Hot Jam of the Day: T-Pain, "Textin' My Ex" (f/ Tiffany Evans)


T-Pain “Textin’ My Ex” (f/ Tiffany Evans) Oblivion Tomorrow, T-Pain drops his long-awaited fifth LP, the culmination of the most trying era of the R&B innovator’s career. Through no real fault of his own, Pain (né Faheem Najm) went from the jolly ringmaster of a multi-million dollar radio empire to a Read more

Images & Words: SOPHIE, "It's Okay To Cry"


SOPHIE "It's Okay to Cry" Digital Single Every once in a while, somebody puts out something that takes your breath away. "It's Okay to Cry" is absolutely one of those moments. After spending her early career lurking behind faceless, chaotic, schizophrenic experimental dance music, the 32 year-old has stepped into the light and up to the microphone. The result is Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: King Krule, "Logos"


King Krule "Logos" The OOZ (out now on XL) Archy Marshall's excellent new album feels like a collection of those wonky dream states that exist somewhere in that nether region between being wake and sleep. Though I'm still digesting all 19 of its songs, the hypnotic, jazzy "Logos" immediately stuck out. Over languid jazz chords Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, "For Robin"


The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die "For Robin" Always Foreign (Epitaph) There are many, many awful things about addiction, but little is as insidious as the way it pushes its victims away from loved ones from their previous life and deeper into their illness. Anybody who has lost someone to Read more

Images & Words: Stormzy, "4PM in London"


Stormzy "4PM in London" Digital Single Turning freestyles into anthems is nothing new to the ultra-talented Londoner. And though the ravenous "4PM in London" was probably written, it feels alive in the same way that many of those aforementioned tracks did. Unlike Drake (the man who originally rapped on this beat), Stormzy's got the rare ability to Read more

Images & Words

Images & Words: Lil Durk x Lil Reese, “Distance”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 6.05.33 PMLil Durk x Lil Reese
“Distance”

Supa Vultures (out 08.11 on OTF/Empire)
Two of the lynchpins of early/mid 10’s Chicago drill link back up for a melodic. piano-laced heater. Though the duo’s styles couldn’t be less similar — Durk is melodic without even trying, while Reese raps through gritted teeth — they are also perfect foils. Longtime collaborator Young Chop matches their fire and ice flows with a tasty combination of ultra-melodic keys, potent sub-bass, and rolling trap hats.

Images & Words: Jessie Ware, “Midnight”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 11.58.13 AMJessie 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 in. It all culminated with her stunning 2012 debut, Devotion, which is still one of the best albums of the decade.

Though her 2014 follow-up Tough Love accelerated her commercial progression, it left me a bit cold and felt burned by overpacked arrangements that felt more Sam Smith than Sade. Disappointed as I was, it was hard to argue with her decision. The disc was a commercial success that grew her fanbase and led to collabs with people like Ed Sheeran and Nicki Minaj. And her affable, low-key persona made her easy to root for, regardless of how I felt about the new sound.

All of that makes her comeback single, “Midnight,” so exciting. It doesn’t sound like Devotion, but it feels like it. Her best music tackles heavy, human topics with a weightless quality, and this gorgeous single captures recaptures that magic. Met with a descending pianos, the 32 year-old pushes her evocative voice to its upper register, capturing the baited breath and quickened heartbeat of a late-night rendezvous. The relationship she’s singing about may be rooted in deep ‘devotion’, but it still feels like the first time. Bravo.

Images & Words: Nite Jewel, “How it Was”

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Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 11.44.22 AMNite Jewel
“How It Was”

Real Low (out now on Gloriette)
Ramona Gonzalez has been on an absolute tear this year. She’s already dropped an excellent LP and a 12” on Italians Do It Better, and now there’s a new collection of b-sides for us to sink our teeth into. The disc also comes with a new video for the seductive and gentle ballad, “How it Was,” which originally appeared on the IDIB release.

Images & Words: Pi’erre Bourne, “Water Boy”

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Pierre-BournePi’erre Bourne
“Water Boy”
Life of Pi’erre Vol 2. (self-released)
Already the architect of one of the best rap singles of 2017, the Atlanta native is also building a burgeoning solo career of his own. Like his production work, Bourne’s solo stuff is driven by delicious, glossy synths and wobbly percussion. To me, he sounds more comfortable when he’s singing than when he’s rapping, and “Water Boy” is an excellent representation of his potential as a songwriter and a vocalist.

Images & Words: Kamaiyah, “Build You Up”

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kamaiyah-depressionKamaiyah
“Build You Up”
Don’t Get it Twisted (out soon)
While her growing army of fans wait patiently for her follow-up to last year’s incredible A Good Night in the Ghetto, the East Bay native hooks us up with this feel-good new single. Packed with undeniable melodies, an uplifting message, and all sorts of delicious 90s vibes, “Build You Up” is an ode to the restorative power of true friendship. It also highlights her developing talent as a singer, which will help cement her place as one of the most versatile, exciting talents on the planet right now. <3 <3 <3

Images & Words: AJ Tracey, “False 9”

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Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 8.36.52 PMAJ Tracey
“False 9”

Digital Single
This video combines two of my favorite things, grime and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Spurs have let me down many times in my life, but this new single to commemorate the 2017 kit is a 5-0 win against Ar**nal. BRB, gonna go buy three of those new track jackets. 😍😍😍

Images & Words: The National, “Guilty Party”

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the-nationalThe National
“Guilty Party”

Sleep Well Beast (out 09.08 on 4AD)
Though their relevance has wained since their triumphant mid-00’s run, the Brooklyn quintet is still capable of crafting beautiful miserabilism like this. The overarching feeling captured here is resignation, the grim realization that something important to you is slipping through your fingers. As per usual, Matt Berninger’s downcast vocals are the song’s centerpiece, and they are swallowed up gorgeously by its powerful outro. I’ve found it difficult to muster much excitement about their upcoming seventh record, but this is promising.

Images & Words: Future, “PIE” (f/ Chris Brown)

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Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 10.06.39 AMFuture
“PIE” (f/ Chris Brown)
Digital Single
The fuel all your summer midsummer misadventures, Future and Chris Brown’s new surprise single is an infectious bop that celebrates their hedonistic personas. The duo is armed with a pair of earworm verses, a nasty hook, and enough drug references to make Hunter Thompson blush. It’s hard to tell what kind of staying power it will have, but it definitely has the potential to stick.

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.