Chuck Inglish-Swervin' ft. Sir Michael Rocks

Can you believe The Cool Kids haven’t worked together since 2011? Hard to believe that one of hip-hop’s most promising duos went their seperate ways so early on, but they reunite here for a single from Chuck’s upcoming Convertibles album. Whilst that LP is slated to feature names such as Big Boi, Mac Miller and Ab-Soul, it’s this feature that will probably command most attention.

Rightly so too, as it’s a speaker-rattler of a track that’s entirely addictive. There’s no heavy overproducing or ‘two tracks condensed into one’ business going on here; it’s a bassy, percussion-heavy production that cuts back on layers to create an intimidating wall of sound out of what is fundamentally very little. Chuck and Mikey’s laidback raps are a great fit for the production too, as neither attempts to match the beat’s intensity and rather both opt to smoothly ride along with comparatively easygoing flows, with their unique cadences making for enough distinction between the two. No complications or complexities, this is a head-nodding hip-hop jam that’s going to sound rather special on a good set of car speakers.

The Weeknd-Love In The Sky

The build-up to the Kiss Land album continues, as The Weeknd quickly follows up the recent release of Belong To The World with this single. For a man regarded as both enigmatic and mysterious, it’s a surprisingly extroverted approach to the album’s hype trail, and given the quality of the material it’s one that I’m all for.

The previous two singles differed heavily from one another, and this continues the trend with a gentle, much softer approach that will definitely reel in the House of Balloons dedicates. The delicate vocals throughout are reminiscent of many of the works on that mixtape, and hence they’re a mesmerising, crisply-delivered set that really make the most of The Weeknd’s significantly improved (and rather philosophical) songwriting abilities here. He’s backed by a production that’s part-atmospheric R&B, part-alternative, with the airy synths and slow percussion creating an expansive backdrop, which is intermittently pierced by jagged guitars and occasional sharper bursts of drum work- those alternative elements help to add a level of intensity that makes for a natural evolution of his wintery, nighttime soundscapes, and assist in preventing the track’s sound from straying too close to his previous works. A good release, and another positive sign ahead of that album release.

Sango-Affection ft. JMSN

Best known (in my world, at least) for his excellent reworkings of The Weeknd’s mixtape work some time ago, Sango’s now preparing to step away from that remixer tag and break out with some original works, notably his recently-released North album.

His remixes of The Weeknd’s work showed a clear interest in, and talent with, dark R&B-style productions. That sensibility comes to the fore here, as he serves up an atmospheric, moody production that most in the alt R&B scene would be rather proud of- the blend of bassy percussion, airy synths and crisp claps is as minimal as you like, and yet each is delivered at such an intensity that they completely fill out every available corner of the sound wall. Combine those factors with JMSN’s own penchant for dark productions, and on paper you’ve got a collaboration that should work perfectly. It bloody well does too. JMSN’s pleading tone adds bags of emotion to the cold, nighttime production, filling it with a realism and warmth that works smoothly with the beat’s natural forlorn, reflective qualities, whilst the intensity of the performance matches up well with the powerful production.

A hugely successful collaboration, and be sure to grab it on that album now.

Basement Jaxx-What A Difference Your Love Makes

After bursting back onto the scene with the leftfield but incredibly catchy Back 2 The Wild, the boys are heading in another direction with their latest single; namely, throwback house.

This is right out of the early 00′s era of UK dance music, and hence I expect it’ll be a favourite for many this summer. Buzzing synths, high-tempo percussion and a pack of additional melodies all combine for an upbeat, uplifting track with relentless consistency- the production is unerringly positive from start to finish, throwing in influences from funk, house, trance, pop and more for a surefire dancefloor filler. Topping it all off is a set of hugely addictive vocals from upcoming singer Sam Brookes, whose performance is not only suited nicely to this electronic anthem, but shows hints of a soulful quality that might make him one to look out for in a solo capacity. For now though, this is another win for the veteran act, and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t end up as a club and radio favourite in the coming weeks.

Washed Out-Don't Give Up (Video)

Having been a fan of the audio on its release a few weeks back, it’s good to see Washed Out return to his luscious soundscape with an equally exquisite video accompaniment.

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re watching Discovery or Nat Geo with this. It plays out like an advertisement for the greatest nature documentary of all-time, featuring slow-motion clips of some of the natural world’s most incredible sights, from free-roaming wild cats to vivid marine life, and adds masses of grandeur to an already-expansive production. It’s ever so simple, yet the rich depth of colour, slow-motion capture and the sheer biodiversity combines for a natural style that may be familiar in other forms of media, but is rarely executed in such fashion for music videos. His dreamy soundscape is a perfect fit for the spectacular scenes too, with the two combining well- the reflective, relaxing aura of the audio is an obvious fit for such visuals, with the brilliance and variety of the colours also helping to build on the track’s inherent mellowness by injecting flashes of intensity. A very enjoyable experience all-round, and don’t forget to grab his Paracosm album on 13th August.

Childish Gambino-Centipede

childish gambino
It’s been quite some time since we got some new Gambino, and after the announcement that his involvement in season 5 of Community will be significantly reduced (and there’s talk he’ll be killed off too?!) so he can focus more on his music, it’s a release that many will hope precedes several more.

If you ever wanted to encapsulate the trichotomy of Gambino’s work as an artist, this track does it for you. Opening up in an alternative, acapella fashion, the opening is reminiscent of his earlier, more leftfield work and focuses on his oft-forgotten skill as a vocalist. We heard plenty of those vocals on Camp, an album which also featured the type of contemplative production and storytelling lyricism that makes up the second segment of this track, with the delicate piano melody and relatively quick raps combining for an effort that would have slotted in well on that LP. The third segment is a bassier, more aggressive approach that’s closer to his work since Camp, particularly on Royalty, delivering the same semi-autobiographical lyricism in a more intense manner that fits the harsher, grittier production he’s provided with. It’s a good performance throughout, with the three distinct sections held together by the songwriting, and in theory there should be something in here to satisfy each section of his fanbase- stream and download here.

Esko the Kid-Nightmares ft. Sarah Green

Lupe’s FNF label is still going, and signee/frequent Lupe collaborator Sarah Green hooks up with its latest signing in Esko for a single from his upcoming Young & Restless II mixtape.

It’s a contemplative, introspective effort that’s got some great storytelling lyricism throughout, with Esko essentially running through his thoughts, social environment and professional positioning. His work is certainly relatable, and his willingness to expose his fears, concerns and insecurities on record is commendable, whilst from a technical perspective his delivery is consistently sharp and speedy throughout, making for a good performance from the upcomer. Sarah anchors the track very well with her empassioned vocals, whilst the minimal backdrop of piano keys and light percussion enhances the reflective atmosphere of the track, finishing off what is a good slice of introverted hip-hop. In truth, it’s just nice to hear an upcomer who isn’t trying to convince anyone he’s already laced with money and jewels.

Daley-Songs That Remind Me of You EP

The talented Mancunian dropped off a video of the same name a short while back, and now returns with this 3-track EP, featuring the title track and two brand new efforts to accompany it.

With his Days and Nights album hopefully on its way soon, it’s great to get some new material from Daley to keep that buzz going and satiate the fans until that gets a firm release date. He is, of course, one of our nation’s finest upcoming talents, seamlessly working across soul, pop and R&B confines as and when he chooses, and with plenty of mainstream exposure under his belt across the last 12 months, this free EP will hopefully add to his growing reputation and establishment within the UK music scene. He’s got plenty of admirers internationally too, with Maxwell publicly praising his work (likely down to his sublime Pretty Wings cover), and it’s surely only a matter of time before Daley becomes one of soul’s leading lights.

I got massively carried away there. Stream and download available in the accompanying widget.

Kanye West-Black Skinhead Video (for real this time)

It appears the previous clip masquerading as the official video for this track wasn’t quite final or official, and after expressing his disgust at its leak last week, ‘Ye drops off the official accompanying visuals.

The video is mostly the same, though there are a handful of adjustments- the graphics are smoother, and there’s much more done with the quickfire transitions between track segments. The latter effect is clearly part of the video has becoming interactive, and I use that term a little loosely: when you hit Kanye’s site, there’s a press release on how it’s an ‘online interactive experience’, but you can pretty much just adjust the speed/pitch, and take some screenshots. Aren’t these things people can do anyway?

Not to criticise someone trying something new, but it’s not actually new. The quick transitions and image flashes (surrounding the dog barks, for example) is geared toward that screenshotting idea, encouraging folk to try and capture all of the brief items put on show and share them around. It’s a fun thought, but with the video being so minimal and stripped-back, you wonder whether anything found would enhance the experience of both the song and the video. Credit for trying something different though. Watch the clip here.

Jesse Boykins III-P.O.P. (Purpose or People) EP

Longtime OTU favourite Jesse Boykins III returns to the spotlight with his latest EP release, an extensive 13-track project that packs in a variety of covers, remixes and original material.

It’s a mixture of new and old material, and whilst long term fans will see 1 or 2 familiar tracks amongst the list, it’s mostly fresh work that has plenty of potential. Artists covered include Coldplay, Lana Del Rey, Drake and Chris Brown, and should provide a nice platform for JB3′s superb vocals to flourish in different sound environments; whilst he’s primarily praised for his more laidback work, there are some tracks on here that will undoubtedly require a heavier, more emotional approach, and I fully expect the talented upcomer to prove his worth once more. Stream only for now, but fear not as a download is due to follow soon, and will come packaged ‘with unheard goodies’. Improve your evening and check that stream out now.

For a little accompanying reading, check out his interview with RBMA here, where he speaks on both this EP and his upcoming solo LP.

FIDLAR-Cocaine ft. Nick Offerman (Video)

When a music video features Nick Offerman, and is hosted on Funny or Die, you know it’s going to be pretty fantastic. It helps that the track itself is pretty lively too. This is NOT safe for work/kids/when your parents are in the room etc.

FIDLAR serve up a thoroughly energetic backdrop, combining aggressive vocals, punishing guitars and powerful percussion into a track that’s entirely relentless throughout. There are no breaks-this one just keeps coming at you with its throwback brand of punk that’ll evoke memories for many of punk’s most recent renaissance at the turn of the century. It’s a fun yet angsty listen that will certainly be a good addition to libraries in need of a bit of new school punk to liven up a summer playlist.

The video will keep you coming back for more though, and it’s beautifully simple. Nick Offerman gets fired from his job, and ends up getting drunk in an alleyway and urinating across the city of Los Angeles. That’s pretty much it. There are gratuitous penis shots, cars being cleaned with urine, and plenty more. Worth a watch for its sheer ridiculousness, though be warned- it might make you want to pee (everywhere).

Drake-Girls Love Beyonce (SBTRKT Remix)

Having collaborated in the past, most recently on The Motion, SBTRKT (indirectly) hooks up with Drake again for this remix of the James Fauntleroy-featured R&B jam.

Any links to the original are hardly noticeable in truth. Under SBTRKT’s influence, it has become a glitchy, experimental production that throws together stop-start percussion, a plethora of crisp, piercing melodies and a touch of James’ vocal harmonies, with the latter being the only obvious connection to the original. Given that it doesn’t have the smooth, sultry vibe of Drake either, it can be fairly taken as a piece independent to the original, and in that light it’s a relatively easy listen that I’m sure many chillout electro heads will be really into.

Phoenix-Trying To Be Cool (A-Trak Remix)

The infectious positivity of the original track is worringly addictive, and you throw the ever-enjoyable A-Trak into the mix, and you’ve got a twist on that catchy song that’ll command equal footing in your summer playlists.

Coming in at a shade over 7 minutes, it may seem daunting at first (for those with a small brain), but it’s dynamic enough to keep you entertained the whole way through. The opening makes great use of the inherent positivity transmitted by the vocals, throwing them above a production that’s rather similar to a sped-up version of the original backdrop. A-Trak’s influence in wielded more strongly in the following section, as he throws forth bright, vivid synths that infuse the track with a bounce that’ll allow this to translate to the club scene rather easily- it’s a clever juxtaposition, as the heavy utilisation of the original in the intro contrasts well with its almost complete omittance from the middle portion. The track switches back to something resembling that intro once again, but with much more vibrancy, as A-Trak pairs those uplifting vocals with a lively yet slow-building production, leading into an explosive final quarter that brings the buzzing synths of the middle section back. Sure to be a favourite with the electro and house fans, and one worth throwing onto your sunny day playlists.

Trinidad James-I Need Mo' (Odd Future Remix) ft. Hodgy Beats and Mike G

i need mo
Seems like it was a long time ago that he was hip-hop’s most buzzed about artist, eh? Trinidad James returns with an OFWGKTA assist on his most recent single (I suspect many of us hadn’t heard the original), and don’t worry- he’s still talking about gold.

That said, this is far less of a gimmicky track that his popular All Gold Everything. The production’s a smooth blend of distorted horns and atmospheric percussion with tons of bass, generally carrying a clunky, jazzy vibe that peaks well during the verses rather than the hook, and ends up making this quite endearing. Trini’s hook is another ‘yell it at the top of your voice in a club, but never listen to it at home’ type, but it’s the verses you’ll stick with this one for; Mike G opens in familiar fashion, delivering his effortless raps in that inimitably rhythmic style, before Trini throws his hat in the ring with an energetic, arrogant performance. Hodgy closes out with a verse somewhere between the two, combining a relatively laidback flow with brash confidence, and finishes off what is a fun bit of light listening to get your head nodding in the car.

Kings of Leon-Supersoaker

Their sixth album, Mechanical Bull, arrives on 24th September, and the band have let loose the first single from that upcoming LP. Their previous album was certainly one of my favourites from their back catalogue, with its distinct Americana influence making for a thoroughly excellent listen from start to finish, and hence my expectations for this album are rather high.

They’ve allowed some of the aforementioned sound to seep into this one a little, though as with their previous albums, there’s still a sonic alteration that has its own distinctivity. That comes via the sharp instrumentation, which does away with the gentler, more subtle stylings of many tracks on Come Around Sundown, and instead operates in an intense, upbeat manner that combines fast-paced guitars and relentless percussion into a near-cacophonous soundscape. Whilst it’s not necessarily easy on the ears, it is a fun, uplifting listen that’s perfectly suited to a summer day, and feels far more positive and youthful than previous works- that upbeat quality extends to the vocals too, with Caleb’s vocals incorporating a more free, expressive nature that combines well with the frenetic backdrop he’s supported by.

It won’t penetrate the mainstream as some of their previous lead singles have, but I’d imagine it’ll satisfy those who enjoy their work beyond the radio hits. Available now.

Earl Sweatshirt-Hive ft. Casey Veggies and Vince Staples (Video)

Regular collaborators with the Odd Future clan and now contributors to Earl’s upcoming Doris album, Vince and Casey come along for the latest release from that LP. Due for release on 20th August, it’s certainly an album hip-hop heads are anticipating, and this effort should whet the appetite until then.

First thing many will notice is Earl’s flow approach- comparisons will be drawn with Tyler, The Creator’s deadpan, dulcet style, and that familiar delivery actually allows Earl’s smarter lyrical work to shine through. He’s backed by a dark, ominous production throughout, with its minimal stylings built up on chunky bass, crisp cymbals and a dash of melody; there’s not a lot to it, and it creates a rather eerie soundscape that suits Earl’s moody flow very well. Vince Staples’ more nasal style makes for a good switch away from that dark style, with his arrogant nature adding a touch of regularity to this relatively leftfield piece.

The video’s a relatively simple one, with plenty of darkness throughout capturing the audio’s uneasy vibe, whilst the sporadic bits of high activity with the bike riders and loose dogs adds a touch of threat to proceedings. A grim, haunting effort that sets Doris up well.

The Weeknd-Belong To The World (Video)

This track samples Portishead’s Machine Gun, but guitarist Geoff Barrow has publicly stated that they refused sample clearance, as “we usually give sample clearance to tunes we like. its got *** all to do with money!”. Clearly, he’s rubbed some people the wrong way, so I’d be surprised if this makes the cut for his Kiss Land album, rumoured for a 27th August release.

A recent interview with Complex suggested this LP may be an even darker, more negative turn for The Weeknd, and the spiky nature of this certainly packs in a little of that downbeat mood. That being said, it’s certainly not as wholly aggressive as the album’s title track, progressing through a dark opening into a melodic, more uplifting style that borders on outright positivity. The production is expertly put together, opening primarily with Portishead’s stuttery percussive sample for a gritty, rather industrial opening that sets up for a sharp, jagged soundscape; that expectation is slowly broken, as the production introduces increasingly expansive synths, a hint of strings, and most importantly The Weeknd’s progressively emotional vocals. His performance is stellar throughout, gliding over the unexpected twists of the production with consumate ease and keeping a consistent melodic strand running through the unpredictable beat. The lyrics are much stronger than his previous releases too, with an emotional outpouring that much tighter around the edges, and geared more around capturing a synergy with the production than expressing arrogance.

The video’s a very likeable watch. Much like the Kiss Land video, it’s set in Japan with a heavy cyberpunk influence, combining dark, industrial scenery with bright technology for a gritty yet futuristic vibe that benefits from a surprisingly emotive performance from the oft-expressionless crooner. An audiovisual that I’d certainly recommend giving full attention, and I’d argue it’s his strongest video to date. Hopefully, an audio release comes soon.

Audio Push-Space Jam ft. Lil' Wayne

audio push
Hip-hop duos are increasingly rare these days, and it’s good that the upcoming talents of Audio Push appear to be getting plenty of traction within the industry. There’s a fun novelty about paired acts, and in the case of these two, it’s helped by the fact they’ve got a strong natural energy that makes for solid mainstream work.

It’s not quite on par with the speaker-crunching intensity of their most recent single, but it’s a radio-friendly effort that could prove a big hit for them this summer. The production’s repeated vocal sample makes for hypnotic listening, whilst also adding a liveliness to complement the buzzing percussion and triumphant synth work, with the overall combination being an energetic sound that suits the duo well. Of course, it’s no lyrical masterclass from any of the acts involved (including another lazy Wayne feature), but it’s mainstream fare that should knock nicely in your vehicle of choice. Free grab below.

MeLo-x-Handle It (Video)

Remixing archetypal visual concepts, we journey with sonic creator, MeLo-X, through space and time. Paying homage to Sci-Fis and classics by Jean-Luc Godard, Handle It combines the vernacular of hip hop and La Nouvelle Vague to take the artist’s vision to a new form of expression.

You hear a song like this, and you rightly expect a smooth, sleazy video to accompany the sexuality oozing out of it. However, this is MeLo-X; a man determined to prove his worth as an all-round artist, and hence that’s exactly what you don’t get.

The video is hugely minimal, contrasting with the lavish production in a monochromatic, hypnotising environment. As the character initially struggles within her apparent entrapment, MeLo’s comparative serenity contrasts that excellently, before his own level of activity rises to include falling through the blank space. The clip progresses to an interaction between the two, both seemingly accepting of their situations and bringing complete calm to the clip, before the ‘curtain is pulled away’ and MeLo is alone once more. It can be taken as the struggle of MeLo to court someone, the suffocation his significant other feels with him, or it’s more insular and about MeLo’s own repressed memories of a loved one and the internal struggle therein. Pick one, and see what works-either way, it’s a smooth, easy-to-watch video that certainly isn’t what you’d expect from the audio. Available on the free God: LoFi EP.

Jamie xx-Sunset Remix (Video)

Many understandably find it odd when an act remixes one of their own songs, but to me, it shows that a song doesn’t have to be cut loose and full stopped when complete; there’s room to move a track in another direction. That’s not saying a song needs improvement, but simply applying its component pieces in a different way extends its life beyond one mode of output.

And that’s what Jamie does with this remix. It’s by and large all the same parts that made up the original, but shuffled around a touch, most notably with the dulcet guitar plucks altered into a more stunted approach, whilst the changes are embellished by crisper percussion and a higher tempo. There are segments which are near-identical to the original too, particularly the first half of Romy’s vocals, and hence it feels like a sideways move on the original rather than attempting to completely overhaul it-a move that I’m on board with, given the original’s fantastic quality. The rework ends up retaining the dark, moody vibe of its origin work, but injects a touch of energy and positivity that makes it much better suited to the summer than the original, and hence is a good reimagining of the piece.

The video is made up of footage from a French TV show, and whilst the throwback clip clearly has no direct or obvious link to the song, its minimal, oddly hypnotising nature links up to the audio well. Worth a watch, and definitely worth a listen.

Justin Timberlake-Take Back The Night

Apologies for the recent absence. It’s easier to be outdoors than indoors. Time to catch up with the releases of the last few days, and none are bigger than the first single from The 20/20 Experience, part 2.

Suit & Tie came with a little bit of an old-school vibe, and that carried through to one or two tracks on JT’s recent album. However, this time Justin’s really backed that vintage sound with this effort, channelling a throwback sound that lands pretty close to the Jackson 5/Michael Jackson’s early work. The funk-driven production is the primary component of this track’s retro flavour, with the bouncy melodies being eerily reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, whilst the sporadic string touches add a touch of classical vibrancy to fill out that soundscape. It’s hard to shake the impression that it’s a slowed down version of the aforementioned Michael Jackson single, and in truth that’s not necessarily a bad thing-it’s almost a cover without being a cover, and hence plays quite safe territory by evoking the fond nostalgia of the original, without ever directly replicating it.

The vocal work is solid throughout, with JT remaining fun and harmonic without being too overbearing, and hence allowing the distinctive production to breathe. Unfortunately, there are some Timbaland adlibs. Can’t that guy shut up?

RDGLDGRN-Lootin' In London ft. Angel Haze (Video)

RDGLDGRN’s progression to international acclaim will be no surprise to frequent OTU readers, and the praise and co-signs keep on rolling in. With both Dave Grohl and Angel Haze featuring on this track’s audio, that’s only going to grow.

It’s another anthemic track from the trio, but one with a much moodier, more intense undercurrent that moves away from their more jovial, upbeat style. The instrumentation has an engulfing harshness, with the driving guitars taking the production somewhere between indie and heavy punk, whilst the comparatively slowed-down percussion adds a head-nodding hip-hop quality to prevents the track getting lost in the blistering guitars. Green’s raps are well-delivered again, taming a ferocious production with consumate ease, whilst the infectious hook anchors the track with its defiant, singalong nature. It’s a move into the motivational and rebellious side of the rock-rap style, a hybrid sound they can now claim to have delivered in several guises with skill and consistency.

Their long-term fans know they’ve got a great love for football, and they’ve incorporated that quite organically here. Featuring two opposing teams, the aggressive instrumentation and brash raps would suggest a violent confrontation brewing, and its fitting to instead see the clip conclude with a game of football between the two factions. Another potential radio favourite. Available now.

ANTHM-The Fire Next Time EP

So, this happened. With very little prior announcement (or at least, that I’d seen), ANTHM attempts to keep his unrelenting pace of releases up with another brand new free EP- he’s clearly got intentions of forcing his way through that glass ceiling to wider recognition, and this 8-track release will likely prove another strong addition to his underrated back catalogue.

It’s a huge show of confidence when a relatively underground act can drop off an EP with little-to-no promotion beforehand. Given the heavy promotion and disorienting marketing tactics of certain mainstream rappers, this actually comes as a welcome break from that public posturing, and the self-assurance continues through the tracklisting-no features are listed, and after the assist from Blu on (and simply having Blu’s name associated with) his last EP, it’s clear ANTHM wants to strip it all back a little and work this one solo. Credit to him for that, and given the consistency of his previous work, I’m sure this will be a good EP from start to finish. Stream and grab below.

ANTHM-The Fire Next Time EP

Miguel-Adorn Remix ft. Jessie Ware

jessie ware
This single has got some serious longevity. Released almost a year ago, its popularity seems to show little sign of waning, and Jessie Ware now helps to extend its shelf-life even further.

It’s a great feature too. Instead of slipping into the simplicity of just contributing a guest verse, Jessie provides a gently contrasting set of vocals throughout, turning the track into a type of duet that has a fantastically old-school flavour. The original had a strong R&B vibe, but this addition certainly helps drag it across into the soul territory a little, and for those of you that have played the original to death, the extent of Jessie’s contribution makes it a worthwhile rework that you can throw on in place of the original to refresh its sound. Given that it’s been given radio play and acknowledgement by Jessie on Twitter, I’d expect an official release in due course.

Floco Torres-Celebratory Screams, Childhood Dreams EP

After ending a 3 year relationship & a 15 hour drive, it was time to be “real” with myself and quit music. I went home to be around people that would only tell me I’m f**king up if it was actually true. Although I didn’t tell that to Infinite Quest at first, we started recording an untitled EP for fun while I was home for the holidays. I walked around my old neighborhood, took the train, met up with a few old friends & just wrote everything I wanted to say at the time as if this was my last project. All the shit we went through to not lose these songs, I wanted to present them as best as I could, & the ones that I couldn’t, I’d give you a disclaimer that I want you to hear them anyway (One Step Away). You can download for free or donate as usual. From us, to you, we hope you enjoy this EP in all it’s flaws and awesomeness.

Normally, I avoid letting the artist’s intro take up too much room on my posts, but here I’ll break the rule as it paints the picture of this EP beautifully. Whilst the releases we’ve had so far have completely stood up on their own merit, with Floco’s personal lyrics being a highlight, and that interesting backstory lends further depth to what promises to be an excellent EP release. Can’t wait to get this into my iTunes, and you can stream, download and/or buy it below.

Floco Torres-Celebratory Screams, Childhood Dreams EP

Kanye West-Black Skinhead (Video)

Yeezus‘ novelty has worn off, but this track remains one of the album’s few enduring highlights. The production lands in a middle ground between crunching industrial rock and speaker-battering hip-hop, squeezed into an intense, frenetic overall package that has a certain infectious energy about it. Unlike vast portions of the album, the lyricism isn’t entirely focused around his wealth either, rather coming across as an arrogant and rebellious stream of consciousness that suits the powerful production down to the ground.

The video is about as minimal as the album attempted to be (for all the claims that it’s super minimal, it’s still quite lavish and maximal in places). Black and white is the theme, and the sole character is a CGI version of Kanye, complete with heavy gold chain and what I assume to be a rather ‘altered’ body type. Digital Kanye’s movements are intercut with occasional blasts off aggressive animal mouths, glitchy, armour-esque dress, and aside from that, there isn’t a huge amount going on. Its odd, dark nature works well with the audio without question, and makes for a strange (in a good way) accompaniment to a truly leftfield track. Yeezus available now.

Mac Miller-Gees ft. ScHoolboy Q (Video)

The dust has most certainly settled, and several folk I’ve spoken to would agree; Mac delivered the best album of the three big releases on 16th June. It’s not full of leftfield beats like Kanye’s, or packed with laidback jams and throwback sampling like Cole’s, but it’s got some solid productions and strong features that carrys several tracks into much longer-term listening territory.

This was one of my favourite tracks from Mac’s Watching Movies With The Sound Off, and not for any smart or clever reason. Quite the opposite-it’s fun, lighthearted hip-hop with a bouncy production, with catchy and infectious qualities to boot. A lot of the lyricism is silly stuff too, but clearly it’s a track that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and hence is a pretty easy listen throughout, especially when compared to the discordant sounds of Yeezus, and the occassional blandness of Born Sinner.

The video follows the audio’s lead, with Mac hanging around not achieving a great deal, and instead pretty much being high around his neighbourhood. Q’s smooth verse is lively and colourful, featuring him eating and hanging around in a red light room. Simple. There’s no pretension or unnecessary layering here-it’s fun hip-hop that has a good knock to it. Get it on the album.

Mayer Hawthorne-Where Does This Door Go (Full Album Stream)

There’s only a week to go until Mayer’s album lands, and the good chaps over at NPR have grabbed an early stream of the LP for listeners to enjoy. The previously-released Her Favorite Song has proven a strong, enduring single, and certainly offer hope ahead of this album’s release.

It feels as though it’s Mayer’s time for mainstream success, and appearances from Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell on this project will certainly help that cause. He’s vocally gifted and lyrically talented, and the only unpredictable variable is his choice of productions- signs suggest he’s not rooting completely in the vintage stylings of his back catalogue, and is rather infusing that with a more modern soul approach for the best of both worlds. All assumptions in truth, and only a listen of the album below will provide answers. Be sure to support next week.

Mayer Hawthorne-Where Does This Door Go (Stream)

Austin Paul-Believer (Video)

Austin’s excellent Velvet EP was a recent treat, and he’s now preparing Disparia for release. This first single shows a little switch in direction, as Paul slightly pulls away the smooth coating the previous EP came with, and substitutes in a harsher, sharper sound.

From the production side, that jagged quality comes from crisper percussion and a couple of piercing melodies, and though it’s all still rolled into a mellow sound, they offer a hint of contrast that adds vibrancy to proceedings. Vocally, the changes are more apparent-Austin moves away from the gentle, drifting style and into a higher pitch, allowing his work to come across with more intensity, and hence penetrating the soundscape more than a softer delivery might. It’s a good track that doesn’t stray too far from what he’s good at, but shows plenty of progress.

The clip is rather dark and minimal, covered in monochromatics that serve to enhance the moody, slightly uneasy production. The content of the video offers the same facets, featuring unusual activities and interactions with Austin and two others, and whilst it’s all a bit creepy, it fits the audio well. Look out for the EP on 18th July.