Soundclouds of the Underground: Breakout Edition

Published January 23, 2014

ABOVE: SUPREME CUTS. PHOTO COURTESY OF EREZ AVISSAR.

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 newest and most 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 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 New Year was ushered in with a bundle of exciting songs, but now that we are in the thick of 2014’s first month, things should start to get especially interesting: What will this year sound like? Which musical acts will transition from unknown to renowned? It’s probably too early to be sure, but below we’ve included some predictions of performers we think will most definitely hold their own in the months to come.

Khushi:  “Phantoms”

Who: London’s Khushi caught our eye in September of last year with “Magpie,” a hauntingly beautiful track that also offered a video chronicling the life of an older couple. The young talent (real name Kalim Patel) has a knack for capturing the perfect soundtrack for painfully intimate moments, a skill that certainly keeps our ears glued to his work.

The Song: “Phantoms” is yet another testament to Khushi’s ability to capture controlled emotion—subtle drum snaps lead into a soothing bridge that ultimately erupts into a bigger sound. It’s this evolution that helps Khushi successfully articulate such a grand sweep of feelings. Current Project:  Khushi is getting loads of love for his new track, has been touring with London Grammar, and will be hosting a release party for his Phantoms EP (out March 3rd). See all the info on his Facebook page.

Supreme Cuts: “Down” (ft. The GTW, Khallee, and David Ashley)

Who: A duo that have gained a massive following since their start around two years ago, Chicago’s Supreme Cuts create cosmically-inclined electronic sounds that combine an extremely distinct mix of influences. For example,”Gone,” with vocalist Mahaut Mondino, is an ambient R&B track with a hard-hitting, groovy hook, whereas the song the duo produced for rapper Mykki Blanco, “Bugged Out,” takes a more ominous approach, dark and airy. Supreme Cuts’ range is wide-reaching—enforcing, rather than losing, the duo’s identity.

The Song: “Down” is a track off the guys’ newest effort, incorporating a light booty bass beat that blends perfectly with the smooth vocals of The GTW, Khallee, and David Ashley, three members of the innovative R&B collective Jody, also out of Chicago.

Current Project: SupCuts started the year off with a bang, recently releasing the accurately titled Divine Ecstasy. Check out more on the guys via their Facebook page.

:  “Don’t Wanna Dance”

Who: You’ve probably heard “XXX 88,”  produced by the prolific Diplo, somewhere on the internet (including our column), or even seen the awesome video.  But this is only a side of the Copenhagen-born singer’s persona; looking at her Facebook page, you’ll see she’s listed the artists she likes (something a lot of artists don’t do, too scared to be accused of ripping off or imitating): “Sonic Youth, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, J Dilla, Major Lazer, Santigold, Twin Shadow, Lykke Li.” In the same vein as these artists, MØ’s music has soul and substance without being chained to a specific blueprint. A little pop, a little electro, a little hip-hop, and some soaring vocals—this is how MØ is made.

The Song: If you happened to catch the premiere of “Don’t Wanna Dance” via Zane Lowe, you might not even realize this is the same girl from “XXX 88.” Much more Lykke Li than Major Lazer, the track takes on a rock-pop vibe with little synths here and there, climaxing in a big, horn-heavy hook.

Current Project: For all things MØ, head to her Facebook page.

Soundclouds of the Underground runs every Thursday. For more, click here.