Starting V: 5 Doughboyz Cashout Tracks You Need to Hear

Detroit's Doughboyz Cashout has been one of the best new finds of my music year, combining timeless g-funk beats with loquacious, swaggering bars. In a hip-hop scene increasingly driven by druggy production and #sadboi MCs like Drake and Future, the group's energy, directness, and overall good vibes are extremely Read more

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: LUH, “Unites”

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Digital Single

Less than a year after crafting their fascinating debut LP, 2011′s raucous Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, Manchester-based quartet WU LYF abruptly and disappointingly disbanded. Since their 2012 split, the members have resurfaced sporadically, most notably with bassist/vocalist Tom “Francis Lung” McClung’s shuffling “A Selfish Man” and mercurial vocalist Ellery James Roberts’ cavernous “Kerou’s Lament.” While both singles have merit, they both feel incomplete without an album to live on, like a tasty appetizer with no entree.

Now, Roberts returns with a new project, a collaboration with his partner, the photographer Ebony Hoorn. Lead single, “Unites,” features much of the WU LYF hallmarks: the barrel-chested vocals; the plaintive, heart-on-sleeve lyrics; the explosive, maximalist melodies. In short, it sounds fucking great. That said, it’ll need a full statement to go with it, if it wants to make the kind of lasting impact Go Tell Fire to The Mountain did. Roberts is obviously capable, but whether that record will materialize is anybody’s guess.

Hot Jam of the Day: Young Chop, “Valley” (f/ Chief Keef)

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Young Chop
“Valley” (f/ Chief Keef)
Still (out 10.28 on Chop Squad)

Back in 2012, nobody could have predicated that the duo behind the earth-shaking, propulsive “Don’t Like” would have grown into such sonic mad scientists this early in their career. Tyree “Young Chop” Pittman is widely credited with creating Chicago’s drill sound, but as soon as it broke nationwide, Chop turned his back on drill and focused on crafting evocative, layered melodies and developing his songwriting chops (buh dum pish). As his producer spread his wings, so did Keef. The 19 year-old has spent the last two years relentlessly messing with his vocals, and he has cemented his place in a new breed of rappers who are reimagining what “gangsta rappers” should sound like. While much has changed for both artists in the last two years, one thing hasn’t. They’re still great together, and long may it continue.

Starting V: 5 Doughboyz Cashout Tracks You Need to Hear

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Detroit’s Doughboyz Cashout has been one of the best new finds of my music year, combining timeless g-funk beats with loquacious, swaggering bars. In a hip-hop scene increasingly driven by druggy production and #sadboi MCs like Drake and Future, the group’s energy, directness, and overall good vibes are extremely welcome. Though there are palpable traces of Bay Area swag, LA soul, and New Orleans/Atlanta late 90′s snap, their potent sonic stew is all their own.

Though they’ve endured a long road to fame (they formed in ’06), it looks like they’re finally set to blow, signing to (Young) Jeezy’s CTE Records. Here are five of the DBCO tracks that helped soundtrack my summer.

Payroll Giovanni: “Get Money Regardless” (Digital Single)
To my ears, Payroll Giovanni’s slick flow is reminiscent of the mid 90′s California artists that I grew up with, namely Rappin’ 4-Tay. That buoyant, effortless delivery (think: a vocal Bradley Beal 20-footer) is on full display here with Giovanni sliding through twinkling keys and a soulful vocal hook to devastating effect.

Big Quis: “Mayweather” (f/ Payroll Giovanni) (on My Turn)
On this, one of the group’s most anthemic tracks, Giovanni and the ravenous Big Quis turn their swag up to Money Mayweather levels here. Quis’ aggressive flow is an excellent foil to Giovanni’s laid back demeanor, and their vocal synergy is masterfully framed by a swirling arrangement and an adhesive hook. This should have been one of the songs of the summer.

Doughboy Roc: “Letter to My Ol’ Dude” (on Beastmode)
While DBCO is better known for their party tracks, they are far from one-dimensional, and Doughboy Roc’s heartfelt ode to his late father shows that. Over rolling high-hats and a faraway guitar line, Roc touches on loss, fatherhood, incarceration, and family articulately and honestly.

Payroll Giovanni: “My First 10″ (on Get Money Stay Humble)
One of my favorite Giovanni tracks, “My First 10″ chronicles his early education in the drug business. Carrying both a nostalgic and cautionary spirit, it highlights Giovanni’s storytelling chops and ear for a melody. Though it feels like a throwback to the tasty 90s sound, it simultaneously feels current and fresh.

Doughboyz Cashout: “Da Mob” (on Free Roc)
One of their early hits (2012), “Da Mob” shows both how far they’ve come as a group and how long they’ve been at it. There’s nothing like a crew single, and we get verses from eight different MCs who all bring something a little different to the table.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jessie Ware, “Sweetest Song”

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Jessie Ware
“Sweetest Song”
Tough Love (out 10.21 on PMR)

I wrote last week about my anxiety about the second LP from TP uber-fave Jessie Ware, but this lovelorn slow-burner certainly helps curb some of it. Much of the Londoner’s best work is her most restrained, when she forsakes the over the top, TV commercial chorus for the stifled and the subtle. “Sweetest Song” is good Jessie at her best, as she smears her expressive, low-register vocal over the kind of sparse, sultry arrangement that helped make her debut one of the best albums of that year. Let’s hope the rest of Tough Love follows suit.

Hot Jam of the Day: Yumi Zouma, “Alena”

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Yumi Zouma
Digital Single (Cascine)

The New Zealand post-chillwave (ugh) trio returns with a twinkling new single that features a surprisingly hearty dash of dancefloor-ready bass. The added heft is a pleasing compliment to their sleepy dream-pop vibes with Kim Pflaum’s playful, alluring vocal sounding more virile than in their previous work. Whether “Alena” remains a sonic outlier or marks a stylist shift for the group, it stands as one of the strongest statements of their young career.

Hot Jam of the Day: Sun Kil Moon, “War on Drugs: Suck My Cock”

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Sun Kil Moon
“War on Drugs: Suck My Cock”
Digital Single

Already the subject of some eye-rolling #thinkpieces (I’m lookin’ at you Stereogum), Mark Kozelek’s hilariously Kozelekian new single “War on Drugs: Suck My Cock” is just as delightful as it sounds. The Koz keeps his jabs benign in the extreme, with lines like “bridge and tunnel people ‘em some War on Drugs.” Listening to a guy who sings finger-picked folk songs about heartbreak, death, and long drives up the coast call another band “the whitest band I’ve ever heard” is worth the price of admission alone. Often accused of being humorless, it’s ironic that Kozelek is taking heat for this, especially when this song is just a more flagrant expression of the gallows humor that runs through all of his albums. More like this please, Mark.

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

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“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
(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

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

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

(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
(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.

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