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: Wet, “Lately”

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Wet
“Lately”
Still Run (out now on Columbia)
I’ve waded slowly into the Brooklyn duo’s new project, mostly due to its pre-release singles being a little bit all over the place. However, the more I listen, the more I’ve found myself impressed with Kelly Zutrau’s evolution as a songwriter and — for all intents and purposes — solo artist.

She deals most openly with this change on album centerpiece, “Lately,” the sweetest expression of frustration you’ll ever hear. Her voice is soft but her words are scathing. She pushes back against bandmates (past and present), producers, and her label, annoyed that she must constantly be considering non-essential people’s opinions without getting much back from them in return. It’s a powerful, defiant step from an artist who is sick of being just a face in the group and is ready to come into her own.

Images & Words: The 1975, “Give Yourself A Try”

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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, “Give Yourself a Try” would be a trifle in most singers’ hands.

As we know, Matty Healy is not fucking most singers. That this track feels so life-affirming is almost impossible and entirely indebted to his ultra-rare charisma, unique lyrics, and passionate, magnetic vocals. Here, Healy wholly embodies and pokes fun at the special kind of feckless world-weariness that only exists among people in their late 20’s and early 30’s who spend way too much time in their own head (slash, on the Internet). He manages to be both self-deprecating and totally committed, skewering his (our) generation and himself while simultaneously giving us something we can feel.

Images & Words: The Rhythm Method, “Chin Up”

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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 Southgate’s men will make this a long, emotionally taxing bout.

And every great English World Cup run needs an equally excellent tune, and London duo The Rhythm Method came through with one of the strongest in years. It may not be official, but it features the doe-eyed hope, gallows humor, and cheeky arrogance (via a friendly shot at neighbors Scotland and Wales) of all the best ones.

Now, it’s time for the squad to deliver on the pitch. Will they? Probably not, but it’s always fun to see them try.

*Except 2008

Images & Words: Chromatics, “Blue Girl”

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Chromatics
“Blue Girl”

Dear Tommy (out LOL on Italians Do It Better)
As much as I hate to admit it, with every new pre-release track from “Dear Tommy,” I can feel Johnny Jewel and co sucking me back in. Like, last month’s “Black Walls,” “Blue Girl” is the exact kind of inch-perfect, gorgeous synth ballad that makes the idea of a world with “Dear Tommy” in it so exciting. On the other hand, I know that the album’s never fucking coming out, so GAHHHHHH.

Please, Johnny. Stop fucking with our emotions. (But keep putting out music, because, my GOD, you are good at it.)

Images & Words: Chromatics, “Black Walls”

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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 Walls” is the exact kind of track that makes the forever pushed-back project so frustrating, as it’s another reminder that nobody else makes music that sounds like this. The snyths are impossibly romantic and lush, and they’re beautifully framed by chunky guitars and vocalist Ruth Radelet’s forever haunting vocals. If this album comes out this year (it won’t), there’s nothing else that I’m more excited to hear.

Images & Words: Lil Peep, “4 Gold Chains” (f/ Clams Casino)

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Lil Peep
“4 Gold Chains” (f/ Clams Casino)
Digital Single
Posthumous music is always dicey, but this druggy, heartbreaking new single from the late Lil Peep is too haunting to ignore. Over dreamy, reverb-soaked guitar chords, Peep grapples with the dichotomy of a fame that he never seemed comfortable with but was seemingly destined for. You can see it in the way he interacts with the camera. Though he spends much of the clip trying to avoid the camera’s unrelenting gaze, in the moments that he gives in, his piercing eyes command it like only a true star can. What a loss.

Images & Words: Nines, “I See You Shining”

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Nines
“I See You Shining”

Crop Circle (out now on XL)
Though not as flashy as many of his peers, the 27 year-old Londoner is one of the UK’s biggest talents. His new project, “Crop Circle,” is a consistent collection of heartfelt, insightful lyrics and cracking, versatile production that lives somewhere between grime, road rap, and modern American trap. “I See You Shining” is a great get-to-know-you track, as it highlights Nines’ low maintenance style, sharp storytelling, and subtly catchy flow. Don’t sleep on this guy.

Images & Words: Oneohtrix Point Never, “Black Snow”

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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) knows how to craft the kind of ballad that can suck all the air out of you.

Though “Black Snow” — the first single from his forthcoming eighth studio LP — is somewhat similar in feel to the aforementioned tracks, it differs in one significant way. Lopatin’s voice has never appeared this clearly before. Sure, it’s delivered in a dissociated robo-croon, but it is also one of the most direct lines to the man behind the music that we’ve ever recieved. Of course, we don’t know if it’s representative of the rest of the album, but it’s certainly a very exciting development.

Images & Words: Anna Leone, “My Soul I”

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Anna Leone
“My Soul I”

Wandered Away (out now on Half Awake)
Though this stirring ballad has been out since last year, it bears re-consideration, as it leads off the Swedish folk singer’s excellent, recently-released debut EP. Though the instrumentation is delicate, Leone’s voice has main-stage power that recalls her compatriot Lykke Li. That extra touch of drama elevates the five tracks on “Wandered Away” from simple, direct love songs to something rare and difficult to shake off.

Images & Words: Quando Rondo, “Project Kid”

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Quando Rondo
“Project Kid”

Life B4 Fame (out now, self-released)
One of the standouts from the rising Savanah rapper’s excellent new mixtape, “Project Kid” is an open-hearted slab of melodic Southern rap. In his tuneful, yet raspy delivery, Rondo unleashes evocative, insightful lyrics with a weariness that belies his youth. In a scene that is overflowing with young talent, this guy is one to keep an eye on.