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Images & Words: The Japanese House, “Something Has To Change”

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The Japanese House“Something Has To Change”Digital SingleGetting stuck in a negative cycle is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to us. And that quiet frustration is beautifully chronicled by Amber Bain on her tasty new single. As ever, the Imogen Heap vibes are strong, and Bain’s annoyed lyrics are balanced by the lightness of her processed vocals, teaming with just enough energy to give you hope that change is coming around the next corner.

City Girls, “JT First Day Out”

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City Girls“JT First Day Out”Digital SingleAfter the better part of two years, JT — one half of the electric Miami duo — is finally free. And from the sound of “JT First Day Out,” she’s coming back with a vengeance. Though it was clearly thrown together quickly (you can actually hear the cuts between bars), JT is a wonderful rapper, and it’s great to hear her back on wax and ready to resume her undeniable rise to the top.

Images & Words: Erlend Øye & La Comitiva, “Paradiso”

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Erlend Øye & La Comitiva“Paradiso”Paradiso (out soon on Bubbles)The Norwegian singer/songwriter has mostly been crooning in Italian these days, and this glorious new tune is probably my favorite canzone he’s put out yet. He’s always been blessed with an impossibly soft tenor, but he sounds extra chilled over very Kings of Convenience classical guitars and a swooning string number. The clip, too, is a thing of beauty, capturing the quaint streets and gorgeous coast of his adopted hometown of Syracuse, …

Images & Words: Chromatics, “You’re No Good”

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Chromatics“You’re No Good”Closer to Grey (out now on Italians Do It Better)It’s not “Dear Tommy,” but there’s a new Chromatics album out in the world, and that’s good enough for me. The exquisite new project’s lead single — the characteristically stylish, “You’re No Good” — gets some fitting, neon-soaked visuals. Radelet is at her nonplussed best, gliding weightlessly above a perfectly-crafted waterbed of synths, courtesy of His Holiness Johnny Jewel.

Images & Words: Blue Hawaii, “Still I Miss U”

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Blue Hawaii“Still I Miss U”Open Reduction Internal Fixation (out 10.11 on Arbutus)The Montreal duo pour one out for the brokenhearted on this lovelorn slow-burner. Flanked by laid-back, daytime grooves, Raphaelle Standell-Preston explores the constant struggle to move on from someone you love, dropping affecting couplets like “I can’t find another way to say, that it’s so strange without you in my day.” When you’re battling post-breakup loneliness, it’s so important to remember that your pain and isolation aren’t only yours. …

Jenny Hval, “Ashes to Ashes”

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Jenny Hval“Ashes to Ashes”The Practice of Love (out now on Sacred Bones)Though I haven’t written about the Norwegian multi-instrumentalist’s brilliant seventh album yet, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been listening to it. Like just about all of her releases, The Practice of Love is best digested as an album, but centerpiece “Ashes to Ashes” is a good place to start. Hval washes her insightful lyrics and evocative voice is warm baths of synths and a gentle backbeat, bubbling along nicely …

Images & Words: Sudan Archives, “Confessions/Black Vivaldi Sonata”

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Sudan Archives“Confessions/Black Vivaldi Sonata”Athena (out 11.1 on Stone’s Throw)In advance of her forthcoming debut LP, Brittney Parks’ dropped this stunning, uplifting new video. Parks’ exciting sound pulls from a number of unexpected places — from chamber pop to R&B — and she’s in great form here, gliding over a slithering violin line and bouncy percussion. Though she’s not quite a household name yet, it only seems like a matter of time before she gets there.

(Sandy) Alex G, “SugarHouse – Live”

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(Sandy) Alex G“SugarHouse – Live”House of Sugar (out now on Domino)Tucked away at the end of his sprawling, wondrous new album from Philly phenom, (Sandy) Alex G is this transcendent slice of dive bar divinity. Over an Asbury Park sax and jazzy guitars, the 26 year-old pours his heart out, poignantly admitting “you never really met me, I don’t think anyone has.” His clever decision to record it live adds to the Wire (Season 2) vibes, and if you really …

Mount Eerie With Julie Doiron, “Love Without Possession”

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Mount Eerie with Julie Doiron“Love Without Possession”Lost Wisdom pt. 2 (out 11.08 on P.W. Elverum & Sun)Hide your feelings because Phil Elverum and Julie Doiron are coming for them with their follow up to 2008’s seminal, “Lost Wisdom.” Doiron’s gorgeous voice is a sharp foil to Phil’s quiet vocal, and they’re both beautifully framed by unexpected, shifting instrumentation on the disc’s first single. I doubt the disc will be an easy listen, but I’m sure it will be a rewarding …

Caracara, “Dark Bells”

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Caracara“Dark Bells”Digital SingleA year on from their wonderful Better EP, the Philly alt-rockers are at it again with a crashing, evocative new single. Driven by pounding drums, Will Lindsey’s rich vocals, and some surprising 8-bit keyboards, “Dark Bells” feels both like a subtle, stylistic step forward without losing one inch of the urgency that made them so exciting in the first place.