ABOVE: THE GTW. IMAGE COURTESY OF LAW AGYEI
These days, music truly lives online, with an infinite number of websites dedicated to hosting tunes for the laptop-wielding masses. However, the web's bottomless pit of blogs isn't the only place to troll for mp3 treasures—some of the most new and exciting (Internet-friendly) artists can be sought out via Soundcloud, the online stage that allows musicians to promote and distribute their music to fans and friends across the globe. In this weekly column, expert Internet sleuth Alex Chapman goes deep into the depths of the music-sharing site, in hopes of shedding light on emerging acts, as well as sharing some digital diamonds in the rough.
The winter holidays are nearing, which means you've likely begun to gear up for a trip, probably to some place that involves spending a bit of QT with close family and friends. However we choose to arrive at our home for the holidays—whether it's by airplane, car, or Greyhound bus—we are always plugged into our iPhones, soothed by a boatload of new tunes until we've reached our destination. That being said, we decided to pick out a few songs that are perfect for your pilgrimage, whatever and wherever it may be.
Who: The GTW, real name James King, is a Chicago-based Nigerian-American artist whose smooth, nu-soul style syncs up perfectly with producer/collaborator Bengfang, real name Eddie Yang, whose use of indie samples and spacey chords combined with tough percussion gives the duo a relevant edge. The music's feel maintains a multi-cultural, youthful energy, the use of downtempo dance and R&B influences making for something signature and special.
The Song: Almost reminiscent of early Pharrell, "4814" is a perfect mid-trip track, one that captures the attention of your ears while at the same time sending your psyche into a place of chilled-out reflection (or maybe you just like grooving to the song, who knows?). GTW's flow is assured and epically spaced out, leaving room for Bengfang's celestial, soulful sounds to sink in.
Upcoming Projects: "4814" is part of a recently released project of the same name, featuring three other tracks The GTW & Bengfang worked on together. Grab it here.
Old Amica: "A New Star"
Who: The band's two Swedish members (whose names are kept anonymous) got the idea to form a group following a Ryan Adams concert in Stockholm, which makes sense, given their fusion of folk melodies and inventive synths. Old Amica could hardly be considered electronic, but their variety in instruments certainly lends to the music's current-yet-classic feel.
The Song: Some songs are just meant for staring at a window, and "New Star" without a doubt falls under that category. The soft harmonic vocals keep the song on a set path, but its crescendos and cord changes are the kind you can feel in your heart... even if you're stuck in the middle seat.
Upcoming Projects: The duo's new EP, The Burning Dot Pt. 1, can be streamed on their website.
Nova Heart: "Beautiful Boys"
Who: Nova Heart is a solo project belonging to Helen Feng, a former VJ for MTV China, as well as a radio show host, and former front-woman of Pet Conspiracy, a popular electronic group. Feng's lush vocals are ethereal and haunting as they sit atop sexy electro-pop rhythms.
The Song: Nothing concludes a long ride like some disco! "Beautiful Boys" is sleek and a bit serious, but still maintains a nostalgic funk that'll make you feel like the coolest kid in baggage claim.
Upcoming Projects: Feng just wrapped a big tour, but the Beijing-based artist will be performing in Austin in March as part of this year's SXSW festival. Keep up with her and her tour band here.
For more Soundclouds of the Underground, click here.