Monthly Archives: June 2016

Images & Words: Blood Orange, “Augustine”

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Blood Orange “Augustine” Freetown Sound (out now on Domino) Late last night, Dev Hynes dropped his third record under the name Blood Orange: the massively-anticipated Freetown Sound. While I’m not even close to digesting all 17 tracks, its lead single is an example of why so many have been looking forward to this thing. It pairs an elastic arrangement with an adhesive hook and solemn, heartfelt lyrics in a way that is uniquely Hynes. Excellent as this is, it feels like …

Hot Jam of the Day: Jamie Isaac, “Pigeon”

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Jamie Isaac “Pigeon” Couch Baby (out 07.08 on Marathon Artists) A few years on from 2014’s underrated, electro-soul EP, Blue Break, the South Londoner is back with a proper debut LP. Third single, “Pigeon,” is a great example of what he does best — low-key keys, yearning vocals, and subtle, understated hooks. Jazzy pianos and spare percussion color meandering synth chords, setting an evocative stage for Isaac’s gentle tenor, reminiscent of James Blake and Jamie Woon. It is far from a summer …

Hot Jam of the Day: serpentwithfeet, “Flickering”

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serpentwithfeet “Flickering” Digital Single “Flickering” is the stunning Tri Angle Records debut from the NYC-via-Baltimore singer-songwriter/performance artist, Josiah Wise. A gorgeous rumination on trying to hang on the ones we truly love, Wise emotes that the “cord between us is made of gossamer.” Its skeletal piano arrangement only adds to the drama, as each line hangs in the air like the delicate spider webs he’s singing about. It is the super rare song that we’ll transport your mind straight back …

Images & Words: Ian Isiah, “247”

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Ian Isiah “247” Digital Single It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the NYC, experimental R&B crooner, but his lovelorn new single is well worth the wait. Isiah’s underrated 2013 LP, The Love Champion, emitted much of the same sultry, romantic vibes of “247” — most notably in the stunning single, “Freak U Down” (one of my favorite songs of that year). Isiah’s tender vocal glides over a warped piano melody from the always brilliant Sinjin Hawke, resulting in …

Stream This Shit: Karun (aka Runka), Indigo

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Karun (aka Runka) Indigo East African Wave The Kenyan singer/songwriter’s gorgeous, 7-song project is the latest release from the excellent, Nairobi-based collective East African Wave. The arrangements are generally sparse and down-tempo, as the disc’s most prominent producers — Jinku and Nu Fvnk — mostly favor resonant, deep keys and use percussion as an accent, rather than a driving force. The restrained arrangements leave plenty of space for the singer (né Karun Mungai-Runkah) to dig into emotional, intimate spaces. My early favorites are “A …

Monday Round-Up: ABRA, Rae Sremmurd, and the Rest of What I Missed

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LSDXOXO “Lady Vengeance” Fuck Marry Kill (out now on GHE20G0TH1K) The first proper release from NYC collective GHE20G0TH1K, Fuck Marry Kill is nine exhilarating, unique club tracks from the Philly producer. While the whole thing deserves your time, its lead single is a great place to start — pairing latin rhythms and synth droplets with a mantric vocal sample. More than anything, it’s the kind of song that makes me horribly miss the packed, sweaty dancefloors of New York City. Someone …

Hot Jam of the Day: Strict Face, “Murderer” (f/ K-Major)

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Strict Face “Murderer” (f/ K-Major) Strict Face EP (out soon on NLV Records) The Australian grime producer links up with the man behind one of the best albums of 2015 on this modern R&B banger. Face (né Jon Santos) pairs a twinkle-toed harp melody (think: “The Boy is Mine”) with thudding sub-bass and syncopated percussion. The beat is a brilliant match for the Atlanta vocalist’s tender, elastic tenor, which slithers around the heavy drums with consummate ease.

Hot Jam of the Day: Local Natives, “Villany”

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Local Natives “Villainy” Sunlit Youth (out 09.09 on Loma Vista) I left Los Angeles about nine months ago, and nothing makes me miss it more than certain music. A DJ Mustard beat, anything that sounds remotely Balearic, Father John Misty, fingerpicked guitars, the first two Frank Ocean records, and so on. This LA group certainly makes the list, and the second single from their third LP is giving me a severe hankering for the city and all its smoggy, dry-skinned, …

Stream This Shit: Phoenix Martins, 47

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Phoenix Martins 47 (out now) The London-based producer/vocalist is back with another aqueous 4-song EP. Just a year removed from her debut, Retrospective, 47 sees her emotional, ethereal sound developing, mostly when it comes to songwriting. The sparse, affecting standout, “Blue,” features a lonely guitar in a seabed of synths, and Martins’ struggling to deal with a flaky, uncommitted lover. The lovesick “Trueness” adds some bounce to her sound, courtesy of a skittering hi-hats and gentle percussion. At first glance, you might …

Monday Round-Up: Gucci Mane, Jenny Hval, and the Best of What I Missed

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Gucci Mane “First Day out the Feds” Digital Single After about two years in the same federal penitentiary that was home to Timothy McVeigh, Radric Davis emerged in one piece and ready to get back to work. Unsurprisingly, his first single is suffocating and profoundly sad. Davis shares the mental scars of a lifetime of trouble with startling detail and admits that he “did some things to some people that was downright evil.” He sounds weary but not defeated, like …