We’ll have less of that “old skool garage” talk around here! It’s a new day, and there’s a new school of UK garage stars who are waiting patiently in the wings. Based in Bristol, England, Conducta is a UKG 2.0 top-performing student; a producer whose punchy, percussive 2-step treats have been building up quite the momentum from the underground-up recently, he’ll drop his Let Go/Used To CareEP slap-bang in the middle of said buzz on April 28, via London’s DPM Records.
Today, MTV IGGY has the pleasure of premiering the lead cut off the beatsmith’s forthcoming three-track set. Using a delicate sample of Brandy’s “Almost Doesn’t Count” (and an opening thirty-second vocal snippet of early Craig), Conducta’s whomping bassline, 2-step kicks, snares and subtle guitar plucks give “Let Go” the potential to slip into the roles of club heavy-hitter, and perfect-singalong-jam-for-the-spring-clean-sessions, quite easily. Stream “Let Go” here exclusively, until your heart’s content:
Premiered initially last November, the first season of MTV World’s Rebel Music documentary series is now available to watch on Netflix. Executive produced by artist/activist Shepard Fairey and head of MTV World Nusrat Durrani, Rebel Music is a critically acclaimed documentary film series about young, creative people igniting revolutionary political upheaval all over the world. Reporting from the front lines where impassioned youth are standing up against the powers that be, each episode delves into the lives of musicians who mobilize communities with their art, conviction, and raw courage in the face of oppression.
Many latter-day psych bands draw inspiration from The 13th Floor Elevators’s unhinged rumble, cutting their hallucinogen inspired joints with terrific noise. Others, such as Tame Impala, go for a stylized, obsessively produced sound. Kikagaku Moyo find a healthy middle ground, emotionally and sonically — recalling those recent findings that psychedelic drugs can ease anxiety and depression in terminally ill patients.
Jacqueline Mapei Cummings is a half-Liberian and half-Swedish singer who was born in the US but moved to Stockholm at age ten. As a teen, she had a soft spot for American rap and R&B that she would absorb on summer trips back to US. Four years ago, Downtown Records signed her to put out a rap EP, but it wasn’t quite the right sound or the right time for Mapei to make a proper debut. Now feeling more confident and excited about her raspy, soulful vocals than her raps, Mapei just put out a new EP on Downtown structured around the song “Don’t Wait.”
Stine Omar and Max Boss named their first collaborative project Euroshit. It encapsulates the duo perfectly: darkly funny, self-deprecating, and thinly-veiling a nuanced appreciation of Europe’s electronic music legacy. Their first EP under the name Easter, Ur A Great Babe, plays is full of simple, but pleasurable beats and emotional detachment conveyed through robotic vocals. Predating Beyoncé by a few years, “Surfboard” oddly has the same seaside love themes as “Drunk In Love,” but to enjoy it as much you have a high tolerance for irony.
Your grandfather would say that Lucy Love has gumption. Author Jane Austen would have described the Danish MC as plucky. But for us, Love is (and will always be) a musical spitfire. Over the course of three albums, she’s proven to be an absolutely fearless force, barreling down multiple musical avenues, including rap, R&B, and soul — often all at the same time. On her 2013 album Desperate Days of Dynamite, fast and furious rhymes punctuated with references to the likes of Fargo and Ricky Ricardo.
This troupe, based in and beloved by Tokyo, relies on the cutesy commercialism of J-pop only slightly less than it does the gravely gall of alt rock. But sandpaper-rough riffs and intricate pedal work push Taffy into legit shoegaze territory, melding a supremely irresistible mix of the super-sweet and sharply sour. Founding singer Iris and bassist Koichin, along with later-added guitarist Asano and drummer Ken, offer only their first names, but plenty of other personal info in their frequently updated individual blogs.
It’s been a few weeks since Kool A.D.’s WORD O.K. dropped and while we could let coverage about it go, we aren’t going to, because the album is very, very good. Expectations for the rapper (real name: Victor Vasquez) may not have been super high as a solo artist as he wasn’t the zaniest member of the zany-but-political group Das Racist. That award might have gone to hypeman Dapwell until Heems’ jingle for Japanese Vitamin Water was released yesterday.
Instead, he’s gone in a completely different direction from Das Racist, offering pristine hip-hop that combines heavenly production, distinguished collaborators, and his cynical yet meditative wordplay. We all knew that Vasquez had wry, cerebral bars, but WORD O.K. is a bit of an epiphany.
The exuberant mood-setter “Open Letter” sets up a thematic thread of him being completely comfortable within his skin (and/or thoughtfully stoned) alongside contemporaries like Toro Y Moi, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, and Lakutis. Standouts “Hickory” featuring Talib Kweli and Boots Riley and “Life & Time” featuring Sir DZL & Santos Vieira (aka Del the Funky Homosapien & DJ Ladybug Mecca from Digable Planets) make you want to play more mix-and-match in the rap industry, pairing living legends with forward-leaning beats. Gold stars also go to up-and-coming producers Mike Finito and Amaze 88 for their work throughout.
Word O.K. is a follow-up to December’s NOT O.K. Vasquez has certainly been steady on his hustle. Vasquez is an amazing visual artist as well from the look of the works he’s been selling on Instagram. He might not be the “World’s Greatest Rapper” like he boasts about on the album constantly, but he’s at least a disproportionately talented individual. Take a listen to WORD O.K. if you haven’t already yet:
For all those waiting with baited breath for a fresh record from garage-punk sentinels Los Vigilantes, you can now rest easy: Al Fin, the Puerto Rican group’s sophomore LP, is slated for a June 21 release. And we’ve got the first taste of that appropriately titled, mango-flavored rock ‘n’ roll romp right here: It’s a love-fail tale called “Ahí No Estoy.”
With the sway of a ’50s tune warped by a heat-wave mirage, the track suggests the new album takes a route similar to their tropically-tinged 2011 debut and the handful of 7-inches that surfaced since. Head honcho Jota Vigilante, who doubles as the band’s recording renaissance dude via his in-home El Dorado studio, confirms our guesses — but adds that Al Fin is “very varied; there’s 3-chord stomp goodness, girl group sweetness, dark echoing guitars, thunder, airplanes and all kinds of things.”
The Slovenly alums kept things close to home for this 11-track collection, enlisting storied and newly rejuvenated San Juan label ChaCho Records. While we await the delivery, some fans can catch them live, as they’ll be cavorting around Europe from April 25 until the end of May with likeminded North Carolina-based pals Paint Fumes. —Words by Jhoni Jackson
Top Dawg Entertainment’s leading lady and glitter trap princess SZA dropped her highly anticipated debut this morning, titled Z. Her vocals remain as silky and understated as ever, and the new album welcomes high-caliber guest stars such as Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, as well as it features the production talents of Toro Y Moi, Mac Miller and more. Just as in her previous releases, SZA continues to subvert the R&B script and experiments with a diverse set of sounds: She breezes effortlessly through the ambient minimalism of “Child’s Play,” grooves through soft dance hit “Julia,” marches into the trap-laden “Babylon” and eases into the nostalgic funk of “Sweet November.” Enjoy this rich new release by streaming it below.
Is it drugs? Or is it pure, 100% organic anachronism that makes Lorelle Meets The Obsolete so convincingly 1971? In their 2013 release, Corruptible Faces, the duo had catapulted themselves way past the stratosphere and into a more ambient, extraterrestrial haze. But in their latest full-length album,Chambers, they’ve hit the ground rocking, pulling from the discordant Krautrock styles of the late 1960s but grounding it in much more structure.
Omid Walizadeh has lived in California since his family moved there from Tehran when he was 7 years old. In the early ’90s, he became deeply engaged in the West Coast hip-hop/turntablism scene. Under the name Omid, he released a seminal LA underground hip-hop record, Beneath the Surface, in 1998. A collaborative album with more than 30 rappers, it featured the likes of Aceyalone, Awol One, 2Mex, Rakaa Iriscience (of Dilated Peoples), and more.
Formerly of the dream pop group Bee Eyes, 23-year-old Idris Vicuña started Eyedress in his cramped bedroom at his parents’ house, recording and sampling sounds from his laptop. With the help of local singer Skint Eastwood, soft, child-like vocals echo elegiacally over trap beats and shimmering synths. While his earlier works were hemmed with a little hope, most of his new songs plunge into feelings of longing and desperation, alluding to the painful geographic distance between him and his beloved.
Born Melissa Jefferson, Lizzo has journeyed from Detroit to Houston to Minnesota, sampling the swag of each city (Motor City toughness, Southern rap haze, and Twin City pop-funk). She’s dabbled in R&B, punk, girl-group pop, and more in an amazing number of groups for one person: Lizzo & the Larva Ink, The Chalice, GRRRL PRTY, I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S., Cornrow Clique, Elypseas and The Clerb. But her debut solo album from last fall, Lizzobangers, has been her most successful outlet of them all.
Ibibio Sound Machine reveals that there are infinite creative options available for artists who want to push beyond tried-and-true Afrobeat and highlife templates. Taking its cues from the slew of acts that embraced disco throughout Nigeria and Ghana in the ’70s, as well as the ongoing musical dialogue between West Africa and Latin America, Ibibio Sound Machine marries blippy electropop to hard-charging funk.
A former member of the short-lived “melodic rap” band, Kid British, Manchester’s Adio Marchant is now clocking up viral hits under his Polydor-signed, indie-pop alter-ego, Bipolar Sunshine. The vocalist’s latest hook-driven single, “Where Did The Love Go,” is proving to be one of his more popular offerings to date, securing more radio spins and blog posts by the day. It also boasts notable fans in London-based DJs and producers, Shai Spooner and Marcus Jakes — who, using minimal vocals, recently brought forth an animalistic, tech-house re-edit of the pop ballad. One for the deeper underground house and techno heads, stream Spooner and Jakes’ work in full below.