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” »
Jackson Breit is a soulful pop singer from Virginia Beach, VA and, in many ways, an artist practically built in a lab for massive success. His voice is powerful and arresting, but not in a melodramatic way. He’s as capable of selling Fetty Wap‘s swaggering autotune come-ons on his “679/No Diggity” cover just as well as his own more introspective lyrics.
Shades of Marmalade, his brand new EP premiering right here on Sunset, is a catchy, uptempo and impressively diverse body of work. It blends traditional radio pop trappings with plenty of hip-hop and electronic quirks.
Breit said of the project:
“Shades of Marmalade is the first project that I’ve collaborated on with other producers that I have long since respected and admired. They brought new elements to my original sound that many of my fans will respond to in a positive way. Still has that Jackson blend of pop, soul and blues with a mix of other musical influences that I think will make the EP enjoyable for all kinds of music lovers.”
Lead single “Wouldn’t Change a Thing” boasts a warm, neo soul vibe topped off by heavenly electric pianos and swirling guitar riffs. It’s a true Indian summer of a song.
Elsewhere, guttural synth bass and trap hi-hats give “Catch Me Falling” an intriguing edge, and “Bed We Shared” is a tender, passionate acoustic ballad.
Throughout Shades of Marmalade Breit’s talent is on full display, and his sheer charisma links together the wildly different soundscapes well.
Breit has been churning out music for a while now, and this EP will likely give him his opportunity to bring his sunshine soaked sound to the world.
Mainland‘s “Outcast” was a buzzy, vintage pop punk hit. With bright chugging guitars, sweeping synths and anguished vocals from singer Jordan Topf, the track felt like it could’ve been a radio mainstay at any point over the last 30 years.
Courtesy of producer Noah Issa, “Outcast” now has a breezy, electronic soundscape and an exciting new tone. The re-imagined song takes some trop house cues with its vocal manipulation and swirling horns, but unlike a lot of similar remixes it doesn’t cheapen the original track’s emotion. Issa’s background is more in dancehall electronic, and he brings some of that infectious groove here.
Issa’s churning drums and whirlwind synth melodies only add to Mainland’s sense of urgency, and Topf’s vocals fit just as well over a crisp, electronic instrumental as they do over the timeless, hard-driving hum he’s been crafting along with Corey Mullee and Alex Pitta.
The remix is a testament to Mainland’s strong songwriting, and the power of a skilled producer putting his own creative spin on something outside of his comfort zone.
With any significant shift in technology comes a learning curve. In our generation the big shifts in technology have been smartphones and the web. I think in 2015 artists are on the brink of fully understanding how to effectively use these technologies and how to carve out lanes for themselves in an oversaturated online music universe.
The most beautiful thing about music in 2015 is that there is something for everyone. The sheer volume of music on SoundCloud alone is overwhelming to imagine. To simplify things let’s separate artists into two categories: those concerned about quantity and those concerned about quality. The quantity group uploads faux freestyles over ripped YouTube instrumentals of the latest street hits, hoping someone important will notice them. This exhibits very short-range thinking. GOOD Music president Che Pope called this type of music “disposable music” at an RBMA lecture in Paris. The quality group, on the other hand, is a slave to their vision. They have an idea, they record their idea, they perfect their idea, they have their idea mixed and mastered properly, and they collaborate with a designer on a piece of artwork that visually represents their auditory idea. This exhibits the understanding I mentioned earlier, and I am seeing more and more artists tending to the quality of releases over the quantity. Mic Kellogg is one such artist.
Over the past year Mic has methodically released singles from his debut project Breakfast. Each single garnered a breakfast-themed cover and usually an accompanying post on Pigeons & Planes. This September Mic released the conceptual Breakfast LP and further proved that he was an artist of substance and thought. In order to kill the mystique of great art, we asked him to breakdown our favorite tracks from the project and give us insight into the making of Breakfast.
I have a weird confession. I had not heard the “LA Girl” part of “Robocop” until I saw clips of Kanye’s recent live performance of 808s & Heartbreak on YouTube. I don’t know how this happened. I must have downloaded an unfinished version of “Robocop” from LimeWire when it leaked and never replaced it with the finished version! For years I have been unaware of one of the most beautiful album interludes of all time by my favorite artist of all time.
To make up for it and way overcompensate for that prior gap in knowledge, I made a mixtape inspired by “LA Girl.” It continues to highlight the recent upward trend of California-inspired art à la Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto, The Weeknd’s “The Hills,” and this past July’s Tape Tuesday The Hills Have Eyes.
Goin’ up in L.A., girl I know what you’re used to / Don’t worry ’bout a thing, we can just keep it simple
NOTE: The SoundCloud mix is missing track 13 (“Daddy Issues” by The Neighbourhood).
Oakland MC J.Lately is stressed. His new single, the moody, soulful “Breathe” is about finding relief, dealing with tough situations and appreciating life. Don’t worry though, the track never veers into preachiness, since he’s too talented a rapper to have a song like this come off as fake.
Over a dark, percussion-driven instrumental from producer Oops, J.Lately vents about the frustrations in his life, showcasing his skillful flow and sharp lyricism.
“They can think what they want I’m just thinking ahead/Ain’t that hard to get lost all these things in my head/All these places I’m going and women on tour/But I sleep on the floor, watchu think of my bed?” he muses on the opening verse.
Shark Sinatra drops some strong guest bars that give the track another perspective, touching on weighty issues like money and mortality.
The video perfectly captures the song’s core essence. Alternating between dizzying, quick-panning shots of J.Lately, Sinatra and a few women engaging in empty excess in a hotel room and wide open shots of the two MCs in a gorgeous, open desert, it expands on the ideas of “Breathe” without getting carried away.
If you’re reading this, it’s not too late. Halloweekend is winding down, and we set back our clocks an hour today. Plus, on top of that, I got this playlist for you that you’ll love filled with vets, such as, Chance The Rapper, Kygo, Skizzy Mars, and new comers with Kamau, Stephen, & Feki. Check out the playlist below, and let us know what your favorites are!
One of the biggest laments in journalism is that you can never get a sense of personality over the phone. That’s true for a lot of people, but not fast-rising 22-year-old MC Kyle, whose sheer attitude and energy ooze through even a quick chat while he hustles to a meeting in Los Angeles.
He pauses in the middle of answers to comment on a man who has parked himself in front of an automatic door, and goes off on a tangent when I ask him what flavor of chips he’s just purchased. But at no point does this come off as the Ventura, CA rapper being unengaged with the interview, he answers every question thoughtfully and deliberately, even as he weaves through clots of foot traffic.
His earnestness and ability to jump from subject to subject are two of the things that have helped Kyle grow a large, rabid fan base, all of whom are currently blasting his second LP, Smyle, on repeat. With thousands eagerly anticipating the follow-up to his rollicking 2013 debut, Beautiful Loser, Kyle said he did feel more pressure stepping back in the booth.
“I felt more expectation to actually try and say something. I felt more burden to make something that had a little more emotional effect on people. It wasn’t just about Kyle having fun anymore,” he confessed.
That sense of responsibility manifested itself in a more mature, and occasionally darker record, that goes places that his free-spirited first release didn’t touch on. The production is bigger, more varied and anthemic, while Kyle’s bars are sharper overall. Fortunately though, they’re not devoid of the sarcasm and wit that makes him so unique.
“I wanted to switch it up a lot, I wanted to be dynamic,” he explained. “There’s a lot of albums, especially ones right now, where they find a good formula like, ‘If I do this, I add these trap drums to this type of thing it’s gonna be a good song.’ And then they choose to make the same song 13 times with a slightly different topic.”
Smyle is most certainly not that type of record. Even when the tracks don’t entirely come together, you can’t help but applaud Kyle for stretching himself as an artist and not sticking to the electronic-influenced, synth-heavy sound that got him his first taste of fame.
“Even if I’m better at making a ‘Don’t Wanna Fall in Love’ than an ‘All Alright,’ I’m gonna try and do it because life is dynamic,” said the rapper.
Kyle’s gameness is one of his strongest qualities as a musician, and played a huge role in how one of Smyle’s biggest tracks came together. He first met Chance the Rapper while opening for the Chicago MC in Santa Barbara, and the two quickly became friends. It was during a late night studio session with producer Nate Fox, a member of Chance’s Social Experiment band, that single “Remember Me” came into the world.
“Nate came over to my house one time. It was one of those perfect dream type situations, where all the stars aligned. I’m sitting there working on a song with Nate and he looks up at me and says, ‘Chano’s here.’ I was like, ‘What? Really? In Skid Row at 3AM?’ And Chance was like, ‘You know what, I got something for this song…’ It wasn’t the typical, play a beat, write a verse songwriting. We really connected on the project.”
Over a bluesy, piano-powered instrumental, Chance croaks out the cigarette-stained hook, giving Kyle free rein to assess fickle relationships through the lens of his newfound fame. The candor and wit are expected at this point, but they’re used in new and exciting ways. Even though “Remember Me” is a somber record, it is a tremendous accomplishment for an MC establishing his footing.
Despite all of this, Kyle still has to deal with being branded as a “pop rapper” for his upbeat sound. While he’s not angry about it, he’s quick to make it known that that kind of shorthand simply misses the mark.
“Everybody wants to label something…but me I want to express all avenues, all the shit I was influenced by,” he said. “I have made a pop song, I’m not a pop artist. I’ve made a boom-bap song, I’m not a boom-bap rapper. I’m a rapper, singer, dancer, dude, artist, that just makes music.”
Nov. 1 @ Reggie’s Rock Club (Chicago, IL)
Nov. 3 @ The Studio at Webster Hall (New York, NY)
Nov. 5 @ Vinyl (Atlanta, GA)
Nov. 7 @ Fitzgerald’s (Houston, TX)
Nov. 10 @ The New Parish (Oakland, CA)
Nov. 28 @ The Majestic Ventura Theater (Ventura, CA)
You might not know much about CHCKLK yet, but after giving his new single “Young Boy” a spin you’ll be plenty familiar. The New York-based indie R&B singer gives us his life story and more on this mesmerizing new record, which details his background and path to music.
CHCKLK (pronounced Check-leh-EK) blends genres effortlessly into a soulful, surreal concoction. Think Beach House meets early The Weeknd meets Marc E. Bassy. He’s an excellent storyteller with a sharp, understated delivery.
Speaking on “Young Boy,” CHCKLK said:
It speaks on the internal struggle I’ve always had, between the desire to chase success, and the mindset to fight for what I believe in. For me, those are two totally opposite paths, because becoming successful in this world might mean the erosion of all my beliefs and everything I stand for.
The instrumental, provided by Rohme, churns along slowly creating a nostalgic, foggy soundscape that fits the track’s confessional lyrics perfectly.
“Here’s the story of a young boy, who looked at the world and was unsure/But made the choice to never conform,” CHCKLK sings.
With a unique sound and a captivatingly left-field take on R&B, CHCKLK has a great chance to move beyond the ranks of SoundCloud sensations and take the music world by storm.
As a bonus, check out the “Young Boy” music video teaser below, directed by Gabriel Lucido.
Providence trio Code Green are a true jack-of-all-trades rap group. Their music is aggressive and soulful at once, featuring both the spartan trap sound of a today and a strong melodic ear.
“Killin’ My Soul,” their latest record, is proof of their talent, and reminiscent of Sunset favorites Hurt Everybody. Over a haunting sample and chilling piano chords, the group spits some raw, creative lifestyle bars.
The group said of the track, “‘Killin’ My Soul’ has been one of the records that just won’t go away. We’d play it in parties out in L.A. and back home in Rhode Island and shit would go up, automatically. This kinda let us know it was a go, plus we loved the mix and haven’t got tired of it yet.”
The record has undeniable replay value, and the trio’s chemistry is fully on display here. In a world cluttered with trap-tinged hip-hop “Killin’ My Soul” rises above the cut because of it’s sheer forcefulness.
If they keep putting out songs of this caliber, we’ll all be living by Code Green soon.
Kennan Moving Company is a New York-based band who swirl together genres with uncanny ease. They’re reminiscent in many ways of Kids These Days, the cutting-edge soul-rock band where Vic Mensa cut his teeth before going solo.
Their latest single, “Charades,” premiering right here on Sunset, is an intoxicating blend of guitars, horns and powerful vocals from frontman Oliver Kennan. The track is earnest and introspective, but most importantly it’s a blast to hear. There’s an easy chemistry among the members of Kennan Moving Company that is apparent both here and on the rest of their short discography.
According to the band, “Charades is a song about that beginning phase of relationships where you really don’t know how the other person thinks of you… It’s about that point before either of you has made any overt gestures of attraction and you are trying to read their body language and puzzle out any subtle hints they might be dropping. I think it can really be kind of magical and totally excruciating at the same time.”
They dropped their No Fun EP last year, and if “Charades” is any indication, then their forthcoming project will truly turn heads. Quality bands are becoming harder and harder to find nowadays, and the maturity and soulfulness of Kennan Moving Company makes the group a true diamond in the rough.