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Download: Subtle "Unlikely Rock Shock"

Label: Lex

Oakland-based Subtle aren't just releasing the third album of an epic trilogy, they're also putting finishing touches on a universe of their own creation. Since 2004's A New White, Anticon co-founder Doseone has been writing a mythic, complex tale of heroes and ghosts, folly and fantasy. The six person group has had their own journey of heartbreak and adversity; multi-instrumentalist Dax was paralyzed from the chest down in a car crash during their first tour and a later van robbery in Italy took $15,000 worth of equipment. Thanks to the generous support of fans and ceaseless passion, they've weathered these set backs and continue to persevere. "Unlikely Rock Shock" comes from ExitingARM, a pop record that is as grounded in melody as it is in fantasy. Wyatt Williams  

Average: 6.8 (18 votes)

Download: Afrikan Simba "Alternative Power"

Label: Jahtari

Nigerian-born, London-based MC Afrikan Simba has made quite a name for himself in the U.K., having recorded with the likes of Jah Warrior and Zion Train and being one of the main voices on Voice of Africa Radio, the first licensed African station in that country. "Alternative Power" shows off his lyrical flow and appears on Jahtari's first-ever label compilation, Jahtarian Dubbers Vol 1


Average: 7.7 (18 votes)

Download: The Saturday Knights "Foreign Affair"

One can't really call The Saturday Knights a rap group. Yes, there are lyrical stories delivered by group members Tilson and Barfly, and DJ Suspense has programmed some fairly sharp beats, but Mingle their latest album, is more classic rock than golden-era hip-hop, or perhaps just an amalgamation of the two. Where else would you find soulsters The Dap Kings on the same release as Kim Thayil, the guitarist for early '90s grunge outfit Soundgarden? Add Nirvana producer Jack Endino playing drums on a song and well, we're not really sure what to call this release, so peep this track and decide for yourself. Photo by Hilary Harris. 

Average: 7.8 (24 votes)

Download: A-Trak "Nike Plus (Nature Edit)"

Label: A-Trak

A-Trak's contribution to the Nike Run series is one of our current favorites here at the XLR8R office, so we thought we'd share the love with our readers by offering a little clip from the 45-minute track. The New York-based producer and turntable master showed off his electro-house chips for this project, but he didn't forget his hip-hop roots. Both styles, plus more, have been mashed together for this disc, and if you haven't grabbed your cross-trainers by the end of this, you're a hopeless cause. 

Average: 6.9 (40 votes)

Download: Curses! "What I Need (Sharkslayer Remix)"

Brooklyn's Trouble & Bass collective has a love of all things low-end, and the same goes for their latest release, this time from Finaland-based Top Billin' crew member Sharkslayer. Remixing this track from Curses! (who also happens to be T&B player Drop the Lime), Sharkslayer strips the musical elements down to their minimum, cranks up the bass, and let's this onslaught of electro-house and B-more breaks rip. Just add it to his already hugely popular remix catalog, which currently has the fancy of everyone from Diplo to BBC. 

Average: 7 (38 votes)

Download: Alias "Well Water Black feat. Yoni Wolf"

Label: anticon.

Alias is set to rise again with his first instrumental solo album in five years. During his hiatus, the man born Brendon Whitney has collaborated on a couple of projects and left his 8-year home in Oakland, California to move back to Portland, Maine. Oh yeah, and he's been hard at work crafting Resurgam, his most melodic album to date that's filled with electric guitars, strings, layered synth rhythms, and plenty of drum machines. Whitney also dabbles in ambient territory on this album with some one-minute interludes in between tracks. For "Well Water Black," he's joined by WHY? frontman and fellow anticon. artist Yoni Wolf. 

Average: 7.8 (51 votes)

Download: Craig Sopo "Shell Tone"

Producers and Midwest transplants Craig Sopo and lovehate bring some Detroit techno and Chicago house to the B-more music scene with Below the Line. Just released via their More or Less imprint, the digital EP from Sopo himself is packed with stabbing synth lines, chopped-up vocals, and a couple remixes by Josh Dahlberg and Beretta Music manager Brian Kage that are apparently great for both drives on the Interstate and raves in the middle of the day. “Shell Tone,” is the EP’s lead track, and is fit for the darkest hours on the dancefloor.  


Average: 7.8 (38 votes)

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