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The Round-Up: The Best Albums of October 2017

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Kelela Take Me Apart Warp Records The album I was most excited to hear this year, the 34 year-old’s Warp debut simultaneously delivered the goods and left me a little lukewarm. The more time I’ve spent with it, the more I realize that any disappointment I had was my fault, not hers. “Take Me Apart” is unarguably excellent — a futuristic R&B odyssey that deftly amps up her pop ambitions without alienating the alternative club sound that made her so exciting in the first place. That said, …

Images & Words: Ariel Pink, “Feels Like Heaven”

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Ariel Pink “Feels Like Heaven” Dedicated to Bobby Jameson (Kemado) Ariel Pink’s psych-pop is very hit and miss for me. It’s partially because of his odious persona, but it’s primarily the fact that I’ve never had much time for his very obvious, bizzaro 70’s and 80’s influences. That said, the man can write one hell of a pop song, and “Feels Like Heaven” is another example of that rare knack. Lovesick and bathed in neon light, Ariel beautifully distills his intoxicating early-relationship jitters into an airtight, dreamy, reverb-soaked …

Images & Words: Miles From Kinshasa, “FIREWORKS”

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Miles From Kinshasa “FIREWORKS” LIMBO (out now on Quality Time) It’s crazy that it’s been more than two years since Miles From Kinshasa dropped his lovely debut single, “IVRY.” What’s even more crazy is that I somehow totally missed the release of his debut LP, “LIMBO,” and this, its glorious lead single. Like “IVRY,” this cut is a slab of urbane, smooth city soul that pairs the Londoner’s affecting, easy vocal with modern, quiet-stormy instrumentation. It’s indicative of the rest of the project, which is …

Hot Jam of the Day: VMG Stuy, “Perfect Timing”

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VMG Stuy “Perfect Timing” Digital Single Though there’s still basically no information about the Brooklyn rapper online, “Perfect Timing” feels like the first chapter of what could grow to be a very rich story. Over a propulsive beat driven by triumphant keys and busy hi-hats, VMG Stuy flow is effortless and melodic, and his unblemished tenor is strangely reminiscent of a young Chris Brown. This one feels like a future hit to me.

Images & Words: The Golden Filter, “End of Times”

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The Golden Filter “End of Times” End Of Times EP (out 11.10 on Optimo) On their new single, the London synth-pop duo turn the melodrama up to 11 and dial up a slow-mo swooner that will leave you basking in the neon glow. Inspired by the absurdity and unpredictability of the modern world, vocalist Penelope Trappes finds solace in the only thing we can rely on in such times: the arms of another. It’s smooth and slick but also warm and human.

Hot Jam of the Day: Rhye, “Taste”

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  Rhye “Taste” Digital Single The L.A. duo is the musical equivalent of being draped in layers of 1,000-thread count sheets. And after a couple of years away, it appears that they’re prepping a follow-up to their tasty 2013 debut, “Woman.” “Taste” is the third track they’ve dropped recently, and it’s very much in their wheelhouse: swooning falsetto vocals, gentle piano, and just that little kick of percussion. There’s still no word on whether an official LP is on the way, but if it …

Images & Words: The National, “I’ll Still Destroy You”

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The National “I’ll Still Destroy You” Sleep Well Beast (out now on 4AD) Frankly, I’m shocked by how much I’ve grown to love the Brooklyn vets’ seventh LP. After 2013’s tepid “Trouble Will Find Me,” I’d sort of assumed that their misery porn had reached its zenith, now ten years on from the seminal “Boxer.” However, “Sleep Well Beast” finds the band regaining their emotional heft, nowhere more evident than this stunning rumination on escapism, be it by drugs, dreams, or nostalgia. Looking more than a …

Images & Words: Mayorkun, “Mama”

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Mayorkun “Mama” Digital Single Already a big hit in his native Nigeria, “Mama” is a gorgeous swoon of a love song that beautifully matches soca and R&B. It’s the latest in a string of impressive singles for the 23 year-old. Blessed with a pure, easy tenor, Mayorkun manages to capture the silly way falling headlong in love can make you feel without coming off jokey or insincere. Delish.

Stream This Shit: Grizzle, “Consort”

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Grizzle “Consort” Liminal Sounds Put down “Super Slimey” for a second, and spend some time with the criminally underrated Mancunian’s long-awaited, Liminal Sounds debut. The grime futurist has been a long-time TP fave, and Consort is exactly the project I’ve been hoping he’d make. Each of the disc’s four tracks is a meticulously crafted, hyper-melodic banger. Though there’s an obvious MssingNo influence on this disc, there’s a ton of new ideas on here as well, and it’s a massive step forward for one of …

Images & Words: SOPHIE, “It’s Okay To Cry”

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SOPHIE “It’s Okay to Cry” Digital Single Every once in a while, somebody puts out something that takes your breath away. “It’s Okay to Cry” is absolutely one of those moments. After spending her early career lurking behind faceless, chaotic, schizophrenic experimental dance music, the 32 year-old has stepped into the light and up to the microphone. The result is pure magic. Built around a twinkling, celestial piano melody, “It’s Okay To Cry” plays out like a tender, ultra-modern Disney ballad. Her voice is sweet and confident, as she consoles …