Future, "Hate the Real Me"


Future "Hate the Real Me" Beastmode 2 (out now on Epic) The peak of a quietly excellent year, Future goes super deep on his worthy follow-up to 2015's legendary "Beast Mode" tape. Of all its stirring moments, nothing emotionally hits harder than its last track, as Future pours his heart out over Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far...)


Somehow, some fucking way, 2018 is more than half over. And though it might feel like I always say this, I think this was the toughest list I've had to make yet. There's been an overwhelming number of exciting, vital new voices popping up and plenty of fantastic follow-ups Read more

Images & Words: The 1975, "Give Yourself A Try"


The 1975 "Give Yourself A Try" A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out in October on Dirty Hit) Though it's been out for about two weeks, I've listened to the Manchester quartet's new single roughly two million times. Compositionally, it's totally unremarkable. Built around a repetitive, simplistic guitar riff and three chords, Read more

Images & Words: The Rhythm Method, "Chin Up"


The Rhythm Method "Chin Up" Digital Single Every two years*, I get afflicted with the same illness. It usually starts up a few weeks before every major international football tournament and lasts until somewhere around the quarterfinals. Who knows how long my believesthatEnglandcanwinthewholething-itis will last for this year, but I'm hoping that Read more

Images & Words: Chromatics, "Black Walls"


Chromatics "Black Walls" Dear Tommy (out PROLLY NEVER on Italians Do It Better) Goddamn it, Johnny Jewel. Just when I'd moved on from the idea that I'd ever hear "Dear Tommy," this guy drags me back in with a luscious new track and a (probably fictional) release date for Fall of 2018. "Black Read more

Featured

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”
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
“Obedear”
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.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/43682510″ iframe=”true” /]

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” /]