You were probably just as confused as we were when Spooky Black a.k.a Lil Spook, released his music video for “Without You” back in February. “Is this kid serious?”, “Why is this so low quality?”, and “What is type of music called?” were among some of the questions that came to mind.
With the release of his Leaving EP, the 15-year-old singer from Minnesota gives us a peek of what his music is really about. It consists of eight melancholy tunes, all titled in lower-cased letters and in such nonchalance. Collaborating with producers like Kid Hnrk, Psynum and Smitty The BG, this EP is a full on display of Spooky Black’s vocal talent and musical style over the dreamy, slow, lo-fi and occasional trap-style beats. The sustain added to his vocals accentuates the quirky yet creepy style of his songs, and with him dressing in all black attire in the “Without You” video, you can kind of guess where this is going.
Put it this way, Spooky Black is sort of like the R&B version of King Krule. Similar to his music, you either love it or hate it. We definitely love him in a weird kind of way. The whole EP is available off his soundcloud, so go get a copy here and tell us what you think!
’intro (prod. Curtis Heron & Thestandard)’
’HotelSixNine Ft. SolomonDaGod (prod. Smitty The BG)’
’take the blame so i dont have to (prod. Kid Hnrk)’
’echoes in my mind ft. wiccaphase springs eternal (prod. Kid Hnrk)’
’dj khaled is my father (bonus) (prod. Psymun & Spookyblack)’
The Juan Maclean
A Simple Design
Some labels just manage to carry a weight with them when uttered: in that regardless of who or what is being released people take notice. So when anything from indie-dance imprint DFA bubbles to the surface, we tend to take notice. And what better way to revisit one of our favorite labels than with one of the cornerstones which helped solidify their status as indie icon; The Juan Maclean. The long time DFA staple is ready to release another full LP on September 16, In A Dream, and have brought with them the second single from the album in the form of “A Simple Design”. A moody groover which rides the line between new-wave and darker disko, the tune once again features full time The Juan Maclean member Nancy Whang (of LCD Soundsystem acclaim) front and center. Her effortless vocal stems glide throughout John Maclean’s expansive, spacey dance vibes like never before, consummately fueling a hypnotic hip shaker of a melody. You can preorder In A Dream from iTunes, but for now we’ll be relishing in the beautiful dancefloor rumblings of “A Simple Design” to satiate our anticipation.
Alex Cruz-Follow The Sun ft. Xavier Rudd (Bootleg)
If you’re carefully calculating a playlist for your Labor Day adventures, look no further. First off, the original tune “Follow the Sun” is perfect for any road trip, camping trip, or even flight to a far off destination. Xavier’s gritty folk vocals give an intense life to the lyrical interpretation, which is brought to fruition with the subtle strumming of an acoustic guitar and a few whimsical notes off the harmonica.
While some of you out there might not be too keen on the folkier side of music, rest assured that we have you covered with an electronically inspired interpretation of this summertime tune. Coming out of the Netherlands, Alex Cruz has laid this tune over a sexy, smooth deep house bassline, letting a chopped up sample of the guitars dance perfectly over hallow kicks.
Leaving the vocals relatively untreated, this remix maintains the original integrity, coupling it only with a lively beat and some repeating shakes of a maraca.
Download this booty and upload it into your playlist for Labor Day. We garuantee it will illuminate whatever adventure lies ahead.
Black Balloons (lost kings remix)(Radio Edit)
It’s very rare to find a progressive house remix of an alt-indie track that not only fits, but bumps as well. Luckily for us, our friends lost kings were up to the task and they took on Local Natives’ “Black Balloons” in a stunningly energetic and melodic edit. Scrapping the track down to the vocals and working their way back up, the Angeleno duo creates gorgeous and uplifting riffs in what can only be described as a remix perfect for closing out festival season.
Feeling Good (SMLE Cover)
It’s easy to get excited as a music blogger. We often get the inside track at what’s coming out, and our general nature is rooted a the desire to share music with our friends. Well, every so often, we come across tracks that absolutely stun us, leaving us incapable of doing only one thing, which is press play again and again.
Luckily for us, we soon snap out of it, getting our fingertips warmed and ready to craft a post. Today is a perfect example of the scenario previously mentioned, one which grabbed our ears for a good solid hour before we could come to writing it up.
Increasingly enough, we’ve seen more and more artists take on remix/cover renditions of a tune. Not only are they setting the original lyrics on a new path with a vocalist giving their interpretation of an original, but they’re also coupling that cover with some new instrumentals as well. Today, we’re lucky enough to share SMLE’s cover/remix of Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good,” which coincidentally is a cover of Nina Simone.
This newly founded producer has teamed up with vocalist Janpier to create this surging future bass take on a classic crooner tune. The synths are nearly overwhelming, getting us “right in the feels,” as all you kids say. With the addition of smooth, untreated vocals, this song transcends genres and decades, creating a modern approach at something you’d expect to hear in a smokey 1940’s lounge.
Stuart Newman has a grasp on crafting mellow indie rock, and he has for quite some time. Seeing releases on his Soundcloud page that date back to 2009, we’ve admittedly never heard of this folksy rocker. Having said that, we’re happy we stumbled across him this week.
With a backdrop of some traditional acoustic guitar work and muted percussion, Newman’s understated vocals shine through, creating a hazy blend of shimmering indie rock artistry, worthy of listening to with your Ray Bans on, windows down and a grin on your face.
Lyrically, Newman takes on a somewhat story-teller-esque approach, leaving complicated lyrics to the wind. In it’s stead, we’re left with smile-inducing, easily-approachable structure, that couples with the surging Moby-like song progression.
This tune is a free download on Newman’s website. Just enter your email address and enjoy.