New year, new music. All new. Everything new. Everything is always new in our monthly “Best of” series, so nothing has changed there. Who will be the next breakout artist this year? Will Chance The Rapper finally release his next project? Will Kanye West’s newly titled “WAVES” be the greatest album of all time? So many questions, so stay tuned…2016 is here.
I am a month into my final semester of university. Obviously, this is a very reflective couple of months in my life, but like my peers I am also looking forward, trying to attain a job, stability, and some sense of control over my own personal roaring ’20s. My path in particular is unclear, as if I am climbing a mountain where the fog is not clearing from the top. This mix is about holding onto youth, facing doubt about the future, and persevering through the challenges of transition.
P.S. The next Tape Tuesday will be the 50th and final Tape Tuesday I produce for Sunset. Thank you to all the people who have listened over the years. Hopefully, the change will allow me to explore other avenues of music coverage for this site.
Tell me when to stop, tell me when to stop feelin’ for you / Tell me when to flop, tell me when to flop so I can make you feel better
With SWISH’s release swiftly approaching, Brooklyn producer-singer The Landing is certainly timing his latest release flawlessly, and we can confirm that his cover of Kanye West‘s 808s and Heartbreak hit is far more than just savvy marketing.
“Space-pop” is The Landing’s preferred genre, and he certainly imbues West’s bouncy electronic track with an extraterrestrial feeling. The synths are beefed up to galactic proportions, and contrast well with the breezy island bounce of the percussion.
Moving at a brisk pace, The Landing expands on the style that made How Strange to Be, his 2015 EP, an unexpected success. He’s a first-rate producer and songwriter, and both of those qualities are apparent on “Paranoid.”
The Landing’s voice is a bit similar to Mr. Hudson, who appeared on the original, and he handles the verses with a quiet, restrained charisma before breaking into a sandy falsetto on the chorus.
“Being the first cover I’ve put out, I wanted to do something unexpected but relevant at the same time, and Kanye as a pop artist has fascinated me for continually delivering on these two fronts,” The Landing said of the single. “We all ‘worry bout the wrong thangs’ while knowing fully well we don’t have to.”
With a unique style and flair, The Landing’s cover will surely help you through the bleak winter months and keep your Kanye appetite satiated until the release of Swish.
Lostboycrow has been on Sunset’s radar for a while now. He’s currently one of our favorites to lead us into the 2016 music year. With first making waves on Sunset back in April of 2015, the music in which he describes as happy, sad, sexy, and dance, began when he made Los Angeles his new home and was fortunate enough to record a few songs with his good pal, Dylan (Flor). From there on, Lostboycrow was born. One of the first things we asked him was why Lostboycrow? Is there any significance to the name?
“I wanted the name to reflect the sentiment behind all of the art I create, a banner I could hold above every song and feel good about. It’s about having a vision and telling a story; “Lostboycrow” comes from the legend of The Lost Boy told by the Crow Nation – a people whose culture is centered on both of those things. I feel close to them and they inspired me to create and dream with others.”
Hit the jump for the rest of the interview and EP!
By now you have probably read 5-10 “Best Albums” lists compiled by your favorite music conglomerates. This list is different for several reasons. First, this is a list of my (Arjun’s) personal favorite projects from the year. I did not have to dilute my taste through a group dynamic. This is my unfiltered opinion, which I think makes for a more honest list. Secondly, I did not include any artists for political reasons, which larger sites are prone to do. Lastly, this list is a bit unusual in that it combines albums, mixtapes, and EPs under the blanket term “project,” which in the age of long EPs, free albums, and high quality mixtapes is a necessity.
I am not going to write about every album on the list. Nobody has time for that. Instead, let’s hit the highlights and the lesser known projects.
2015 came and went, some albums gave us chills, others made us want to party like it’s 1999, and then there were ones that just never seemed to arrive at all. While Adele made her surprising reappearance into the music world, Frank Ocean was probably off on an island far, far away laughing at us all as we impatiently wait for his sophomore album. He was most likely chillin’ alongside Rihanna and Kanye West, who have also been taking their precious time to release their next albums. Before we get too bitter about this, it’s important to think about all the great works of art that are likely to flood our ears in 2016. Here’s a list of albums that will (hopefully) arrive in the new year and fill our musical needs.
It’s been a helluva year for music. We had a legend return to us (D’Angelo), new indie darlings to worship (Oh Wonder), and a kid from Chicago show us the power of authentic, positive, and more importantly, independent music (Chance The Rapper). In the midst of a raging war between Spotify, Tidal, and SoundCloud for our bandwidth, we had more music to consume–and more ways to access it–than ever before. Yet in a year when streaming dominated more than ever, an English songstress broke record after record for units sold in consecutive weeks (Adele). We’ve had plenty of highs (Drake & Future teaming up) and we’ve had some lows too (*cough* Meghan Trainor), but it’s seldom a dull moment in the universe of music. With 2015 coming to an end, the #SunsetFam is sure as hell excited for 2016 and the jams that it has in store. But before we all move on to the new year, relive our favorites from this year below. Stream on SoundCloud, listen on Spotify, or download them for your collection. We got you covered! Until 2016 ya’ll.
Editors note: SoundCloud playlist has about 70% of our picks. Spotify has about 90% of our picks. The download links have all of them. Hit the jump for full tracklist.
The concept for this playlist was built around the line in the opening track by Chance The Rapper that says “I woke up this morning / I woke up this morning / Gotta smile when I say that shit / I woke up this morning!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that line since I first heard the song. I could go into a long monologue about ‘what a time it is to be alive,’ but honestly I don’t feel like sharing all of that today in my own words. I’ll share a few, but mostly I wanted to put together a playlist of songs old and new that sum up my feelings about the world.
It’s funny – I think I get a certain way at the end of every year as my team is putting together our Best Songs of the Year playlist; I think it makes me pause and think about what music really means to me. It’s weird to be able to connect so deeply to the words and art of people you don’t know at all. But when you do feel that sense of connection, it’s a really beautiful thing.
This is a collection of songs that I feel a connection to. It’s a mix of all-time favorites, recent favorites, and songs by some new artists I’m into. For one reason or another, each song gets me excited to wake up each morning. And I’m thankful to be reminded of what a gift that is.
I just finished my second to last semester of college, and it was a really frustrating semester. Let me preface this by saying that I am not going into the same industry as my major post-graduation, which right off the bat is frustrating. As you would expect, senior bioengineering courses are massively time consuming and detail-oriented. I could not even pretend to give a little bit of a shit about cell biology. My schoolwork suffered, and I could not do the things I wanted to with music. It was suffocating. I think I grew a beard just to feel control over part of my life (even the beard is kind of out of control).
When I came across the phrase “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out,” popularized in the ’60s by psychologist Timothy Leary, I could relate to the sentiment. In college, it is so easy to get wired in and lose sight of what is important. Per usual, music dragged me out of this rut, and I got really inspired by Kevin Abstract and Tyler Mitchell‘s “Echo” music video and The Internet‘s recent album Ego Death (in fact, the mix includes two tracks by their guitarist Steve Lacy).
This mixtape is a direct result of the light extracted from those projects during a dark time in the life of Arjun Grover.
I remember nights in November, last year I was stressin’ out, yeah / I remember nights in December still stressin’ ’bout Novemeber, oh yeah
NOTE: The SoundCloud mix is missing track 4 (“Meredith” by Dorian Concept) and track 17 (“Melting” by Kid Cudi).
I’ve always been a fan of hip-hop. I get excited when I hear a good beat, I appreciate good poetry, and more than anything, I feel a connection with a truthful story. Today we get to premiere a song called “Right Now” by CP and Kyle, two artists we’ve supported since the beginning. It was written when the two lived together in LA in 2014 and it tells the story of pursuing their dreams in the music industry. When asked about the back story, CP told me “we really lived every line of that record. From the front seat of the car to him fighting his brother in the house. It’s all real. That’s what I feel makes this song timeless.”
These are two guys who have been grinding for years and are starting to gain widespread recognition. Kyle recently released his sophomore album and is about to embark on a tour with Hoodie Allen and Blackbear. CP, who was originally a part of One Room, has proven himself with each release of his to be an incredibly talented producer, singer and rapper. They’ve both been featured on countless Tape Tuesdays, we’ve supported most of their releases, and we’ve gotten to know both of them as people and artists as they’ve been growing their careers.
The thing is, as an artist it’s easy to get lost in this world. Especially when you’re trying to prove yourself in a crowded space. But you can either fall into that trap or be different and make a name for yourself. Both CP and Kyle have consistently made unique music and by doing so have achieved the latter. They make music that embodies exactly what I love about hip-hop: it’s intriguing, it’s poetic, and it’s got a real story behind it. This song is a perfect example of that. And that’s the type of art I’ll always support. Get behind these guys; this is still just the beginning.
Stream the song below and hit the jump for full lyrics.
Oliver Nelson‘s “Found Your Love” was a warm, organic summer breeze of a single that took the airwaves and Internet by storm. It rode massive synths, bubbling bass and a generally lighthearted, uptempo sensibility into the ears of millions of listeners looking for soulful electronic music.
Now, Canadian producer Kill Them With Colour has given us his own twist on the song, slowing the track down and chopping it up with stabbing, shimmery keys and more contemporary trap drums. He also put the original’s vocals on the chopping block, giving the remix a dizzying, surreal feel.
Nelson said of the remix, “When I first heard Kill Them With Colour’s track ‘Get High’ on The Magician’s mixtape 48, I thought it was great, so reached out to them to see if they would be interested in ‘Found Your Love,’ they smashed it and I absolutely love what they did with it as I feel they completely flipped it on it’s head!”
Although it’s changed pretty drastically, the backbone and color of Nelson’s track still very much make KTWC’s remix stand out. It’s a testament to Nelson’s talents as a producer and songwriter that his songs, however drastically changed, still bear his signature touch.
While the original “Found Your Love” was a perfect summer evening record, you can count on this remix to take you through the cooler, more muted winter months ahead.
You may not know the name Xander Singh, but there’s a high chance that you’d recognize much of the music he’s helped make for the past several years. After spending about two years playing small gigs under his own name, Xander Singh formed the group Pepper Rabbit, whose hit song “Older Brother” is one of my all-time favorites. The band lasted for about 3 years, until one day in 2011, when Xander Singh posted a message on Facebook announcing that Pepper Rabbit would be breaking up. A mere eight days after his last show with Pepper Rabbit, Xander got a call from some of his friends from Boston asking to join their band. Turns out it wasn’t just any band — it was Passion Pit. Sounds like a dream, but what he didn’t yet know is that only three years later, he’d be forced to leave the band for serious health reasons. This is the story of Xander Singh, a man who, practically overnight, went from feeling on top of the world to hitting rock bottom. Continue reading “[Interview] Xander Singh: The path from living the dream to hitting rock bottom” »