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Free the Music: Signals

Free the Music is a guide to new albums, EPs and songs that are available for free online. Today’s drop is: Signals/Supple Youth Tour Mixtape.

I was crushed when I found out The Mae Shi broke up last summer. Or should I say, split in twain. Whatever the case may be, a number of the members left the group, rendering the L.A. spazz-punk band in a hiatus they have yet to break out of, and right at the height of a creative peak. The band’s 2008 album, HLLLYH, was a gem of cathartic, messy and powerful art-punk, and I continue to kick myself at the thought of having missed their live show on many occasions.

The announcement of The Mae Shi’s current state of suspended musical creation came with the announcement that three members of the Shi clan left the group to create a new band, Signals. Less than a year later (practically an eternity in Mae Shi time), and the trio is beginning to put out some new jams. On Monday, Signals released their debut single and a free mixtape, Signals/Supple Youth Tour Mixtape.

Supple Youth is a surprising little mixtape. Many free compilations filled with the collected works of a group of musical friends and released without much of a peep tend to sound like a scattering of scraps. Fortunately, Supple Youth has more hits than misses, and a lot of that is thanks to Signals. The group contributes four songs and three remixes to the 17-track-long compilation, and many of those tunes stand up as the best on the mixtape.

Whereas The Mae Shi wielded much of its sonic power in the form of caustic, unpredictable explosions of musical fury, Signals pay as much attention to developing atmosphere as they do to pulverizing punk. Tracks like “Uniforms” and a remix of Bipolar Bear’s “New Guts” display a thoughtful turn to carefully constructed songs that explore their space and emotion, a style that The Mae Shi was just beginning to explore before last year’s fallout.

With a healthy helping of songs from tropical punks Abe Vigoda, the ever-evolving Po Po, and a solid Major Lazer remix by Jacob Safari and Kid Static, the Signals/Supple Youth Tour Mixtape is one of the best free albums of the year, so far. Other acts, take notice!

Download the Signals/Supple Youth Tour Mixtape here.

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