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

Images & Words: Stormzy, "Vossi Bop"


Stormzy"Vossi Bop"Digital SingleAfter a little while away, the London kingpin looks to be getting back in the game. "Vossi Bop" is a perfect comeback track because it is such a pure distillation of what makes Stormzy a true-one off. Over a tasty, yet simple beat, Big Mike goes in Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019 (1st Quarter)


Even though we're a solid week into the second quarter, better late than never right? Here's a quick round-up of some of my favorite songs of the last three months. To keep numbers manageable, I didn't include anything from any of my favorite albums list and prioritized songs I Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of 2019 (First Quarter)


Gah, I can't believe we're already 25% through 2019. That said, Spring is in the air, and we've enjoyed an excellent, diverse crop of music during these first three months. Have a look at some of my favorite LPs of the year so far in no particular order. Dawn Richard
 “New Read more

Chief Keef, "Ain't Gonna Happen"


Chief Keef "Ain't Gonna Happen" GloToven (Glo Gang / RBC) The Chicago stalwart's new project with the legendary Zaytoven is unsurprisingly full of weird and wacky sounds, moving in innumerable unexpected and exciting ways. Its most powerful moment is its starkest, as a heartbroken Keef floats freely over Zay's gorgeous piano. "Face dried Read more

Images & Words

Images & Words: Vampire Weekend, “This Life”

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Vampire Weekend
“This Life”
Father of the Bride (out now on Columbia)

I was absolutely not prepared for how much I was gonna like the new album from Ezra & the Freshly Pressed Oxfords. But shit, it is good. “Father of the Bride” is a sweet, insightful, and age-appropriate look at domestic life, set to sunny guitars and undeniable melodies. And though “This Life” isn’t one of my favorites from the album, the song and video are a solid first step in for those who haven’t had the chance to dig in yet.

Images & Words: Stormzy, “Vossi Bop”

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Stormzy
“Vossi Bop”
Digital Single
After a little while away, the London kingpin looks to be getting back in the game. “Vossi Bop” is a perfect comeback track because it is such a pure distillation of what makes Stormzy a true-one off. Over a tasty, yet simple beat, Big Mike goes in like only her can, effortlessly dropping ultra-charismatic, memorable bars in the spirit of the early freestyles that made him an instant legend. There’s no word on whether an album is coming, but like most of his tracks, “Vossi Bop” is strong enough to stand on its own.

Images & Words: Bedouine, “Echo Park”

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Bedouine
“Echo Park”
Bird Songs of a Killjoy (out 05.31 on Spacebomb)
Fuuuuck. Azniv “Bedouine” Korkejian’s beautiful, windswept picker is really making me miss LA. Languid and subtly majestic, “Echo Park” is a plainspoken love letter to the bustling community and all its perfect imperfections. She rolls her eyes at rising rents and lame scenesters, but can’t help be swept away by the gentle breeze and that beautiful view. Which, unlike just about everything else, arer still free.

Images & Words: Bedouine, “Bird”

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Bedouine
“Bird”
Bird Songs Of A Killjoy (out 5.31 on Spacebomb)
The LA-based folk singer (né Azniv Korkejian) is prepping the follow-up to her excellent 2017, self-titled debut, and this swooning stunner is our second taste of it. “Bird” adds the light touch of strings to her normally stark, acoustic guitar-driven arrangements. The fuller sound adds an extra helping of drama to the song, matching her heartsick lyrics that beautifully deal with the struggle to move on from somebody you love(d).

Images & Words: Santi, “Sparky”

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Santi
“Sparky”

Digital Single
The man behind one of my favorite songs of 2018 returns with his first new music of 2019, and unsurprisingly, it’s a banger. One of the leaders of Nigeria’s exciting alté movement, Santi pairs beachy, airy keyboards with his evocative voice for a sound that recalls Afrobeats, dancehall, and American R&B. Though his voice is soothing and the vibe is soft, there’s a still that little hint of edge that guarantees that his music could never blend into the background. Don’t sleep on this guy.

Images & Words: NoCap, “Ghetto Angels”

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NoCap
“Ghetto Angels”

Digital Single
As YNW Melly’s chilling, “Murder on My Mind,” finally finished its ascent to #1 last week, the rising Mobile, AL rapper quietly released a new song that deserves just as much attention. NoCap is yet another example of the rising tide of young, independent artists, whose sound has just as much in common with R&B and gospel as street rap. More than anything, “Ghetto Angels” — much like “Murder on My Mind” — feels like a modern blues record.

A heartbreaking look at a young life littered with violence, he recounts getting ready to pick up a friend to take him to visit another friend’s grave before getting a phone-call telling him that friend was also dead. Though pain is pouring out of every pore of this record, Cap finds strength in numbers, as his boys help him out on the last chorus, lifting his spirits and reminding him that he’s not alone.

Images & Words: Xanman, “Kane”

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Xanman
“Kane”
Hey Shootah Vol 2. (self-released)
This song has been out for a minute, but I just realized that I still haven’t written about the super talented DMV native yet. Considering that I’ve probably listened to more Xanman than any other rapper so far in 2019, it feels like it’s time to change that.

Like most of his tracks, “Kane” feels like it’s over before it even stars, imploring you to run it back (at least) a couple more times as soon as it finishes. At his most frenetic, Xanman basically eats the end of his bars (pun extremely intended), jamming in as many as possible and thumbing his nose at the beat. But he’s far from a one-trick pony, as he highlights by shifting into a cut-time, sing-song flow midway through the track. It’s the kind of melody lesser rappers would build an entire song around, but Xanman tosses it out in under 15 seconds, just because he can.

Images & Words: Roses Gabor, “I Could Be Yours”

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Roses Gabor
“I Could Be Yours”

Fantasy & Facts (out now on AllPoints)
The low-key London R&B boundary pusher dropped her long-awaited debut LP on Friday, and it’s a unsurprisingly fascinating project. Gabor’s slinky, seductive sound lives in the cracks between R&B and electro, and “I Could Be Yours” is perhaps the best example of just how potent her sound can be. A lot more people should really be talking about this project.

Images & Worods: Hand Habits, “What Lovers Do”

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Hand Habits
“What Lovers Do”

placeholder (out now on Saddle Creek)
Though Solange’s massive new album will dominate the day, don’t miss the ever-understated Meg Duffy’s wonderful second LP. The upstate New York singer-songwriter sits at the intersection of windswept Americana and confessional folk. Early standout, “What Lovers Do,” explores the distance between two lovers, who seem on the edge of either splitting apart or coming back together. There’s no clear resolution to their story, because like in real life, there never is.

Images & Words: LOM Rudy x Bandgang Masoe, “Died Right Now”

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LOM Rudy x Bandgang Masoe
“Died Right Now”
Digital Single
Two talented Detroit newcomers team-up for a poignant and heartfelt street-rap ballad that underlines both men’s desire to succeed and make something better of their lives. Over delicate plunks of Spanish guitar and a sticky flute melody, the pair worry about what will happen to their loved ones if they don’t make it and how their names will be remembered if they die young. It’s a heavy, sobering tune that pushes back against the dangerous young death fetish pushed by certain segments of modern rap.

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