Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Interactive Feature! I Just Can't Get You Out of My Head: Sombear

This will be the first installment of this category, so I get to suggest the first one because it's my blog.  What I'll be doing going forward is allowing y'all to submit a New(ish) Artist or favorite that you'd like a writeup on this blog.  You can even submit yourself (but not in a kinky way)!  Just email us at or submit your idea on our Facebook Page or Twitter, and we'll choose a winner each week, posting a piece about that artist the following Wednesday.  So come up with some ideas - I can't be this brilliant all the time.

New Artist Sombear - Ooh, Look at the Sparkly Dubstep!

As a Drum and Bass Oldschooler and jaded Junglist of the very strictest order, I generally regard Dubstep and Trap music as my two slow-witted, completely amoral, and utterly disappointing children (Trap may also have a mild case of retardation).  This new generation, pretending EDM is a thing, stealing helicopter samples and heavy bass for their own sellout purposes, and slapping Lana Del Rey vocals on it like that’s at all ok really makes my blood boil.  Whenever I hear a shitty dubstep track I always find myself thinking “where did we fail you, my poor lost children?”  After all, ultimately a kid that turned out shitty is at least partially the parents’ fault.

Quite often lately, however, I’ve found myself stumbling across shining beacons of hope amongst the literal ocean of crap dubstep, and I see a glimmer of hope.  Kid Unicorn, 501, even the odd Flux Pavilion track will make me smile, and possibly even stick around for at least a third of a dubstep or trap set which is inevitably and awkwardly jammed somewhere into the timeline of one of my Dnb parties.  I don’t know if I’m just getting used to it, or there is some actual talent out there, but really if the music is good, who cares?  As long as they don’t say “EDM” at or around me, I can learn to coexist.

Enter Sombear, given name Bradley Hale, from Minneapolis.  He certainly looks like a Dubstepper, with his well-coifed hair and hopeful millennial smile.  His beats are largely dubstep and dubstep-adjacent, but he also has a healthy dose of ambient Europop along the lines of M83, but a little more concrete and American.  His SoundCloud Page actually has quite a diverse collection of beats and sounds, and you can check and find your favorite here:  He has a little something for everyone, including pretty remixes of some pretty dirty rap songs.  Interesting stuff.

Despite my 3-paragraph tirade, I’m sticking with the most heavily dubstep track on Sombear’s page, “Incredibly Still.”  This is where his dubstep stands out from the crowd.  Clean, not-too-slow beats with really pretty sampling (again, think M83 or Passion Pit), and, something heretofore unmentioned in this article, some really beautiful vocals.  We have a video on this one, so check the hair and the pretty here: 

With the addition of these vocals which are not only almost pitch-perfect but lyrically mature and thoughtful, Somebear emerges in my mind as not just a dubstepper, but a multi-talented real musician who can compose, produce, and perform at a level we’re just not used to in indie-pop land anymore. 
The video for “Incredibly Still” also connotes this artistic sensitivity, showing a beleaguered-looking Sombear in a room contemplating his navel and the wide world, juxtaposed against television images of various television image feeds, and then what I think is film of himself as a kid.  If it’s not him, they found a pretty good lookalike with the same deep, pensive, searching eyes.  Either way it makes for some powerful imagery to go along with a very pretty and meaningful song.

“Incredibly Still” is the 2nd single off of Sombear’s most recent album, Love You in the Dark, which came out last July via Trans-Records.   There’s also a title single which is just as pretty but not quite as heavy on the dubstep.  It’s also on his Soundcloud , or if you prefer audio and visual, Youtube’s got you covered: .  Both the videos were directed by Sombear himself, proving my point that he’s more than just a young EDM punk, but a true renaissance man/Mohawk owner. 

Love You in the Dark is available on itunes, or to stream on Albumstreams, but he’s put out tons of singles since then so I say putter around his Soundcloud and find your favorites, or check him out on the BitCandy player, player!

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