Wet, "There's A Reason"

Wet “There’s a Reason” Digital Single I’ve gone back and forth about the subtle stylistic shift that the Brooklyn group has made on their first single as a duo. After enjoying widespread acclaim early in their career, their debut LP was met with tepid reviews, which mostly complained about their dogged commitment Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Tracks of January and February

I've been a little slow to get cranked back up in 2018, but I quickly realized that a shitload of great music has dropped in January and February. Here's a quick wrap-up of a few of my favorites. Bad Gyal “Internationally” Worldwide Angel (out now on Puro) It sounds hyperbolic, but Read more

Grouper, "Parking Lot"

Grouper "Parking Lot" Grid of Points (out 04.27 on Kranky) Every time Liz Harris drops a new track, it's up to us to savor it and appreciate it for the little miracle that it is. It may sound like hyperbole, but everything she's put our since her wonderfully shut-in 2007 LP Cover the Read more

Swae Lee, "Hurt To Look" (f/ Rae Sremmurd)

Swae Lee "Hurt To Look" Swaecation (out soon on Ear Drummers) Sremm Season is rapidly approaching, and on Wednesday, the venerable Mississippi brothers treated us to the first three tasters from their upcoming triple disc. Each of the three deserve some shine. "Powerglide" is the kind of airy, hyperactive banger that they Read more

Kacey Musgraves, "Space Cowboy"

Kacey Musgraves “Space Cowboy” Golden Hour (out 03.30 on UMG) Very few country artists can crush my heart like the 29 year-old Texan. Whether it’s the swooning, wedding-worthy, “Late To The Party” (one of my Top 5 Songs of 2015) or the heartfelt, sad-sack tale about small-town life “Merry Go ‘Round,” Read more


Hot Jam of the Day (05.12.12): Jacques Greene & Ango, “Untitled

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Jacques Greene & Ango

Montreal-based post-dubstep producer Jacques Greene has made a career of creating moods rather than songs. Airy, spacious cuts like “Another Girl” bubble and build in a way that pop songs just don’t. All of this makes his recent collaboration with mercurial Canadian vocalist Ango all the more spellbinding, as it is a decidedly non-pop take on the traditional typical pop/R&B formula. Driven by Ango’s smooth vocal and a typically urbane drum machine line, it starts out as another (admittedly potent) example of the bedroom R&B that is blowing up right now. About halfway through, it takes a totally unexpected left turn, which is pure Jacques Greene. Superb.

Jacques Greene: “Untitled”

And, the brilliant “Another Girl”…..

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/11100445″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (05.07.12): Teen Daze, “What You Feel”

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Teen Daze
“What You Feel”
All of Us, Together (B-Side) (Lefse)

Thanks to the Internet, trends come and go incomprehensibly quickly, and if you don’t heed Tim Gunn’s advice, you might end up on the wrong side of Heidi Klum’s mantra (and this week’s award for unnecessarily cryptic pop culture metaphor goes to….). Though chillwave ruled the blogosphere just a few years ago, it is damn near retro nowadays, and while it’s a relentlessly nostalgia-focused genre, its artists are going to need to look to the future if they are going to remain relevant.

A chillwaver who is doing just that is Vancouver’s Teen Daze. From the bits of the ridiculously chillwaveily-titled All of Us, Together that have been released, Daze has turned up the Balearic influence and focused on songcraft, resulting in a deft, yet marked change in direction from his surprisingly excellent past EPs 2010’s Four More Years and 2011’s A Silent Planet. Though this dancefloor-friendly cut doesn’t make the album, it serves as a good example of how far he’s come and a reminder of why so many are so excited to finally hear his first proper LP.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/45189729″ iframe=”true” /]

Listen to “The Future,” a lovely pre-release cut from All of Us, Together.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42010656″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (05.06.12): CFCF, “Exercise #5 (September)”

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“Exercise #5 (September)”
Exercise (Paper Bag)

I like everything I post on this site, but this is especially brilliant. Inspired by legendary composers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Phillip Glass, the prolific Canadian producer’s new album is a swirling, icy collection of emotive piano-driven pieces. Like a filmless film score, Exercise nails the transformative, evocative quality that made the aforementioned artists so special, and after a few listens, I defy you not to get lost in Exercise’s fascinating world. This, the only track on the album with vocals, works so well in the context in the album, beacuse the warm, comforting vocals of CFCF (né Mike Silver) form the perfect contrast to the rest of his sparse, often-chilly compositions. This is really, really special.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44402238″ iframe=”true” /]

Watch Silver perform an arresting version of the song below (courtesy of Yours Truly).

Yourstru.ly Presents: CFCF – September from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Hot Jam of the Day (05.04.12): 2:54, “Creeping”

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2:54 (Fat Possum)

From one excellent guitar-driven band to another, the debut full-length from the moody duo of Colette and Hannah Thurlow is just a few short weeks away and looks to be a corker. Hypnotic, expansive, and full of hooks, “Creeping” is a perfect example of what has made them one of the most talked about groups both in their native UK and stateside. Since they hit the scene with their debut EP, 2011’s mesmeric Scarlet, the group has shown that they possess a melodic maturity and guile that belies their youth. Though they don’t really sound like the XX, the similarities are very apparent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they broke through in a similar fashion in the second half of 2012. Roll on May 28.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44971771″ iframe=”true” /]

Watch the group’s video for “Scarlet.”

Hot Jam of the Day (04.30.12): Sigur Ros, “Varuo” (Radio Edit)

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Sigur Rós
“Varúð” (Radio Edit)
Valtari (XL)

Fresh off the heels of “Ekki Múkk,” the predictably stunning lead single from the group’s sixth LP Valtari, the Icelanders return with a fresh new slab of expansive, etherial magic. Though “Varúð” jives very well with their signature, crescendo-heavy sound, like “Ekki Múkk,” it is a slightly more stripped down version of the Sigur Rós we all know and fell so hopelessly in love with years ago. Vocalist Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson’s falsetto is as evocative as ever and is perfectly framed by a typically celestial, dramatic melody. Valtari was always going to be one of Thunder Penguin’s most anticipated albums of 2011, but if the rest of it lives up to its first two singles, it’s also going to be one of the best.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44821305″ iframe=”true” /]

Check out the visuals for “Ekki Múkk.”

Download This Shit: Kool A.D. (of Das Racist), 51

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Brooklyn indie hip-hop collective Das Racist has kept itself busy this year. Alongside the release of their first properly released full-length, 2011’s Relax, both of the group’s rapping members (Himanshu “Heems” Suri & Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez) have already released solo mixtapes in 2012. While both were uneven affairs, 51 (A.D.’s second of the year) is a surprisingly engaging effort that highlights Vazquez’s hyper-eclectic flow, versatile musical taste, and winning personality. Because they are such a Brooklyn group, it’s easy to forget that Vazquez is from the Bay Area, and 51 sees the MC embracing those roots with some dope cameos from some of the Bay’s leading lights, including Main Attrakionz, Amaze 88, Trackademicks, and legendary (in these parts) Coup frontman Boots Riley. Like a lot of mixtapes, it’s a little long, but Vazquez laid-back, electric flow makes sure that it doesn’t drag. This is possibly the best thing from the Das Racist camp since its brilliant 2010 mixtapes.

Download it for free, here.

Concert Review: Frankie Rose Live at the Brick and Mortar, SF

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This review originally appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, you can read the original here.

Live Review:
Frankie Rose w/ Dive
The Brick and Mortar Hall, San Francisco
April 21

In case you hadn’t noticed, Frankie Rose’s got the Internet goin’ nutz. The 33 year-old has served time in two super buzzy groups of girls (Dum Dum & Vivian) and NYC critical darlings the Crystal Stilts and is about to kick off a tour with Real Estate.

The blogosphere’s thickest rims have been falling over themselves to praise her sparkling sophomore LP, Interstellar (Slumberland, 2012), and on Saturday night, Rose took herself and that buzz (I hear it needs its own van) to a sold-out Brick and Mortar Music Hall for an brief yet enthralling 10-song set.

She was supported by fellow Brooklyn-based dream popsters, Dive, a band with a fair bit of indie cred of its own. Featuring sometime Beach Fossil Zachary Cole Smith and ex-Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, the group banged out a jangly, wistful set that was heavy on reverb, sepia-tinged melodies, and (just-the-right-kind-of) awful haircuts.

Though watching young men gaze at their shoes is generally a surefire way to kill an early Saturday evening buzz, Smith and his bandmates cut energetic, engaging figures, bee-bopping along with their very blog-friendly, Beach Fossil-y tracks. Judging from this performance and the success of their pre-release singles, I’d wager that we’ll be seeing them headlining their own tour in the coming months.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/28357786″ iframe=”true” /]

30 minutes of sweet, easily digestible Dive jams provided the perfect appetizer for Rose’s main course, as she took the stage to rapturous applause. Upon surveying her minions, the diminutive frontperson flashed a sheepish, toothy grin and kicked directly into Interstellar‘s celestial penultimate track, “Moon in My Mind.” Flanked by a lean four-person band, Rose rattled off an incredibly tight set that struck a nice balance between her most recent LP and her 2010 stunner, Frankie Rose and the Outs.

And though her old cuts still sound fresh (“Candy” was a particular stand-out), Saturday night was really a celebration of the triumphant Interstellar. This was most evident during a four-song run that featured “Gospel/Grace,” the title track, “Daylight Sky,” and the undeniable “Know Me” – probably the best four songs on the record.

The run highlighted Rose’s uncanny ability to craft cathartic, introspective songs that are also incredibly danceable and full of pop hooks. She also has a devastating ear for dynamics, especially evident in her gauzy guitar lines. Though simple technically, they add so much depth to the tracks’ bones, which are basically just rock-solid pop-rock songs. Rose didn’t do a ton of talking, but when she did, she showed a humble, disarming sense of humor that made her instantly likable.

Throughout her catalog, Frankie Rose has a keen sense of when it’s time to say goodnight — that the best things are always over too soon — which is why only two of Interstellar’s tracks clock in at over four minutes. So while we all could have probably done with a few more, Rose hopped off stage after only ten songs, signing off with an inspired rendition her most expansive work to date, “Save Me.”

Unfortunately, unlike Spotify, I couldn’t start the whole thing over again, but if I could have, I definitely would have, and I surely wouldn’t have been the only one.

Hot Jam of the Day (04.27.12): Javeon McCarthy, “Precious”

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Javeon McCarthy
Precious (PMR)

For whatever reason, I’ve always thought of R&B as a very American genre. Of course, it’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of excellent R&B performers from outside the 50 that aren’t named Craig Fucking David. In recent years, our transcontinental cousins are enjoying quite the R&B renaissance thanks mostly to a handful of fascinating young artists putting their own unique spins on the genre. Artists like Jessie Ware, Sampha, bedroom R&B producer Holy Other, and Kwes have been churned out plenty of great tracks, and now it’s time to add another name to the list, Javeon McCarthy.

The Bristol native first broke ground in January with the dreamy, jilted “Lost Time,” which pits his graceful tenor next to a choppy, decidedly English backing track. While “Precious” is more direct and accessible, it’s just as eccentric and fresh-sounding. Of the aforementioned artists, his delivery is most reminiscent of Sampha’s thanks to his vocals that are simultaneously alluring and tinged with just the right amount of melancholy and his production, which always just has that little hint of dub-step (not the Skrillex kind). He’s got a huge, huge future.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42758484″ iframe=”true” /]

Download This Shit: The Weeknd, Live for This (Live At Coachella)

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Five reasons to download the Weeknd’s new bootleg, Live for This, captured at his performance at Coachella.

1. The performance put a perfect cap on a head-spinning 12 months for The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye, the runaway winner of Thunder Penguin’s ultra-prestigious award for 2011’s newcomer of the year.

2. It’s the probably the only way you’ll get to hear the Weeknd live anytime soon, unless you’ve got 150 bucks lying around.

3. You get to hear Tesfaye’s incredibly channel Michael Jackson in about 45 seconds of “Dirty Diana.”

4. You get to hear the drummer try to break the Guiness World Record for most uses of the crash cymbal per minute (currently held by the dude from Stryper).

5. Above all else, you get to hear an incredible feat of self-awareness from the Coachella crowd. After absolutely belting out the first few lines of “Crew Love,” the crowd suddenly clams up when they realize the next lines is, “this ain’t a fuckin’ singalong, so girl what you singin’ for.” Hearing an entire crowd realize that they are doing exactly what the song is mocking and changing their behavior because of it is just priceless.

Download it for free, here.

“Crew Love”

Hot Jam of the Day (04.24.12): Purity Ring, “Obedear”

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Purity Ring
Shrines (4AD)

While it’s a little unclear who exactly does what in mercurial Canadian duo Purity Ring, whoever handles their production deserves a fucking medal (or, at the very least, a big ass cookie). The group (vocalist Megan James and multi-instrumentalist Corin Roddick) describes their sound as future pop, which sounds about right, as it fits in snuggly alongside the weird-yet-exquisitely-crafted space pop of buzzy artists like Grimes, Frankie Rose, and NZCA/Lines. However, Purity Ring stands out from those aforementioned acts, thanks mostly to their production’s undeniable gritty (er, grimey) roots, which give them just that little bit more edge than their peers. Their debut Shrines is out July 24th and should be one of the albums of the summer.

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