As the weeks of 2016 go by, we have seen a rise of new talent step up to the plate and prove that they can hang with the big boys. UK artists likeYxng Baneand TE Dness have dropped new projects while Dizzee Rascal and Wiley have been speaking on their lengthy and established careers. J Cole has given us an insight into life as one of the most promising rappers to come from the US and we saw the welcome return of Macklemore& Ryan Lewis with ‘White Privilege II‘. But what else has been going on in the music scene? We all know that as well as the established artists that are featured, there are tonnes of undiscovered talent that are yet to blow and need some much deserved exposure. Well fear not, as L Ø S T C U L T U R E and Cloud 9 are here to give you the low-down with 9 of the hottest tracks from the past 7 days. So plug in, tune out and sit back as we present;
L Ø S T C U L T U R E | Cloud 9: 014.
1. Demo Taped – Forever Young
Producer/singer/songwriter Demo Taped became one of the biggest breakout stars in 2015. The Atlanta musician dropped an excellent EP Heartand had one of the best songs of the year with ‘Not Enough‘. This week, the young artist turned 18 years old, and he celebrated the occasion with the release of a fitting cover of Alphaville’s bittersweet 1984 hit ‘Forever Young‘. The track is electronic at heart and feels like it could be part of a Nintendo game soundtrack but Demo Taped truly makes the song his own, with autotuned melodies and a voice that pierces through the musical landscape. We expect big things from Demo Taped so stay tuned.
2. Johan – Danger_us
Johan’s debut single ‘Danger_us‘ showcases the enigmatic singer’s delicate voice and knack for catchy, nuanced songwriting—melding pop structure and repetition with odd imagery over sparse, manicured production. The end product feels modern without being inextricably linked to the current moment—its eerie air and memorable writing don’t seem in danger of becoming dated in the near future like so much music that pulls from passing trends. ‘Danger_us’ will earn Johan comparisons to Miike Snow, but his opening stands on its own merit, an enjoyable addition to the landscape of left-field pop, making him on exciting commodity to the modern scene.
3. Goon des Garcons – DIRT
Arkansas rapper Goon des Garcons first impressed critics and won over fans with ‘L.A.W.W.D.‘, a raucous empowerment anthem gaining resonance when taken in the context of Goon’s hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas, capital city of one of America’s most maligned (and often misunderstood) states and a site of continued violence. Now Goon is back with his latest EP FORTHETIMEBEING which is a blend of impassioned raps set against riotous, distorted soundscapes. While the EPisn’t a revelation in craft or style, it plays as an impressive statement of purpose—particularly on ‘Dirt‘, which explodes with tonnes of power and showcases his lyricism.
4. Jorja Smith – Blue Lights
Jorja Smith‘s debut single ‘Blue Lights‘ dropped this week and is truly is a treat. Crafting some of the most blissful, affecting R&B since Lauryn Hill, Smith flows effortlessly over the beat with poppy hooks full of raw and unbridled emotion. What we’re left with is a memorable piece of song writing coupled with astounding delivery. Here is a singer utterly in-tune with her own abilities and talent. The song is a powerful mix of personal observation and social commentary, complete with rap references and utilising a sample from Dizzee Rascal‘s ‘Sirens‘ only adds to the overall effect and puts an authentic and British stamp on the already successful track.
5. Caleb Brown – Gone
17-year-old Baton Rouge rapper Caleb Brownunusual gift of perception emerges in full view on his latest release, ‘Gone‘. The young artist has seen much in his short life and he’s got a far more nuanced ability for expressing his observations than most human beings, let alone artists, his age. As a modern listener and critic, it is fascinating to watch his talent evolve and stretch the bounds of his voice in real time, figuring out new ways to convey his worldview on each song as gains momentum. With experimentation comes mistakes but not with ‘Gone‘ as it feels like a track that is perfect for the time and shows his outlook on modern life and society.
6. Courts – Glass Half Empty
Essex band Courts have successfully crafted the perfect hazy summer sound with irresistible guitar solos, and vocals with bundles of energy. They were also championed last year by Zane Lowe and hailed as his last ever ‘Next Hype’ with their song ‘Part Of‘. Their new track ‘Glass Half Empty‘ has had repeated spins on Beats 1 by Julie Adenuga championing it as a “great tune”. Showcasing their sheer breadth of talent, the rock-tingled cut lends itself to something truly unique, bringing back a guitar-heavy, summer sound. Serving the purpose of filling an open gap in the UK, the Essex boys are bringing back a guitar-infused sound that has been heavily missed.
7. Ye Ali – Cashin Out
Ye Ali provides the soundtrack to the afterparty with his new track entitled ‘Cashin Out‘. The Indiana R&B singer capitalizes on the mood-inducing effects of syrupy rap/sung music with stripper appeal on his newest cut. It may seem like his rapid success came overnight, given the overwhelming buzz generated from his music videos for ‘Tingz‘ and ‘LNF‘, but behind the scenes, Ali has been making big moves well before he even dropped his debut project,Art x Drugs, back in 2013. Ali’s story telling and melodious vocals have continually kept us on edge, yearning for more and this perfectly chilled song was produced by Sxlo, Og Parker, and goldenchyld.
8. Ramriddlz – Hey Mr. RamRod
Ramriddlzhas been continuing his quest of creating these infectious, futuristic R&B cuts – and today serves no different. The Toronto native shares his latest track creation, ‘Hey Mr. RamRod‘ produced by Cameron Pasquale and Jaegen. The track finds the Drake co-signee finessing the bars once again over a syrupy production, laced of course, with a catchy melody per usual. The Mississauga artist knows how to make catchy music, incorporating a hip hop and dance hall sound. The song makes way for his upcoming debut project Sweet 16 due out this year, which will serve us a follow up to his 2015 EP P2P.
9. Matthew Chaim – Vanilla Ways
Montreal singer Matthew Chaim just dropped a new track entitled ‘Vanilla Ways‘, characterized by smokey vocals and youthful anecdotes. We don’t know that much about Chaim and that’s actually quite unfortunate. His music appears to be under the radar but we doubt this scenario will remain for much longer. ‘Vanilla Ways‘ has an anthematic tone to it as Chaim encourages listeners to live their life the way they want and do less talking. The song was produced by Noah Barer, Cavewerk, and Francis Duchesne and leaves us wanting more, which can only be a good sign.