Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Free Music: Interpretations & Trip-hop by Any Other Name

Let’s start this three-part offering of links to free music with the double-scoop ATCO: A Tribute from Xiomara, a musician from San Francisco.

Radical re-workings of rap are a dicey game, often producing novelty (which isn’t automatically bad) but usually cringe-inducing. But once in a while, the right performer picks the right material and does something genuinely interesting with a style of pop music not necessarily suited to cover treatment.

Xiomara spritzes Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean” with a nearly a capella first verse to show off her Depression-era blues voice that, appropriately rides into a sort of gypsy-jazz breakdown at the end. The flipside puts a daydream drift across “Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest. It’s a watery, soft and positively sensual reading of ATCQ’s already drowsy tune. The original is a request, Xiomara’s reading is pure promise keeping.

Get it, spin it, dig it.


Electric Wizard’s legend is mostly true. The English doom metal act has conjured a certain strain of creepy, occult-shaded metal sludge so filthy that listening to them can still feel transgressive. But turn off the amps and most classic metal, and a fair amount of doom, can sound like folk-blues that trades in murder-ballad imagery.

So what happens when a talented fan scrubs the druggy fuzz from Electric Wizard’s music? Acoustic Wizard answers that with some of the scariest campfire jams you’ll ever hear. The first two volumes, each with three tracks, are called Please Don’t Sue Me, which seems unlikely as we imagine the members of Electric Wizard would be all over this. It’s an act of pure love, with wonderfully gloomy results.


Electronic music site Earmilk calls Goldbloc’s Black Gold EP “one of the best slept on acts of our time." The term “slept on” seems to have lost its potency in this era of music consumption. After all, there’s so much new music that even dedicated genre fans are going to miss out on something. It’s just too hard to keep up. That said, Goldbloc really is a fantastic duo from Boston.

As our headline says, the four songs comprising Black Gold are trip-hop. Whether Goldbloc calls it that doesn’t matter. Don’t go in expecting the languorous, end-of-the century angst of Portishead, nor the jazz-lite chillout sound that made coffee houses seem cool in the late ‘90s. Seriously deep bass rolls with midnight menace beneath slightly glitchy treatment of vocals that recall the post-coital rasp of Elin Kastlander from jj. This is where soul music should be today.

You can download the EP for free by liking them on Facebook. We got a download error message, but that’s just Facebook being willfully difficult. You should be able to see the Dropbox link where you can grab the compressed zip file. Roll up.