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Matt Kivel, “l.a. coliseum”

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Matt Kivel “l.a. coliseum” last night in america (out 05.10 on Cascine) Our first taste of the LA singer’s debut LP for Cascine is a dreamy, low-light rumination on the early days of a relationship. Kivel’s voice is soft but affecting, and it gently bobs along the layers of soft synths and meandering electric guitar. It’s a track that really feels like falling in love in LA,  and it leaves me seriously jonesing for those technicolor sunsets and warm, evening …

Chief Keef, “Ain’t Gonna Happen”

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Chief Keef “Ain’t Gonna Happen” GloToven (Glo Gang / RBC) The Chicago stalwart’s new project with the legendary Zaytoven is unsurprisingly full of weird and wacky sounds, moving in innumerable unexpected and exciting ways. Its most powerful moment is its starkest, as a heartbroken Keef floats freely over Zay’s gorgeous piano. “Face dried up, from all of the tears I done cried up,” he laments, namedropping late friends and family members like Fredo Santana, Big Glo, and Capo. In just …

Channel Tres, “Brilliant N***a”

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Channel Tres “Brilliant N***a” Digital Single The man behind one of my favorite songs of 2018 returns with a silky new slice of the indefinable deep house/jazz/rap sound that he started cooking up on his incredible, self-titled debut EP. Over a meandering flutes, airy toms, and droning synths, the artist born Sheldon Young glides effortlessly across proceedings, dropping adhesive, charismatic couplets by the dozen. Hopefully, a proper debut LP beckons.

Images & Words: Xanman, “Kane”

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Xanman “Kane” Hey Shootah Vol 2. (self-released) This song has been out for a minute, but I just realized that I still haven’t written about the super talented DMV native yet. Considering that I’ve probably listened to more Xanman than any other rapper so far in 2019, it feels like it’s time to change that. Like most of his tracks, “Kane” feels like it’s over before it even stars, imploring you to run it back (at least) a couple more …

Images & Words: Roses Gabor, “I Could Be Yours”

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Roses Gabor “I Could Be Yours” Fantasy & Facts (out now on AllPoints) The low-key London R&B boundary pusher dropped her long-awaited debut LP on Friday, and it’s a unsurprisingly fascinating project. Gabor’s slinky, seductive sound lives in the cracks between R&B and electro, and “I Could Be Yours” is perhaps the best example of just how potent her sound can be. A lot more people should really be talking about this project.

Laura Stevenson, “Value Inn”

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Laura Stevenson “Value Inn” The Big Freeze (out 03.29 on Don Giovanni) Though the Long Island singer-songwriter has been at it for nearly 10 years, “Value Inn” is my first taste of the Laura Stevenson experience, and goddamn, it is a delicious one. “Value Inn” is a stark, brooding piece of electric folk that pairs her bewitching voice with reverb-soaked guitars that start as a drizzle before building into a dense storm. Recorded in her childhood bedroom, the track crackles with …

The National, “You Had Your Soul with You”

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The National “You Had Your Soul With You” I Am Easy to Find (out 05.17 on 4AD) We millennials are fickle bastards, man. After releasing a trio of fantastic albums, it only took me one snoozer (2013’s “Trouble Will Find Me”) to basically write off the Ohio quintet as a spent force. I was shocked by how much I loved the back-half of 2017’s “Trouble Will Find Me,” and this jittery new single builds on the disc’s momentum. Over sporadic …

Images & Worods: Hand Habits, “What Lovers Do”

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Hand Habits “What Lovers Do” placeholder (out now on Saddle Creek) Though Solange’s massive new album will dominate the day, don’t miss the ever-understated Meg Duffy’s wonderful second LP. The upstate New York singer-songwriter sits at the intersection of windswept Americana and confessional folk. Early standout, “What Lovers Do,” explores the distance between two lovers, who seem on the edge of either splitting apart or coming back together. There’s no clear resolution to their story, because like in real life, …

Nivhek, “After Its Own Death: Side A”

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Nivhek “After Its Own Death: Side A” After Its Own Death / Walking In a Spiral Towards The House (out now on YELLOWELECTRIC) Though it feels odd to pull out a single song from Liz Harris’ beguiling new album, its spectral opener is just too good to pass up. For 16 spellbinding minutes, the Oregon-based composer smears layers and layers of her doleful vocals across four different movements that include droning guitars, cinematic wind-chimes, and finally, a murky buzzing that …

Tierra Whack, “Only Child”

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Tierra Whack “Only Child” Digital Single Tierra Whack’s 2018 debut “Whack World” was one of the most promising debut albums I’ve heard in a very long time. However, I found it super hard to write about (and ultimately, fall in love with), because of her decision to chop all the tracks off at the 60-second mark. It felt like it could have been so much more. Luckily, “Only Child” makes it all the way to 240 seconds, and my god, …