Das Racist‘s name is kinda like a big deal on the Internet. Since announcing themselves in 2009 with the cheeky “Combination Pizza Hut Taco Bell,” the hip-hop trio of Heems, Kool A.D. and hype-man Dap have become both fan’s and critic’s darlings in the online playground. But beyond the group’s own releases, which include Kool A.D.’s new solo mixtape The Palm Wine Drinkard, they’ve been steadily assembling a creative roster of artists on their Greedhead Records label. This week marks the release of indie-pop group Keepaway’s debut album, Black Flute which seems to be just the beginning of things to come.
Keepaway’s sound draws in influences from all over the musical map: it’s not uncommon to pick out electronic beats meshing with African rhythms as they craft their guitar and synth-hinged songs. “Cake” is the lead single from their debut album, Black Flute, which is out tomorrow (Tues. January 10) and it’s a cheerful, lilting blast of good-time pop music, complete with the bittersweet life lesson “no cake for the curious.” Smartly capped at ten tracks long, Black Flute‘s joyous sheen shapes it up as an early contender for your soundtrack to the pending spring season.
2. Headless Horseman
Despite rolling with a very Wu-Tang Clan-sounding name (see also Big Baby Ghandi below), Headless Horseman is a duo cut firmly from the indie pop mould. Connor O’Neil and Fareed Sajan craft static-imbued ditties that are powered by the type of ultra-high-pitched vocals that have seen them burdened with the tag of singing like chipmunks. But far from annoying, Headless Horseman’s blend endears thanks to an intimate mix between the vocals and the production. Released back in October of 2011, the compilation HDLSS rounds up the best of their work to date, with the uptempo “Wavlngth” the stand-out moment.
3. Big Baby Ghandi
As his name suggests, there’s a detectable Wu-Tang Clan influence in Big Baby Ghandi’s rap tunes. He works himself up into an Ol’ Dirty Bastard-ish frenzy for “On Drugs,” drops environmental vignettes like “Chilling at Patel Brothers/ Two-for-one mangoes, they got 50 cent cucumbers” on “Gandhi Mandhi Mandhi,” and it wouldn’t be a shock to the ears if Ghostface popped up on the mesmeric lament “Supposed 2 Change.” B.B.G’s Tumblr is also one of the more entertaining ones out there, complete with a cursor that takes the form of a magical baby bottle. ODB would approve.
4. Tony Castles
A Brooklyn-based trio, Tony Castles combine experimental tendencies with a lavish dream-pop sheen. From last year’s five-track No Source EP ( released via the Famous Class label), “Black Girls In Dresses” showcases Tony Castles’ slicker styles, while the more recent “Leaving You Is Easy ‘Cause You’re Beautiful” thrives in a scuzzy, lo-fi zone. A debut album on Greedhead is planned for later this year.
Hailing from New York City, Lakutis is a rapping white Russian who first announced himself with a series of cameos on Das Racist’s Sit Down, Man mixtape. (The group returned the favor by dropping guest verses on his free debut mixtape, I’m in the Forest, released last December.) Fond of spitting at speed, Lakutis’s raps veer on the tricky side, and he packs his verses with pop culture references: his introductory anthem, “Lakutis in the House,” sees him claiming to be “the offspring of Jon Voight” and spending his down-time “Watching S.N.L. — peace to Bill Hader.” For extra sick kicks, he’s also compared his male member to “chicken parm.”