Sade, "The Big Unknown"


Sade "The Big Unknown" Windows Soundtrack (out now on Sony) Though she's only a few months shy of her 60th birthday, Helen Folasade Adu remains a force like nobody else. On the stunning "The Big Unknown," Sade proves that her quiet storm is still a Category 5, as she glides effortlessly over oceanic, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Miya Folick "Thingamajig" Premonitions (out 10.26 on Terrible) With each new single, the talented LA vocalist is strengthening the case that her forthcoming LP could be one of the best debuts of the year. Her flexible vocals always stretch further than you expect, and she uses her seemingly unlimited range to exact maximum Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Welp, this is embarrassing. The week I roll out a new round-up column, I respond by posting exactly zero times. My editorial staff (of one) was pretty slammed this week, but that's no excuse. Hopefully this piece can make up for it, dear readers. I'll do better this week, because, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


I was on vacay in England last week, and as I sat back down at my desk this morning, I realized that a massive amount of new music came out while I was gone. I'm going to try something new with quick one to two sentence recaps of some Read more

Lil Uzi Vert, "New Patek"


Lil Uzi Vert "New Patek" Digital Single Easily one of most joyful songs of the year, the hyperactive, hypertalented Philadelphian returns with six (6!) electric minutes of swirling, tuneful hip-hop. Over Dolan Beats' glorious crystallized piano keys and tiptoeing hi-hats, Uzi goes the fuck in as only he can, slaloming through the beat Read more

Images & Words

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…

Images & Words: The-Dream, “Black”

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The-Dream
“Black”
Digital Single

Any time the patron saint of Thunder Penguin drops a surprise track, it’s a day for celebration. Any time the the track is this powerful, topical, and evocative, it should be a national fucking holiday. Coming off the back of the weakest solo album of his bulletproof career, IV Play (2013), Nash returns with a forceful statement on the state of race in America — wrapped in a hopeful, soulful ballad, reminiscent of the great Marin Gaye. The track feels especially poignant as the ubiquitous Donald Sterling case swirls. Above all else, Sterling’s quotes served as a sad reminder how much further we must go to achieve a state of true civil equality, and Nash addresses that sad reality with trademark perspective and fearlessness.

Images & Words: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, “Live in NYC”

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
“Live in NYC”
Songs taken from Days of Abandon (out 05.13 on Slumberland)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart treated a small group of lucky people to a preview of their third LP, rolling through six new tracks. Judging by these cuts, Kip Berman and co. are about to unleash the best work of their career, and the new songs absolutely nail the balance beetween buoyant and melancholy that makes so much of the source material (80s shoegaze, 90s alt-rock) so timeless. Special mention for their rendition of outstanding second single, “Eurydice,” as it’s one of the most inarguable songs the group has ever written. I’m officially looking forward to hearing Days of Abandon in full.

Images & Words: Tommy Kruise, “Hers”

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Tommy Kruise
“Hers”
Upcoming EP

This is a really beautiful clip, in which the Montreal native chronicles the story of one of his fans, Bogdan Chiochiu. Chiochiu suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome and uses music to help him navigate through his life, much like so many others (myself included). Though its protagonist is not where he wants to be at the moment, there is a real undercurrent of hope and an underlying beauty that runs through the whole clip.

It is expertly soundtracked by the buoyant Quebecois producer, whose outstanding original takes a bit of a supporting role to Chiochiu’s story. That said, “Hers” still stands out with its twinkling synths and pounding backbeat, undulating languidly and gracefully over the affecting images. An overall knockout.

Images & Words: Fear of Men, “Luna”

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Fear of Men
“Luna”
Loom (out 4.22 on Kanine)

Longtime TP-favorites, Fear of Men are finally unleashing their proper debut LP. After debut singles, “Alta/Waterfall,” the Brighton outfit released the excellent, “Luna,” a cascade of jangly guitars and Jess Weiss’ ever-emotive vocals and lyrics. Check out its artful visual treatment below.

Images & Words: YG, “Who Do You Love?” (f/ Drake)

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YG
“Who Do You Love?” (f/ Drake)
My Krazy Life (out 03.18 on CTE/Def Jam)

You’ve probably heard this song, and also you’ve seen the video a thousand times. That said, one of Young Angel’s best recent verses gets visuals, and YG and Mustard are putting my home state back on that map. That’s more than enough to warrant a post.

Images & Words: SOHN, “Artifice”

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SOHN
“Artifice”
Tremors (out 04.07 on 4AD)

Another day, another album to get ridiculously excited about. Today the sensitive British-born, Vienna-based R&B/pop vocalist announced that his highly-anticipated debut LP finally has a release date! Considering he’s been releasing tantalizing singles since early last year, April seems just around the corner. If that wasn’t enough, he also graced us with a lush new track and a dramatic, slow-motion visual that is reminiscent of that classic Wax video from the 90s. Good vibes all around!