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Images & Words: oklou, “Friendless”

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oklou “Friendless” The Rite of May (out 03.16 on NUXXE) It’s impossible not to get swallowed up by the rising French vocalist’s spellbinding breakthrough single. “Friendless” is a an aqueous, sensuous track that undulates like the calm sea depicted in the video clip. Though the production is spot-on, Marylou “oklou” Mayniel’s vocals are the real star of the show, aching for the love of someone who is far away. One to watch in 2018.

Frank Ocean, “Moon River”

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Frank Ocean “Moon River” Digital Single Every time Frank Ocean puts out a new song, it feels like an event, no matter what it is. Case in point: this loose, simple cover of a song from the original Breakfast at Tiffany’s Soundtrack basically shut down the Internet when it dropped on Valentine’s Day. Reminiscent of his cover of the Isley Brothers-penned Aaliyah classic “At Your Best (You Are Love),” it’s a pretty faithful rendition that mostly works because of that …

Images & Words: S. Carey, “More I See”

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S. Carey “More I See” Hundred Acres (out 2.23 on Jagjaguwar) Maybe it’s because of the weather, but it just feels so go to cuddle up with these new Sean Carey tracks. Though it’s just as lambswool soft as previous singles “Fool’s Gold” and “Still, Still, Still,” “More I See” has the kind of glorious hook that his tracks don’t tend to, which feels tailor-made to soundtrack a pivotal moment of some network TV show that I don’t watch. That …

Julianna Barwick, “Garland”

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Julianna Barwick “Garland” Digital Single When Julianna Barwick sings, I listen. On “Garland,” she pairs her celestial, angelic voice with a slow-burning pulse that deftly rises to a stunning climax. Though there’s no official word, hopefully this track will foreshadow a full-length follow up to her wonderful third LP, “Will.”

Images & Words: Chloe x Halle, “The Kids Are Alright”

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Chloe X Halle “The Kids Are Alright” Grown-ish Soundtrack This sweetly acerbic swooner is the perfect antidote to the innumerable, tiresome “Millennials Are Trash” think-pieces that have become a cottage industry these days. The Beyoncé-backed familial duo, Chloe and Halle Bailey, are the perfect pair to deliver the message, blending their gorgeous voices together to stand up for their generation.

Soccer Mommy, “Still Clean”

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Soccer Mommy “Still Clean” Clean (out 03/02 on Fat Possum) I was a little late in discovering Sophie Allison’s bedroom guitar-pop, but this forlorn heartbreaker hooked its fangs into me real quick. “Still Clean” is a downcast track about the way young love makes you learn that what’s real to you isn’t always real to someone else. Over a delicate, but busy guitar-line, Allison realizes she’d mistaken love for lust and that it’s time to move on. No matter how …

Images & Words: BlocBoy JB x Drake, “Look Alive”

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BlocBoy JB “Look Alive” (f/ Drake) Digital Single Young Angel links up with Memphis’ most promising young rapper for a monster single. Bristling with the electricity and urgency that was sorely lacking on his recent singles, “Look Alive” features some of Drake’s sharpest barbs, and he sounds refreshed and empowered by his 21 year-old counterpart’s infectious energy. Though he’s still making his way in the industry, BlocBoy isn’t overawed by his co-star, dropping a memorable, sticky verse of his own. …

Images & Words: Jamie Isaac, “Doing Better”

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Jamie Isaac “Doing Better” Digital Single After a year or so away, the low-key Croydon singer-songwriter returns with the first song from his forthcoming sophomore LP. “Doing Better” is another tasty slab of the bleary-eyed, late-night soul that made his debut, “Couch Baby,” my 14th favorite album of 2016. Isaac is blessed with a warm, soft tenor and is a talented piano player — both of which are on full display on this broken-winged ballad. More like this please, Jamie.

Warren Wolfe, “Careful U”

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Warren Wolfe “Careful U” Digital Single Released as an unfinished demo on SoundCloud, “Careful U” is my favorite thing the rising Brooklyn singer-songwriter has put out yet. Though he’s best known for his gorgeous, aching falsetto, he dials back the vocals here, using his angelic voice as hypnotic window dressing rather than the main focus. The result is a swirling slice of dark-wave that wouldn’t sound out of place on a packed dance-floor. Whether it’s a one-off or a sign …

Clara La San, “Unplanned”

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Clara La San “Unplanned” Good Mourning (out now on OCLONES) I’m not proud of it, but somehow I completely missed the UK singer’s long-awaited debut mixtape when it dropped back in late November. So to make up for that oversight, I wanted to write about one of my favorite tracks on it — this emotional ode to mixing things up in a relationship. “Unplanned” highlights La San’s soft, evocative vocals and subtle songwriting, which are in abundance all over the exquisite, “Good Mourning.”