Official Re-Launch & August’s Best

As you all know, we’ve been on a bit of a hiatus for the past month. But we’ve all returned from our island hopping and Moët popping to get back on the Truants grind, and we have a lot of exciting features coming up in the next few weeks and months! While the dog days of summer may not see the highest volume of releases, there’s definitely been enough good new music to keep our iPods fully stocked. Read on to find out some of the crew’s favorite free releases that came out during our August hiatus:

First up goes a remix that came out last month, a semi-collaboration between Aaliyah, Drake and Shlohmo: the three of them are much cherished artists in the Truants Mansion. Whether the first duality combined works or not has been a topic of controversy recently and as much as we love Drake, we gave a little turn when we heard about him working on Aaliyah’s posthumous album for several reasons. To our surprise the track he released at the beginning of August, “Enough Said“, was a lot better than we could have ever hoped for and we might have actually ended up enjoying it on the hush-hush. The production on the original, courtesy of OVOXO’s 40, is quite sparse but highlights Aaliyah’s silky vocals (“Baby tell me what I gotta do to get you to talk about / because we’ve been together a little too long for you not to talk about“) and the Drake intermissions blend in with it perfectly. A few weeks after the song came out the WEDIDIT cohort, as well as Young Money and Illuminati accomplice  in disguise, Shlohmo jumped on the remix in remembrance of Aaliyah’s 11th death anniversary. He’s remixed two Drake joints of  “Take Care” before, “Marvin’s Room” and “Crew Love,” which we loved and he did the damn thing on this rework once again: slow, sinister and hallucinatory. Exactly how we like it, and one of the very few Aaliyah remixes that has really caught our ears this year. Rest In Peace Baby Girl.

Stream/download: Aaliyah feat. Drake – Enough Said (Shlohmo Remix) via Soundcloud.

The Brainfeeder crew certainly knows what’s up in the free giveaway department, providing fans a steady stream of quality free material to appease their appetites between official releases. Towards the end of August the collective-cum-label offered up a surprise release from Matthewdavid, the ever-talented LA beat mystic and Leaving Records head honcho who’s amassed a deep catalog of select releases over the past couple years. On the playfully titled “Producers in 2012 Learn to Spread Love,” the producer delivers three cuts of blissed-out boogie that’s perfect for the twilight season as summer slowly gives way to fall. Leading things off is a fantastic cover of the Mary Jane Girls’ classic funk/R&B cut “All Night Long,” slowed down to a syrupy pace and swimming in pools of shimmering reverb. “Whisper Love Across the Room” is a heartfelt slow jam driven by a dubby bassline and Matthewdavid’s hushed, smoked-out vocal stylings, while “Stop & Realize” hits a nostalgic note with somber synth pads and screwed vocal samples. Top notch offerings all around – don’t sleep on this one!

Stream: Matthewdavid - All Night Long (Mary Jane Girls Cover)
Download: Matthewdavid – Producers in 2012 Learn to Spread Love via Brainfeeder.

Releases like Mosca’s “Eva Mendes” EP and BrEaCh’s “You Won’t Find Love Again” have been getting rinsed heavily at this end all summer, so we’re naturally happy to hear that American producer Urulu is enabling us to stretch out the season just a bit longer with his new “Tell Me / No More” EP. He gave away the EP just as he surpassed 2,000 fans on Facebook, and not that we want to sound surprised, but we almost feel guilty taking it for free. Urulu has carried on with the straightforward house sound that he nailed on the inaugural Young Adults compilation with his contribution “Missin You,” serving up two easy-going worry-free tracks that help take some weight off your shoulders as the schoolwork starts to pile on.

Stream: Urulu - Tell Me
Download: Urulu – Tell Me / No More EP via SoundCloud.

We don’t know about you, but the boys from TNGHT have been running our summer. That blazing EP rose above anything else from the so-called trap movement, with its sheer invention and body of ideas, getting mad plays in clubs and festivals across the world. Lunice and HudMo freely stated that they made these beats for rappers to jump on, so it’s only right that some inventive DJs have got their blend on. Our favourite is DJ Cable’s “Hard In Da Goooo”. Doing what it says on the tin, it pits Waka’s Brick Squad anthem against TNGHT’s loudest and brashest statement of intent. A perfect marriage, each track builds and builds and burns with unrelenting frenzy. There’s not much else to say about it other than be careful you don’t snap your neck whenever you hear it.

Stream/download: Waka Flocka x TNGHT - Hard In Da Goooo (DJ Cable Refix) via Soundcloud.

Altered Natives piqued our interest last week with news of his third volume in the “Tenement Yard” series, but this track is a world away from the brutal house he’s best known for. In his own words, this “Downtempo thing I’ve been fkin around with” is a delightful jam as seductive as its subject matter. Utilising a sample from Bugsy Malone, he flips a sweltering groove under MF DOOM‘s “My Favourite Ladies,” Metal Face’s ode to the various mind-altering substances in his life. The lilting Blousey Brown sample lends itself perfectly to the confused state induced by Mary, Ally, Evee and Lucy, proving that Danny is just as adept at crafting downtempo rap grooves as he is at melting your mind with his house-flavoured assault and battery. He’s said that “Tenement Yard Volume 3” will be the final entry in that oeuvre, but there’s no reason to be downhearted. We can see from this experiment that he’s got more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

Stream/download: Altered Natives - MF Doom vs Misery Bitch via Soundcloud.

Leftfield house producer Fur was introduced to us earlier this year via his “Cocoon EP” on one of our favorite labels UNO NYC. The EP was a lofty outsider’s view of house music drenched in downtempo and meditative pads. That release whet our appetite and now he’s back with five new tracks as part of UNO’s Giveitaway series. The “Yonder EP” expands on the palette of sounds he explored on “Cocoon”, so expect androgynous vocals and cathartic & orchestral samples. There’s a real anything goes feeling across this entire EP. Just have a listen to “Reverie,” a track that samples thirty songs in the span of five minutes. The opener “Snow” kicks things off with a minimalistic piano and sounds in the background of what may or may not be a plane as it takes off. Then there’s “Yonder,” a track that starts out so bumpy we cannot help but nod our heads, but stepping back it’s extremely out there. Wailing voices and church strings are the basis of the track and for the last forty seconds or so it sounds like a sampled feed from the Vatican. Every track straddles a line that makes it difficult to decide whether this is dance music or head music, house music or synth music. We love this, the exploration and blurring of genres outside of the typical “let’s take house music and merge with [insert hip sub genre]” combination. House music tracks in particular are often positively labeled as jams to describe the live and seemingly effortless way the music carries on, but in the case of Fur the music is so intricate we’d do him a disservice to call these jams. Hopefully this release is a signal of what’s to come from Fur in the near future, fingers crossed.

Stream: Fur - Reverie
Download: Fur – Yonder EP via UNO NYC.

Antwon made some noise last year with the tape “Fantasy Beds” and tracks like “Helicopter.” Almost a year later he’s back with an album that slants away from some of the more traditional rap tracks of his former tape to an almost completely early 90s electronic vibe. If the world had ended in 1995 and the remaining members of the human race threw a party in the ruins, it might sound something like “End of Earth” does. “Sittin In Hell” is our top pick, being the track where the drugs start kicking in. It’s an upbeat track well suited for that fading summer glow as the cooler weather prepares it’s return. A giant bonus to Antwon and Big Baby Gandhi for letting the beat ride itself out. Unfortunately this one’s not free anymore, but it’s definitely a worthy purchase.

Stream: Antwon - Sittin In Hell (Prod. by Big Baby Gandhi)
Download: Antwon – End of Earth via Bandcamp.

“Late Nights With Jeremih” is an impressive step forward for the Chicago R&B singer, best known for the infectious pop hit single “Birthday Sex.” The mixtape features lush, melodic beats, and Jeremih’s fragile falsetto and his habit of chopping up and stretching out words recall The-Dream. Though his voice is thin in timbre and limited in range, Jeremih is an adventurous vocalist. He raps nonchalantly, croons, trembles, pleads, moans ethereally. He layers his voice to create intricate arrangements and complex emotional textures. Jeremih is so gentle and earnest, even as he sings about “three bitches in the tub” on a track called “Girls Gone Wild,” he seems more like a magnanimous playboy than a sleaze. The music is equally pretty. Tracks produced by Jeremih himself feature intimate piano-based instrumentals and lyrics that recognize his fans and his hometown. Pop producers The Futuristics provide two instrumentals, including the moody, atmospheric “Rated R (The Masterpiece).” The tape’s best song “773 Love” is a Mike Will Made It production. Like Mike Will’s production for Juicy J’s “Bands A Make Her Dance,” this track uses dynamic changes and sudden explosions of melody to create a robust, dramatic instrumental. “Won’t you call 773-779-LOVE?” he invites on the song’s infectious chorus. Right now the number goes straight to voicemail.

Stream: Jeremih - 773 Love
Download: Late Nights with Jeremih via DatPiff.

This next track might not be the most cheerful one to listen to and will probably move even the most stone cold ones to shed a tear but it’s definitely not one to be skipped. About a month ago, Californian songstress Jhené Aiko released a track entitled “For My Brother,” dedicated to her late brother Miyagi Aiko. The opening lines  “Waves of sadness, crashing, against the shores of unsureness” set the tone right for the touching, sad, yet hopeful tone of the song that’s supported by a gently rippling aquatic beat that perfectly ties in with the serene and optimistic feel of the song. Both vocally and lyrically, this is one of Aiko’s strongest works to date, which perhaps can be credited to the fact that “For My Brother” is undoubtedly an unadulterated expression of raw and honest emotion. P.S., Jhené’s most recent single, “3:16AM” was also released in August and is keeping us happy until “Souled Out,” the much anticipated sequel to her debut mixtape “Sailing Soul(s)” finally drops.

Stream: Jhené Aiko - For My Brother via SoundCloud.

Written by: Immy Soraya, Sam Billetdeaux, Cayley MacArthur, Aidan Hanratty, Jon Alcindor, Donny Marks, Michelle Myers, & Sindhuja Shyam.

Check out past installments in the Sunday’s Best Archives.

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