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Playboy Carti, “Shoota” (f/ Lil Uzi Vert)

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Playboy Carti “Shoota” (f/ Lil Uzi Vert) Die Lit (out now on AWGE) Though he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, few producers shaped the sound of rap in 2018 more than Philly native, Maaly Raw. The man behind much of Lil Uzi Vert’s sticky sweet early work comes through with an absolute gem here. Bursting with youthful energy (think: Kirby’s Dream World), the unique beat is the ideal canvas for Uzi and Carti to smear playful, sing-song bars on …

Images & Words: Chromatics, “Black Walls”

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Chromatics “Black Walls” Dear Tommy (out PROLLY NEVER on Italians Do It Better) Goddamn it, Johnny Jewel. Just when I’d moved on from the idea that I’d ever hear “Dear Tommy,” this guy drags me back in with a luscious new track and a (probably fictional) release date for Fall of 2018. “Black Walls” is the exact kind of track that makes the forever pushed-back project so frustrating, as it’s another reminder that nobody else makes music that sounds like …

Snail Mail, “Let’s Find An Out”

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Snail Mail “Let’s Find An Out” Lush (out 06.08 on Matador) Though I’ve somehow not written about them yet, I’ve been loving the Baltimore trio’s pre-release singles for their hotly-anticipated debut LP. The stripped-back third single, “Let’s Find An Out,” is my favorite of the bunch, pairing songwriter Lindsey Jordan’s plaintive vocals with beds of fingerpicked electric guitar. She captures the freedom and trepidation of making the decision to start over with grace, humanity, and wisdom that belies her 18 …

Natalie Prass, “Lost”

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Natalie Prass “Lost” The Future and the Past (out 06.01 on ATO) I’m a few weeks late to this one, but this gorgeous, heartsick ballad is too good to ignore. A sharply-written look at the way a bad relationship can keep dragging you back in, “Lost” sees the fed-up 32 year-old refusing to fall into the traps of an ex. It’s the kind of thing that just about everyone has been through, and the way the track makes you feel …

Images & Words: Lil Peep, “4 Gold Chains” (f/ Clams Casino)

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Lil Peep “4 Gold Chains” (f/ Clams Casino) Digital Single Posthumous music is always dicey, but this druggy, heartbreaking new single from the late Lil Peep is too haunting to ignore. Over dreamy, reverb-soaked guitar chords, Peep grapples with the dichotomy of a fame that he never seemed comfortable with but was seemingly destined for. You can see it in the way he interacts with the camera. Though he spends much of the clip trying to avoid the camera’s unrelenting …

joan, “i loved you first”

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joan “i loved you first” Digital Single If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, first of all, thank you. I see you. Secondly, you’ll know that I have a soft spot for power ballads, and holy fuck, the Arkansas sweetboyz come through with a big one. Complete with verses that sound like the Backstreet Boys, a cheesy ass guitar solo, and a glorious group vocal climax, “i loved you first” hits all the right beats and will leave …

Skepta, “Pure Water”

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Skepta “Pure Water” Digital Single As UK hip-hop continues to grow at an astonishing rate, it’s easy to forget that nobody has meant more to this iteration of the genre than Uncle Skeppy. Luckily for us, the 35 year-old came though with a reminder of his unrivaled power with this muscular, razor-sharp new single. Like the best Skepta tracks, there’s not one ounce of fat on “Pure Water” — just a banging beat, two magnetic verses, and an infectious hook. He’s …

Rae Sremmurd: “Offshore” (f/ Young Thug)

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Rae Sremmurd “Offshore” (f/ Young Thug) Swaecation Though I’m still processing the Mississippi superstars’ excellent, new 27-song project, the free-flowing “Offshore” feels like an instant classic. Producer Mike Will is a genius at negotiating sonic space, and his gooey, descending synth chords leave plenty of room for Thug to play in. And my god, does he oblige. For nearly three minutes, Thug treats us to a single unbroken, spellbinding verse, showing off the idiosyncratic vocal gymnastics that made so many fall …

The Round-Up: The Best Albums from April ’18

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Grouper “Grid of Points” Yellow Electric Though only 21 minutes, the haunting beauty of Liz Harris’ eleventh studio LP will linger for many years to come. Penned and recorded in just 10 days, “Grid of Points” feels like a moment suspended in time — a distant memory that you just can’t shake off. The arraignments predominantly consist of just piano, voice, and ambient sounds captured during recording, most notably the passing train that closes the record. The way she uses …

Images & Words: Nines, “I See You Shining”

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Nines “I See You Shining” Crop Circle (out now on XL) Though not as flashy as many of his peers, the 27 year-old Londoner is one of the UK’s biggest talents. His new project, “Crop Circle,” is a consistent collection of heartfelt, insightful lyrics and cracking, versatile production that lives somewhere between grime, road rap, and modern American trap. “I See You Shining” is a great get-to-know-you track, as it highlights Nines’ low maintenance style, sharp storytelling, and subtly catchy …

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