The Most Anticipated Albums of the Fall (Part One)


Summer is over, and the best part of the year is upon us. 2014's fall release schedule is already packed with tons of sonic goodness, which, at any moment, could be bolstered by the emergence of long-rumored new releases from the likes of Kanye, Kendrick, Frank Ocean, and many others. Here's part Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Grouper, "Call Across Rooms"


Grouper "Call Across Rooms" Ruins (out October 31 on Kranky) Any day Liz Harris announces a new album is a good day to be alive; and when that announcement comes with a new song, life is just the best. "Call Across Rooms," the first single from the Portlander's forthcoming 10th LP, is Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Aphex Twin, "minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]"


Aphex Twin "minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]" Syro (out 09.19 on Warp) After 13 years in the woods, Da Gawd Richard D. James is finally ready to grace us with another full-length effort, his sixth. Our first taste of it is this aqueous, surprisingly accessible affair, especially when you consider his last LP, Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Dan Bodan, "Jaws of Life"


Dan Bodan "Jaws of Life" Soft (out 10.28 on DFA) I awoke Tuesday morning to a delightful email. The Berlin-based crooner's long-awaited debut LP finally has a release date, and in "Jaws of Life," I got a third taste of the ten-song effort. Like nearly all of his bulletproof back catalogue, "Jaws Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: DJ Khaled x Jeremih x August Alsina x Chris Brown x Future, "Hold You Down"


DJ Khaled "Hold You Down" (f/ Jeremih, August Alsina, Chris Brown, Future) I Changed A Lot (out this year on We The Best) DJ Khaled is probably an amazing dude. He’s the guy who knows absolutely everybody and has an encyclopedic contact list. He’s always down hang out, and he’ll probably even Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Tinashe, “Bet” (f/ Devonte Hynes)

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Tinashe
“Bet” (f/ Devonté Hynes)
Aquarius (out October 7 on RCA)

Already the owner of one of the year’s most undeniable singles, the 21 year-old is set to take aim at interstellar pop domination with her debut LP. For the disc’s third single, the LA resident teamed with established (indie) hit maker, Devonté Hynes of Blood Orange, to craft this lurching new single. Much of Hynes’ most notable songwriting credits (Sky Ferreira’s ”Everything is Embarrassing,” Solange’s “Losing You”) tread deftly between moody heartache and bouncy radio pop, but “Bet” is a darker, more opaque affair. It pairs a jilted, expressive powerhouse vocal performance with undulating synth layers and rolling hi-hats to devastating effect. More than anything, it highlights the young vocalist’s versatility and hints that there will be a lot more to Aquarius than radio-friendly fare.

The Most Anticipated Albums of the Fall (Part One)

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Summer is over, and the best part of the year is upon us. 2014′s fall release schedule is already packed with tons of sonic goodness, which, at any moment, could be bolstered by the emergence of long-rumored new releases from the likes of Kanye, Kendrick, Frank Ocean, and many others. Here’s part one of our round-up of the best stuff with firm release dates.

Aphex Twin
Syro
(09.23, Warp)
We’ll kick off the list with the big one: electronic music demigod Richard D. James’ first LP in 13 years. One of the most influential, restless artists in modern music, James has made a career out of refusing to sit still and make the music others want him to. Syro looks set to be another fascinating chapter in his illustrious career.
Giddy-O-Meter: 9.999/10

 

Foxes in Fiction
Ontario Gothic
(09.23, Orchid Tapes)
Penned in memory of his late brother, Brooklyn-based Warren Hildebrand’s gorgeous second LP was never going to be a walk in the (McCarren) park. Ontario Gothic‘s dreamy seven tracks stretch over 30 gauzy, reverb-soaked minutes, teeming with lithe melodies that belie their tragic subject matter. While these songs may not grab you at first listen, you may find that with each successive listen they get harder and harder to shake off.
Giddy-O-Meter: 9/10

Mr. Twin Sister
Mr Twin Sister
(09.23, Self-Released)
The Greenpoint-based crew has had a tough few years, but you’d never tell from their shimmering, smooth second LP. Drawing from influences as wide ranging as dream pop and disco, the quintet’s second album far surpasses anything they’ve previously produced. Whether it’s a lighthearted disco jam or a romantic, shuffling ballad, vocalist Andrea Estella is in total control, slinking her way through the versatile set with graceful aplomb.
Giddy-O-Meter: 9.25/10

Chief Keef
Bang 3
(09.30, Glo Gang)
The Chinese Democracy of mixtapes, Bang 3 has been pushed back more times than an NFL lineman, but it finally looks set to see the light of day. While his buzz has faded considerably since his 2012 mega smash, “Don’t Like,” Keef has been quietly trickling out the most experimental music of his career and crafting a sound with the kind of depth that many never would have thought he’d have been capable of traversing.
Giddy-O-Meter: 9.25/10

Caribou
Our Love
(10.07, Merge)
Any time Dan Snaith makes a new album, people’s ears perk up. Any time he precedes an album with singles as masterful as “Can’t Do Without You” and “Our Love,” those ears start doing backflips. Judging by the two cuts we’ve heard, his seventh solo LP (and fourth under the Caribou moniker) will be a bit more dance floor ready than 2010′s Polaris Prize-winning Swim. That said, we’ve learned from Snaith’s career that making assumptions on albums based on pre-release singles is a dangerous proposition.
Giddy-O-Meter: 9.25/10

Jeremih
Late Nights: The Album
(10.07, Def Jam)
I can’t believe it’s been more than two years since the Chicago crooner released his still classic mixtape, Late Nights with Jeremih, and it feels like we’ve been waiting for this record ever since. While album details are still fairly scarce, the 27 year-old has stayed busy, keeping that buzz going with a string of monster singles, collaborations, and mixtape-only tracks over the past two years. For that reason, Late Nights: The Album feels like it could take him to the next level and be a real contender for album of the year.
Giddy-O-Meter: 9.998/10

Peaking Lights
Cosmic Logic
(10.07, Weird World)
“Original” is a term that gets thrown around a lot in indie music, but very few groups have crafted as singular a sound as this LA-based psych-synth duo. Whether it is the gorgeously detached vocals of Indra Dunis or the unstable sea of guitars and synths she’s sings over, nobody sounds like Peaking Lights. Carving out their own niche somewhere between the earworms of indie pop and the relentless experimentation of psych, the group continues to crank out music that is as magnetic as it is beguiling.
Giddy-O-Meter: 8.5/10

Kindness
Otherness
(10.14, Female Energy)
Admittedly, sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m a fan of Adam Bainbridge’s music in practice or in theory. He’s certainly a talented musician, arranger, and songwriter, and while I liked things about 2012′s World, You Need a Change of Mind, it never really stuck in my own rotation. Otherness‘ two pre-release singles seem like steps forward (again, in theory), pairing air-tight disco/soul compositions with warm vocal harmonies. That said, Bainbridge’s ultra-earnest crooning, crowded arrangements, and hipp(st)er-than-thou aesthetic could become cloying across a full album. Like his BFF Dev Hynes said, “time will tell.”
Giddy-O-Meter: 7.5/10

Vashti Bunyan
Heartleap
(10.07, DiCristina/Fat Cat)
It’s been a fantastic year for folk music with artists like Julie Bryne, Myriam Gendron, Jess Williamson, and the great Linda Perhacs putting out fantastic LPs. So it’s only fitting that one of the genre’s truly special voices, Vashti Bunyan, is getting into the act. Nearing 70 years of age, the Newcastle native’s voice is still as alluring and haunting as ever, and it can still tiptoe over arpeggiated guitars with impossible elegance. It may be the final album of her career, but if its anything like the rest of her back catalogue, it is sure to stick with you for a very long time.
Giddy-O-Meter: 9.75/10

Jessie Ware
Tough Love
(10.21, PMR)
Well, this is awkward. I’ve been a steadfast member of #teamjessie since she was dueting with a young Sampha three years ago, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing her grow into the force of nature she’s become. However, I kind of hate her last two singles — the Sam Smith drudge of “Say You Love Me” and the Miguel-assisted “Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe” — and I really don’t know how to feel about it. I’m refusing to give up hope, as I’m buoyed by the album’s sweltering title track (a top 10 song of the year, for me) and the slinky “Want Your Feeling.” BUT STILL. I don’t like not liking every Jessie Ware song. It makes me feel weird. Hopefully, the aforementioned clunkers are growers, and Tough Love will be the successor that the brilliant Devotion deserves. Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe.
Giddy-O-Meter: 9.75/10

Hot Jam of the Day: Ryan Hemsworth, “Snow in Newark” (f/ Dawn Golden)

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Ryan Hemsworth
“Snow in Newark” (f/ Dawn Golden)
From Forthcoming New LP

Everyone’s favorite DJ/Pokemon enthusiast, Ryan Hemsworth, returns with a feels-focused slow jam, blessed by Dexter “Dawn Golden” Tortoriello’s perma-bummed baritone. While Hemsworth is best known for his dancefloor filling remixes, much of his solo work has veered toward singer/songwriter world, and “Snow in Newark” is perhaps the strongest all-original composition he’s penned yet. Over a choppy bed of emotive percussion, Tortoriello pines for a loved one from the solitude of a hotel room. It’s a feeling that you’d imagine that Hemsworth knows well, as he adjusts to life as a touring musician, and you can feel the lonely days and nights all over this track.

Hot Jam of the Day: RL Grime, “Reminder” (f/ How to Dress Well)

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RL Grime
“Reminder” (f/ How to Dress Well”)
VOID (out 11.18 on WeDidIt)

After three solid years of cranking out EPs, remixes, and singles, Henry “RL Grime” Steinway is finally ready to make a full-length statement. How to Dress Well’s expressive falsetto is the perfect partner for Stienway’s labyrinthine, emotive arrangement, and the artists combine to devastating effect here. While he is known much more for his club friendly cuts, the LA-based producer shows his chops as a songwriter, crafting a melodically lush canvas for Krell to glide over. It’s a new sound for Steinway, but it’s a welcome one.

Hot Jam of the Day: Mr Twin Sister, “Blush”

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Mr. Twin Sister
“Blush”
Mr. Twin Sister (out 09.23, self-released)

“Have you ever felt like you would always be alone?” A song built around a lyric like that really has no right to feel good, but the NYCers pull it off with this gorgeous, lithe waltz. “Blush,” the cornerstone of their exquisite comeback LP, is a shuffling ballad that just washes over you, thanks to vocalist Andrea Estella’s inviting coo and a lush, “More Than a Woman 2014″ arrangement. At this point, its late night sax outro (you read that right) has a Pavlovian effect on me, reminding subconsciously that it’s time to start the song over again. Magic.

Hot Jam of the Day: CFCF, “Prisma”

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CFCF
“Prisma”
Driftless Ambient 1 (out 09.23 on Driftless)

Montreal’s Michael Silver drops a lovely, gauzy piece for an upcoming compilation from Joel Ford’s Driftless Records. Though Silver has been putting out more vocal music in the last year or so — especially on 2013′s brilliant, Outside — he returns to his instrumental roots here, crafting a lithe piano rumination to get lost in. Though it starts quietly, “Prisma” deftly builds to a satisfying climax that recedes nearly as quickly it presents itself.

Hot Jam of the Day: Brolin, “Swim Deep”

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Brolin
“Swim Deep”
Swim Deep EP (out 10.27 on Wichita Recordings)

About six months on from his tasty Flags mixtape, shadowy vocalist/producer Brolin returns with a supple, romantic new single. There’s not a lot of personal info about the soft-voiced Brit floating around, but his penetrating vocals and heartfelt lyrics tell quite the story. Like much of his work, “Swim Deep” carries a vulnerability that is disarming and relatable, and his direct songwriting brings you into his reality immediately.

Hot Jam of the Day: Grouper, “Call Across Rooms”

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Grouper
“Call Across Rooms”
Ruins (out October 31 on Kranky)

Any day Liz Harris announces a new album is a good day to be alive; and when that announcement comes with a new song, life is just the best. “Call Across Rooms,” the first single from the Portlander’s forthcoming 10th LP, is a slab of trademark Harris gorgeosity of the highest order. Her delicate vocal creeps over a weary piano line, sounding simultaneously present and a million miles away. Many ambient artists struggle to let the listener in, due to the roots of the shutters closed, otherworldly genre. However, Harris has always been able to tiptoe that line, drawing the blinds just enough to let cracks of light illuminate the overwhelming beauty of the shrouded interior. Listen up, because this is the sound of a genius at the peak of her powers.

Hot Jam of the Day: Dej Loaf, “Try Me”

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Dej Loaf
“Try Me”
Digital Single

There are plenty of fascinating things about the Detroit MC’s blazing viral hit: her singsong flow, its twinkling beat, the fact that a Drake co-sign basically guarantees millions of plays in 2014. Most interestingly to me is when, at 2:40, she sings, “I ain’t signing to no label, bitch I’m independent.”

While it must be tough to resist a record company advance (which she may or may not get offered), at this point, it seems like a wise career move. Compare Migos to Trinidad James. The Atlanta trio may not have gotten that advance, but James’ career has totally stalled. So often, in the arms race for young talent, labels sign artists that they have no clue how to empower. Or, maybe she should just stick with Drizzy. It certainly seems to be working for ILoveMakonnen.

Hot Jam of the Day: Aphex Twin, “minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]“

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Aphex Twin
“minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]“
Syro (out 09.19 on Warp)

After 13 years in the woods, Da Gawd Richard D. James is finally ready to grace us with another full-length effort, his sixth. Our first taste of it is this aqueous, surprisingly accessible affair, especially when you consider his last LP, 2001′s challenging Drukqs. James mixes up a buoyant bass-line, heady synth filigree, and a disembodied vocal to form a stunning five-minute opus that cries out for repeat listens. It’s exactly the kind of piece so many hoped for, in that it sounds like James is mining new territory, while staying true to his Aphex Twin-osity. James has never been a singles artist (save, perhaps, the timeless “Come to Daddy”), which fills me with hope that the rest of Syro will live up to this high standard. Bring on the 19th.

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