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 Jam of the Day (03.29.12): Elite Gymnastics, “Here, in Heaven 4 & 5” (CFCF Rework)

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Elite Gymnastics
“Here, in Heaven 4 & 5” (CFCF Rework)
Ruin 4

I can’t remember a track in recent years that has undergone as many fascinating incarnations, as “Here, in Heaven,” the ghostly centerpiece of the KPOP-obsessed Minneapolis natives’ breakthrough debut LP. “Here, in Heaven 1” is a chaotic, claustrophobic affair, while its second manifestation is a shadowy, murky slowjam that would make a perfect last dance at Morticia Addams’ first post-Gomez eHarmony marriage. We’ve heard How To Dress Well (né Tom Krell) lend his signature falsetto to a typically sparse, typically affecting version, and now we’re treated to Canadian synth-meister CFCF’s instrumental, ethereal re-work that builds to an impossibly beautiful climax.

Vegas has the over-under at 8 versions of this song by February 2013, and I’m pounding the over. And, honestly, as long as artists this creative and talented keep tackling it, I’ll keep listening.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/40739134″ iframe=”true” /]

Check out HTDW’s stunning version. Originals after the jump.

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Hot Jam of the Day (03.28.12): Princeton, “Florida”

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Princeton
“Florida”
Remembrance of Things to Come (Hit City USA, 2012)

It’s fitting that this Santa Monica-bred, Eagle Rock-based chamber pop quartet is named after a place (Princeton St. in Santa Monica, not the University), because frontman Jesse Kivel’s lyrics constantly revolve around feeling particular ways in particular places. Their breakthrough EP was called “Bloomsbury” — after the district of London that was once home to Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf Kivel and where Kivel and his bass-playing brother Matt lived in during college. There was their breezy 2010 single “To The Alps.” There was their debut album’s best track, “Stunner Shades in Heaven,” that saw Kivel wax lyrical about “summer nights in San Sebastian,” San Diego, Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

All of Kivel’s work (he is also the lead singer of one of 2010’s best new bands, Kisses) is so reminiscent of Jens Lekman, and it’s not just because of his warm blanket of a voice. Lekman is a master of matching detailed, honest descriptions of very personal moments in his life in particular locales (see: “Friday Night at the Drive in Bingo” & “The Cold Swedish Winter”) with relatable, over-arching truths and evocative, sweeping melodies, leaving you feeling nostalgic for moments that you may have never had. “Florida” is full of snapshots of a life that probably isn’t yours (“driving drunk home from a local club”), but is probably just a bit like yours. And it’s hard not to get swept away.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/35150477″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jams of the Day(s) (03.27/8.12): Air France, “Collapsing Outside Your Doorstep” & “No Excuses”

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Air France
“Collapsing Outside Your Doorstep” & “No Excuses”
No Way Down (Sincerely Yours, 2008) 

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/10455212″ iframe=”true” /]

“It’s like a dream, isn’t it?”
“No, better.”

I can’t think of a better way to describe Swedish duo’s seminal (yeah, I said it) second EP than by borrowing the cherubic sample that permeates the song that made me fall in love with the group in the first place. Though it sounds strange to call an album influential only four years after its release, this is this Internet age and this is what’s happening now. Along with criminally underrated fellow Swedes, Boat Club, nobody was more responsible for the rise of today’s hugely popular airy, Balaeric-twinged pop — and its red-headed bastard child, Chillwave — than Air France. While they weren’t the first, they were certainly the best at marrying the blissed-out Ibizan dancefloor sound with a strong pop sensibilities.

For that reason, there was a staggering outpouring of praise and disappointment when the group announced they would be splitting on Monday. The group’s members — Joel Karlsson and Henrik Markstedt — stated an inability to match the quality of the devastating No Way Down, and while that is ostensibly understandable, it’s also surprising because their brilliant, undulating 2011 single, “It Feels Good To Be Around You” suggested huge things for the group in 2012.

While it’s tough to say goodbye, we’ll always have the memories, and in Air France’s case, they’re particularly spectacular (so fitting for a group that made music dripping with nostalgia). Besides helping shape the sound of countless breakout artists (Toro y Moi, Washed Out, jj, etc) and launching the most interesting record label of the last five years, No Way Down is truly special because of its wide-eyed, unbelievably lush six tracks. It’s the perfect collection — an incredible set of anthemic, blissful Balearic pop earworms, ready to wriggle their way into your heart and get your head dreaming of “wamer climes” (sorry, had to). For someone who grew up over 5,000 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, it opened me up into an entirely new sound.

Whether or not this is really the end remains to be seen, but whatever happens, I’ll continue to be grateful to Karlsson and Markstedt — not only for forming one of my three favorite bands of the last five years — but for all the music they turned me on to and all the excellent (and not-so-excellent) bands they influenced.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/555111″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (03.22.12): John Talabot, “Will Be Now” (Young Edits Club Mix)

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John Talabot (f/ Pional)
“Will Be Now” (Young Edits Club Mix)
Original Available on ƒIN

When it comes to remixes, sometimes less is more. This is extremely evident on rising Australian producer Young Edits’ tasteful, sunny take on Talabot’s glistening single. Edits (né Luke Foskey) is smart enough to mostly get out of the way of the Barcelona Balearic beat merchant’s swirling, repetitive original, happy to fall back and deftly add minor sonic accoutrements that highlight the tracks biggest strength: it’s hypnotic, mantric quality. It’s getting to be that time of year, and this is the kind of cut that makes you feel like summer is just around the corner. If you haven’t heard the rest of ƒIN, do yourself a favor. It’s a keeper.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/39710287″ iframe=”true” /]

Download Here.

Hot Jam of the Day (03.20.12): Odd Future, “Oldie”

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Odd Future
“Oldie”
The OF Tape Vol. 2 (Odd Future Records)

LA-based troublemakers Odd Future roll deep as fuck on this, the final cut of their highly-anticipated new album. If an alien came down from Mars and asked what kids in 2011 are into/like, this is what I would show them. Love ’em or hate ’em, nobody has changed the landscape of pop culture like Odd Future has in the last 18 months, and this gargantuan celebration of the group’s incredible recent run serves as the perfect bookend to the first chapter of their career.

As Tyler is wont to do, he sums things up brilliantly with his last line of this 10-minute rhymefest with, “They say we ain’t actin’ right, always tryin’ to turn my fuckin’ color into black and white./But they’ll never change em, never understand em, “Radical” is my anthem, turn my fuckin’ ass up/So instead of critiquing and being mad as fuck, just admit not only are we talented, we’re rad as fuck.” Amen.

Hot Jam of the Day (03.19.12): Sean Blackthorn, “The Spirits”

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Sean Blackthorn
“The Spirits”
Unreleased

While nobody’s going to confuse it with Motown, there’s something special going on in Toronto. We all know about Drizzy, the Weeknd (and all his cronies), and Melanie Fiona, but not many have been talking about Sean Blackthorn — partially because there isn’t a hell of a lot of info about him kicking around online. One thing’s for sure though, his lead single is a beautiful, arresting bedroom R&B ballad that shows off Blackthorn’s haunting, emotive tenor. Stunning.

Hot Jam of the Day (03.18.12): Airhead, “Wait”

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Airhead
“Wait”
Wait “10 (R&S Records)

Airhead has long been lumped in with post-dubsteppers like Lapalux, Mount Kimbie, and James Blake (with whom he’s collaborated with) and while that’s a pretty decent group to be in, this is the sound of a young artist coming into his own and carving out his own sound. Riding an eerie acoustic guitar line (how un-dubstep is that?), the London-based producer (né Robert McAndrews) chops a sultry vocal sample to bits, resulting in a fresh take on the sound that’s captivated us over the last two years. The real payoff comes at the end, when McAndrews interjects a fresh guitar line that recalls the best of the XX. This single promises big things for his full-length due out later this year, also on R&S.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/39959714″ iframe=”true” /]

The Best Tracks of 2011 (10-1)

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10. WU LYF
“Dirt”
Go Tell Fire To The Mountain (LYF)

The weight of expectation can be difficult to bear, especially for a bunch of kids in their early twenties. After a couple majestic 2010 singles (“Heavy Pop” and “Spitting It Concrete like the Golden Sun God”) and a few equally frenetic small shows, many (myself included) listed the shadowy Mancunian collective’s debut as one of the most highly anticipated of the year. Though, admittedly, I was ready to be let down, the quartet shattered my expectations by both sticking to their sonic guns and building on their burgeoning, expansive sound.

Through ten cathartic, relentlessly earnest tracks, the group unleashes the true scope of their sonic palette: two parts art-rock, one-part hardcore, a few pinches of psychedelia, and that fucking organ. The group’s sense of dynamics is their biggest strength. The celestial, reverb drenched guitar and organ lines beautifully frame vocalist Ellery Roberts’ feral howls, simultaneously abrasive and melodic (a good microcausim for the groups incredibly unique sound). Sometimes a band can be crushed by the weight of expectation. Other times, expectation is just a goddamn great way to get the word out about a special group. Lucky for us, it’s the latter in this case.

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Hot Jam of the Day (03.16.12): Lemonade, “Neptune”

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Lemonade
“Neptune”
Diver (True Panther)

At first listen, it’s easy to write off the debut single from the San Francisco-cum-Brooklyn trio’s second LP as mere Wham!/Culture Club pastiche. But give it a shot, and you’ll realize that kitsch officially stops being kitsch when it’s this fucking good. The track is so reminiscent of fellow Brooklyn transplants Violens’ stunning “Acid Reign (In The Trees Mix)” from a couple of years back. Like the Violens track, this is straight out of left field for the group; their breakthrough EP Pure Moods was very much a hyperactive Balearic pop record, in the vein of groups like Tanlines. “Neptune” is a clear-eyed, synth-slathered 80’s-influenced slow jam that sees vocalist Callan Clendenin dripping with regret over something that everyone can relate to: a fight with a lover at a party. Direct, heartfelt, and melodically rich, this is easily one of my favorite tracks of the young year.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/39122557″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (03.15.12): Hot Chip, “Flutes”

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Hot Chip
“Flutes”
In Our Heads (Domino)

At their best, Hot Chip tracks always feel like a warm blanket. Their last LP, 2010’s sumptuous One Life Stand, was chock full of warm, languid mid-tempo dancefloor cuts (title track, “We Have Love”) and lush, emotive slow jams (the disc’s standout “Alley Cats,” “I Feel Better”). If this track is anything to go by, their fifth full-length (due out June 12) will be no exception. The 80’s influence is turned up to 11 here — just listen to that snare — and “Flutes” gradually drifts to a characteristically gentle crescendo. Like the Beach House track from yesterday, it feels like a fresh take on a familiar sound. Nice.

Also, if you missed it, check out my interview with vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Joe Goddard.