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: DaVido, “Like Dat”

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download (1)DaVido
“Like Dat”

Digital Single
Who needs albums when you drop singles like this? While the world waits with baited breath for official album news, the 25 year-old mega-star doesn’t have time for all that, preferring to drop smash after smash. By my count, “Like Dat” is the Lagos native’s 10th single of the year. And like the vast majority of those songs, it fucking bangs. His warm vocals are second to none, and they slither through a seductive deep house chords and bouncy percussion. Album or not, this guy’s on fire.

Images & Words: Ariel Pink, “Feels Like Heaven”

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9def5329blog_cropped-580Ariel Pink
“Feels Like Heaven”

Dedicated to Bobby Jameson (Kemado)
Ariel Pink’s psych-pop is very hit and miss for me. It’s partially because of his odious persona, but it’s primarily the fact that I’ve never had much time for his very obvious, bizzaro 70’s and 80’s influences. That said, the man can write one hell of a pop song, and “Feels Like Heaven” is another example of that rare knack. Lovesick and bathed in neon light, Ariel beautifully distills his intoxicating early-relationship jitters into an airtight, dreamy, reverb-soaked package. He’s rarely this direct, but he’s so much better when he is.



Images & Words: Miles From Kinshasa, “FIREWORKS”

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Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 3.04.13 PMMiles From Kinshasa
“FIREWORKS”

LIMBO (out now on Quality Time)
It’s crazy that it’s been more than two years since Miles From Kinshasa dropped his lovely debut single, “IVRY.” What’s even more crazy is that I somehow totally missed the release of his debut LP, “LIMBO,” and this, its glorious lead single. Like “IVRY,” this cut is a slab of urbane, smooth city soul that pairs the Londoner’s affecting, easy vocal with modern, quiet-stormy instrumentation. It’s indicative of the rest of the project, which is well worth diving deeper into.

Images & Words: The Golden Filter, “End of Times”

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GoldenFilter_The Golden Filter
“End of Times”

End Of Times EP (out 11.10 on Optimo)
On their new single, the London synth-pop duo turn the melodrama up to 11 and dial up a slow-mo swooner that will leave you basking in the neon glow. Inspired by the absurdity and unpredictability of the modern world, vocalist Penelope Trappes finds solace in the only thing we can rely on in such times: the arms of another. It’s smooth and slick but also warm and human.

Images & Words: The National, “I’ll Still Destroy You”

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the-national.graham-macindoe.4366_wide-2c5d8eef9bddef8bffb630b84ec075ecfe72d043-s1900-c85-1504652399-640x360The National
“I’ll Still Destroy You”
Sleep Well Beast (out now on 4AD)
Frankly, I’m shocked by how much I’ve grown to love the Brooklyn vets’ seventh LP. After 2013’s tepid “Trouble Will Find Me,” I’d sort of assumed that their misery porn had reached its zenith, now ten years on from the seminal “Boxer.” However, “Sleep Well Beast” finds the band regaining their emotional heft, nowhere more evident than this stunning rumination on escapism, be it by drugs, dreams, or nostalgia. Looking more than a little bit like Heisenberg, vocalist Matt Berninger gets lost in nights and dreams gone by, reveling in their narcotic power, while despairing at the knowledge that no matter how he tries, those harsh lights are going to come on before he knows it.

Images & Words: Mayorkun, “Mama”

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MayorkunMayorkun
“Mama”

Digital Single
Already a big hit in his native Nigeria, “Mama” is a gorgeous swoon of a love song that beautifully matches soca and R&B. It’s the latest in a string of impressive singles for the 23 year-old. Blessed with a pure, easy tenor, Mayorkun manages to capture the silly way falling headlong in love can make you feel without coming off jokey or insincere. Delish.

Images & Words: SOPHIE, “It’s Okay To Cry”

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Screen-Shot-2017-10-19-at-9.05.23-AM-1508418344-640x328SOPHIE
“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 pure magic.

Built around a twinkling, celestial piano melody, “It’s Okay To Cry” plays out like a tender, ultra-modern Disney ballad. Her voice is sweet and confident, as she consoles a heartbroken loved one. The depth and power of the message is ratcheted up by the stunning visuals, which depict Sophie as an angelic figure. More than being Sophie’s first public appearance, it’s also the first time she’s clarified which pronouns (she/her) she’s using. It’s a massive statement in so many ways, and truly one of the best songs I’ve heard this year.

Images & Words: Julien Baker, “Turn Out the Lights”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 5.11.37 PMJulien Baker
“Turn Out the Lights”

Turn Out the Lights (out 10.27 on Matador)
We are officially two weeks away from the 22 year-old’s hugely anticipated second LP, and it’s second single hits just as hard as the confessional, heart-crushing “Appointments.”

“Turn Out the Lights” opens as a sparse and haunting take on isolation, as Baker wonders “so why is it easy for everyone else?” The truth is, of course, it isn’t. And when its skyscraping crescendo hits, a sense of hope and community joins her solitary vocal, reminding us that we’re never truly alone.

Images & Words: Stormzy, “4PM in London”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 6.43.10 PMStormzy
“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 make any line feel like a hook, so he doesn’t need a chorus or a sticky melody to make a track stick. “4AM in Calabasas” was about as memorable as a 72° day in the Valley, but Big Mike’s delicious, adhesive bars makes you want to run it back again and again. All hail.

Images & Words: Phoebe Bridgers, “Funeral”

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Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.11.12 PMPhoebe Bridgers
“Funeral”
Stranger in the Alps (09.22 on Dead Oceans)
Not sure a folk dirge about death is the best way to get into that #ThursdaySpirit, but Phoebe Bridgers’ crushing new single is beautiful enough for it not to matter. The 23 year-old is on the eve of dropping her long-awaited debut LP, and its third single is a beautiful representation of her emotional sledgehammer songwriting and haunting voice. I can’t wait to hear the rest of it tomorrow.