostalgic, and given how much his stock has risen, it’s an opinion shared by a great number of folk. This year, 12th June sees Joey drop off his Summer Knights EP, with this effort scheduled to be its first single.

Statik Selektah helms the production, and does a fantastic job. Combining scratches and booming percussion right out of the DJ Premier playbook, Statik adds his own reflective twist with a sombre piano melody and a touch of atmospheric, airy synth where required. It’s a beat that’ll tick a lot of boxes for the heads, and clearly one Joey relishes with another strong performance- his flow bounces along the strong percussion line well, whilst his lyricism maintains his streak of brash, confident releases, with the two combining to tame what would be an overbearing beat to a less forthcoming rapper. Arguably, a little lyrical introspection might have brought out those reflective melodies more, but it’s a harsh criticism; this is a good performance from Joey over a chunky production, and a strong sign ahead of that EP.

Sophie Delila-Bound to Fall (Video)

A regular collaborator with Nouvelle Vague and having found herself joining Plan B on stage, the London-based Parisian has been catapulted into a world of big-name musicians, a theme that’s relayed in ‘Bound to Fall’. “Life sometimes pushes you to the edge and it’s about how you deal with it, whether you can control things or not,” Sophie says.

A good blend of pop, soul and alternative coming through a vibrant yet mellow voice, and one that I’m sure will find plenty of favour with fans across the board. The track boasts strong production, with stripped back verses of soft keys and minimal percussion juxtaposing well with the hook, which throws in a huge drum line for immediate impact, alongside backing vocals and many more layers that contribute to a grand anchor point. Sophie’s vocals progress between two deliveries, with a gentler opening blossoming into an intense, empassioned performance as the track evolves; it’s crisply done, and there’s proof that she’s got the versatility to do the laidback work just as competently as the more expansive stuff.

The video combines footage from various historical moments and modern travels into a clip that represents the audio very well. Almost every segment chosen here not only fits in terms of lyrical context, but also provides ideal scenery to match the song’s current stage, and hence it’s a good accompaniment throughout. Be sure to catch Sophie at Camden’s Jazz Cafe on 13th June.

Disclosure-You & Me ft. Eliza Doolittle (Toro y Moi Remix)

Disclosure’s single from their hotly-anticipated Settle album (due out on 3rd June) undergoes a rework at the hands of Toro, the creator of what is my favourite album of 2013 thus far with Anything In Return.

The original had relatively sombre verses and it’s the comparatively lively hook that reeled the mainstream crowd in, proving a dancefloor favourite with hints of late 90′s electro and garage. Toro strips out those facets and swaps in a more chillout experimental style, and one which works to the softer vibe of the verses rather than the energetic hook: a relatively minimal production is composed of sharp yet understated percussion, gentle touches of synth and rather relies on the vocals to supply the intensity. The latter is important, as it allows the production to amble smoothly through the track without being swept too heavily into the vocal momentum, and hence there’s a mellow consistency that makes this distinct from the back-and-forth style of the original. There’s enough progression here too as the track grows very subtly throughout, in particular the vocals eventually becoming cut and looped quickly to create a slight freneticism, and again it allows the vocals to work the liveliness into the track. A short cool down follows, and finishes off a good remix; it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s a nice accompaniment to the original.


Prepare to be fully mellowed out. As an ‘a electronic track with an open air feel’, this is unquestionably perfect for those summer evenings, and makes for an excellent introduction to this upcomer.

Built on a platform of atmospheric synths, easygoing percussion and a stuttered vocal effect that creates tons of aura, it’s a well-layered piece of production that does away with long, dragging intros and huge high points to deliver a mesmerisingly consistent listen the full way through. Of course, there are occasional switches and minor momentum changes, and the steady nature of the track as a whole works musically to rather magnified their relatively subtlety, keeping the track interesting and dynamic without removing from its relaxing feel. Certainly worth adding to your playlists, and be on the look out for more from this talented producer.

Masspike Miles-Flatline ft. Wiz Khalifa (Video)

As each week goes by, an upcoming R&B artists reminds me that they still exists, and those individual pieces are really coming together to recover that scene. Masspike’s one that I enjoy but often don’t credit enough, and here’s a good opportunity to do so.

Admittedly, this production caught my ear as it also backs Lloyd Banks’ Live It Up, one of the highlights from his V6: The Gift mixtape (which I’ve been listening to relentlessly recently), though it originally belongs to Miles. Hence, though it may be the wrong way around in terms of actual chronology, this release provides a fresh take on that excellent production, with Miles delivering well. Masspike’s vocals are passionate but delivering in a stop-start manner that allows the thumping production room to breathe and shine, with its bassy nature working against Miles’ shrill voice well, though Wiz’s approach is arguably a little too laidback, and hence he gets thoroughly swallowed within the beat’s intensity.

The clip is simple enough, giving Miles some valuable face time, and most importantly capitalising on the production’s energy with rapid scene shifts, busy, high activity scenes and rightfully making no attempt at telling a story. It’s an easy watch that definitely amps up the audio’s intensity, and you can grab it on Masspike’s Skky Miles 2 project now. Don’t miss out on that Banks version above either.

Mike Posner-IDGAF ft. Pharrell

posner pharrell
An unexpected one that landed this weekend. Not necessarily because of the acts involved, but you’d expect a track of this nature to be held back as a lead single rather than a leak; high praise indeed, but deserved.

The production is that classic Neptunes style, harking back to some of the beats they laced several R&B and hip-hop acts with, as bubbly percussion combines with energetic electronic melodies to create a soundscape of positivity, though with an intense, driving edge. Posner’s vocals have renown adaptability, and here he switches through several styles to make the most of this addictive production: an attitudinal, rap-influenced style makes up most of the verses and pre-hook bridge, with his fun bounce being swapped out for a gentle touch of vocals for the hook, offering a nice cool down period from the lively verses. Pharrell comes through with adlibs and backing vocals where required, whilst also contributing an enjoyable verse of his own as the closer, with his blunt delivery contrasting Posner’s various harmonic styles and once again, demonstrating the versatility of this mainstream-friendly beat. A good slice of mainstream pop/R&B; Posner needs to back this track as it could undoubtedly be a big single for him, particularly with the summer coming up and Pharrell’s stock being incredibly high right now.

The Jet Age of Tomorrow-The Jellyfish Mentality (Album)

Truthfully speaking, this for me is the most exciting album release in months. I’m a huge fan of their previous works, and when they get their ever-experimental formula right on a track, it tends to be a fantastic listen that’ll hang around your playlists for a long time.

Here’s to hoping there’s more of that on this project, their third album. To help boost it along, this one comes with a bigger dose of help from featured artists, with (arguably) Odd Future top four rappers in Hodgy Beats, Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis and Mike G appearing alongside longtime OF affiliates Vince Staples and Casey Veggies, plus Mac Miller, Kilo Kish and Jesse Boykins III. The latter two features boast real potential, as the sonic compatibility of those acts with the JAOT sound is seemingly near-perfect, and hence those could end up as real standout tracks here. Of course, with production helmed by the talented Jet Age duo of Matt and Hal, there’s going to be no shortage of experimentalism and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of variety to enjoy; free grab below.

The Jet Age of Tomorrow-The Jellyfish Mentality

Ludacris-#IDGAF (Mixtape)

The backlash when Luda ‘turned pop’ last year was pretty strong, and he’s back with this offering, compiling tracks he’s been releasing every Friday for the past few weeks with some new, unheard efforts.

He’s definitely cashed that Fast and Furious 6 money early here, as a raft of big names are out with assists. Features include Young Jeezy, Chris Brown, Meek Mill, Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, Mac Miller and French Montana; essentially, a who’s who of guest artists in hip-hop over the last 18 months. There are some strong names behind the board too, with recent Roc Nation signee DJ Mustard, Mike Will Made It and Bangladesh amongst the contributors, and the signs point towards a solid mainstream hip-hop release, and hopefully it’s one that comes without the dance-pop work he’d previously released.


ANTHM-Double Excel (Video)

When ANTHM dropped this remix of Eminem’s Role Model, it certainly caught the attention and made for an excellent refresh of that classic track. It also came as part of an onslaught of material he’d thrown out around that time, and that flurry of work has continued since, with this video being the third he’s released in as many weeks.

It was great to hear such fire in ANTHM’s voice on the audio, and he brings that to life with a relatively simple video that just focuses on him delivering the work. That’s after a fun opening, whereby he crashes the Rap Genius offices to ‘subpoena their database of whack rappers’, and it’s actually quite amusing to see the once-Wall Street banker suit up and play a faux-corporate role here. Of course, that’s juxtaposed well with his rougher street performance that makes up most of the video, with his body language used well to enhance the intense raps. Worth a quick watch, and most definitely worth a listen/download above if you don’t already own this.

Quadron-Better Off ft. Kendrick Lamar

quadron avalanche
Most collaborations are rather predictable, partly because many take place across hip-hop, but here Quadron unexpectedly bring their chillout style together with the rap smarts of Kendrick for a strong track.

Whereas their lead single was a switch in sound for Quadron, this effort is a return to their mellow roots and a track that will satisfy their longtime fans, whilst also providing the newer fans (this collab will create many, I’m sure) a glimpse into what they’re best at. The production is a laidback blend of gentle percussion, soft yet progressive synths and a couple of warm melodies that’ll probably land you on a beach holiday in mere seconds. It grows with time too, incorporating livelier, more exuberant melodies to match Coco’s considerable vocal gifts, with her initially delicate vocals bursting with vivacity as that production evolves. Her performance is typically flawless throughout, whilst Kendrick again shows he’s adapatable to almost any production type, with a watertight delivery packed into an easygoing cadence that blends well with the backdrop; he does it so effectively that his stuttered line quite cleverly breaks the entire track’s flow, and certainly commands attention. Velvety-smooth goodness from Quadron once again, and be sure to grab the Avalanche LP on 4th June.

Earl Sweatshirt-Guild ft. Mac Miller

earl sweatshirt
Earl’s gearing up for that Doris release, and having performed several previously-unheard songs during live shows in recent months, we get the latest studio release from the album here.

A lot of hip-hop fans struggle to get into the distorted vocal modulator effect that some rappers have favoured in recent years (of course, popularised in that time by Tyler, The Creator), so you’re probably going to want to skip this one. I’m generally OK with it, and though eventually some of the smart lines both send across come through well, here the distortion adversely affects their ability to properly inflect their raps and just seems to be laid on way too thick. The similarities that the modulator creates in their pitch does rather cleverly make it tough to tell who’s who on the track, which is a fun novelty but it’s hardly what you’d expect to look for in a hip-hop track and isn’t enough to recover it. The laidback production is a relatively metronomic piece that doesn’t boast any particular highlights, and plodding through offering support to the raps rather than enhancing or outdoing them. It’s not like rap needed an Autotune equivalent but it’s found one, and here it detracts from what might have been an otherwise likeable track.

Caveman-In The City (Video)

The track itself was posted under the guise of it being a bright, summery track with plenty of vibrancy, and whilst it remains so, this video completely flips that vibe and uses the audio to support a dark, horror-esque story that’s morbidly engrossing.

Julia Stiles plays the lead character, who’s seemingly spending some time in New York with her partner; it all starts rather warmly and the hazy, retro-style filter enhances the initial suggestion that this will end up being a simple and positive video of the romance between the two, fittingly set ‘in the city’. However, before long things take a rather dark turn, as a crazed hotel worker sneaks into the couple’s room, hiding behind the curtain until they fall asleep. It’s completely creepy and the menacing lighting tricks used on his face help enhance that feel, whilst his slow, minimal movements creating a sense of deliberacy that makes his actions yet more unpleasant. The initial subtlety (relatively speaking) of his ‘work’ is cleverly played, seeding slight doubts in Julia’s head about whether it was done by her partner or not, a feeling which grows as the lacerations increase in quantity- credit is deserved for her expressions and body language throughout, which express those evolving concerns with great clarity. The ending is rather smart, as the initial belief is that she simply wakes up before being ‘finished off’, but the heavy white lighting is arguably more suggestive of a post-death scenario. A clever video that’s worth a watch, regardless of whether you’re a fan of the track or not.

MeLo-X-Mojitos and Little Dragon

From the stoops of East Flatbush to beach fronts world wide, MeLo-X puts us all in the right frame of mind for that summer time weather with his latest single. This is the first release from MeLo’s forth coming EP “GOD:HiFi” which is a follow up to his last EP “GOD: LoFi”. The new EP is scheduled to drop in June.

MeLo has been absolutely relentless in the last 2 months, churning out singles, videos and an EP, and there’s no sign of slowing down. It’s certainly not a bad thing, as not only is his work unerringly consistent, but there’s so much variety in his craft that it’s difficult to get bored of his output, and hence there’ll be no complaints here. MeLo moves slightly away from the slower, R&B-influenced style of his previous two releases and throws out a production with a strong electronic influence, with crisp melodies flowing above sharp percussion for a piercing, slightly experimental beat, with hints of Flying Lotus’ style embedded in here. His raps are relatively high-paced, with his speed and intensity matching that of the frenetic electro melody, whilst the comparatively gentle hook provides a nice cool-down and contrast from those direct, punchy verses. another good release, and I’m looking forward to getting that full EP next month.

Charli XCX-I Want It That Way (Cover)

Looks like it’s old-school song cover day, as Charli XCX follows up her British compatriots with this rendition of the classic (don’t pretend it isn’t) Backstreet Boys track. When you consider Charli’s alternative, occasionally psychedlic stylings, it’s initially hard to concieve quite how this cover will work.

Press play and that feeling will go away pretty quickly. Charli ditches the more electronic, experimental stylings of some of her work and instead performs a hugely stripped-back cover that offers a good opportunity (and a first, for many) to properly appreciate her vocal talents. I’m in the group of knowing her more for the all-round package than as a vocalist, and this committed performance is a great sign of adaptability, and not only stands her in good stead with her current avenue of creativity, but also shows she’s got more tricks in her bag if she ever switches direction. The supporting production gets a little monotonous at times, with the same couple of keys repeated over and over, but as a showcase of Charli’s ability, this clip works tremendously.

Lupe Fiasco-Animal Pharm

Having fully intended on delivering this to you yesterday, I’m glad to drop it off today as it’s allowed time to digest a lyrical onslaught that Lupe fans will be massively into.

Borrowing Atoms for Peace’s Ingenue, Lupe’s afforded a naturally mellow, reflective soundscape upon which his relentless wordplay is laid out, with a phenomenal range of metaphors, double entendres, and various other literary devices found within. Most apparent is the clear tie-in with the similarly-titled George Orwell book, with Lupe’s constant references back to animals and/or natural factors allowing a consistent thread to run through the lyrically-intense track. The very messages within the book lend themselves to supporting the raps, and heighten the complexity further; even for lines that don’t seem directly associated with the novel, repeated listens probably unveil a connection to the plethora of socio-political messages contained within Orwell’s work, and it’s a level of thinking that both Lupe approaches many of his works with, and his fans are keen to apply. For an in-depth lyrical breakdown, head over to our friends at GWHH who have taken the time to fully dissect the piece in great detail.

The xx and Jessie Ware-Lady / Music Sounds Better With You (Cover)

Seperately, they’re both incredible artists in their own lanes, and together here they remain utterly superb. The unexpected collaborative team churns out a blended cover of Modjo’s Lady and Stardust’s Music Sounds Better With You, ably supported by a slightly tweaked version of Sunset from The xx’s own Coexist album for a diverse track that works far better than it should.

Still with me? Good. In addition to providing the instrumentation for Sunset, The xx themselves deliver the ever-memorable hook from the Modjo original, taking it from its originally-upbeat style down into the sombre, moody soundscape they’re always so skilled at creating. It works almost seamlessly, and that doesn’t change at all when Jessie Ware adds her contribution, that being the iconic hook from the Stardust classic; yet again, it blends as smoothly as you could hope for, though Jessie’s natural intensity and passion prevents it from sinking too deep into the percussion, and instead injects that section of the track with a lot of vibrancy. The tweaks to the instrumentation are well-suited in context, with the guitars coming through on a slightly sharper, more lively style that suits Jessie’s work in particular, and caps off what is a unique and enjoyable performance. There are already fans desperate for a studio mix of the track, and fingers crossed that comes through at some point.

Hit-Boy-Fan ft. 2 Chainz (Video)

One of the standout tracks from Hit-Boy’s HITstory project got a revamp for HS87′s All I Ever Dreamed Of, and it’s a rare example of a rework improving an already-superb track.

The production remains mostly intact, with that unique spin on the N****s In Paris melody (NIP was produced by Hit-Boy originally, of course) being a catchy and familiar listen, whilst Hit’s trademark talent with thick, attention-grabbing percussion layers supports that addictive melody and gives it distinction from its reference point. The sporadic touches of strings and synths also assist with making this a unique soundscape, with the mixture of subtle and overt deliveries adding good transitions where required. Along with a surprisingly likeable 2 Chainz verse added on, Hit’s re-recorded his own vocals, making for fresh listening to those who have played the original to death (me), and allowing him to take advantage of the tweaked beat.

The video takes place on a video/photoshoot, with Hit’s lady of interest working the set and rather quickly being won over. It’s a fun track with energy that wouldn’t have suited a full ‘story’, and hence the bright lights, rapid scene switches and uncomplicated nature brings out the track’s inherent positivity and energy, and also works as welcome camera time for the hugely underrated Hit-Boy. I’d be surprised if this single didn’t get some traction as it’s got the tools to be a mainstream favourite, and you can grab it on that HS87 tape now.

Star One-Freaky ft. Juliette Ashby

Buoyed from their month long residency on BBC Radio 1xtra, sibling duo Star One turn their hands back to production with the feel good Garage number ‘Freaky’. Featuring the catchy, distinctive vocals of Juliette Ashby, Freaky takes inspiration from 90′s 2 step whilst still sounding incredibly refreshing.

It’s been a while since we featured homegrown duo Star One over here, but they’ve won me back with this fantastic throwback to the heady days of UK garage. The production is quintessential UKG with a modern coating, throwing together the uptempo electronic percussion characteristic of the genre with sharp, dramatic synth work, whilst the vocal work travels through the track in a dynamic manner, moving through distortions, stutters and regular vocals with good effect. It’s a track that the old school garage heads will go crazy for, and should certainly be added to your summer playlists on its release this Thursday (23rd May), with a remix from Big Voyage in tow too. There’s also a rather psychedlic accompanying video should you require visual treats to work alongside the audio, and whilst it doesn’t feature the full track, it’s a vivid, relatively trippy clip that’s worth a go.

The-Dream-IV Play (Full Album Stream)

The releases to date have been slightly hit and miss, but they seem to have found a pretty solid mainstream audience, which should stand The-Dream in good stead ahead of this LP’s release in a week’s time on 28th May.

In a rather confident move, he’s allowed the full project to be streamed today, which should help many fans make their purchase decisions ahead of time. The on-again-off-again Beyonce feature has seemingly made the cut, so apparently those sample issues were overcome; good news for many listeners I’m sure, and it’ll be interesting listening to have what should be a complementary set of vocals working alongside one another. I’m a big champion of Dream’s back catalogue (particularly his outstanding debut album), and despite my mixed opinions on the pre-releases singles, I hold hope that this will be another strong addition to his collection. Stream at his Vevo home below.

The-Dream-IV Play (Full Album Stream)

Novel-Pretty Scars (Video)

Late pass. Novel’s Under Water, Overwhelmed EP completely slipped under my radar, but having spent the last few days listening to it almost exclusively, I’ve got no qualms about calling it one of the most consistent R&B projects I’ve heard in months. Across the 6 tracks, Novel seamlessly switches through various styles, applying his strong songwriting ability to a series of good productions, with the latter a notable milestone: his previous works are patchy in terms of quality beat selection, and having Justin Kahler almost exclusively produce this EP has resulted in a consistency that may finally elevate him into the conversation when discussing the cream of today’s R&B crop.

This track can be considered the highlight of the EP, a smooth effort that blends together various styles crisply. Whether it’s Novel’s mixture of singing and rapping, or a production that moves between chillout R&B for the verses and a more upbeat nature on the hook, it’s one that seems to cover off almost all areas in terms of creating a replayable, addictive R&B track. The lyricism combines introspection and positivity, designed to praise his partner in the face of her insecurities, and that’s clearly represented in the video, with the leading lady swinging wildly between carefree happiness and downright depression, giving those lyrics support to ensure they don’t get lost within the mesmerising production. Great track from a very enjoyable EP; stream the EP here, and get it on iTunes afterwards.

Stone Temple Pilots-Out of Time ft. Chester Bennington

stone temple pilots
Chester has a one-of-a-kind voice that we’ve admired for a long time. We know Linkin Park will always be his priority, but we thought it would be cool to try something together.

There’s some ambiguity, but it appears the fantastic Chester Bennington of Linkin Park has signed on to be Stone Temple Pilot’s new frontman. I’m not the owner of much STP material at all, but I appreciate their worth to the rock industry, and it’s good that this accquisition has them back releasing work; the combination is brutally effective. Out of Time is a roaring 3 minute ride, opening with relentless guitar work that rarely eases up in terms of sheer power and intensity, whilst the accompanying percussion is no gentle stroll either, tearing its own furiously energetic path through the track. By my reckoning, Chester’s one of the most versatile vocalists in music, and this uptempo, hard rock style doesn’t phase him at all, with a good delivery that doesn’t overcommit to the hard, angsty delivery in order to tame that dominating instrumentation with strong melody. The combination is frankly excellent, and it’s one that you’ll want to throw in the car immediately; you can stream it below, and download it for free here.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Trailer

20th December is the date, and it can’t come soon enough. It’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t recognise a quote from the hilarious original (which has probably evolved so far beyond its original ‘cult status’ that it’s now not cool to like it again), and the much-anticipated sequel is given a brief preview.

I say preview, this isn’t really that. Instead, it’s the news team each reeling off a little bit of stupidity in the form of yet another quotable, and can be added to the slew of recent hype surrounding this film- that’s been down to the reveal of several cameo appearances, including Kanye West, Drake, Liam Neeson, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sacha Baron Cohen and many more. There isn’t a great deal more to add here, so give it a watch and start looking forward to that release in 7 months.

Smith Westerns-3am Spiritual

smith westerns
A second release from their upcoming Soft Will album, due to land on 24th June, and one that’s markedly different from the bubbly, upbeat style of their previous effort.

Whilst there’s still plenty of positivity in here, it’s rather more earned in its nature. The track begins with rather melancholy string work, with the backdrop being one of airy synths and distant string plucks, and hence it’s not inherently negative and rather bittersweet instead. That emotion grows into eventual positivity, with the vocals becoming more expansive and passionate, moving the partially-unchanged lyricism away from disappointment into acceptance, whilst the production keeps up with a lively final third packed with keys, more freedom within the strings, and bursts of backing vocals that add a vibrant finishing touch. Another good listen, and be sure to grab that album next month.

The Jet Age of Tomorrow-On

Jet Age’s Journey to the 5th Echelon remains one of my favourite chillout albums to date, whilst Voyager isn’t to be slept on either, and they’re gearing up for their 3rd release this Friday, The JellyFish Mentality.

In absolute honesty, this particular track won’t rank in their upper levels. Interestingly though, their experimental nature usually has hit-and-miss moments, and yet this one instead falls somewhere in the middle; listenable, but neither excellent nor terrible. The track’s broken into two segments, with the first taking several cues from the hip-hop and alternative genres with slow, bassy percussion delivered in a sharp, crashing fashion that adds a hint of punk to proceedings, whilst the cacophonous synth work only serves to enhance those raw edges. The vocals are as drifty as ever, but in this context they work in a much more menacing manner, and it’s a display of musical progression from their more electronic origins. With that said, they return to that chillout style for the second segment, throwing gentle melodies under a more vibrant vocal layer, and it’s this section that’ll probably win back the original Jet Age fans, whilst also making for a good introduction to their work if you’re previously unfamiliar. A solid track with touches of progression and quality, and I’m looking forward to getting the full project on Friday.