Images & Words: The 1975, "Give Yourself A Try"

The 1975 "Give Yourself A Try" A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out in October on Dirty Hit) Though it's been out for about two weeks, I've listened to the Manchester quartet's new single roughly two million times. Compositionally, it's totally unremarkable. Built around a repetitive, simplistic guitar riff and three chords, Read more

Images & Words: The Rhythm Method, "Chin Up"

The Rhythm Method "Chin Up" Digital Single Every two years*, I get afflicted with the same illness. It usually starts up a few weeks before every major international football tournament and lasts until somewhere around the quarterfinals. Who knows how long my believesthatEnglandcanwinthewholething-itis will last for this year, but I'm hoping that Read more

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

Images & Words

Images & Words: Elbow, “New York Morning”

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“New York Morning”
The Take Off and Landing of Everything (out 3/10 on Fiction)

After a few years away, Manchester’s kings of wide-eyed triumphant melancholia are back, and evidently they are returning with extra helpings of their life-affirming, windswept Elbow-ness. The lead single from their 6th LP, “New York Morning,” is exactly what you’d think Guy Garvey would write about falling in love with the easiest city to fall in love with in the world. As a somewhat recent NYC transplant, I’d be lying if I claimed that I don’t totally understand his wholehearted, earnest (read: cheesy af) love letter to the city, and I’m sure this will find its way into my earbuds on walks around the city. Simply put, it is Elbow at their unabashed best.

Images & Words: P. Morris, “Hold Tight”

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P. Morris
“Hold Tight”
Cold Confessions (Folie Deuce Compilation)

The young Angelino (formerly known as Morri$) flips Justin Bieber’s “Hold Tight” to perfection in the build-up to his aptly-titled debut LP, Debut, which is due out on February 25. Morris’ work has subtlety that is sometimes hard to find in the genre, and the youngster is rapidly building a very impressive back catalogue,  including production credits for our girl Kelela, LE1F, and Feist.

Images & Words: Memoryhouse, “Get Back”

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“Get Back”
Taken from NPR’s World Cafe

Since 2010, there are very few artists that I have devoted more words to than this resplendent Ontario-based dream-wave duo. Simply put, their near-perfect, celestial debut EP, The Years, is one of my favorite albums of the last five years. Its follow-up, The Slideshow Effect, didn’t glitter in quite the same gauzy way, as the group opted for a more upbeat approach, resulting in a slightly uneven effort. That said, I continue to have incredible hope for the duo, and this cut (and the other new ones played at World Cafe) show that The Years may have just been the sound of a young group scratching the surface.

Listen to the whole session, over at NPR.

Images & Words: Arcade Fire, “Afterlife”

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Arcade Fire
Reflektor (out now on Merge)

First thing’s first, I like Arcade Fire. I do. However, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to get excited about their critically-acclaimed, fourth album. Yesterday, my good friend and old roommate (who has stubbornly refused to let me ignore Reflektor) finally sent me something that has made me sit up and take notice. “Afterlife” is the kind of engrossing, epic (vomit) statement that made me fall in love with their earlier work, and the video is as disarming and emotive as the track. Hopefully, it will be the foothold that I need to get into the (supposed) majesty of this record, but even if it doesn’t turn out to be, at least there’s now a part of the front-runner for Album of the Year that I understand.

Images & Words: Sampha, “Too Much”

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“Too Much”
Too Much/Happens 7″ (out 11/12 on Young Turks)

Fresh off the quality, Dual EP, the Central-ish Londoner takes over the Nothing Was the Same track that he guested on. It’s a gorgeous, spare take on the original (which, he stole the show on) that highlights his distinct, evocative vocals. On repeat.

Images & Words: Freddie Gibbs, “Eastside Moonwalker”

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Freddie Gibbs
“Eastside Moonwalker”
ESGN — Evil Seeds Grow Naturally (out now on ESGN)

Somehow, I totally missed the Gary, IN-native’s quality debut LP when it dropped in June, but as they say, better late than never. Admittedly, the album suffers from its bloated tracklist (nobody needs to hear 19 songs by anybody), but its many highlights remind us that when the uber-underrated, combative MC is on top form, not too many can touch him. The devastating, twinkling key-kissed “Eastside Moonwalker” is a perfect example of the 31 year-old at his superlative best.

Images & Words: Julianna Barwick, “Ash Day” (A Take Away Show)

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Julianna Barwick
“Ash Day” (A Take Away Show)

The Brooklyn-based purveyor of ethereal, sweeping ultra-gorgeousness performs a new song that is as beautiful as the serene streets of Iceland where it was filmed. Standing on a chilly-looking urban avenue, the Missouri-native graciously passes out candy to passing children while she performs a celestial, layered hymn, as only she can. Sah-wooooon.

Images & Words: Wet, “You’re The Best”

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“You’re The Best”
Wet (out now on Neon Gold)

Every once in a while, a band comes along that you just kind of want to paint your flag on. That’s currently happening for me with this downtempo, unGoogleable Brooklyn trio. Their debut EP is an affecting collection of simple, direct songs that dig their little fingers into you and simply refuse to let go. Vocalist Kelly Zutrau’s haunting vocals and plaintiff lyrics are deftly framed by swaths of reverb-soaked guitars and electro-percussion. Lyrically, “You’re the Best” stands in stark contrast to much of the rest of the heartbroken album, but sonically, it’s a great example of what makes them so special. Catching them at CMJ cemented my belief that in a year or so these guys are going to be huge. There’s plenty of room on the bandwagon now; hop on before it gets too full.

Images & Words: Kwes, “36”

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ilp. (out 10/15 on Warp)

The South London R&B dreamer’s debut LP drops tomorrow and is one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Its undeniable second single, “36,” gets an adorable, touching treatment, dealing with a high school love in a way that everyone can relate to. All hail, King Kwes!

Images & Words: Majical Cloudz, “This is Magic” (Live Pitchfork Session)

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Majical Cloudz
“This is Magic” (Live Pitchfork Session)

Original appears on Impersonator (out now on Matador)

There really hasn’t been an artist I’ve felt more unsure about this year than Montreal’s Majical Cloudz. My old roommate (whose opinions I value incredibly highly) has been singing Impersonator‘s praises since it came out, but I just could never quite get into it. I decided to go see them live last Friday, as a last chance for me to really understand the album.

In short, I was shattered by their sheer presence and passion. Vocalist Devon Welsh is an imposing, unsettling performer who writes starkly honest, intimate stories and sings through clenched teeth and a vulnerable spirit. He is flanked by the calming, meditative synths of Matthew Otto, the perfect foil to the wound-up Welsh. Together, they form a devastating pair, crafting music that is so different to the pop music out today. I was a little late to the party, but I’m sure glad they still let me in.