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Caroline Polachek, “Ocean of Tears” & “Parachute”

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Caroline Polachek“Ocean of Tears” / “Parachute”Pang (out this fall on Columbia)Ok, now I’m getting really excited about the ex-Chairlift vocalist/composer’s first album under her real name. Following up on her wonderful first single “Door,” these two new tracks highlight Polachek’s spellbinding voice and evocative, powerful songwriting. Though you can hear hints of a few different things in her sound (on this one, I’m getting a little Bjork and some Imogen Heap), her work is unique and getting better from project …

Images & Words: Burna Boy, “Anybody”

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Burna Boy“Anybody”African Giant (out now on Atlantic)Though this weightless single has been out for a month or so, I wanted to use it as an excuse to wax lyrical about the Nigerian vocalist’s masterful new LP. For the last few years, Burna has been dropping potent, wavey material that fuses Afrobeats, R&B, hip-hop, and dancehall for a sound that sets trends, not follows them. And “African Giant” is his crowning achievement so far. “Anybody” is a perfect distillation of the …

Images & Words: 100 Gecs, “Money Machine”

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100 Gecs“Money Machine”1000 Gecs (Dog Show)Even though I’m probably almost 20 years older than the target demo, I’ve fallen in love with the hyper-speed magic of the rising duo’s uncategorizable debut LP. Though many have made obvious comparisons to people like PC Music and SOPHIE, I also hear a lot of the mid-2010’s post-mall-core bands like Attack Attack!, I Set My Friends on Fire, and anyone on Rise Records — groups that merged electronic pop with elements of metal and …

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.