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New Artist: Nathaniel Rateliff

From somewhere amidst the chubby cheeks and impressive moustache comes Nathaniel Rateliff’s voice, unique in its ability to both soothe and arrest the listener. His endearing demeanour coupled with an original brand of Americana-Folk makes Mr. Rateliff instantly likeable. Since his album In Memory Of Loss came out last year, he’s been gradually acquiring a committed following, including self-proclaimed drinking partner Marcus Mumford and Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant. Shroud and You Should’ve Seen The Other Guy are brilliantly crafted songs and deserve greater recognition. The latter in particular, an ode to his grandfather, showcases Rateliff’s vocal range and heartfelt lyrics. The Denver songsmith is a breath of fresh air in a folk scene which can often be criticised for taking itself a bit too seriously.

New Artist: Youngteam

Yesterday, sonic chameleon Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum and one half of Sepalcure) tweeted the sounds of star pupil Will Johnson (Youngteam) from The New School in New York. Taking influences from Samiyam, Bonobo, Boxcutter and of course both of Travis Stewart’s projects, 19 year old protégé Youngteam has climbed aboard the fast moving ship of loose Garage in a vast ocean of Electronic music. Being a guitarist has pushed his sound into new quarters, with track Seasondeux fusing an acoustic guitar riff with ambient chords, spaced-out arpeggiators and rolling drum hits, in a similar vain to Mount Kimbie. The track is utterly absorbing and we can only dare you to listen below and not get pulled into its nebulous atmosphere. Lets hope we get more of the same in the coming months.

New Artist: MellowHype

By now, every Hip-hop head in the world should be well versed with the movementsof OFWGKTA, a young collective of L.A. rappers/skaters, steered from the front by 19 year old luminary shepherd Tyler the Creator. Within this extraordinarily talented pack are two wolves, Hodgy Beats and Left Brain, entertaining a shared vision of laidback and upbeat Hip-hop vibes, hence their name MellowHype. Left Brain’s beat science melts dream pads with fresh coast drum hits, whilst Hodgy provides the L.A. flow and sharp wit to make this a truly righteous duo. In fast-paced Odd Future style, they released two albums in 2010 and will also be releasing Numbers, their debut album on Odd Future Records, later this year. You can download YelloWhite and BlackenedWhite for free here, and watch this space for more updates on the next big thing to storm out of the Odd Future house of Hip-hop. Below we’ve posted a track off their YelloWhite album and an exclusive live performance of 65, a track off future releaseNumbers.

New Artist: DELS

Defining himself as both a rapper and a graphic designer, it is no surprise that DELS’ productions marry these talents. Trumpalump, with its accompanying music video and ‘Quiet Remix’, is the best example of this artistic union. The song is all about blurring boundaries, both lyrically – between the idea of dreaming and reality, and musically – through two contrasting beats, one discordant, one catchy and soothing. In the song’s video, DELS explores the boundaries of reality with a set of half monochrome, half colour. This artistic trickery is given greater insight in the ‘making of’ video and certainly demonstrates his commitment to having visual lyrics. The final complement to the Trumpalump release is Joe Goddard’s ‘Quiet Remix’, featuring master of calm Hip-hop, Ghostpoet. Here, the trio focus on the smoother sounds of the original to produce a dreamy end-product, well worth a listen. With the debut album Gobs hitting the shelves last month, and the June release of another Joe Goddard collaboration, now would be the time to investigate this multi-talented musician.

New Artist: Kyla La Grange

Even the most ardent followers of underground music need a powerhouse of a pop song to sing in the shower. For those looking for something more contemporary and guilt-free than Diana Ross or Whitney Houston, the answer can be found in Kyla La Grange’s indie-pop anthem Walk Through Walls. It’s certainly not a conventional career path for a Cambridge Philosophy graduate, but with a voice so strong and compelling it was a risk worth taking. With a catchy chorus and impressive vocal range shown in the numerous “Wooohoooo”s throughout, it is easy to see why the single has been lauded by Radio 1′s Huw Stephens and Rob Da Bank. If you like what you hear, listen to Vampire Smile, also available as a free download and equally appropriate for those shower sing-a-longs.

New Release: Rashaan Ahmad – Pain On Black

As emotive hip-hop songs go, Raashan Ahmad’s Pain On Black is up there with the best. On a hiatus from rap-group the Crown City Rockers, the New Jersey born rapper has used the time to focus on making jazz-infused Hip-hop. His most recent album, For What You’ve Lost was released rather discreetly last year and Pain On Black is its second single. And what a gem. In Ahmad’s own words it was written as the world was crumbling around him, and you get the sense of his heart and soul being poured into the lyrics. Rapping in one continuous verse, Ahmed barely pauses for breath, so pressing is his desire to tell the listeners about his struggle. But this is no ego-trip and Ahmed seems truly thankful for where he is now. Musically, Pain on Black is made by the triumphant trumpet sample, which compliments the song’s message. The struggle that made the song is the listener’s gain, and by this reckoning Raashan Ahmed’s next release will be a much better-known affair.

New Release: Drake – Dreams Money Can Buy

Following our previous post on Jai Paul, we wanted to express our pride that his brilliant BTSTU has been sampled by Drake in a song leaked this week off his forthcoming album. In terms of composition and sound,Dream Money Can Buy doesn’t differ too much from previous work, but the sample choice indicates a more experimental direction for the Canadian rapper. He has decided not to reproduce the formula that made his debut so successful, but rather form collaborations with UK bass artists that make his music more interesting. He has recently worked with producer SBTRKT and will seek the help of Jamie xx on LP Take Care, due in September. It is an encouraging sign both for a UK music scene going from strength to strength, and also the integrity of an already-successful rapper.

New Artist: Grey Reverend

Fans of The Cinematic Orchestra will be familiar with singer-songwriter Grey Reverend, who remixed the band’s To Build A Home in 2007 and has supported them live numerous times. For everyone else… Grey Reverend is made up of the modest voice and guitar-playing of L.D. Brown, but represents a much bigger talent. He was discovered by The Cinematic Orchestra front man Jason Swinscoe at the coffee shop run by Brown’s sister. He has since joined Swinscoe’s Motion Audio label and this month released his first single, One By One, under their banner. Similar to Fink and Jose Gonzalez, this is stripped down acoustic singer-songwriting at its finest and Motion Audio have latched onto a talent. We look forward to hearing more in his upcoming album Of The Days, released in July.

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