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

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of The Third Quarter


As you may have noticed, I've done my annual "fall behind on a monthly column" thing over the last couple months. That said, that just gives me more ammo for a proper Q3 round up, featuring the best records of that period in alphabetical order. 21 Savage Issa Album Slaughter Read more

Images & Words

Images & Words: Nite Jewel, “The Answer”

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nite-jewel-nathanael-turner-the-hundredsNite Jewel
“The Answer”

Real High (out 05.05 on Gloriette)
Despite releasing a pair of interesting albums just last year, longtime TP fave Ramona “Nite Jewel” Gonzalez is gracing us with another project in May. Though the disc’s second pre-release track, “The Answer,” is the kind of glossy, dreamy pop that she’s cranked out for years, it’s far from a retread. And it’s fantastic to listen to an artist who has stayed true to an aesthetic, while constantly developing her sound and songwriting chops.

Images & Words: KWAYE, “Cool Kids”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 12.12.32 PMKWAYE
“Cool Kids”
Digital Single
The clip for the 22 year-old Londoner’s lead single is the rare example of a video that captures and enhances exactly what is special about a track. “Cool Kids” is an addictive, airy slice of pop that is inspired by the 80s but still feels ultra-modern. Director Billy Boyd Cape turns London tower blocks into moving art pieces, gliding around kids as their feet glide beautifully across the concrete. One of the most striking debuts of the year.

Images & Words: Teengirl Fantasy, “Seeds” (f/ Khalif Jones)

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teengirl-fantasy-music-to-search-to-1415975295-840x472Teengirl Fantasy
“Seeds” (f/ Khalif Jones)

8AM (out now on Planet Mu)
On the standout from their third LP, the Brooklyn electronic duo links up with Khalif Jones (aka Le1f) for a gorgeous, seductive ode to the end of the night. Though they rarely collaborate with vocalists, nearly all of their best tracks feature them, and “Seeds” is no exception. Producers Logan Takashi and Nick Weiss give Jones a deep, sparse arrangement to play with. And though he is known for his up-tempo bars, Jones changes gears and takes on an alluring, slow-winding croon that guides us from the club back to the bedroom.

Images & Words: Lil Uzi Vert, “XO Tour Llif3”

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091316-shows-hha-performers-the-full-review-lil-uzi-vert-5Lil Uzi Vert
“XO Tour Llif3”
Digital Single
While on tour with the Weeknd, the Philadelphian has dropped a couple of loosies to tie his fans over until his hotly anticipated Luv is Rage 2 mixtape drops later this year. The strongest of the bunch is “XO Tour Llif3” — an emotional track that also bops in vivid color.

Over a keyboard riff that swings like a pendulum, Uzi chronicles life as one of the biggest rising stars on the planet, surrounded by mobs of obsessive, overwhelming fans and feeling further from his real friends than ever. And though there’s sadness there, it’s an Uzi track, so there’s plenty of joy seeping out. That ecstasy is captured beautifully by the electric, lyrical steps of Atlanta dancers SheLovesMeechie, TheRealYvngQuan, Ayo, and Tayo.

Images & Words: OMB Peezy, “Loyalty Over Love”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 3.48.54 PMOMB Peezy
“Loyalty Over Love”
Loyalty Over Love (out TBD on Sick Wid It)
The Sacramento-via-Mobile rapper has been one of the shooting stars of 2017, rising on the back of two of the strongest rap tracks of the year so far: “Lay Down” and “When I Was Down.” Like the aforementioned tracks, “Loyalty Over Love” highlights the 20 year-old’s potent sound, which recalls 90’s New Orleans without sacrificing an ounce of modernity. Peezy has the rare flow that is hyperactive and unpredictable, but also smooth and catchy. And his verses are laden with hooks that will dig themselves into your brain. In short, he is just a massive talent, and the stage is set for Loyalty Over Love to be a monster debut mixtape.

Images & Words: Jaques Greene, “True” (f/ How to Dress Well)

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Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 5.13.18 PMJacques Greene
“True” (f/ How to Dress Well)
Feel Infinite (out 03.10 on LuckyMe)
The Montreal producer links up with his old friend Tom Krell for another potent collaboration. And while some of Krell’s rapping is a little off-putting, the arrangement and the hook are pure magic, as Greene’s synths swirl around inch-perfect percussion. Frankly, this is the direction I’d love to see Krell take in the future, as his voice is such a beautiful match for the kind of emotional club music that Greene makes. Greene’s debut LP comes out on Friday, and the more I hear of it, the more promise appears.

Images & Words: Future Islands, “Ran”

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future-islands-2017-promo-cr-tom-hines-670-380Future Islands
“Ran”
The Far Field (out 04.07 on 4AD)
The lead single from the ever-earnest Baltimore trio’s fifth LP gets an characteristically heartfelt treatment. The clip finds frontman Samuel T. Herring running through Maryland, spurred on by rumbling bass and mournful synths. Though there’s no hint of whether he’s running towards something or away from it, it’s an affecting little story nevertheless.

Images & Words: AJ x Deno, “Ride or Die”

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Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 2.25.21 PMAJ x Deno
“Ride or Die”

Digital Single
The London teenagers have been releasing bouncy tracks together since last year, but the infectious “Ride or Die” reaches new heights. Deno Driz’s silky vocals recall a young Joey McIntyre, and his boyish voice is well balanced by AJ’s easy, slick bars and a warm, buoyant arrangement with touches of Afropop. Hopefully, this is a sign of big things to come for the duo.

Images & Words: Phoebe Bridgers, “Smoke Signals”

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phoebebridgers-630x420Phoebe Bridgers
“Smoke Signals”
Digital Single (PAXAM)
The first song from the LA folk singer’s debut LP has been in heavy rotation for me since it dropped in early January. There’s a wonderful spookiness to “Smoke Signals,” and its cinematic, uneasy atmosphere reminds me of classic horror movies from the dawn of Hollywood.  You can almost feel the smoke lingering in the air, as her fingerpicked electric guitar and haunting vocals undulate gracefully before slowly receding back into the darkness.

Images & Words: Stormzy, “Big For Your Boots”

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Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 4.31.56 PMStormzy
“Big For Your Boots”
Gang Signs & Prayer (out 02.24 on #Merky)
About halfway through my first listen of the lead single from Stormzy’s debut LP, I got the feeling that I was listening to a future classic. Maybe it’s the way the beat shifts gears — how the hi-hats accelerate then drop off like a NASCAR. Or maybe it’s the magnetic, endlessly quotable bars, tailor-made to be screamed by hoards of sweaty kids. It could also be Sir Spyro & Fraser T Smith’s grime Game of Thrones synth chords. It’s probably a little bit of all of that, but more than that, it’s the relentlessly joyful spirit that Stormzy always brings to his music, which makes him impossible not to cheer for. All hail.