Hot Jam of the Day: Julien Baker, "Appointments"


Julien Baker "Appointments" Turn Out the Lights (out 10.27 on Matador) "It's the hope that kills you," goes the old saying. But it can also be the thing that saves you and drives you through life's dark stretches. It's what the 21 year-old is reaching for on this breathtaking first single from her highly-anticipated second Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Kelela, "LMK"


Kelela "LMK" Take Me Apart (10.06 on Warp) Our agonizing wait for the first taste of Kelela's proper studio debut* is finally over, and my GOD, our girl came through with a banger. In lieu of just typing 4,000 fire emojis, I'll just say that "LMK" is such a perfect distillation of what makes Read more

Images & Words: Jessie Ware, "Midnight"


Jessie Ware “Midnight” Digital Single In the years I’ve been covering music, I wrote more about Jessie Ware’s early career than just about anyone else. I first covered her back in 2011 and tracked her progression from a promising, mostly unknown, quiet storm prodigy to a true powerhouse who could command any room she was Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of 2017, So Far...


Rating albums at the mid-point of the year, just to re-rate them in six months seems dumb, so I decided to go with an NBA Draft-style tier system to pick out a few of my favorites so far. TIER 1: THE FAVORITE Stormzy Gang Signs and Prayer #Merky The Londoner's debut LP is an Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Jae Stephens, "24k"


Jae Stephens "24k" Digital Single Fuck one of the best debuts of the year. The LA-based newcomer just dropped one of the best songs of the year out of thin air. Featuring inch-perfect production from Jam City, Stephens weaves a devastating slow jam that captures the growth of a relationship from anxious first Read more

Images & Words

Images & Words: Turnover, “Super Natural”

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Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 4.32.33 PMTurnover
“Super Natural”
Good Nature (out 08.25 on Run for Cover)
The Virginia trio has been a longtime favorite around these parts, since their excellent 2015 LP, Peripheral Vision. Much of their previous work reminds me of the alt-rock of my pre-teen years (weirdly, especially the Gin Blossoms). But the lead single from their forthcoming album feels (a little too much) like a Real Estate song to me. It’s a solid, if unspectacular first step that will hopefully lead to much more.

Images & Words: Toro Y Moi, “Girl Like You”

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toro-y-moi-surprise-album-samantha-download-715x418Toro Y Moi
“Girl Like You”

Boo Boo (07.07 on Carpark)
Throughout his nearly 10-year career, Chaz Bundick has blown hot and cold for me. He’s a solid songwriter, but often his singing voice felt slight and polite to me, too timid to make a real dent. However, on his breezy new single, “Girl Like You,” the 30 year-old treats his vocals with some light autotune, which adds that little bit of oomph that much of his old work was missing. It’s a subtle but impactful adjustment, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Images & Words: MoStack, “Screw & Brew” (f/ Mist)

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“Screw & Brew” (f/ Mist)

High Street Kid (MizerMillion)
If you’ve been reading my site, you’ll know that the North Londoner is one of my favorite new artists of the year, and his excellent debut mixtape will do nothing but make that flame even bigger. His third single, “Screw & Brew,” perfectly exemplifies his intoxicating sound: a little bit Afropop, a little bit grime, a little bit of dancehall, and a whole fuckload of melody. Sleep on MoStack at your own peril; this boy’s got the tools to go all the way to the top.

Images & Words: BAD GYAL, “Jacaranda”

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img_20170415-105650_badgyal_11-kieG-U421709349948e5-1126x636@RAC1-WebBad Gyal
“Jacaranda”
Digital Single
Fresh off dropping one of the most thrilling debuts of last year, the rising reggaeton alchemist returns with her first release of 2017. Hailing from Spain’s sleepy Catalan coast, about 20 miles from Barcelona, Bad Gyal (né Alba Farelo) has cooked up a sound that feels anything but local. Reggaeton is the most obvious ingredient, but there’s also strong hints of dancehall, bachata, R&B, and merengue (to name a few) in her wildly versatile sound. But no matter where the arrangements go, Farelo’s laid-back, seductive vocals are ever-present, keeping things ticking over and running smoothly. One to watch in 2017.

Images & Words: Vince Staples, “Big Fish”

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custom299be6c8b27b518485fb5c4544625af6Vince Staples
“Big Fish”

Big Fish Theory (out 06.23 on Def Jam)
A couple of years ago, the 23 year-old Long Beach rapper caught a bunch of (mostly unfair) shit for calling 90’s music overrated. If you’d never heard a Vince Staples track before that, you’d be surprised when you first heard his music, as much of shares the spirit and aesthetic of 90’s West Coast rap without sacrificing any modernity. “Big Fish” is a perfect example of that fine line Staples walks, as he flows over a beat that wouldn’t sound out of place on a classic Too $hort album. That said, his flexible flow and impressive storytelling guarantees his music remains contemporary and vital.

Hot Jam of the Day: MoStack, “Ussy Ussy”

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Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 5.06.47 PMMoStack
“Ussy Ussy”

Digital Single
After dropping one of the songs of the year, the Londoner returns with another winning, Afrobeats-influenced cut. Like “Let it Ring,” the buoyant, undeniable “Ussy Ussy” features both memorable bars and hooky vocals that help cement MoStack in the class of rising stars like J Hus, Abra Cadabra, and Kojo Funds. If the summer sounds anything like this, we’re in for a great one.

Images & Words: Burna Boy, “Hallelujah”

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Burna-Boy-1-600x400Burna Boy
“Hallelujah”

Digital Single
Friday is always a great day to give thanks, and the 25 year-old’s new single is here to inspire you to do just that. Hailing from Nigeria’s poverty-stricken south coast, Burna Boy has spent the better part of seven years crafting electric afrobeat with touches of R&B and dancehall. Like many stateside, he first popped on my radar with his gorgeous, low-key 2016 EP, Redemption. Now, Burna has his sights set on world domination, and if he keeps dropping songs like this airy, lithe charmer, he’ll get there soon enough.

Images & Words: Rostam, “Gwan”

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Rostam
“Gwan”

Digital Single
Anybody who has ever lived in New York knows the restorative power of an aimless stroll through the city. On the clip for his new string-driven, chamber pop single, the former Vampire Weekend man enjoys one of those long meanders, heading toward a destination that is unclear both for the viewer and the walker. Though we still don’t have details, it’s starting to feel like his long-awaited album is just around the corner, and if it sounds anything like the rest of the pre-release singles, it should be a classic.

Images & Words: DJ Khaled, “I’m The One” (f/ Quavo, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne)

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“I’m The One” (f/ Quavo, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne)

Digital Single
At this point, DJ Khaled’s tracks are basically musical text chains between the biggest artists on the planet. It’s kinda like he just puts out late-night mass “U Up?” text to his entire contact list, and the first four that respond get a verse. It’s a high variance strategy. But it works for him, because as easy as it is to discard the songs that don’t pop, it’s impossible to avoid the ones that do.

This airy, trop-housey summer tune is one of the latter, evidenced by its 42 fucking million views in four days. And those numbers are no surprise, because it’s got all the hallmarks of a Khaled classic. Intoxicating, catchy chorus? Check. Tuneful, sticky verses? Check. Khaled ad libs? Obvi. Most importantly, it got the green light from the greatest young A&R man in the business, Asahd Khaled. Bless up.

Images & Words: HEAVEN, “It’s Not Enough”

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Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 11.57.52 AMHEAVEN
“It’s Not Enough

Digital Single 
It doesn’t take a musicologist to hear producer Johnny Jewel’s fingerprints on this romantic, slow-burning new single from the newest signing to his label, Italians Do It Better. Though details about the artist remain scarce, this luxurious, stylish ballad is a strong enough statement to stand on its own and hints that we may be hearing a lot more about her (them?) in the future.