Caroline Polachek, "Ocean of Tears" & "Parachute"


Caroline Polachek"Ocean of Tears" / "Parachute"Pang (out this fall on Columbia)Ok, now I'm getting really excited about the ex-Chairlift vocalist/composer's first album under her real name. Following up on her wonderful first single "Door," these two new tracks highlight Polachek's spellbinding voice and evocative, powerful songwriting. Though you can Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of the 2nd Quarter


Ana Roxanne~~~Leaving RecordsThe Oakland bedroom artist’s debut project is a staggering slice of ambient music that pulls subtly from the R&B and pop vocalists that she grew up on. Her voice sounds far away but pulls you in close (think: Grouper’s “Ruin”) and is ready to tell you its Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019, So Far (Honorable Mention)


As promised, here is the rest of my favorite tracks of the year that didn't quite make the cut for my main list. Songs are in no particular order. Chromatics “Time Rider”bahahahahah (Italians Do It Better) “Dear Tommy” is obviously never coming out. But I did get to hear this Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019 (So Far)


A little bit late this year due to real-world commitments, but here is my annual list of the best songs of the first half of 2019. Look for my honorable mention coming later in the week. This year, instead of going with an actual ranking system, I'm going to Read more

Lana Del Rey, "Doin' Time"


Lana Del Rey"Doin' Time"Sublime OST (out soon on Universal)If you grew up in California in the early 2000's, it was just about impossible to get in someone's car or go to a party that wasn't playing one of those two Sublime albums. Evidently, the same was true in wherever Read more

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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.

Hot Jam of the Day (03.14.12): Beach House, “Myth”

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Beach House
“Myth”
Bloom (Sub Pop)

Coming off their mega-huge (and mega-wonderful) 2010 breakthrough Teen Dream, this is the first single from the New Jersey dream poppers hotly-anticipated fourth LP, due out May 15th. While this is still unmistakably Beach House  — Victoria Legrand’s soaring vocals, Alex Scally’s reverb drenched guitars and gauzy soundscapes — it’s more direct and anthemic than much of their past material, which definitely isn’t a bad thing. Always one of the most evocative groups in the indie rock zeitgeist, they’ve always had the uncanny ability to transport you into their world, and this track is no exception. Roll on May 15th.

Hot Jam of the Day (03.13.12): Bobby Womack, “Please Forgive My Heart”

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Bobby Womack
“Please Forgive My Heart”
The Bravest Man in the Universe (XL) 

Like pro wrestlers, soul singers don’t often age gracefully. The Cleveland native’s biography is eyebrow-raising even when compared to his most troubled musical contemporaries (Stone, Brown) — herion addiction, wife beating, the death of two of his sons, an alleged affair with his wife’s 14 year-old daughter — the list goes on. But like many of his peers, the tragedy was balanced by brilliance, and in his legendary career, Womack released a litany of absolute classic soul tracks, including “Across 110th Street,” which is one of my 50 favorite songs ever. On this, the lead-off single from his Damon Albarn and Richard Russell-produced LP, the toll of 68 years of hard living is evident in his voice, but that doesn’t stop it from being an emotive, memorable performance. This could be the I’m New Here of 2012.

Download Here (right click).

Hot Jam of the Day (03.12.12) Fort Romeau: “Say Something”

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Fort Romeau
“Say Something”
Kingdoms (100% Silk)

Deep house is the best house, and UK producer Mike Norris’ debut effort under the Fort Romeau moniker is teeming with the best aspects of the genre. Subtle, smooth, and absolutely delicious, its first single is a lush, effortlessly sexy affair that expertly sets an undulating backtrack to a seductive vocal sample. Norris’ pop music background (he worked on La Roux’s explosive debut) is very apparanent all through Kingdoms, as he crafts tracks that have that open, airy deep house feel with just the right amount of pop hooks to stick in your head.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/38112965″ iframe=”true” /]

New Video Alert: Memoryhouse, “The Kids Were Wrong”

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In the interest of full disclosure, I’m totally in love with this band. The only thing that truly troubles me about them is finding a way to break up the boyfriend-girlfriend duo romantically without ruining the band. Until I figure out a way to do that (and convince vocalist Denise Nouvion to marry me), I guess I’ll have to just sit back and enjoy their wonderful, sleepy dream pop magic. This video, the first off their debut LP The Slideshow Effect, tells a pretty little love story, while the band gets as close to rocking as they can. Lovely.

HJ of the Day (03.06.12) Evy Jane: “OHSO”

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Evy Jane
“Sayso”
S/T 12″ (King Deluxe)

Hear that? That’s the sound of me physically restraining my hyperbole gene from making wild pronouncements about this rising, Canadian experimental R&B duo’s debut single. While I don’t think it’s necessarily a fair comparison, I simply can’t listen to this track without thinking of the Weeknd’s stunning, similarly out-of-the-blue breakthrough single, “What You Need.” While there are subtle stylistic differences, vocalist Evelyn Mason’s alluring, vulnerable vocal tiptoes the line between unbelievably sexy and batshit crazy in much the same way that Abel Tesfaye’s did. Both are impeccably framed by sparse, undulating synths and perfect drum machine droplets. More than anything though, both songs are just so fucking sexy. And that goes a hell of a long way in this business. Between this and that new Usher track, condom sales are about to go through the roof…and if they don’t, expect diaper sales to skyrocket at the turn of the new year.

Check Julien Mier’s incredible remix after the jump.

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The Best Tracks of 2011 (20-11)

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20. Holy Other
“With U”
With U (Tri Angle)

In lieu of waxing lyrical about the ghostly, undulating debut from this masked Mancunian, I’ll let my buddy AJ — a man who doesn’t give a shit about music — explain it. In response to a Facebook status update of mine that claimed With U was my favorite EP of the year, Apple Jack posted simply and succinctly “Yeah, maybe of [sic] you want to meditate.” Replace “meditate” with “fuck,” and I think AJ’s in business. The sexiest indie record since The XX’s debut.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/15628329″ iframe=”true” /]

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