Soundclouds of the Underground: Innovators Edition

Published January 30, 2014

ABOVE: LOUIS FUTON

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.

Just like anything else, music on the Internet has its popular trends: trap remixes reign supreme, while EDM bangers are a frequent fashion throughout the blogosphere. Not that there’s anything wrong with either style, but more often than not our ear likes to be tickled by something stranger—sounds that creatively turn and twist what’s current. These are the soundsmiths that tend to predict (and ultimately determine) the future of what’s hot. Check out the three innovative and effortlessly cool tracks below and the producers who made them.

Mojek ft. Jackie: “<3 (If U)”

Who: Chicago up-and-comer Mojek has earned a name through his signature sounds, often a hybrid of house and juke, with occasional Afrobeat influences. Mojek’s aesthetic boasts a controlled energy: his remix of Chi-town rapper Chief Keef’s “Citgo” maintains an ethereal delicacy while still boosted by big bass and claps.

The Song: Featuring the soulful vocal stylings of singer Jackie (backed by auto-tuned harmonies à la Uffie’s “Pop The Glock” or even Imogen Heap’s “Hide & Seek”), the track feels as though its being put through an intergalactic filter—an R&B jam for the space age.

Current Project: Stay up with Mojek by checking out his Facebook page.

Mykki Blanco: “She Gutta” (Produced by Jeremiah Meece of The-Drum)

Who: Jeremiah Meece makes up half of Chicago production duo The-Drum, whose dark and distorted beats seem perfect for a trippy after-hours event (see their take on Mirror Talk’s “Don’t”). But Meece’s repertoire extends past his group work—he’s also a vocalist with an extremely impressive range, as can be seen via his live work as a part of the R&B collective JODY, as well as  in his delightfully dazed, self-produced edit of Willow Smith’s “Summer Fling.”

The Song: Meece takes a backseat vocally this time around, crafting up a grimy, eerie jam for international rap sensation Mykki Blanco. “Finna play me?” Blanco asks over the ultra-hard beat, which ends up sounding like an alternate universe’s Wacka Flocka Flame heater.

Current Project: Stay in tuned to all things Jeremiah via his Soundcloud profile.

Mos Def: “Ms. Fat Booty” (Louis Futon Remix)

Who: Don’t let their punny name (and boyish good looks) fool you, the Philly-based duo of Tyler Minford and Logan Zoghby make seriously good music—a refreshingly funky blend of R&B, jazz, and more electronically inclined elements. As the group so adequately states in their Facebook bio, “We make music because we love music and would be lifeless souls without it. We produce what makes us happy, which is why GENRES DONT DEFINE US.” One listen to their tracks and the sentiment is loud and clear.The Song: Evoking the nu-funk stylings of remix masters like the also young talent Kaytranada, LF take this Mos Def classic for a ride, placing it in a far more dance-friendly context.  The result? An original, ever-so-catchy edit that (along with the rest of the group’s released work) makes Louis Futon a name worth remembering.

Current Project: The boys have only been around for about four months and have already gained a remarkable fan base. Watch their continued success by logging into their Facebook page.

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