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

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far...)


Somehow, some fucking way, 2018 is more than half over. And though it might feel like I always say this, I think this was the toughest list I've had to make yet. There's been an overwhelming number of exciting, vital new voices popping up and plenty of fantastic follow-ups Read more

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

Images & Words: Arcade Fire, “Afterlife”

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Arcade Fire
“Afterlife”
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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Sampha
“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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Wet
“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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Kwes
“36”
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.

Images & Words: Kingdom, “Bank Head” (f/ Kelela)

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Kingdom
“Bank Head” (f/ Kelela)
Vertical XL (Fade to Mind)

One of the sexiest tracks of the year gets a fitting video. Kelela, the LA-based vocalist looks incredible over a shadowy, evocative backdrop. If you missed this track (and the excellent, Vertical XL), it’s not too late to hop on the bandwagon.

Images & Words: Mutya Keisha Siobhan, “Flatline”

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Mutya Keisha Siobhan
“Flatline”
From Upcoming 2014 LP

The founding members of the Sugababes’ undeniable, Dev Hynes-assisted summer jam finally gets a visual treatment. Though it looks like it was shot on Instagram, the video captures the carefree, breezy feel of the cut, which is undoubtedly one of the songs of the summer.

Images & Words: Jacques Greene, “On Your Side” (f/ How to Dress Well)

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Jacques Greene
“On Your Side” (f/ How to Dress Well)
On Your Side (out 07/01 on LuckyMe)

Check out the fascinating interactive video from Canadian production whiz, Jacques Greene, and fractured, R&B crooner, Tom Krell (aka How to Dress Well). The track itself is fire, melding Greene’s moody, celestial production with Krell’s emotive falsetto, but the video is very cool as well. Watch it out on Greene’s website and stream the track below.