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Jessica Pratt, “Poly Blue”

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Jessica Pratt “Poly Blue” Quiet Sings (02.08.19 on Mexican Summer) The second taste of the San Francisco singer-songwriter’s third LP is a characteristically gorgeous, atmospheric slice of pastoral folk. Pratt’s voice has a mystical quality that takes me back to falling in love with my mother’s Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez records when I was a kid. This will be one of the soundtracks of my winter. 

Images & Words: Robyn, “Honey”

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Robyn “Honey” Honey (out now on Konichiwa) One of the best songs of 2018 (more on all that later) gets the moody, sexy visuals it deserves. Without cannibalizing too much of my year-end list, I will say that I much prefer seeing Robyn dancing with other people than on her own. And it’s been wonderful to see her push back against some of the stereotypes that “Dancing On My Own” left her with.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, “Tides IV”

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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith “Tides IV” Tides: Music For Meditation And Yoga (out January 2019 on Touchtheplants) I’m not much for Yoga, but the Washington-born, LA-based composer’s new album might change that. The project was penned for her mother’s yoga practice, and the first track from it is gorgeous, ambient piece that breathes right along with the listener. Any project like this will be best heard in context, but this is a delicious first taste. Tides: Music for Meditation and Yoga …

Images & Words: Key Glock, “Since 6ix”

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Key Glock “Since 6ix” Glockoma (out now Paper Route Empire) One of Memphis’ most promising young talents drops his best track yet, sliding effortlessly between an absolute monster of a beat from Tay Keith and 2LeftHand. After blowing up locally, Key has his on international acclaim, and if this mixtape is anything to go by, it’s a question of “when” not “if.”

Images & Words: AMA, “MONOCHROME”

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AMA “MONOCHROME” Digital Single (Dirty Hit) Hailing from West London, the 18 year-old pop/R&B singer is yet another rising new voice coming from the city. Her debut single, “Monochrome,” feels both nostalgic and current, drawing inspiration from the R&B of her youth and fitting comfortably next to fellow Brits like like Jorja Smith and Mabel. Though her career is just getting kicked off, it’s easy to see why she’s already got so many people so excited.

Lapalux, “ABOVE”

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Lapalux “ABOVE” ABOVE_BETWEEN_BELOW (out now on Brainfeeder) Low-key London producer Stuart Howard recently dropped a 3-track, ambient collection, and its lead-off track is an expansive, aqueous number. Though he’s somewhat known as a club-friendly producer, the Essex artist couldn’t be further from a night out here, gradually guiding the listener deeper out into the track’s placid waters. 

Otha: “I’m On Top”

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Otha “I’m On Top” Digital Single Oslo native Othalie Husøy’s first single, “Other Girls,” made some waves this summer, and now she’s back with another slab of uplifting indie dance pop. Her restrained, perma-cool vocals wouldn’t sound out of place on an Italians Do It Better track, and her production beautifully straddles the line between lo-fi and hi-energy. Its empowering message rounds out the good vibes, which are plentiful. “I’m on Top” is another step in her cementing herself as one …

Ian Isiah: “Bedroom”

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Ian Isiah “Bedroom” Shugga Sextape (Vol. 1) (out now on UNO NYC) After five long years away, the NYC R&B innovator has finally returned with his follow-up to 2013’s “The Love Champion.” First single, “Bedroom,” has been out for a little while, but it sounds so much better in the context of the record. Over blippy production from (I think) Sinjin Hawke, Isiah lays out what’s going down in his bedroom, which seems to not involve just about everything except …

Sade, “The Big Unknown”

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Sade “The Big Unknown” Windows Soundtrack (out now on Sony) Though she’s only a few months shy of her 60th birthday, Helen Folasade Adu remains a force like nobody else. On the stunning “The Big Unknown,” Sade proves that her quiet storm is still a Category 5, as she glides effortlessly over oceanic, minor-key keys and languid percussion. As the fires crackle and swell, so does she, and her mesmerizing vocal drives the track toward its devastating crescendo. “I will rise …

Claire George, “Lonely or Alone”

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Claire George “Lonely or Alone” Bodies of Water (out 11.16 on Cascine) I missed the LA singer-songwriter’s stunning debut single, “Orbits,” but I’m glad I caught her second one. “Lonely or Alone” is a moody, mid-tempo slice of electro-pop that is fraught with tension and full of unexpected aqueous synth droplets. George’s confident, impactful vocals rise above the fray, imploring a loved one to reconsider their current place in the world and aiming to transform their solitude into solidarity. An …

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