Soundclouds of the Underground: New Soul Edition


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.

Thanks in large part to the evolution of the Internet, there’s been more hybridization of genres now than ever before, and there are endless names to aid in describing different combinations of instruments and ideas. One style that has branched out in a multitude of ways is soulful R&B, music with a extensive timeline of influential artists. Here are three tracks that take a page from that book in awesomely individual ways.

Kali Uchis
: “T.Y.W.I.G”

Who: A Colombian-born beauty with killer style, Uchis is a talented singer/rapper/producer who boasts a sultry flow and an array of influences, from washed out doo-wop to hard-hitting hip-hop to disco-inclined soul. The result is hazy yet danceable, blurred but beautiful, and 100% Kali Uchis.

Song: A comment on the Soundcloud stream of “T.Y.W.I.G.” (which stands for the hook’s lingering lyrics “Take You Where I Go”) compares the artist to Amy Winehouse, a fair point given both artists’ respective abilities to take something old and make it cool and current without adding anything forcefully trendy (natural standouts are Uchis’ smooth lyrics and sexy delivery).

Current Project: Kali recently released a short film teasing songs from her upcoming project Por Vida—check out the clip & more info on the artist by logging into her website.

Shy Girls
: “Second Heartbeat”

Who: Dan Vidmar is the man behind Portland’s Shy Girls, an R&B project that follows in the steps of acts like Francis and the Lights, creating unadulterated R&B with a pop sensibility.

Song: “Second Heartbeat” gives off the sultry, whispery vibe of subtle, dreamy ’90s pop like Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever,” and even a bit like the talented Miguel’s  “Adorn.” Where the aforementioned tracks feel more straightforward, Vidmar’s pulsing ballad (which makes smart use of a sax) digs deeper and is both emotional and thoughtfully structured.

Current Project: Links to Shy Girls’ high-praising press (as well as show announcements) are available on the act’s Facebook page.


The GTW: “Bleach Pool”

Who: GTW (a member of R&B outfit Jody) may not sound like the mainstream acts that many affiliate with Chicago nowadays (Chief Keef, etc.), but the multi-talented artist is unarguably an integral aspect of Chi-town’s resurging music scene. GTW is hardly tied down to one style: His So So Def-inspired “Neymar Night” is mysterious booty bass, where his track with producer Hot Sugar, “Erica,” takes on a more solemn sound.

Song: “Bleach Pool” is another inventive, So So Def-inspired production from GTW, courtesy of Kilo Kish‘s DJ Kitty Kash‘s marvelous Love The Free mixtape, which also features artists like Chippy Nonstop, Vic Mensa, and Kelela. The colorful piano loop anchors the track, along with GTW’s chilled-out falsetto.

Current Project: Get more GTW on his Facebook page.

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