Antwon announces new single “Helicopter” on Bella Union…

On Monday 4th November San Jose-based rapper Antwon will release his new single ‘Helicopter’ via Bella Union.

Already the subject of much acclaim from US blogs, ‘Helicopter‘ will get a physical release on a very limited transparent purple-splattered 7″ vinyl and will be back by new Hot Sugar produced track “Laugh Now”.

Check out the single below…

Give any of Antwon’s acclaimed mixtapes or albums a cursory listen and you’ll hear a gifted MC worthy of the blogosphere’s accolades. But given more focused attention, you’ll realize how much the San Jose-based hip-hop artist’s output deviates from the bass-heavy, weed-laced posi-vibes of his West Coast compatriots. Antwon hardly shies away from punishing low-end or chemical enhancement, but his fatalistic litanies and short-sharp-shock attack have little to do with the mainstream rap game. Onaverage, his early songs tapped-out at the two minute mark, giving him justenough time to spit out a couple of verses before lashing into his next spiel. And while not averse to lifting hooks from old funk songs or ‘80s synth ballads, Antwon typically veers towards caustic sound sources, industrial-like dirges, and swaths of digital haze. Rather than simply using the music as the springboard to inundate the listener with his rhymes, Antwon employs his craft judiciously to allow the production to have it’s own voice. Even his lyrics seem out of step with conventional hip-hop, with the braggart’s vanity of big name artists eschewed in favor of grim, impoverished nihilism.

Antwon’s unique style makes all the more sense when one acknowledges his punk roots. From his Bay Area powerviolence-steeped past through his tenure in filth-ridden hardcore bandLeather, Antwon’s love of hip-hop has been offset by his appreciation for the more brutal niches of underground rock. Despite rock and hip-hop’s domination in three decades of pop culture, few attempts at bridging the stylistic divide between the two communities have yielded respectable success stories. Perhaps the most obvious reason for the long list of failures in this brand of crossover stems from the glut of ham-fisted appropriations from guitar-centric artists who have no real grasp of hip-hop’s roots. For every Check Your Head, there are a million Significant Other equivalents. Ultimately, the ability to operate in both worlds with any sort of style and credibility has required a genuine understanding and appreciation for theirdistinctively innate qualities. You can’t just cram rap verses into a rock format or lazily sample a Metallica hook and expect intriguing results. Themagic of Antwon’s craft is that he manages to apply the aesthetics of crucial underground bands—the succinct outbursts of Infest, the mechanical throb and lush layers of Jesu, the cocaine-night nostalgia of Chromatics—into a hip-hop format.

Antwon’s deft ability to absorb and recontextualize disparate musical elements has not gone unrecognized. Whileit’s no surprise that his refreshing approach has won an audience in the hip-hop world, it’s the percolating excitement over his tracks in the fickle indie rock press world and the hardcore-matinee-level crowd eruptions at his shows that really demonstrate Antwon’s burgeoning position as one of the leading voices in the rap community. With this building fanbase sending him out for performances across the U.S., U.K., and the far reaches of the Europeancontinent, Antwon’s cross-pollinated empire looms larger every day.

Watch: Laura Veirs – America

Watch the video below…

Laura will be embarking on a 9-date UK tour in November. Catch her if you can!

Sunday 10 November – NORWICH – Norwich Arts Centre (£15)
Monday 11 November – BRIGHTON – Komedia (£16)
Thursday 14 November – YORK – Fibbers (£15)
Friday 15 November – MANCHESTER – Academy 3 (£16.50)
Saturday 16 November – GLASGOW – ABC2 (£15)
Sunday 17 November – NEWCASTLE – Cluny (£16.50)
Tuesday 19 November – NOTTINGHAM – Rescue Rooms (£15)
Wednesday 20 November – BRISTOL – Thekla (£15)
Thursday 21 November – LONDON – Islington Assembly Hall (£19.50)

Warp & Weft is out now! Buy from the Bella Union store.

Introducing Sumie…

Sometimes less is so much more, and in the case of Sumie’s self-titled debut, the combination of her voice and an acoustic guitar casts the most hypnotic and disarmingly simple spell.

Born Sandra Sumie Nagano in Gothenburg, Sweden, she first began recording her songs in 2008, a few years after becoming a mother. Unlike her sister Yukimi, who fronts the electro-pop outfit Little Dragon, Sumie has pursued a solitary and acoustic path. “It was not a style or a sudden choice but more me playing my guitar and having two small children so I could not make much noise,” she explains. “But I also love minimal and delicate music, so that felt like a natural direction for me.”

After years of travelling, Sumie had re-settled in Gothenburg and released a handful of tracks via digital store Bandcamp plus an animated video for the album highlight ‘Never Wanted To Be’, where images of snow, water and trees intercut with a glowing pyramid mirror the intoxicating, intriguing undercurrents of Sumie’s music. She waited to record an album, “until it sounded like I heard it in my head. Once I met Nils Frahm, Dustin O’Halloran and Simon Raymonde, I knew it was the right time. They understand what I’m doing.”

The album was recorded at German pianist Frahm’s studio; producer (and fellow pianist) O’Halloran has given Sumie’s songs a beautifully dappled light and shade, with the occasional subtle enhancement from his own piano. Befitting Sumie’s bloodline (Swedish mother, Japanese father), the album fits both current Scandinavian and Japanese folk strains. “I have always thought that the cultural differences are very interesting,” she says. “My way of doing things definitely carries the duality of both cultures.”

Sumie is released 2nd December on Bella Union.

Look down to view Sumie’s album trailer featuring ‘Never Wanted To Be’.