Hot Jam of the Day: T-Pain, "Textin' My Ex" (f/ Tiffany Evans)


T-Pain “Textin’ My Ex” (f/ Tiffany Evans) Oblivion Tomorrow, T-Pain drops his long-awaited fifth LP, the culmination of the most trying era of the R&B innovator’s career. Through no real fault of his own, Pain (né Faheem Najm) went from the jolly ringmaster of a multi-million dollar radio empire to a Read more

Images & Words: SOPHIE, "It's Okay To Cry"


SOPHIE "It's Okay to Cry" Digital Single Every once in a while, somebody puts out something that takes your breath away. "It's Okay to Cry" is absolutely one of those moments. After spending her early career lurking behind faceless, chaotic, schizophrenic experimental dance music, the 32 year-old has stepped into the light and up to the microphone. The result is Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: King Krule, "Logos"


King Krule "Logos" The OOZ (out now on XL) Archy Marshall's excellent new album feels like a collection of those wonky dream states that exist somewhere in that nether region between being wake and sleep. Though I'm still digesting all 19 of its songs, the hypnotic, jazzy "Logos" immediately stuck out. Over languid jazz chords Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, "For Robin"


The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die "For Robin" Always Foreign (Epitaph) There are many, many awful things about addiction, but little is as insidious as the way it pushes its victims away from loved ones from their previous life and deeper into their illness. Anybody who has lost someone to Read more

Images & Words: Stormzy, "4PM in London"


Stormzy "4PM in London" Digital Single Turning freestyles into anthems is nothing new to the ultra-talented Londoner. And though the ravenous "4PM in London" was probably written, it feels alive in the same way that many of those aforementioned tracks did. Unlike Drake (the man who originally rapped on this beat), Stormzy's got the rare ability to Read more

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Hot Jams of the Day (04.20.12): Jesse Boykins III & Full Crate “See With Me” and “Her Throne”

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Jesse Boykins III & Full Crate
“Come See Me”/”Her Throne”
Single (KilaWattMusic)

Like the Weeknd? You in to Frank Ocean? If you are a sentient being under the age of 39, I’m assuming the answer to both questions is yes. You should meet Jesse Boykins III. I think you guys will get along great. The Chicago-cum-Brooklyn troubadour joins forces with Dutch down-tempo R&B producer Full Crate (see: his excellent work with fellow Oranjeman, Mar) for a swoon inducing two song set. Boykins’ emotive falsetto is  reminiscent of British singer Sampha and is a perfect match for Crate’s dreamy, suffocating synths. Both are simply too talented to be toiling under the radar for much longer, but even if the mainstream never wakes up, you feel pretty confident that both parties will continue cranking out progressive, fascinating baby makin’ music. Exquisite.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42995426″ iframe=”true” /]

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42995261″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (04.17.12): Beach House, “Lazuli”

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Beach House
“Lazuli”
Bloom (Sub Pop)

I’ve been trying to hold off on listening to this album before its release date, but each new song is making that harder and harder to do. As impossible as topping their perfect-in-every-way 2010 LP Teen Dream seemed two months ago, judging by its two pre-release singles — this and the stunning “Myth” — it now seems impossible that Bloom is going to be anything other than an absolute classic. The thing that has stood out most about the two tracks is Victoria Legrand’s progression as a vocalist. She was always a dreamy powerhouse, but she has just continued to get better and better and now has to be considered one of the most important of modern music. I’m already looking forward to talking myself into paying some rando from Craigslist $75 for a ticket to their inevitably sold-out summer 2012 tour.

 

And just cause it’s great, here the incredible first single from Bloom, “Myth.”
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/39109061″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (04.16.12): Disclosure, “Boiling” (f/ Sinead Harnett)

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Disclosure
“Boiling” (f/ Sinead Harnett)
The Face EP (Greco-Roman)

After a run of successful singles, the fraternal post-dubstep duo of Guy and Howard Lawrence has finally prepared a full meal for us to sink our teeth into. The South London duo’s debut EP drops on June 4th on the label of burgeoning Berlin/London forward-thinking dance collective Greco-Roman. It’s led by this airy, surprisingly vocal-rich single that sounds a little bit like Burial remixing a particularly moody Araabmuzik track on a heavy dose of demerol. Like their influences (the aforementioned Burial, Mount Kimbie, early James Blake), the brothers have an impressive sense of sonic space and geometry, resulting in the kind of sparsly engulfing tracks that have allowed the uniquely British sound to resonate in car stereos and dancefloors around the world. Easily one of my most anticipated debuts of the year.

[soundcloud url=”http://soundcloud.com/disclosuremusic/boiling-feat-sinead-harnett”]

Hot Jam of the Day (04.12.12): Sean Blackthorn, “[One] Night”

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Sean Blackthorn
“[One] Night”

The man behind one of my favorite tracks of 2012 — the sparse, emotive “The Spirits” — is back with yet another sparse, stunning slow jam. When (not if) he blows up, he’ll inevitably be lumped in with progressive, bedroom R&B troubadours like the Weeknd, Frank Ocean, and to a lesser extent, How To Dress Well. While this is excellent company to be in, in Blackthorn’s limited work so far he has brought his own distinctive sound to the genre. It’s unclear what instruments he is playing (if any), but his work has a very live feel to it, while acts like the Weeknd and Frank Ocean feel very much like studio creations. Think of him as a sort of Maxwell to the Weeknd’s R. Kelly (stylistically, not sonically). Either way, “[One] Night” is another extremely powerful, soulful track from this young Canadian who looks set to have an incredible future ahead of him. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Hot Jam of the Day (04.09.12): Waka Flocka Flame, “I Don’t Really Care” (f/ Trey Songz)

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Waka Flocka Flame
“I Don’t Really Care”
Triple F Life: Friends, Fans, And Family

Waka Flocka Flame is the Tyson Chandler of hip-hop. Though both have recently attained superstar status, neither have changed their game at all and are more than happy to put on their hard hats and bang bodies down low. Even when he’s greeted with a radio-friendly club track like this (or 2010’s immortal “No Hands”), the young ATLien just can’t stop himself from going hard in the paint. That’s what makes this collaboration with Trey Songz — the NBA’s Ray Allen (all finesse, great teammate/set-up man, not quite good enough to win a title on his own) — so fulfilling. Waka’s lunchpail flow is a perfect foil to Songz’s sweet stroke, giving the crooner plenty of space to get his shine while holding it all together with two of his trademark, HAM verses. The result is a track that is smooth enough for the radio and hard enough for his core fans.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/39156813″ iframe=”true” /]

The Best 51 Tracks of 2011

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So here it goes. Better late than never, these are my favorite 51 songs of 2011. If you’ve read my previous work, you’ll know how this works. It’s basically a countdown from 51 to 1. Here’s a link to a Spotify playlist that will allow you to get all of the songs in one place. As always, I am incredibly grateful for anybody who reads my tiny corner of the interwebz, and hopefully there will be something new and interesting for everybody.

And without further ado…

51. Drake
“Look What You’ve Done”
Take Care (Young Money)

It feels fitting to start this list off with a track from the biggest commercial album of the year. I went back and forth a lot about what track to choose, but I settled on this one because it highlights Young Angel’s underrated storytelling and the disc’s dreamy, sublime production mostly courtesy of Noah “40” Shebib (the real star of Take Care), though this isn’t one of his tracks. Drake is at his best over these type of airy beats, as he has the rare ability to be easy to relate to, even though he lives a life we could never imagine. Remember, this is a dude who made having sex “four times this week” into a point of vulnerability, even though many of his listeners haven’t had sex four times in the past four years.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29801200″ iframe=”true” /]

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Hot Jam of The Day (04.06.12): A$AP Rocky (f/ H-Town All-Stars), “Purple Swag” (Remix)

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A$AP Rocky (f/ Paul Wall, Bun B, Killa Kyleon)
“Purple Swag” (H-Town All-Stars Remix)
Live Love Purple

To deride Harlem’s rising star A$AP Rocky for leaning too much on a sound that isn’t his own would be missing the point completely. Harlem may be more than 2,000 miles away from Houston’s syrup-soaked south side, but in the internet age, it really doesn’t matter. If the world’s leading Chillwave scholar can reside in one of the most decidedly un-chill locales on the planet, A$AP can be inspired by whomever he wants. And while Rocky relies heavily on his influences, he is always quick to big up his inspirations. He shows love to three of his biggest inspirations by getting out of the way entirely, letting three of Clutch City’s most diverse voices get their shine on. You can’t be mad at that.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/40838550″ iframe=”true” /]

And just for the hell of it, here’s one of my favorite ever H-Town (by way of Port Arthur) tracks.

Hot Jam of the Day (04.04.12): jj, “Beautiful Life”

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jj
“Beautiful Life”
jj n° 4 (2012)

It’s always a good morning when you wake up to an email from the Sincerely Yours folks. It means your day is going to start with a new, enigmatic slice of (mostly) Swedish pop magic. My excitement was magnified by the email I received this morning, thanks to its subject line: “l to the o to the.” Hoping it would be another warped take on a track by The-Dream — SY released Sail A Whale’s ghostly re-work of “Love King” a couple years ago — I (virtually) tore into it.

Though it’s decidedly not Terius-related, I was pleased to hear a typically shimmering, expansive new cut from the label’s most famous artists, the mysterious jj. The duo continues with their American radio-rap obsession, vocalist Elin Kastlander celestially blows “dro in this bitch” (to the extent that such a thing is possible) over a trademark  Joakim Benon arraignment: carefree, sparse, and just-a-little-bit Balearic.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42001334″ iframe=”true” /]

Sail a Whale’s “Love (The-Dream) King”

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/8048241″ iframe=”true” /]

Album Review: Chromatics, Kill For Love

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Chromatics
Kill For Love
Italians Do It Better (2012)

Johnny Jewel and his suddenly red-hot label Italians Do It Better have never been big on minimalism. His recently-released Scenes From An Imaginary Film that was, wasn’t, definitely was, totally wasn’t could have been the original soundtrack to the Gos’ Academy Award-nominated Drive clocks in at a cool 37 tracks, and his label’s flagship group, Glass Candy, are known for their slinky, frenetic nu-wave cuts that often come run north of the 7-minute mark. So it came as no surprise to anybody that the full version of Night Drive, the I.D.I.B. debut from the Portland-based quartet, Chromatics, came in at Metallica-esque 79 minutes and 33 seconds.

While many (myself included) thought Night Drive dragged in places, it didn’t stop the quartet from biting off another huge mouthful with their 80-minute follow-up, Kill For Love, a particularly risky move considering that the Internet has given us the attention spans of amoebas. Incredibly, it’s an altogether engaging, listenable affair that is filler-free and coherent. They’ve always had a knack for genre bending, but they take it to the next level here. Striking a potent balance between sexy 80’s darkwave (the superlative title track, “Lady”), moody down-tempo melancholia (“Into the Black,” “Candy”), driving 80’s guitar rock (“The Page”), and left-fielders (the instrumental “The Eleventh Hour,” “Running From The Sun”), the album expertly toes the line between sounding fresh and exciting without being disjointed.

While vocalist Ruth Radelet’s confident, alluring coo is one of the album’s key driving forces, she takes a back seat on its most fascinating track, the sparse, detached “These Streets Will Never Look the Same.” It’s indicative of what makes Chromatics so special; just as soon as you think you’ve got their sound pinned, they hit you with a sprawling, auto-tuned slow burner that manages to sound nothing like the group, while simultaneously sounding like something only they could have made.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/41479829″ iframe=”true” /]

It may have taken the group five long years to unleash a successor to Night Drive, but after a few spins through the LP, you’ll know why. They could have released a nicely-packaged, 10-song synth-pop album, and nobody would have complained. But that just wouldn’t be Chromatics, Johnny Jewel, or Italians Do It Better. It also wouldn’t have been this versatile, this enigmatic, or this remarkable. It also certainly wouldn’t have been one of the best albums of 2012.

Full Album Stream After the Jump.

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Hot Jam of the Day (04.02.12): Dirty Projectors, “Gun Has No Trigger”

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Dirty Projectors
“Gun Has No Trigger”
Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)

These Brooklyn-based indie-rock experimentalists’ are the purveyors of one of the most anticipated albums of 2012. Their 2009 breakthrough Bitte Orca was a breathtaking, frenetic affair that highlighted the mufti-faceted collective’s inspiring, fascinating take on pop music. This, the lead single off said album, is the group at their glorious best. While sparse is never going to be considered the group’s primary M.O., they nail it here, as band leader/vocalist David Longstreth’s strained howl is perfectly framed by some impossibly mellifluous oooh’s from Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian and a naked-except-for-drums accompaniment. I don’t think it’s given us much of a clue about the album’s sonic direction, unless “awesome” counts.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/41218921″ iframe=”true” /]