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What Soundcloud Has Shown Me in 2014

Posted on the 31 December 2014 by The Raccoon @TheRaccoonUK

Debates over the consumption of music are rife in this day and age, particularly when discussing the way we access music in the vast wilderness that is the internet. There is an unholy amount of crud flying around out there, but there’s also some utter gold just waiting to be listened to.

This year, I took it upon myself to use these online services more and see what they offered. I’ve dabbled with Deezer, had a Spotify Premium account for a while and even attempted to utilise YouTube as a music discovery tool. Head and shoulders above all of these services, for me, is Soundcloud.

With a sophisticated and easily customisable stream page, you can scroll for hours listening, following and building playlists that cater to your tastes. What Soundcloud excels at is delivering artists to you in a manner that really makes you feel like you’ve discovered something, be it via the recommended stem of a track you’re listening to, or browsing the playlists of other users.

It’s incredibly easy to get lost at first and I found myself down many wormholes trying to force alt-whatever on me, but over the last few months I’ve really got to grips with using the website to build my own little library of genuinely great music that I doubt I’d have found anywhere else. So, to prevent any further waffling, here I bestow upon you the best music that I’ve found on Soundcloud this year. It’s all highly subjective obviously, but if you think it’s all shit just tell me you like it anyway, it took bloody ages to compile this.

Stand Wise – Pyramid
These guys are Diego Ribes and Raphael Bugeaud and they come France. Other than that I can’t tell you anything about them because this is 2014 and musicians don’t disclose much these days. I can tell you though that they have some absolutely superb music under their belt and craft a completely irresistible sound. Stand out track ‘Pyramid’ opens up like a Darkside single, with heavy focus on ambience before fidgety guitars make an entrance and take the track to another level. I can’t really describe it to be honest, but if you’re walking somewhere in the middle of the night this is probably the song you want to do it to. Just wait until 4:20 and it will all make sense.

Lany – Hot Lights
This one is quite simply just great. Lany hail from Los Angeles and you definitely get a sense of that neon-lit Californian environment when listening to ‘Hot Lights’. 2015 looks set to be a big year for this lot, with their social media followings growing and even a verified blue tick on Facebook (apparently a measure of success these days). There are some serious 80s tones going on here, so it’s not to everyone’s taste but I’ll be the first to admit I’m a sucker for it.

Dirty South – With You (Jai Wolf Remix)
Ah, the remix – such a fickle thing. Admittedly, I’ve never listened to Dirty South or Jai Wolf but one day this popped up on my recommended tracks. It was pretty sunny outside, I pressed play and was absolutely blown away by the sheer enormity of the sound bellowing out from my speakers. I have no other words for it, it’s just absolutely huge. If I were to compare it to anything, think Slow Magic teaming up with Washed Out and getting gnarly on some steroids and MDMA. What a gem.

Tusks – Answers
This one isn’t quite as cheerful but is an absolutely stunning piece of work. Emily Underhill, aka Tusks, has an incredibly delicate, airy voice that barely whispers above the fragile guitar that picks its way throughout the five minute duration of the track. Halfway through, a deep lying bass drum thuds sparingly, adding an intensity that when coupled with the delicacy of the vocal performance is utterly devastating. I accidentally closed the tab when I was listening to this once and felt guilty that I hadn’t heard her out. It’s a genuinely beautiful song and one that deserves to be paid undivided attention.

Fine Print – About You
Be ready, the saxophone is back. This track is smoother than Tom Selleck chatting up your wife, cigar in hand and class in abundance. Fine Print, whoever he is/they are will probably be getting a lot of love from blogs over the next year and rightly so based on the music that’s appeared so far. ‘About You’ is as chilled out as it comes, with a steady rhythm and laid back R&B vocal, it carries the listener along gently toward that sublime sax solo at the end.

RITUAL – Blood Flow
Not only one of the best songs Soundcloud has shown me this year – one of the best songs all year full stop. The way it chimes in feels both urgent and relaxing at the same time. The vocals soon come in with a soulful, gritty delivery that builds on the bass that throbs throughout, laying down the perfect undertones for this irresistible late night jam. The chorus slows it all down just enough to keep you on your toes, before it launches back in to the next verse with a sophistication that belies the short space of time RITUAL have been around. 2015 is undoubtedly gonna be a big year for these guys.

Loftt – Pieces
Finally, a recently discovered gem from Manchester based Loftt. ‘Pieces’ is a brooding number overcome with distortion that, on a good pair of headphones, takes you away to some seedy underground nightclub in Eastern Europe. It’s certainly apt for these long winter nights – the amount of layers here demands your attention and keeps you listening out for all of the little intricacies that make this track so good.

Not a bad year for music after all, then. Based on what I’ve heard this year, I’ll definitely be sticking around with Soundcloud and can’t wait for what the next year brings up in my feed. To the future of music, and all that!

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