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XLR8R's Best of 2014: Top Downloads (75 - 51)

After launching our Best of 2014 coverage yesterday with the first installment of our Top Downloads countdown, the next batch of 25 songs has now arrived. Including choice cuts from the likes of Lockah, Slugabed, Roland Tings, My Panda Shall Fly, Phon.o, and many more, this second collection of tunes further showcases the diverse array of styles heard in XLR8R's Downloads section throughout the year—glowing beatwork, burrowing techno, hardware-fueled house, low-slung bass, industrial club hybrids, and a number of points in between are all represented here. All 25 tracks from the second installment of our four-part Top Downloads countdown can be streamed and, well, downloaded freely after the jump. Read more » 

XLR8R's Best of 2014: Top Downloads (100 - 76)

Over the past 11 months, every single weekday (save for a few holidays, of course) has seen XLR8R post a new array of free MP3s in our Downloads section. While covering a wide range of electronic genres, we've shared a colossal volume of tracks from fresh-faced newcomers, burgeoning talents, and established producers alike, with each tune given an equal chance to capture the interest of our readers and land on their hard drives. Now, with December officially underway, and 2015 just around the corner, the time has come for us to once again kick off our annual ritual of looking back at the year gone by, and our Best of 2014 coverage begins with a list of the top 100 downloads that hit XLR8R this year. Read more » 

Real Talk: Dro Carey on His Struggles with Mental Illness, His 2012 Tour Cancellation, and Where He's at Now

'Real Talk' is a series of artist-penned essays that appears on XLR8R from time to time. Our latest installment comes from Australian producer Dro Carey (a.k.a. Eugene Ward), who also produces as Tuff Sherm. This week, Ward is releasing the 'Club Injury Handbook' EP, his first outing for the Greco-Roman label, which prompted us to want to hear a bit more from the young beatmaker. When presented with the opportunity of penning something for 'Real Talk,' he jumped at the opportunity, and elected to address a topic that most artists shy away from: mental illness. It's something Ward has dealt with (sometimes quite publicly) for a long time, but now, after two years in remission, he wanted to detail his experience of balancing treatment for his depressive and anxiety disorders with the intensive requirements of being an emerging artist in a musical landscape driven by social media presence.

When I cancelled my debut Australian tour back in early 2012, I released a public apology that attempted to detail what had transpired to cause the cancellation and, in an effort to be as transparent as possible, I indicated that I was still severely unwell when it came to my mental health, and that I had tried to set a goal and rise to the occasion for the sake of a passion—music—but had jumped the gun in terms of what I could accomplish and where I was in terms of therapy, medication, and techniques for the management of my conditions (major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder). Read more » 

XLR8R's Top 20 Downloads of November

Serving as the final full month for our Downloads section in 2014, November again brought a slew of free tracks to the pages of XLR8R. Though sprinkled with a handful of remixes (from the likes of Canadian artist Project Pablo, New York's MCFERRDOG, and PC Music affiliate Maxo, among others), the month's list of top downloads is largely populated by original productions, with a wide range of beatmakers including Hackman, Deft, Brackles, OL, Real Cosby, Samuli Kemppi, and The Cyclist (pictured above) having delivered some quality tunes over the past 30 days. With December now officially underway (and 2015 not too far behind), we have compiled the list for the top 20 XLR8R downloads in November below, to soon be followed by our list for the top 100 downloads of the year, which we will begin counting down later this week. Read more » 

Hi-Five: Graze Shares the "Bittersweet Electronics" That Helped Shape the Duo's Sound

Graze burst onto the scene with a flurry of quality material in 2013, dropping a stellar self-titled EP and quickly following it up with a solid debut LP, Edges, prompting us to name the Canadian-born duo the year's best new artist. 2014 has been a little quieter for Adam Marshall and Christian Andersen, although the pair has still managed to release a handful of singles and a second LP, Soft Gamma Repeater, which dropped just this month. Graze's sound is a unique one, as the duo combines the sensibilities of the UK's hardcore continuum with a more techno-oriented framework, a hybridized approach that probably speaks to its members' varied histories with electronic music. Curious to hear more about the sounds that shaped their combined musical outlook, we got Marshall and Andersen to put together a list of tracks they described as "bittersweet classics for after the club." When asked to elaborate on the theme, the pair clarified that it was talking about "the early techno and jungle that mined the territory between sadness and decay and hopeful futurism." And though the Hi-Five series usually only asks for five selections, the boys of Graze felt inspired enough to choose a couple of extra "bonus tracks" for good measure. Read more » 

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