Home » A+E » Listen Up: Alt-pop and hip-hop dominate this week’s mixtape
A$AP Rocky performs during Eurockeennes Music Festival, in Belfort, France, on July 6, 2013. Credit: Courtesy of TNS
A$AP Rocky performs during Eurockeennes Music Festival, in Belfort, France, on July 6, 2013. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Listen Up: Alt-pop and hip-hop dominate this week’s mixtape

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“Don’t You” by Wet

Alt-pop has replaced alt-rock as the place to find something truly left of the mainstream. A formula of heavy synths and soaring melodies has helped artists like Banks and groups like MS MR hone their sound. Wet is the latest band to take this formula and twist it around a bit.

Its sound is minimalist; everything but the essentials are considered clutter. The volume is turned down and the focus put on singer Kelly Zutrau’s voice. “Don’t You” is the band’s major label debut, and it is full of mellow, blissed-out tracks. The band moves smoothly from moments of exultation to sparse breakdowns.

Zutrau could sing in just about any genre — her hushed, strangely-accented voice sounds like it would work just as well for folk or Christian music as it does with Wet.

This is an album for a rainy day spent staring out the window. Or an aimless drive. Anytime, really, when the sun doesn’t seem like it’s going to come back out. Save it for when winter returns, though; these warm January days just won’t do.

 

“Cocaine Parties in LA” by Freddie Gibbs and “Trill Friends” by Erykah Badu

Two remixes of Kanye West’s most recent releases put a new spin on the originals. Freddie Gibbs takes his turn with the Madlib beat on the former, turning West’s plea for no more parties in LA to tall cocaine tales. Gibbs has reached Pusha T territory, where he could rap about one subject forever and still make interesting music.

Badu put out a great mixtape in November, and she said another one is on the way. Until then, she has gifted us this incredibly layered, emotional vocal performance over West’s “Real Friends” track.

 

“Yamborghini High” by A$AP Mob featuring Juicy J

The New York rap group’s tribute to the late A$AP Yams is a throwback to the style Yams helped the Mob develop. Rocky, Ferg, Twelvy, Nast, Ant and Juicy J add their voices to a track that exalts the fast lifestyle that was Yams’ MO. Members of the group have been going their own ways in recent years — Rocky is a superstar, and Ferg is getting to that point. As it has become rarer and rarer to see the whole crew on the same track, this reunion of sorts is a fitting tribute to one of their founders.