Lil Uzi Vert, "New Patek"


Lil Uzi Vert "New Patek" Digital Single Easily one of most joyful songs of the year, the hyperactive, hypertalented Philadelphian returns with six (6!) electric minutes of swirling, tuneful hip-hop. Over Dolan Beats' glorious crystallized piano keys and tiptoeing hi-hats, Uzi goes the fuck in as only he can, slaloming through the beat Read more

Images & Words: How To Dress Well, "Nonkilling 6 | Hunger"


How to Dress Well "Nonkilling 6 | Hunger" The Anteroom (out 10.19 on Domino) Though it was a little bit buried on my "Favorite Songs of 2018, So Far.." list, I'm extremely excited about the experimental direction Tom Krell seems to be going in on his fifth LP. This stunning two-parter pairs Read more

Wild Pink, "Mount Erie"


Wild Pink “Lake Erie” Yolk in the Fur (out now on Tiny Engines) Though I’m about six months late to the NYC trio’s outstanding second LP, I’m extremely glad that I finally found it. While their AM Radio sound has been relentlessly compared to War on Drugs, frontman John Ross is such Read more

Mitski, "Two Slow Dancers"


Mitski "Two Slow Dancers" Be The Cowboy (out 08.17 on Matador) Every slow dance with someone you care about feels like a moment suspended in time. I mean, that's the point, right? Your hands are tied, your bodies are connected, and even your gaze is limited. Mitski, the fantastic New York songwriter, Read more

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

Featured

Images & Words: SOPHIE, “It’s Okay To Cry”

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Screen-Shot-2017-10-19-at-9.05.23-AM-1508418344-640x328SOPHIE
“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 pure magic.

Built around a twinkling, celestial piano melody, “It’s Okay To Cry” plays out like a tender, ultra-modern Disney ballad. Her voice is sweet and confident, as she consoles a heartbroken loved one. The depth and power of the message is ratcheted up by the stunning visuals, which depict Sophie as an angelic figure. More than being Sophie’s first public appearance, it’s also the first time she’s clarified which pronouns (she/her) she’s using. It’s a massive statement in so many ways, and truly one of the best songs I’ve heard this year.

Hot Jam of the Day: King Krule, “Logos”

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King-KruleKing 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 (think: 7’s and 9’s) and faraway sax, a mumbling Marshall welcomes us into a world that is both racked with childhood terrors and infused with an medicated calm. It’s a perfect example of his rare ability to craft engulfing sonic worlds that draw you in and keep you there.

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

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Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 11.53.21 AMThe 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 addiction will relate to this crushing funeral dirge’s first lines. “Mike called once a week, and then he called once a month. / He called once every few years, which turned into never at all.”

When a friend dies, you’re obviously robbed of a future with that person, but I’ve found that the years that you had already lost hurt more. The ones where you’d slowly floated apart, the common cords that once held you together — the interests, passions, and shared experiences — snapping one-by-one, clipped by the all-encompassing nature of addiction. And all of a sudden, you’re left with your remaining friends trying to make sense of how we all let that person drift so far and why you’d not made the most of your time together. That’s what this song is about. It may be the stunning, versatile post-emo disc’s quietest moment, but it’s also its most powerful and haunting.

Images & Words: Stormzy, “4PM in London”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 6.43.10 PMStormzy
“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 make any line feel like a hook, so he doesn’t need a chorus or a sticky melody to make a track stick. “4AM in Calabasas” was about as memorable as a 72° day in the Valley, but Big Mike’s delicious, adhesive bars makes you want to run it back again and again. All hail.

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of The Third Quarter

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As you may have noticed, I’ve done my annual “fall behind on a monthly column” thing over the last couple months. That said, that just gives me more ammo for a proper Q3 round up, featuring the best records of that period in alphabetical order.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 3.48.01 PM21 Savage
Issa Album
Slaughter Gang
What: The heartfelt, personal debut solo studio LP from the sharp-tongued MC
Where: Atlanta, GA
In a Tweet: Issa adds more deft, subtle melody to his singular, nihilistic, uncompromising sound. 21 is ready for prime-time. On God.
Start Here: “Nothin New” “Famous” “Bank Account”

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 11.55.47 AMBruno Major
A Song For Every Moon
July Records
What: The velvet-voiced, cheeseball crooner’s debut LP, built off one year of monthly singles
Where: London, UK
In a Tweet: Journey deep into the heart of a modern softboi. He matches R&B and adult contempo influences with a jazzy heart.
Start Here: “Cold Blood” “Second Time” “On Our Own”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 3.49.41 PMDJ Python
Dulce Compañia
Incienso
What: Brian Piñeyro’s first LP under this moniker. You might know him as DJ Wey, Luis, or Deejay Xanax.
Where: Queens, NY
In a Tweet:
The kind of gentle, deep house that’s easy to get lost in with just enough touches of reggaeton and dembow to maybe dance to. So well balanced.
Start Here: “You Ran (Do)” “Todo Era Azul – Siempre Dub” “Acostados”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 3.50.46 PMJapanese Breakfast
Soft Sounds From Another Planet
Dead Oceans
What: Michelle Zauner’s follow-up to her gorgeous, dream-pop debut, “Psychopomp” (2016)
Where: Brooklyn, NY
In a Tweet: MZ drags her dreamy sound even deeper into space. Slinky pop jams collide with heart-crushing ballads. A writer with rare honesty.
Start Here: “Machinist” “This House” “Road Head”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 3.52.02 PMJay Boogie
Jesus Loves Me Too
Self-Released
What: The new mixtape from Jay Boogie, his first since 2015’s “My H.O.E.”
Where: Brooklyn, NY
In A Tweet: Sonically versatile and adventurous, Boogie’s breakout LP is modern and magnetic, driven by his melodic flow and exuberant storytelling.
Start Here: “Malandrina” “Venti”(f/ Lily The Body) “Featherweight”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 3.52.42 PMJim-E Stack
It’s Jim-ee
Self-Released
What: The EP is the LA producer’s first project since his 2014 breakthrough, Tell Me I Belong
Where: LA via SF
In A Tweet: Driven by a break-up, it’s a taut, sharp collection of emotional dance music. Beautiful exploration of how club music can heal the heart.
Start Here: “I Did The Best I Could” “Moments Noticed” “Deadstream”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 3.53.36 PMKodak Black
Project Baby 2
Atlantic
What: The follow-up to his breakthrough Project Baby mixtape from late 2013
Where: Pompano Beach, FL
In A Tweet: The walls are closing in on the troubled 20 y/o, but PB2 hints that he knows that he must change if he is to fulfill his infinite potential.
Start Here: “Change My Ways” “Versatile” “Transportin'”

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 5.37.31 PMKommode
Analog Dance Music
Random Two Syllable Word
What: The guy from Kings of Convenience who isn’t Erlend Øye’s long-awaited side project
Where: Bergen, Norway
In A Tweet: Romantic, luxurious dance(ish) music with the voice of a Scandinavian man-angel. Beautiful, sharp, languid, and disastrously underrated.
Start Here: “Not The Bigger Picture” “Fight or Flight or Dance All Night” “Lady-Logic”

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 6.05.33 PMLil Durk x Lil Reese
Supa Vultures – EP
OTF/EMPIRE
What: A collaborative project featuring two of the key members of Chicago’s mid-10’s drill scene
Where: Chicago, IL / Atlanta, GA
In a Tweet: Two of drill’s core innovators link up for an EP that’s much more than a nostalgic exercise. Both sound fresh and compliment each other so well.
Start Here: “Distance” “Unstoppable” “Nobody Knows”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 3.59.16 PMLomelda
Thx
Double Double Whammy
What: The second LP from wistful singer/songwriter Hannah Read
Where: Silsbee, Texas
In A Tweet: Heartsick, imperfect guitar pop from Smalltown, USA. Captures the loneliness of outgrowing your hometown but also the fear of leaving.
Start Here: “Out There” “From Here” “Only World”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 3.17.31 PMMhysa
Fantasii
Halcyon Veil
What: The experimental, proper debut LP from the multi-platform artist
Where: Philadelphia, PA
In a Tweet: Arty and seductive deconstructed R&B that dips its toe in many sonic pools. That said, listeners will get more the deeper they dive in.
Start Here: “Bb” “Spectrum” “Strobe”

Moneybagg-YoMoneybagg Yo
Federal 3X
N-Less

What: The third installment of the 26 year-old’s Federal mixtape series
Where: Memphis, TN
In a Tweet: We already knew that Moneybagg has bully bars for days. But on F3X, he spices them up with extra understated hooks and melody. Tasty.
Start Here: “Important” “Blog” “Mind Frame”

la-et-ms-moses-sumney-20150729Moses Sumney
Aromanticism
Jagjaguwar
What: The critically-acclaimed debut from the genre-fluid mystical singer/songwriter
Where: San Bernardino, CA
In A Tweet: Good luck categorizing this LP. He pairs his unforgettable falsetto with indie, chamber pop, blues, soul, and about 4,000 other sounds.
Start Here: “Self-Help Tape” “Plastic” “Lonely World”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.08.21 PMThe National
Sleep Well Beast
4AD
What: The seventh studio LP from the road-weary, stately indie rock quartet
Where: Brooklyn, NY
In a Tweet: The best of the recent indie-rock old guys revival, SWB is boosted by a gorgeous, heartfelt B-side. A big upgrade from their last effort.
Start Here: “Carin at the Liquor Store” “Dark Side of the Gym” “I’ll Still Destroy You”

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.11.12 PMPhoebe Bridgers
Stranger in the Alps
Dead Oceans
What: The debut LP from the promising, young singer/songwriter
Where: Los Angeles, CA
In a Tweet: A spooky, heartbreaking collection of folk dirges that are granted levity by her gentle, gorgeous voice and tender guitarwork.
Start Here: “Smoke Signals” “Funeral” “You Missed My Heart”

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.32.40 AMTurnover
Good Nature
Run For Cover
What: The post-emo trio’s follow-up to 2015’s much beloved Peripheral Vision
Where: Virginia Beach
In a Tweet: Or, how an angsty east-coaster moved to Cali, fell in love, went vegan, got into Real Estate*, and crafted a heartfelt, optimistic guitar-pop masterclass.
Start Here: “Pure Devotion” “Breeze” “Super Natural”
*the band, not like flipping houses

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 12.59.53 PMTyler, The Creator
Flower Boy

Columbia
What: A softer, more mature follow-up to 2015’s noisy, frustrating Cherry Bomb
Where: Los Angeles, CA
In a Tweet: Though he isn’t screaming anymore, his voice has never yielded more power. Over gooey, delicious beats, Tyler speaks his truth with stunning results.
Start Here: “See You Again” (f/ Kali Uchis) “911/Mr. Lonely” (f/ Frank Ocean, Steve Lacy) “Garden Shed” (f/ Estelle)

the-war-on-drugs-tickets_10-05-17_17_591203405f659The War on Drugs
A Deeper Understanding
Atlantic
What:
Adam Granduciel and co.’s all-conquering successor to 2014’s “Lost in a Dream”
Where: Philadelphia, PA
In a Tweet: The LP that saw the stringy-haired sadsacks take over indie-rock. Granduciel is a master of making unspecific ennui feel life-affirming.
Start Here: “In Chains” “Pain” “Clean Living”

waxahatchee_wide-75076e668c79e2e0c496c3eb67963bb1d5ed0f0b-s6-c30Waxahatchee
“Out In The Storm”

Merge
What: The fourth LP from Katie Crutchfield’s alt-rock project, mostly dealing with the end of a relationship
Where: Philadelphia, PA
In a Tweet: Their quietest and most affecting LP yet. Crutchfield picks through the bones of her relationship, writing honestly and singing forcefully.
Start Here: “Recite Remorse” “A Little More” “Sparks Fly”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 12.55.02 PMYoungBoy Never Broke Again
AI YoungBoy
Self-Released
What:
The 17 year-old’s first project since his breakthorough 2016 mixtape “38 Baby”
Where: Baton Rouge, LA
In a Tweet: One of the most promising young talents in music. He raps with the poise, versatility, and precision of artists twice his age. Don’t sleep.
Start Here: “Untouchable” “Left Hand Right Hand” “No Smoke”

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 12.53.16 PMYves Tumor
Experiencing The Deposit of Faith
Self-Released
What: A new compilation from the shadowy ambient-leaning producer. His first since 2016’s exquisite “Serpent Music”
Where: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In A Tweet:
Few create sonic worlds as engulfing as Yves. This mantric, confounding collection is his best and hardest to pin down yet.
Start Here: “Ayxita, Wake Up” “My Nose My Lips Your Head Shape” “E. Eternal”

Images & Words: Creek Boyz, “I’m The One”

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Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 2.47.40 PMCreek Boyz
“I’m the One”

Digital Single
It’s still very early in their career, but the soulful, melodic Baltimore County crew feel like one of the freshest new groups out. Following up their magnetic debut single, “With My Team,” “I’m the One” is a triumphant, buoyant anthem that showcases their versatile talents as singers, rappers, and songwriters. Though their sound is hard to put your finger on, their nearest sonic analogue is probably Philly’s PNB Rock, a man who hails from about two hours north on I-95. It’s an exciting early statement for the group and for an increasingly promising regional rap scene.

Images & Words: King Krule, “Czech One”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 6.22.16 PMKing Krule
“Czech One”

Digital Single
I first covered the 22 year-old when he was just a random London teen named Zoo Kid. And while his potential was obvious, I doubt many predicted what an original and sonically restless artist Archy Marshall would become. In the four years follwing his excellent debut LP, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, Marshall released the excellent ambient-leaning, beat tape, A New Place 2 Drown, and has collaborated with artists from all over the indie landscape.

Now, he’s is returning with new music under the King Krule moniker, and this single is another of the twisted lullabies that he’s always been so adept at crafting. On “Czech One,” Marshall pairs spare, jazzy instrumentation with his languid, almost-spoken vocals. The result is a subtle and majestic waking dream.

Hot Jam of the Day: Julien Baker, “Appointments”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 6.50.48 PMJulien Baker
“Appointments”
Turn Out the Lights (out 10.27 on Matador)
“It’s the hope that kills you,” goes the old saying. But it can also be the thing that saves you and drives you through life’s dark stretches. It’s what the 21 year-old is reaching for on this breathtaking first single from her highly-anticipated second LP. Baker has the ultra-rare ability to distill life’s most complex and difficult moments into gorgeous, insightful songs that often tell you more about your life than hers.

“Appointments” is the next in a long line of stunning, stripped-back guitar ballads from the Memphis native. Over a lonely, reverb-drenched single-string riff, Baker tries desperately to old on to the hope that she knows she needs. Baker confesses all this to a disappointed lover, admitting that she’s reached a point where there’s nothing she can do but believe in the process, even though she is far from convinced that it will work. Unbelievably moving.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kelela, “LMK”

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KelelaKelela
“LMK”

Take Me Apart (10.06 on Warp)
Our agonizing wait for the first taste of Kelela’s proper studio debut* is finally over, and my GOD, our girl came through with a banger. In lieu of just typing 4,000 fire emojis, I’ll just say that “LMK” is such a perfect distillation of what makes her such a special artist. The track lives in that ambiguous space between the club, the bedroom, and the radio. And the D.C. native devouring a club-ready Arca production and turning it into a slick, intoxicating slab of ultra-modern R&B.

And though everything about it sounds pristine, Kelela’s lyrics are never mere empty calories. She effortlessly deconstructs modern ghosting culture, reminding your local neighborhood fuckboi (or girl) that the main thing most people are looking for in the early going is honesty.

*Let’s be real, Cut 4 Me is an album

Images & Words: Jessie Ware, “Midnight”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 11.58.13 AMJessie Ware
“Midnight”
Digital Single
In the years I’ve been covering music, I wrote more about Jessie Ware’s early career than just about anyone else. I first covered her back in 2011 and tracked her progression from a promising, mostly unknown, quiet storm prodigy to a true powerhouse who could command any room she was in. It all culminated with her stunning 2012 debut, Devotion, which is still one of the best albums of the decade.

Though her 2014 follow-up Tough Love accelerated her commercial progression, it left me a bit cold and felt burned by overpacked arrangements that felt more Sam Smith than Sade. Disappointed as I was, it was hard to argue with her decision. The disc was a commercial success that grew her fanbase and led to collabs with people like Ed Sheeran and Nicki Minaj. And her affable, low-key persona made her easy to root for, regardless of how I felt about the new sound.

All of that makes her comeback single, “Midnight,” so exciting. It doesn’t sound like Devotion, but it feels like it. Her best music tackles heavy, human topics with a weightless quality, and this gorgeous single captures recaptures that magic. Met with a descending pianos, the 32 year-old pushes her evocative voice to its upper register, capturing the baited breath and quickened heartbeat of a late-night rendezvous. The relationship she’s singing about may be rooted in deep ‘devotion’, but it still feels like the first time. Bravo.