“Nu brand flexxx is not just a group, it’s a lifestyle”. So reads the about-box on the group’s Facebook page – an elaborate claim, but one that is justified in the video of their latest release, Spellbound. In a world where rappers have a lot to say for themselves, the message of this drug and Haribo fuelled affair is simple: sit back, relax and take time to enjoy life. With a chilled, hypnotic beat and lyrical flow to match, Spellbound creates the perfect soundtrack for such an occasion. Given their approach to music, Nu Brand have drawn comparisons to Wiz Khalifa, but these guys have been doing their thing for much longer. If any connection is to be made, it should be to Outkast, simply for the variety of material they produce. With a Conservative Party anthem, a poppier ode to London Fashion Week, and more traditional grime tracks backing up Spellbound, all are produced with a touch of style and humour that makes Nu Brand a very interesting prospect.
London label Somethinksounds (an offshoot of cult culture magazine Somethinkblue) is about to storm the Electronic scene with the soon to be released Slow Ground E.P. by wondrously talented Lucky Paul; a new Electronic producer from New Zealand. Though currently residing in the Electronic epicentre of the world, Berlin, Paul has been on
Our little island may be a long way from the dancehalls of Jamaica…
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.
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.
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.
Akua Naru meets Aaliyah on this London-Nairobi collaboration born from the Extra Soul Perception project.
Grounding soundscapes on Ransom Note Records offshoot Bytes.
A nine-minute Balearic masterpiece on Emotional Rescue.
New York jazz-funk, smooth Rio bossa nova and Belfast boogie.
Dollar bin b-sides treading a fine line between g-funk swagger and molten cheese.
A V Day mix of silky smooth boogie, soul and synth-pop from the Customs member.
Katia Mullova assesses the wider implications of this annual focus on data sharing.
A behind the scenes look at Berlin’s unassuming open air party spot.
An in-depth discussion with Emma-Jean Thackray, Joe Armon-Jones and Nik Colk Void from Factory Floor.