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Hot Jam of the Day (08.11.12): Teengirl Fantasy, “EFX” (f/ Kelela)

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Teengirl Fantasy “EFX” (f/ Kelela) Tracer (True Panther, out 8/21) Upon first listen, this track didn’t knock me out. But after listening to the Brooklyn-based duo’s second LP, Tracer, I looked at it totally differently. Their debut, 7AM, featured a few of the best songs of 2010 (the inexorable “Cheaters” and the sultry “Dancing in Slow Motion) but was uneven and a little incoherent. The duo — Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss — have never been short on ideas, and Tracer is the sound of …

Hot Jam of the Day (08.08.12): Wild Nothing, “Paradise”

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Wild Nothing “Paradise” Nocturne (Captured Tracks, out 8/28)  After listening to “Paradise” for the first time yesterday, I was struck by how much Blacksburg, VA-native Jack Tatum has grown as a songwriter since his impressive debut Gemini dropped two years ago. I remember playing Gemini for my ex, and her response was “if I wanted to listen to the Cure, I’ll just go listen to the Cure.” While I disagreed, she certainly wasn’t wrong. We got a taste of his progression on 2010’s lovely …

Hot Jam of the Day (08.07.12): The xx, “Chained”

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The xx “Chained” Coexist (Young Turks) There are plenty of things about the xx’s debut album that made it stand out from all the other albums released that year, but its most defining characteristic is undoubtedly its restraint.The fact that the sexiest British album in years was defined by its restraint isn’t unexpected, but it was astounding to hear a group so young with such an advanced understanding of space. xx never tries to be sexy; it just is. And a lot of that is …

Hot Jam of the Day (08.06.12): Kisses, “Funny Heartbeat”

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Kisses “Funny Heartbeat” Upcoming 2012 LP (IAMSOUND) I fell hard for the debut from Princeton frontman Jesse Kivel’s side-project, and this is the first taste from the LA duo’s still-untitled sophomore LP. “Funny Heartbeat” continues with the group’s beachy, breezy yacht rock sound and has a little more of a disco/Balearic feel than some of their earlier material. It showcases Kivel’s mellifluous, Jens Lekman-reminiscent vocals, and the group’s ability to craft smooth, danceable tracks that seem to coax the sun out from …

Hot Jam of the Day (08.05.12): A$AP Rocky, “Pussy, Money, Weed”

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A$AP Rocky “Pussy, Money, Weed” LONGLIVEA$AP (Sony) I have to admit that I keep kinda expecting 23 year-old Rakim “A$AP Rocky” Mayers to fall off, but he continues to prove me wrong. Over a characteristically syrupy, hypnotic beat, the Harlem native drops three excellent verses with his UGK-meets-BoneThugz flow. Usually when independent rappers with a distinctive sound make the leap to a major label, much of what makes them special is drained out of them (remember that Wiz Khalifa guy?), but Rocky …

Hot Jam of the Day (08.02.12): Grizzly Bear, “Yet Again”

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Grizzly Bear “Yet Again” Shields (Warp) Admittedly, it’s a little strange to hear Grizzly Bear do something this straightforward, but damned if it isn’t lovely. They’ve always had the ability to write incredible pop songs (“Two Weeks” springs to mind), but they’ve generally refused to play nice, opting for a more experimental, ramshackle approach. “Yet Again” is the sound of the group stripping back some of those layers and focusing on writing a beautiful, heartfelt, easily digestable acoustic pop-rock song. Unsurprisingly, they …

Hot Jam of the Day (08.01.12): Anna Lunoe, “Up and Down”

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Anna Lunoe “Up and Down” Fool’s Gold Clubhouse Vol. 1 (Fool’s Gold) If Thunder Penguin ever gives up chasing saucy penguettes and gets into human women, I’m pretty sure Anna Lunoe would be the girl of his dreams. Already an accomplished producer and DJ, the multi-talented Australian is set to take the indie pop world by storm. On the back of her sultry Real Talk EP, “Up and Down” is an impossibly sexy jam with understated vocals and some Nicolas Jaar-esque percussive …

Hot Jam of the Day (07.31.12): Antony, “Landslide”

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Antony Hegarty “Landslide” Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac (Hear Music/Concord) If Antony Hegarty ever decided to quit being a brilliant singer/songwriter, he could become the world’s best lounge singer. Though he is known for his enchanting, lush arraignments, a good chunk of Antony and the Johnsons frontperson Antony Hegarty’s finest moments are his quietest, and for whatever reason, a few of those seem to be his covers. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he …

Hot Jam of the Day (07.30.12): Animal Collective, “Today’s Supernatural”

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Animal Collective “Today’s Supernatural” Centipede Hz (Domino) Sometimes to go forward you’ve got to go back, and that seems to be the direction Animal Collective have decided to go with their ninth album, Centipede Hz. The Brooklyn noise pop quartet’s triumphant 2009 LP, Merriweather Post Pavilion, very much felt like the summation of around a decade of hard work and experimentation, and is, without a doubt, one of the best albums of its decade. The thing about masterpieces is they …

Hot Jams of the Day (07.29.12): Sean Blackthorn, One Night EP

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Sean Blackthorn One Night EP In the last few months, I’ve written so much about this Toronto-based soul singer that you could be forgiven for thinking that the dude must have me on the payroll. But as long as he keeps pumping out downtempo R&B/neo-soul this good, I’m going to have to keep writing about him. In many ways, this feels like the culmination of a thought that started with the hauntingly beautiful single, “Hymns & Questions,” which was released …