Soundclouds of the Underground: CMJ Edition


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.

In celebration of CMJ Music Marathon, the annual occasion that boasts a bevy of performances and panels all across (and outside) New York City, this week’s posts hone in on the buzzed-about acts currently in town to perform.


Sky Ferreira: “Everything is Embarrassing”


Who: Much has been said about 20-year-old Sky, a Lolita-looking Los Angeleno whose fashion-plate status has kept fans engaged despite a real release from the singer seeming near-impossible in the past (Ferreira is unfortunately no stranger to a life of label delays). Now, with a proper EP, Ghost, finally available (and well worth the wait), it seems the young talent is back on track to becoming your favorite sleepy-eyed pop star.

The Song: Produced by Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes (the man behind Solange’s newest, “Losing You”), Ferreira’s simple, sultry timbre echoes sweetly against the ’80s-esque drum pangs and resonating piano chords—it all sounds a bit like Tiffany on a melancholic mall tour, which (to no one’s surprise) is a fantastic way to sound.

Current Project: Ghost can be bought on iTunes in its entirety and listened to as a free continuous stream via the singer’s Soundcloud, but if you’re looking to take your fandom to the next level, Ferreira will appear in the flesh tonight at New York’s Santos Party House, alongside Icona Pop, JJAMZ, and more, as apart of the New Shapes CMJ Showcase. Find pictures, musings, autographed headshots of Dustin Diamond, and more on Ferreira’s Tumblr.

Joey Bada$$: “Home”


Who: Joey Bada$$ is the functionary frontman of Pro Era, a young cluster of Brooklyn kids whose effective flows ignite a synergy too genuine to ignore. The Bada$$ style (as can be seen in both his official videos and on-camera cyphers) is knotty, quick, and seemingly ceaseless, which could explain why every media outlet around has praised the wise-beyond-his-years rapper within only months of Pro Era’s emergence.

The Song: According to Joey’s Soundcloud, this springy Chuck Strangers-produced track was made “fresh off tour,” which makes perfect sense considering the rapper’s effortless attitude throughout. It’s easy to believe Bada$$ when he quips that “ain’t shit changed,” and one can only hope he holds onto his humility as he becomes undoubtedly bigger, better, and bad-a$$er over time.

Current Project: Bada$$ will be on the bill for Pitchfork & Topman’s free CMJ show this Friday, taking place at Brooklyn’s Villain. It’s also been announced that the rapper will be releasing a new single this fall with Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound, for which it’s rumored he’ll be working with a big name. For more, check out Pro Era‘s website.

Unicorn Kid: “Pure Space”


Who: Another young talent who has already proved plenty, 20 year-old Oliver Sabin began producing 8-bit EDM tracks with a Casio keyboard at the ripe old age of 16 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Nowadays, Sabin’s virtual sound creates a collage of images that seem a near-perfect fit for films like Enter The Void (the artist’s entertaining clip for his epic track “Need U” could easily be a deleted scene).

The Song: “Pure Space” may remind one of a song that plays during a fast-paced arcade game—overwhelmingly peppy and undeniably digital, its euphoric energy is of another universe built on the principles of PLUR (electro-speak for “Peace Love Unity Respect”)—a loving raver’s paradise.

Current Project: This Friday, Unicorn Kid will grace the stage during Flowerbooking’s CMJ showcase, which will take place at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory. Check out his website for upcoming tour dates and the like.