Images & Words: The 1975, "People"


The 1975"People"Notes on a Conditional Form (out 02.22.20 on Dirty Hit)The Used, Head Automatica/Glassjaw, Primal Scream, Marilyn Manson, Blur, The Refused. And that's only six of the roughly 600 random bands that the new 1975 track brings to mind. And somehow, just like mother-fucking always, they pull it off. Read more

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

Images & Words

Images & Words: Boy Scouts, “Get Well Soon”

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Boy Scouts
“Get Well Soon”
Free Company (out now on Anti)

Oakland singer-songwriter Taylor Vick’s brilliant new project is full of softly crushing break-up strummers. Lead-off track “Get Well Soon” pairs Vick’s elegiac vocals with stringed guitars and a languid backbeat. The easy feel of the song is belied by the sharp, subtly bitter lyrics that mirror the way we wish our exes luck… without totally meaning it.

Images & Words: Lana Del Rey, “Fuck It I Love You” / “The Greatest”

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Lana Del Rey
“Fuck It I Love You” / “The Greatest”
Norman Fucking Rockwell (out 08.30 on Polydor)

Move over hot girl summer, Lana’s back to deliver a double helping of summertime sadness with a pair of swooning ballads. Lana’s voice is in unbelievable form here, gliding over languid, June gloom guitars and romantic string arrangements. It’s been more than a year since we heard its first single, and now that we’re only one week from finally hearing NFR, it’s looking likely to be her best project yet.

Images & Words: Taylor Swift, “Lover”

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Taylor Swift
“Lover”
Lover (out 08.23 on Republic)

Taylor continues her (2-song) hot streak with this wistful, woozy slice of alt-country. A little bit Mazzy Star, a little bit Whiskeytown, “Lover” is a swooning waltz that feels playful and earnest. She glides over the shuffling chords and the reverb-soaked snare, luxuriating in the joy and possibility of the early days of a new love story. This record really struggled to get out of the blocks, but maybe we should have listened when she told us that “we need to calm down.”

Images & Words: Odunsi, “Wetin Day” / “Better Days” (f/ WANI)

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Odunsi
“Wetin Day” / “Better Days” (f/ WANI)
Digital Single

One of the most exciting young talents on the planet right, the Nigerian now drops a pair of slithering new singles that do not disappoint. Already a star in his home country, the Lagos native is setting his sights on world domination with his breakthrough project “Rare” and an upcoming maiden European Tour. Both of these tracks highlight the easy star-power, effortless vocals, and magnetic sound that make his work so undeniable and exciting. Don’t sleep.

Taylor Swift, “The Archer”

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Taylor Swift
“The Archer”
Lover (out 🤷🏽‍♀️on self-released)

The frustrating thing about Taylor Swift’s recent singles isn’t that they’re bad songs. There are plenty of other bad songs out there. The frustrating thing about Taylor Swift’s recent singles is that she’s barely even there.

This is a ‘capital G’ musical Genius who should be entering her peak years, and I can’t find her anywhere on those songs. All of the perspective, strength, vulnerability, and emotional resonance that made her a star has been replaced by a bland, faceless facsimile of what a bunch of suits in a boardroom think the kids want to hear…. Except, evidently, on this wonderful, restrained slow-burner. For three and a half spellbinding minutes, Taylor does that thing that only she can lifting the arrangement with power, poise, and purpose — reminding us that writing her off is a dangerous game. She obviously still has it; let’s just hope she chooses to access it.

Images & Words: 100 Gecs, “Money Machine”

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100 Gecs
“Money Machine”
1000 Gecs (Dog Show)

Even though I’m probably almost 20 years older than the target demo, I’ve fallen in love with the hyper-speed magic of the rising duo’s uncategorizable debut LP. Though many have made obvious comparisons to people like PC Music and SOPHIE, I also hear a lot of the mid-2010’s post-mall-core bands like Attack Attack!, I Set My Friends on Fire, and anyone on Rise Records — groups that merged electronic pop with elements of metal and radio rap to deeply unfashionable effect. Their debut is full of legitimately weird, unexpected choices, making for one of the most promising debuts of the summer.

Images & Words: Bon Iver, “Hey, Ma”

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Bon Iver
“Hey, Ma”
Digital Single

The king of beautiful songs about ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ is back with two new tracks. The pick of the pair is “Hey, Ma,” a sonic stunner that is ostensibly about his mother. Sure, it’s still got plenty of nonsensical Vernonisms (“Full time, you talk your money up / While it’s living in a coal mine”). But he also shares some sweet memories of his upbringing alongside the swelling arrangement, which like always, is the most compelling part of the Bon Iver experience.

Images & Words: Hot Chip, “Melody of Love”

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Hot Chip
“Melody of Love”
A Bath Full of Ecstasy (06.21 on Domino)

Though all of their members have been busy with myriad other (very good) projects, the London disco vets are back together and ready to unleash their 7th album on the world. Our first taste, “Melody of Love,” feels like vintage Hot Chip, as Alexis Taylor’s velvety tenor glides effortlessly over neon synths and a rock-solid backbeat. Best of all, it’s got a unique, gorgeous visual to go with it, as is their signature. Good to have you back, lads.

Images & Words: Skepta, “Bullet From a Gun”

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Skepta
“Bullet From a Gun”
Ignorance is Bliss (out 05.31 on Boy Better Know)

The grime legend’s follow-up to 2016’s Mercury Prize winning “Konnichiwa” has crept up on me a little, but we’re just a few days away from getting to hear it in full. One of two pre-release singles, “Bullet From a Gun” is a sharp distillation of what makes Skeppy such a force, as he weaves a pair of taut, efficient verses that team with insight and clever wordplay. It’s not his boldest tune, but it certainly feels like a keeper.

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.

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