Soundclouds of the Underground: Downtown Festival Edition

Published May 9, 2013

ABOVE: INC.

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 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.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the awesome and eccentric Downtown Festival will be making its NYC debut—spread out across a number of venues on the Lower East Side, including Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, and Tammany Hall. The fest features some of this year’s most exciting artists, all of which are unsurprisingly internet-centric (some of whom have even been mentioned in this column before). With that being said, we felt it was our sworn duty as professional web stalkers to recommend three artists performing that we think are worth a look and listen in real life.

inc.: “5 Days”

 

Who: inc. is a highly buzzed-about, slightly enigmatic group built up of two brothers, Andrew and Daniel Aged. The LA-based duo are utterly fresh, while maintaining a nostalgia that seems rooted an ’80s and ’90s aesthetics. This acknowledgment of the past helps propel the act into the otherworldly R&B future, a place inc. seems more than comfortable operating in.

The Song: “5 Days” is a quiet storm driven by sensual keys and a swift pitter-patter of percussion, rounded out by big bass and the Aged brothers’ understated vocals, which may call to mind a more relaxed Prince. The track grooves on what feels like a hypnotic loop you never want to end. It quickly becomes clear why people are so dang excited about inc.

Current Project: inc. will kick off the first leg of their No World tour with their Downtown Festival performance, which takes place at Pianos on Saturday at 10pm. For more info, check out their website.

Ratking: “Wiki Speaks”

Who: Hak, Wiki, and producer SportlingLife are Ratking, the Harlem rap crew who’ve gotten the attention of many for their punk energy and conscious and cool lyrical styles. Songs like “Piece of Shit” (which received a video treatment from photographer and filmmaker Ari Marcopoulos) display the swiftness with which the group moves, never losing their swagger-filled stride.

The Song: A track that churned up a great deal of the initial interest in Ratking, “Wiki Speaks,” acts as an introductory statement song for 19 year-old Wiki, the group’s central member. It’s hard to ignore the similarity in Wiki’s voice to that of a young Eminem, but the young talent’s got far more to offer—his lyrics and delivery are slick, smart, and sure to keep things dynamic as Ratking’s popularity grows.

Current Project: Ratking is about to embark on a tour with Death Grips, but you can catch them at Tammany Saturday at 12am as apart of DT Fest. For more info on the act, take a peek at their website.

TEEN: “Fire”

Who: Sisters Teeny, Lizzie and Katherine Lieberson, along with their friend Jane Herships, are TEEN, a psychedelia-infused indie-pop outfit whose songs exude a lo-fi catchiness. Based in Brooklyn, the band’s vibes are prime for summertime, breezy and bittersweet in sentiment.

The Song: “Fire” takes on the tempo of a girl-group doo-wop; the band layering their vocals in octaves, harmonies and rounds to make a wonderfully engaging track that moves along steadily without having to be altered much in terms of instrumentation.Current Project: The band will play the 10pm slot at Rockwood Music Hall this Saturday. To see what else they’re up to, head over to their website.

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