Hip hop mixtapes aplenty

Your guide to the best free, legal, downloadable music that money can buy

This month’s Radio Silence is huge. OK, so it’s physically about the same size as usual, but the amount of free, legal online music crammed into that space is ridiculous. What’s even more mind-boggling is that only about half of the great stuff that was considered made its way into the article below. Enjoy.

Cool Kids and Don Cannon – Gone Fishing (coolxkids.com/)

For guys who primarily rap about lazing around and chilling out, Cool Kids sure do crank out a lot of material. The latest by the slacker favourites is Gone Fishing, a 21-song mixtape they put together with Don Cannon. The tape features the usual lackadaisical attitude, geeky references and early hip-hop idolization that rapidly sparks arguments over whether the Chicago duo are a breath of fresh air or willingly stale. Decide for yourself.

The Pragmatic – Circles (rcrdlbl.com/download/The_Pragmatic_-_Circles/)

At its quietest moments, Circles should provide solace to some of those legions of fans eagerly awaiting a new Postal Service album. Fortunately, the Pragmatic have more of a mean streak than Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamberello’s soft electro-pop project, and bring some sweaty sleaze not too far removed from Hot Chip’s dorky, dancefloor excursions. Comparisons to both The Postal Service and Hot Chip likely mean that the Pragmatic is every indie girl’s new favourite band in waiting.

Teengirl Fantasy – TGIF (pukekos.org/2009/04/teengirl-fantasy.html)

Staying on the electro kick, Teengirl Fantasy also have a new EP doing the rounds online. Each of the four songs on TGIF — including the excellently named “Azz Klapz” — develop a solid groove of looping melodies and then pull the rug out from under listeners just before they’re about to enter trance-level head-nodding with subtle variations. Highly recommended come down music.

Various artists - Underwater Peoples Records Showcase (zshare.net/download/59322290187ba5cf/)

Some songs unmistakably evoke certain seasons. In topical fashion, the good folks at Underwater Peoples Records have put together a free label sampler filled with songs that ooze summer vibes. Each and every one of the lo-fi ditties from the likes of Ducktails, Pill Wonder and Julian Lynch featured here would be perfect for days idly spent sipping drinks by the pool or drawing pictures in the park. As great as this compilation is right now, it’ll only get better when the nice weather kicks in.

Kid Cudi – Dat Kid from Cleveland (datnewcudi.com/mixtapes/dat-kid-from-cleveland/)

One of the rappers making an absolute cacophony of noise around the Internet is Cleveland’s Kid Cudi, who is riding a hot streak of solid tracks and positive buzz that has lasted a couple years now. He’s inches away from blowing up into something huge and the intelligent rhymes and off-kilter beats on his latest mixtape, Dat Kid From Cleveland, show why. Kanye West, Consequence and fellow Internet wunderkind Wale make guest appearances.

Chromatics – Various (contradefacto.blogspot.com/2009/04/chromatics-on-blast.html)

Chromatics are one of the bands at the forefront of the neo-disco movement that made the mp3 blogs go gaga over the last few years, and now they’ve decided to let listeners see exactly how they got there. Each time the group went on tour in the last few years they put together an exclusive album to sell at shows which documented their music at the time. Recently, they threw these previously tour-only albums online as one massive download. At 56 songs and over three hours long, the series of albums is a little daunting, but fascinating nonetheless as it chronicles Chromatics’ development from skuzzy new wave to the sophisticated disco they’re known for today.


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