Nafets: Asteroid


Nafets came to Earth on an asteroid. Or at least that’s what it felt like, growing up the son of Trinidadian parents in a black suburb in Fort Washington, Maryland while attending a mostly white private school in Washington DC. “I felt like I was always torn between several worlds and cultures and it would often make me feel very excluded and alone,” he explains. “I felt I didn’t fit in with friends or society in neither Trinidad nor America.” That experience of feeling alien – like he’d crash-landed on a meteorite, clawed his way out of a crater and tried to assimilate into a world he didn’t belong – is the spark for his latest slice of energetic, slightly trippy hip-hop: ‘Asteroid’, a track that like its planet-wrecking, dinosaur-obliterating interplanetary namesake, is set to make a serious impact.

“For me, rapping began as a way to combat depression, which I’ve suffered from since high school,” says Nafets, who is currently at college in Claremont, California. “It was a way for me to explore that side of myself that wasn’t really appropriate to just casually talk about. It helped me separate myself from my depression by creating a little box to put it all into – music.”

That sense of outpouring emotion is certainly felt on ‘Asteroid’, his first release on 10K. Spit-firing surreal rhymes (“I’m digging graves for me and all of my friends ‘cos I’m trapped in the future, someone help me out, need a gallon of luther, stares all around but really I was gone for applause”) over looping keys and a deep boom-bap beat, it’s a lighter, more melancholy side to the rising talent, whose last single ‘Feel Good’ was a dark, rampant, lose-your-shit party-starter, praised by HipHopDX and others.

Influenced by Earl Sweatshirt, Chester Watson, Mac Miller and more (but with a sweet spot for metal like Lamb of God), Nafets has more on the way – ‘Asteroid’ is to feature on an album, The Death Of Mr Ramen, about killing off an alter-ego. This, then, is just the beginning. Follow Nafets on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we’ll see you next week.

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Viigo: Ex-Friends


With shades of Jungle and Jai Paul, Viigo’s ‘Ex-Friends’ throws a slow-motion electronic eye on the moment a partnership fades into black, past a point of return. “I wanna take it back again, to the time where we were friends,” sings frontman MJ Hancock, atop a squelch of twisting synths. It’s an emotional frontier to cross, finally calling it quits like that. ‘Ex-Friends’ bundles that emotion into three minutes and thirty seconds of the kind of R&B-fused electro-soul magic the cult trio have become known for on their impressive rise through 2016.

Viigo’s music is full of such storytelling – universal moments of struggle everyone experiences once or twice in their life, put under the magnifying glass to a soundtrack of staggering production full of featherlight echoes and electronic skitters. From ‘Paranoia’, about those times your mental health suffers, celebrated for its “pulsing Balearic waves, roaring bass, and shimmering rhythms” by The Line Of Best Fit, to breakout single ‘Move’, about the happiness and fear of moving in with a loved one, ‘Ex-Friends’ is in good company – another arresting insight into life and love through the eyes of Viigo. Follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and we’ll see you next week.

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Mr Witch: Money and Dope feat. Nafets

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Mr Witch is the EDM Scarface. Need proof? Say hello to his little friend, new single ‘Money and Dope’. A pulsing dancehall beast full of Tony Montana-worthy narcotic haze and big bass, the song zips through a hedonistic wonderland of drugs and dark dance floor mayhem. With echoes of Skrillex and A$AP Rocky’s thunderous ‘Wild For The Night’, it’s another scorching reminder of the rising production star’s prowess behind the boards and appetite for the unknown.

The track features guest verses from first generation Trindadian rapper Nafets, who you’ll be hearing more from on 10K soon, and is a left-turn from Mr Witch’s previous few singles: though it keeps the intensity, TNGHT-ish drops and fast raps of ‘I Want You’, ‘Carat Cake’ and August’s massive ‘Feelin’ Fine’,  it’s a smokier affair than usual, pulling back the BPMs for a sultry slink of echoing synths and reggae rhythms. Listen to the track above, and follow Mr Witch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Luu: Zero Gravity

luu-zero-gravityYou don’t need to visit space to experience a sensation of weightlessness, floating through a strange, surreal ether. Save yourself some money and many years of NASA training by crushing on someone. G-funk pop trio Luu nail the emotion on ‘Zero Gravity’ – the gorgeous, butterfly-stomach uncertainty of a new love turned into a smoky R&B anthem full of lush falsetto hooks and plinking Dr Dre guitars. “You take me sky-walking baby… higher than the clouds, like swimming in the stars, never touching down,” sing the ‘Bout It’ hit-makers. After a string of impressive 2016 singles and now this certified banger, it doesn’t sound like Luu are coming back down to earth anytime soon.

“Got my head in a hurricane,” chimes the track, describing a love interest that may or may not be requited. By the time its huge chorus strides into view, entwining singalong vocals (“never let me down, never never let me down”) with rising, squelchy synth patterns, you’ll be as hooked on Luu as they are on the object of obsession at the heart of this song. Every bit as alluring as breakout single ‘That Light’, which Noisey described as “exquisite and often sensual luxury”, summer may be over but Luu, with their late night, steamy summer R&B sound, are carrying on like the sunshine will never end. Follow Luu on Twitter, and we’ll see you next week.

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Brett: Modern Classic

modern-classicBrett’s latest single is the four-piece at their invigorating best, but with a darker edge than many fans may remember. “We fight harder with our backs against the wall,” sings frontman Mick Coogan on ‘Modern Classic,’ swerving away from the intimate romance of previous tracks ‘Lost City’ and ‘California Nights’ for a deep dive into the current American climate of fear and feverous worry. “Standing in the street, sleeping in a dream, world is slowing down but I go faster,” Coogan sings over breathy synths, chorus guitars and Drive OST-pulsing electronics, the disorientating effect of contemporary life in pre-election America distilled into a defiant, beautiful pop song.

Inspired by Robert Smith guitar lines and early new wave atmos, ‘Modern Classic’ is about the “vice and decay in the changing American landscape,” says Coogan. “The hopeful melodies are in contrast to the hopelessness of the message.” A truly modern classic would capture all the ennui and paranoia of the world we’re living in right now, the song decides: “A little bit of freedom, a little anaesthesia, slide under the waves,” Coogan sings, detailing drug use and the feeling of drifting through a waking nightmare. Like a butterfly in a hurricane, it’s a spot of beauty in a cavern of chaos. ‘Modern Classic’ is out today, and included on the group’s new EP, out November 11. Listen to the track above, preview the EP on Bandcamp and follow the four-piece on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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John Hancock III: Guilty Party


Apologies aren’t easy. They can be gut-wrenching admissions of error that bruise your pride and often blow up in your face. Sometimes, though, they just have to be done. New Jersey Casio-pop maverick John Hancock, despite what his otherworldly knack for a infectious melody may lead you to believe, is only human, and capable of mistakes like the rest of us. On ‘Guilty Party’, he atones for his fuck-ups with Prince-ish dance floor sparkle and a string of promises. “I’ll do the laundry. I’ll do the dishes too. I’ll make the bed. I’ll take the trash out, and I’ll be good to you,” he insists to a loved one he’s let down. “And when you’re full up with forgiveness, you’ll take me back inside.” If sorry is indeed the hardest word, you wouldn’t know it from the breezy, carefree funk of this stomping new single.

Previously frontman to Pitchfork-acclaimed Miami outfit Awesome New Republic, Hancock has had a busy year so far, releasing cult acclaimed single after cult acclaimed single, from the minimalist shuffle of ‘Negative Space’ to the serious splendour of ‘Lead Me Out’ and ‘Give It Out’. ‘Guilty Party’ – which starts as an ambient swirl, stretching into a fiercely danceable groove in its verse before descending into a fun, ’80s-flavoured MIDI sax meltdown at the end – is his most ambitious moment yet. Check it out above, and follow John on TwitterInstagram and Facebook if you like what you hear. We’ll see you next Friday.

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Bad Wave: Night School


On their latest blast of electro-pop chaos, Bad Wave are “tired, so tired.” No wonder, you might be thinking: last month’s cult adored single ‘3am’ painted the duo as up-all-night party-lurkers prone to trippy bathroom encounters and hallucinations about house pets. But ‘Night School’ is about a different kind of weariness. “We gotta get outta here,” insists singer Tucker Tota over grooving bass and a drum machine rhythm, venting his desperation to escape a humdrum town. “Burn, burn, burn, burn it down on the way out.” Bad Wave are tired, and this driving fuck-you to posers with “pink hair, white shoes and bullshit” is their infectious, anthemic line-in-the-sand.

Bad Wave being Bad Wave, of course, there’s humour in their frustration here, the track’s plodding, near-rapped verses dotted with hilarious bon mots. “Three weeks straight you been waking up in your underwear,” sings Tota, hatching a plan to pack bags and escape to Omaha over instrumentalist Patrick Hart’s wild instrumentation. “The track’s about how it’s so hard to leave—until you leave,” he explains. “And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”

‘Night School’, out today on 10K, is an education alright. The lesson? As well as their usual breezy sound, which Clash recently called “brisk, buoyant electro-pop” evocative of Animal Collective, there looms something else in the pair’s locker: big blockbuster punk sing-alongs. Check it out above or listen on Spotify and Apple Music, and keep it wavy with Bad Wave on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Class dismissed, see you next Friday.

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