Posts by Grant

Best Night Ever – Caught Up

“Caught Up” is a palatial banger, complete with waves of electrifying synths and airtight percussion. But it’s more than just another mammoth party song, even if it does manage to check that box perfectly, and the song’s lyrics allude to the dangers of surface-level preoccupation. Best Night Ever is the brainchild of Tyler Armes, who is using the project to benefit mental health charities The Trevor Project and Kids Help Phone in Canada.

Proceeds from streams and downloads go towards these organizations, which is particularly smart because “Caught Up” is the kind of narcotizing track tailor made for throwing on repeat.

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[EP Stream] Soulnoise – Future

“Down in a Minute,” the second track on Chicago-based Soulnoise’s debut EP Future plays almost like a recap of what’s brought the city to the musical  mainstream over the last few years. There are sharp bars, a soulful sax solo, and rich, complex guitar that add flavor to the song’s killer hook and pristine drums.

On Future, the group succeed in blending their vast influences into a project that is easy to connect with emotionally and still feels distinct. So many artists nowadays blend genres that trying to distill too many into a single project can leave a group without a country so to speak, but the rock edge and consistently stellar guitar helps ground Soulnoise.

“Take Me Over” is a powerful tell-all that focuses as much on battling substance abuse as it does one’s own anxieties and inner demons. The trap-tinged drums create a grittiness that’s well-suited for the varied talents of both MC Jamal Gaines and singer Jonah McGowan.

All in all, Future is focused and purposeful, a strong mission statement from a group with real talent and serious aspirations.

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Foreign Air – Echo

Foreign Air‘s first two tracks, “Free Animal,” and “In the Shadows” were intoxicating and mysterious, songs that kept you coming back even if they were ultimately pretty noir in nature. Think Glass Animals with a rock edge.

Their latest, “Echo,” shows a completely new dimension, one that they could be using to fill arenas in the near future. The single, taken from their EP out September 2rd, is sleek and sexual, but it packs a rollicking, EDM-esque build complete with a show-stopping hook.

The track’s subject matters veers into the intergalactic, so it’s only fair that the massive sound follows suit.

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Soulnoise – Hold Me Down

With intricate guitar and pounding drums, the debut single from Soulnoise is a genre-blending trip. Comprised of Jonah McGowan, Lucas Messore, and Jamal Gaines, the trio linked up in Chicago (Gaines’ hometown, Messore is from Miami and McGowan from London), and their music has the combination of soulful introspection and rap edge that has helped the city’s music scene reach the national conversation over the past few years. “Hold Me Down” is an inspiring anthem, and a showcase of the group’s unique hybrid sound that is clearly a product of the members’ far-flung origins. Part story of adversity, part inspiring underdog triumph, McGowan and Gaines take turns trading tales over searing guitar from Messore and Jon Perkins.

Even the story of how “Hold Me Down” came together is one of serious dedication. “We basically could only record in the studio when it wasn’t booked with clients. which meant that we had to record like through the night and late as fuck on random days,” McGowan explained. “So we were all like taking the El late night to get to the studio, it was a hustle for sure.”

The track is the first off their Future EP, which drops August 22nd. If the single is any indication, expect more genre-defying, fist-pumping tunes from Soulnoise.

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Allday – Sides (ft. NYNE)

Even Allday, Australia’s preeminent left-field druggie rap-singer, isn’t immune to the Toronto influence. His latest single, “Sides,” clearly has some northern sensibility with its ominous synth beat and NYNE doing a pretty decent Weeknd impression on the hook.

“Sides” is the rapper’s first track since his Startup Cult record dropped in 2015, and it has us realizing just what we’ve been missing over the last 10-plus months.

That album cemented him as a master at walking the line between pop rap and something woozier and darker. The chorus here is Views-level catchy, and Allday’s verses have some serious bite, similar to “Right Now,” another surefire banger that was a highlight of Startup.

All in all, “Sides” is proof that Allday remains in mid-season form.

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[Premiere] nRCS – Run Through the Rain

Brooklyn-based nRCS has the perfect new single to get you ready for summer’s first major weekend, and we’re proud to premiere it here on Sunset. Produced by Sunset favorites and synth pop stalwarts Memoryy and Brothertiger, “Run Through the Rain” is a warm, gooey pop anthem that sounds like the closing track from your favorite inspirational movie.

Warm, gooey synths and cavernous drums give the track an anthemic quality; it’s part Bleachers, part Passion Pit. The song is endearing and earnest, the musical embodiment of a summer romance. It even breaks down for a few bars into a drums-and-vocals only hook that is sure to get your blood pumping.

nRCS has a six-song EP coming out soon, and it’s sure to be a rotation staple for the warm months ahead.

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Madeintyo – Uber Everywhere (Swell Remix)

Atlanta rapper Madeintyo’s “Uber Everywhere” was a bona fide hit in 2015, earning nearly eight million views on YouTube and earning the MC a place in his city’s rising crop of left-field, off-kilter MCs.

His track has been remixed by the likes of Travis Scott and Tory Lanez, but we’d wager that the latest incarnation of “Uber Everywhere” is the best spin since the original. Australian producer Swell, who recently had a breakout hit of his own with “I’m Sorry,” gives the track a 4/20 suitable spin, cloaking it in a mellow, yet moody haze.

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Draper – Break Over You (ft. Prides)

​The last Draper song we covered was “Home,” a soulful, melancholy record about seeking belonging bolstered by meticulous production.

His latest, “Break Over You,” is equally impressive, but it operates on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. This new track is built around massive, sugary synths and booming, ’80s-inspired percussion.

“‘Break Over You’ is about going all in, no holds barred,” Draper said of the track. “I’ve pushed myself to be more bold with my writing and I’m at my most confident point creatively.”

“Going all in” is certainly the right way to describe the new single, which is reminiscent of maximalist electronic artists like Passion Pit or M83. Singer Prides only adds that sense of commitment and freedom with his passionate vocals.

“Break Over You” is another testament to Draper’s ability to craft songs, and between this and “Home” it’s clear he’s a versatile talent capable of capturing many moods.

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Draper – Home (ft. Abi Ocia)

The beauty of music’s SoundCloud age is that behind-the-scenes talent doesn’t have to exist in anonymity. British producer Draper has carved out a stellar career working with the likes of Iggy Azalea, Lapsley, and Rita Ora, but his instrumentals are so lush and fine-tuned that he’s smartly bringing them into the spotlight with his solo career.

“Home” is his second single in the last few months, and it brilliantly uses space and vocal chops to cultivate a sense of moody placelessness. Singer Abi Ocia may not have the name recognition of Draper’s previous collaborators, but her delicate, yearning voice is a perfect compliment to his production.

While some electronic producers coast if they’re working in more traditional song structure, Draper packs every bar of “Home” with new and exciting quirks: a synth blip here, a distant vocal run there.

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Foreign Air – In the Shadows

Foreign Air’s debut single “Free Animal” was a broody, yet seductive indulgence of base instincts, calling to mind eclectic indie outfits like Alt-J and Glass Animals.

The duo’s second single, “In the Shadows,” cranks up the saturation and brightness a bit, but there’s still a rawness that is refreshingly genuine.

The record’s backbone is the chugging percussion, featuring massive toms and kicks that give it a truly worldly feel, and the booming piano chords here are simply good for the soul.

“In the Shadows” is about moving on from the past, and it’s a testament to the creativity of Jacob Michael and Jesse Clasen that they handled such an oft-covered topic without devolving into cliches.

“There is something very animalistic and ritualistic in the way we deal with putting the past away,” the duo explained of their new track. “You get tunnel vision and don’t see all the other great things and people around you. You’ve got to keep your head up or you won’t see the things that lie ahead of you.”

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POSTAAL – Burnin’

POSTAAL’s “Burnin'” is a masterstroke of slow-building, starting off as a spark and bursting to life around 90 seconds in.

There isn’t much information out about the Paris duo, but they are certainly doing a good job of letting their tracks speak for them.

“Burnin'” is an anthemic, fist-raising powerhouse, a bit reminiscent of M83 or early Passion Pit. The track is dense an cinematic, a soaring mix of synths, strings, hard-hitting drums and restrained vocals.

For a young duo, their music displays tremendous complexity and emotion, and it’ll be exciting to see where they go next.

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Hans Island – Break Free

Mawhs and Marie Dahlstrøm’s last output as Hans Island yielded us the dusky “I’m Yours,” a love song which juxtaposed a tender message with production that boasted an Ex Machina level of electro sheen.

The duo’s newest record is “Break Free,” a self-affirming ode to unshackling ourselves from the weight of our past. The theme fits beautifully atop Mawhs’ instrumental work. While the bass and hand clap drums give it a more uptempo feel, there’s melancholy and a quiet defiance in the song’s wormy synth lines.

Like Sylvan Esso‘s Amelia Meath, Dahlstrøm’s voice is more human and accessible than many vocalists on electronic music. It’s lilting, but also resilient, capturing the difficult feeling of wanting to move on but not quite knowing what that entails.

“Break Free” has a message we can all relate to, but it’s in the chemistry of Mawhs and Dahlstrøm that the track achieves its humanity.

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