Soundclouds of the Underground: Cool Down Edition

Published November 7, 2013

ABOVE: GALLANT

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.

When it comes to amassing music, we tend to turn our gaze on more high-energy material: the club bangers, party starters, head knockers, etc. But we do have a softer side, one that likes to curl up in bed beside our computer and chill out till we pass out. The sexy, subtle, and genrally awesome tracks below are some of our new favorites for a relaxed occasion.

Gallant: “Manhattan” (prod. Felix Snow)

Who: Perhaps the most important thing to know about Gallant is that the dude can really sing—his falsetto is  unwavering, his phrasing smart and soulful. A bit like How To Dress Well, the L.A.-based artist frequents a space between R&B and ambient indie-pop, a sound that feels like a distant fantasy, heavy on the reverb and echoes.

Song: Gallant’s frequent collaborator Felix Snow provides the musical backdrop for “Manhattan,” a moody ballad with what sounds like a door knock as the main source of production. This makes sense, given the song’s bedroom vibe—intimate, easygoing yet intense, “Manhattan” is dream-pop heaven.

Current Project: Stay in tune with Gallant via his Facebook page.

Iman Europe: “Turn Down”

Who: Born in New York and raised in southern California, the 23 year-old siren blends sounds together with elements of R&B and soul at the base, similar to her noted influences Erykah Badu and John Legend. Like Badu, Europe isn’t a plain-Jane type of talent—songs like the risqué, witty, and sultry “White N*gga” show the artist’s range when it comes to subject and style (she effortlessly raps the entire track).

Song: “This is the part where we break it down,” Europe sings in her low purr on “Turn Down,” a slowed-up track oozing with sensuality produced by Yoroku Saki. The song keeps a steady, hypnotizing rhythm, Europe’s disarming vocal taking you on a journey.

Current Project: Keep up with Europe’s fan page here, and be sure to check her cover of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”

Dan Bodan: “Hunger Games” (prod. Physical Therapy and Ville Haimalla of Renaissance Man)

Who: Berlin’s talented Dan Bodan has a taste for the dreamy, his songs full of fascinating textures and strange open spaces.  His material is sparse, but Bodan’s musical identity is clear—”Anonymous” finds the artist dealing with strange waves of bass and distant-sounding synth, whereas the 2 year-old “What’s So New” feels like a stripped-down ’80s slow jam.

Song: The subtle breakbeat production courtesy of Physical Therapy and Haimalla rests comfortably under Bodan’s emotional vocal, the result a soothing, beautiful track that the Hunger Games soundtrack would be so lucky to have. This is zone-out music at its best—take a seat, close your eyes, listen and just get lost.

Current project: Find out more about Bodan via his Facebook page.

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