Downloads Archive

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Morning Benders change their name, offer free EP

The Morning Benders are back with a new name and a new sound. The New York (but sometimes San Francisco, other times LA) band has given way to their own unyielding political correctness and re-branded themselves “POP ETC” after learning “bender” is a derogatory term for “homosexual” in the UK. In the process, the group has departed from the lush, organic retro-rock we flipped for on Big Echo, and developed a more synthetic, stylish tone. While the new name is kinda’ sorta’ okay, the new sound is kinda’ sorta’ awesome. Stream their new, self titled EP below, or download it free.

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Hip-hop collective ‘Quakers’ drop their self-titled debut

Fuzzface (Portishead’s Geoff Barrow) leads this, um, 35-member hip-hop crew (Really? Thirty-five members?) called Quakers. We were impressed with lead single “Fitta Happier (f. Guilty Simpson & Med)” which masterfully companied prominent samples by Run DMC and Radiohead. Check it out…

Download “Fitta Happier”

Later, we were (even more) impressed with “Smoke (f. Jonwayne)” (free download), and not just because (the guy we once knew solely as a DJ) Jonwayne’s mic skills have been quickening, but because the beat here also kicks ass. Today, the group’s self-title debut hits stores, and from the sound of this album preview, it’s likely an end-to-end banger…

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Death Grips – The Fever (Aye Aye) – video

So,  Death Grips are turning into one of those bands where, like, everything they do we talk about it because they’re rad. And by “rad”, we think they piss off as many people as they make really happy (they make us smile). That to us is great art. Anyway, if you’re new to this Sacramento crew’s aggressive, jagged deconstruction of hip-hop, their latest bit of propaganda, a video for “The Fever (Aye Aye)” (from their — ahem — major label debut, The Money Store, due April 24), is a good place to start. Stream it below. Then go get some free shit here. And here.

While we’re on the subject, we just found “The Fever” in downloadable form for you obsessive possessive types…

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B-Ju – Mia Got a New Haircut – free mp3

German beat maker B-Ju shares a geometric beat with glitched effects and neon textures from his latest, Prozak People. While this cut comes from across the Atlantic, it sounds like something from California’s Low End Theory-led electronica underground. To narrow it down, B-Ju makes digital waves with primary colors in the same pool as SF producer Salva.

Download “Mia Got a New Haricut” [XLR8R]

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Action Bronson – Blue Chips – Album Review

Early last year we were impressed by the sample-heavy swag of Action Bronson’s debut, Dr. Lecter (we were also pretty stoked with the Bon Appetite mixtape). The effort was enough to land the former chef on our list of favorite new hip-hoppers (we didn’t actually write that up… but we wish we had… Danny Brown and Death Grips would have been on that list, too). However, as 2011 rolled on, we were underwhelmed by the one-offs (“Cliff Notes”, “Muslim Wedding”) and collaborations (with Ghostface Killah, Apathy and half-a-dozen others). Not disappointed. But underwhelmed compared to the spark we heard on Dr. Lecter.

Actually, we were a little disappointed with a single, “Blue Chips” that we later learned was   the title track from Bronson’s forthcoming mixtape. Not a good sign. But Blue Chips is here. And there was absolutely no need to worry. This mixtape killer (free download).
All of the swag and vigor from Dr. Lecter is back, and then some. The R+B, funk and jazz samples (even some 50s pop) are more killer, the bass loops are funkier and Bronson’s flow has finally drifted to a comfortable distance from Ghostface’s. But the key aspect is range and pacing. Action Bronson has done an exceptional job of shifting tempo, mood and rhythm across Blue Chips, which gives the mixtape a spark that last from the simple nostalgia of “Pouches of Tuna” to the rich thump of “Tapas”.

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Clark preps “Iradelphic” LP

UK producer Clark has kept us guessing with each successive leak from his forthcoming LP, Iradelphic (due April 3rd on the mighty Warp records). First, there was the Boards of Canada-inspired digital wonder of “Com Touch” (free download), now we’ve got the brooding, swerving trip-hop of “Secret” featuring Martina Topley-Bird. Who is Ms. Topley-Bird? It’s the girl that was on Tricky’s 1995 breakthrough Maxinquaye.

Both songs are totally awesome. We’re very much looking forward to April 3rd.

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Midnight Door – The Beautiful Truth – free mp3

Counting Bobby McFerrin, Yo-Yo Ma and Sonic Youth among his influences, Luke Janela leads Los Angeles-based “Midnight Door” with his thick, soaring cello leads. Yeah, a cello, and there’s not much else to the group’s sound except the occasional, hazy vocals and persistent, pop-slanted rhythms. If that sounds like something the weird drama-class kids at school would come up with and play at low volumes in their beat up Volvos on the way to museums, you’re absolutely right. And it’s absolutely something we really like. Check out “The Beautiful Truth” (of course it is) from Midnight Door’s latest, Tomorrow Was.

Download “Tomorrow Was”

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Fort Romeau – SW9 – free mp3

UK producer Fort Romeau debuts this month with Kingdoms. From the feel of the stylish lead single, “SW9″, it sounds like one of those hypnotic deep house trips to the range on the techno spectrum dominated by Four Tet and Caribou. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, we really like where this is headed…

Download “SW9″ [XLR8R]

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Luke Roberts – His Song – free mp3

Nashville by-way-of Montana by-way-of Brooklyn troubadour Luke Roberts is gearing up to release his second LP, The Iron Gates at Throop and Newport (due March 20th). We here Roberts now owns a guitar, so it seems things are looking up for the melancholy singer. But as you’ll hear on lead single “His Song”, Roberts still clings to a romantic sense of sadness, and expresses himself in with an understated, ordinary charm.

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Keep Shelly in Athens – DIY (New Division remix) – free mp3

SoCal dance rockers New Division (pictured above) give Keep Shelly in Athens’ tightly wound, dark-waver “DIY” a neon-lit, after-hours pulse. It’s an approach familiar to New Division fans, and one that brings an excellent spark to this cut’s more shadowy origins. We’ve got both versions here so you can do a Pepsi Challenge-type game with your friends…