Sadness anxiety dominate the month

Simply the best in free legal downloads

A slow month in terms of online releases put a bit of a cramp in the usual Radio Silence dealings in January but a few things have stood out from the last month.

Cadence Weapon — Separation Anxiety (www.cadenceweaponmusic.com/)

Edmonton’s indie hip hop darling Cadence Weapon (a.k.a. Rollie Pemberton) is the latest high-profile (or maybe medium-profile is more accurate) act to adopt the Radiohead distribution model with his new mixtape Separation Anxiety . Of course as with most of these “pay what you want” releases free is an option but Pemberton’s offering is well worth some loose change that would just get lost in the couch otherwise.

Pemberton takes a different approach from most hip hop mixtapes by removing some of the focus from himself. While these new Cadence Weapon songs are certainly part of the album’s appeal it relies just as heavily on Pemberton’s remixes of other artists’ work. This gives the album a nice diversity. There are already two full remix albums of Euro-disco revivalist Sally Shapiro’s one full-length album and Pemberton’s take on her song “He Keeps Me Alive” borders on overkill but most of the rest of the remixes turn out strongly. Remixed artists include The Cansecos Busdriver and future breakout star Kid Sister along with Cadence Weapon’s fellow Edmontonians Shout Out Out Out Out and The Wet Secrets.

Of particular note to Calgarians is the third track on the download which is a live cover of Chad VanGaalen’s “Mini T.V.’s” that Cadence Weapon performed with his BFF Owen Pallet. The song turns out surprisingly well considering that VanGaalen’s original is a lo-fi slab of bedroom rock that doesn’t really scream for a rapper-and-violinist interpretation.

DJ Eleven — Winter Sadness Mix (djeleven.com/hidden/winter2.zip)

On the Winter Sadness Mix that he put together for online fashion store Krud Mart DJ Eleven proves that all DJs don’t live in some magical fantasy world filled with never-ending dance parties. Apparently grey skies frigid temperatures and falling snow bum DJs out just as much as the next person.

As the name suggests this mix isn’t likely to lift anyone out of their winter doldrums. Instead it offers over an hour of gorgeous commiseration. The mix has a noticeable soul bent. It prominently features downers by The Isley Brothers Sam Cooke Marvin Gaye and Al Green. The Smiths — the kings of mope rock — also make an appearance as do particularly dour numbers by Notorious B.I.G. Tom Jones and J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science making the mix perfect company for days when it’s too cold outside to bother getting out of your pajamas.

Striking a similar chord to DJ Eleven’s mix is “Wu Ohh” (sharebee.com/d75d49e5) a song from Raekwon’s (hopefully) forthcoming Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II also known as hip hop’s Chinese Democracy . The song features fine turns at the mic by Wu-Tang Clan members Ghostface Killah Method Man and Raekwon himself but it’s really the completely chilling vocal sample that will have this one keeping you awake at night.