The Monday Round-Up: Clams Casino, Sampha, and the rest of what I missed


After spending last week in Hawaii, the Monday Round-Up is back with the best of what I missed last week. Clams Casino "Blast" 32 Levels (out 07.15 on Colombia) After breaking out in 2011 thanks to a string of successful beat tapes, the New Jersey cloud dweller has spent the majority of the Read more

The Monday Round-Up: Skepta, James Blake, and the Rest of What I Missed


An avalanche of important new albums dropped last Friday, so this week's Monday Round-Up is dedicated to my early favorites from that batch. Skepta “Konnichiwa” Konnichiwa (Boy Better Know) There are a bunch of great lines on the London rapper’s monstrous fourth LP, but my favorite comes about 90 seconds in. "Boy Better Read more

The Monday Round-Up: Pity Sex, Young Thug, and the Rest of What I Missed


Because there's so much music coming out every week, there are always tracks that I want to write about but don't get around to. I'm going to try to remedy that a bit by writing a weekly round-up of the best of what I missed, spending just a couple Read more

Starting V: The Best Prince Songs on the Internet


As you know, Prince Rogers Nelson passed away on Thursday at the young age of 57. I am always loathe to pontificate too much about people I’ve never met, but Prince was a special case. In my opinion, he was the single most influential and important pop artist/musician of all-time and the Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Palmistry, "Club Aso"


Palmistry “Club Aso” Pagan (out 06.17 on Mixpak) After a string of tantalizing solo singles and an underrated EP, Palmistry (né Benjy Keating) is finally ready for his close-up. “Club Aso,” the lead single from his long-awaited debut LP, pairs the Brixton artist's sentimental tenor with warm synths and subtle, dancehall-influenced percussion. Unlike a Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Seb Wildblood, “Seal of Approval”

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Seb Wildblood
“Seal of Approval”
Jazz Vol. 1 (out now on Church)
The Church Records label boss drops some heat of his own via a tasty, new 3-song EP, Jazz Vol. 1. “Seal of Approval” is a subtle, down-tempo slab of deep house that pairs an evocative vocal sample with undulating synths and a jazzy backbeat. The label has been on a tear this year, and their SoundCloud is an absolute treasure trove of late-night electronic goodness.

Hot Jam of the Day: Cass McCombs, “Opposite House” (f/ Angel Olsen)

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Cass McCombs
“Opposite House” (f/ Angel Olsen)
Mangy Love (out 08.26 on ANTI-)
About 30 minutes before I started typing, my beloved Golden State Warriors were just stomped by the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second consecutive game, nearly guaranteeing our elimination from the NBA Playoffs. Now I’m not saying that my basketball misery is the only reason that Cass McCombs’ new single sounds so fucking good to me right now, but it certainly is one reason. The 38 year-old is a master of making hard luck stories feel easy, and the first single off his newly announced LP is no exception. Along with the consistently excellent Olsen, McCombs drifts aimlessly over spare guitars and loose drums, asking “oh why, does it rain inside?” to nobody in particular. I feel you, Cass. I feel you.

The Monday Round-Up: Clams Casino, Sampha, and the rest of what I missed

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After spending last week in Hawaii, the Monday Round-Up is back with the best of what I missed last week.

Clams Casino
“Blast”
32 Levels (out 07.15 on Colombia)
After breaking out in 2011 thanks to a string of successful beat tapes, the New Jersey cloud dweller has spent the majority of the last couple years producing beats for A-list rappers like A$AP Ferg, Vince Staples, and Danny Brown. And though it’s been a while since we’ve heard Clammy by himself, this single proves that he remains a compelling solo artist. “Blast” is built around a warped vocal sample and his trademark celestial keyboards and staccato hi-hats. It’s the kind of track that countless Mixcloud DJs will be saving up for their new summer sets, and I’m not at all mad about it.

AJ Tracey x Dave
“Thiago Silva”
Digital Single
A couple of rising stars link up on this undeniable ode to Paris Saint-Germain’s towering Brazilian center back. Tracey and Dave (aka Santan Dave) play off each other effortlessly, interchanging with dynamic, memorable verses over a classic Ruff Sqwad beat. One of the best things about the current batch of young grime MCs is how collaborative they are with each other, and this is just one of many excellent link-ups that we’ve heard this year.

Sampha
“Timmy’s Prayer”
Digital Single
Speaking of voices we’ve been missing, Sampha’s dulcet tones returned to our lives this week with this gorgeous little ballad, his first solo single in almost three years. The South Londoner sounds absolutely heartbroken here, pining over languid, meandering keyboards. At time of writing, there’s no news of a follow-up to his excellent 2013 EP, Dual, but it’s good to know that he’s back at it.

Yumi Zouma
“Short Truth”
Yoncalla (out 05.27 on Cascine)
To no real fault of their own, I’ve never totally been convinced by the New Zealander’s starry-eyed, Balearic pop. It’s mostly because the groups that they are most reminiscent of — Air France,  Boat Club, Korallreven, The Radio Dept — are some of my all-time favorites. However, on the eve of the release of their debut LP, I’m starting to change my tune. The disc’s third single, “Short Truth,” is the best of a strong bunch, pairing glittering synths with a driving backbeat and an adhesive hook.

Father John Misty
“Real Love Baby”
Digital Single
It sounds like it was recorded on an iPhone 2, but that doesn’t stop Father John Misty’s new loosey from exuding all kinds of golden AM radio vibes. The 35 year-old is still riding high off last year’s excellent, I Love You, Honeybear, and hopefully his current purple patch will continue for a long time.

Hot Jam of the Day: Craig David, “One More Time”

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Craig David
“One More Time”
Following My Intuition (release date TBA)

Craig David is back, and all is right with the world. After 2015’s sleeper hit, “When the Baseline Drops,” the Southampton slicker’s comeback has shifted into overdrive, dropping a couple of tasty collaborations early this year. His newest single, “One More Time,” is a throwback to the golden garage sound that he spun on his classic first two LPs, Born to Do It and Slicker Than Your Average. His tenor is as easy ever, and it sounds perfect over the 2-step beat, warm synths, and arpeggiated acoustic guitar. We still don’t have a release date for the comeback album, but as soon as we do, I’ll officially be counting down the days.

Images & Words: Danny L Harle, “Ashes of Love” (f/ Caroline Polachek)

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Danny L Harle
“Ashes of Love” (f/ Caroline Polachek)
Digital Single

I’ve mostly been lukewarm on the whole PC Music Crew, but this ecstatic slab of future pop tickles all of my brain’s pleasure centers. On “Ashes of Love,” Harle manages to gaze into the excessive, bombastic 80’s looking glass without falling down the self-indulgent rabbit hole that many of his label-mates reside in. The Europop, trance synths are here, but they aren’t overwhelming. And they’re balanced nicely by Chairlift front woman Caroline Polachek emotional, starry-eyed vocals. Polachek is such an underrated artist, and she’s such a force when she is scratching all of her kitschiest, poppiest itches. This track is definitely that. And that is great.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jordan Raf, “Hollywood” (f/ Chester Watson)

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Jordan Raf
“Hollywood” (f/ Chester Watson)
Double Negative (release date TBA, POW Recordings)
The LA crooner has been on a fucking tear over these last few months, dropping a clutch of smoky, down-tempo gems. “Hollywood” distills the city’s intoxicating allure into four delicious minutes, throwing his virile tenor over narcotic washes of synth and guitar. The refrain, “take me to Hollywood, I wanna be a star,” is trite and formulaic on paper, but Raf’s strained vocal gives it a haunting power. Rising label-mate, Chester Watson, tops it off with a low-key, potent verse.

Hot Jam of the Day: Palmistry, “Lifted”

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Palmistry
“Lifted”
Pagan (out 06.17 on Mixpak)
Benjy Keating releases another heartfelt single from his upcoming proper debut LP. Like its delicious predecessor, “Club Aso,” “Lifted” is a restrained, stripped take on dancehall that uses warm keyboards to set the beat, rather than traditional percussion. Keating manages to borrow from the Jamaican sound without crossing the line into imitation or appropriation, creating a sound that is fresh and exciting.

The Monday Round-Up: Skepta, James Blake, and the Rest of What I Missed

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An avalanche of important new albums dropped last Friday, so this week’s Monday Round-Up is dedicated to my early favorites from that batch.

Skepta
“Konnichiwa”
Konnichiwa (Boy Better Know)
There are a bunch of great lines on the London rapper’s monstrous fourth LP, but my favorite comes about 90 seconds in. “Boy Better Know, man went to the BRITs on a train. / Man shutdown Wireless, then I walked home in the rain.” That image of UK hip-hop’s biggest star walking back to his apartment after setting London’s biggest music festival on fire is indicative of not only his approachable, everyman image but also his commitment to the culture and his city. Konnichiwa is the biggest UK-to-USA crossover record since Boy in Da Corner (2003) and Original Pirate Material (2002), and it’s great to know that Skepta didn’t need to compromise his roots to achieve his massive success.

Radiohead
“Daydreaming”
A Moon Shaped Pool (XL)
Judging Radiohead albums on pre-release singles is always dicey. So if you were unmoved by the muted lead single, “Burn the Witch,” don’t let that put you off. Second single, “Daydreaming,” is an impossibly gorgeous piano ballad that recalls past classics “Pyramid Song” and “Videotape.” It begins restrained and gentle, but it gradually swells to a stunning, swirling crescendo. There’s life in the old dog, yet.

James Blake
“f.o.r.e.v.e.r”
The Colour in Anything (Polydor)
For the most part, the sprawling, experimental The Colour in Anything is an opaque, hazy affair. Buried in the sonic and emotional fuzz is  “f.o.r.e.v.e.r.” — a stunning, direct moment of clarity. Recalling his near-perfect cover of “A Case of You,” Blake strips everything back, proclaiming his naked devotion over nothing but a sparse, touching piano line.

Julianna Barwick
“Beached”
Will (Dead Oceans)
While I hate to pick one of the pieces out of Barwick’s third LP, “Bleached” is a microcosm of the album’s sublime, subtle beauty. Will is her most instrumentally rich LP yet, and the cinematic pianos and strings frame her vocals so well that it’s almost hard to go back to the a cappella sounds of her wonderful breakthrough, The Magic Place.

ANOHNI
“I Don’t Love You Anymore”
HOPELESSNESS (Secretly Canadian)
Frankly, I haven’t listened to this album enough to begin to comment on it, but this Oneohtrix Point Never-produced organ ballad grabbed me most at first listen. It reminds me of another of her previous collaborations with OPN, the sparse, gripping “Returnal.”

LUH
“The Great Longing”
Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing (Mute)
Another that I need more time with, ex WU LYF frontman Ellery James Roberts and Ebony Hoorn’s debut features a number of maximalist, feral anthems. That said, its closer highlights the disc’s diversity. A bit like a twisted campfire song, “The Great Longing” pairs the duo’s raw vocals with strummed acoustic guitars and faraway horns.

Kaytranada
“Got it Good” (f/ Craig David)
99.9% (XL)
The Montreal producer’s long-awaited debut is a vibrant collection that features touches of 90’s R&B, hip-hop, radio pop, light house, and astral jazz. My early favorite is this warm collaboration with TP favorite Craig David. Kay uses a languid vocal sample and jazzy drums to create the perfect canvas for Mr. Born To Do It to do what he does best.

Hot Jam of the Day: Mutual Benefit, “The Hereafter”

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Mutual Benefit
“The Hereafter”
Skip a Sinking Stone (out 05/20 on Mom + Pop)

The third track from sad-eyed folkie Jordan Lee’s upcoming second album is a delicate swooner that pairs his soft vocals with swelling swings and fingerpicked acoustic guitars. Lee’s music has always had a therapeutic quality, and you could absolutely imagine this soundtracking holistic wellness centers and extended Sunday morning cuddle sessions around the country.

The Monday Round-Up: Pity Sex, Young Thug, and the Rest of What I Missed

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Because there’s so much music coming out every week, there are always tracks that I want to write about but don’t get around to. I’m going to try to remedy that a bit by writing a weekly round-up of the best of what I missed, spending just a couple of sentences on each song. Let’s see if this works.

Pity Sex
“Plum”
White Hot Moon (out now on Run for Cover)

Vocalist/guitarist Britty Drake’s heartbreaking ode to her late mother is likely the saddest song of the year. Heartbroken as she is, Drake is able to contextualize the crushing loss with incredible clarity, even looking outside her own grief and into her father’s.

Young Thug
“Texas Love”
Digital Single

Thugger dedicates his newest loosey to the victims of recent flash flooding in Houston. This melodic, emotional gem is one of the strongest singles he’s released in the last year, and you can tell that he has real affection for the city and its people.

JSTJCK
“Noticed”
Digital Single

Not to be confused with Just Jack, the garage DJ of “Starz in their Eyez” fame, JSTJCK is one of London’s freshest new voices. “Noticed” is a laid-back, personal slab of R&B that is a solid successor to his brilliant, slept-on recent single, “Honest.”

Dawn Richard
“Honest”
Digital Single

It isn’t clear whether this will be on the New Orleans native’s hugely anticipated new LP, Redemptionheart, but it is clear that this heartfelt collaboration with Kingdom is a fucking banger. Album deets remains scare, but as long as she keeps trickling out singles like this and “Not Above That,” I won’t be complaining.

Nite Jewel
“Kiss the Screen”
Liquid Cool (out 06.10 on Gloriette)
We’re just one month away from Ramona Gonzalez’s long-awaited follow-up to 2012′s One Second of Love. The disc’s second single is a potent, slinky mid-tempo synth ballad about falling in love in the digital age.

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