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Hot Jam of the Day: Ryan Adams, “The Empty Bed” / “Broken Things”

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Ryan Adams “The Empty Bed” / “Broken Things” Prisoner B-Sides In much of the press surrounding his excellent 16th studio LP, the ever-prolific songwriter talked about writing nearly 100 songs for the album and struggling to cut it down to just 12. Last Friday, he proved he wasn’t lying when he surprise dropped 17 of those b-sides. And though they don’t all shine, it makes you appreciate how difficult it must be to make these cuts. Two of its early standouts are a pair …

Images & Words: Rostam, “Gwan”

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Rostam “Gwan” Digital Single Anybody who has ever lived in New York knows the restorative power of an aimless stroll through the city. On the clip for his new string-driven, chamber pop single, the former Vampire Weekend man enjoys one of those long meanders, heading toward a destination that is unclear both for the viewer and the walker. Though we still don’t have details, it’s starting to feel like his long-awaited album is just around the corner, and if it sounds anything like …

Images & Words: DJ Khaled, “I’m The One” (f/ Quavo, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne)

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DJ Khaled “I’m The One” (f/ Quavo, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne) Digital Single At this point, DJ Khaled’s tracks are basically musical text chains between the biggest artists on the planet. It’s kinda like he just puts out late-night mass “U Up?” text to his entire contact list, and the first four that respond get a verse. It’s a high variance strategy. But it works for him, because as easy as it is to discard the songs that don’t pop, it’s impossible to …

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of March & April

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I skipped last month’s album Round-Up to bang out the My Favorite Tracks of the First Quarter list. So this month’s album list features my picks from March and April. Possibly the strongest batch of the year so far, 2017 is shaping up to be another incredible year in music. Mount Eerie A Crow Looked At Me P.W. Elverum & Sun I can’t remember two albums released back-to-back that provide such stark, unflinching looks at death as Mount Eerie’s incredible, A Crow …

Images & Words: HEAVEN, “It’s Not Enough”

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HEAVEN “It’s Not Enough” Digital Single  It doesn’t take a musicologist to hear producer Johnny Jewel’s fingerprints on this romantic, slow-burning new single from the newest signing to his label, Italians Do It Better. Though details about the artist remain scarce, this luxurious, stylish ballad is a strong enough statement to stand on its own and hints that we may be hearing a lot more about her (them?) in the future.

Hot Jam of the Day: Mac Demarco, “One More Love Song”

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Mac Demarco “One More Love Song” This Old Dog (out 05.05 on Captured Tracks) Though he’s spent much of his career lapping up critical plaudits, the 26 year-old’s hipster goofball persona never resonated with me. Maybe I’m a killjoy, but I always struggled to find any real heart or heft in his music. However, his third LP’s pre-release tracks have been consistently excellent, and this windswept ballad is the best of the bunch. The tears of the clown motif is old and tired, but it’s damn near …

Images & Words: Laurel Halo, “Jelly”

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Laurel Halo “Jelly” Dust (out 06.23 on Hyperdub) The lead single from the Berlin-via-Michigan producer/vocalist’s forthcoming third LP is one of the poppiest and most direct tracks of her career. I mean, it’s Laurel Halo, so it’s fucking weird. But it features a mostly clean, surprisingly smooth vocal line that guides the listener through the off-kilter drum patterns and eclectic instrumentation. The result is an exciting, unexpected trip that isn’t a drag to get through.

Hot Jam of the Day: How to Dress Well, “Strong Enuff”

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How to Dress Well “Strong Enuff” Our First 100 Days (for Stereogum) To this day, there’s still nothing that sounds like Tom Krell’s early, pre-Love Remains work. And though his development has been extremely impressive, it’s nice to hear him lurking back in those sonic swamps on this gorgeous Sheryl Crow cover. Krell has always been a wizard at reinterpreting pop songs and dragging them to unexpected emotional places. “Strong Enuff” is another example of this, fitting in well with other magical versions of R. Kelly’s “I Wish,” Janet’s …

Hot Jam of the Day: War on Drugs, “Thinking of a Place”

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War on Drugs “Thinking of a Place” Digital Single “Thinking of a Place” is first new piece of original music from the Philly group since Lost in the Dream — one of the best albums of 2014. And, my god, was it worth the wait. An expansive and beautiful mid-tempo ballad, it features some of Adam Granduciel’s richest and most melodic songwriting. Over windswept acoustic strums and a restorative lead riff, Granduciel yearns for a fading connection with an affecting …

Stream This Shit: Kara-Lis Coverdale, Grafts

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Kara-Lis Coverdale Grafts Boomkat Rejoice! The ever-reliable Montreal musician dropped a characteristically contemplative surprise album yesterday. Across three aqueous tracks, Coverdale blends soothing synth drones with splotches of piano, which forms a masterful mood that ebbs and swells for 22 gorgeous minutes.