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Hot Jam of the Day: Kelela, “LMK”

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Kelela “LMK” Take Me Apart (10.06 on Warp) Our agonizing wait for the first taste of Kelela’s proper studio debut* is finally over, and my GOD, our girl came through with a banger. In lieu of just typing 4,000 fire emojis, I’ll just say that “LMK” is such a perfect distillation of what makes her such a special artist. The track lives in that ambiguous space between the club, the bedroom, and the radio. And the D.C. native devouring a club-ready Arca production …

Images & Words: Jessie Ware, “Midnight”

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Jessie Ware “Midnight” Digital Single In the years I’ve been covering music, I wrote more about Jessie Ware’s early career than just about anyone else. I first covered her back in 2011 and tracked her progression from a promising, mostly unknown, quiet storm prodigy to a true powerhouse who could command any room she was in. It all culminated with her stunning 2012 debut, Devotion, which is still one of the best albums of the decade. Though her 2014 follow-up Tough Love accelerated her commercial progression, …

Hot Jam of the Day: Turnover, “Sunshine Type”

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Turnover “Sunshine Type” Good Nature (out 08.25 on Run for Cover) The second track from the Virginia trio’s upcoming third LP is a delicious slice of subdued, humid, mid-tempo soft rock. Interestingly, both of Good Nature’s pre-release singles have lacked the urgency of 2015’s excellent Peripheral Vision. Instead, they have been languid and dreamy, which could be indicative of a shift from the angst of your early 20’s to the ennui of your mid 20’s. Or, maybe I just haven’t heard …

Hot Jam of the Day: Lomelda, “Out There”

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Lomelda “Out There” Thx (out 09.08 on Double Double Whammy) “Out There” is that certain kind of wistful that will speak to anybody who has ever been young and stuck in a small, sleepy suburb. The track gorgeously chronicles singer-songwriter Hannah Read’s youth in the East Texas town of Silsbee, population 6,735. Over languid, windswept guitars, Read dreams of getting out and experiencing the big, beautiful, terrifying world that lies outside the city limits.

Hot Jam of the Day: The War on Drugs, “Strangest Things”

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The War on Drugs “Strangest Things” A Deeper Understanding (out 08.25 on Atlantic) Welp, looks like the Philly sadsacks’ hugely anticipated fourth LP is officially 3 for 3. Just like “Thinking of a Place” and “Holding on,” “Strangest Things” is a gorgeous, windswept epic that highlights frontman Adam Granduciel’s rare ability to craft sky-scraping power ballads. Though he isn’t blessed with a classic, powerhouse voice, the 38 year-old makes up for it with lush guitar and synth arrangements and deft, …

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of 2017, So Far…

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Rating albums at the mid-point of the year, just to re-rate them in six months seems dumb, so I decided to go with an NBA Draft-style tier system to pick out a few of my favorites so far. TIER 1: THE FAVORITE Stormzy Gang Signs and Prayer #Merky The Londoner’s debut LP is an epic in every sense of the word. Gang Signs and Prayer very much feels like that special kind of debut that took an artist’s whole life to make. From …

Hot Jam of the Day: Tyler, The Creator, “Boredom”

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Tyler, The Creator “Boredom” Scum Fuck Flower Boy (out 07.21 on Odd Future) Though my understanding of psychology is limited, I do know that boredom and emptiness tend to go together. And while this subdued new single from Tyler is named after the former, it is actually rooted in the latter. Much of the pre-release chatter around SFFB is centered around his sexuality, but I’ve been struck how much of it seems to be about emotional emptiness — the kind that …

Images & Words: Nite Jewel, “How it Was”

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Nite Jewel “How It Was” Real Low (out now on Gloriette) Ramona Gonzalez has been on an absolute tear this year. She’s already dropped an excellent LP and a 12” on Italians Do It Better, and now there’s a new collection of b-sides for us to sink our teeth into. The disc also comes with a new video for the seductive and gentle ballad, “How it Was,” which originally appeared on the IDIB release.

Images & Words: Pi’erre Bourne, “Water Boy”

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Pi’erre Bourne “Water Boy” Life of Pi’erre Vol 2. (self-released) Already the architect of one of the best rap singles of 2017, the Atlanta native is also building a burgeoning solo career of his own. Like his production work, Bourne’s solo stuff is driven by delicious, glossy synths and wobbly percussion. To me, he sounds more comfortable when he’s singing than when he’s rapping, and “Water Boy” is an excellent representation of his potential as a songwriter and a vocalist.

Images & Words: Kamaiyah, “Build You Up”

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Kamaiyah “Build You Up” Don’t Get it Twisted (out soon) While her growing army of fans wait patiently for her follow-up to last year’s incredible A Good Night in the Ghetto, the East Bay native hooks us up with this feel-good new single. Packed with undeniable melodies, an uplifting message, and all sorts of delicious 90s vibes, “Build You Up” is an ode to the restorative power of true friendship. It also highlights her developing talent as a singer, which will help cement her place as …