The best tracks of the year 2021 so far - April - Music - Mixmag
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Welcome to the April section of our best tracks of the year 2021 rundown — read the full list here

Sons Of Kemet feat Kojey Radical ‘Hustle’ (Impulse!)

Sons Of Kemet follow-up their Mercury-nominated last album with a fourth LP jammed with collabs and musical vision that’s set to take them to the next level. Lead single ‘Hustle’ brings in lyrical warrior Kojey Radical, whose gravelly, soulful storytelling lends itself perfectly to the band’s new school jazz tension. Buy it here

LSDXOXO ‘Sick Bitch’ (XL)

LSDXOXO is on XL and ready to tear the fuck out of dance music industry (as well as the dancefloor ofc). This is life affirming filth that you’ll wanna snort right away. Buy it here

Sam Binga x Fox x DJ Polo ‘Weh Mi Seh’ (Pineapple)

When the sun's out, get a bag of cans and rinse the hell out of this crucial UK banger ‘cos life’s for living yeah? Buy it here

MIKE ‘Evil Eye’ (10k)

The pensive, deliberate rapper MIKE delivers razor-sharp reflection over his signature sound, warping and chopping a deep-cut to form the backdrop for his raps. He shows no fear in intimacy – bringing the listener close and urging them to pay attention – ‘It's for my momma when I make raps dummy, when I pray 'Cause I know she gonna pray back for me’. For MIKE, vulnerability is strength, and with Ryosuke Tanzawa’s MF DOOM inspired visuals, the rapper is unafraid to make himself known. Buy it here

Sam Gellaitry ‘Duo’ (ffrr records)

Sam Gellaitry, the underground hero made popular by his forward-thinking electronic production, moves away from his house and trap origins and provides his own take on pop music. Gellaitry shows his versatility, centring his effected voice and tight songwriting and filling the space with slick, energetic production. A successful switch in direction from the Scotsman. Buy it here

Kiefer, The Kount ‘Running Out The Clock’ (Stones Throw)

Kiefer’s melodic skill and The Kount’s endless groove combine to create warm, head-bobbing neo-jazz. Layered Hand-claps and jangly percussion from the latter punctuate Kiefer’s confident, complex composition. The two complement each other well, it’s a surprise they hadn’t released a full-length collaboration track before, this gives us hope for more from them both. Buy it here

Anaiis ‘Juno’ (dream sequence recordings)

Anaiis wields a voice that is not afraid of being both present and absent on ‘Juno’ – the lead single from an upcoming project. The world that Josh Grant builds merges effortlessly with Anaiis’ heavenly harmonisations and more grounded, bi-lingual lead vocals. Julianknxx adds to that world visually, with a meticulous and beautiful video. The track peaks with a filtered drum loop, swirling synths, and Anaiis’ versatile voice propelling the track into the void. Buy it here

The Alchemist, Navy Blue, Earl Sweatshirt ‘Nobles’ (ALC Records)

Navy Blue and Earl Sweatshirt have been friends since they were teens, and here they go back-to-back, weaving bars together over The Alchemist’s triumphant production. The two share a synergy that is clearly informed by their close friendship, and the result of this chemistry is heady, stylish delivery that takes you elsewhere. Ryosuke Tanzawa’s video, like his other work, is a sight to see, using the music to elevate the visual experience. Buy it here

Joviale ‘Blow!’ (Never Seven)

On the first clip released of their new EP, Joviale’s earthy voice literally glides over Bullion’s dubby, downtempo backdrop... delicious. Buy it here

Mario Gharios ‘Stay In (Remix)’ (Pocket of Light)

Beirut-based musician Mario Gharios presents a thick slice of lockdown-era warmth with ‘Stay in (Remix)’, one side of what seems to be his first solo release. With disco and leftfield pop sensibilities, it’s just as sleazy as it is wholesome. An absolute earworm! Buy it here

Ruf Dug ‘Future Zone’ (No Bad Days)

Taken from ‘Crystal Maze’, Ruf Dug’s debut release on No Bad Days, ‘Future Zone’ takes us on a Balearic spaceship heading straight to the planet ‘floor. The bleep-heavy, acid riffs are paired with high-pitched synths and eerie loops that feel heavily video-game inspired, with a hint of early 00’s floor filler. Get us in front of the big DJ booth on Jupiter, we beg. Buy it here

Baltra ‘Baby’ (Local Action)

Taken from ‘Ambition’ on Local Action Records, ‘Baby’ is a romantic, melancholy - yet unabashedly sexy tune. Melodic, choppy synths and punchy drums underlay a deep male-vocal repeating over and over: “I’m just trying to catch a vibe baby” and “you should love who you are baby.” The beauty of ‘Baby’ is that it doesn’t feel like Baltra is trying to cast off his lofi breakthrough - but instead is being informed by it, managing to be subtle, and smooth while still drawing from the intoxicating allure of the tribal NYC soundscape. Buy it here

Squidgenini ‘Circle;Line’ (Beats Of No Nation)

In signature squidgenini style, the Brisbane-based producer and DJ paints a pretty blissful picture with this track in a synthesis of house and soul. You could see ‘Circle;Line’ helping an early afternoon festival crowd to get up and groove, sunshine provided. Buy it here

Burial ‘Dark Gethsemane’ (Keysound)

There are few who can do it quite like Burial, so when the mysterious dubstep legend dropped a surprise EP alongside Blackdown, this near 10-minute track stood out. It’s an unusual sound for the classically bass-heavy producer, opting for a more buoyant feeling which feeds into a melodic second half. Buy it here

Hidden Element ‘A Nice and Quiet Moment’ (Thousand Kisses Place)

Close your eyes for a second and imagine you’re on the tube at two in the morning racing through dark tunnels as the lights flicker, not a soul in sight - that’s the sound of this beautiful track from Kyiv's Hidden Element. As its title indicates, it’s a perfect soundtrack to relaxing and contemplation. If the world feels overwhelming (and realistically, when doesn’t it at the moment?), stick this on and enjoy the calm washing over you. Buy it here

Greentea Peng ‘Kali V2’ (TENNNN)

Propelling us into the summer, Greentea Peng’s ‘Kali V2’ drops ahead of her debut record. The dub singer has found an upward trajectory in her short time on the scene and comes bearing every ounce of soul on this latest track. Buy it here

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