Hot off the heels of their 2015 full-length effort, Nadastrom, the LA-via-DC duo yet again find themselves shedding the skin of yesterday. Don’t expect to hear much moombahton from them anymore. It’s a new day and they’re breaking new ground. While Nadastrom explored rich house music territory, The Life and Times of Raphael De La Ghetto keeps it light and funky.
You might remember Raphael De La Ghetto from a classic episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air where Will Smith freestyled a poem in high school and attributed it to Raphael De La Ghetto, who was played by Geoffrey, the family’s butler. Samples from the episode tie the whole mixtape together as it moves us with classic breakbeats and hip-hop instrumentals.
If you’ve been following Cool Breezy for the past few months, you can probably already tell that I’ve made a concerted effort to dance away from bangers and more towards groovers. Man, I’m just tryna chill now. Funky hip-hop instrumentals from New Jersey’s Flamingosis and the soulful crooning of Dallas-Fort Worth’s Leon Bridges have soundtracked my 2015 and honestly, I’ve never been happier. There’s a direct correlation between the amount of groovers I’ve enjoyed and the happiness I’m radiating these days.
Enter Chicago’s Neon Pajamas – dude is speaking to every fucking cell in my god-given BODY right now with his latest compilation, W3NDCH3LL. Over the past year, he has curated and released similar compilations like this – Windchill: A Chicago Instrumental Experience followed by W2NDCH2LL – which place the spotlight on Chicago’s thriving music scene and the talented producers that drive its unique sound.
W3NDCH3LL, or The Final Wind, is the final installment in the series and consists of three separate segments. What we’re listening to today is the Soul segment, which is beautifully composed of soothing textures, late night street sounds, and more soul than ya mama’s fried chicken.
There’s something about summertime in DC that has you waking up early, staying out late, and feeling so alive from start to finish. These thoughts are eloquently echoed by Jake Komara, the maestro behind the District Summer compilation (and my ol’ bossman during my days of writing for his blog, Head of Rothchild!). As he tells Bandwidth, “I wanted to put out a music compilation that would capture the feeling of what it’s like to be in D.C. during the summer months. From brunches, to pool parties and rooftop afterhours, D.C. has a pulse during this special time of year.”
And what better way to get into the heat of the moment than by a feel-good house music compilation curated by some of DC’s favorite DJs?
Here are my favorite tracks and mixes from May! There’s over 65 hours of music on this one. Sorry I went a little overboard again – I just get too excited sometimes! Just hit shuffle and enjoy.
Okay, let’s be real here. Along with an official remix package by Major Lazer, there’s a TON of other stand-alone remixes of Major Lazer & DJ Snake’s “Lean On” – from KREAM’s deep house remix to a big room interpretation from WRECKVGE. But KRNE‘s take on the track is my favorite so far. The Oakland-based producer takes “Lean On” into future bass territory with a fast-paced tempo that leads into a heady drop. But mostly, his remix just makes me think of really fun late nights with my friends during the summer, a feeling I never wanna let go of.
Two Chicago crews, Teklife and Treated, came together in the name of the late DJ Rashad and their city’s thriving footwork scene to bring us “Live From Your Mama’s House.” The EP originally came to life through the efforts of Mic Terror and DJ Rashad, but was ultimately placed on hold after Rashad’s untimely death in 2014. “Live From Your Mama’s House” utilizes both soulful R&B and hip-hop vocals to drive its signature fast-paced tempo making it an incredibly engaging listen. It’s a must-have, y’all!
So not to get all granola-bitch on you, but during one of my yoga classes over the winter, my teacher guided us through a short meditation during which we imagined ourselves all alone in the desert. And let’s be real here – I’m not a resourceful person at all, so I DEFINITELY wouldn’t make it on my own out there. Like for real, I’d be a crispy critter by day’s end. But my teacher said we had enough water to drink and a map to get us where we needed to go, so the idea of being out there on my own wasn’t so scary anymore. What he was trying to show us with that lesson was that we already have what it takes to live and be successful (whatever that may mean to you) within us already. Sometimes we get caught up thinking if we were a little more of this and a little less of that, we’d be better. Or if we had enough money to do this or knew somebody who could help us do that, we’d be better. But the truth is, we’re enough and we already have everything we need.
And Misun‘s latest track, “Justice”, totally reminded me of that moment, something I’ll never forget. As Misun wails, “I’ve gotta be my own hero,” it just reminds me that you can’t rely on anyone or anything else to get you where you gotta go. You can do it on your own. You’ve already got everything you need to make it, but sometimes you can’t see it right way and you gotta dig deep. But it’s always there. And how many times have you expected somebody to be a certain person and you find out they’re totally not that AT ALL. You’re left standing there, totally blown, wondering how the fuck you got it so wrong. And while it makes you incredibly sad, you’re simultaneously elated because you realize how much better you are on your own, standing tall on your own two feet. That’s so powerful, right?!
Shit. I don’t even know if that’s what Misun intended with “Justice”, but that’s what I’m getting out of it. And honestly, I’m just happy to hear from Misun again. It’s been six whole months since Superstitions and I need their beachy, self-proclaimed “aquawave” vibe to warm me up this summer. But by the sound of things here, musically and lyrically, it seems like they’ve grown a lot over these past six months and can’t wait to talk about it. They’ve got a new EP coming on 5/29 titled Feel Better and I don’t know about y’all, but I’m feeling better already. Misun’s back.
Um, first of all, can we talk about how goddamn underrated Alfa Paare is?! As a collective of listeners with two ears each (except for you, Van Gogh), how in the hell can we sleep at night knowing we haven’t pushed Alfa Paare into the global limelight yet?! With a catalog that ranges from soulful disco house to super hype club music to enduring deep house, the duo of DJ Impulse and DJ Excel are really hitting all of our sweet spots here. And while they never really sit still for long, having homebases in Baltimore and LA respectively allows their unique productions to benefit from some top-notch musical influences.
Alfa Paare’s take on the Baltimore club classic, “Mr. Postman” is a case-in-point. While keeping the original club music skeleton of DJ Technics’ remix of The Marvelette’s “Please Mr. Postman”, the duo takes us further down into the underground by pitching the vocals way down and giving it a late-night house vibe. I’m a huge advocate for leaving a classic alone unless you’re really gonna change it up, but I think Alfa Paare totally added something new to the conversation here.
Confession: This track is like, eight months old, but I just discovered it over this past week and felt compelled to share it because it’s just so damn good okay. Dallas Cotton’s “Still” samples the vulnerable confession “I still love you” from R&B/Soul singer, Margie Joseph, and her 1974 track, “(Strange) I Still Love You”.
Dallas Cotton transforms the slow-going original into a summery, soulful R&B track perfect for 2015. It’s nothing short of incredible, really. Because sometimes you still might love somebody even if you’re not supposed to but the way these synths groove along so peacefully, “Still” has an optimistic way of making you feel like it’s all good either way.