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Images & Words: Foxing, “Nearer My God”

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Foxing “Nearer My God” Nearer My God (out 08.10 on Triple Crown) Though the St. Louis quartet has never hid their sonic ambitions, it feels like they’re REALLY shooting for the stars on their hyped third LP. First single, “Slapstick,” hinted at that, but the disc’s title track really underlines their widescreen ambitions. Vocalist Conor Murphy puts forth a sky-scraping vocal performance here, stretching his pained tenor right along with the ecstatic arrangement which wouldn’t sound out of place on an …

Images & Words: Blood Orange, “Jewelry” & “Charcoal Baby”

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Blood Orange “Jewelry” / “Charcoal Baby” Negro Swan (out 08.24 on Domino) Devonté Hynes returns with the first two tracks from his upcoming fourth LP as Blood Orange. Both tracks are affecting slices of the unique sound that he’s crafted, which features pieces of soul, R&B, indie rock, jazz, and pop. Though I’m trying not to get too carried away at this stage, both tracks feel important and could be big pieces of a truly special collection.

Images & Words: Tyler, The Creator x A$AP Rocky, “Potato Salad”

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Tyler, The Creator x A$AP Rocky “Potato Salad” Digital Single This super easy new single reminds me of two of my favorite videos: Odd Future’s freewheeling “Oldie” and A$AP Mob’s Pitchfork freestyle. Though both guys are capable of crafting thought-provoking music (especially, Tyler), they are both so potent when they’re having fun on toss-off tracks like this. I’d love to hear an entire project with the two of them going bar for bar.

070 Shake, “Accusations”

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070 Shake “Accusations” Digital Single (G.O.O.D. Music) Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music has been around for almost 15 years and has produced exactly one bona-fide star: Travis Scott. Aside from him, you’ve got perpetual nearly man Big Sean, professional mumbler Kid Cudi, and Teyana Taylor whose biggest musical moment involved dancing in a someone else’s music video. Not great, Kanye. Not great. For that reason, I’ve been a little slow on the 070 Shake bandwagon. Sure, her performances on Kanye’s turgid new …

Images & Words: Wet, “Lately”

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Wet “Lately” Still Run (out now on Columbia) I’ve waded slowly into the Brooklyn duo’s new project, mostly due to its pre-release singles being a little bit all over the place. However, the more I listen, the more I’ve found myself impressed with Kelly Zutrau’s evolution as a songwriter and — for all intents and purposes — solo artist. She deals most openly with this change on album centerpiece, “Lately,” the sweetest expression of frustration you’ll ever hear. Her voice …

Future, “Hate the Real Me”

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Future “Hate the Real Me” Beastmode 2 (out now on Epic) The peak of a quietly excellent year, Future goes super deep on his worthy follow-up to 2015’s legendary “Beast Mode” tape. Of all its stirring moments, nothing emotionally hits harder than its last track, as Future pours his heart out over triumphant, lush keys from the masterful Zaytoven. It’s hard to imagine another A-list artist speaking this honestly about his own pain and addiction (especially, while making it sound …

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far…)

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Somehow, some fucking way, 2018 is more than half over. And though it might feel like I always say this, I think this was the toughest list I’ve had to make yet. There’s been an overwhelming number of exciting, vital new voices popping up and plenty of fantastic follow-ups from people I already loved. Here’s my best effort at whittling the list down to about 30. I split it into two tiers. TIER 1: The Best of the Best: Early …

Troye Sivan, “Dance To This” (f/ Ariana Grande)

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Troye Sivan “Dance To This” (f/ Ariana Grande) Bloom (out 08.31 on EMI Australia) The candlelit, whispered two-step of “Dance To This” might seem a surprisingly low-key choice for two artists with such big voices. But Troye and Ariana’s obvious chemistry and subtle vocal inflections (especially in the gorgeous verses) make this track a winner, even though it likely won’t turn into a smash. It’s the rare modern collab where it feels like both artists are in the same room …

Images & Words: The 1975, “Give Yourself A Try”

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The 1975 “Give Yourself A Try” A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out in October on Dirty Hit) Though it’s been out for about two weeks, I’ve listened to the Manchester quartet’s new single roughly two million times. Compositionally, it’s totally unremarkable. Built around a repetitive, simplistic guitar riff and three chords, “Give Yourself a Try” would be a trifle in most singers’ hands. As we know, Matty Healy is not fucking most singers. That this track feels so life-affirming …

Images & Words: The Rhythm Method, “Chin Up”

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The Rhythm Method “Chin Up” Digital Single Every two years*, I get afflicted with the same illness. It usually starts up a few weeks before every major international football tournament and lasts until somewhere around the quarterfinals. Who knows how long my believesthatEnglandcanwinthewholething-itis will last for this year, but I’m hoping that Southgate’s men will make this a long, emotionally taxing bout. And every great English World Cup run needs an equally excellent tune, and London duo The Rhythm Method came …