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Images & Words: Stormzy, “4PM in London”

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Stormzy “4PM in London” Digital Single Turning freestyles into anthems is nothing new to the ultra-talented Londoner. And though the ravenous “4PM in London” was probably written, it feels alive in the same way that many of those aforementioned tracks did. Unlike Drake (the man who originally rapped on this beat), Stormzy’s got the rare ability to make any line feel like a hook, so he doesn’t need a chorus or a sticky melody to make a track stick. “4AM in Calabasas” was about as …

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of The Third Quarter

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As you may have noticed, I’ve done my annual “fall behind on a monthly column” thing over the last couple months. That said, that just gives me more ammo for a proper Q3 round up, featuring the best records of that period in alphabetical order. 21 Savage Issa Album Slaughter Gang What: The heartfelt, personal debut solo studio LP from the sharp-tongued MC Where: Atlanta, GA In a Tweet: Issa adds more deft, subtle melody to his singular, nihilistic, uncompromising sound. …

Hot Jam of the Day: The Saxophones, “Aloha”

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The Saxophones “Aloha” Aloha 7″ (out 11.17) As a highly wifed individual in my early 30’s, I can seriously relate to the married Oakland duo’s hushed ballad “Aloha.” Over languid fingerpicked guitars, vocalists Alexi Erenkov and Alison Alderdice coo together, “Aloha, do you even know how wild I can get?” — in a tone that is far more ‘new parent’ than ‘new Freshman’. As feeble as it sounds at first listen, there’s actually a ton of comfort and acceptance here, which underlines the subtle beauty of growing up. Aloha …

Hot Jam of the Day: Dark0, “QARIN”

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Dark0 “QARIN” XENOTYPE (out 10.02 on Adult Swim) The reliable Londoner is back with the first single off his forthcoming new EP for Adult Swim (which is evidently a full-blown record label now). “QARIN” is the kind of expansive grimewave that we’ve come to expect from him, and the results are as explosive as you’d expect. Maximalist, neon keyboards and propulsive sub-bass slowly build to form a massive crescendo that wouldn’t sound out of place soundtracking just about any futuristic, Hollywood blockbuster.

Images & Words: Phoebe Bridgers, “Funeral”

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Phoebe Bridgers “Funeral” Stranger in the Alps (09.22 on Dead Oceans) Not sure a folk dirge about death is the best way to get into that #ThursdaySpirit, but Phoebe Bridgers’ crushing new single is beautiful enough for it not to matter. The 23 year-old is on the eve of dropping her long-awaited debut LP, and its third single is a beautiful representation of her emotional sledgehammer songwriting and haunting voice. I can’t wait to hear the rest of it tomorrow.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jay Boogie, “Malandrina” (Night Version)

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Jay Boogie “Malandrina” (Night Version) Digital Single One of the standout’s from the East New York performer’s excellent recent mixtape, “Jesus Loves Me Too,” gets a delicious, club-focused remix from its original producer Orlando. The extra production bite fits beautifully with Jay Boogie’s fierce but playful original, and its grime influences fit seamlessly with his ravenous flow. This track mirrors the tape’s experimental spirit and genre-defying sound, which deserves much more press and praise than it has received so far.

Hot Jam of the Day: Now Now, “Yours”

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Now, Now “Yours” Digital Single Synth-pop is rarely known for its restraint, but the second single from the Minneapolis duo’s first album in 5+ years manages to shoot for the stars while keeping its feet firmly planted on the ground. A lot of that comes from vocalist KC Dalager, who isn’t really a CRJ-style belter. Rather, she prefers to move with an arrangement rather than bombastically wrestle it into submission. “Yours” is indicative of this approach. In most hands, this same track would have the BPM, …

Hot Jam of the Day: Grizzle, “Sermon” (f/ ShaqyDread)

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Grizzle “Sermon” (f/ ShaqyDread) Consort (out 10.20 on Liminal Sounds) The shadowy architect of one of the best songs of last year drops the first taste of his solo debut EP. Like the spellbinding, “Entreaty,” “Sermon” is monstrous, unique slab of neo-grime that aims for the body and the heart. The London/Manchester producer gets an assist from rising Tottenham MC, ShaqyDread, who matches the beat’s intensity, ducking in and out of the neon synths and staccato percussion with ease.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jesse Kivel, “Endless”

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Jesse Kivel “Endless” Content (out 10.6 on New Feelings) The former Kisses/Princeton frontman drops the second single from his debut solo EP. On “Endless,” the Santa Monica native amps up the adult contempo vibes, marrying lonely sax with twinkling piano. Don’t think of it as Yacht Rock; think of it as ‘Lost at Sea on a Pontoon’ Rock. Gorgeous.

Images & Words: Creek Boyz, “I’m The One”

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Creek Boyz “I’m the One” Digital Single It’s still very early in their career, but the soulful, melodic Baltimore County crew feel like one of the freshest new groups out. Following up their magnetic debut single, “With My Team,” “I’m the One” is a triumphant, buoyant anthem that showcases their versatile talents as singers, rappers, and songwriters. Though their sound is hard to put your finger on, their nearest sonic analogue is probably Philly’s PNB Rock, a man who hails from about two …