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Clairo, “Bags”

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Clairo“Bags”Immunity (out 08.02 on FADER)Though I wasn’t super high on her buzzy, ultra-twee debut EP, “Bags” is the real damn deal. Over driving power chords and playful keys, the 20 year-old digs deeper emotionally than she has before, picking through the bones of a relationship that has gone stale. “I don’t wanna watch TV anymore,” she deadpans, mirroring those rudderless, restless words with her tone and adding the emotional heft that her early work struggled to deliver.

Images & Words: Skepta, “Bullet From a Gun”

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Skepta“Bullet From a Gun”Ignorance is Bliss (out 05.31 on Boy Better Know)The grime legend’s follow-up to 2016’s Mercury Prize winning “Konnichiwa” has crept up on me a little, but we’re just a few days away from getting to hear it in full. One of two pre-release singles, “Bullet From a Gun” is a sharp distillation of what makes Skeppy such a force, as he weaves a pair of taut, efficient verses that team with insight and clever wordplay. It’s not …

Stream This Shit: Bill Callahan, “Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest” — Side 1″

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Bill CallahanShepherd in a Sheepskin Vest — Side 1Drag City (full LP out 06.14 on Drag City)Only a few weeks from announcing his long awaited, 20-track follow-up to 2013’s wonderful “Dream River,” the Austin-based singer-songwriter gave us a big taste of it in the form of this 6-song EP. The 52 year-old shared six beautifully stripped back strummers that perfectly frame his weary, yet sturdy vocals and insightful (as ever) lyrics. I can’t wait to hear the other 14 songs, …

Lana Del Rey, “Doin’ Time”

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Lana Del Rey“Doin’ Time”Sublime OST (out soon on Universal)If you grew up in California in the early 2000’s, it was just about impossible to get in someone’s car or go to a party that wasn’t playing one of those two Sublime albums. Evidently, the same was true in wherever Lana grew up (Westchester, I think), because her cover of the Long Beach skate-rats sun-scorched classic features the care and love that can only be delivered by a true Badfish. Del …

Images & Words: Vampire Weekend, “This Life”

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Vampire Weekend“This Life”Father of the Bride (out now on Columbia)I was absolutely not prepared for how much I was gonna like the new album from Ezra & the Freshly Pressed Oxfords. But shit, it is good. “Father of the Bride” is a sweet, insightful, and age-appropriate look at domestic life, set to sunny guitars and undeniable melodies. And though “This Life” isn’t one of my favorites from the album, the song and video are a solid first step in for …

Finn, “Do What You Want Forever”

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Finn“Do What You Want Forever”Do What You Want Forever (out 05.29 on Local Action)Chase away your Tuesday blues with this uplifting slice of house music from the Manchester producer. Boosted by an ecstatic vocal sample and a hypnotic loop, “Do What You Want” is gorgeous and life-affirming, while reminding you of exactly what’s important in life.

The National: “Hairpin Turns”

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The National“Hairpin Turns”I Am Easy to Find (out 05.18 on 4AD)My god, the Brooklyn mainstays have been on a hot streak in the last few years. Just two years since their excellent return to form, “Sleep Well Beast,” the brooding brownstoners are back with what looks set to be another compelling project. “Hairpin Turns” poetically picks through the bones of a relationship on the brink, dissecting the fear and confusion that comes with a turbulent present and an uncertain future.

Images & Words: Cat Power, “Horizon”

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Cat Power“Horizon”Wanderer (out now on Domino)One of the standouts from Chan Marshall’s 2018 return to form, “Wanderer,” gets deeply personal, stirring visuals. Beside the touching familial lyrics and the delicate, cyclical melody, the really magic of “Horizon” is in the way Marshall harmonizes with various forms of her own voice. The layers are subtle, yet majestic and build a sense of community, even in a solitary performance.

Big Thief, “Open Desert”

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Big Thief“Open Desert”U.F.O.F. (out now on 4AD)The subtly sublime centerpiece of the Brooklyn quartet’s wonderful third LP features some of the most beautiful guitar playing this side of prime Mark Kozelek. Over a carefully arpeggiated, open-stringed melody, vocalist Adrianne Lenker paints beautifully impressionistic lyrics. Though she’s often been known for her unflinching, emotionally direct lyrics, “Open Desert” finds her wandering across a vast open plane and uncovering a lot more questions than answers.

Images & Words: Stormzy, “Vossi Bop”

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Stormzy“Vossi Bop”Digital SingleAfter a little while away, the London kingpin looks to be getting back in the game. “Vossi Bop” is a perfect comeback track because it is such a pure distillation of what makes Stormzy a true-one off. Over a tasty, yet simple beat, Big Mike goes in like only her can, effortlessly dropping ultra-charismatic, memorable bars in the spirit of the early freestyles that made him an instant legend. There’s no word on whether an album is coming, …