Soundclouds of the Underground: R&B Edition
ABOVE: THURMON GREEN. PHOTO COURTESY OF PABLO TAPIA-PLA
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.
Here at SOOTU (new acronym, spread the word), we showcase sounds from all over the musical spectrum, as the Internet provides such a varied palette of unique acts. But we will proudly admit that before anything else, we’re suckers for R&B. Soulful vocals steaming with sex appeal, catchy melodies that become difficult to shake, and the frequented subjects of lust, love, and irreversible heartbreak. What’s not to love? Of course the Internet age’s take on the genre is far from traditional—today’s young talent isn’t afraid to distort a style that has long been forced into a traditional box. Today, we take a look at three artists who are changing the way we see R&B.
Thurmon Green: “The Grind”
Who: Los Angeles-born and NY-based, Green might be a familiar face to some—if you’re, lucky you caught his sultry set earlier this year at Lower East Side’s Home Sweet Home alongside MOD’s Lil Texas, or have even heard him featured on electronic producer Rioux’s track “Find The Reason,” released last year. Futuristic and smooth, Green’s breezy vocals float atop minimal, pop-friendly production.
The Song: With “The Grind,” the singer has truly arrived—his vocals range from a soft falsetto to a relaxed belt with a Rick James-esque swagger. Kuxxan provides the beat, a laid-back banger that perfectly aids Green’s concentrated coo.
Current Project: Stay updated on Green’s forthcoming EP Adolphus (which is being released by Doom Dab) via his Facebook page.
Liz: “U Over Them”
Who: The blogs are abuzz when it comes to Liz, and it’s not hard to see why—the singer has far released a handful of tracks with Mad Decent’s Jefree’s imprint to wide acclaim. She’s already garnered comparison to Aaliyah and Janet Jackson, and proven herself as a master of interlocking melodies and hooks that we’re afraid we won’t ever be able to get out of our head without seeking serious medical attention.
The Song: Liz’s most recent effort finds the singer sticking to a tempo and vibe that may remind longtime R&B fans of Ms. Jackson’s “I Get So Lonely,” but that acts (if anything) as merely a template for Liz to manipulate into something distinctly her own. The vocals are wonderfully smooth and direct, and the production helps keep the groove in constant motion.
Current Project: Check in with Liz’s Facebook page for more info on the artist.
Who: Those who are in the know might recognize Jade’s soft-spoken soul-pop via her track with Chicago-born producer Brenmar called “Goodnight Summer” and its accompanying visuals. The singer incites artist envy with her natural cool and bevy of collaborators—producers like The Cool Kids’ Chuck Inglish and Tom Cruz contribute to her newest effort, Selfish and Never Alone Volume 1.
The Song: Cruz’s production rolls and rattles as Jade’s pretty pipes help prove our theory that slow and sexy wins the race. Not to start comparing everyone in this column post to Aaliyah, but there are some moments on this track where the resemblance (at least to this smart, beautiful, and mostly right about everything columnist) is bone-chilling.
Current Project: SANA Vol. 1 is available now—head to Jade’s website, grab a copy and get more info on the singer.
Soundclouds of the Underground runs every Thursday. For more, click here.