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The Round-Up: The Best Albums of the 2nd Quarter

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Ana Roxanne~~~Leaving RecordsThe Oakland bedroom artist’s debut project is a staggering slice of ambient music that pulls subtly from the R&B and pop vocalists that she grew up on. Her voice sounds far away but pulls you in close (think: Grouper’s “Ruin”) and is ready to tell you its secrets… if you’re down to take the time to listen. Stream it on Bandcamp. AJ TraceyAJ TraceySelf-ReleasedHe made us wait for it, but the talented Tottenham boy delivered on his debut …

Mall Grab, “Sleepless”

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Mall Grab“Sleepless”Growing Pains (out now on Looking for Trouble)The talented Aussie producer has had a busy 2019, dropping a pair of potent dancefloor-ready EPs. The first, May’s super bassy “Moogie,” was all dark corridors and strobe lights, but “Growing Pains” (released last week) adds a little more sonic variation without sacrificing his ravey roots. The 4-song EP’s leadoff single pairs modern grime rhythms with neon synths for a thrilling late-night joyride.

Blood Orange, “Dark & Handsome”

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Blood Orange“Dark & Handsome”Angel’s Purse (out now on Domino)Though I’m trying not to get too carried away, the first few spins of Dev Hynes’ new mixtape, “Angel’s Pulse,” are extremely promising. “Angel’s Puse” feels like the Londoner at his loosest and most experimental. The Toro y Moi-assisted “Dark & Handsome” is an early standout featuring faraway keys, some screw vocals, and an unexpected rap verse from chill-lord Toro y Moi. It’s a useful window into the vibe of the freewheeling …

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019, So Far (Honorable Mention)

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As promised, here is the rest of my favorite tracks of the year that didn’t quite make the cut for my main list. Songs are in no particular order. Chromatics “Time Rider”bahahahahah (Italians Do It Better) “Dear Tommy” is obviously never coming out. But I did get to hear this slinky new track and see the legendary quartet live in Brooklyn, so I can’t be too angry at Johnny Jewel and co. “Time Rider” is exactly the kind of track …

Images & Words: Octavian, “No Weakness”

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Octavian“No Weakness”Endorphins (out now on Black Butter)The rising Londoner comes through with new visuals for his ice-cold break-up track, set in the late-night Parisian skies. The French-born MC is one of the most versatile young artists in the city, and “No Weakness” highlights his undeniable melodic gifts and star power.

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019 (So Far)

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A little bit late this year due to real-world commitments, but here is my annual list of the best songs of the first half of 2019. Look for my honorable mention coming later in the week. This year, instead of going with an actual ranking system, I’m going to going to break them up by tiers. TIER 1: THE EARLY FAVORITE Duugie “Night Shift” (f/ Odunsi & Omagz) Sojourn (Blac-Apollo) Even though it features two of Nigeria’s most exciting young …

Images & Words: CFCF, “Healing Kurage”

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CFCF“Healing Kurage”Liquid Colours (out 07.12 on BGM)Michael Silver is back with a new collection of extremely pure moods, ready to soundtrack beautiful summer sunsets. “Healing Kurage” does what it says on the tin, laying out languid, therapeutic synths that are impossible not to get lost in. The disc is streaming now at Bandcamp, and I highly recommend getting over there and checking it out.

Images & Words: Florist, “Time is a Dark Feeling”

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Florist“Time is a Dark Feeling”Emily Alone (out 07.26 on Double Double Whammy)Emily A. Sprague makes folk music that is both haunting and haunted. She beautifully frames her forlorn vocals and heartrending lyrics with arpeggiated guitars that hang in the air like fog. Her newest song is stark even by her standards, stripping the arrangement of everything save her voice and a choked-up acoustic guitar.

Lucy Dacus, “Forever Half Mast”

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Lucy Dacus“Forever Half Mast”Digital Single (Matador)The Virginia native is such a sharp songwriter, and her new 4th of July single beautifully considers what it’s like to live in a country that you kind of love but just won’t stop letting you down. “Yes you’re evil, but you’re not that bad,” Dacus muses over wistful pedal steel and strummed acoustic guitars. Unsurprisingly, the clear skies don’t last long, giving way to chunky layers of distorted guitars and pounding drums, which mirror …

Laura Stevenson, “Jesus Etc.”

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Laura Stevenson“Jesus Etc.”All God’s Money, A Tribute to Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (out 07.10 on Better Yet)I’m not a huge Wilco guy and rarely write about covers, but Laura Stevenson’s stripped back take on one of Jeff Tweedy’s best ever songs is just too gorgeous not to write about. Over descending acoustic guitars, Stevenson lays down a wonderful pedal steel line which elevates the original’s simple, yet potent melody and touching lyrics. Fuck, this is pretty. all of god's money …