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The 1975, “Sincerity is Scary”

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The 1975 “Sincerity is Scary” A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out 11.30 on Dirty Hit) Aka “Jazz is Jazzy,” the fourth single from Matty & the boys’ forthcoming third LP is another example of the inherent unpredictability that makes following The 1975 so exciting. At its heart, the song is a simple down-tempo ballad about breaking up in 2018, But they inject this wobbly, off-beat drum part, which sounds woefully out of place at first but slowly grows into …

Images & Words: Lana Del Rey, “Venice Bitch”

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Lana Del Rey “Venice Bitch” Norman Fucking Rockwell (out this year) Lana’s best new single in years, the freewheeling breeze of “Venice Bitch” is a welcome antidote to much of her dense, overcooked recent work. Paired with dusky, Laurel Canyon guitars, the 33 year-old delivers a low-key, yet stunning performance, dripping with all the old Hollywood nostalgia of her unassailable early material. At her best, she has this odd quality which makes clichés like “fresh out of fucks forever” and …

Images & Words: How To Dress Well, “Nonkilling 6 | Hunger”

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How to Dress Well “Nonkilling 6 | Hunger” The Anteroom (out 10.19 on Domino) Though it was a little bit buried on my “Favorite Songs of 2018, So Far..” list, I’m extremely excited about the experimental direction Tom Krell seems to be going in on his fifth LP. This stunning two-parter pairs his evocative falsetto with a rave-y backbeat and opaque, occasionally harsh instrumentation. If you follow his social media, you’ll know that he is deep into uncompromising, blistering techno, …

Lucinda Chua, “Somebody Who”

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Lucinda Chua “Somebody Who” Digital Single Do yourself a favor; stop what you’re doing, and let the gentle, soothing sounds of the London-based composer’s debut single wash over you. Over vast beds of ambient keyboards and touches of her aching cello, Chua laments the simplicity of our condition as mere random bodies who are all reaching out for something. As beautiful as this track is, it feels very much like a small piece of a substantial pie, and I can’t …

Images & Words: Phoebe Bridgers, “Scott Street”

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Phoebe Bridgers “Scott Street” Stranger In The Alps (out now on Dead Oceans) The mopey Angelino’s debut album was my second favorite of last year, and I’ve found myself consistently coming back to it in 2018. One of its sweetest moments gets a lighthearted visual that captures the subtle humor and loneliness of the track. The 24 year-old begins the story walking through Echo Park, disassociated from herself and her surroundings. And the clip mirrors that odd feeling by casting …

Troye Sivan, “Postcard” (f/ Gordi)

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Troye Sivan “Postcard” (f/ Gordi) Bloom (out now on Universal) Spoiler alert: the 23 year-old’s spectacular, super consistent second album will be all over my year-end lists. All of Bloom’s ten songs are worthy of further consideration, but this piano ballad is an early standout. Sivan is blessed with the kind of voice that effortlessly gets under your skin. And he puts it to good use here, chronicling the early days of falling in love and the excitement and anxiety …

Images & Words: Blueface, “Deadlocs”

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Blueface “Deadlocs” Famous Cryp (out now on 886011) The next in a line of talented, unique LA artists, Blueface’s simply refuses to adhere to the traditional boundaries of hip-hop. On his breakout single, the young Angelino dips in and out of the skeletal keys and percussion, swerving and accelerating wildly like a drunk driver on the 405. At first listen, his freewheeling, occasionally offbeat style might be a turn-off, but with every successive listen, you’ll find yourself more and more …

Liza Anne, “Dreams”

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Liza Anne “Dreams” Dreams EP (out 09.14 on Arts & Crafts) I almost never write about covers on here, mostly because I struggle to keep up with all the great original music that’s coming out every day. But every once in a while, one jumps out at me that is simply too good to pass up. Rising Nashville artist Liza Anne’s haunting take on this timeless Cranberries tune more than qualifies. Her elegiac, crushing vocals are worthy of the eternal …

Devon Welsh, “Dreams Have Pushed You Around”

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Devon Welsh “Dreams Have Pushed You Around” Dream Songs (out now on You Are Accepted) Only ex-Majical Cloudz frontman Devon Welsh could make a line like “I snuck into your room last night / I stayed in the dark, it was innocent” sound normal. The Montreal native’s simple, intense ballads have always tiptoed in the half-space between tenderness and creepiness. His stark honesty is unsettling at first listen, but Welsh has this odd way of making you feel like his …

boygenius, “Me & My Dog” / “Stay Down” / “Bite The Hand”

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boygenius “Me & My Dog” / “Stay Down” / “Bite The Hand” boygenius (out in November on Matador) Talk about a power trio, boygenius is made up of Phoebe Bridgers (the author of my 2nd favorite album of 2017), Julien Baker (the author of my 13th favorite album of ’17), and Lucy Dacus (author of one of the best debuts of this year). Though each of the three songs is led by a different member, you can feel their fingerprints …