Soundclouds of the Underground: Fall Feels Edition

Published September 25, 2014

ABOVE: YELLERKIN. PHOTO COURTESY OF JAKE WAYLER

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 changing of seasons seems to have the greatest effect on what we listen to and why. As the summer heat simmers down into an unsympathetic autumn cold, and booty shorts morph into long johns, our taste for bubblegum pop and Ibiza-ready club bangers tends to head towards a more somber and meditative sound. Check out three tracks below that are helping our ears transition.

Yellerkin: “Tools”

Who: As Yellerkin, Brooklyn-based boys Adrian Galvin and Luca Buccellati create sunny-sounding, experimental pop that is likely to put a smile on your face. Their shimmering tracks, such as last year’s “Solar Laws,” would fit nicely alongside a montage of a beach day shot on a grainy film camera,  or (more bluntly) a really great trip.

The Song: “You don’t have the tools for breaking all the rules,” the boys coo in Animal Collective-esque harmony on “Tools,” a track that starts with a slow drum before switching to a peppier tempo in its last stretch. The song may be melancholic in its message, but its bright musicality is sure to keep listeners on their feet.

Current Project: Keep up with the guys on Facebook.

Machinedrum: “Only 1 Way 2 Know”

Who: An in-demand producer who has been smart and select in his projects, Travis Stewart (aka Neon Black and one half of Sepalcure with Praveen Sharma) is revered by his colleagues as a veteran in experimental electronic sounds. Known on the surface for having been behind some of Azealia Banks’ tracks, Stewart’s influence extends far beyond his more popular records.

The Song: “Only 1 Way 2 Know” is a track off the upcoming Vapor City Archives, Machinedrum’s newest album, which will be released on pioneering record label Ninja Tune November 17. The track is an engaging blend of jazzy synths and footwork percussion, but Machinedrum’s distinct ability to repurpose the normally hard-hitting sounds for something so psychedelic is what makes the track particularly beautiful.

Current Project: Keep up with the producer via his Facebook page.

DonChristian: “Green Dream”

Who: A longtime favorite of this column, DonChristian is a singer, rapper, produce, and painter—an intersection that comes across in his artful approach to R&B. His sophomore tape, Renzo Piano, is a sensual echo chamber waxing on the complications of love and lust, proving the singer to truly be mastering the art of musical romance.

The Song: Produced by the enigmatic Suicideyear, a talent who has impressively sculpted out an ambient, hip-hop oriented style all his own, “Green Dream” follows in the footsteps of Renzo, with DonChristian switching off between harmonizing humble brags (“I’m worth a million in bricks please don’t change me) and unrelenting flows.

Current Project: Keep up with the singer, whose been playing shows around NYC, by logging onto his website.

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