ABOVE: DORA BRILLIANT.
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.
The amount of music available online can and should be overwhelming, to the point where sometimes we can barely get past all the great bands in our own backyard. Well, this week, Soundclouds of The Underground has decided to act against our usual web activity and take the information highway international, making pit stops in London, Chile, and Denmark to check out some of the choice tracks other parts of the globe have to offer.
Dora Brilliant: “Elizabeth and Essex“
Who: This post-punk, poppy trio comes to us from London—their songs are fun, young and fast, we assume much like the Russian spy/nightclub crooner whom the band is named after. Although they don’t necessarily play with variety, Brilliant’s formula is consistently effective: catchy hooks, swift guitar chords, and a quick, muted drum are used to full advantage, building an honest, energetic sound worth listening to more than once.
The Song: Almost sounding like a secret track off the Sixteen Candles soundtrack, “Elizabeth and Essex” commits to an ’80s drum rhythm, setting the song in a sunny space that never loses its specks of attitude-the track packs just the right amounts of messy and melodic.
Current Project: October saw DB’s release of Real Bombing, an EP they worked on with Klaxons producer Ant Chapman. It’s unclear what’s next, but the well-received project will certainly help to hold you over until then. If you just can’t get enough, follow them on Twitter.
Lisa Alma: “Outbalance”
Who: The Danish Lisa Alma is a grand singer whose soft, sensual vocals create a dreamy tone that’s hard to shake. Although there’s not a lot of info on the emerging artist, her sexy folk-pop (which may remind you a bit of Lykke Li or Anna Ternheim) will make you wish you could know more.
The Song: If ever there was a perfect song for a voice like Alma’s, “Outbalance” is it. The melody finds the singer’s pipes standing more or less solo at first, only aided by background coos and sparse, reverbed percussion. But the chorus’ rousing harmonies hit soon after, seamlessly rounding out the cinematic cut.
Current Project: Alma just released some captivating visuals to accompany “Outbalance,” which find the singer and a female companion flirting in perfect sync with the music. You can watch the clip here.
Delpiano: “Rock That Boat (Original Mix)”
Who: A Chilean DJ/Producer who’s been in the game since ’06, Delpiano has played with the likes of Hot Chip, Flight Facilities, Caribou, and The Twelves, which makes sense given the beatmaker’s addictive, deep grooves.
The Song: The funky house jam is a slow build, and smartly so—the low-toned piano starts things off, and before long, a soulful sample begins to creep in. The singing opens up, and to our pleasant surprise, it’s none other than the vocals from Aaliyah’s “Rock The Boat.” The late artist’s contribution gradually morphs into a handful of adjoining loops that propel things forward, a steady, bass-heavy groove going strong until the track’s end.