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

Snail Mail, "Let's Find An Out"


Snail Mail "Let's Find An Out" Lush (out 06.08 on Matador) Though I've somehow not written about them yet, I've been loving the Baltimore trio's pre-release singles for their hotly-anticipated debut LP. The stripped-back third single, "Let's Find An Out," is my favorite of the bunch, pairing songwriter Lindsey Jordan's plaintive vocals Read more

Rae Sremmurd: "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug)


Rae Sremmurd "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug) Swaecation Though I'm still processing the Mississippi superstars' excellent, new 27-song project, the free-flowing "Offshore" feels like an instant classic. Producer Mike Will is a genius at negotiating sonic space, and his gooey, descending synth chords leave plenty of room for Thug to play in. And Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums from April '18


Grouper “Grid of Points” Yellow Electric Though only 21 minutes, the haunting beauty of Liz Harris' eleventh studio LP will linger for many years to come. Penned and recorded in just 10 days, "Grid of Points" feels like a moment suspended in time — a distant memory that you just can't Read more

Images & Words: Oneohtrix Point Never, "Black Snow"


Oneohtrix Point Never "Black Snow" (f/ Anohni) Age of (out 06.01 on Warp) Though the Massachusetts native is probably best know for his otherworldly, chaotic experimental electro, some of his best tracks are his quietist. Whether it's his recent stunner with Iggy Pop or the beautiful Anohni-lead "Returnal," OPN (né Daniel Lopatin) Read more

Images & Words

Images & Words: August Alsina, “Grindin'”

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August Alsina
“Grindin'”
Digital Single

September 15, 2014. Roughly two weeks after his 22nd birthday, August Alsina dropped the video for his “No Love” remix. Featuring a verse and appearance from one of the biggest stars on the planet, Nicki Minaj, the clip looked set to cap off the biggest year of his life and announce him as an A-List R&B talent. Instead, the best day of his career turned into one of the worst of his life. On the night of the 15th, the New Orleans native found himself fighting for his life. He was placed in a medically induced coma after collapsing on stage in New York.

After three days spent in a hospital bed suffering multiple seizures, Alsina was brought out of the coma, safe and happy to be alive. That kind of experience would shake and humble even the most confident individual, and according to this single and his recent appearance at the Breakfast Club, it’s certainly affected his perspective and lifestyle. “Grindin'” sees the upfront vocalist salute those who stuck with him in his time of need, while reminding naysayers that he’ll respond to this setback the same way he has to the myriad roadblocks he’s already encountered. Stronger, undeterred, and more focused than ever.

Images & Words: SOAK, “SHUVELS”

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SOAK
“SHUVELS”
B a noBody 7″ (out now on Rough Trade)

17 year-old Bridie Monds-Watson has been putting out personal, affecting folk music for a few years now, but this might just set a new benchmark for the Northern Irish singer-songwriter. Nothing she’s ever released has sounded like it could have been created by a teenager, and that’s never been more apparent than on this, her newest single. The Derry resident crafts songs that are mature in conception and construction — matching lyrics full of depth and insight with simple, yet developed arrangements and her curious, compelling voice. Listen up, because she has the raw materials to  go very, very far.

Images & Words: Jacques Greene, “1 4 Me”

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Jacques Greene
“1 4 Me”
After Life, After Party EP (out 11.11 on LuckyMe)

Just six months removed from releasing his best EP yet, Phantom Vibrate, the Montreal producer returns with an early Christmas present in the form of a surprise two-song (plus remixes from Suicideyear and Sei A) EP. Lead single, “1 4 Me,” is the kind of sublime, emotive quasi-deep house magic that we’ve come to expect from Greene (né Philippe Aubin-Dionne) over the years. I can’t wait to hear the title track and sink my teeth into those remixes.

Images & Words: FKA Twigs, “Two Weeks”

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FKA Twigs
“Two Weeks”
LP1 (out 08.12 on Young Turks)

The incredible, shape-shifting Tahliah “FKA Twigs” Barnett makes a strong claim for both song and video of the year with the gelatinous, alluring lead single from her full-length debut. Barnett’s spellbinding, EP2, announced her as one of the most fascinating, talented young artists in music. From the sound of this, it may have just been scratching the surface.

There is a clutch of interesting stuff going on here, but the variety of vocal melodies is especially impressive. Very few people can fit multiple memorable melodies into a pop song without it feeling disjointed (MJ and The-Dream spring to mind), but Barnett does it with ease here, moving gracefully with the amorphous, gauzy arrangement. She’s just a huge, huge talent.

Images & Words: Liu Bei, “Infatuation”

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Liu Bei
“Infatuation”
Infatuation (out now on Paradyse)

The rising London trio’s gorgeous, widescreen power ballad gets fitting visuals. The track sees vocalist Richard Walters’ beautifully chronicling the painful process of cleansing your life of a lost lover who, over time, has permeated every aspect of your life. Anyone who has gone through this type of break-up knows that it isn’t simply about finding someone new to fuck, watch Netflix with, or call before you go to bed (sorry, Ben). It’s about remembering how to live without that person, how to stand on your own two feet. It’s fucking hard, but it’s also fucking freeing, exciting, and empowering. “Infatuation” nails that dichotomy in a way that few records can.

Images & Words: Real Lies, “North Circular”

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Real Lies
“North Circular”
North Circular / Dab Housing (out this summer on Marathon Artists)

This is big one. The London trio’s affecting ode to the 25.7-mile stretch of road that borders the northern part of their city is a gently disarming number that beautifully meanders like the steady flow of midnight headlights. Reminiscent of Mike Skinner’s seminal “Weak Become Heroes” — still one of my 20 favorite tracks of all-time — “North Circular” feels like a massive achievement. It could be the incredibly rare song that distills experiences and feelings of a particular generation in the way that Skinner did 12 years ago.

It beautifully sums up the possibility and the ennui of growing up in suburban sprawl — the melancholy joy of cruising down your streets with your people with fuck all to do. Topped off with a shuffling backbeat, graceful synths, and a far-away guitar line, “North Circular” is the perfect soundtrack for the muted euphoria of a late-night drive through the a-road pubs, petrol stations, and suicide bridges of our suburban childhoods. While my streets may lay more than 5,000 miles to the west, for these 4-and-a-half minutes, the North Circular certainly feels like home.

Images & Words: Alexis Taylor, “Without a Crutch (2)”

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Alexis Taylor
“Without a Crutch (2)”
Await Barbarians (out June 10 on Domino)

Throughout his nearly 15-year career with Hot Chip, Alexis Taylor has penned a glut of gorgeous, lovelorn ballads. Whether the romantic “We’re Looking for a Lot of Love” or my personal favorite, “Alley Cats,” Taylor’s delicate, evocative falsetto is simply built for the kind of breathtaking life-affirmers that leave you searching for either your lighter or your phone to text your ex. All those years on, the Londoner is finally ready to unleash his debut LP, and judging by its two pre-release singles, Taylor is aiming Await Barbarians straight at your heartstrings. History proves he knows exactly you keep them.

Images & Words: Vic Mensa, “Down on My Luck”

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Vic Mensa
“Down on My Luck”
Digital Single

The 20 year-old Chicago native’s surprisingly punchy foray on to the dance-floor gets some delightfully Groundhog Day-ish visuals. While Mensa’s omnivorous previous work suggested that he wasn’t interested in being your everyday rapper, “Down on My Luck” is still a startling left turn for him. That said, it is executed to absolute perfection, and it has to be considered a potentially star-making move for the XXL Freshman Class of ’14 member. Very few rappers are able to toe the electro line this skillfully, and Mensa manages to channel the best of Disclosure without losing his voice. This could be one of the biggest songs of the summer.

Images & Words: Ramona Lisa, “Dominic”

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Ramona Lisa
“Dominic”
Arcadia (out now on Terrible)

Caroline Polachek’s daring solo LP is one of the most underrated of discs of the year. Crafted entirely on a laptop, the Chairlift frontwoman weaves her mellifluous, athletic vocals over swirling collages of MIDI synths and drum loops, creating a compelling clash between the natural and the digital. The disc’s third single — the gorgeous break-up ballad, “Dominic” — gets a similarly handsome treatment, as the Brooklyn resident rows a lonely boat through what looks like the Louisiana swamps. It may seem a strange setting for her pristine, pastoral sound, but as someone who has spent time in those very swamps, I can say that the isolated environment makes a lot of sense for a rumination on the “perfect disaster” that is falling in love.

Images & Words: How to Dress Well, “Repeat Pleasure”

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How To Dress Well
“Repeat Pleasure”
What is this Heart? (out 06.23 on Weird World)

The video for what is probably my favorite song of 2014 got visuals today, and they’re exactly what you’d expect from the emotional, cerebral vocalist. “Repeat Pleausre” is the first in the three part series which will evidently feature a clip for “Words I Don’t Remember” and an another unreleased track.

Tom Krell has always had a knack for crafting compelling visuals, all the way back to the early Jamie Harley-directed clips, which led myself and many others to fall in love with his music in the first place. Curious to see where the story goes from here…