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Hot Jam of the Day (01.25.13): BenZel, “Fallin’ Love”

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BenZel “Fallin’ Love” Digital Single I spent most of late December putting my “Hottest Jams of 2012” list together instead of covering new music, so I wanted to take the time to come back to one of my absolute favorites from that time: the yankin’ (can I use that word like that?) new single from the Japan-cum-NYC teenage duo. The group is formed by Umi Takahashi (15) and Yoko Watanabe (16), two kids from Osaka who met in New York while on foreign …

Hot Jam of the Day (01.23.13): Memoryhouse, “Shades of our Life”

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Memoryhouse “Shades of our Life” Unreleased I’m not a big napper, but if I was, Memoryhouse would be the soundtrack to my midday naps. I’ve been a huge fan of the Canadians’ celestial sound since their seminal debut EP, The Years, and this surprise single sums up so much of what makes me love them. Composer Evan Abeele deftly crafts lush, fluid arraignments for vocalist Denise Nouvion to glide over, resulting in tracks that are warm blankets to sit by the fire under. …

Hot Jam of the Day (01.22.12): Dawn Richard, “Tug of War”

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Dawn Richard “Tug of War” Goldenheart (self-released, out now) Dawn Richard is an utterly fascinating creature. Miscast early in her career as the squeaky clean mouthpiece of Diddy’s radio R&B group, Dannity Kane, the New Orleans native has flourished since the group folded in 2009. Richard’s triumphant post-DK debut LP is a swirling, mystical rumination on the end of a relationship that highlights Richard’s diverse palette of influences (R&B, electro-pop, hip-hop, Eastern music), impeccable taste, and unique voice. Though it is probably six …

Hot Jam of the Day (01.21.12): Disclosure x AlunaGeorge, “White Noise”

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Disclosure x AlunaGeorge “White Noise” White Noise single (out 3/24 on PMR) The hits just keep coming from the Howard brothers, and their new collab with fellow UK blogosphere favorites, AlunaGeorge, sounds exactly like you think it does: slinky, sexy, and utterly infectious. We are supposed to get debut LPs from both duos at some point this year, and if their back catalogs are anything to go by, they’ll be some of the best of the year. If you aren’t yet familiar, …

Hot Jam of the Day (01.18.13): Blue Hawaii, “Try to Be”

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Blue Hawaii “Try to Be” Untogether (out 3/5 on Artbus Records) B BRAIDS frontwoman, Raph Standell-Preston, has always had the kind of voice that’s hard to shake. On “Try to Be,” we get to hear that voice front and center, as the duo deftly frames her nostalgic coo with gentle acoustic guitar and airy percussion. Blue Hawaii is the perfect name for her collaboration with fellow Canadian Alexander Cowan, as the group crafts beautiful, transformative soundscapes (the “Hawaii” part) that have just a sprinkle …

Hot Jam of the Day (01.17.13): Fear of Men, “Seer”

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Fear of Men “Seer” Early Fragments (out 2/12 on Kanine) After a string of impeccable singles (“Mosaic” was my 13th favorite song of 2012), the wistful Brighton dream-pop quartet finally announced something of a debut LP. It looks like it will be made up of mostly the singles, but it will have some new stuff, including this beautiful mid-tempo daydream. In their short career, Fear of Men has always had a knack of packing maximum emotional punch into minimalist arraignments. A lot of that is thanks …

Starting V: Pitchfork Selector

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Earlier this week, Chicago Drill maniac Chief Keef caught a probation violation charge stemming from a redacted episode of Pitchfork’s Selector — a video series that features an MC freestyle rapping over beats from different producers — that pictures the 17 year-old shooting guns at a firing range. It’s amazing that this is what resulted in him catching a charge, instead of the hundreds of Instagrams and video clips he’s posted of him holding automatic weapons and smoking blunts, but I digress. In honor …

Hot Jam of the Day (01.14.13): Justin Timberlake, “Suit & Tie”

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Justin Timberlake “Suit & Tie” (f/ Jay-Z) The 20/20 Experience (due out in 2013 on RCA) It’s hard to believe that it has been seven whole years since JT released his watershed sophomore LP, FutureSex/LoveSounds. Considering how quickly pop culture moves on these days, the fact that the record still sounds so next level is remarkable, and you could easily argue that nobody has been able to touch it since its release. For that reason, Timberlake has been welcomed back into music with …

Hot Jam of the Day (01.13.12): Frank Ocean, “Pink Matter” (Remix) (f/ Big Boi + Andre 3000)

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Frank Ocean “Pink Matter” (Remix) (f/ Big Boi + Andre 3000) Digital Single (Def Jam) As much as I’d love it to be, this isn’t really an Outkast reunion track. That said, if anybody could reform the greatest hip-hop group of my lifetime, it would be someone with the awesome power of Mr. Ocean. The “Pink Matter” remix does highlight one thing that made Outkast great: their totally different perspectives. While most hip-hop groups generally see the world the same …

Hot Jamz of the Year: The Best Tracks of 2012

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A couple of people have asked me why I still take the time to do this every year, even after the magazine I used to write for shut down. It’s two things. For one, I’m a pop music anorak. I love taking the time to explore the year’s trends (alternative R&B, future garage) and the genres that have faded by the wayside (witch house, chillwave). Pop music is so ephemeral in the Internet Age, and it only takes going over …